Posts Tagged Urban Decay

How Convenient That Pantone’s Color of the Year Was Also PERFECT for St. Patty’s Day!

So.  Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day!  7 years ago (OMG how time flies…barf) I was in Dublin for Paddy’s Day (as they shorthand it in Ireland), and yea…it was as crazy as you’d imagine it to be!  Not so much a drunken mess, but just the sheer amount of people…yowza.  It was a fantabulous time, and I’ll never forget it!

As the years pass, it seems the crew of hardcore Paddy’s Day party-goers dwindles in my crowd – job responsibilities, babies, and aging in general all seem to keep everyone at home on one of the most fun days of the year ~tear~  Thankfully, I have an excellent partner-in-crime who I can always count on to celebrate with me!  This year it was just the two of us, so it was more low-key than usual, but I still made sure to dress the part – which includes green makeup (and nails), of course!

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (5)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (7)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (4)

I usually do a lot more green on the eye, but since it wasn’t a rip-roaring party I went subdued and just wore a simple flash of green liner on the top lash line.  I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liner in Covet (an emerald green with silver microglitter) on top of MAC’s Blacktrack Fluidline – the black gave the green more depth and helped the line look more crisp.  I added MAC All That Glitters shadow all over the lid, as I find it gives the most beautiful shine to the eye without ever seeming like too much, and then a dab of Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill shadow in #6 Khaki Pulse to the crease to add a little bit more depth.  *Side note – anyone notice that I’m trying to grow my eyebrows out?  It’s so frickin’ hard dude!  I want to pluck all the random stray hairs but I’m trying to be patient ~sigh~ They are coming along though :)

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (2)

Since it was going to be a long day, I wore MUFE’s HD Blush in #12 First Kiss on bare cheeks, layered foundation on top, and then added a touch of MAC’s Mineralize Blush in Early Morning to make sure my blush had good staying power.  I quite liked the way it made my skin look kind of lit from within.  I don’t usually layer cream and powder blushers but I really need to get on that!  I topped off my cheekbones and other high points of the face with MAC’s Beauty Powder in Shell Pearl, which gives the best glow – I finally got my hands on the Year of the Snake version last week and I LOVE this product.  Review will be forthcoming!

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013  (3)

I finished with a very simple lip using Benefit’s Ultra Plush gloss in Hoola.  I didn’t want anything competing with the green liner, so this gave the barest hint of shimmer and warmth, but that’s about it.

St. Patty's Day Makeup 2013

Of course, the look isn’t finished – gotta get some flash on the nails too, right!?  Because I’m not a fan of green nail polish as a whole, I don’t actually own any that are going to give me serious pizazz.  But I have shades with a green tinge… haha.  I made it work, I think!  I just read about sideways manicures, so I tried it out – easiest nail art EVER.  And also my new favorite!!

St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 (3) St. Patty's Day Nails 2013 (2)

The shades I used were a-England Tess d’Urbervilles as a base, and Chanel Peridot on top.  This was probably more subtle than I should have gone with – the nature of Peridot with it’s duochrome nature just makes the a-England shade look like a shadow.  Nonetheless, I loved the effect, and loved how darn easy this one (no nail stickers required – freehand works perfectly!), so I’ll definitely be trying this again and again with other shades.  Fun!

I always have intentions to get these kinds of event posts up before the actual event, but who am I kidding?  That’s never going to happen – I’m too busy prepping for the occasion to actually have time to post!  LOL  Anyway, all the other bloggers have got this covered for me :D  And it’s not like I did anything particularly unique, and both the makeup and nails could be done any time of the year, right?

How did you celebrate Paddy’s Day??  Did you do any themed makeup and/or nails?

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Swatching Is Rough (AKA My Eyeshadow Collection)

Eyeshadow Collection (3)

I was going to leave my eyeshadow collection ’till last to swatch in my ‘find the gaps’ series of posts, but the superstorm (which…is kind of lackluster – yea, there’s lots of snow, but I want some action, darn it!) seemed like the perfect time to just get ‘er done – so I did!  Oh man…for those of you who have larger collections than mine, I feel sorry for you if you attempt to do this – it is a BIG EFFING ORDEAL.  I started last night and got just over halfway through before both (!) arms had had enough.  I continued today and after needing to re-swatch several shade categories to get them *just right*, my left arm is just burning (as you’ll notice in the photos – red spots galore!).  So: enough.  I’m ready to rock ‘n roll.  Now – let’s get into ‘er!

Note: All shades are permanent within their respective brands except where otherwise noted.

WHITE EYESHADOWWhite Eyeshadow Swatches - AVON, Urban Decay UziAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (satin white)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Uzi (shimmer w/glitter) (LE)
 
‘HIGHLIGHT’ EYESHADOWHighlight Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE 920, KATE BR-2, MAC VexMake Up For Ever Star Powder in #920 (iridescent)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (white gold pearl)
MAC Eyeshadow in Vex (frost)
 
NUDE EYESHADOWNude Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Next to Nothing, Laura Mercier Suspense, Burberry TrenchMAC Eyeshadow in Next to Nothing (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – frost) (LE)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte cool beige) (LE)
Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench (satin)
 
BEIGE, CHAMPAGNE & PEACH EYESHADOWPeach-Champagne Eyeshadow Swatches (9)Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (shimmer w/glitter)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #13 Warm Beige (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Snatch (shimmer w/glitter)
Kate Real Create Eyeshadow BR-2 Palette (soft peachy shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Arena (satin)
 
GOLD EYESHADOWGold Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Melon, Laura Mercier Gilded Moonlight, Clinique Gold GlimmerMAC Pigment in Melon (frost)
Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Gilded Moonlight (pearl) (LE)
Clinique Touch Tint for Eyes in Gold Glimmer (shimmer) (discontinued)
 
COPPER & ORANGE EYESHADOWOrange-Copper Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Amber Lights, Ardene 8BMAC Eyeshadow in Amber Lights (frost)
Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B (pearl)
 
