Monday, December 16, 2013

2014 Products I Want to Use Up!

As a relatively goal-oriented person, one of my favorite subjects at this time of year is setting goals for the next year.  Whether called Plans, Goals, or Resolutions, they all mean the same to me - something to strive toward to feel a measure of success.

A 2013 favorites post will be coming soon, but as I was going through my stash last night, I realized that I have quite a few products that I simply just want to be done with.  Not that they are necessarily unflattering or unliked, just that I have something newer that is very similar, or just seem to never end. Many of them are lip products, some are deluxe sample sizes, with one significant eye palette thrown in to the mix.

I must give credit to two (2) of the YouTubers to which I subscribe: Michele of MakeupMLC MakeupMLC YT Channel and Kristin of KristinGehm Kristin Gehm YT Channel.  Both of them are around my same age (one a little younger, one a little older), but I love their perspective, attitude, and input on products.  Let's face it, I am not a 19-yr old UK gal, heading off to class at Uni, or out to the bars/clubs on a Wednesday night.  I basically wear makeup for work, date nights with the Hub, and sometimes a dinner party at a friends house. I will never use loose glitter on my eyelids or any extreme color on my face, so I look to those women for ideas on how to mix it up.  Every once in a while (inspired by the great Lisa Eldridge Lisa Eldridge YT Channel) I will put on false lashes and a bold lip - woot woot - crazy wild woman alert!

Here a snap of the products for 2014:

It looks like alot, however many of these are almost empty.  Another note, my Empties posts for 2014 will focus on these products. 

Below are pics of the products by category and I may mention a little something about a few, but definitely not all!  I will save reviews, opinions for the Empties posts.


For face, quite a few of these are almost done, or sample sized. Typically, you get a better value when you buy the full sized version, but I love sample/value/gift deals so I can try a bunch on new products at once.  This is especially true of foundations and BB creams.  I really like the Misha BB cream above and want to finish this one while my skin is still relatively pale.  Concealers are also a weakness;  I have so many that I just need to finish so I can move on to the new ones that I have stacked up.  Casper, our resident Elf-on-the-Shelf, whispered in my ear that I may have a La Mer concealer in my stocking next week, and I HAVE to finish the Hourglass one above before I can start on the La Mer!

Towards the end of 2013, I really got into blushes and bronzers, and have purchased quite a few new ones.  One of the best for this time of year (and subsequent paleness of my skin) is Burberry's Earthy blush.  I am using it as an all-over bronzer with a little extra thrown in for contour.  The other blushes by Nars and Stila are both pretty basic so I feel like I can use them by themselves or layered over other products year-round.


This is ambitious!  I have also been on an eye palette kick lately with the new Naked 3 and Laura Mercier Artistry palettes already residing in my stash.  I need to go through at least one this year!  I chose the Lorac Pro because of the variety of both textures (sheer, satin, frost, and matte) and colors.  This a great palette for travel as well, and will provide a variety of looks, though I will still be challenged to use some of these colors (Garnet??? really???).  The Tarte gel liners (black and bronze) are the oldest ones I have.  So far they are not dried out, but I would like to use these up, or at least for the most of the year.


There is a theme here: my lips but better (MLBB).  Most of these colors are on the mauve-y, pinky, neutral side of the color spectrum.  These are the colors I tend to gravitate toward due to the ease of use (no mirror needed!).  There are few that are pretty old, but do not have a bad smell or texture so I will use until they are gone.  I like using liners especially since I am starting to notice product migration/vertical lip lines - ugh, but I seem to always forget about them.  I do not have a ton of lip liners compared to other classes of products, but enough where it bugs me when I don't use them (especially the Chanel ones because they are not cheap!).

So that is it for now!  Gotta go put my face on and start vetting the 2013 faves post for next week!

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Empties #3 - My trash, people!

All of these products have been collecting under my bathroom sink for the past 3 months.  It feels like there are alot of products, but I am pretty sure that there were a few that I tossed out while traveling etc. that are missing. 

As in prior Empties posts, I will provide my thoughts on the product and whether or not I would buy them again.

Regarding my BUY/NO BUY label, I will only label if I feel STRONGLY one way or the other. If there is not a label, it means that I may repurchase if it was on sale, and would not be opposed to trying it again. Kinda wishy/washy, take it or leave it!

