Posts Tagged nars

Fall 2013 Wish List – Pretties Abound!

Ah, autumn.  The season that always releases my favorite makeup collections :)  This year, I’m determined to give myself permission to pick up a few choice pieces to give my daily routine a little boost!  Check out the wish list to see what has me drooling:

Fall 2013 Wish List

1. Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette in 384 Bonne Etoile $62CAD- the most gorgeous-looking palette I’ve seen in ages.  However, not all is as it seems…see note below.

2. MAC Pressed Pigment in Damson $25CAD – I actually couldn’t wait to buy this gorgeous plummy-brown sparker and it came home with me before I could even get this post out.  As a non-glitter-loving person, I have essentially ignored the Pressed Pigments entirely over the past few releases, but decided earlier this summer to give the formula a shot the next time I had a chance.  Damson has been the perfect introduction to add a little sparkle to my life!  Review to come.

3. Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense in #30 Rose Popillia $42CAD – I haven’t bought any Armani makeup in a while now, mainly due to the ridiculous price hike we have here in Canada.  However, the ETK shadows always manage to lure me in, and Rose Popillia is a beautiful muted rose-taupe shade with a hint of duochrome.  From the swatches I’ve seen, it needs to be in my life and I’ll probably shell out the big bucks for it, even though it’ll pain me a bit!

4. Dior Fusion Mono Eyeshadow in Millenium $31CAD – In the promo photos this looks a bit more khaki than I was interested in.  But since seeing swatches around and testing it out in store (though – they don’t have the product to sell, just the testers…what’s the deal, Dior!?!? That happened in TWO stores I visited), I’ve come to realize this is GORGEOUS and is more like a darkened pewter shade.  The sparkliness of these shadows is super pretty and again, I feel like I need a bit more shimmer in my life than usual.  BRING IT.

5. Zoya Louise $9CAD – I’ve been kind of itching for a dark chocolate creme polish for a while now, and I think this one is it.  It’s dark enough to look contrast nicely with my skintone (re: not mannequin hands) and Zoya is generally a winning formula in my books.  So yummy.

6. YSL City Drive Palette in Classy $74CADI normally have little interest in the YSL brand as a whole except for their lip products, but I do strive to be well-rounded in all areas of my life, and when I saw swatches of this palette crop up here and there, I was pleasantly surprized to find that I quite liked how it all came together.  I haven’t seen this in person yet so a bit more investigation is needed, but if I’m feeling crazy this just might happen ;)

7. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Eyeshadow Pencil in Bittersweet $33CAD - I’ve been interested in trying one of these newish pencils out but hadn’t taken the plunge.  I desperately need a nice dark brown eyeshadow, as I have plenty of medium shades but nothing deep dark.  I’m hoping this might do the trick and kill two birds with one stone!

8. Chanel Le Blush Creme in Affinite $43CAD – I’m not going to buy both this AND Fantastic, but I’m torn between the two.  I don’t own too many cream blushes but I would like to change that, and what better place to start than Chanel?  A cool pink (which now I know is my JAM) would be perfect for fall/winter…though I must admit, I saw swatches/photos of Destiny on Karen at MBB and the shade looked so gorgeous and natural!

9. Chanel Le Blush Creme in Fantastic $42 CAD - see above.

10. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red $30CAD – Another product I’ve been dying to try but just haven’t make the purchase yet.  You can’t really go wrong with a lush, bold red that looks like the perfect tone for fall.  This will be a definite pick-up when it arrives in stores (strangely, they have most of the collection but not this shade, yet).

Ok, so here’s the story with the Dior palette.  Last week I drew up this wish list and all was good.  But over the weekend, I had an opportunity to check out the Dior fall collection, and was sadly disappointed – that gorgeous Bonne Etoile quint?  On my skintone, it looked totally muddy :’(  I really thought that it was going to be THE piece that I grabbed out of all the new fall offerings, so I was really bummed out.  On a positive note, I have similar shades to several colors in the palette, so it’s probably for the best (though it doesn’t necessarily make me feel tons better!).  Additionally, I was also considering getting the lipgloss in Ensorcelante, but when I swatched it I was again, disappointed – I felt more ‘meh’ than anything!!  Sadness…I even have enough optimum points to get a wee bit of free stuff so I was really banking on this being a nice low-cost treat for the season.

