Archive for category FOTD

A full on Radiant Orchid look? Don’t mind if I do!

It’s been a busy week. On Wednesday night, I reconnected with an old friend that I’d lost touch with for 5+ years, and we spent 5 hours chatting – I guess one for each year missed! Then last night a bunch of my favourite people at work got together to say goodbye to one of our much-loved coworkers, who is moving on to bigger and better things. Let’s just say, we had some SERIOUS fun on a school night! ;)

Thankfully, work is at a standstill due to a crash in our system, which happened Tuesday night and won’t be repaired until Sunday. While I spent Wednesday getting tasks done that I’d been putting off for a while, Thursday was a complete waste of a day – we’re in our fiscal year end, and it’s pretty much the WORST time this could happen, because we have SO much do to and can’t do any of it. So, that fact combined with my party-fun-time last night meant that I took the day off today – whoopee! And also, thank goodness because I needed to get this post up today and I was getting rather delinquent…

Radiant Orchid

The lovely ladies of  the Beauty Envy Bags got together and decided it was high time to do a Radiant Orchid-themed post. As you all know my obsession with this shade, this was a no-brainer for me! But which products to pick…? In the end, I decided to go with two more affordable options, just to mix it up, as I tend to have expensive taste!  I showed you Essie’s Splash of Grenadine last month, and professed my undying love for the shade (that feeling still stands – it’s definitely in my top 5!); today I’ll capture in action L’Oreal’s Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum – which looks a lot more like the perfect orchid tone than plum to me!

L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum

I have three of the Shine Stains now, in quite different shades, and they’re one of the few drugstore products I’ll go for – I love the YSL versions, but at $38 a pop, they’re not something I can justify in owning several, and the formulas are close enough that I get my fix through L’Oreal. During my whirlwind spree of acquiring ALL THINGS RADIANT ORCHID, Shoppers conveniently had a ‘Spend Your Points’ event, and I used 40,000 of my points to get $85 worth of product. I was $10 short of my goal, and so Stubborn Plum came home with me.

Radiant Orchid

Sephora sent me a few pieces from their Radiant Orchid Pantone Collection, and the Rush Luster Cheek Sweep* ($31CAD) was the perfect compliment to the lip stain. This cheek palette is really gorgeous! The formula is smooth for all three shades, and the orchid colour makes me drool. I paired it along with the lightest luminizer, and the glow is really something else. In daylight, it borders on shimmertastic, but for this time or year or in the evening (or if you just like to get your glow on!), this trio is great!

Sephora + Pantone Rush Luster Cheek Sweep

For the eyes, I did my usual liner flick, but added depth by using a violet shadow in my crease and on my lower lash line.  I loved the way this turned out – I really should do it more! I’ve gotten quite lazy with my makeup application, and usually just go for the flick and skip shadow, but it makes such a nice impact with a little something extra.  The products/shades I used were: YSL’s Eyeliner Effet Faux Cils in Cherry Black (great and long wear but wish the colour was a bit bolder), Inglot Eyeshadow in #325 (first time I’m wearing this!), and Maybelline’s Volum Express ‘The Rocket’ Mascara (which I’m not sold on).

Radiant Orchid

I snagged a sample of Benefit’s newish Hello, Flawless brightening foundation, in ‘Toasted Beige‘, and I quite like it. It’s got good coverage without being too heavy, a nice consistency, an SPF of 25, and the shade is actually pretty close, which is a challenge for me – I find my skin tone really is *neutral* and most foundations are either too yellow, pink or orange.

Radiant Orchid

Underneath the foundation, I tried out RBR’s Original Skin Primer*, which I got when I tried their new Nocturnal Ink liner. I found it VERY heavy on my slightly oily skin when used with a moisturizer, but used AS the moisturizer, it’s pretty good! It dries to a matte finish and doesn’t feel greasy at all – but it is a thick formula and I can see it being best for those with normal to dry skin.

A couple tools of the trade that I wanted to mention are the MAC #217 (which I bought in NYC, and wish I had gotten on that train sooner!), and the ELF Studio Complexion Brush* ($4.95CAD), which NPC sent for me to try. I was not a fan of the brush initially, thinking it was much too floppy for setting/finishing powders, but one day I tried it with a very pigmented blush, and VOILA! Instant success. I used this with the Sephora + Pantone shades above, and it worked beautifully to buff the shade into the skin and bring out that glow. A steal at $5!

Sephora + Pantone Rush Luster Cheek Sweep L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum

The finished look! I’m overall pretty pleased – as I mentioned, I’ve gotten pretty lazy with my makeup lately and it’s either cat-eyes or bright lips for the most part. It was fun to do the whole 9 yards, with primer and foundation and everything (I rarely wear either). Sometimes you just gotta go all in, ya know? :)

Radiant Orchid

See what the other gals have cooked up in their Radiant Orchid posts!

What do you think of tone-on-tone looks? Do you go all-out with your makeup every day, or save that for special occasions?

*Products were sent by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Alternative Bridesmaid Makeup Look

Good day to you! :)  I am off today after a crazy couple weeks helping plan and coordinate our Public Service Week here at my work.  I am the co-chair of our Youth Network for the Atlantic Region, so I was also organizing some events for the offices in other provinces as well.  Quite the job!  In any case, I think the week went pretty well, and yesterday our internal news publication came out with an article on myself and my co-chair on how we’re aspiring leaders, and basically made us sound really snazzy.  It was really nice to get recognition for the work we do so I’m feeling pretty awesome right now! (despite the four glasses of wine I had last night in celebration LOL).