BRONZE EYESHADOWBronze Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Cocomotion, UD Smog, MAC Tempting, Clinique Rum SpiceMAC Pigment in Cocomotion (frost) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Smog (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Tempting (lustre)
Clinique Color Surge Super Shimmer Eyeshadow in Rum Spice (shimmer)
 
BROWN EYESHADOWBrown Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Dark Edge, KATE BR-2, MUFE #17, Laura Mercier Suspense DuoMAC Eyeshadow in Dark Edge (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (deep brown shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #17 Espresso (matte)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte burgundy brown) (LE)
 
TAUPE-BROWN EYESHADOWS
Brown-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan, KATE BR-2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Suspect (shimmer)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (beige-gold taupe) (shimmer) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (taupe shimmer)
 
TAUPE-PURPLE EYESHADOWS
Purple-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Grand Palais, LMdB Corinthian, MAC Shale, bareMinerals Meteorite, Hourglass ExhibitionNARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (silver-taupe shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (mauve shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Shale (satin)
bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color in Meteorite (frost)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Corinthian (shimmer)
 
RED & PINK EYESHADOWPink-Red Eyeshadow Swatches - L'Oreal Golden Mahogany, Chanel Abstraction, Avon Smokey EyesL’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Abstraction (shimmer)
Avon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (matte light pink)
 
MAUVE & ROSE EYESHADOW
Rose-Mauve Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Bordello, UD Last Call, NARS Grand PalaisUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Bordello (shimmer w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call (metallic)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (matte dusty rose)
 
PLUM EYESHADOW
Plum Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Habanera, UD Rockstar, Hourglass Exhibition
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (sparkling plum)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Rockstar (shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (eggplant shimmer)
 
PURPLE EYESHADOW
Purple Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Psychedelic Sister, MAC InfamousUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Psychedelic Sister (shimmer)
MAC Paint in Infamous (metallic) (discontinued)
 
BLUE EYESHADOW
Blue Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Radium, MAC Blue Boy, MAC Blue EdgeMAC Paint in Blue Boy (metallic) (discontinued)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Radium (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Blue Edge (matte w/shimmer) (discontinued)
 
AQUA & TEAL EYESHADOWS
Teal-Aqua Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Rajasthan, theBalm Jealous Jordana, UD Loaded, MUFE #8E, Illamasqua Burst, UD Money, NARS Habanera, UD Haight
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (blackened teal shimmer) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Loaded (metallic)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Jealous Jordana (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E (matte)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Haight (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Money (shimmer w/micro-glitter) (LE)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (mint frost)
 
GREEN EYESHADOW
Green Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Kush, LMdB Jade, UD Mildew, MAC Sharp, Lise Watier Folie Pomme, MUFE #57Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Kush (shimmer w/micro-glitter)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Jade (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mildew (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Sharp (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
Lise Watier Couleur Folle Eyeshadow in Folie Pomme (iridescent shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #57 Chartreuse (satin)
 
YELLOW EYESHADOW
Yellow Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE #24, MAC Bright Future
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #24 Yellow (matte)
MAC Eyeshadow in Bright Future (
 
KHAKI EYESHADOW
Khaki Eyeshadow Swatches - Armani #24, Armani #6, Clinique Autumn Moss
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadow in #24 Smokey Copper (shimmer)
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #6 Khaki Pulse (shimmer)
Clinique Color Surge Soft Shimmer Eyeshadow in Autumn Moss (satin)
 
TAUPE-SILVER EYESHADOWS
Silver-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Maui Wowie, Bobbi Brown Pewter, theBalm Insane Jane, MUFE #2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Maui Wowie (metallic w/glitter)
Bobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter (frost) (LE)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #2 Steel (shimmer)
 
GREY EYESHADOW
Grey Eyeshadow Swatches - Avon Smokey EyesAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (medium grey & dove grey) (shimmer)
 
BLACK EYESHADOWS
Black Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Perversion, MAC Dark SoulMAC Pigment in Dark Soul (frost w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Perversion (matte)
 

….PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you make it??

Eyeshadow Collection (4)

…So.  To be honest, when I started swatching all my makeup, I was originally just trying to find a way to justify new purchases – if it could be considered a shade I didn’t already own, then I would feel free to go for it.  However, now I’ve discovered that being so fully aware of what I own, has made me really excited to play with my current collection, instead of seeking out new products.  I especially noticed this with this eyeshadow post – there are so truly fabulous shades in there!  While there are still of course colors I’d like to pick up to fill the gaps (namely – a lilac and a skintone [MY skintone, to clarify] shade, among a couple others), overall I’m WELL aware I have a ton of shades to rock out and don’t really *need* anything else at the moment.  I did notice I have a lot less color than I imagined, but that’s actually OK because I don’t tend to wear it a ton and try to avoid buying a lot of it only for it to go unused.  I think my stash is fairly representative of the kind of makeup I wear day to day!  So SCORE for being logical in my purchases :)

Eyeshadow Collection

I am kinda worn out from the work necessary to do this post, so I’m done now LOL.  But – I have questions for you!

Do you see any gaps that I could fill?  What shades make up the bulk of your eyeshadow collection?? Also – anyone bother to count how many shades I have?  I’m too tired now to bother LOL

Eyeshadow Collection (2)

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End of Summer Glow with Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzing Powder

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I struggle with bronzers – not necessarily how to wear them, but if they should be worn at all on my dark skin.  The main purpose of bronzer is to fake a ‘faux tan’ and, well…I kind of have that on the regular.  However, they ALSO are used to give one’s skin a healthy glow, and to this end that look is what I’m trying to achieve (I think).  Last year I thought I found ‘THE’ product in NARS’ Laguna Illuminator, however it contains sparkly bits that look unnatural in sunshine and are better left for evening events.  Earlier in the year I snagged MAC’s Refined Golden bronzer (which I think I’ve had before) via swap, but then I went away down South and was too tan for it to do much of anything.  I was hoping to get NARS’ Casino bronzer through another swap, but that fell through.  So all summer long I’ve been sans bronzer, which of course isn’t a big deal when you have 20+ blush to play with instead, but nevertheless, my hunt was not truly over.