HAIR: I chopped off my hair in March so have been trying to patiently let it grow out.  I miss ponytails and of course have not really tried anything new and exciting with my 'do.  You may feel that this does not seem like enough for 3 months, but I only wash my hair about 2-3x/week (and yes I shower more frequently, just don't always wash my hair) so don't go through very much.  Also, we brought nothing from Chicago, and started brand new bottles in June.  With 3 bathrooms, the useage gets pretty spread out.

1. Bumble & Bumble Thickening samples - first of all, I do not have long hair.  It is almost to my shoulders, relatively thick so this sample size should have been enough for at least 1 thorough wash & condition session. Nope, barely made any impact on that cleanliness feel and was not enough to condition my hair. Did not like and will not buy. NO BUY
2. Organix Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy - I like the whole Organix line so would re-purchase these in full size once I have some empties.  Smells sweet, gives me that summer feel.  Did not make my hair noticiably straighter or less frizzy, so do not believe the claims, but my expectations for any shampoo/conditioner are so low, that it is pretty hard for me to be discriminating.  BUY
3. L'Oreal Superior Preference Conditioner - this is from the permanent dye for my roots.  These are great thick conditioners and leave your hair so soft.  I wonder why they do not sell these separately, would BUY if I could.  Maybe they do and I am unaware, hey it happens......

BODY: Let's keep it clean and soft baby!

1. Vaseline Spray & Go - Love this.  Not very moisturizing, but I do a heavy layer during and after a shower.  This is terrific for touch-ups to get rid of any ashiness.  Already repurchased in the cocoa butter flavor - BUY
2. Lush Olive Branch Shower Gel - like the smell, not too flowery.  Hub likes it too and suds up well. BUY
3. Up & Up Acetone Nail Polish Remover - pretty drying, but works well to remove all nail polishes (even glitter polish).  This from Target generic brand, similar to other acetone removers.  Would BUY again if I happened to be in Target and needed remover.
4. Korres Body Butter in Guava - mild floral scent, very moisturizing, but $$$$$.  Would BUY if on sale.
5. Philosophy Love Sweet Love sample shower gel - was ok, sudsy, fresh sweet scent. 
6. Mac Naked Honey Body Wash - found this at a CCO (cosmetics company outlet), still pretty pricey.  Smells good, not too flowery, Hub liked it too.  Would BUY if discounted
7. Jo Malone fragrance samples - have a ton of these, love mixing them up.  Have purchased several of them (may need to do a separate post on collection).  BUY

FACE: very happy I am making some progress in finishing products!  Now if I would just stop buying them!

1. Make Up Forever (MUFE) Smoky Lash Mascara - love this stuff!  I got this in a kit and considering buying it, but it is $$$$.  It def creates volume and makes my lashline look thicker.  BUY
2. Nars Laguna bronzer (small size) - again, came as part of a kit (sidenote: Sephora Favorites kits are terrific for value, get to try many diff products for minimal $$). Worked fine, but would not say it is my favorite.  I used it to warm up my face, but during summer was not dark enough to contour.  One peeve - breaks apart once you hit pan, so it would spill all over - booo! NO BUY
3. Wet n Wild Brulee eyeshadow - love!  So inexpensive, and provides great coverage for those of us with veiny lids. BUY
4. Tarte Gifted mascara (sample) - this took me a while to like, perhaps it needed to dry out? Prefer Tart Lights Camera Lashes so NO BUY
5. Almay Get Up and Grow Mascara (waterproof) - really like this for volume and swimming.  Great drugstore BUY
6. Clinique High Impact Mascara (sample) - good volume and the size of the brush allowed me to get the smaller inner lash hairs.  Good volume (are you sensing a theme yet?????), and black color payoff.  BUY
7. Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Guava - lovely light pink color and very moisturizing.  This had a slight glossy finish, but would classify this more as a balm than a gloss.  Great for on the go use, but prefer the original lip butter for keeping my lips soft.  NO BUY
8. Make Up Forever 0L Black eyeliner - eh, still smeared a bit.  NO BUY
9. Fresh Twilight Freshface Glow primer - really liked this glowy primer either under foundation or standalone with concealer for a "no makeup" look. BUY
10. Soap & Glory Sexy Motherpucker Lipstick/Crayon in Nudist - fave nude gloss.  Love the formula and portability of the crayon.  Not sticky, sheer color.  BUY

