Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Favorites: Beauty and Beyond

Ah 2016, I am so happy you are over!  Besides the obvious celebrity deaths and political turmoil throughout the world, it was a year of transitions within my life.  I started taking my career with my current company much more seriously with the thought of next steps, etc.  For the family, our nanny moved to So Cal in May so we decided to go without and rely on the kids to care for themselves after school.  Most days I am home, working when they get home.  However, I do travel a few times per month ranging from 1 to 5 days gone, so they have had to step it up in terms of responsibilities: schoolwork, feeding (both themselves and the dogs), and chores.  Thankfully it has worked out so far and the "mommy guilt" has not been overwhelming.

For my 2016 favorites, I broke it up into two categories: Beauty and Lifestyle.  This seemed the most clean-cut way to present it and I have provided links to check them out if you would like. 

For beauty, I have listed items that I would buy again (or already have...), bought multiples, and would really recommend to friends & family.  As a reminder for the skincare items, I have dry skin with some sunspots and a few minor wrinkles (AKA aging skin.....)

- Beauty Blender - best application method for foundations, concealer, cream blush. Beauty Blender
- Sephora solid brush soap - love this cleaner for the blender and brushes Sephora Solid Brush Soap
- Japonesque spray brush cleaner - for everyday cleaning, very quick to spray on, swipe on a clean cloth and DONE! Japonesque Spray Brush Cleaner

- L'Oreal Pro-Glow Foundation - again, I have dry skin, so looking for something that will provide coverage and dewy glow L'Oreal Pro-Glow Foundation
- Tarte Shape Tape concealer - this is pretty heavy-duty stuff, so use sparingly and for my dry skin, I do not have to set with powder Tarte Shape-Tape Concealer
- Becca Mineral blush in Wild Honey - very natural, wear with anything blush.  Almost a bronzer, with a bit more warmth Becca Mineral Blush
- rms beauty Living Luminizer - so dewy and natural, love this with just a BB/light coverage face. rms Living Luminizer

- Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors - always a fave, see previous post on this wonderful lippie  Clarins Instant Lip Perfector
- Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liners - so creamy and long lasting.  Fave colors are Iconic Nude and Pillow Talk. Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner

- Rapidlash serum - I have definitely seen growth in length and thickness since using this serum. You can get it at Ulta but check HauteLook periodically for deals.  RapidLash Serum
- Sephora Waterproof Brow pencil - fave for my brows, and I use it alone for a more natural look and with colored powder for more definition. The comb-thing at the end sucks though so use it with a spooly/clean mascara wand. Sephora Eyebrow Pencil
- LORAC Pro-Matte eyeshadow palette - love this for basic eyes especially if I am wearing any type of shine on my face.  Just creates good balance, and colors are both warm and cool. LORAC Pro-Matte Palette
- Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner - all-time best liquid liner for me (both black and brown) Stila Liquid Liner

- Josie Maran Argan Oil - I mix this with a little bit of spray toner/herbal spray and rub all over my face at night, feels so good  Josie Maran Argan Oil
- Clinique take the day off cleansing balm - scoop, rub together in hands, smoosh all over face, and wipe of with a warm water wash cloth.  Clinique Cleansing Balm
- Origins Vita-Zing moisturizer - I think I have been using this for at least 4 years.  Love the spf and feel of it on my face.  Perfect right before make-up. Origins Vita-Zing Moisturizer

- Madison Reed Root Touch-up - gotta keep the skunk strip hidden! My hair grows very fast, so I usually have to start using it with 1-2 weeks after my last color appt.  Madison Reed Root Touch-up
- Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo - really good matte finish dry shampoo.  The only one I have found (so far) that does not make my hair feel dirtier the next day!  Living Proof Dry Shampoo
- Klorane Mango Oil Spray - perfect for hair ends, and the smell is delish! Klorane Mango Hair Oil

For lifestyle, these are items that I have really enjoyed and appreciated throughout the year.  They may also be things that have made my life easier, helped me organize, or are simply delightful!

Lifestyle - Cormoran Strike book series - written by the fab JK Rowling (as Robert Gallbraith), first third of the first book (The Cuckoo's Calling) is a bit tough to get through, but so wonderful going beyond that! The Cuckoo's Calling
Diptyque Baies Candle - oh how I love and cherish you! The smell is divine, but the cost is shiver-inducing.  This is what I buy when I get the $25 off $100 purchase from Space NK! Diptyque Baies Candle
- Kindle app - I cannot go anywhere without knowing that I have a book handy to read if needed.
- WizGear cell phone magnetic car holder - I love this holder for my car! I am in my car a ton for work and need to be able to see Google Maps and play my podcasts as needed.  Of course no texting, but need to have this within my view and this mounted to the vents is ideal. WizGear Magnetic Cell Phone Car Holder
- Amazon series - Good Girls Revolt and Goliath: I am not a big TV watcher, but I traveled recently to Singapore (hello 17 hour flight) and downloaded these shows on my phone and iPad.  Thankfully, Amazon now let's you download shows and you have 48 hours to watch once you open them up on your device.  These shows kept me entertained and distracted from the fact that I could not fall asleep! 

