Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review of Burberry Beauty

It's been awhile since I've updated my blog - lots going on in my life, and little 'free' time. I've decided to write about my experience with the new Burberry Beauty line, which I purchased online from

I purchased 3 eyeshadows, in Pale Rose, Tea Rose, and Trench, and the Light Glow blush in Rose. Overall, the shadows are very soft (which also means a lot of fallout), and require quite a bit of building to get the desired color payoff. They do, however blend beautifully.

Tea Rose is a very basic rose tone - very neutral, nothing special.
Trench is a dead-on dupe for MAC Brule, but at $29, I'll be keeping Brule.
Pale Rose is a nice pale pink with irridescence, and maybe my fave of the three. Despite the brand name, and high expectations, they just don't live up to my makeup standards. The colors are essentially dupable, and are do not stand out enough for me to shell out $29 apiece for them.

The blush is nice - very soft and sheer, easily buildable, and the color is a good, everyday color for my NW25 skintone. But for $40, I think I'd rather use one of my MAC or LORAC just really isn't that special.

In the photo below, L-R: Tea Rose, Trench, Pale Rose. Bottom: Rose Light Glow blush. All are over UDPP, patted on. And yes, the camera captured the color depth well.

Sadly, these are going back.

In the photos below, for the eyes I've used the 3 shadows, plus MAC Charcoal Brown in the crease, and Chanel Cassis to line. Cheeks are Burberry Rose blush. Lips are Chanel Legende Rouge Coco topped off with MAC Easy Lounger lipglass.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New hauls, photos yet to come......

I have some pics to show, for the new MUFE Aqua Creams and some of my favorite brushes....but alas Google is experiencing issues with photo we'll just have to wait.

On the haul front, I finally have my MAC To the Beach collection (can I just say WOW) and am enjoying it a lot! I might even post an FOTD if I'm feeling particularly bold :).

I also recently came across some Chanel glossimers that (gasp) had been hiding from me in the black hole of my closet - I was astonished to discover some oldies but goodies, all new and pristine. It was like finding a treasure given my renewed Chanel obsession. I also recently received my Chanel Dreams quad, which I am anxious to try today - very pretty colors, and my first 'non-US' version of a Chanel quad!

In other news, I'm really liking the sample of Chanel Hydramax+Active Nutritive moisturizer. Maybe this will be part of a permanent skin care regime.....I also picked up the Ultra Correction Lift lip contour cream, and I'm really liking it. Hopefully I'll see some long-term benefit!

Yet to try:
Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base - I had heard that this is a really interesting product, and since I'm not the biggest fan of bronzers, I thought I might have better luck using something that was more of a base to my makeup, rather than applied as an almost-last step.
Shu Uemura Pink Gloss collection in #333 - I saw these on Nordstrom's website and thought I would give one a try - the color is beautiful in the tube - very fine particles of shimmer in a perfect pink base - Shu's glosses generally have an almost weightless feel to them - I have a few others that I use from time to time (I'm on a Chanel glossimer kick at the moment, fickle me ;) ), so we'll see how this one does. I think it will be a great addition to my summer lip collection.
Nars Albatross highlighter - again, given the rave reviews, I have to see if it lives up to the considerable hype. This weekend will be a good time for me to try some of these new goodies!
Chanel Nude lip pencil - this was a must-have for me, given the various very positive reviews I've seen around the net. I'll be using it today to see what all the fuss is about! Hmmm.....maybe with the Shu gloss over it?
Smashbox Second Skin Longwear Concealer in Light (Waterproof) - I just received this product from QVC, and am excited to try it out. I'm a huge fan of MUFE's Lift Concealer, so that will be a tough act to follow, but I'll give Smashbox a whirl!

New additions to my collection, tried, using and loving:
Chanel Inimitable mascara - this is a favorite among some of my Spektra sisters so I had to give it a try - I liked it so much I bought it during the 'buy 2 get one 1' mascara offer at Nordstrom this past Saturday. Very black, not clumpy, it elongates my lashes nicely. A keeper!
Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing powder in Antigua and Maui - these came highly recommended by a dear friend from These are beautiful powders! I love the colors especially - Antigua is a pinky-nude color and Maui is a golden rose. Both have subtle shimmer, and I love using them on my cheekbones and lightly at my temples....haven't quite gone the true 'bronzer' route with the application yet, but I'm very happy with my application results!

