Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Polish Perfect

And so I tried another skin care item recently.  And I like it.  A lot.  It's a face scrub from cosmetics and beauty guru Laura Mercier that I just happened to get a sample of.  Now, I'm perfectly content with my current exfoliant, the original St. Ives Apricot scrub; it has served me well over the years and I've never had a problem with it.  Besides that, it's readily available at drugstores... so there's that.  But why not try something new?  And so I did.  I tried out the Flawless Skin Face Polish.  And if you have a few ticks of the clock to spare, I'd love to share my thoughts on it with you. 

Flawless Skin Face Polish is a peach-colored cream scrub dually designed to both exfoliate as well as cleanse to help promote smooth, even toned skin.  Upon first sight, the scrub appears to be mild and somewhat innocuous.  Packed with plant-based emollients like sunflower and macadamia oils, the latter providing it with a high anti-oxidant profile, it has a nourishing texture that feels good when initially applied against the skin.  But it's when you start to massage it over your face that you begin to see and feel just how truly potent the polish is.

The embedded microbeads pack a heavier punch than most in both purpose and size.  In lieu of being docile and bubble-like, these are visibly more granular with a gentle but effective grit to purify and polish the skin to a fresh finish.  My face felt clean, supple and soft after using... not at all stressed or abused.  And it has a light, dare I say "apricot-y" scent that's pretty nice, too.  #WINNING! 

So there you have it!  This scrub earns an A+ in my book.  It does exactly what it claims and does it with authority.  I like it mucho and although my fondness for it falls a tad short of me financially committing to a full-size version just yet, I am rather glad I got my hands on a mini.  It's the perfect polish for brightening and cleansing, and I'm very happy I got to give it a go!    

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish is available at Nordstrom and retails for $32/3.4 oz.   

Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekend Report: Rock 'n' Roller

Hey, guys!  Well, it's about that time again to do a little shimmy in celebration of yet another weekend!  Do you guys have any plans?  I don't.  Well, I may hook up with a friend (wink-wink) on Saturday, but other than that... I'll be locked in chill-mode.  So, in honor of my potential date with a pretty cool cat, I figured I'd do a dry run through of what I'll probably don that day.  Clothes... well, I'm still piecing my ensemble together.  But what I will be rockin' on my face I already know.  I'm going for a little drama this weekend, ya dig?  And I've assembled all the key players that'll best help me orchestrate and execute my final vision...

After priming my eye and securing its color setting with a shellacking of L'Oreal's 24HR Infallible Eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe, I will be recruiting the out-of-sight Roller Girl palette from Urban Decay to bring some groovy shimmer to my lids.

Roller Girl has a total of four high-pearl/frost shadows nestled in its panel, but I'll only be using two: Woodstock (fuchsia) and Verve (silver-taupe).  Along with MAC's Carbon (black) and Ricepaper (peach-gold) rounding out the color crew, my eyes should end up looking like this: 

On my cheeks will be an ample dose of Hourglass' blush/highlighter hybrid Mood Exposure and finishing off the set as a complement to the eyes in both depth and darkness will be Make Up For Ever's purple lippy tour de force - Rouge Artist Intense #14.  After all the priming, painting and primping, my face should end up like this:

Well, there you have it!  I plan on giving my face a lift with a bit of vampy drama... all courtesy of just a handful of products.  This will be my first time using my Roller Girl palette, too.  (And to the initiated, that comes as no surprise.)  So this should be fun!  Yep, I've got the makeup aspect of my look all figured out and ready to rock 'n' roll this weekend.  #HOLLA!

Now, if only I could figure out what to wear....  Hmm...

Monday, April 6, 2015

Product Purge: Skin

OK, so now that we've got our feet firmly planted in the province of spring, it's only right that I continue on with getting rid of the surplus of old/unused/unwanted items I have hanging around still.  Tossing out the gang of long-forgotten, unconsumed haircare products from my cupboards launched the start of my purge.  And now it's time to tackle the next group of discards: skincare.  Luckily, this is a short list.  Permanently replaced by my roster of staples, I haven't used these items in, like, forever.  So, away they must go... and away they most definitely shall, starting with:

St. Ives' Green Tea Cleanser.  Geared towards those wanting to block breakouts, this face wash relies on the power of salicylic acid as well as natural green tea to get the job done.  I haven't used this in soooo long, but I don't remember not liking it.  I may have found it to be a little drying.  Either way, I didn't find it to be "all that" and quickly found a more impressive substitute. 