Ah well, can’t win ‘em all.  And anyway, the rest of these items?  Still TOTALLY crushing on.  The MAC shadow is 100% love, and I’m certain my new glittering love affair will extend to the Dior mono shadow as well.  Truth be told, I think I’m genuinely going to buy every single item on this wish list (with the exception of perhaps the YSL quad…I’ll have to really love it in person to justify that cost) – I think I’m due for a good splurge.  I’m feeling a lot less financial pressure right now and while I’m still trying to keep my collection more modest of late and not add to it excessively, I’m less bothered by adding new products that have different textures than I usually opt for – feels like I’m not adding to the repetition but branching out a bit.  And like I said, fall is my favorite season!!  So I think I’m due to celebrate, just a little bit ;)

What’s on your wish list for the upcoming season!?

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Summer in a Tube: Becca Beach Tint in Papaya and Comparisons

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparison (2)

I’ve been on this kick lately of wanting to own every red blush EVER.  MAC Frankly Scarlet.  Illamasqua Libido.  Dolce & Gabbana Sole.  NARS Exhibit A.  ALL THE RED BLUSH.  Each are quite different from the other and therefore totally justifiable in purchasing (right?!).  However, last month when I scored another red on my list, Becca’s Beach Tint in Papaya (described as a ‘hot red’), I had to pause in my red blush frenzy – not all of these shades will look good on me, guys! :’(

Becca Beach Tint in PapayaBecca Beach Tint in Papaya

As some of you know, I’ve been sort of struggling to figure out my skintone – cool, warm, neutral, what is it? – and I think I’ve decided that I’m neutral with a bit of a cool leaning.  Well, I think that my assumptions have been confirmed with this blush – it is FAR too warm for my skintone and has to be worn with an exceptionally light hand.  See for yourself:

Becca Papaya Beach Tint (2) Becca Papaya Beach Tint

Though it doesn’t look terrible on me the way I’m wearing it  – which is to say, very sheerly – it’s really not my best shade.  with my tan I can pull it off, but any other time of year I suspect this will look ghastly (not to be confused with ghostly, as this is much to orange-toned and vibrant for that).  This leads me to believe that similarly warm-toned blushes such as the Illamasqua or NARS versions noted above, may not be my cup of tea.  I need to tread more carefully.

I suspect that the shades that will work best for me are more coral-red (such as D&G’s Sole) or the more pink-red tones of the MAC shade noted above.  I’ve swatched the only other shades in my collection that even come close, NARS Boys Don’t Cry (of the coral-red camp) and MUFE’s #12 First Kiss (which in fact is a touch too orange and I usually layer it with other products).

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparisonLeft to right: MUFE #12 First Kiss, Becca Papaya, NARS Boys Don’t Cry

Its interesting to look at these swatches, because I still feel like Papaya looks flattering here – but don’t let it fool you.  I had to blend and blend down to next to nothing to ensure I didn’t look like I had been burned in a fire.  Its certainly a summery shade and paired with bronzer can work well, but I prefer to wear more effortless shades that compliment naturally, even if they’re brighter.  I’m starting to wonder if the key to blush isn’t to pick complimentary shades to your skintone, but contrasting.  In swatches Papaya looks made for my skin and Boys Don’t Cry is more stand-out, yet the latter absolutely looks fantastic on me no matter if I’m tanned or not.  Similarly with NARS Desire if you recall.  INTERESTING.

Ultimately, I’m happy to have this shade as it represents a niche I hadn’t filled in my collection, and as it was a acquired via swap, I don’t feel bad about owning it.  It was an excellent way to trial-run a warm red blush and learn that I probably won’t acquire any more in the future, focusing my energies instead on cooler-toned shades.  The product itself is quite nice – easy to blend and wears quite well (though not exceptionally tenacious on my oilier skin).  I likely won’t pick up anymore shades as most of them contain linalool which I avoid in products (can cause allergic reactions and sensitivity in people with eczema), but if you don’t have those concerns, I’d definitely check them out – they’re so easy and handy!

Becca Beach Tint Papaya comparison (3)

Do you own any red blush?  To which tone does you skin favor, warm or cool?

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Long Overdue MEGA-Praise for NARS High Voltage Blush in Boys Don’t Cry

Yet another late post which means: Words. Few.  However, you all know by now that I always say that and then still end up rambling.  So…enjoy?

NARS Boys Don't Cry Blush (2)

I am ashamed at how long its taken me to show you guys this blush.  YOU GUYS.  THIS BLUSHNARS Boys Don’t Cry blush ($48CAD) from the Pierre Hardy collection is probably one of the best makeup purchases I’ve made all year, if not THE best.  A total 10/10 for me!  How can you go wrong with a) a NARS blush, that b) is a gorgeous bold coral red (or pink grapefruit, as it’s described)?!  Answer: YOU CAN’T.  It’s all sorts of WIN.