That's it for this post - I'll patiently (?) wait for Google to fix their photo upload issues, and hopefully give you something to look at soon!!

Make it a great day! I'm too blessed to be stressed!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stall tactic.....

Hello all - I'm finding that the topics for my upcoming posts can really be enhanced by adding photographs. Since I am challenged in this area, it's going to take me awhile to pull some together.

With that in mind, and so no one thinks I fell asleep at my computer, this post will be about random thoughts I've had in the last few days.

I visited a favorite gift shop today, only to find out that they had recently been robbed by two women and a LITTLE GIRL!!! The little girl, about 5, was THE DECOY!! They had clearly 'cased the joint' and knew the layout of the store, who was working, the best getaway route, etc. In the 14 years that the shop has been open they had never been robbed. I was upset for the owner, but even more outraged that people would use their own children for such despicable acts! Not much of a life ahead for sad.

On a lighter note.........

I'm glad Lee DeWyze won American Idol - I've been a fan of his from the beginning. Hope to hear good things from him very soon!!

I'm a little disappointed that Nichole S. won dancing with the stars - it somehow seems unfair for someone with experience to win. The show is becoming predictable - the 2 top couples and the third little engine that could (think Marie Osmond, Kelly Osbourne) make it to the finals (though I was ecstatic last year when Donny Osmond actually won!!)

I'm cleaning out my closet.....ugh......what a chore! But, on the plus side, the things I'm giving away go to a place where the proceeds feed the hungry and homeless in my town. So not only will my closet be more organized, but hopefully people will benefit from it.

I start a new job on Tuesday (within the same company) and I'm really looking forward to it! A change of pace is almost always a good thing!

And last but not least, I finally get to pick up my MAC TTB stuff tomorrow! I've had it on hold waiting for Nordstrom's half-yearly sale......I've been drooling over the pages and pages of posts of people loving their hauls. Congratulations to everyone, and thanks for sharing!!

That's it for today - I promise to have more interesting posts soon, photography inability notwithstanding!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quick review of some recent hauls

Before diving head-long into my color cosmetic faves, I thought I would take a detour and describe/review some of my recent makeup purchases. I tend to like to keep things 'new' which only results in them not getting used as I forget about them when the next new thing comes along. I've decided that's probably not a good long-term strategy, so I'm now trying things out as I buy them to decide if I'm going to keep them and whether they'll be 'instant favorites'.

MUFE Aqua Cream Waterproof Cream Color: OK, I jumped on the hype bandwagon for these and immediately ordered 3 from Sephora as a VIB. I got #6 (a medium-toned pink with gold-ish shimmer), #13 (a true champagne shimmer) and #16 (a warm pink shimmer). The first time I used these as a shadow base, I was less than thrilled. They were patchy. I had problems blending them. But my shadow stayed put. I just wasn't happy with the result. So I took them out again today, determined to like them. Tried them with a different brush than that which I used on my eyes. Still streaky, still patchy. Bummer. Guess I'll have to return them. Then, an epiphany ~ perhaps I should try to use them with my finger? I don't really like sticking my finger in my cream 'stuff', but sometimes you just have to say, what the heck, right? I swatched # 16 on my hand, et voila!! Beautiful color payoff, smooth as a baby's bum. And vibrant. Woo hoo!!!! I'm a happy girl (as I also have 3 more on order from Sephora). Now if I can just get past that finger thing.....maybe I'll experiment with different brushes and see what happens, but for now, the finger is the way to go ;).

Benefit Coralista: Where have I been? This is a GORGEOUS coral blush! It goes on smoothly and is just the perfect color to go with this season's 'it' color! I have MAC's blush ombre in Ripe Peach, but I have to say I am favoring Coralista at the moment......yummy!

NYX 10 Color Eyeshadow Palette The Runway Collection #07 Versus: I bought this palette originally because I was traveling quite a bit, and it was just too bothersome to bring my MAC shadows (not to mention too hard to decide which ones to bring). I'm quite anal retentive when it comes to travel planning (my wardrobe, my cosmetics) and I needed to cut down on the stress and number of things I was packing. This particular palette is beautiful! It has multiple shades of browns and purples, and the texture is really good. I've done a few days' worth of looks with this collection, and I always get compliments. If I'm in a hurry and don't want to think about what should go with what, I reach for this and know I'll have a great look in a pinch.

Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Rose Petale: What can I say? This is an ideal blush color, complete with the Chanel-renowned texture and pigment. It is the perfect shade of rose, not too dark, not too light, with just a hint of shimmer. Perfection in a compact.

Chanel Aqualumiere Lipstick in Papeete: This has been a staple in my purse since I bought it. It is the most beautiful pomegranite color on my lips, with the typical AL sparkle. I love this color!!

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Woodstock: This is one of the new collection of 6 shadows this season from UD. It is a vivid fuchsia color, a couple of tones brighter than MAC's Cranberry (which is one of my ALL-time favorites!!). I used it yesterday as part of a fun, bright, ready-for-summer eye, and I have to say I'm really glad I got it. It is very pigmented, and is a color that I have been more or less looking for, having been disappointed in a number of 'similar' shadows I have - none of them has this color payoff and intensity. I cannot wait to wear it with colors like Moth Brown and Satin Taupe, or as part of a purple look. Very worthwhile purchase!

LORAC Baked Matte Satin Blush in Flaunt: I immediately stashed this blush in my Sephora basket when I went past the LORAC gondola. I have a couple of other colors in this formulation, and I'm a fan. This color is a bright candy pink color, reminiscent of a Lancome color I had in high school (and still have in my stash of fame) called 'Tropink'. Flaunt is vivid in the pan, and is quite pigmented, so lighter-handed is much better. I'm not sure why Carol calls these 'matte' because they are not. They have a nice shimmer to them without being frosty. I love this color. I definitely have too many blushes to choose from.....gah!!!!! But this is a keeper!!

That's it from my end for today. I hope you are maybe inspired to step out and try something new and different!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Now let's talk foundation.......

Now this is a complicated topic for me, because I'm not really a brand loyalist, but am always on the hunt for a good foundation. I use different foundations in different climates, and usually prefer the 'dewy' look I get from a liquid or cream foundation. But then again, I like the 'smooth' look I get from a powder foundation. I'm really all over the map, as they say. Since spring is here, I'll start there - this is the season that I use both types of foundation, depending on my mood. None is a miracle worker (are there really silver bullets in the beauty world?) but these do the job better than most.

So what is important to me in a foundation?
  • I have combination skin this time of year, so I want something that handles that aspect.
  • I am of Irish and Scottish descent, so I have freckles. I also have an age spot. I'm not opposed to my freckles showing through, but I do like some coverage that evens things out without looking like I spackled it on with a trowel.
  • I want my skin to feel hydrated - I don't want my foundation to undermine my moisturizer. If it contributes, great, but I also don't want to look like an oil slick.
MAC Studio Sculpt (NW20 and NW25): I like this foundation for its texture and coverage, and the fact that you don't have to use gobs of it for it to do its job. I usually use the darker tone on the outer portion of my face, and the lighter one on the inner 'inverted triangle' (the area of my forehead, down my nose and inner cheek area, down to my chin) to bring light to that portion of my face. I use a brush to apply (I'll have a post on my favorite brushes - one or two of which may surprise some people).

Laura Geller Balance & Brighten: I LOVE this foundation product! I first discovered it a few years ago, and end up going back to it over and over again. Its combination of colors really evens out my skin tone, and the fact that it isn't a powder per se, it never looks cakey. It lasts a really long time (I'm still not through my first one, though I do not use it every day).

Revlon Colorstay Normal/Dry in #250 Fresh Beige: This foundation has something of a cult following, and I'm definitely on the bandwagon. I use this foundation quite often, but truthfully moreso in winter. I just love the finish it gives my skin, and it really does last all day long (with or without primer). I'm just hoping they don't change the formula or discontinue the color (don't you just HATE it when cosmetic companies do that??).

Makeup Forever High Definition Foundation in #120: This is another favorite - it's like wearing no makeup (which is the point of HD) but it gives my skin a subtle luminosity and evens everything out.

(New foundation awaiting trial) Chanel Teint Innocence in #76 Voile - Soft Bisque/Intensity 2.5: I have not yet tried this foundation, but I did purchase it based on the results when the MA tried it on me. I want to use up some of my others before digging into this, but it holds promise ;).