Anyway, enough with the recap.  Today I wanted to show you a recreation of the look I did for my friend’s wedding last month.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to capture the actual look itself, but I used everything I wore in the shots below – though I’m missing the false lashes.  Use your imagination for those ;)

Anyone who knows me knows I always like to take what’s considered the ‘norm’ and put a little spin on it.  A lot of people I know have traveled/lived in Australia, so I went to New Zealand.  I once attended a formal event where everyone wore dresses, and I wore a white pant suit (see below – not a great shot, and eeks! to the fuzzy straightened hair – but damn it if I didn’t love that outfit :)).  So, when I started thinking about what makeup I wanted to wear for the wedding, I wanted something still appropriate but with a twist.  And so: red eyeshadow.

Pics to Sort etc 137Also – pink heels!  YES.

Ok, maybe not full-on red.  That would probably clash with the whole romantic theme.  But a metallic cranberry?  Now we’re talking.

The shade I used was L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany, a shadow I’ve shown you before.  I don’t wear it very often because in my mind it’s ‘red shadow,’ but since the wedding, I’ve been pulling it out a lot more – it’s like the best version of red ever, that is actually super-wearable.  As it’s quite standout on it’s own, I paired it with subdued shades everywhere else to keep it the focal point – soft pink cheeks and rosy-beige lips.

Wedding Makeup Swatches Wedding Makeup Swatches (2)Left to right: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, L’Oreal Golden Mahogany shadow, MAC Arena shadow, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil bronzer, Illamasqua Hussy blush, Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in Discrete.

As you can see, very few products were used for the look.  At the wedding, by using false individual lashes (which I prefer because you can apply them the night before to save time), coupled with the shadow, I didn’t need to work too hard to have my eyes really stand out.  False lashes are especially awesome for photos (of which you can see here).  All that I did was to use a cream liner to get into any spaces in-between the lashes to make them look full, and then applied Golden Mahogany all over the lid and into the crease.  I blended MAC Arena into the brow bone and inner eye corners, et voila!  That was ALL I needed to do to get the look below.  Simple and pretty!

Wedding MakeupWedding Makeup (2)

Again, with the false lashes this look was made much more KAPOW!

The base used was Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder foundation (which I’m fairly certain I’m going to buy for the rest of my life) worn over Hourglass No.28 Primer Serum (which really is AMAZING at keeping the oilies controlled).  Some contouring with bronzer, a touch of blush and highlight (I used Chanel’s Poudree Signee, not shown in the swatches), and a dab of lipgloss were the finishing touches.

I was really happy with the resulting look, and felt that I managed to continue with my habit of doing something not quite the norm, but also not so far out there either.  And that shadow really has reach HG status with me (which incidentally has put me on a quest to weed out all my HG’s and get rid of anything less)!

What do you think?  Would you wear red eyeshadow (to a formal event, no less)?  How do you ‘break the mold’ when it comes to makeup?

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25 Comments

The Ever-Helpful Filler Post: A FOTD, Polish, and Nail Art!

Hiiii guys!  I have been hiding out and trying to minimize the time in front of my computer zombifying…seriously, these damn electronics can suck you in and eat your brain big time.  I’ve been drafting up posts here and there but not sitting down for too long because I just need a break.  S’OK?  And plus, I want to show you some fab looks with all of my new(ish) pretties!  Here’s one look that I wore out this weekend:

FOTD March 2013 (2) FOTD March 2013 FOTD March 2013 (3)

Forgive me for less than stellar shots, as usual I was running late and took these in the bathroom of the party I was at while trying to remain inconspicuous lol.  And I probably had a few rum & cokes by this point… I’m a lost cause ~sigh~  Anyway, I took this look directly from this tutorial of Lisa Eldridge’s – I ADORED how it came out, another one of those looks that made me feel badass and awesome all evening (and isn’t that the point?).  I’ve been really getting into colored shadows again lately, so fun!  FYI – I’m wearing MAC’s Blue Edge (discontinued) topped with Shimmermoss on my top lid and Beautiful Iris on my lower lash lines.  Oh, and also, I used the Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil in my hair and HOLY SMOKES.  I LOVE THIS STUFF – look at my hair!  Just look at it!!!!!

I’ve also got a spring-themed post in the works that I’ve been thinking of for ages but haven’t had all the pieces to put it together.  If I’m not too, um…under the weather after Paddy’s Day on Sunday, I plan to get it done that Monday as I’m off work.  It involves some very pretty polishes that I’m totally diggin’ – unlike this polish, which sadly did NOT do it for me:

a-England Tess d'Urbervilles

I know, an it’s an a-England polish too!  Tess d’Urbervilles, a blackened green shimmer.  It looks nice here but I couldn’t wait to take it off.  I’m just not a fan of green hued polishes, unless they’re pale /pastel-toned or more of a teal green.  Ah well, can’t win ‘em all!