FACE-SKIN - picture would not load, so here is just the text:
1. Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water - good makeup remover for non-waterproof makeup.  I don't wash my face in the morning, so this was good as a pick me up.  BUY
2. Colgate Optic White toothpaste - eh, no diff in teeth color, good strong minty flavor.
3. Kate Somerville Exfolikate - terrific facial exfoliator that combines physical (scrub particles) with chemical exfoliants.  I used this in the shower about 3x/week and will repurchase. BUY
4. Embryolisse Eye Contour Care - eh, no diff, moisturizes.  NO BUY
5. Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector (sample)- I did not use this consistently or for long enough (ran out, it was only a sample!) to see results.  Have heard good things about it, so maybe BUY after further reviews and research.

Already started the next Empties bag and added 2 items into it this morning!  Ooooooooh the suspense!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Where the F have I been????

Hello all!

I finally got up the gumption to start posting again.  Wow last post was right before Christmas and soooooo much has happened!  Being a minimalist in all things (other than beauty products and shoes.....), let me summarize in bullets:

- quit my job with a major food company in Chicago
- started a new job as a consultant in Nor CA
- lived out of G & H's guest rooms for 3 months (thanks girlies!)
- bought a house
- packed up rental house
- shipped kids off to parents in So CA for 2 weeks
- drove cross-country with Hub and Nola-dog
- moved into new house, got kids back, enrolled them in summer camps
- Hub started new job (yay! no more single income household)
- enrolled kids in new school
- Nola-dog died (it was heart-breaking, she was 11 yrs old, will not get into it since I will cry)
- kids started new school, Boy joined soccer team, and Girl is dancing
- hired a nanny since I am working full-time (mostly from home) and traveling about 2x/month

So here we are in mid-September and I feel like LIFE has settled down enough that I can start the blog back up and refocus on some of my personal interests.  Again, this is fun for me, an outlet for all the beauty crap that I am interested in and really not to be taken too seriously.

So let's get started!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Empties #2 (part 2)

FACE: This is my weakest/strongest area.  Such a sucker for the latest and greatest, and we won't even mention "the Resolution."  More on that after January 1st..........

1. Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover - I use this everyday - love it and will always re-buy, BUY
2. Smith's Rosebud Salve - great multi-tasker for lips, dry spots, soothes minor cuts etc.  Have it in tube form which I prefer for sanitary reasons.  BUY
3. Skindanavia Makeup Setting Spray - again, I use this every day to set my make-up and have it last longer. Though I use primer as well, this takes the powdery texture of setting powder and smoothes it all out.  It comes in different finishes, but I do not know/notice any difference. BUY
4. Almay Get Up and Grow Mascaras (reg and waterproof) - love how these make my lashes look fluttery and voluminous, however I will only buy the Waterproof again.  The regular version transfers so I get smudges under my eyes.  BUY (wp only)
5. Peter Thomas Roth Anti-aging Cleansing Gel - too harsh for my dry skin.  It has chemical exfoliants which I am interested in using, but because my skin is so dry, it felt stripped of all moisture.  I think this would work very well if you have oily/combo skin.
6. Murad Skin Perfecting Primer - did not notice any significant smoothing and it did not help my make-up last any longer.  NO BUY
7. Stila Forever Your Curl Mascara - eh, good separation, not enough volumizing for me.  NO BUY
8. Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 45 - good texture, absorbs quickly, high level SPF.  Would buy in summer. BUY
9. Tarte Emphaseyes Inner Rim Pencil in black - dried out too fast, does not roll down, breaks easily.  NO BUY
10. Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pencil in dark purple - love the texture and staying power. BUY
11. Trish McEvoy lip pencil in #12 - good basic pencil, kinda pricey and think you can get same or better quality for less.  NO BUY
12. Caudalie Vinexpert Radiance Day Cream - leaves skin glowy and smooth.  However, disappointed that it does not have SPF for a day cream therefore NO BUY
13. Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Moisture Cream - ditto above comment, have quite a few samples that I will use up, but NO BUY
14. Chanel Sublimage Essential Regenerating Fluid - used up sample and I believe that to see progress with skincare, you will need to use it longer than a week.  With that said, it did not break me out which is why I was really testing it.  It is extremely expensive ($300!) and with my short-attention span and limited funds it is a NO BUY for me.

