Monday, January 31, 2011

Face of the day: simple daytime neutrals (duh!)

I got really excited to wear my new eyeshadow this morning (Le Metier de Beaute's "Corinthian") so I figured it was a perfect opportunity to capture a FOTD - Face Of The Day.
I know that most of my looks are similar but I enjoy making minor tweaks and sharing them with you.


Face:
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation #5
Laura Mericer Secret Camouflage Concealer SC-4
Laura Mercier Translucent Powder
Benefit Hoola Bronzer
NARS Taj Mahal Blush


Eyes:
NARS Mykonos Cream Eyeshadow as a base
Le Metier De Beaute Corinthian Eyeshadow all over the lid
Bare Minerals Nude Beach Eyeshadow in the inner corner
MAC Feline Eyeliner
Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Mascara

The consistency of the Le Metier de Beaute eyeshadow is just amazing. I can't wait to get into the brand more and check out some of their other offerings. They do these things called Kaleidoscope which are little eyeshadow "palettes" with disc-like drawers that pull out to reveal the eyeshadows:

They're refillable, aaaand unfortunately super expensive (at $95 a pop these aren't exactly the most wallet-friendly of things) but they're just so smooth and amazing that it might actually make sense to downsize a collection of many mediocre shadows in order to make room for just a few wonderful ones.

I'm all for the collection minimizing this year.
Who's with me?

Sunday evening drooling... handbag style


So since yesterday I posted about Louis Vuitton and some of my favourite structured nude/cream handbags the brand has to offer, I figured this evening I shift gears towards a few other brands that also offer stunning neutral bags that I would be more than happy to own and run off into the sunset with.

The first one is the ever-so-lovely Balenciaga City. I lovingly stare at them every time I see them in a boutique, but no colour offerings ever stole my heart as much as the colour Praline.
Balenciaga changes up their colour offerings every year (apart from the classic black and a handful of shades they have permanently) which can be both refreshing - if you're a collector - or frustrating if you're like me and fell for a colour that you weren't able to buy at the time.

They've come out with some similar nude shades but none struck me so much as Praline. Also, I prefer the small hardware on them, not covered.

Balenciaga City

On the darker side of things, there's no other black slouchy handbag that I'd rather have than a gorgeous Givenchy. Here's a photo of one in action and it just looks so beautiful! These also come in a myriad of colours/sizes/hardware options but the simple all black is the most striking to me.

Givenchy Nightingale

Last but not least, a bag I wouldn't mind owning in every colour (and the clutch version, and the wallet, and and and)... by Proenza Schouler. I picked a neutral cool beige since that's what I'm lusting for at the moment, but really these bags are just so cool and really my style. I'm really leaning towards this being my next big handbag purchase - if I don't get distracted by shoes, that is.

Proenza Schouler PS1

Alright I can now go to bed happy thinking about these beauties.

Hope you all had a great weekend :)

xoxoxo

Sandra

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Louis Vuitton Loving


Louis Vuitton seems to be one of those either love it or hate it kind or brands for most people, yet I somehow find myself smack dab in the middle.
While I'm not exactly a monogram canvas enthusiast, I always seem to aimlessly wander inside every Louis Vuitton boutique I pass by in my travels or shopping excursions and I always leave very happy and pleasantly impressed.
From most of my retail experience, Louis Vuitton stores always have friendly staff and their window displays and stores are always so dynamic and welcoming
(unlike *cough* Chanel *cough*, where you feel an ice cold breeze as soon as you get within a 50 foot radius of the entrance).
It almost makes me want to invest in the brand more, and I really admire them for achieving that.
They always have gorgeous promo photos as well... how beautiful is this picture:

she's fancy, huh?

I own one Louis Vuitton bag that I purchased in Rome in the fall of 2009, a Speedy 30 in Damier Ebene canvas - I love it so so much - the shape and size are just perfect and I feel that it completely satisfies my canvas need.
My next Louis Vuitton purchase will most certainly be a leather one.

Anyways, without any more fluff, here are the leather bags that always catch my eye when I walk into a Louis Vuitton store - there's a common theme since I'm on a nude purse hunt right now.
They may be quite far out of my budget right now, but that never stops me from admiring :)

the Alma in Monogram Vernis

the Alma in Epi Leather


the MM Lockit in Suhali Leather

the closest thing to those bags that I'll be able to afford... haha

What are your thoughts/experiences with this brand?
Any bags you've been admiring from afar lately?

Hope you're all having a great weekend!



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Testing the waters... Micellar waters, that is

You all know my love affair with Bioderma Sensibio, it was love at first makeup removal.
It was powerful (removed all my eye and face makeup effortlessly) and was gentle enough for my sensitive and acne-prone skin.
The only negative about it was that it costs $22 at Shoppers Drug Mart for the 250mL bottle, which I managed to use up rather quickly.

Last week when I jolted to Shoppers for a refill, I came across another product that claimed to do the same thing - Vichy Purete Thermale Micellar Solution


It was standing there in all its glory... for $20, and at 400 mL of product... almost DOUBLE the amount of the Bioderma at a smaller price... score!
I instantly grabbed it and happily walked out of the store.

