Friday, December 18, 2015

Silver Belles


'Tis the season, y'all!  With the holidays quickly rounding the bend,  I figured I'd do a little rifling through my stash to see what kind of pomp and circumstance I would decorate my face with to match the upcoming festivities.  I knew that I wanted to forgo any greens, reds, and even golds this time around; I wanted something that could go from zero to one-hundred in no time flat if desired as well as offered a little bit of a "tinsel" factor without any assisting accoutrements.  Well, it didn't take me long to decide on just what shadow(s) to recruit for the job.  I decided to go with two silver beauties and - at the risk of sounding like a broken record - I will tell you that neither of them have I ever worn before.  But no matter.  Looks like I'll be wearing them real soon.  So if you have a few moments to spare, I'd love to show what I picked.  They're two standards from MAC - Knight and Electra.

 




Knight (renamed Knight Divine) is a sooty, charcoal-tinged silver that hails from MAC's permanent line of eyeshadows.  It is nicely pigmented and has a pearl finish (Veluxe Pearl in MAC-speak).  Although it falls underneath the Veluxe Pearl banner, I will say that it is not as soft as some of the other VPs I own.  Not sure how its current iteration Knight Divine compares, but Knight has a slightly drier texture and a more muted shine, but does performs well on the eye nonetheless. 




Now this shiny gem I have yapped about before.  It is Electra and it is an icy-gray silver.  It, too, is packed with pigment and performs very well on the eye.  It is slippery smooth to the touch and has a frost finish.

Knight (top), Electra (bottom)
So there you have it - a quick peek at what I'll probably be donning on my eyes this coming week.  Eh, it's nothing new, fancy or sparkly, but definitely has the strength to elicit a celebratory state of mind when done the right way.

Yep, I've decided to make way down to "Tinseltown" by way of two silvery O.G.'s of the M.A.C.  I plan on making (and keeping) this holiday fuss-free, but drama-full... using a collaboration of light and dark to get my creative point across.  Holiday window dressings for the eyes - DONE!     

But what about the rest of my face?  Hmm... gotta figure that out.  I'm juggling a few ideas over here, but we will see...  We will most definitely see!

MAC Knight (Knight Divine) and Electra are available at Macys, MAC boutiques and maccosmetics.com, and retail for $16 each.

 

Friday, December 4, 2015

NARS Lip Pencils


Hey, guys!  OK, so I didn't even bother feasting on the buffet of sales Black Friday had to offer this year.  Participating and becoming a part of the annual stampede of ravenous shoppers just didn't interest me this go 'round.  But far from having a case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), I'm happy to report that I had my appetite for beauty bargains sated the week prior.  In addition to the lip gloss Birthday Babe, I was also able to cop a set of lip pencils that I'm absolutely over the moon for.  Some of you may already be familiar with them, but for the uninitiated... well, I just gotta spill the beans!  So, if you have a few moments, I'd love to share with you my thoughts on NARS' Lip Pencils in Rikugien and Cruella. 




Every year, Sephora offers up little birthday freebies to those who are enrolled in its buyers' rewards program and this year's perk is an exceptional plus - two mini NARS Lip Pencils.  Short on size but long on color, this diminutive duo is a great sampling of the range of hues as well as the finishes available from the line (Velvet Matte and Satin).  These crayon-like lipsticks boast rich emollients, including vitamin E and silicon, to help keep lips from drying out during wear and aid in achieving a "smooth like buttah" application.


First up is Rikugien, which is described as a "rose-pink".  It's a gorgeous, muted nude/natural with a Satin finish that felt super smooth during application and very comforting on my pout.  Nicely pigmented, it offered just a hint of shine with no discernible taste.  It did have what I would call a faint "ingredient" smell, which I didn't find off putting and did not transfer to the lips at all.


 

Second out of the pack is Cruella, which is a burnt blue-red.  It is potently pigmented and, true to its Velvet Matte moniker, the shimmer-/shine-free finish felt ├╝ber plush during application and wear.  It glided across my lips with ease without a tug or pull in sight.  Again, no discernible taste, but a faint "ingredient" smell. 



