Sunday, December 30, 2012

MAC Apres Chic Collection Haul & A Few Vacation Pics!

 Happy (almost) New Year!  I'm back today with a quick, but picture-heavy post to share with you a few pieces I picked up from the new Apres Chic Collection from MAC! 

I hope you all have been enjoying the post-Christmas time and are looking forward to New Years Eve tomorrow! I was lucky enough to have some time off from work, so my boyfriend and I have been vacationing in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and San Diego the past few days. In fact, I'm quickly pumping out this post in our San Diego hotel room before heading out to dinner tonight. In any case, I thought it might be fun to include a few snaps from our little adventure!

The MAC Apres Chic collection is comprised of beautiful Mineralize products for cheeks, eyes and lips. The two products that peeked my interest the most were the infamous MSF in Stereo Rose and the Mineralize Tinted Lip Balm in Stay Warm! I also finally bit the bullet and purchased the MAC 187, a large duo-fibre brush that I have lusted after for a very long time and think will be perfect for applying bronzer.  

MAC has released a mini collection of tinted lip balms in the Apres Chic Collection that are conveniently packaged in hygienic tubes with soft rubber applicator tips. The color I chose, Stay Warm!, is a light golden pink. On the lips, there is very little color payoff, but it has a beautiful sheen and feels very hydrating. 

 The star of this collection, in my opinion, is the re-released Mineralize Skin Finish in Stereo Rose, a stunning coral color. On my pale complexion, this makes for a beautiful blush/highlighter hybrid cheek product. Although this is a very shimmery product, I still find the effect wearable and day-appropriate. It also does not emphasize any pores on my face, as some powder highlighters can do. The MSF itself is coral with slight bronze veining throughout. 

The closest dupe I could think of in my collection for the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Stereo Rose is the Coralista Blush from Benefit Cosmetics. Although the two cheek products are similar, I find Coralista to be less pigmented and more pink-toned than Stereo Rose. Stereo Rose is slightly darker and more coral/bronze toned. I also find that MAC's Stereo Rose has superior longevity on my combination skin than Benefit's Coralista.

 Swatches from top to bottom are MAC Mineralize Tinted Lip Balm in Stay Warm!, MAC MSF in Stereo Rose, and Benefit Coralista

And now for a few vacation picks...

Brett and I at the Grove in Los Angeles. We timed this picture perfectly with the fake snow!

The Grove in LA all decked out for the holidays. So festive!  

The Cove in La Jolla, just outside of San Diego.

Look at this little cutie!

Whatever your plans, hope you all are enjoying your holiday season! Cheers to 2013! I have a feeling it's going to be a great year xx

Lots of Love,


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chanel Spring 2013 Printemps Precieux de Chanel: Poudre Signee de Chanel Illuminating Powder

Hello Lovelies! I hope you all are having an absolutely wonderful holiday season! On my end, I spent the last two days of Christmas with the people I love most, relaxing, eating delicious food, exchanging gifts, and watching Christmas movies. I am also looking forward to later this week, when my boyfriend and I will be taking a mini vacation to Los Angeles/San Diego for a few days. What more could a girl ask for?

Amidst all the holiday excitement, I finally snuck away and found a moment to myself. More than anything,  I wanted to talk to you about another product from the Chanel Spring 2013 collection that has stolen my heart, the Poudre Signee de Chanel Illuminating Powder.  Being the great (cough cough) daughter that I am, I actually gifted this to my mother for Christmas this year. In return, she was kind enough to let me steal it long enough to take a few photos and swatches to share with you all.

I generally consider Chanel to be some of the most high-end makeup products on the market. This illuminating powder however, I find to be on a whole other level of luxury. Everything from the velvet case it comes in, to the floral pattern etched in the compact, to the finely milled sheen of the powder itself, is just exquisite. Just taking these photos was almost enough to make me regret giving it away!