Now, this one I remember getting excited about.  With its potent anti-aging properties and salicylic acid combo, I thought it would turn out to be the bee's knees!  But, alas, it wasn't for me.  I dunno, I was underwhelmed by it; it was just OK.  As a cream cleanser, it has a nice consistency and all, but I didn't feel like it was doing anything special for my skin nor did it help to keep the occasional breakouts I was having at the time at bay.

I sorta went St. Ives cray-cray with this next duo.  Already an ardent fan of their Apricot Scrub, I figured I would give their Deep Cleanser as well as the gentler version of their scrub a try since they were all still a part of the Apricot family.  Well, I can say that the cream cleanser, though loaded with skin scrubbing microbeads, did not work for me at all.   

And the gentle scrub, also populated with microbeads in addition to its usual scrubbing agents, did not exfoliate.  To be honest, I really had no business even buying this since the original works so well in leaving my skin looking and feeling smooth and renewed.  Total waste for me.

And do you guys remember this one?  If you do then you know that this Pond's Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream started off on a good note.  It felt good going on and did alright on my skin... until I started breaking out.  There weren't any dermal explosions, just a few bumps here and there that I noticed after a few weeks' use.  So I must say good-bye to this drugstore ditty as well.

Well, there you have it.  I'm going to see if B-Boy wants any of these unwanted goods (you know most men aren't as picky women are when it comes to certain products).  But if not, in the trash they'll go and onto the next order of business: wardrobe (possibly).  Oh, boy.  I was going through my closet the other day and came across some items that probably should have never made it out of 2014, let alone onto a hanger.  But clothes are kinda tricky 'cause you can usually remix them, so we'll see.  I'm on a roll, though.  And ready to keep this product purge train chuggin' along.  #CHOOCHOO! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Signature

Jackie O. had her over-sized sunglasses.  For Billie Holiday, a cascade of white gardenias tucked into the left side of her hair.  Lots of people have their own unique fashion ID or signature, if you will; their own personal stamp on style forged from their fashion sensibilities and/or creative inclinations.  I, myself, don't really claim to have a signature look per se; I'd like to think my tastes are far too eclectic (and sometimes manic) to be sated by a routine roster of items and/or looks.  While I will admit that I tend to round up the usual suspects when it comes to certain articles of clothing, it's in the styling of my accessories where I most often tend to leave my mark...  

If there's anything that has been absolutely consistent in my appearance over the last several years, it's got to be my hair.  More specifically, my bangs (or fringe).  Time and time again I have threatened to grow them out and trade in my hairstyle for something new... but I never do.  At least not as of yet.  My full, over-the-brow bangs have definitely become my one true signature; borne out of curiosity and boredom, they have served me quite well.  I like the way they look on me and, despite my railings to the contrary, am kinda reluctant to let them go.

OK, this should come as no surprise.  I like jeans.  A whole lot.  On any given casual weekday, and especially during weekends, you will find my derriĆ©re (and hips and legs...) awash in the cottony goodness.  What can I say that hasn't already been said about them?  They're the perfect article of clothing.  You can dress them up or dress them down, they come in a boat load of colors and styles... *sigh*  They're magical.  And I love them.  Yes, I heart them mucho...

Ahhh... sneakers.  So comfy.  So easy.  So me.  I have a deep, impenetrable love/love relationship with the rubber soled footwear.  Even though I have rebuked many of my tomboyish ways and have steadily infused my collection of foot candy with those of a loftier nature, if I had to choose between wearing a pair of sneakers all day versus a pair of heels - sneakers would win out every time.  Yep, they are the no-brainer fashion go-to I rock most often.

Now, when it comes to jewelry, I like to keep it understated.  I usually wear simple studs in my ears, a simple necklace, watch... etc.  However, I do like a little whimsy, too.  And this is where my signature style comes into play; I like to wear customized pieces that I make myself.  I've been doing it since I was a wee one, painting characters on T-shirts... wearing colored Chinese jacks on my ears as earrings.  I can't help it.  It's the restless creative in me.  Y'all know that I love to re-purpose and reconstruct.  When I bought this two-strand, wood bead bracelet from a discount department store, "Rescue 911" was written all over it.  So I doctored up the plain Jane and added a playful charm to it.

For this piece, I took a pair of broken earrings, a cushioned silk string and an articulated, silver coy charm that I bought when I was in middle school (yikes!) and made a choker.

And, man, do I have plans for this one!  It's a tiger's eye and turquoise medallion set in sterling silver and it is gorgeous!  I bought it years ago off of eBay, but have yet to procure all the suitable pieces to make this baby really purr.  But I'm plotting... and thinking.  It would be really dope as some type of statement ring even though it's already been designated by design to go around the neck.  Hmm... we shall see.