Following are other products I have tried and use from time to time, but are not the ones I usually reach for:
Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder in Light: I like this product, but it doesn't give me the coverage I typically want, but I do use it from time to time when I want just a sheer finish.
Bare Minerals:
I really have wanted to love this foundation, based on all of the great reviews it gets. I don't know. I just don't get the same results others do. I have tried different shades, different application amounts, different brushes, the whole nine yards. I just can't get it to 'work' for me consistently. Do I use it? Yes. Do I use it a lot? No.

That wraps up my foundation opinions. I hope you all have a great weekend and get to enjoy some good spring weather (those of you in the northern hemisphere, anyway! ;) ).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Now on to makeup basics.......

This particular topic could take days, so I'm going to take it in stages :). I'll start off with what I consider 'essential' products - again, ones that I use everyday, and that give me predictable results.

Foundation Primers: Makeup Forever HD Primer in #0 and Chanel Base Lumiere: I use a brush to apply these primers - I've been using the MUFE primer for about 3 months, and the Chanel primer for about 3 weeks. I like them both quite a bit, but find I reach for the MUFE primer more (maybe because it's cheaper to replenish?). I apply it all over my face and on my neck as well. They really do help my foundation last the day. I never retouch at work (don't have to with these) and they provide a nice smooth finish for my liquid or powder foundation (depending on which I'm using on any given day). I think what I like most is the texture and the fact that they have slip (as opposed to primers in a jar that are thicker in consistency). I always apply my primer before I do my eye makeup so that it can absorb into my skin well before I apply foundation as my last step.

Eye Shadow Primers: Urban Decay Primer Potion: This is really sort of what I just use, rather than a favorite. I've tried many primers, and though I get the results I'm looking for (crease-free, shadow doesn't fade), I can't say that I'm in love with the formulations. Sometimes I use MAC paintpots, which I like every now and then (they can be 'draggy' and harder to blend, depending on the color), and sometimes I use Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Maybe it's just my eyelid texture, but I have not yet found the 'holy grail' shadow primer. UDPP comes the closest in that it leaves an invisible base, which I quite like. Sometimes, however, it does crease before I can get my eyeshadow on - which just means I have to blend it down again.

I did just place an order with Sephora for a few of the new MUFE Aqua Creams (which may fit the bill) and redeemed VIB points to get a deluxe sample of a new NARS shadow primer. I'll try both of these and maybe amend my opinion.

Setting Powder: MUFE High Definition Powder and MAC Prep & Prime Transparent Finishing Powder AND Bare Minerals Feather Light Mineral Veil: I'll start with the last one first. I've been using BE FLMV for many years, and I love it. It's got just the faintest bit of sparkle (though not in the disco ball sense) and it gives my face a bit of a glow. I use it to blend my eye shadows as well for more of a soft-focus kind of look. I hope I never run out of this. Hands down one of my all-time favorite beauty products.

The other 2 powders I use when I just want a finished look with no glow. Some would say that powder on mature skin is a no-no, but these powders blended into the foundation just provide 'set' for me, no powdery look at all. They soften the whole look without caking. I also find that if I'm going to use powder blush it works better over another powder. I never apply any of these products underneath my eye. My application tends to be T-zone and along my cheekbones and that's it.

Concealer: MUFE Lift Concealer in #3: I have finally found a concealer I can use under my eyes. I'm sure this sounds a bit goofy, but I have tried many products with less than acceptable results. I don't have dark circles, but I do like to lighted that area (I do have darkness in the area at my nose, like most people do). This concealer is invisible, but it works. It blends beautifully, and doesn't creep into my fine lines. All I can say is FINALLY! :)

Mascara: Mally Volumizing and DiorShow in black: Mascara is such a personal thing, and I'm pretty fickle in that I'm not really a brand loyalist in this category. I have tried them all (except YSL and Chanel) and I have to say that Mally and Dior give me the best results. As we age, our lashes become less full, and these mascaras give me some oomph without clumping or the spider effect. If I spend the time, I can get quite a bit of length out of my lashes, but who has that kind of time? I don't. I want to use two coats and walk out the door without a lot of fuss. These two fit that bill. If I take a break from these (or just want to save $$ and time), I will use anything by Rimmel or L'Oreal, as their products are quite good drugstore varieties. I get Mally from QVC.