I have been trying to do things that are good for my well-being as much as possible – this semi-computer break being one of them, as well as joining a yoga studio that had an awesome deal: $108 for three months of unlimited classes.  Heck YES!  I went today after work; the focus was shoulders and OMG I feel so effing great!!  My back and neck are always sore from working at a computer (and being at one at home too) and this worked it out so well.  I am feeling particularly SUPER WOMAN LIKE today because I also went for a run at lunch.  So YAY for mental & physical health! :P  I feel all zingy – kinda like this nail art I did a few weeks ago:

Nail Art Nail Art (5)

This could have been SO much better – the concept and colors I totally liked, but I used french manicure strips that kept pulling up the polish beneath it, no matter if I let it dry for 5 minutes for 15.  SO irritating!  Half of this ended up being freehand and the other is just a mess of me trying to fix the peeled polish areas.  Urgh.  For reference, the shades I used there Revlon’s Sterling, Essie No More Film, and Zoya’s Wednesday.

And there you have it!  My very best attempt at giving you something to look at while simultaneously chattering away with abandon, and trying to link the two.  Successful?  Probably not, but I wasn’t sure when or how I’d post these photos, so it worked for me! :P

I hope everyone had a great Monday!!!

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From the Pages of a Magazine: FOTD Inspiration

Before the online world took over, I used to be a voracious reader of magazines.  First it was YM, which I only read for the ‘Say Anything’ section when I was about 11-12 years old.  Then it progressed to Seventeen, then Cosmo, and then Allure – the latter which firmly entrenched my love affair with makeup eternally.  Often, I would pull pages out of a magazine with pictures that evoked a certain ‘something’ – I can remember papering my walls with Calvin Klein ads for DAYS (OMG this is bringing back memories!); the models all seemed to fabulous and mysterious. As I grew up, I instead began to pull makeup looks from the pages of my favorite mags, anything that piqued my interest visually and was just begging to be attempted.

Though I don’t do this as often today (I have a subscription to only one mag now, and try to avoid buying any because – hello, internet!), I still do come across pictures in print that I clip out for future reference.  I have a big photo album full of ‘em now, tied together as a collage – each page with a different theme (YES I KNOW I AM ORGANIZED/OCD/CRAZY/WHATHAVEYOU).  This morning I thought of my album and pulled it out to get some ideas for the day’s look.  What I decided on was this:

Blue Eyeliner Inspiration

Every so often I go through the album and remove photos that I’m no longer ‘feeling.’  Amazingly, this actually doesn’t happen very often – even though the span of these photos is over probably 7+ years, I still love most of them and they don’t seem to become dated.  The photo above is one of my oldest, and yet I think it’s still as relevant today, and I still totally love it.  A flash of blue liner and a stained pout – simplicity at it’s best.

I wore this look today for the first time, and I’m pretty pleased with how it came out:

MAC Petrol Blue Eyeliner (2)MAC Petrol Blue Eyeliner (3)

I did tone it down a bit by not bringing the blue all the way to the far inner corners; I was after all, at work today and my office isn’t terribly ‘creative’ (I know, totally not what you expect for the GOVERNMENT, right? Ha).  But otherwise, I actually think I captured the look fairly well.  The liner shade is exceptionally close (though I suspect she’s wearing liquid – while I used MAC’s Petrol Blue Pearlglide liner).  I think I even almost got the lip stain right (MAC’s Bing Mattene lipstick), though it looks a little worn here because I reapplied and then forgot and ate some chocolate.  Oops.

MAC Petrol Blue Eyeliner

And an even more up-close shot:

MAC Petrol Blue Eyeliner (4)

I chose to bring the liner around to just the edge of my upper lash line, though I don’t think she has that in the photo.  I liked the effect though.  Overall, I liked the look – I don’t think I’ve ever worn anything like it, and it was a great way to use the MAC eye pencil as I’m trying to get rid of it (great shade, terrible wear on my eyes which tend to get smudgy at the corners).  I wore an eyelid primer (NARS Smudgeproof) to prevent this from sliding down my face.  I must admit, similar to my other blue look, I felt kinda badass wearing this, which is always a good thing in my books because if it gives you a little bit of a swagger, all the better ;)

So what do you think of the look?  Where do you get your inspiration from?  Do you get any benefit from these kinds of posts?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Quick-Fast Valentine’s Day Look

I have a backlog of photos and products to write about, but I must be saving them for a rainy day or something, because instead of posting them I just keep taking new photos of things.  Yep.  Makes total sense.

Anyway, tonight I was feeling like throwing some kind of look together so I did a Valentine’s Day FOTD because well – it’s in two days and it just seemed appropriate.  It actually took only a handful of products, and isn’t anything to fancy, so could be easy to recreate if you feel so inclined.  I was going to do two looks – a romantic ‘date’ look for those of you spending the special day with that special someone – and then a badass smokin’ hot look for gals like me who are rockin’ it out single-style.  But I couldn’t get good photos no matter what I did tonight, so I gave up (but don’t worry, I have a fierce look to show you nonetheless, just maybe not Valentine’s Day themed).

Here’s the romantic look!

Romantic Valentine's Day look (2)

The ‘hairstyle’ I’m wearing here (haha, you’re probably like – ‘what hairstyle?’) is my signature ‘romantic’ style, in which I pin back the front pieces off my face.  That’s it.  Honestly guys, look at that hair, like WTF do you THINK I could actually do with it??  ~sigh~

Romantic Valentine's Day look (4)

To get a sweet glow, I put Burberry’s Fresh Glow luminizer on under my foundation (which I applied wet for a more sheer effect), added a touch of bronzer, and buffed in NARS Desire (a bright cool pink) on cheeks.