As you can see in the above photo, the compact comes encased in a oversized velvet pouch, with a sponge applicator, unlike any I have seen with other highlighters.

The powder itself is a sheer golden peach shade. It is buttery soft, finely milled, luminous and glowing. I find the shade incredibly flattering yet subtle on my fair skin. For those that are wary of obvious highlighting powders, this may be just what you have been searching for. This product can be dusted across the cheekbones and high points of the face for a subtle soft-focus effect. This method creates a day appropriate glow and is also suitable for mature skin due to the lack of obvious shimmer or glitter particles. Or if you prefer, you can use the enclosed sponge applicator for a more bold highlighter look.

For comparison, I think of Chanel Poudre de Signee Illuminating Powder as the grown up sister to NARS Albatross. It is much less yellow-gold and therefore I think much more daytime appropriate and flattering on a wider range of skin tones.

The Poudre Signee de Chanel Illuminating Powder is limited edition for Spring 2013 only. Seeing how stunning this powder is, I am almost positive it will fly off the shelves. For all you Chanel lovers out there, I recommend you pick one up asap!

Again, thanks for reading and Happy Holidays! xx

Lots of Love,


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chanel Spring 2013 Printemps Precieux de Chanel: Les 4 Ombre Quadra Eye Shadow in #39 Raffinement

 *Photo from Chanel Campaign

While we have been busy buying presents, drinking countless red-cupped beverages and painting our nails every shade of shimmery red imaginable, the beauty world has been one step ahead of us, debuting their Spring 2013 collections. Completely caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, this was unbeknownst to me until last night when in Nordstrom, looking to find a few last minute gifts, I stumbled upon the Chanel Spring 2013 Collection, Printemps Precieux de Chanel. And ooooh boy was this discovery a doozy. According to my boyfriend, he has never seen my eyes that big before in his life. Yep, I'm not ashamed to admit I had a little moment right then and there in the middle of the cosmetics section in Nordstrom. Ladies, this collection is blow-your-mind gorgeous! It oozes femininity, refinement and effortless beauty.

Of the few stunners in the Chanel Spring 2013 Collection, I was particularly drawn to the shimmering nude and lilac eye liners, the breathtaking highlighting powder, and the new LE eyeshadow quad. Seeing as how I couldn't very well walk out with all of these items without leaving myself bankrupt right before the holidays, I allowed myself one item for the time being (key words, for the time being). Being the crazed eyeshadow lover I am, I picked up the new LE Quadra Eyeshadow in #39 Raffinement. 

This palette contains 4 shadows in shimmering and satin shades of plum-tinged taupe. If you are a neutral fan, you will have to exercise some serious self control to not pick this one up. In the past, I have been underwhelmed by other Chanel eyeshadow quads. They can be a little hit or miss. Some are not nearly pigmented enough to justify the hefty price tag. #39 Raffinement however, is pure genius. The colors are buttery soft, blend seamlessly together, and do magic for green or hazel eyes.  Once on the eyes, the effect reminds me of a slightly less-metallic, more sophisticated version of the NARS Kalahari Duo. If Kalahari is too metallic for your taste, the soft finely-milled shimmer of this quad might be more to your liking. 

Shade 1: Plummy taupe. Beautiful across the lid or to deepen up the crease slightly.
Shade 2: Very light silver lilac color. Great in the inner corners as a highlight.
Shade 3: Soft warm pewter taupe. Lovely all-over lid color.
Shade 4: Very pigmented satin eggplant shade. 

As far as the other releases in this Chanel collection, I just may have to go back for the breathtaking Poudre Signee de Chanel Illuminating Powder. In general, highlighters aren't really my thing. I appreciate the effect they have on the skin, but none so far have really made me weak in the knees like beautiful eye shades or blushes can. But this powder...this is something out of this world. Embossed with a luxurious floral pattern and the traditional Chanel emblem, this buttery luminizing powder reminds me of a less garish version of NARS Albatross. Still golden, peachy goodness, but slightly less yellow and therefor a little more wearable on my neutral fair skin.

