Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekend Report: Semi-Sweet Retreat

Hey, guys!  It's the weekend and I'm so excited, I'm doing backflips!  Well, in my head I am.  Anywho, what's everyone got planned?  I know the Super Bowl airs this Sunday and many will be partyin' it up, watching the game... but I've been on this whole "lazy lima bean" kick as of late and plan on riding the momentum on through this weekend, too.  Just jeans, T-shirt and the remote.  Oh!  But I will be playing in some makeup, though.  My new Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate palette, to be more specific.  The colors, the quality of the shadows... the SMELL!  Ooh-la-la!  I'm really loving this palette.  And I've already got my first look primed and ready to go... 

Taupe is without a doubt one of my favorite eyeshadow shades, so it should be no surprise that I plan on taking full advantage of the fact that there's one included in Semi-Sweet: Rum Raisin.  Besides LORAC's eyeshadow primer, I will be enlisting the help of Make Up For Ever's Aqua Cream in Shade 15, which is a shimmery taupe, and using it as a color-boosting base. 

In my crease will be a combo of two shadows - Peanut Butter, which is a light, adobe brick color and MAC's Brown Script, which is a deep burnt sienna.  The latter will be used to bring more dimension and definition to the area right above my lid.  Rounding out the cast of characters will be Hot Fudge on the outer corner and Licorice serving as the liner, which should have my eye looking like this:  

On the rest of may face will be a pinch of NARS' Exhibit A on the cheeks, which is a high-voltage shade of orange, and a bit of Revlon's Peach Me to lacquer the lips with.  And that's about it.  You know... no biggie.  Just some dope products I had lying around and figured I would make use of.  You know.  No big whoop.  

So, anyways... that's the look I'll be rockin' this weekend.  It's just the first of many I plan on cooking up from the gorgeous batch of cocoa-laced neutrals furnished in this palette.  Yep, I'll be kicking back and lazying it up for the next couple of days... just me, some cream cheese cupcakes and my remote.  Meanwhile, my face will be dressed to impress with Semi-Sweet Chocolate on my lids.  Hmm... sounds like the recipe for a perfect week-ender to me.  Yes, please and thank you!  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Triple Threat

OK, I'm going way back with this one.  Years ago, before I crossed over to the pricier side of haircare, my drugstore line of choice was Garnier Fructis.  Not only did it have a fresh apple-like smell reminiscent of my former go-to brand Salon Selectives (ring a bell with anyone?), but it also left my hair feeling and looking quite good from what I recall.  I still love my Phytocitrus shampoo.  However, I find myself running through the 6oz bottles rather quickly.  So, with my confidence buoyed by fond memories of my past dealings with the brand, I decided to give Garnier another go and grabbed a bottle of their Triple Nutrition shampoo during a casual perusal of the aisles at my local grocery store.   

Triple Nutrition is just one of the shampoo/conditioner options under the Garnier Fructis beauty banner.  Formulated to address the needs of parched and/or damaged locks, it employs the help of avocado, olive and almond oils as well as shea butter to help strengthen and nourish hair while adding shine.  This golden elixir comes in a clear, flip-top bottle and smells like fresh pineapple! #LOVELY!

So there you have it - a quick introduction of the latest hair product that'll be vying for a space in my haircare roundup.  I'm hoping for the best with this one.  As long as my hair doesn't end up feeling like straw and it works well with the other motley of products, I'm golden.  And if that does turn out to be the case, I'll definitely do an update on the new lineup in my regimen.  Until then, I'll be testing Triple Nutrition out on my chemically relaxed strands within the next week or so and let you know whether or not it's a triple threat indeed.

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo is available at various drugstores, including Target, and retails for around $4/13oz.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sweet Sixteen

OK, the reviews were pretty much all over the place with this one.  When I first saw this online, I got excited.  Unimpressed by its predecessor, I was completely gung-ho about the colors in this palette and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  And then I viewed some of the swatches and lukewarm reviews on it and got deflated.  Only after speaking with my sister some time later, who'd already purchased the palette and was loving it, did I feel confident enough to roll the dice and buy it.  And I'm ultra glad I did!  So, if you have a few moments to spare, I'd love to give you my two cents on Too Faced's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar.   