Romantic Valentine's Day look (5)

On lips, I’m wearing this neat product Taylor at My Lucite Dreams reviewed, called Vitality Lip Flush in Je Ne Sais Quoi by it Cosmetics.  It’s clear and then adapts to your skin to turn a lovely shade of pink – truly your lip color but better.  It feels great on and gives just the right amount of sheen.  I thought it was a good choice because there should be no real transfer if you happen to be…putting you lips on someone else *wink wink nudge nudge*  This is one of those random brands my aunt gives me here and there, that otherwise I would have never heard of before.

Romantic Valentine's Day look (3)

On eyes, I’m wearing Laura Mercier’s Suspense Duo, with the pale pinkish-beige all over the lid, and the deep burgundy brown in the crease and on the lower lash line.  Then I used Laura Mercier’s Black Violet Kohl Liner just on the very outer edges of my eyes, top and bottom, and finished with a good dose of a non-clumping mascara (this one is called Lash Fix by Dalton – another ‘random’ brand given to me by my aunt).

BAM.  Done!  It took me less than 10 minutes start to finish.  I always like kind of rosy tones when I’m trying to look sweet, fools ‘em every time ;)

…speaking of rosy tones.  Last week I tried to wear pink shadow on my eyes, as a possible Valentine’s look.  Witness:

Pink Eyeshadow

Eeks!  This is NOT GOOD.  I don’t think pink is impossible for me to wear, just not this one (theBalm Down Boy, which is a blush OR eyeshadow), or this way.  I will keep trying!

Let’s finish up on a better note than that, OK?  This is a look I wore Sunday to work at Clinique.  Absolutely no Clinique products in sight (oops), but I figured if I had to work on a weekend, after a huge snowstorm, I was gonna do it up proper.  The tweet I posted that day was a sneak peek – I loved it with the fur-lined hood and the wintery vibe outside!  And, truth be told, I felt pretty kick-ass all day – I rarely wear color like this, and it felt so good!

Urban Decay Radium Blue Eyeshadow Look  (4) Urban Decay Radium Blue Eyeshadow Look  (2)

I mean seriously, look how smug I am in these photos.  I’m like “Yeah, that’s right.  Just TRY it.  Don’t mess with me.  UHH.”

Urban Decay Radium Blue Eyeshadow Look  (5)

The shade I was wearing was Urban Decay’s Radium, with a bit of Money in the crease to blend, and a little black liquid liner on top to define the eye.  The rest of the face was kept very neutral, with just a touch of bronzer and a matte nude lippie, blotted.  I want to wear this look every day.  This I can get away with it at work?????

So this post went from Valentine sweet to bitchin’ pretty quickly… essentially this was just an excuse to post a bunch of FOTD pics I’ve taken, hope you don’t mind ;)  If I had more time in the mornings, I take a boatload of more pics of my makeup looks, but alas – I am always running late.  I’ll keep trying though!

What makeup look makes you feel badass?  And what kind of look do you favor for Valentine’s Day?

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28 Comments

Random EOTD’s For Your Viewing Pleasure

I’m having a bit of a moment lately; I’m rather uninspired to write, or even read blogs the past couple weeks.  Part of that is due to the fact that I’m trying to not buy anything: with my trip to New Zealand less than a week away (so crazy!!), I just can’t justify buying any pretties, especially just to have them sit there for over a month unused while I travel.  I know there are plenty of things I could write about, but the new stuff is always the most fun, am I right?  The other part is that anything that’s giving me the lemming itch doesn’t come out until after I leave, and will likely be sold out when I return, so what’s the point of getting excited for nothing?  It’s a sad state of affairs, my friends.

Wearing Chanel Abstraction Illusion d’Ombre over Clinique’s Rum Spice Color Surge Eyeshadow. As beautiful as Abstraction is, it can be tricky to get the true shimmering beauty to translate on the eye.  The deep warm bronze of Rum Spice helped give it a solid base to build upon.

What’s weird about this is that I’ve actually been more inspired than ever to play with makeup – almost every day I try a new ‘look’ and end up actually loving it.  It seems that while I’m having an ‘off’ month with respect to blogging, nevertheless I’m clearly having a makeup moment, in which I’ve figured out truly how to wear it.  That sounds kind of ridiculous considering I’ve been blogging for a while (with FOTD’s) and I have been doing wedding and event makeup for like, 10 years.  But truly – I’ve JUST GOT IT.

After a breakup, there’s often that feeling of wanting a change, to start fresh.  Naturally, my feeling was instantly related to beauty, and I decided to start focusing more on just one feature rather than overwhelming my face.  While I generally stick to that rule in theory, I would often do a smoky eye and neutral lips – but then add just a touch too much blush.  Or bold lips but then add a bit of shadow, which would end up looking ‘too done.’  I’ve really toned it down this fall, and now if I do a strong lip then I wear just the barest hint of blush and mascara.  Or I’ll wear a fierce flush and keep everything else very minimal (though sometimes I will go for a juicy matching pout).  I find the effect has been MUCH more satisfactory to me, and I’ve actually gotten a lot more compliments on how I look.

A look I did before going out last weekend, using MAC Vex shadow and Dark Soul pigment.  I find silver notoriously hard to wear, so this was a great achievement for me!