Check back soon for posts on looks featuring this palette!

Do you plan on picking up anything from the Chanel Printemps Precieux de Chanel collection? What Spring 2013 makeup collections are you lusting over?

Thanks for reading & Happy Holidays! xx

Lots of Love,

Please follow me on Instagram or Twitter for more makeup photos and day-to-day ramblings!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Current Hair Care Routine

Today I wanted to share with you the products that have been making regular appearances in my every (other) day hair care routine. I feel that it is important to mention that in order to maintain healthy strands,  I not only use generally very moisturizing products on my thick, heat-styled hair, but also only wash my hair at most every other day. I find that washing daily really strips my hair of needed moisture and just contributes to frizzyness and dryness.  

Kerastase Cristaliste Bain Cristal Shampoo for Thick Hair
 I was coerced into purchasing this Kerastase shampoo by my hair dresser the last time I went in for a cut. Overall, I have to say that I am generally underwhelmed by this product. I don't feel that it does much more than other shampoos I have purchased at a fraction of the cost. Also, the thing that bothers me the most is that I find myself using way too much product to fully cleanse my thick hair. At the rate I am going, this tiny bottle will be gone in no time at all! 

Fekkai PrX Reparatives Conditioner
Fekkai PrX Reparatives Conditioner is absolutely one of the best conditioners I have used in a long time. I can't remember a time in recent history where my hair felts softer or had more shine to it. Even my boyfriend commented on how shiny my hair looked the other day. The only downside is that I find myself stroking my hair throughout the day because it just feels so damn good lol. I actually do feel that this conditioner is worth every pretty penny I spent on it. I have been recommending it to everyone I know! 

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme
 An oldy but a goody! I have been using this smoothing creme for years. It helps smooth out my rebellious waves without weighing my hair down. An added plus is that it is relatively inexpensive and readily available in drugstores.

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum
Another affordable gem from John Frieda. I alternate between purchasing this hair serum and Moroccanoil. Leaves hair smooth, soft and shiny.

Bumble and bumble Brilliantine
I use this styling creme as the finishing touch once my hair is dry and styled. This product is unlike any other styling product I have ever used. I consider it a hybrid shine enhancer/ texturizer. For a more in-depth review, please see my November Favorites.

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo
As with many of these styling products, this dry shampoo is my go-to. I generally reach for this when I have "second-day hair" to remedy oily roots. It has an unoffensive lemon scent and doesn't leave a chalky residue once rubbed into the scalp. 

What products are in your every day hair care routine?

Lots of Love,

Monday, December 10, 2012

First Impressions & Swatches: NARS Pleasures of Paris Eyeshadow Palette

 I went back and forth with myself about whether or not to even post anything about the NARS Pleasures of Paris Palette because it is so hard to get a hold of! The last thing I want to do is ramble on about how amazing a product is that no one can buy. However, I am going to justify this review because all of the shadows in this palette are in fact available in either single eyeshadow form or in one of the NARS duos. So, if a particular swatch tickles your fancy, it is still possible to find. Phew, all hope is not lost! 

Although this was originally released a few years back with a collection in department stores, at the moment, I believe this is an exclusive Artist Palette available only on the NARS website. I ordered this during the Friends & Family sale and unfortunately checking back on the website, I now see it is sold out. However, I'm hoping they will restock it soon and make it available to anyone else who would like to purchase it.

The NARS Pleasures of Paris Palette, or Douceurs de Paris (so chic!), is a beautiful mixture of neutral and plum tones in shimmering, matte and even glittery formulas. I find that these colors work harmoniously together to create anything from a glowing neutral eye all the way up to a sultry smoked out look. For the most part, the quality of these shades are classic NARS standard: very creamy, pigmented and finely milled. I have thoroughly enjoyed using it the past few days, ever since it came in the mail. Not only do these shades work well with each other, they also play well with my other NARS eyeshadows. This is just a great staple to have in your makeup wardrobe!