A few weeks ago I engaged in a swap for a Too Faced Sun Bunny bronzer, and upon receiving it I was unsure how I’d feel about it.  While I’ve read great reviews about the Too Faced bronzers, they seemed so shimmery and unwearable when I swatched them in-store (hence why I swapped for it!).  I finally had a chance to try it on today, and I was very surprized to find that I really liked it!

ShadeSunFlash

The powder is smooth and finely milled, and feels soft on the skin.  Once on, it actually doesn’t look shimmery but rather imparts a great glow to the face.  I wore the bronze side mainly on the underside of my cheeks, with a light dusting around my temples, and then added a touch of the lighter side on my cheekbones for some extra illumination.  I kept taking photo after photo to see if I could ‘catch’ the shimmer in action, but all that appeared was a natural, warm radiance.

SunlightSunlight

I included an eye makeup shot because I was diggin’ it – UD’s Crash on the top lash line, smudged, and Lise Watier’s Gold Eye Shine underneath – simple and easy!

It’s been a terribly hot and humid summer, and today was no exception.  I applied this late in the morning and it’s still going strong sans primer 6 hours later, without making me look shiny or enhancing my pores.  It’s only slightly muted, and I’m still rockin’ the warm and glowy, without the greasy-shiny.  I’m definitely impressed!  This bronzer is described as a ‘year-round’ shade, and I can definitely see that working – for my skintone as well as others.  Blending the two shades together would create a lighter tone overall that perhaps even the fairest could use; however, it’s *just* deep enough for me, tanned, so it would be more of a highlight to anyone much darker than I (around NC42 for reference).

Flash

I have to admit, I don’t have much experience with Too Faced as a brand, but this bronzer far surpasses my expectations.  I guiltily am affected by packaging, and I find that the line leaves much to be desired – I know some find it whimsical, but I merely find it juvenile.  However, in this instance what you see is definitely not what you get.  The quality of this bronzer is quite lovely and the $36CAD (0.33oz) price tag is fairly easy to swallow, though of course I didn’t pay that price :P   I won’t go so far as to say I’ve found THE bronzer for me (I have commitment issues, OK?), but I’m definitely going to get use out of this product for the rest of the season and beyond!

What is your favorite bronzer?  Do you go for a matte, or a glow (or more obvious shimmer)?  What makeup do you wear to transition into fall?

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Summer Favorites (I Couldn’t Pick Just One!)

G’day to everyone!!  I have been MIA for a while, longer than usual anyway – I have a backlog of photos of products to post, but I can’t seem to get inspired to write anything about them!  Not that they aren’t all great in their different ways, but I guess I’m starting to feel like I’m just pumping out product reviews and not enough substance, you know?  I need some time to do some more FOTD’s with underused products – now THAT was fun :)

I’m also doing an overhaul of my makeup stash and letting go of even more products that I just don’t use.  I’ve been obsessing over my wishlist far too much and it’s getting to the point where I’m almost turned off the whole thing (as in, the buy buy buy! cycle).  I updated my swap list on MUA and have been engaged in several different exchanges, trying to acquire things that I’ve been lemming but are core color products of a brand – I want to save most of my purchases for seasonal items or ‘big-ticket’ purchases that aren’t so easily swapped for.  I’m thinking about doing a blog sale as well, though I don’t know how exciting some of the products may be…thoughts!?

In the meantime, I thought I’d do a ‘Summer Favorites’ rundown, versus my favorite of the month, because there hasn’t been just one thing I’ve been loving in July, but there have been a handful of things I keep returning to over and over!

Even though I love brights in the summer – vivid tropical hues that I never wear the rest of the year – I rarely have opportunities to wear them (I sometimes get ~crazy~ at work but overall I try to keep it appropriate).  Often, my palette includes more natural, glowing hues that highlight my tanned skin and healthy glow, rather than being in-your-face.  It’s one of the few times of the year where wearing less usually works to your advantage, and I like to capitalize on that!

I managed to snag Urban Decay’s ‘Lucky’ 24/7 Eyeliner Pencil in a swap last year, and although I loved how it looked, I didn’t wear it too often.  However, this year in my effort to spread the love throughout my stash, I started playing with it more, and I think I’ve found my go-to makeup look: this, smudged over black eyeliner on both top and bottom lashes, enhances my eyes subtly but with a kind of bad-ass twist.  It’s been a staple in my summer routine many days now, and I absolutely LOVE it.  The metallic nature of this liner and the warm coppery hue, toned down a bit by the black, gives a depth to my makeup that is just perfect.

On days when I’m aiming to look even more natural, or to give a subtle glow to my look, I opt for MAC’s Melon Pigment, also another swap find (yay to being economical!), a peachy-gold metallic.  On fair-medium skin, I hear the peach tones help it look particularly striking, especially on blue-eyed gals.  On my skintone, it looks more golden than peach, and is fairly subtle – though it can be built up if need be, or applied wet.  With just this and a whole lot of black mascara, I can create a wide-open eye that catches the light just so.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I could even use this as a highlight on my cheekbones (though this probably only works for darker skinned gals).

The Milani Sunset Beach bronzer is one of the most inexpensive items in my stash, yet I wear this every day – the brownish tone is a slightly warm but overall neutral hue that works fabulously as a contour shade just under the cheekbone.  It’s not too orange or muddy, and it’s got a great pigmentation that’s not heavy but just right to work well in layers if needed.  If I’m in a hurry, buffing this on my temples, bridge of the nose, and just under the jawline as well gives me a great warmth and really makes me look polished with very little effort.

Obviously you’ve already heard all about my love of Chanel’s Inattendu polish – it’s just the perfect nude, especially for summer, when the warmer tones flatter skin so nicely.  And because I wear SO many brights this time of year, it acts as the perfect counter-point.  You really can’t go wrong!

MAC’s Lychee Luxe Lipglass is a glorious coral-pink shade with golden shimmer, and is so pretty on that I forgive it’s sticky texture.  I can wear this with a variety of looks, either bold eyes or more natural, with golds and brights and jewel-tones, and it works for each one of them.  On my somewhat pigmented lips and with my darker skin, it looks warm and juicy, giving my lips just enough color without ever being overwhelming or stealing the show.  While I have decided not to buy any more MAC Lipglasses because of the texture problem mentioned, I’ll be genuinely sad to see this one go – and it’s only got about 1/3 left!