The real reason for this change was that I really want to make a statement.  My wardrobe is relatively basic, with only a few outfits that make me feel on-trend; makeup is really where I shine.  If I can’t generate attention via my closet, I can surely make something happen with my beauty approach, right?  And it seems that I’ve just about nailed it :)

Though the looks I’m showing in this post are all focused on eyes, believe me when I say that I’ve been having quite the time with dramatic lips this season as well – it’s just that I’ve already on one of the shades (Ellis Faas Creamy Lips in L102, which I love more every day!), and I’m planning on posting the other shade I’ve been rocking lately (keep your eyes peeled!).  What pleases me about these eye looks specifically is that not only have I gotten the rest of the makeup down pat, but I’ve managed to blend and layer my shadows much better than usual, which has made some previously hard-to-wear shades, actually quite wearable!

L’Oreal’s Golden Mahogany Infallible shadow, using MAC’s Vex once again as an inner eye/lid color.I was inspired this week on Refinery29 about pairing reddish eyeshadow with silver, so I had to try it out – and I absolutely LOVED it!  New favorite right here.

In any case, while I’ve been somewhat absent around these here parts, don’t you think for a second that I’m not still living and breathing beauty.  I just seem to have a combination of writer’s block, decreased funds, and a mega-trip on my mind – but I think when I get back in November, I’m going to be chock full of energy to get back on the horse again.  I’ve been particularly desperate to do some swatching series, but as my hands and forearms have been having serious eczema breakout for two months now, it’s just not going to happen until that clears up :(  I’m hoping the fresh NZ air will fix me – both my skin and my brain :)

Which look is your favorite?  Do you ever go through ‘slow’ spells with makeup and/or blogging?

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Fall FOTD with Ellis Faas Creamy Lips L102

Sorry for the non-ingenious title, but I’ve been running on very little sleep for the past couple weeks and my brain just isn’t pumping out the good stuff lately.  In fact, I’m not pumping out much of anything (blog-wise), and I apologize!  It’s been a busy month and my prime blogging days – the weekends – have been full to the max.  As well, work has been crazy, as I’m currently manning the helm of three other people’s jobs (one’s on vacation for 6 weeks, one’s on assignment for 6 months, and one has just retired) – plus still doing my own job, so…essentially I’m pretty much burnt out when I get home and have NO desire to be on the computer at all.  My RSS feed is terrifying right now :S  But, there will be an end in sight at some point, so I’m just bearing it for now and trying not to be too hard on myself for not posting more often!  I hope you can forgive me!

What I’m really aiming for with this post is to bolster your opinion of me back up with a lil sumthin’ sumthin’ from ELLIS FAAS ELLIS FAAS ELLIS FAAS :)  Sneaky/shameless ploy, I know, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!  And…I had these pics ready to go from last week lol.  So without further ado, I bring you Faas’ Creamy Lips in L102!

There is SO much hype about the Ellis Faas products, both good and bad, that I knew I had to add them as my fourth brand to try (since May) from my “12 New Beauty Brands” list for the year.  The Creamy Lips shade was the only item I picked up from the brand, as I was feeling a bit cautious due to all the negative feedback on the packaging – $36CAD is not terribly cheap to pay for a product that *might* be totally defective.

Let me straight away say that while the product inside is quite lovely – the packaging is a bit crazy!  Maggie at Maggie’s Makeup needed 80 clicks to access the beautiful Holographic Bordeaux Lights shade she picked up – well, I went past 80 and probably needed about 120 clicks to get any product!! I don’t know what that’s all about, but it seems a TAD bit excessive, no?

Undeterred however, I tried out the product right away on my lips – creamy goodness!!  L102, a ‘deep plum wine’ shade, goes on smoothly and feels exceptionally lightweight on, though slightly less opaque than I expected.  It’s described as providing ‘classic lipstick definition and longwearing coverage,’ and while I only wore the shade for the duration of taking these photos (about an hour), it certainly does have the look of a lipstick for the most part.  The website recommends to use the sponge-tip to first paint the lip with a small amount of product, then fully load the applicator to fill inside the lips. The sponge-tip was surprizingly easy to use and wield and I had no problems defining the edges of my lips.

Though my skin is going through a ‘moment’ right now, I was able to capture the vampy berry goodness of this shade in a FOTD:

And in case anyone is curious about the rest of my makeup, I’m wearing NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia (a warm bronze-brown, received via swap), Urban Decay’s Supercurl Curling Mascara (sample), and Too Faced Sun Bunny bronzer (also received via swap).  I was trying to get in all the goodies I teased you with last week! :)

Now, before there are any misconceptions – you see my hair*?  You see how curly it is?  Yea, so my lashes are the same way.  That curl is NOT from the Urban Decay product, so don’t get excited.  However, I wanted to mention it because even though I have no idea if it’s doing anything to curl my already near-corkscrew lashes, it’s pretty damn great!  I get excellent definition with absolutely no clumps, and some pretty decent length too.  It doesn’t do anything crazy for volume, but because it catches every lash they do appear a bit thicker – overall, highly recommend.  It wears well in the heat yet washes off easily too :)

*It’s actually kind of amazing that you are seeing my hair – I almost always seem to have it up in these kinds of posts, I’m sorry!!! It’s weird too because my hair is more often down than up…just the way it goes I guess :P

Overall, I am very much enjoying the Creamy Lips shade, it feels great on the lip and I am super-digging the color (thanks for the reco, MM!), I can’t wait to wear this in the fall!  Its just the perfect tone for my skin, and unlike anything else I own (I have reds but no berry shades!).  Note that this also makes an absolutely incrediblestain – when I went to remove my makeup I wiped this off first and it looked SO good! Otherwise…yeah, the click pen was a bit weird to start, and I wonder just how much product you even get in there, but for the time being I’m very satisfied with my purchase.