Nepal (top) is a medium shimmering  pink. It has a rose gold, slightly coral appearance to it, once applied on the lid. A very warm color. Works great as a wash across the lid. Available in single eyeshadow form.

Fez (bottom) is a gorgeous shimmering bronze. It is very pigmented and buttery. Many have compared this shade to MAC's Mulch, but I find that Fez is much more warm toned and is everything I had hoped Mulch would be. Whereas Mulch appears more grey or cool toned once applied to my eyes, Fez remains a true bronze. Nepal and Fez are ah-mazing together. Blended across the lid, they create such an illuminating effect. If I were to recommend any shadows out of this palette to purchase,  it would be Nepal and Fez to use together. Available in single eyeshadow form.

Violetta (top) is a muted matte lavender-grey. Of all the shadows, this is the only one I was disappointed with. There is not much color payoff and once applied to the eyes it turns into a chalky grey color. On my complexion, I find it makes me look very tired and weary. Matte shade from NARS Violetta Eyeshadow Duo.

Abyssinia (bottom) is a wonderful highlight shade. As most NARS shimmery shades, it is very finely milled and has a glowing quality to it. The color is similar to MAC's Phloof, although I much prefer the NARS version. Available in single eyeshadow form.

Demon Lover (top) is a deep matte eggplant color. This makes for a beautiful liner with hardly any fallout. I also enjoy using this color in conjunction with my NARS Kalahari Eyeshadow Duo to deepen up the outer V. This color is so creamy and pigmented that you hardly have to tap your brush in the pan for intense color payoff. Purple shade from NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo.

Cordura (bottom) is a deep grey-black with multi-toned glitter particles. This shade is incredibly pigmented and also works well as a liner. As with other glittery shades from NARS, I did experience slight fallout with this shade, so I recommend using a damp brush to minimize this. Darker shade of NARS Cordura Eyeshadow Duo.

For complete eye looks and more swatches from this palette, please visit this post from the lovely Delicate Hummingbird!

Thanks for reading! Hope you all have a great start to your weeks!

Lots of Love,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Festive Nail Color: Deborah Lippmann's Since I Fell for You

Do you have products that you really only pull out at certain times of the year?  Well, soon as the holiday season rolls around, you can be sure I am dusting off my bottle of Deborah Lippmann's Since I Fell for You. Something about the shimmering merlot-red just screams festive to me! As a particular fan of cream colors, the holidays are the one time of the year where I crave a little shimmer or sparkle on my nails.

As usual, the formula of this Lippmann polish is superb. It applies beautifully with hardly any streaking and is opaque in two coats, although my preference is to use three because it deepens the color just enough. I love that this color is a more vampy, adult alternative to the usual bright holiday reds, yet is still festive enough to put me in that holiday spirit!

What nail polishes do you reach for around the holidays? Do you like festive manicures, or do you just stick to the classics?

Lots of Love,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Evening Winter Skin Care Routine

Hello lovelies! I'm back today with a quick post to walk you through my current evening skin care routine. For reference, my skin type is combination. This means it is oily through the t-zone and normal to dry in the cheeks. My main concerns are clogged pores and dullness. So, I generally go for products that are acne-fighting as well as brightening.

1. Remove Makeup
The first step in my routine is to remove any trace of makeup. I have been using Target's Up & Up Brand Makeup Remover to remove my eye makeup for years. It's such an affordable little gem! For the rest of my face, I love Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes. They are gentle, effective, and smell lovely.