While all of these shades work perfectly for day or night, I’ve generally been wearing only loose powder to lightly even out my skintone during the day.  When I’m headed to an event or out for the evening however, I like to look a bit more pulled together, and I’ve been using Make Up For Ever’s Face & Body foundation* in #18 ($40CAD) – a super lightweight foundation that covers imperfections without feeling heavy or like you’re wearing much of anything.  As it’s water-based, its quite thin and is perfect for the hot, makeup-melting days of summer.  It can also be built up to give extra coverage where needed – and can be used on the body as well (I love me some multi-purpose products!).  #18 (for medium skin with olive undertones) is a very good match for my summer-tanned skin, and is warm, not ashy, which is great.  I’m thinking about mixing a bit of this with my Hourglass Immaculate foundation when the cooler months arrive, as it leans a touch light and grey on me, and I think the two formulations will mix fairly well.

Here are some swatches of all the products above (left to right – MAC Lychee Luxe, MAC Melon, UD Lucky, Milani Sunset Beach, MUFE #18):

Artificial lightWith flash

Honourable mentions go to MAC’s Arena eyeshadow (I’m plugging that shade hard, aren’t I?) and some of my other fave polish shades – Essie’s Bikini So Teeny (can’t get enough), MAC’s Mischievous Mint (the bottle is half-empty – seriously!), China Glaze’s Pink Plumeria (look for an upcoming ‘combo’ post with this shade), and Deb Lippmann’s Daytripper (check it out below!).

Artificial lightWith flash

My mother keeps telling me I should be showcasing my polishes with color-contrasting objects, and I just happened to buy this especially pretty pale aqua throw pillows, sooo…

Pretty, huh?  Initially when picked this up, I was disappointed when I tried it on – it’s more of a jelly texture, which is great, but not what I was expecting.  And in artificial light, the shade fell a bit flat.  However, the next day, I totally turned the other cheek – I couldn’t get enough of how lovely it was!  It’s extremely shiny on it’s own, and so juicy – the jelly texture actually really makes it more than your regular coral polish, it just too this ol’ gal a little longer to see it ;P

What are some of your favorite summer items and looks??  Do share, I’d love to get some more ideas!

*Product provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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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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FOTD Trial and Errors!

Happy Hump Day everyone!!  Heyyy, February is pretty much over – doesn’t that make you feel like Spring is REALLY on it’s way?  Even though it doesn’t officially start for another three weeks or so, I always feel like March marks the end of Winter and the beginning of good (re: warm) things :)

For the past week, since Lent began, I have been steadfastly putting in an effort to take FOTD shots of my makeup looks every day, but unfortunately for all of us – I have been failing spectacularly.  I just can’t seem to get it right, and it’s frustrating me to no end.  However, fortunately for everyone, I don’t give up easy, and I am going to keep on trying until I am successful!  Embarrassingly, here are some of the shots I’ve taken over the past week:

MUFE Aqua Liner #14 with the purple shade of NARS Habarnera in the crease and along the lower lash line.  I swear in person the shadow was actually noticeable, more than just the hint of shimmer showing here!

This was my getaway look this past weekend – Urban Decay’s Bourbon liner on the upper and lower lashes, Benefit’s Bella Bamba on cheeks, and MUFE’s Star Collection Lab Shine in S4.

I snuck this photo at work while in fear of someone finding me taking pictures of myself lol – I’m wearing Urban Decay’s Bordello eyeshadow (from the BoSIII palette), with UD’s Smog in the crease, theBalm Down Boy blush, and MUFE Lab Shine S4 again.

Tonight, I managed to get a couple shots I was fairly happy with, though I still wish I could get close-ups of eye makeup so that you can see what I’ve done.  But – beggers can’t be chosers, I guess!  Below, I’m not wearing too much – just a touch of the pale shade of Hourglass’ Exhibition shadow duo on the lid, UD’s Crash liner, Benefit’s Bella Bamba on cheeks, and the star of the look – Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in Empire.My goal with all of these FOTD shots are to showcase the products that I haven’t been giving enough love to, and figuring out how to make them work on a regular basis.  Chanel’s Empire perplexed me from the start – it was such a gorgeous shade, but I just didn’t see it working on my skintone.  However, now that I’m easing into wearing pretty Spring hues, I find this lippie works PERFECTLY.  It’s just not a Fall/Winter shade on me, AT ALL.  Now that I’ve figured that out, I’m gonna have some serious fun with this color!!  It’s absolutely perfect for pretty much any Spring look I’ll be wearing.

What makes me cringe chuckle when I go back through these pictures, is that my makeup looks almost identical in each – this is one of the frustrating parts, because each look was different, honest!  ~sigh~  Anyway, as I said, I’m going to continue to press on, and *one day* I’ll get it.  At the very least, I’m having a great time wearing different products every day and giving all the neglected items I own a little attention.  Talk about shopping your own stash! :D

Have you rediscovered a product that you weren’t sure about, only to find that you’ve changed your mind and have now fallen in love?

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Finally Picked Up One of Them There Black Liquid Liners, Yup: Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion

I guess I’m feeling silly today, sorry for the post name :P

When I did my eyeliner post last month, and realized that I did not own a black liquid liner, I was pretty pumped that I found a vacancy in my stash that I could legitimately fill.  After checking out several liners at Sephora, namely Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner (which was a great, inky black with awesome staying power), and Tarte’s MultiplEYE Lash Enhancing Liquid Liner (which I couldn’t try because the tester was entirely dried up), I settled on Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner in Perversion, a true black with a super-fine brush.  I would have chosen Stila’s, but the price point ($26CAD for 0.016oz) was higher than Urban Decay’s ($22CAD for 0.058oz), for quite a bit less product, so I couldn’t justify it.  (Though, note that Stila’s Sparkle Liners are the same size as UD’s, and cost $29CAD).