On to the next brand on the list!! :D

Have you tried Ellis Faas, or are you turned off by some of the negative reviews?  What are your thoughts on the product if you have tried it?

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Summer Looks, 3 Ways: Cheeks, Lips or Eyes

I have to tell you, I have been having a BLAST creating different looks and playing with products that I already have (versus getting sucked into the never-ending *new-New-NEW!!* vortex) – it has been the absolute best solution I’ve found to control my shopping tendencies and appreciate what I own rather than the lust-buy-forget-repeat cycle I’ve been guilty of in the past.  I’m not knocking picking up new and pretty things – goodness knows there’s a (great!!) time and place for that, and I still am buying more makeup than I’ll ever need – but I also get fed up with myself when I go out and pick up new products before giving the ones I own proper love.  It totally suits my new mentality of making sure everything I have is awesome and that’s it’s getting semi-regular attention.  Anything that’s not floating the Latoya boat is getting booted.  End of story.

My ‘no way, jose’ face lol (or just filler…it looked photo barren here!)

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting a lot lately – way more than I have for YEARS, maybe since I was in university – and it’s amazing the combinations and shades you can come up with when you put your mind to it!  I find I was forgetting the whole reason I started the blog, which was because I loved USING makeup, not just acquiring it, and I’ve been pushing myself out of the box and trying new looks and realizing I have some pretty awesome products!!  Does anyone remember the Canadian cooking show ‘The Urban Peasant?’  He used to always say “Use what you got,” and dammit if I’m not following his lead ;P

Good grief I’m chatty.

Ok, onwards to the looks!  I wanted to do 3 different Summer-themed looks to cover each of the main focal points of the face – cheeks, lips and eyes.  I’ve sort of started following a general rule of thumb when it comes to wearing what kind of looks when: I often wear a bolder lip to work, because hey! – I’m not kissing anyone there, and reapplication at my desk is easy-peasy; a strong eye when going ‘out’ somewhere; and a defined cheek for more laid-back kind of days, as it makes me look polished but isn’t too much and doesn’t require any maintenance.  Of course, any of these combinations can be worn at any time, and you could even pair two of them together for a whole different look, but for the purpose of this post I’m going to give distinction between them.

Look #1 – Focus on Cheeks:

In my first look, I focused on an all-over bronzed glow combined with a more flushed cheek to enhance.  This is a super-quick and easy way to wear makeup in the Summer months, as it just builds upon the warmth the sun naturally bestows upon the skin.  If I’m going for a more casual look, this is usually what I lean toward.  The products I used are below.

Clockwise from left: NARS South Beach Multiple, Illamasqua Tweak, MAC Refined Golden Bronzer, Clinique High Lengths Mascara, MAC Crosswires Lipstick, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach

Left to right: NARS South Beach Multiple, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Illamasqua Tweak, MAC Crosswires Lipstick

And the resulting look!:

Above – In sunlight; Below – With flash

Capturing the strength of cheek products is tricky; it seems like you need to go more heavy-handed than you normally would in order to get the same effect you’d see in person.  While I wasn’t sporting ‘clown-cheeks’ to be sure, my blush was more noticeable in real life, and I actually quite liked it!  By using Milani’s Sunset Beach (the bronze side) as bronzer and then a bit extra under the cheekbones to contour, NARS South Beach to highlight on top of cheekbones (then blended out toward temples and any residual down the bridge of my nose), and Illamasqua Tweak on the higher point of the apples of my cheeks to emphasize (and blending like crazy to avoid any harsh edges), it just looked like I had been out in the sun all day.  Pretty natural actually with just a touch of glam from the highlight.  To finish I dabbed on MAC’s Crosswires lippie as a stain, and added a touch of clear gloss to give a bit of shine.

Look #2 – Focus on Lips:

My next look took me more out of my comfort zone, as I VERY rarely wear pigmented lip colors plus a glossy finish – a matte bold lip is much more subdued and easier to pull off in most cases.  But I had an inspiration from my lookbook (a photo album full of looks I’ve clipped out of magazines) that came to mind and I really wanted to try it.  In it, the model is wearing a rich coral-red lip that has this insane glossy shine to it, while the rest of the makeup is very subtle with just a beachy glow.  As my lip collection is sort of in transition, I didn’t have the exact shade I was looking for, so I had to get creative:

Clockwise from left: Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands, theBalm Read My Lips Lipstick in Wanted, Sephora She Sparkles lipgloss, MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, Ojon Restorative Mascara

Left to right: theBalm Read My Lips Lipstick in Wanted, MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, Sephora She Sparkles lipgloss, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

My interpretation:

By combining a shiny red lip color with a coral gloss and adding extra gloss on top of that, I came close to what I was aiming for – and even though it wasn’t exactly the same, I think it ended up being relatively flattering!  I’d never tried theBalm lip product before, hadn’t even swatched it, but it popped into my head and I figured now was the time to try it out.  MAC’s Lychee Luxe is one of my fave shades of gloss (though truth be told I don’t think I’ll buy any more MAC glosses – I’m SO over the sticky texture!), and the pinky-coral tone kept the red from being too cool and Christmas-y looking.  Plus the gold shimmer of Sephora’s She Sparkles gave it a Summery kick, and that extra dose of shiny I was going for.  By keeping the rest of my makeup extremely simple, the bright glossiness of the lips didn’t seem so obnoxious.