Empties #2 (part 1) - making some progress!

First off, apologies for being absent.  I have been going through some personal/work stress, making some decisions, etc. that are going to affect me, family, work, home and been really focusing on those.  I will post on those changes most likely beginning of January, once it all is finalized.

So on to Empties!  As you will see there are quite a few hair/body items that have been used up.  Now I will confess that in some cases, it was a family effort to finish these up.  I do have a few shower products that I keep hidden when not in use and take them into the shower with me, then hide when I am done.  The primary reason for this is $$$$.  Love Hub and Kids, but the fact of the matter is that some of those "secret" items are pricey (Exfolikate by Kate Somerville) and/or hard to get (Haus of Gloi body scrubs and butters) so I want to keep grubby little hands off so they do not go to waste and down the drain.  Hub does not care as long as there is some version of shampoo, conditioner, face scrub, and body wash.

Regarding my BUY/NO BUY label, will only label if I feel STRONGLY one way or the other.  If there is not a label, it means that I may repurchase if it was on sale, and would not be opposed to trying it again.  Kinda wishy/washy, take it or leave it!

I have divided them up by body part/usage to make it a bit more organized (messed up a couple hair products in the pics, but you will get the gist).  I also need to break this up into 2 parts since there is a Label limit.  So on to hair and body.  Make-up/face stuff will follow.

Looks like alot - right?  It is to me!
HAIR:  I am not a hair-person.  As long as it is relatively clean and not all frizzed out, I really do not care too much.  I see all these really cool styles and have great admiration for those that can do a waterfall braid on themselves.  I just ain't one of them!  With that being said, use the hair product reviews at your own risk!

1. L'Oreal Eversleek shampoo and conditioner - sulfate-free, can be hard to get a lather if I have been using alot of dry shampoo.  Decent, would get again IF on sale!
2. Bain de Terre Lemongrass Volumizing Shampoo - cleaned my hair, great smell.  Was OK.
3. Global Keratin Juvexin Shampoo and Conditioner - received this via Glossybox and it made my scalp itch.  It could be the cold weather that we are having, but it was noticable enough that I have to rate this as a NO BUY.
4. Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo - in general, I like all Fekkai products, so would BUY.
5. Fekkai PrX Intensive Fortifying Mask (sample) - ditto see above, but I have to confess that I do not see a big difference between a "hair mask" and regular conditioner - I am such a heathen!
6. Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment - I like hair oils in general.  Since I have fine hair (just alot of it), I need to be careful that I only apply to the lower 1/2 of my hair, or it will be grease-city.  I think this stuff is pretty expensive, and I have a few others that I am trying out so will not be rushing out to re-purchase any time soon.
7. Aveda Pure Abundance Style-Prep - This is a spray that you apply to roots to give it volume.  Saw an immediate difference that did not last all day.  Too expensive for it not to last - NO BUY
8. Biosilk Silk Therapy - really smoothes out the hair, just need to be careful on amount used and placement. Again, have a few similar products that I want to use up before I purchase.
9. Clairol Natural Instincts Color Treat (step 3 in hair dye process) - this came from my box of home hair dye - yes, I dye my roots every 3-4 weeks.  I started going gray at 18, and need my monthly fix or I look like a Pepe lePew's girlfriend.  I pretty much buy whichever permanent dark brown dye is on sale, and sometimes buy in bulk if on clearance.  Sooooo sad..........

BODY:  I love body stuff.  Scrubs, exfioliators, oils, lotions, buffers, etc.  I have VERY dry skin, and tend to get scaly especially in winter.  I also like taking baths, but the tub in our house is so small, that it is just not comfortable.  So it is a bit surprising that I do not have that many empties, but I have 5-7 open containers right now.  I will try to use them up before trying the next new thing.

1. Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts in Relax - smell good, especially for night.  Kids used this most of all.  Terrific price for a large amount.  BUY
2. Philosophy Pure Grace Foaming Bath and Shower Cream - great suds, a little goes a long way.  This scent was a little too flowery for me.  I prefer clean, fruity scents for body washes.  May buy a couple other scents.
3. Philosophy Hands of Hope Cream - really like this hand cream, not a feminine scent so Hub likes it too. Have bought back-ups already, BUY
4. L'Occitane Hand Cream (sample) - have bought this in the past and may buy this when my Philosophy is used up.  It is a little richer, and leaves more of an emollient feeling on hands.  Can see using this more for night, or if I will be outside for long periods of time. BUY
5. Memoire Liquide Creme de la Creme in Amour Liquide - I got this in a QVC Beauty Test Tube and I liked how it applied and absorbed into my skin.  However, the scent is too sweet for me (creme brulee?).  I ended up using the last of it on my feet after the shower.  NO BUY
6. Ulta 3-in-1 Shower Smoothie - I mainly buy these for the kids since they love the smell.  They clean the kids, but the bubbles die out pretty quickly.  My son also has VERY dry skin so I need to make sure he gets some lotion on after using this.  Would only buy again when on super sale.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Haul: Baby did a bad, bad thing..........

Whatever happened to Chris Isaak?  I love his music and the fact that he was a Cali boy through and through. 

As I was looking at my holiday shopping loot, his song was running through my mind.  Of course, I did not have a hot (have no idea if he is still hot, where the hell is he????) surfer singing in my ear.   Only the sound of guilt-waves crashing through my brain.

Oh yeah baby, mama went shopping!  And not just once, multiple times.  So what did I haul?

Josie Maran: holiday set from Sephora, and F/F sale from JM website

Korres Scrub/Facial set, Orgins Vita-Zing, sample scrub from Laura Mercier
Holy Armani Batman!

Wet-n-Wild, LM, Dior gloss, UD, Tarte

Swatches from Wet and Wild Palette and LM Eye Color Stick in Khaki

Armani swatches
I am not going to list everything because I am lazy.  I just felt like I needed to document/record this for posterity.  I am still on the fence about a couple of the Armani items (will do a separate Armani Blog/review later) and want to give them a few more trys before I decide.

Just a call-out to the ones that I am really pleased with:

- JM Argan Oil Balm - I have been carting this around for my dry, cracked fingers and cuticles.  Have definitely seen some improvement in texture.
- Dior Lip Maximizer/Plumper - I just love the Dior lip products that I have (balm, plumper, lipsticks and lip liner).  I am holding out on getting any of the glosses since they have a brush applicator of which I am not typically a fan - much prefer the doe-foot type.
- Korres Wild Rose 24-hour Facial - love the smell of this cream.  I think you are supposed to wear this overnight, but my skin is so dry I am using it under my primer.  My skin is staying soft all day, makeup is not slipping, and all is right with the world!
- Armani Sheer lipstick #30 - great nude lippie!

HG Lips: Clarins Instant Light Perfector (and Book Rec)

Chicago continues to surprise me even after 2 years.  Do you know why Chicago is called the Windy City?  Most assume it is because of the wind coming off Lake Michigan.  While it can get tremendously windy, the city got its nickname from the "hot air" coming out of its politicians mouths at the turn of the 20th century.  When we knew we were going to be moving here, Hub and I read the book Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  It gave us great insight into the history of the city as it is now, as well as entertaining us with a true serial killer story - highly recommend!

Anyway back to present day, we moved here in time for the record-breaking blizzard of February 2011 which made us second-guess our decision to move here.  However, last winter and this winter (so far, hope I don't jinx us......) has been relatively mild.  It is actually going to be in the mid-60s tomorrow, in December!

My lips on the other hand are acting like it is in the 20s.  Dry, flaky, peeling etc.  So I broke out my summer lip balm/gloss: Clarins Instant Light Perfector.  These glosses/balms are DA BOMB baby!

They come in 3 colors: 01 pink, 02 peach, and 03 nude.  I love all 3 and wear them equally.  I keep one in my purse, one at my desk, and one by my bed.  I consider these one of my Holy Grail (HG) lip products.

Swatches and on my lips below (01 pink):

BUY them now!  You can get them at any Clarins counter (Macy's, Norstrom's) and Clarins Cosmetics USA website