It’s deceptive packaging, because the top part with the brush is actually longer than the actual section containing the product.

The past year saw a lot of liquid liners come out, that all looked very similar in terms of shades and brush types.  Stila’s brush was almost identical to MUFE’s version, of which I own two, but the UD liner actually has the thinnest brush of them all.  Initially, this almost deterred me from picking it up, as I thought that it would be more difficult to use.  I’m no novice when it comes to liquid liners, but I don’t need to test my skill by any means.  However, I was pleasantly surprized to find that it was relatively easy to use (though not quite as foolproof as the MUFE or Stila options).  The plus side to the super-skinny brush is that you can get an extremely thin line, if you so desire, which allows you to be very precise.The wear of this liner is quite good – it doesn’t budge after being worn all day – but does rinse away with makeup remover without the need for serious rubbing.  It stands up pretty well to it’s waterproof claims – in my swatch, after a minute I tried to wipe off using a wet finger, and it didn’t budge (with medium pressure).  I went out for a run right after I took the photos, not bothering to try and remove it beforehand, and it didn’t move an inch after sweating through a 5k (and I am sadly NOT one of those girls who merely ‘glisten’ after a workout).  So I’m thinkin’ that’s pretty effective.  Here are some shots of it worn:If you’re a fan of liquid liners, and/or like a precise line on the lashes, I certainly think UD’s versions are worth a look.  They’re cheaper per oz than MUFE’s or Stila’s, but if you’re partial to shimmer in your liners, then UD’s might not fit the bill.  Overall I think they’re all great products, and if there’s a shade in the Stila range that’s not in MUFE’s, I may pick it up just to round out my stash :)

Do you use liquid liner, or prefer a different formulation? What’s your favorite brand of liner?

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Beauty Challenge

This past week, I’ve been thinking of ways to streamline my makeup stash, keeping only products I love and learning to loosen my death grip on those products that don’t work for me. I don’t know why it’s so hard to let go of items that just aren’t really well-loved like they should be – I guess my thinking is that if I spent the money on them, if they’re quality products that have nothing ~wrong~ with them, that I should hang on to them because I have no good reason not to. But the fact of the matter is, that some items in my collection just don’t have a use for me – the shade is wrong, the formulation isn’t suited to my skin type, or the actual product just doesn’t fit my needs/style. I want to release my hold on these items so that someone else may get pleasure from them, and (mainly) so I can make way for new products with a clean(er) conscience.  So, here’s the outline of the challenge I’m posing for myself in the next month or so (because if I tell you about it, I’ll have to be held more accountable):

TASK: Wear daily at least one makeup item that generally goes unused.
GOAL: Figure out which items to keep and what to swap/toss.
NOTE: Product must be tried 3 times before making final decision, to give it a fair shot.

Here are the first 5 products up on the chopping block:

1) MAC Madly Magenta Cream Color Base – previously discussed here, I picked this up earlier this year while I was looking for a bright pink blush.  Unfortunately, I think this shade is too cool for my skin tone, which I noticed so much more after buying Illamasqua’s Tweak, which is much warmer and better suited for me.  However, my skin tone is fairly neutral and doesn’t lean too warm or cool, so I might be able to make this work with a little experimentation.

2) MAC Bing Mattene lipstick – purchased 2 Fall seasons ago, this is an intensely deep, dark burgundy that came out when the whole ‘gothic lips’ look came into fashion.  While I still love this look, I think it works better on fair skin tones where the contrast is strikingly beautiful.  However, recently I came across an advertisement of model Yasmin Warsame with a super-dark lip color and I think she looks fabulous (I can’t find this online anywhere, but when I do I’ll post the pic so I found one of Rihanna which looks pretty hot – see below).  So, I’m going to figure out how to make this work if it kills me! (Note: The photo below is much more purple than this shade is in real life!)

                  

3) Urban Decay BoS III – I got this early last year, and while I love a lot of the shades in it, I don’t wear a lot of them.  There are a few shades in particular that deserve more love than they’re getting (like Bordello, a shimmering pale mauve-pink, and Last Call, a metallic burgundy-plum), so I gotta start using them on a more regular basis because there really is NO good reason why I’m not.

4) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Berry Haute – almost an exact dupe of MAC’s Up the Amp, in which I’ve seen great lip looks online on darker skintones.  However, I have to keep in mind that skin darker than mine can often run quite cool, so it might be why this just doesn’t seem to work for me.  The situation is very similar to my Madly Magenta problem.  I’ll try a few more trick, but if I can’t make it work, off it goes.  Too bad as it’s a lovely shade!

5) Lise Watier Folie Pomme loose eyeshadow – first of all, I’ve had this shade forever, and that alone means that might might be time to go.  However, it still seems OK, and it’s a really pretty shade of shimmering golden green that reminds me a lot of MAC’s Lucky Green which I know is a very popular shade.  However, I just never seem to reach for it for whatever reason, and it doesn’t wear all that well either so….I’ll give it a fair chance over the next little while, but I think this is definitely one that’s going to be leaving my life very soon.

So there’s the little project I’m undertaking over the next month or so – it’s been something long coming but in the spirit of the new year ahead, I figured it was time to finally get on the ball.  We can call it a beauty resolution for 2012 (one of many I’ll be making!).  I’ll keep you updated on my progress, wish me luck!!

Have a great weekend everyone, I’m here relaxing in Ottawa today – we’re headed out to do a mild version of Amazing Race soon (so I can see more of the city), should be fun!!

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An Inside Look: My Eyeliner Collection

Since I’m on somewhat of a purchasing slow-down during the holidays, and due to the fact that I’ve shown you all my skincare products, most of my nail polishes, my top faves, and my NARS collection…I’m sort of running out of new material here! LOL  No, not really, but without any new products, I have to go ‘back to the beginning’ so to speak – this time around, I’m going to show you all the eyeliners I have in my stash.

I think that as far as liners go, I have quite a few.  They’re all different colors for the most part, but it just seems like I have a larger collection than is probably necessary, especially since I don’t even wear eyeliner every day!  Still, eyeliner is a quick way to look polished without much effort, so I like to have options on hand.  I didn’t purchase many of these -  most I amassed through swaps, or they came with other products in a value set.  Let’s take a gander, shall we?