NARS Boys Don't Cry Blush (4) NARS Boys Don't Cry Blush (3)

The ‘awesome’ quote above was on a card I bought for my mom for Mothers Day (which, stupidly I forgot to give her – next year maybe?), and I just had to use it as a prop.  Because this blush is, in fact, AWESOME.  See all my use of caps today?  It’s for a reason, people.

Of course, the beautiful gold design above is an overspray, and disappears after a use or two, which is just fine with me.  What you’re left with is this:

NARS Boys Don't Cry High Voltage Blush swatch

I feel like this shade of blush was honestly made for my skintone – it’s so damn flattering!  Or maybe it was just made for everyone’s skintone – it’s got both a warmth and a coolness about it so that I think it would work on most people.  It also buffs out beautifully so that you can wear it with a light hand, or more intense if you so desire.  Below, I’m wearing it first with a more subtle touch – this was an actual look I wore (which incidentally accompanied the eye makeup in this post); in the rest of the shots I applied the shade more heavily so it would show up more strongly in photos.

NARS Boys Don't Cry High Voltage BlushIn sunlight, with a light hand

NARS Boys Don't Cry worn (2)Natural light, with a heavier application

Please note that the hardcore glow I’ve got going on in these photos is due to Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector and not from the blush – it is a matte formula, though not powdery at all so it melds with the skin beautifully.  I like that I can wear it over liquid products and it doesn’t get blotchy throughout the day like some other products I own.  In fact, this blush wears well throughout the entire day with very minimal fading overall, even in humidity.

NARS Boys Don't Cry worn (3) NARS Boys Don't Cry worn (4) NARS Boys Don't Cry worn

I really don’t know what else I can say about this blush that you can’t see clearly with your EYEBALLS – it’s frickin’ GORGEOUS.  I never really thought about a blush this shade before until suddenly there it was, and I am SO happy that I picked this up – as many of you have said, it’s A LOT of blush at 0.45oz (NARS blushes are usually 0.16oz), and I was intimidated as who really needs that much blush!?  But now that I have it, I would pay for even MOAR if it meant having this shade in my possession.  Of the 30+ blush I have, since it’s purchase I’ve worn this consistently more than any of my other shades.  And since it’s essentially seasonless (it can go all summer-flushed or windblown with ease), I don’t see that changing any time soon.

A big YIPEEEEEEEEEE to blush, and THANK YOU to NARS for making a shade like this :D :D :D

Did you pick up Boys Don’t Cry (or Rotonde)?  What shade of blush gets the most love from you in your collection?

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All the Pretty Sparkles: Highlighter Review & Swatches

Highlighters (7)

I often find that my best posts are those that are made up on a whim.  Sometimes I’ll be trying something out for my own personal pleasure, and it leads to something else entirely.  Today I had one such moment; I was trying to figure out just how I could wear my NARS Laguna Multiple effectively, as its quite pretty but gets very little use.  I usually smear it on right from the tube and then blend the heck out of it with my fingers, applying it as a highlight on top of my cheekbones and around my brow bones.  Today I tried buffing it in with a stippling brush, which seemed to work exceptionally well.  Then I wondered how it looked in sunlight, and stepped out on my balcony in the sunshine, only to be blasted with some serious sparkle!  Eeks!  I can tell you right now that it is NOT the kind of product you want to wear outside in the sun (so, best used on cloudy days or at night), or at least if you DO wear it, use a very light hand.  Lesson learned (and thankfully before I made the faux pas in public)!

Highlighters

Of course, this got me thinking about other highlighters/glow-makers I own and how they fare in the bright sunshine.  Of course, being a dutiful blogger, I took photos so we all can benefit from my experiment :)  I chose four others that are all permanent products in their respective brands: Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, and Burberry Fresh Glow.  You’ve seen swatches of some of these before in my Chanel Poudre Signée post, but here they are again (give or take a couple):

Highlighter Swatches (2) Highlighter SwatchesLeft to right: NARS The Multiple in Laguna, Benefit Watt’s Up, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, and Burberry Fresh Glow

First let me preface the following face swatches by saying that while I could plainly see the sparkle/shimmer in sunlight, it is incredibly hard to capture in photos!! SO frustrating.  With that in mind, please take my word for it whether or not something is visible or not, as it is tricky to see in the snaps I took ~grumbles~  Also, please note that all of these shots were taken on completely makeup-free skin (apologies for dark circles!), so there is no other potential shimmer interference (I cleansed my face thoroughly between each shot).