RiRi Woo (top), Cruella (bottom)

Out of curiosity, I lined it up next to MAC's infamous blue-red Ruby Woo (I have Rihanna's version RiRi Woo) and - as you can see - Cruella is darker, Woo is much brighter.  No dupe here.  Curiosity cured!

Rikugien (top), Cruella (bottom)

Well, there you have it!  You can safely color me impressed with this one, guys.  I mean it!  These NARS lippies are legit and definitely kept my lips feeling moisturized and soft.  The wear is so comfortable, even the matte, that it honestly felt like I was wearing nothing at all.  Both had nice staying power, however, they did fade significantly after eating.  But that's nothing that a little underpinning of lip liner can't solve.  So if your lips are in need of some hydrating, color therapy and you're in the market for yet another lip product, you may wanna give these lip pencils from NARS a look-see.  They come in a slew of arresting shades and would be a merited addition to any makeup maven's collection!

NARS Lip Pencil in Rikugien and Cruella are available at Sephora and beauty.com, and retail for $26.      

Friday, November 20, 2015

Birthday Babe


And so another week has come and gone.  It was a pretty good week for me, too.  I got a lot done, had some fun... yadda, yadda, yadda.  But, as good as it was, it doesn't hold a candle to the seven days prior during which I celebrated the anniversary of my very first appearance here on this Earth.  Yes, it was my birthday week and I took full advantage of everything the day afforded me, including rounding up some freebies from a few observant outlets.  So, if you have a moment to spare, I'd love to tell you about one of my b-day steals.  It's a glossy beauty from bareMinerals called Marvelous Moxie in the shade, appropriately named, Birthday Babe. 





Marvelous Moxie is a line of hydrating lipglosses from mineral-based makeup giant bareMinerals.  Keeping in line with other offerings from the brand, these lip lacquers are free of parabens and sulfates, relying instead on natural ingredients like shea and avocado butters to smooth lips and provide high shine.  Birthday Babe is a mid-tone, semi-sheer coral with visible multi-colored shimmer.  Fitted with a doe foot applicator, it glides on smoothly, is somewhat tacky and has a sweet, minty scent that translates to a slight tingle on the lips.





Now, even though I know this shade of gloss is not particularly unique (I believe I may have two dupes in my collection already), I do have to say that I am genuinely fond of it.  It did keep my lips feeling hydrated way after it had worn off and was an easy wear.  Besides, it was a full-sized freebie (WOW!) and will you just look at the packaging?  They wished me a happy birthday and even called me gorgeous!  I mean, you can't beat that, can you?  No.  I don't think so. 

So this glammy gloss goes right in the #WIN pile for me - a solid A+.  One caveat: Birthday Babe is an Ulta exclusive only being offered to birthday babes who are signed up for their rewards program.  But no need for dismay as bareMinerals has a comparable shade already in its Marvelous Moxie lineup.  And if sparkly coral doesn't float you boat, they have an array of hues that may tickle your fickle fancy instead.   Either way, if you're into lipglosses, these definitely deserve a look-see and I'm so glad I was able to pick one up! #HappyBirthdayToME!

bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss is available at Ulta and Sephora, and retails for $18.   

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rebels With A Cause


Hey, guys!  Well, no sense in me beating around the mulberry bush and/or trying to play coy, so I'll just jump right into it with both feet: this past week was a very good week for me.  Besides getting a lot done as far as furthering some personal plans, B-Boy (aka Birthday Boy) and I took a much needed timeout to indulge in a week-long helping of sporadic shenanigans.  Oh, you know how we do; it was a total mash up of food, frivolity and fun that ran well into the week's end.  Yes, we were a couple of rebels with a cause... and here's just a small sampling of some of the "trouble" we were able to get into.