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar is the follow-up to the wildly popular Chocolate Bar Eye Palette from Too Faced Cosmetics (which I do not own).  Housed in a tin fashioned after a milk chocolate candy bar - as opposed to the original's dark chocolate facade - are sixteen decadent smelling, cocoa-infused shades of mostly rich browns, along with a sumptuous black and a pop of blue thrown in for good measure.  Like the first one, it has a pleasant mix of pearls and mattes; however, Semi-Sweet's hues run warmer.  Its tin has a simple, magnetic closure and comes complete with a large mirror and how-to booklet.

Licorice (L), Coconut Créme (R)
Cocoa Chili (L), Pink Sugar (M), Puddin' (R)

Puddin', Pink Sugar, Cocoa Chili, Coconut Créme and Licorice

OK, so let's address one of the first of two controversial shades: Pink Sugar.  Many who gave this palette a mediocre review did so based on some of the shades having a "lack of pigmentation", with Pink Sugar being one of the main culprits.  But I have to disagree with this assessment since this shadow, which is an iridescent, pale pink with pink sparkles, is supposed to be used in conjunction with and layered on top of another eyeshadow.  Pink Sugar is a sheer overlay, therefore, its pigmentation is commensurate with its duty as a complementary eyeshadow and isn't meant to be an all-over lid color on its own.

Rum Raisin (L), Mousse (M), Caramel (R)

Caramel, Mousse, Rum Raisin

Nougat (L), Truffled (M), Hot Fudge (R)

Blueberry Swirl (L), Peanut Butter (M), Frosting (R)

Frosting, Peanut Butter, Blueberry Swirl, Hot Fudge, Truffled and Nougat

And now let's address the other "shady" shade: Blueberry Swirl.  Many have been disappointed with its quality as well, but I honestly don't see why.  Yes, although it is a light shade of faded denim-blue with blue sparkles, it is definitely not light on pigmentation.  I had no problems whatsoever swatching this (nor any of the shades for that matter) and I rather think it's a pretty color.  If you're looking for a deep, dark blue - no, this isn't it.  But it's highly pigmented and if you prefer darker, you could always put a darker base underneath to give it more depth.

Bon Bon (L), Butter Pecan (R)

Butter Pecan, Bon Bon

So there you have it!  I really, REALLY do like this palette - a total surprise since, after reading all the negative reviews, I really REALLY didn't think I would.  But it just goes to show that sometimes you have to let your own fingers do the walking (and talking) in order to conduct some up close and personal research for yourself.  Feel things out (literally) and come to your own conclusions, you know?  I almost missed out on this one, but I'm happy I didn't.  And now I have my very first Too Faced palette (shocking, right?!)!  But it's true.  And you can simply color me impressed with this one, guys; each eyeshadow is amazingly smooth, silky soft and generously pigmented.  Seriously?  I am a new fan.  This palette is ab fab, y'all.  AB FAB, I tell ya!  And the fact that it smells like chocolate just makes it all the sweeter!  #WINNING! 

Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar is available at Ulta and Sephora, and retails for $49. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Caramel Dipbrow Pomade

Perhaps seduced by the name, but undeniably drunk with enthusiasm brought on by the overwhelming success of my first purchase, I bought another one of Anastasia's Dipbrow Pomades.  I did make mention while gushing over Chocolate that I was considering buying one more, but in the shade Auburn.  However, when I saw the shade Caramel listed on, I got excited.  Unable to find any swatches of it beforehand online, I took the gamble and dropped it into my cart... only to discover that the color does not work for me at all.  But hopefully my loss will be your gain as I would love to show you, nonetheless, just what Caramel has to offer and possibly help you determine whether or not it may work for you. 

Dipbrow Pomade is a waterproof, smudge-proof cream formulated to define and sculpt eyebrows.  Looking at it in the jar, Caramel looks to be a light, milk chocolate brown with slightly golden tones, just like its name promotes.  However, both its name and appearance belie the actual color once swatched on the skin. 