To begin, we have the Laguna Multiple I mentioned originally.  Very sparkly in sunlight, and I really would avoid wearing it outside – especially if you do not have my skintone (on me it’s more of a highlight), as it would then be deep bronze + super shimmer, and just wouldn’t be your best moment.  You’ll notice as you look through the other face pics that this one has the most noticeable shimmer, even in photographs.  BELIEVE IT.  However, it IS very pretty and I plan on using it on evenings out over this spring/summer.

NARS The Multiple in Laguna NARS The Multiple in Laguna (3)

Next, we have Benefit’s Watt’s Up luminizer – I only have a sample size of this but honestly that is enough, as a little goes a long way.  I want to say it’s my least favorite of the five, but today changed my mind a bit, as the initial BAM! sparkle of it seemed to settle after a couple minutes, and then it really just gave me this lovely radiance.  It’s still fairly shimmery, but not as much as the Laguna, and you could probably get away with it in the day if you went very minimal on shimmer elsewhere.  Also, I’d probably layer my blush OVER this rather than under (which you’d likely do anyway if you chose powder, as this is a cream, and that’d just get weird), which would tone it down a little bit too.  It took me AGES to get photos of this and I’m still not satisfied, so trust me when I say there IS visible shimmer (look for little particle-like things on my face – those are them :P).

Benefit Watt's Up (7) Benefit Watt's Up (6)

Moving right along, next is the insanely popular Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, in the shade Opal.  I snagged this deluxe sample in a swap about a month ago and I LOVE IT SO MUCH YOU GUYS.  I’m not going to go on a big ‘You have to buy this!’ rant, because everyone else has done such a good job – so just go buy it already!  This product comes very close to the ‘might be too shimmery for day’ line but manages to toe it exceptionally well, so you can totally rock it out all summer long.  I adore the glow this gives and because the shimmer particles are so small, they don’t look tacky at all, just nicely done.  I will continue to wear this now that the sun is out, day or night.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

Continuing on, we come to the Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer.  Next to Laguna this one is the most shimmery, and is also the only powder in the bunch.  This was one of my first highlighters (and again, its a small sample size compared to the real deal) and I tended to wear it more in the corners of my eyes than anywhere else.  Now, I wear it both ways (on my cheekbones too) but generally keep it to nighttime, as the shimmer combined with the lighter tone and powder formula can make it more obvious than I’d like.  Still, the powder is butter-smooth and is nice to have on hand now and again!

the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer (6)This second shot is kind of bizarro for sure, but it highlighted the shimmers so well I had to include it >_<

Finally, we have the most natural of the bunch, and my personal preference for a foolproof glow – Burberry’s Fresh Glow Luminizing Base.  If you recall, I bought this last year as a birthday treat for myself (which I think I might do every year – buy Burberry makeup, I mean!) and was unsure if it was genius or useless.  Well, consider me converted because this give the most subtle yet glowing look of the bunch.  It can be worn a multitude of ways: on bare skin, under foundation, over foundation, mixed in with foundation, etc. – but I prefer to use either on a bare face to just give me a pick me up if I’m going super low-key, or on top of foundation on the high points of the face.  Even though there is shimmer, somehow there is no shimmer - like Houdini or something.  I haven’t quite figured it out, but I will say that looking at it worn in full sunshine today for the first time, I was totally amazed – I looked utterly radiant but like I had absolutely nothing on.  Kind of like how you look when you put on a face oil, and you look glowing, but without the adding ‘shine’ factor.  Good times.  Dammit Burberry, why is everything you do SO DAMN EXPENSIVE GOOD?

Burberry Fresh Glow Burberry Fresh Glow (2)

Thus concludes my research – I hope you found it helpful!  I know it’s tough to see the nuances between shots but I think the gist is there in terms of comparing the five.  As always, this kind of post is helpful for me too, so yay for killing two birds with one stone!

Highlighters (6)

Do you wear a highlighter?  What formula/finish do you prefer?  Which of these ones would you choose?

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Fun with Fuchsia: American Apparel Neon Violet Polish, NARS Desire Blush, and Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss

As some of you may know, I’ve been in a slight polish slump for the past while.  Nothing has really got me excited much, though I have picked up a few shades here and there (as seen in my last post) that were great additions to my collection.  Last week I was admittedly quite enamoured with China Glaze’s new Dandy Lyin’ Around, a sparkling white polish, but by the end of the week, as usual I was ready for a change.  I was feeling kinda frisky (huh?) and pulled out American Apparel’s Neon Violet polish, a blue-leaning bold pink, which is part of their Neon collection that came out quite a while ago.  I haven’t given this polish much love for whatever reason, though it often draws my eye as it stands out a lot amid the other shades in my stash.  As soon as I put it on, my love was seriously revived – guys, this is a fantastic shade!!  I’ve shown pics to you before (once as a pedicure and once on a friend’s hand) but I’m not sure I’ve given it enough due – you really gotta check it out.  Aside from the glorious color, it’s a near one-coater with a great formula – it’s just FABULOUS.