Now, I hardly ever order takeout or go out to eat during most weeks, opting for a casual chow down at home instead.  However, all that usually goes out the window when B-Boy is involved and last week was certainly no exception.  Before hooking up with my "partner in crime", I treated myself to a guilty pleasure that had been invading my daydreams for some time now: orange chicken with a side of fried rice.  Generally speaking, Chinese food is not my customary go-to, but when it comes to this particular dish, I easily (and eagerly) fall victim to its savory siren song every time.


In addition to going to the movies to see the latest Bond flick Spectre, we also tooled around a few shops, including one of my favorite stomping grounds - Sephora.  B-Boy patiently lingered outside its doors while I ogled some of their shoppers' rewards.


You guys know how infatuated I am with collecting miniature versions of perfumes, so this reward I found especially interesting.  However, despite having plenty of points to cover the tab, I didn't bite.  I decided to hold out for something better and wait.  I don't know what I'm waiting for, but I'm waiting nonetheless.  Oh, and speaking of biting... 


I almost missed out on taking this picture as I was elbow-deep in my mission of shoveling this huge portion of fried calamari down my impatient throat.  OH. EM. GEE.  This calamari was so G.O.O.D!  I am so serious, y'all.  I love seafood and this delectable delight rides high on my list of all time faves.


Now, the calamari was just the appetizer... the prelude to the main course, you see.  And what a course it was!  To those familiar with my previous exploits, it's nothing new: fried catfish with mashed red potatoes and corn.  In lieu of broccoli as the green veggie, this time it was accompanied by string beans.  I'm not a fan of string beans at all, but its appearance on my plate did little to hamper my overall eating experience.  #YUM!


And while I'm stuffing my face with both hands, guess who ordered the lighter, greener fare?  Yes, it was a total gender role reversal that night!  Just to be clear, I am not an "Oh, I'll just have a salad" type of girl.  When I go out to eat, I EAT!  So while I'm in full-on Hungry Jack mode, it was B-Boy who played the "demure damsel" and noshed only on lettuce and cucumbers... and tomatoes... and some other healthy stuff.  Yeah.  I was a little surprised, but hey, that's what he wanted.  #BOOORING!  #Zzzzz!


And you know I had to top the night off with some sugar, honey!  Since my favorite pineapple upside down version wasn't available, I put an exclamation mark on the night's feast with a hunk of vanilla bean cheesecake, complete with a seismic dollop-ing of whipped cream.  Oh, my!  It was heaven on a plate.  I mean, I actually heard white robed angels singing gospels of praise while I slowly savored each bite in my mouth.  (OK, I didn't actually hear angels singing, but you get my drift.)  It was de-LISH!

So there you have it!  I had an awesome week, which was spent with awesome company eating super-dee-duper awesome food!  I mean, what more could you ask for?  Bonnie and Clyde were back at it again; two rebels on a mission to indulge in some gastro-centric mischief (as well as other delights).  And based on the evidence gathered, I think it's pretty safe to label this latest venture as #MISSIONACCOMPLISHED!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hair Love: CHI Iron Guard



OK, so I had been hearing about this product for quite awhile.  My sister, whose hairdresser uses it on her coif, is an ardent fan.  Now, I've said time and time again that I'm not on the lookout for any new hair products; when it comes to my hair, less is more and I've already locked in my star staples.  But you know how the story goes: cat, curiosity... et cetera, et cetera.  So I indulged and then deliberately waited two wash cycles just to be sure.  And now I'm ready to properly spill the beans on it.  It's CHI's 44 Iron Guard and guess what?  I really, REALLY like it!

 



Packaged in a fire engine red bottle that's signature to the brand, 44 Iron Guard is a hair thermal protectant from CHI - a company well-known for its fleet of flat irons as well as other tools and haircare products.  44 Iron Guard is formulated to help guard tresses against potential damage from heated tools while imparting a high impact shine and hairspray-like hold to styled 'dos.  It's a 3-in-1 dynamo that uses a fine mist of positively charged silk molecules to help build on the hair's strength and moisture from the inside out.