First, we have all my Urban Decay 24/7 liners – from left to right: Zero, Oil Slick, Crash, Bourbon, Lucky, and Covet.  I purchased Covet, but the rest were through swaps or came with the BoS III palette I got last year (so, yeah, I guess I purchased that too :P).  These liners are some of my faves, though I have to be very careful with them around my lower lash line, because aside from Zero they’re all sparkly and can cause some irritation.  Excellent wear though, with a creamy, easy gliding formulation and awesome colors.  These retail for $22CAD.

My three liquid liners – MUFE Aqua Liner #5, #14, and Illamasqua Havoc (left to right).  Odd that I don’t even have a plain black eh?  I’ll have to remedy that.  I really like wearing a crisp liner with a flick at the end – not just because that’s the trend now, it’s always been a ‘thing’ of mine.  I’ve reviewed all three of these previously (here, here and here).  All around stellar liners that I would repurchase in a heartbeat.

My two MAC liners – Pearlglide in Petrol Blue, and Chromagraphic in NC25/NW30.  I rarely wear the blue, but it’s really very pretty – especially on the lower lash liner.  On my upper lashes, it kind of just looks like it’s trying to be black but isn’t.  It looks better smoked out.  The Chromographic pencil I picked up to use under my lash liner or on my waterline.  It’s less stark than white and really brightens the eye area.  Both are creamy and do not tug at the lashes, but not the greatest staying power.  Pearlglides are LE – I think around $17CAD – and the Chromographics are $15CAD.

My Clinique pencils.  Obviously didn’t pay for these :)  First on the left is a Cream Shaper in Egyptian – such a pretty. shimmering dark khaki shade that works on all skintones.  Very creamy and easy to blend, but is water resistant and will stay put until you wash it off.  The one on the right is a Kohl Shaper, and its a bit harder to draw with, but smokes out beautifully.  This shade is Blackened Coffee – a medium brown.  The Kohl’s come with a sharpener in the cap, which is a great feature.  Generally these pencils run $17 and $17.50CAD, respectively.

The only cream liners I own.  I want to change this big time as I love the application and formula of cream liners.  The first on the left is Smashbox Cream Eyeliner in ……  ($27CAD). Very similar to Clinique’s Egyptian above.  I will likely put this up for swap soon, I really don’t need both.  The second is a Stila Smudge Pot in Black ($26CAD), a charcoal black.  I got this in a Christmas gift about two or three years ago.  It’s drying out a bit now and doesn’t work as well.  When I first got it, it was amazing for creating a defined cat eye.  I don’t use it much now because it’s really only good for smudging out.  Still, a very nice product at one time.

I’ve reviewed these both here and here – MUFE’s Aqua Eyes #0L (a mat black – though it looks kinda brown here, doesn’t it??), and Khol #4K (a forest green).  They don’t look like anything special, but the wear on these is excellent, and the Khol is great for the waterline.  $20 and $19CAD.

Sorry for the majorly wobbly swatches here, these pencils were itty bitty and I could hardly get a grip on them!  They’re all Revlon – one is a Luxurious Color liner in Blackened Sapphire, the other two are from the same pencil – a Streetwear one!!!!!!!  If you remember Streetwear, then you’ll remember they had these neat double-ended pencils – I bought this white one (one end matte, one end shimmery) for the same reason I bought the MAC Chromographic – to line the water line.  However, I realized when I started this post that these have gotta go.  The Luxurious Color was a few years old and down to the nub, and Streetwear was a 90′s collection – I shouldn’t be using anything that old around my eyes!!  Yikes!!  Off to the empties pile they go!

I received Laura Mercier’s Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Violet in a swap earlier in the year.  While I love the deep black-plum shade, it tends to migrate during the day, so I haven’t worn it much for this reason.  Strange, as this is designed to be worn “inside the eyelid, at the base of the lashes.”  A shame really, because otherwise this is a nice pencil.  $25CAD.

My Chanel baby :)  As previously noted, Khaki Platine is relatively innocuous – it doesn’t look like much, but I really find myself reaching for this pencil at least half the time.  It brightens my eye area so easily with such little effort – and it never, ever irritates my eyes, which is becoming a really important feature of any eye product I use now.  At $27CAD it’s expensive as all Chanel products are, but I don’t care: me like-y!

I bought this Lise Watier Eye Shine in Gold ages ago, and rarely wear it.  I was experimenting with it last week though, and my interest was renewed – it looked pretty great alone on my top and bottom lashes with a good coating of black mascara!  Normally I just use it to emphasize the inner corners of the eye.  Lise Watier pencils are similar to UD’s pencils, without the glitter.  I think these are around $17CAD.

My one glitter eyeliner, also from Lise Watier, that I may have worn once ever.  Just not my thing, but they look so pretty in the containers and in swatches!  I never realized that this particular liner has gold and silver glitter amongst the prevalent aqua blue.  Quite pretty, and hasn’t evaporated terribly like some glitter liners (UD’s especially).  Kind of going to waste in my stash, though.  I’m not sure how much these retail for.

Well, that’s another collection down!!  I hope these posts aren’t terribly dull -  I always find it interesting to see what’s in other people’s makeup stash, but my collections are not as large and diverse as some.  In any case, I like to have the swatches on hand because it helps remind me what shades to revisit – or if I give some away, and then pine for them later, I can take a look at these photos and remember exactly why I let them go.  Documentation, you see :)

I’m headed to T.O. in a few days for a work forum, as I’m co-chair of our Atlantic youth network.  I’m going to get to visit Liz from Beauty Reductionista again – yay!!  I can’t wait :)  Again, no shopping trips in our future, but I know one day we’ll get our chance.  And at this time of year, it’s probably a good thing eh?

Happy Hump Day everyone!