American Apparel Neon Violet swatch American Apparel Neon Violet swatch (6)

Anyway, it got me thinking again about skintone and whether I am more cool or warm – this is most definitely a cool-leaning shade, and while I inherently think I’m warm-toned because of my caramel coloring, more and more I think I might actually just be neutral, leaning neither way, because I seem to be able to pull off shades all over the color spectrum (hooray for me!).  I also am realizing that it has a lot more to do with just finding the right shade within each color range, rather than whether or not you can wear ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ tones.  After all this thought and over the past few months with some of the beauty accruals I’ve made, I have found my jam in one area at least – fuchsia.

Fuchsia makeup

A few months ago, I was on this kick where I wanted to collect NARS blushes – I already owned four and I thought I’d just keep going with it.  I’ve since kind of gotten over that, but not before I scored Desire in a swap.  Initially I thought it was probably a stupid move – a cool ‘cotton candy pink’ on my skintone??  I just wasn’t convinced.  And since I received the shade in the late summer, which did not seem like the season for this color, I left it alone for ages.

When winter rolled around, I figured it was time to give this ago and decide if I was going to keep it or not.  As true for many NARS blushes, it has great pigmentation, and because it’s completely matte it’s exceptionally wearable (as a general rule, I find bright pink + shimmer = TOO DAMN MUCH).  The first time I wore it, I happened to pair it with heavy black liner and naked lips, and BAM!  Compliments galore!!  It looked smokin’ (sadly, I do not have pics from that day).  It was then that I started to think that fuchsia might be a color I want to start giving more of a chance.

NARS Desire Blush

One night a couple months ago when Illamasqua was having their last huge sale, I was perusing the site – and on top of discovering that my current blush lemming Crush was on sale, I also could score the Sheer Lipgloss in Divine (a ‘deep fuchsia pink’) for 1/3 of the regular price.  When my package arrived, I was pleased to find that Divine was a wonderful addition to my gloss collection, as it was unlike anything I already own.  Additionally, it’s smooth, non-sticky formula was a pleasure to use, and while it isn’t as pigmented as it looks in the tube, its a great shade to brighten up my face in a pinch.

Fuchsia gloss and blushFuchsia gloss and blush (2)Swatches: Illamasqua Divine (left), NARS Desire (right)

As I already noted, I had previously always thought I had a warm-leaning skintone, so when I saw evidence of how yet another cool-based color looked great, I was finally convinced – fuchsia rocks my world!!

Illamasqua Divine lip swatch FOTD MUFE 21L and Illamasqua DivineWearing Illamasqua Divine Lipgloss

Out of all this discovery, one thing became glaringly clear – I desperately need a bright fuchsia lipstick!!  The lovely Sarah from Beauty and the Baked Goods send me Revlon’s Sweet Tart lip butter, which is a great pink, but it leans more candy-colored.  I’ve been doing my research and I’m torn between Bite Beauty’s High Pigment Matte Pencil in Quince $28CAD (described as a rose berry – but looks pretty fuchsia to me), YSL’s Rouge Volupte Radiant Lipstick in Rose Culte $39CAD (a ‘vivid fuchsia’), or new NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu $30CAD (a ‘shocking pink’).  I haven’t gotten to swatch the NARS pencil in person yet, so not sure if it’s the right tone, but the other two totally do it for me – it’s likely I’ll opt for the Bite pencil as it’s more reasonably priced and I have yet to try a lippie from the brand.

All said and done, I’m pretty stoked that I’ve stumbled upon a go-to shade that seems to work so well with my skintone.  I’ve made several discoveries of this kind over the past couple months while funds have been so limited – I’ve been taking the time to play more and make more informed decisions about what I purchase when I have the means to do so, and it’s been a positive learning experience :)

Fuchsia makeup (2)

What unlikely makeup / polish shades have you discovered to really work for you?

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Playing Where’s Waldo with My Makeup Collection

I spent two hours – TWO HOURS! – last night, researching what products and shades I should to order from Becca Cosmetics (a brand I’ve yet to try and desperately want to).  My (totally logical – I swear!) reason for doing this?  To avoid purchasing any shades that were similar to ones I already own.  I DID come up with a (very) pared down list, you’ll be happy to hear; if you’re interested (and FYI – the blog Shades of BECCA is a good resource for some swatches):

Papaya Beach Tint $30CAD (hot red)

Becca Papaya Beach Tint

Fallen Angel Ultimate Color Gloss $29CAD (nude spice)

Becca Fallen Angel gloss

There were a handful of other products I liked the look of, but in checking out swatches, they seemed to be too close to items I already own (though, c’mon, the brand is gorgeous and I could have easily gone for one of everything!).  Which brings me to the point.