  

Now, I have to admit that I was a little scared to use a spray on my hair as a styling agent/heat protectant since I've been relying (successfully) on a serum after all these years.  So I did a blend of half 'n' half - using the spray as a base with a touch of serum on top before using my flat iron... and as far as I'm concerned, it lives up to its hype!  Along with the shine, it has awesome style memory as it kept my 'do looking fresh until it was time to wash it again.  I even tried it on its own (on a few sections), always spraying the Guard on my hand first then working it through my hair and it performed equally as well; however, I garnered a little more shine pairing it with the serum (understandably so).  Either way, my hair felt light and unencumbered, never crunchy or stiff as you only need a small amount to get the job done.     


So there you have it!  No, I do not NEED another hair product in my life... but, yes, this one's a keeper!  Worth noting to those sensitive to such things: Iron Guard does have a dissipating fragrance that I, personally, would describe as pleasantly modest.  And true to its name, not one hair on my head was scorched or damaged while using it, so - needless to say -  I really like this spray!  Yepper, CHI 44 Iron Guard is quite the brilliant performer and is going to fit in nicely as an added "gun" to my arsenal of hair products.  #WINNING! 

CHI 44 Iron Guard can be found at Walmart and Ulta, and retails for around $15/8.5 fl oz; $6/2 fl oz.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Project Pan: The Round Up


I know it's long overdue, but I promise you that I didn't forget.  For months now I've been holding out on giving the final status of my Project Pan "project" because I really wanted to make more of a measurable impact on the products, but at the rate I'm progressing I don't think that's gonna happen anytime soon.  So, without further ado, I'm just going to "give up the tapes" and share with y'all a quick rundown of the end results.


The GOOD: MAC's Cranberry Eyeshadow -  Well, I've honestly been making a go at this one because I really like the shade.  Now, I can't say that I've been using it often because I haven't, especially on the eyes.  However, I have occasionally worn it on my lips with a gloss or as a complement to a lipstick and feel that it's an absolute stunner in its re-purposed role, which leaves me with high hopes for Cranberry.  The winter months are right around the corner and, like clockwork, everything of the "berry persuasion" will be on full display, so I have no doubt that I will have ample opportunity to make a real dent in this frosty looker.


The "OK": False Lashes - It's not that I don't like them.  To the contrary, I think they're rather fun.  I think because my homegrown lashes are pretty thick and curly on their own is why I find them kinda uncomfortable to wear.  And so I don't.  And even though plenty of women wear them as everyday fare, I would prefer to rock them for special outings... but haven't attended anything that would warrant such eye dressings in quite awhile, so there's that, too.  So, outside the one time I did a look with the Wispies, I have not made much progress with these at all. 



The "I Give Up": MAC's Dollymix - I can't even fake the funk with this one anymore, guys.  I tried and TRIED to like this blush and even made an effort to incorporate it into more looks, but to no avail.  I just don't like it.  Nope.  You know how certain items have the power to put a smile on your face just by looking at them?  Or how the simple fact that you even own a particular product or thing can ignite in you a sense of pleasure?  Well, Dollymix does neither for me.  It doesn't get me excited AT ALL.  I try my best to avoid it, ignore it.  Therefore, I think I'm officially done.  Yep.  I haven't been makeup shopping in a few moons, but when I finally make my way to a MAC counter I think I'll be trading this blusher in via their Back-to-MAC program (if they still have it!) for something more exciting.  A new lippy perhaps?  Sounds good to me!

So there you have it - the final lowdown on my Project Pan showdown!  And while I didn't make all the progress I had initially intended on making, I can't say that I'm completely disappointed.  I freely give myself a modicum of credit for at least making the effort to use some of the things I had long ignored.  Besides, playing in makeup is hardly an arduous, joyless task, so I can't exactly say that I'm any worse for wear because of it.  But the files on this Project Pan are now closed, making room for a possible second round of untouched products to be explored further?  Hmm... we'll see.  We shall definitely see...