2. Cleanse
My current cleanser is Kate Somerville's Detox Daily Cleanser. I am honestly undecided on my feelings about this product. It contains beneficial ingredients such as Phytic and Glycolic acid that are supposed to help even skin tone and fade post-acne marks. This cleanser, along with the Kate Somerville moisturizer, has been doing a fabulous job of brightening my skin. However, I am not yet convinced that it is doing much compared to a normal cleanser to detox my pores and prevent or treat blemishes. The jury is out on this product until I can use it for a few more weeks. In conjunction with my Kate Somerville cleanser, I use my Clarisonic Mia each night to thoroughly cleanse my skin and remove every bit of the day's dirt and grime from my pores.

3. Tone
Yon-Ka Lotion for Normal to Oily Skin is my HG Toner. I have been using this product for years, and whenever I run out, I notice a dramatic difference in the condition of my skin. This toner has anti-inflammatory properties that calm my sensitive skin as well as natural botanicals such as rosemary that help stave off blemishes. It is also alcohol free and incredibly gentle on the skin. I can't imagine my skin care routine without this refreshing facial mist!

4. Moisturize
Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer is a new favorite of mine (featured in my November favorites post!). It is a lightweight gel-cream that easily sinks into skin, yet still manages to adequately hydrate my combination skin overnight. I wake up each morning to calm, glowing skin. For my eyes, I am still using Origin's GinZing Eye Cream, another November favorite! 

Hope you enjoyed the post! I have been debating whether or not to upload my current morning skin care routine, so please let me know if you would like to see that as well.

Lots of Love,


Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Favorites

Flora by Gucci Gorgeous Gardenia
This perfume is quite simply, as the name states gorgeous.  Ever since I purchased it a few months ago it has become my HG fragrance. It somehow manages to smell young and feminine and yet still age appropriate all at the same time. I was also pleasantly surprised by how long lasting this is for a floral perfume. I have applied it in the morning before leaving for work, only to have my boyfriend comment how nice I smell when I meet him getting off the train at night. I hope Gucci never discontinues this fragrance!

Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer
This moisturizer has a lovely gel- like texture that sinks into the skin without being at all sticky or tacky. It adequately moisturizes my combo skin without turning it into an oil slick by morning. It also has a lovely, unoffensive scent and the pump style packaging is much more sanitary than traditional jar moisturizers. I have also worn this under my makeup on occasion when my skin was feeling particularly dry, and had no problems with extra oil buildup or patchiness.

Origins GinZing Eye Cream
This is a wonderful simple eye cream. It is not meant to be overly hydrating or anti-aging, but it suits my needs perfectly. All I really need is a light moisturizer to smooth down under my concealer during the day, and one that will help hide the appearance of dark circles. Origins GinZing is just that! It contains mica that helps reflect light and diminish the appearance of dark circles, as well as caffeine that helps to stimulate blood circulation and tighten puffiness under the eyes. I think this is the ideal product for those in their early to late twenties. 

Bumble and bumble Brilliantine
This has to be hands down my favorite product from the Bumble and bumble hair care line. As it says on the packaging, what exactly this styling cream does is "unique and hard to define." This little golden tube seems to be a hybrid shine enhancer/ smoother/ volumizer/ texturizer. Regardless of if I wear my hair wavy or straight, I have been applying this cream religiously as a finishing product ever since I purchased it during Sephora's last VIB sale. This product manages to give my hair a little "oomph" it was missing before. A tiny amount gives any style a little more sheen, body and movement.

NARS Blush in Madly
I have not reached for a single other cheek product since purchasing this blush. Not only does this golden rose color help to contour my face, but it also imparts a bronzed radiance to the skin. For a full review with swatches, please click here!

Mac Fluidline in Macroviolet
This was a happy rediscovery for me in November. Feeling bored with my usual black liquid liner, I decided to pull this little baby out and have been loving the effect ever since. It does a great job of defining the eyes without being as harsh as traditional black liner. The subtle golden plum color really lights up green eyes and works wonderfully with many smokey looks. I believe the Fluidline in Macroviolet will also be promoted in the next MAC Collection, Taste Temptation.

What were your favorite products in November? Hope you are all looking forward to a beautiful December and Holiday season!

Lots of Love,