You’re all familiar with my organizational obsession right? (and…if you’re new and not aware: Hello!  My name is Latoya and YES, I have a problem which manifests itself into a bit of compulsive organization.  Could be worse!)  Anyway, another problem I have is lack of funds; when you own a home on your own and don’t make the big bucks, things can get tricky.  However, I have ANOTHER problem (jeez, someone institutionalize me, will ya?), which is that I love shopping – for cosmetics in particular.  Smash the three of these together and what do you get?  Well…you get THIS:

Blush Collection (2)My poor broken MAC blush up on the right :(

What ‘THIS’ is, is me taking a good look at an area of my makeup collection – specifically blush/bronzers in this instance – and seeing where I have gaps.  By gaps, I mean: what shades do I lack that I can justify buying, in order to round out my stash and also quell the burning desire to shop my face off.  Ya dig?  This fantabulous idea kills three birds three mosquitoes (no one cares about those) with one big-ass swat.   I get to organize something*, figure out what shades or products I’m missing, and rationally and systematically purchase new items that are on my wishlist and fit the ‘missing’ bill.  BOOM!

*Seriously guys, I joke but….I really like organizing things.  So much so, that near the end of the month I’m signing up for a Professional Organizers intro course to see if I’d like to become a professional organizer for realz.  It’s THAT serious :S

So, as you can see, I’m starting with blush – because clearly blush is THE BEST EVER and deserves the number one spot for allowing EVEN MORE BLUSH.  Because clearly 20 (+ 7 bronzer-type things and 2 mini-blush) are NOT ENOUGH.

(I swear I’m not on the sauce tonight guys – I just feel a little peppy ’cause I’m back into running and signed up for the Ottawa 1/2 Marathon in May…wooo! :D)

Berry & Orange blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita, NARS Turkish Red, Illamasqua Tweak; NARS Taj Mahal, Make Up For Ever Blush Powder #25, Illamasqua Lover, Make Up For Ever HD Blush #12 First Kiss

Plums and RussetsLeft to right (flash): NARS Sin, Bobbi Brown Velvet Plum (discontinued shade); MAC Raizin, CoverFX Bronzed FX in Garnet, Burberry Russet, MAC Early Morning

Even with 20+ blush, I can plainly see what shades I’m lacking: A bright red! (NARS Turkish Red is more of a burgundy)  A true orange! (NARS Taj Mahal is kind of a burnt orange and quite shimmery)  A neutral pink! (…I literally do not own one beige-y pink blush, for shame)   A nice deep berry would be lovely!  And also – varying formulations!  I have NO cheek tints, and only four cream blush.  You see, there actually ARE shades/formulas I do not have despite having far more blush than is probably necessary.  And then, there are shades I need NO more of, like medium pinks…I have enough of those, yep.  I don’t think I need any more bronzers, especially since I rarely wear them and I’m already kinda *ahem* bronze.  I only really have a couple coral shades, which tends to be the one a lot of people go gaga for (myself included), but I’ll hold off till the warmer months on thinking about those right now.  Same goes for apricot-hued shades.

Pink and Coral blush swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Desire, Illamasqua Unrequited (discontinued shade*), theBalm Down Boy, Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel, Benefit Bella Bamba, Illamasqua Hussy, Bobbi Brown Calypso Coral, NARS Torrid, theBalm Hot Mama

Bronzer swatchesLeft to right (flash): NARS Laguna Illuminator, Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder, NARS Laguna Multiple, MAC Refined Golden Bronzing Powder, Milani Sunset Duos in Sunset Beach, Clinique Bronze Uplighting, Estee Lauder Illuminating Gelee in Shimmering Sands

What I’m wondering is, what gaps do YOU see?  Since I only have my stash to compare it to, I can’t get a good idea of what I’m missing.  What shades can you suggest that I should focus on buying?

Blush Collection

I’m planning on doing this little experiment with all my makeup over the next little while, so be prepared: more lame examples of my organizational obsession coming your way!  But do come back anyway, because I need your help :)

Is your makeup collection where you want it to be, or do you have a few gaps you’d like to fill?