Good Girls Revolt is about women writers at a Newsweek-like publication in the 60s (believe based on a true story) and how they finally revolted on the men that were taking credit for their work.  Amazon - Good Girls Revolt
Goliath stars Billy Bob Thornton as a down and out (sleazy?) lawyer that takes on his old firm and frankly, kicks-ass!  I am not the biggest BBT fan, but I really liked him in this. Amazon - Goliath

Cheers all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Color Cosmetics Inventory

Back in January 2015, I started an inventory of my color cosmetics to keep track of the number of items that I had.  There is no real purpose to it, I just wanted to have some type of data that was generated from all of the hoarding and to help quantify my obsession (not to mention practice my mad Excel skillz).  I do not keep track of dollars spent, though my Sephora Rouge and Ulta Platinum statuses may indicate waaayyyyy toooooo much money spent.  And I only track color cosmetics, not skincare or hair care which I could justify purchasing in that it is helping keep my skin and hair healthy.

I have updated the inventory for January 2017 and compared it to Jan 2016:
Cosmetics Inventory
Lip Glosses/stains351420-6
Lip Crayons/Sticks1520119
Lip Liners1419163
Face primers81118-7
Face Powders912120
Face palettes3981
Lash primers6752
Mixed (eye/face) palettes 413
Eyeshadow - singles19332112
Eyeshadow - creams1317710
Eyeshadow sticks111468
Eye duos 826
Eye trios 211
Eye quads 15105
Eye quints 532
Eye palettes 29245
Eyeliners - pencil43332310
Eyeliners - gel/ink pot5716
Eyeliners - liquid7770

You may notice the different colors in the last column, red or green.  Green means that my "number" of those items has decreased.  I have either used them up or purged them out of my stash.  Red means that I increased the number and need to NEVER buy any more of them EVER!  Of course this does not reflect the items that I may have gotten rid of/used up and then REPLACED like the sneaky cheat that I am.

Success! Wait, what? Is having less than 400 color cosmetic items rated as a success? Well, relative to any normal 45 year old, working mother and wife, probably not.  BUT, for ME....yes this is a success.  Though I have not been blogging and communicating my thoughts (read: stress) about this, I have been completely aware that this is too much. 

I love variety and color and packaging, and scents, and all of the senses that are triggered by the perfect lipstick or blush.  I feel better when I think I look better.  We all want to feel great about how we look and frankly, cosmetics are what I use to make me feel not so dowdy, middle-aged mom-ish. Others may use fashion, art, food, drugs, or exercise to achieve the same and there are definitely arguments to be made that those may be better options (well except for the drugs.......), but for me, this is what I enjoy.

So where do I go from here, with the idea that 398 is still too much.  What is the "right" or "enough" number? Does this magic number even exist? Hell if I know, but I am going to try to figure it out.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Re-launch and redo

Well hello there strangers!  Oh wait I think I am the stranger.......

I have decided to re-launch this blog, really just as record of what I have been up to, thoughts, vents and general blah, blah, blah.  Focus will still be primarily beauty-related, with some finance, family, health, and very limited fashion-y items.  My interest in beauty has not waned, but it had definitely taken a backseat to other things going on with my life in 2016.

Family is still present (yay!) and I now have a teenaged daughter since A turned 13 in November.  R is 10 and still a bit of a handful, and Hub is thankfully still hanging with me.  Work was chaotic in December, with me traveling quite a bit within the US and over to Singapore.  I am so grateful that my work has given me the opportunity to visit other places that I would not necessarily have traveled to on my own.  Work may also be escalating over the next few months as I have been nominated for partner and will be working toward that goal over the next year or so.

For 2017, I am thinking that posts will initially cover resolutions (hahahahaha), beauty, finance, health, books, and family, though all will likely be intertwined and overlap at times.  The posts will also be random, rambly, and likely full of drivel (been reading way too many Brit blogs and books, can you tell??).

To start it off, I am actually going to go back and read a few of my past posts, cringe, discover typos and generally regard them with fear and loathing.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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.