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A Year’s Worth of Favorite Products: My Top Ten of 2011

I started to write my regular ‘Fave Product of the Month’ post, but realized that 2011 is nearing it’s close, and there are many other products I’d like to write about before the year comes to an end.  Since December is looking like a crazy-busy month for me (and likely most of us!), I figured I’d do the Top Ten post now, rather than later, where it might get put on the backburner and come 2012, I’ll have never done it (case in point – this post has been in the works for three days and I’m just getting it out now!).  And so – in ten separate categories, here are my personal fave products of 2011:

1) Primer:  While I have been impressed by both MUFE’s HD Primer, and the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, my true fave of the bunch is NARS’ Smudgeproof Eyelid Primer.  I have been a faithful devotee to UD’s Primer Potion for a couple years, but found it somewhat drying and could make certain shadow formulations too intense (metallic, in particular).  NARS’ version is colorless, blending seamlessly into the skin, and feels like nothing on.  It doesn’t change the color or intensity of my shadows/liners, but they wear infinitely better and longer with this applied first.  A must-have if you want your eye products to last all day, or for a night of dancing.  Absolutely no negatives on this one!  $29CAD.

2) Foundation/Concealer:  I’ve tried my fair share of concealers this year, and none of them have really lived up to my hopes.  However, my NARS Sheer Glow foundation (reviewed here) surpassed any dreams I had – while I don’t *need* too much coverage, I like a nice wearing foundation that gives my skin a natural, flawless look without too much fuss.  This formula in the shade Syracuse matches my skin to a T.  I worried that this might be too heavy for my oilier skin, but it’s proven not to be the case – rather, it’s improved the look of my skin and kept it hydrated during cold, windy days and nights.  I wouldn’t choose this in the warmer months, as I prefer something very sheer and lightweight, but for Fall and Winter, this is an definite go-to for me. $55CAD.

3) Eyeshadow: This is a toss-up for me, because different shadows do different things.  For a basic, dress up or down shadow, I’d reach for Urban Decay’s Smog in a heart beat.  This bronze-y/brown shadow is close enough to my skintone to be natural looking, but metallic enough to be perfect for a special evening or event.  Not to mention that most of UD’s shadows ($20CAD) feel like absolute butter (this one being no exception) – it’s a smooth, evenly pigmented formula that wears really well.

Following close behind, another versatile shadow I have is Chanel’s Emerveille (reviewed here).  Worn all over the lid, it’s very subtle but the beautiful shimmer in it is far from boring.  It’s makes a truly fabulous highlight for inner eye and brow bone, and is terribly easy to apply with a finger or dense brush.  I’ll never get bored of this shadow!  $37CAD and worth every penny.

4) Eyeliner: Though I really adore MUFE’s Aqua Liners, particularly #14 (a gorgeous, multi-colored shimmer liquid liner with a charcoal base – $26CAD), my heart is forever taken by Illamasqua’s Havoc Precision Ink Liner.  OMG.  Seriously, I gaze at this liner lovingly and sigh.  It’s so unusual and yet so ridiculously amazing and flattering – that combination of pretty yet unique is hard to find, and oh-so-covetable.  And the wear on this baby is outta this world!  C’mon, if I can sleep with this on and wake up without nary a budge or smudge?  Yeah, that’s kind of awesome.  $27CAD.

5) Lippie: I actually thought at first that I didn’t have anything of note in this category, but then I took a look and realized I was forgetting two gems – Buxom’s Big and Healthy Lip Stick in Sydney, and MAC’s Dare You lipstick.  I know….I have two products in this category too – seems I’m not so good at making decisions, eh?  Regardless, both of these should be mentioned anyway, because one came out this year and the other didn’t, so we’ll leave the latter as an honorable mention (since I’m also having difficulties chosing products from the right timeframe!).  Also, both are classics that every gal should have in her lippie wardrobe – maybe not these specific shades, but as a general rule ;)

And so.  My first choice is a nude lippie, which is a great staple color to own, particularly as it pairs very well with the more intense eye makeup looks I tend to wear.  As some of you may know, I was on the hunt for a great nude shade – and I found perfection in Sydney.  Not too pink/peach/beige or otherwise, this just mutes my lips enough so that my eyes take centre stage.  A touch of gloss on top (because it’s fairly matte), and I’m ready to go ($23CAD).Runner-up notable lippie is MAC’s Dare You ($17.50CAD), which you’ll be happy to hear is a permanent shade, and is also one very sexy deep red.  For my complexion, and taking into consideration my fuller lips, this is the perfect shade of red for me as it’s classic, stand-out, yet demure enough that it isn’t aggressively in your face.  As much as I love the bright lips look that’s so popular right now, it just doesn’t work for me, sadly.  Or least I haven’t figured out how, yet.  In the interim, this makes me feel powerful and beautiful, and requires very little else on the face.  I’m completely sold!

6) Nail Polish: I’ve tried and worn a plethora of polishes this year, more so than any other in my (relatively) short 29 years.  It’s extremely hard – nay, impossible -  to narrow it down to only one shade that was above all others, but if it must be done…I’d pick Chanel’s Peridot ($27CAD).  Are you surprized?  I think not :P  It just captivated me so completely over all the other new offerings this year.  To be fair, there were some serious runners up, Essie’s Power Clutch ($11CAD)being among them.  Also, some shades that were not necessarily released this year – Illamasqua’s Baptiste ($22CAD), and butter London’s Snog ($18CAD), could even unsurp Peridot, but in keeping with my faves of 2011 – Peridot takes the prize.  Slam and…DUNK.

7) Face (Skincare) Product: Even though I’ve been singing praises for Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum, and I’m loving the effects on my skin, I have to give this one away to Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate (or Night Moisturizer, depending on the season – $47 and $51.50CAD, respectively).  This product takes care of it all – clogged pores, acne, flakiness, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture – the nature of the exfoliation really handles most problems that can crop up with your skin.  I certainly notice a difference in my skin when I’m “off the blue stuff” (as my Mom would say).  I lied – this also is a repeat product in my stash, though I get this one for free :)  If I had to buy it with my own hard earned cash though, I would.  It’s really the workhorse in my skincare regime.