Look #3 – Focus on Eyes:

Lastly, I wanted to showcase a Summer look for eyes.  I do tend to wear more eye makeup than anything else, though this is subtly changing over the past few months – I’m trying to break out of the same old of bold eyes and muted cheeks/lips.  For this look, I pushed myself again to play and experiment more than normal, which actually was quite easy once I determined what shade was going to anchor my look – Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream #24, the bold canary yellow I reviewed last week!  After choosing a bright shade like that, everything else seemed easy in comparison :)

Clockwise from left: MAC Arena eyeshadow, Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24, Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara, Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B, MAC Evolution Revolution Lipglass   

Left to right: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #24, Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B, Urban Decay Last Call eyeshadow, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey, Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, Rouge Bunny Rouge Original Skin Blush in Florita, MAC Evolution Revolution Lipglass

Here’s how I made it work:

Above – Sunlight; Below – With flashI applied MUFE Aqua Cream #24 all over the lid, then applied Ardene 8B to the middle of the lid outward.  I added UD’s Last Call to the outer lid and crease, and highlighted the brow and the inner corners of the eye with MAC’s Arena.  Finally I lined the upper lash line with UD’s Perversion liquid liner, and the bottom lash line with Clinique’s Black Honey, and piled on a generous dose of mascara on top and bottom lashes.

As I mentioned in the review, this vibrant matte yellow Aqua Cream is surprizingly easy to use – easy to work with, easy to blend, and didn’t look as garish as I thought it would once applied.  I absolutely ADORED how this look came out overall, it felt SO Summery and warm and fun, and I can see myself recreating this over and over this season, because it was an easy way to inject some color into my palette without being too over the top.  And it got me using another shade that never gets love from me – the Ardene shadow, which by the way has a lovely buttery texture and is probably like $3 at the store.

Also, I can’t deal with how great Florita looked with this combination – it gives the perfect amount of glow for the Summer without being shimmery, which would also compete with the shadows.  Finishing with the pale pink MAC gloss added just the right touch of glossiness and muted quality to my lips to compliment the look best.

All in all, though I think the last look was my favorite out of the three (typical!), I’m going to make every effort to rotate between a focus on eyes, lips and cheeks and continue to experiment with different looks and play with lesser-used shades in order to have more fun with makeup, and be more mindful of what I already own.  I SO enjoyed creating these looks over the past couple weeks, and I truly hope you got some benefit out of them as well!  Its nice to showcase and talk about other products that aren’t brand-spanking new or the most talked-about in the blogosphere.  Sometimes I find I get so saturated with the same old, that when I stumble upon posts that discuss makeup I haven’t heard/thought of, it’s like a breath of fresh air!

…and now I’m done.  Thanks for sticking through this if you made it this far!  Hope you enjoyed!! :D

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How to Avoid a Lemming (Successfully!) – And a FOTD

Today is my day off, and I’m very fortunate as the weather is LOVELY – the week/weekend was rainy for the most part, so I’m quite pleased that I get to spend my day frolicking in the sunshine.

Our cat Vegas sunbathing.  I’m normally not one for pet pictures, but this pretty much sums the day up :)

Sometimes on these days, I make a point to get over to the mall (aka Sephora) as it’s often the only opportunity I have.  I originally planned to head over and check out the new wares at the store as well as take a gander at MAC’s Casual Color collection.  I had my eye on ‘Keep It Casual’ which is a deep berry tone and not something I gravitate toward often (hence, I may have a place (justification) for it in my ever-growing stash!).  However, the sun is shining and calling me to come out and play, rather than spend any time indoors – and my budget is pleading with me to hold off until we move in case I need that cash for other, more *ahem* important things (like places to sit).  So, I stomped into the bathroom and started weeding through my blushes to see if I had anything like ‘Keep It Casual.’  Of course, I have nothing to compare it to, but I remembered my much looked-over Turkish Red Cream Blush from NARS just kickin’ around and going generally unloved.  After swatching it, it seemed close enough in tone that I figured I could leave ‘Keep It Casual’ where it belongs – back in the store for some other beauty junkie – and decided it was time to get creative.

(Whoa, sorry for that long opening paragraph!)

Anyway, I slapped on a few things and actually came away with a look I ADORE – it’s a touch Fall-ish, but actually looks warm and inviting in the sunshine, so I thought I’d share it with you.  I actually managed to use two products that don’t get a lot of use in my stash (which I’m still trying to make a point of doing) – the other is MAC’s Mattene lipstick in Bing, a deep, dark, blackened cherry shade from the Cult of Cherry collection from 2008, when goth lips first came into fashion.  I love the dark lip look but it doesn’t quite suit my coloring for the most part; for the first time, I think I found a way to wear it that’s quite pretty, so I’m pretty stoked!