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A Hint of Fall: NARS Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil in More (Review & Swatches)

I know I’m terribly late to the game posting on this product, but as it’s not limited edition I figured that it wasn’t pressing to post it ASAP (hope that’s OK!).  NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in More is my first Velvet lip pencil from NARS, and I have to say that as a lippie I’m a fan!  I find it extremely easy to handle and apply (though I suspect that with a more intense shade the ability for precision might be lacking just a touch).

More is a terracotta shade that could work as either a brownish shade or almost a nude on more pigmented lips.  I find that the pencil itself looks different in different lighting (as evidenced by the shots above and below) – for the most part it’s truly a medium, warm, slightly orange-y brown that is perfect for the autumnal tones of the season.

On my deeper skin tone, it definitely leans more toward being a nude-neutral shade, but with a hint of interest, which I like.  Sometimes I find ‘nude’ tones can easily wash one out, but I think unless you have a very dark skin tone, this one won’t go in that direction.  It also helps that this pencil has only medium pigmentation – it covers easily but it’s too dense, which allows the natural lip tone to show through a bit and keep things from veering too ‘done.’

SunlightFlash

Though this is technically a ‘gloss,’ I don’t find it terribly glossy, but rather more balm-like with a creamy texture and soft shine finish.  As I don’t own any other Velvet Gloss pencils I can’t comment on whether or not others are much more glossy, but I would hazard to guess they aren’t high shine overall as the pencil form can’t physically allow for that.  I have tested one other shade, Mexican Rose I believe, and while I loved it, it bled in my lip lines terribly – which is quite a feat, as I have few!  More does not have the same effect, which I attribute to the shade itself not being as bright and pigmented.

Wearing ‘More’ with MAC’s Raizin blush and NARS Via Appia eye liner.

Though it’s not necessarily a shade I reach for often – I’m killing the deep berry lips this season! – I still really like More and its wearability for more neutral looks like the one above (which, incidentally, I LOVED).  The creamy texture and ease of application has ensured that I’ll definitely pick up more shades in the future, and perhaps even some of the Velvet Matte lipsticks as well!  They’re perfect for toting around or for travel, and since I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, it’s a bit plus in my books.

For those of you interested, the ingredient list is below (no parabens, and no fragrance – woohoo!):

I seem to be on a ‘brown’ roll here….

What do you think of More?  Have you tried the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils from NARS?  Do you like the application method?  Which are your favorite shades? 

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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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June Lemmings, or: When Being an Adult is Kind Of a Bummer

~sigh~ Even though most of my focus is on the condo and any upcoming home-related purchases, a girl’s still got to be frivolous once in a while, and I’ve got my eye on a few sweet products this month.  I may not be able to score them all right away, but rest assured – these babies WILL be mine one day soon!

1) Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco Masque

A couple years ago I was desperate to try this masque with it’s mega-Summery scent, but either the timing was off (I only really want to smell coconutty in the warmer months, and/or if I already had a treatment on the go, I didn’t really need a new one), or I didn’t have justifiable funds to spend the $33CAD on what is a relatively small tube (5oz) of product.  I happened to be browsing through Mills last week while I was working the Clinique GWP, and realized that the stars were all aligning, as I’m just running out of my current deep conditioner, and lo and behold, it’s (almost) Summer!  Funds aren’t any better than they were before, but hey, two outta three ain’t bad :)

2) NARS Casino Bronzer

Also while passing the time while working a shift at Mills, I tried on Casino, a somewhat shimmery bronzer that gives my skin an insanely fabulous glow.  I had set up a swap for this back in March, but after waiting months to receive my end, it fell through *long, long, LONG, story there* so I never got my chance.  At that time I hadn’t even done more than swatch this product, but now after trying it on my face, I really gotta have this now!

3) Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand and Cuticle Cream SPF25

With the sunshine out and about, I’m all too aware that my skin is being exposed to aging rays, and hands in particular are one of the biggest places on the body that show signs of aging.  Deb Lippmann’s hand cream is chock-full of shea butter, avocado and jojoba oil (and it’s clear from the ingredient list!), smells yummy, and has a fairly high SPF to boot.  Sign me up, please!

4) Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick, or Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in GD804

Haha, yea, one or the other, right!?  I keep reading great reviews about the Shiseido lipstick formula, so I’d love to check them out, but I also love the feel of their eyeshadows, and this particular trio has such an interesting shade combination – like a periwinkle blue, yellow gold, and shimmering khaki.  Yowza!!

5) MAC Lip & Cheek Colors from the Casual Colors Collection ~sigh~

Often I am able to resist MAC’s charms, but every so often – usually with blush – I get reeled in.  These Casual Color pots for lips and cheeks just look so relaxed and easy to use, how can I resist?  Thankfully, many of the shades are too fair for my skin, so only two caught my eye – Out for Fun, a ‘cool coral,’ and Keep It Casual, a ‘warm wine.’