After about a week of using it, here's what I have to say:
- the pump is useless, it just splatters all over the cotton ball... not really necessary for this type of product
- it has quite a heavy rose scent, which isn't bad, but it can be a bit overpowering
- leaves a slight residue on the skin
- effective makeup remover for face and lip makeup
- some extra rubbing required to get rid of stubborn mascara and eyeliner

The Verdict: it may be a better value for money, but it is not as good as Bioderma.
Bioderma is completely scent free (which I prefer, and I'm sure most of you ladies with sensitive skin would agree), and Bioderma removes all my eye makeup without that extra bit of effort, which is nice because the eye area is sensitive and you don't want to be rubbing it too heavily.

So while I will be using the Vichy micellar solution up, I wouldn't repurchase. If you don't wear a lot of liquid eyeliner or lots of mascara, the Vichy might suffice... but for me, Bioderma came out as the superior product.

Have any of you had any experiences (positive or negative) with this makeup remover?

xoxo

Gossip Girl

(haha)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In & Out 2.0

This is what's hot/cold for me at the moment:

IN

- Twitter. I love Twitter and can't see it fading anytime soon.

- Jersey Shore season 4 taking place in Italy. I apologize in advance to all my Italian readers. I love Italy, I've been there twice (and hopefully more to come) and there's nothing that will amuse me more than seeing those orange clowns of Jersey Shore see what real Italians are like. Real Italian men are slim and stylish - not bulky, tan, Ed-Hardy clad "gorillas"... (sorry, Snooki!)

- these simple, slouchy leather clutches:


One of my girl friends posted this photo of herself modelling one of these bags and I immediately asked where it was from! Turns out it's from a young handbag designer from Romania, and she makes some beauuutiful stuff. I really want one! Click here to see more. The one I want costs $160 which isn't a lot for a finely crafted leather bag. I must get saving - and watch this space because when I do order I will definitely blog about it.

- Starbucks. I've been using my Air Miles to redeem for $25 Starbucks cards... so I've been trying out some new things. This week's favourites: their skinny green tea lattes and their blueberry bars. YUM!

OUT

- SNOW.... AGAIN... GRRRR

- difficulty finding parking at school


- dehydrated skin! I'm seriously contemplating dishing out the money for the Chanel Hydramax Gel Cream... I have a sample and I'm in love... but am not in love with the price tag - $72... *gulp*... maybe once I use up my Chantecaille serum I will be able to justify this lovely cream.

That's about it for me today! Hope you're all having a great week :)



Monday, January 24, 2011

Urban Decay "All Nighter" - the good and the bad

I got so excited when I first tried Urban Decay's "All Nighter" Makeup Setting Spray.
My friend brought it along when we went on a road trip together back in November and after using it a couple of times before going out on the town, I was sold and immediately purchased a bottle of my own when I got home.

This product claims all sorts of wonderful things, quoting the Urban Decay website:

"This groundbreaking formula mists on, ensuring that your makeup won't budge for 16 hours. Really. Weightless but powerful, All-Nighter's temperature control technology keeps your makeup from melting down when it's warm and humid, or dehydrating when its cold and windy."

Wowza! Sounds almost too good to be true! But in all honesty it really delivered when I first started using it. It immediately replaced my MAC Fix+ since it definitely kept my makeup on for longer and sealed in the pigments of whatever blush/bronzer I was using quite well. Mind you, it may have not made me look perfect for 16 hours straight, but I definitely noticed a difference in the longevity of my face makeup. So, of course, I started using it every day.


A few weeks ago this video showed up in my YouTube subscription box. A great review by makeup artist Wayne Goss bringing to my attention the fact that this wonderful setting spray contains SD Alcohol. SD Alcohol is denatured alcohol commonly found in cosmetics in small amounts (it's also labeled as Alcohol Denat. on the back of some products).
While it is considered safe (as in... it won't kill you or poison you or anything), it's not really the best thing to be spraying all over your face every day... it's second on the list of ingredients for Urban Decay All Nighter, meaning it is present in a significant amount.

I noticed my skin was getting rather dry but I just attributed it to the winter weather, not realizing that my oily skin NEVER gets this dry in the winter time. After seeing Wayne's video I stopped using the spray every day and lo and behold... my skin is back to normal.

So... moral of the story: while this product does make makeup last longer, it's really not worth it for me in the grand scheme of things. I'd rather touch up my makeup on my oily skin if it's starting to fade than drying it out with whatever chemicals are in this spray. I will use the product up since occasional use won't affect my skin so negatively, but I will not be repurchasing.

I'm keen on trying the Caudalie Elixir facial spray next!

Thoughts?

xoxox

Sandra

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Used up so far... Part VI

It's that time again!
What items have I used up in the past couple of weeks, you may ask?

This week they've all been items I've really enjoyed using and that I would definitely repurchase (some of them are even Holy Grail material!!!)