Enough rambling (must get back outside!) – here we go:

Urban Decay Perversion, Burberry Trench, MAC Amber Lights, NARS Turkish Red, NARS South Beach, MAC Bing

Since the blush was the main point of the exercise, I stippled Turkish Red on my cheeks (focusing closer to cheekbones) and blended out.  As it’s quite pigmented, I applied my base second, MUFE’s Face & Body foundation in #18 (review to come), to my entire face and just lightly over the blush to diffuse it out. I added a touch of NARS’ South Beach Multiple to the tops of my cheekbones for some extra gleam.

I patted on MAC’s Amber Lights eyeshadow, a rich, shimmery orangey-gold, to lids and just above the crease.  I blended out the edges and highlighted the brow with Burberry’s Trench shadow, which is a pale bone shade with a slight satin finish rather than chalky matte (looks so natural! Review to come).  I defined my eye with UD’s Perversion liquid liner, and then topped it off with mascara.

I don’t wear darker shades of lips very often at all, and as you know and just venturing out into wearing lipstick and more opaque colors as a whole, so I was pleasantly surprized that I actually REALLY liked this look.  I started with a base of Turkish Red on my lips, which actually looked quite nice on it’s own.  Then I applied Bing on top, and lightened up it’s super-dark tones with a touch of Sephora’s She Sparkles gloss, a fine glittery gold.

And voila!  Easiest look ever, and I kinda want to wear it all the time now.  It definitely makes me want to give berry lips a chance now, though since Bing is probably the only berry shade I own, that might mean buying other lippies – uh oh.  I’ll hold off till the cooler weather returns before going down THAT road.

What do you think of this look?  Can I get away with it in the Summer, or should I hold off till Fall?  What tactics do you use to avoid a lemming?

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Kevyn Aucoin: A ‘Making Faces’ FOTD Tribute

10 years ago today, the beauty world suffered a great loss: iconic makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, who touched so many people with his legendary skill, as well as his innate kindness, passed away.  Before this tragedy, I was an avid fan, having purchased both his ‘Making Faces’ and ‘Face Forward’ books and poring over his makeup mastery regularly.  I had forgotten how much he had influenced my passion for makeup, turning it from just a fun little hobby into something much more.  His artistry amazed me; how he could transform people into their very best selves, or into someone else entirely (hello, Martha Stewart into Veronica Lake?!).  When I realized the 10th anniversary of his death was approaching, I pulled out the two books and had a lovely trip down memory lane.  I wanted to do some sort of tribute in his honor, as he certainly helped set me on the path I’m on today, which in turn brought me to blogging!

One picture in the ‘Making Faces’ book that always caught my eye when I was younger, was the colorful one he did on Kate Moss (someone I’ve always idolized for her seemingly eternal beauty).  I thought I’d try and replicate it, as it also seems well-suited for the season.  Please forgive me for the less-than-ideal quality of the photos; I’m trying so hard to learn my camera’s abilities but I’m still coming up short for my tastes.  Hopefully you get the idea!

These are all the products I used to create the look – it was quite simple, really!

For the eyes, it was turquoise liner on the upper and lower water lines (I used Milani’s Liquif-EYE in Aqua) and a wash of metallic green shadow on lid and underneath the eye – Lise Watier’s Couleur Folle in Folie Pomme (a shimmering golden green) seemed to match the photo perfectly.

I added a metallic gold shade (MAC’s Pigment in Melon) to the centre of the lid, and also used any excess to buff out the edges of the green shadow.

A good dose of black mascara (Laura Mercier’s Full Blown Volume in this case) on the top lashes defined the eye.  Kevyn  used turquoise mascara on the bottom lashes, but since I don’t own any I used my MUFE liquid liner in #5 (a bright aqua) by holding the wand vertically and moving back and forth across my lower lashes.

Lips were lined and filled in with a flesh-toned lip pencil (here it’s Joan Rivers Beauty in Nude!) and then topped with a sheer red gloss (I used NARS Wonder, which got quite toned down with the nude pencil).

Bringing everything together, cheeks were warmed up with a touch of cream blush used on the temples and brought down toward the cheekbones.  I used one of my faves, MUFE HD Microfinish Blush in #12, a bright apricot.

Obviously, I’m no Kate Moss, so even if you could see my handy-work in person (and it does look better in person), I wouldn’t be doing it justice :)  But, I had a lot of fun playing and remembering what it was like when I first started to really fall in love with makeup.  I find lately I take less risks with my looks, going to soft and subtle over more colorful, daring makeup, so this was a great throwback to the days when I used to wear blue mascara regularly, or green eyeliner with purple shadow, and rocked it out HARD.  I still love looking at the colors, but find my ‘sensible’ side kicks in a lot more than it used to.  THIS is what I’ve always taken away from Kevyn – to exercise that creative muscle and really enjoy makeup and it’s artistic qualities, and use it as a true form of expression.  And you can express yourself throughother people, too – I like to think that’s what Kevyn did; it was through his skillful touch and the way he could make every man and woman look absolutely stunning that showed the truly beautiful nature of his soul.  I felt a deep regret at his passing, and in taking this trip down memory lane I feel that sorrow anew, but also feel thankful that he graced us at all with his being and all his talent.  He will always be remembered in this beauty-lover’s heart!

Did Kevyn Aucoin influence you at all?  What was your beauty catalyst?  What do you think of my FOTD?

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