I actually only own two cream-based blushes, and since these moonlight as a lippie you get more bang for your buck.  I’m planning on checking them out in store on Monday when I’m off, so we’ll see…I had high hopes for the Tres Cheek collection and ended up passing on the whole lot, so it could very well happen again!

I find that my lemmings list is so extensive now that it’s almost hard to come up with just five to write about each month.  On top of that, I find that looking back, I’ve only picked up a handful out of all the items I’ve noted, and I really want to make sure I’m showcasing products that I actually hope/plan to purchase.  I think the list above is pretty realistic :)

What are you lemming this month?  Any opinions on my lemmings?  Any good/bad experiences?

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Sweet! It’s My Birthday Month! Check Out What Lemmings I’m TOTALLY Justified in Buying

Ah May.  The ultimate Spring month here in Canada, full of…er, well, rain, and…well, OK, only sunshine some of the time here in Halifax, but it’s enough to get the buds on the trees come out and the flowers blooming!   May ALSO happens to be the month of my birth (and that of two of my aunts, my mother, my boyfriend’s mother…adding to that Mother’s Day, and it’s a busy month), so I can’t help but be in good cheer.

This year, I turn the big 3-0!  I’m pretty stoked, and as such I have a few treats I hope to indulge myself in, particular as it’s such a special year.  I’m sorely tempted to really splash out, especially considering I’ve been so good this past month, but I think I’m going to try and hold off a bit longer.  We shall see!  In the meantime, here is my *reasonable* list of what I hope to spoil myself with this month:

1) NARS Trouville Nail Lacquer

This shade is just TOO pretty, and I could seriously use a bit of pumping up in my ~pretty / feminine~ stock of nail polish colors, particularlyl pink.  I don’t own any NARS shades yet, so that’s always an extra incentive!

2) Clarins Kohl Kajal in Violet (from the Enchanted Summer collection)

After seeing the similar Guerlain kohl kajal liner, falling in love, and then seeing it compared to Clarins’ much more pigmented version at Beauty Black Book, I decided I MUST have this!  The deep violet shade will be wearable in pretty much every season, and I’d love to try it out on my waterline.

The violet shade appears to not be sold here, or at least not in two of the Shoppers Drug Mart’s I’ve seen the collection in.  I haven’t checked out Sears/The Bay yet, but WTF?!  I want this even more now.

3) Dior Summer Mix Collection

I just can’t help but adore the fun mix of brights in this collection!  Particularly I’m loving the polishes Acapulco (bright yellow) and Lagoon (bold ocean blue), and the repromote of the Orange Pareo lip gloss from the current Croisette collection, which I’m passing on right now but might be persuaded to change my mind in a few weeks :P

4) Chanel Delight Vernis (middle)

See a theme here?  I’m back on a nail polish kick, I guess!  The first promo shots I saw of this polish, I wanted it BAD.  Then I talked myself out of it.  Then I saw Eugenia’s shots (at Ommorphia Beauty Bar) and it reminded me just how amazing that polish is.  I am buying this TOMORROW (Summertime de Chanel FINALLY arrived in store today!).

5) Burberry Beauty SOMETHING

I feel that as it’s my birthday month, and my 30th year at that, that an extra special something is in order.  That typically means big $$ or ordering something from online / another province / country.  I’ve been debating on what that should be exactly, but I think it’s time to splurge on some Burberry.  The packaging itself just looks so damn luxurious!  I want to resist buying another blush or eyeshadow, as I feel I have quite enough already thankyouverymuch, but I mean – what else is there?  That I can buy sight-unseen.  Because I don’t feel comfortable buying a lippie without trying it on.  And I really want to buy one or two super-fantastical items for myself.  So I’ve deemed Burberry is it.  Probably Gold Trench eyeshadow and Rose blush.  And I CANNOT FREAKIN’ WAIT.

So that’s my list for the month.  All things I’d LOVE to own.  However, this has been a strange past month.  I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on buying much of anything.  There are too many other things I’m trying to save for (a camera, a new phone, New Zealand…) that are weighing on my mind most of the time, and I just can’t seem to bring myself to spend money on items I don’t really *need*.  Which isn’t much fun, is it!?  However, my mother gave me birthday money to buy an Ikea Alex drawer unit (the black 6-drawer one on casters) and I have a feeling that once I have all that storage space for my makeup, I’m going to want to fill it up a bit ;)

What are you lemming lately?  Any great products I should know about!?  Please, share!

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