As a reference, I am Walnut in Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Caramel in Revlon ColorStay Foundation and around an NC50 in MAC skin products.  Swatched against my complexion, Caramel Dipbrow turned out to be more of a pale, ashen brown.  Used on my brows, it made them look "nude" and washed out... almost as if I were trying to erase them somehow, but couldn't quite make them fully disappear.  #NOBUENO

Caramel Dipbrow (L), Chocolate Dipbrow (R)

In a side-by-side comparison, Caramel is considerably lighter than Chocolate, which I had already safely determined before buying.  I just thought it would be a lot more golden and warmer than it is.  Undeterred, I thought that maybe I could mix the two shades together and come to a happy, skin complementing medium.  Alas, Caramel pretty much cancels Chocolate out, blanching it to a murky shade of brown that still did not bode well for my brows.

Chocolate Dipbrow (above), Caramel Dipbrow (below)

Chocolate Dipbrow (top), Caramel Dipbrow (middle), Chocolate/Caramel mix (bottom)

So there you have it.  And, needless to say, this little brow grooming baby will be going back.  It's an awesome product, but just not suitable color-wise for my skin or hair coloring.  I may still get the Auburn, though.  We shall see.  But until then, I will be merrily filling in my brows with Chocolate.  Now that I've added this product to my grooming routine, I can honestly say that my eyebrows have never looked better!

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Caramel is available at Sephora and Ulta, and retails for $18.

Monday, January 12, 2015

La Petite Parfums

OK, I've got a confession to make, guys, so I'm just gonna jump right into it.  Like most people, I enjoy indulging in a little dab of perfume here and there.  It's the proverbial icing on the cake for me when it comes to finishing off an outfit.  I have my share of full-size bottles and an overrun of the tiny, tube-size testers, but I fear that I'm growing slightly obsessed with the "Tom Thumb" versions being offered by many fragrances... so much so that I'm starting to collect them.  Ughhhh... I know, I know!  I don't need to collect anything else!  But they're so darn cute, let alone convenient.  So, if you have a few minutes, I'd like to spill the beans and let you all in on what I've gathered thus far...

Simply packed in a velvet, drawstring pouch of light-blue, Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder has been in my possession for a little while now.  I haven't worn it yet as it's not typically the type of scent I'm attracted to (heavily floral), but I do like it.  And I especially like the bottle: bulbous and colorful, it's a pint-sized Paradise that fits in the palm of your hand.


This diminutive gem was a more recent acquisition and a must-have for me since I am a fan of just about everything Burberry has to offer, including their scents.  I mean, they just get me, you know?  Not only does My Burberry smell great, but the packaging is too adorable!  The linen bow around its "neck" lends a perfect touch of softness to the angular bottle, which makes it one of my faves - aesthetically - in my collection so far.

Next up is one of two mini parfums I have from Guerlain.  First is the rose-colored La Petite Robe Noire, which comes housed in a bottle with an inverted heart-shaped top...


... and an oldie but goodie that really needs no introduction: Shalimar.  I remember my mom having a bottle of this sitting on her bureau years ago when I was a kid, along with a bottle of Jean Naté splash (anybody remember that?) and other smell-goods.  It's such a classic and the bottle, with its royal blue cap, is unforgettably gorgeous.

And last, but certainly not least, is the little mini-me that came as part of a fragrance set.  I have to tell you that when I first experienced for her by Narciso Rodriguez, I immediately swooned.  I. LOVE. THIS. SCENT!  Seriously, I went bonkers when I smelled it.  And my initial excitement when I received this as a gift gave way to total elation when I realized that there was another bottle, albeit smaller, of the scent included in the set.  I had a totally tote-able version of my beloved for her, which meant I could take her everywhere and never be without!   #TOTALLYWINNING!

So there you have it!  I have a young collection, but am looking to fill it out with more "nasal nectar"  whenever I get the chance.  I love how handy they are to have around.  Larger than the traditional sample tubes, they're a great way to try out new scents without fully committing and are super easy to travel with.  You know what it is, too?  I'm a sucker for miniatures.  Yep, it's true.  If it's small and/or a replica of something, packaged well and cute to boot - I'm all over it.

I just like to collect stuff.  I've gotten better, but I'm not fully cured.  Don't know if I'll ever be.  But admitting you have a problem is supposed to help with the process, so here I am... admitting once again that I have a huge problemo...

Hi, my name is Dolce.  And I like... no, LOVE collecting stuff.  And I don't know how to stop.  #HELP!