8) Body Product: My body care routine is terribly boring, unfortunately – wash, moisturize, repeat; that’s about it.  But, due to the simplicity of my regime, I absolutely needed to find products that would be effective.  There are a million and one moisturizers out there, half of which I can’t use because of their fragrance; the others are either not moisturizing enough, or so occlusive that they make my skin sticky and bumping (due to clogged pores).  Aveeno’s Eczema Care Cream ($10.49CAD) is a miracle in a tube – it keeps my skin hydrated all day, but doesn’t make me greasy and leaves my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  I never thought I’d see the day where I was buying a product hand over fist, repeatedly – SO not my style!  But, here it is, I’ve become devoted to a product – call me a convert :)

9) Hair Product: Sadly, my hair care system isn’t much more interesting than my body care – there’s not a whole lot you can do with this curly mop!  However, there is one product that has been my standby for the last year or so (though…also not released this year, dang!) – TIGI’s Foxy Curls Curl Contour Cream ($19CAD).  Smells like skittles (mmmm), and makes my curls soft and springy, but never stiff, crunchy or sticky.  I really love this styling lotion, and it lasts AGES – probably about 8 months start to finish, which is crazy – particularly for my hair as it EATS product.  Sadly…due to my new fear of fragrance, when this is finished, it’s finished – I’m too nervous to keep using it for fear that it’s affecting my skin in some detrimental way.  We had a great run though, and I highly recommend trying it out if you have curly hair or waves that need a little boost!

10) Fragrance: Despite my avoidance of fragranced products, I actually don’t have any issue wearing fragrance itself – I guess because it’s placed in specific spots rather than all over.  Sadly, the product that wins this category for me is not yet something I own (nor was it released in 2011)…but Prada’s Infusion d’Iris perfume is AH-MA-ZING!!  and therefore well worth mentioning, despite the fact that it was launched in 2007 (LOL).  This is SO not my usual choice for fragrance – I’m typically into very gourmand scents, ones that smell like food, like Hanae Mori’s Butterfly, but every so often a scent like this will take hold of me, and won’t let go until I give in and buy a bottle.  I have a sample of this, which I wear for only special occasions and which has lasted for a lot longer than I expected it to – but it’s nearing it’s end, which means I’ll have to bite the bullet and invest the better part of $100 just to have a small bottle of it (which is all I ever buy for fragrance because I never wear the same one twice).  This woody floral boasts notes of mandarin, vetiver, and cedarwood, which compliment the Iris Pallida perfectly.  By the end of 2011, I WILL have my very own bottle…and won’t I be smelling sweet :)

I feel like I’m missing some products that surely deserve major love and attention, but at this very moment I can’t think of what they might be!!  What I am thinking of though, is to add one more additional category – my favorite BLOGS of 2011.  There are some amazingly wonderful reads out there and I think they deserve props for doing what they do so darn well.  Most of these are well-known and likely will come of no surprize, but nonetheless they bring me immense reading pleasure.  So, here are my five absolute must-read-every-day faves:

Beauty Editor – Though I’m not entirely a fan of the shorthand words that are in heavy rotation on the blog (its totes about the prodz!), I am LOVING the in-depth posts that don’t scrimp on information about the latest makeup trends, skincare innovations, or celebrity styles.  I devour each and every post from start to finish, and I always leave with much more knowledge than I started with.  I feel like I am getting insider knowledge every time I visit the page.  A definite must-read if you want to learn as well as look!

Beauty ReductionistaBest.Idea.Ever. for a blog – beauty reduction!  As cosmetic junkies, we all know what it’s like to have just too much - and Liz lets us join in on her journey towards reducing her stash and quelling ever-present lemmings that never go away.  Of course, sometimes she indulges, and that just makes her human – there are so many pretty things out there, how do you resist!?  Liz infuses her posts with hilarity and insight, which make for a powerful combination and a terrific read.  She recognizes her weaknesses but never gives up on her quest, and I admire her tenacity every day.  It helps keep ME on the straight and narrow too!

Ommorphia Beauty Bar – OK, I mean, who comes up with an amazing blog name like this in the first place?!?  Sheesh.  From the very first time I stumbled upon this blog I knew it was something special.  Not only are her photos (and nails!) first-rate, but she injects a little something extra into each post – you know she’s not just firing them off without putting in a lot of time and effort into each one.  She oozes kindness and this positive energy that you can feel right through the blogosphere.  Looking for swatches of the latest nail polishes to hit the streets?  Eugenia has got you covered.  Go!  Now!!

Cafe Makeup (and The Beauty Look Book) – I tied these two together because when I think of one, I can’t help but think of the other.  The ladies of these blogs are absolutely some of the classiest I’ve come across – their taste is impeccable and the cosmetics stash they each have is to be seriously revered.  To spend a day at their vanity (or wherever they store their collection) would be akin to Scrooge McDuck swimming in his sea of money – pure bliss.  The infinite number of high-end products they own is something I look up to – quality all the way.  I appreciate their genuine admiration of the very beautiful nature of cosmetics in general – to them, it seems more about the experience of the product itself, and not just the prestige of owning the more luxurious items of the beauty world.

She Cooks, He Eats – This is somewhat off-topic as the nature of this blog is food- rather than beauty-related, but I just can’t help but be continuously drawn to Kat’s delicious pictures of either her own current culinary pursuits or of possible gastronomic adventures to be taken.  I am left drooling at the sight of cake batter pancakes, or five different types of nachoes (yum!!), and I just enjoy the simple, down-to-Earth (yet far from boring) approach she takes to relating her passion to her readers.  As someone who is just beginning to take a real interest in having fun in the kitchen, Kat’s blog appeared on my radar at just the perfect moment.

I’m sure that I appear biased toward these blogs, but truly – each one of them is something I look forward to reading each and every day, and I feel that they all take a truly unique, and fabulous approach to the task which I love.  I measure my own blogging path against these ladies, and only hope that I can provide my readers which half as much awesomeness as they do.  I’ll keep trying! :)

So there are my faves of 2011, whether they were created in 2011 or prior, they’re what have been rocking my world this year.  I’d love to hear what some of your own favorites are – I’m always in the market for new inspiration!

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