So there you have it.  Again, outside of my hairstyle, I don't really have a definitive style/color/accessory that can honestly lay claim to me.  Oh, I've flirted with the idea of having coral pink lipstick be my signature shade and just rockin' that on a daily, but I can't.  I like too much stuff.  I like the excitement that comes with variety, you know?  And although I don't necessarily have a signature look, I will say that I pride myself on creating and rockin' signature pieces.  I love being eclectic and wearing unique articles of my own design.  It's my low-key fashion ID... my very own "John Hancock" approach to style.         

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barbie: Basics No. 1

You know, there's something to be said about the whole "less is more" movement when it comes to certain things.  A bit more explicit in doctrine than "everything in moderation", the saying holds a verifiable amount of weight - especially when it comes to fashion.  Oh, there's a time and a place for an armful of bangles, a stoned-out bib necklace and other ornate accessories, but simplicity has its place, too.  And is always right on time.  So, with that being said, I would love to show you how Ms. Barbara Millicent "gets down" and strips down to the bare essentials.  It's a lesson in Chic 101 and the ultimate fashionista herself is teaching us all about the basics.


Styled effortlessly and devoid of any fanfare, Barbie clearly has a PHD in rockin' an LBD with deft sophistication.  Her off-the-shoulder, mock cowl-neck knit is every bit the classic "little black dress" and then some.  Form fitting, the frock softly frames her curves while skirting quite a few inches above the knees.  Scant in length, but confidently modern and sexy, this LBD allows her to serve up ample legs for days all while still leaving mucho to the imagination.


Keeping in step with her fashionable ode to minimalism, she dons black, peep-toe slides in Italian leather as the only other extension to her ensemble.  No bling-bling.  No jingle-jangle.  No sparkle... choosing rather to crown the look via embellishments of color, starting with the pink polish on her toes and fingernails...


... and ending with an artistic symphony of golds, browns and mauve adorning her cornflower-blue eyes.  Baby pink lips help complete the look while her waist-length, flaxen blonde locks are swept up in a chic, but understated "half 'n' half". 

Well, there you have it.  Sometimes it's the simplest rendition of elegance that is the most profound as Barbie has so smartly proven.  It's time to put away the all the clamorous extras and take notes - class is in session.  This inimitable style maven is going to show us exactly how it's done.  It's Chic 101: the beauty of how less is definitely more... when expertly edited right down to the basics.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Flashback: Prestige Mermaid

Hey, guys!  Today is the very first day of spring!  (Woo-hoo!)  And to kick off the start of my favorite season I have three spring-related shades of pretty I'd love to show you.  Now, I have this listed as a Flashback since I snapped this up many moons ago from a discount bin at my local Rite Aid.  However, more recently, I happened across this palette while perusing an Ulta in another state.  Soooo... yeah, it may still be available depending on the location.  Anywho, enough with the jibber-jabber and please allow me to showcase a little palette whose quality took me quite by surprise - Mermaid by Prestige.

Mermaid is a trio of soft hues: a pale pink, which is a satin; a golden brown, which is a pearl; a grass green, which is also a satin.  The shadows, which are housed in a mirror-equipped, hard plastic case with simple closure, can be worn traditionally or transformed into a liquid eyeliner via its Line Creator Liquid.  It is from Prestige Cosmetics - a drugstore darling with a huge catalogue of beauty items.  I'm a huge fan of their eyeliners, lipliners and lippies, but had never tried their shadows... until now.  And I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised.  All three shades were richly pigmented, had a very nice texture and performed very well, lasting a day's wear with no issues of muddiness or fading atop an eye primer. 

The Line Creator Liquid comes in a small, narrow tube with an equally narrow, pointed applicator.  It can be used in cahoots with any eyeshadow to create a liner by simply swirling the wet wand in the desired shade. 

And while the Line Creator held true to its boasts of creating an adequate eyeliner, which dried down fairly quickly into a virtually smudge-free liner, I would recommend using a different applicator as I found that the one provided was a little too "dainty" to create a consistent, robust line of color.  The wand doesn't pick up enough product in one go, so I had to make multiple dips in the shadow just to gain enough product for one complete line.  Also, I fear that its tip may not hold up under the rigors of constant swiping and swirling.  But the shadows themselves held up well in transformation.

So there you have it!  Three lovely eyeshadows that can be used wet or dry, just in time for the change of seasons.  And if you can get your hands on this palette, I definitely recommend scooping it up.  It's a watercolor-hued pastiche of some of the visual dictates associated with spring and I'm so happy that I was able to add it to my collection!