That's it from a basics perspective - I have a lot of thoughts on color products. That will probably be an installment kind of thing, as it's hard for me to pin down just one or two faves in each category.

In closing, I just want to say count your blessings each day and tell your family you love them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Favorite Basics - Skin Care & Makeup

I thought I would launch things by discussing some of my go-to skincare and makeup items - things I use every day. Given my extreme makeup obsession, I have a lot of products to try and decide whether I like, but few that get the 'thumbs-up' award of re-purchase. I am very often told that I have great skin, so maybe I'm doing something right (though heredity of good skin genes definitely plays a role).

For reference, my skin is mature, essentially combination in summer, and dry in winter. I have laugh lines around my eyes, and typical aging characteristics - some age spots, lines on my forehead, but no real lip lines and no 'jowl sagging'. All in all I'm happy with my skin. I do not visit a dermatologist regularly, and I do not get regular facials. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who does not really (meaning I only ocassionally) suffer from undereye darkness, circles or puffiness.

Today I'll start with skin care:

Philosophy Real Purity cleanser: this has been my all-time favorite cleanser for years - I like it because I do not need a separate product to remove eye makeup, it is gentle, and doesn't leave my face feeling tight or dry. I wait for Nordstrom's women's half-yearly sale and get the 32-oz pump bottle that will last me until the next h/y sale.

Dr. Denese Resurface & Glow cleanser: this is my morning shower cleanser/daily mild exfoliator. I use various weekly exfoliators depending on my skin's condition. I don't have a 'favorite' weekly product per se, but I tend to reach for MAC's Microfine Refinisher more often than not.

Clarisonic face brush: this is a great innovation - I use it with my Real Purity for a deep-down clean that doesn't leave my face stripped (important for women of 'my age' ;) and for me, it helps my skin care products seem to absorb more quickly and deeply into my skin. I also have the 'Mia' travel version.

Olay Regenerist Microsculpting and Night Treatment creams: I have actually repurchased these creams multiple times, and always being on the hunt for the next great moisturizer (and having tried many, both inexpensive and quite expensive), I think I have finally settled on this one. I use them in combination with other products from other companies for my skin care routine. Nothing makes my skin feel more moisturized.

Neutrogena Dermatologics Retinol NX serum: This product I get from QVC, as I love the idea of a retinol without using Retin-A, and this cream has improved the texture of my skin. I have it on 'auto-delivery' as I don't want to run out of it. This I use after whatever serum I happen to be using (I'm still on the fence about my favorite serum). I use this only at night.

Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-wrinkle eye cream: this is relatively new to me, but I'm glad someone recommended it! I've been using it for about a month, and it is truly moisturizing! I can feel its effects all day. I have had a hard time finding the perfect combination of nourishment without irritation (I have allergies and my eyes water a lot in the sun) and this cream helps my eye area feel 'comforted'.

Dr. Denese Triple Strength Neck Wrinkle Smoother & Bare Minerals Neck Cream: I love these products almost equally - those of you with younger necks need to take care of them now. I really believe that my use of neck creams over the last several years has staved off the advancing 'age lines'. Though I do have some due to heredity, I feel I am taking care of this area (as well as my decolletage) by using these products (along with day-time sunscreen). I also purchase both of these products from QVC.

Neutrogena Age Shield FACE Sunblock SPF 90+ (summer) & Neutrogena visibly even daily moisturizer SPF 30: I am one of those people who think that SPF 30 is the minimum requirement for my face, and as a result, I don't even bother with anything less than that. I typically use the visibly even moisturizer during the winter when the sun is not as strong in the northeast, and I started using the Age Shield again last month now that spring is here. I have to be careful not to get these near my sensitive eyes (which one should do anyway) but you can't beat the protection for the price. These products are available at any drugstore.

Chapstick: no matter how many 'trendy' lip products come on the market, I always go back to good old Chapstick (my favorite is Cherry). Having been on Retin-A in my early 20s (and before all of the acne skin care advancements), my lips remain very dry. I keep Chapstick very handy, in the kitchen, at my desk, by my bed, in the outer pocket of my purse. Nothing has the same lasting power for me.

I have other 'current' likes - but nothing noteworthy at this point. I'll focus on my makeup basics in my next post.