1. NARS Foundation Primer with SPF 20


I reviewed this primer not too long ago, so scroll back a couple of posts for my in-depth thoughts. Bottom line is - this is a lovely oil-free primer, great for winter time when my skin is a bit dehydrated and blotchy. It really helps even out skin texture and provides a smooth base for further makeup application.
This little tube I have was just a sample but it lasted me about a month of every day use, so it's a product of good value since the full size contains over 5 times as much and costs $30.

2. L'Oreal Professional Absolut Repair Hair Mask


Hands down one of my favourite conditioners that I've ever tried. I've been using this for two years now (not consistently, but I first used it in early 2009) and it's just one of those things I always go back to. I don't use it as a traditional hair mask like it instructs on the packaging. I just use it as a regular conditioner. I apply it to wet hair after shampooing, leave it on for about a minute and then rinse.
I always have good hair days after I use this, it smells amazing and makes my hair SO soft! Doesn't weigh hair down, either, and works well with any shampoo you pair it with. It's always something I want to keep in my bathroom just in case. Lasts a while too since you only need a small scoop (about a teaspoon-worth) at a time.

3. Bioderma Sensibio H2O


I went through this bottle in just over a month... not quite economical since it costs $22 here in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart. In Europe it's a lot cheaper, I'm hearing about 12 euro for the 500 mL bottle (which I haven't been able to find here... we only carry 250 mL bottles). But it's worth it. So far the most efficient and gentle eye and face makeup remover I've tried.
I have to go get more ASAP!

4. LUSH Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask


I recently talked about this in my newest video and I love this mask! Smells questionable, but it contains natural antiseptics such as tea tree oil and garlic, it's incredibly gentle and leaves the skin radiant, pores refined, and soft. It doesn't work any magic on reducing breakouts or healing pimples, but it definitely benefits with the overall appearance and texture of the skin.
Will definitely repurchase this as well!

So this has been a good week, (or bad for my wallet since I have to repurchase these at some point), but I really enjoy using products up and in the end making the big decision on whether to repurchase or to move on to the next best thing.

As always, keep me posted on what you've been using lately!
Until next time :)

xoxox

- Sandra

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Some saturday morning shoe porn...

Cue the seductive music and dim the lights!

I have officially entered the mid-winter blues and the thought of 2 more months of this frigid weather has left me pretty demoralized.

What better to help pull my spirits up than ogling up some nude high heels and sandals that are just begging to be noticed for spring/summer? I tend to steer clear of nude or cream-coloured shoes in the winter time because the muddy, wet, slippery and salty roads would absolutely destroy them... but during the dry and warmer months, the gloves (and socks) are off!

Let's admire together now, shall we?

1. Brian Atwood
2. Diane Von Furstenberg
3. Donna Karan
(all from Net-A-Porter)

1. Those Brian Atwood pumps are just stunning. Victoria Beckham has been seen out wearing them to death, and no wonder! They're perfect. Timeless shape, timeless colour, and a bit of a nice delicate touch added with the black mesh-like detailing.

2. The Diane Von Furstenberg Opal sandal was introduced last spring and I'm very happy she brought them back for another season. Last season they were only available in brown and black (and I was || this close to buying a black pair last year except Nordstrom only had a size 9 left *cries*), this season a new cream colour was introduced, which is gorgeous, and a canvas model as well!
This is hands-down one of the most comfortable pair of high wedge sandals I've ever tried on! The wedge is not clunky at all, but rather light. Maybe this year they'll finally be mine!!

3. These just caught my eye today, I hadn't seen them before... I absolutely LOVE the colour and the heel!

Now, before I get too carried away with spring/summer nudes and sandals, I have to step back to reality for a minute and think about my poor frozen bare legs in the winter months... and how badly tights are needed.

Thankfully ASOS comes to the rescue... I spotted these this morning (supposed to be inspired by the ones Cheryl Cole wore in her Promise This music video, I think) and I really like them!


ASOS always have the coolest tights on their site and I ordered some a couple of years back but Canada Customs charged me so much for duty that I never ordered from that site again. Thankfully for us North Americans, there is an American division to the site now which isn't as abusive on our Canadian wallets... :)

Hope you all have a nice weekend!

xoxoxo

- Sandra


Monday, January 10, 2011

In & Out (the first one of 2011!)

IN

- LUSH Cosmetic Warrior face mask... it smells like garbage but it's been amazing at refining my pores (review coming up!)

- even though summer is a long way away... pictures from Dolce & Gabbana's Spring Summer 2011 collection makes me so excited. I need more white in my wardrobe!


(obviously I'd extend all these sexy offerings by an inch or 5, but hey... they look amazing!)

- a new semester, a fresh start... I'm really getting into the groove of it so far - even though fast forward 2 months from now I'll be FML-ing my life away during exams.

- The Daily Mail. It's a British newspaper... full of nonsense and news... I read it every morning and I am addicted. They report on anything from natural disasters to the fact that Nicole Kidman uses Botox (um, is this news? She hasn't been able to move her face properly since 2004). This particular headline from today's page made me extra happy:

Simon's representatives have declined to comment on this incident.

- being on a spending ban for the month of January... I'm at day 12 and I'm doing well! Have purchased very few things this month, and the ones that I did purchase, I used gift cards from Christmas... so the premise of not spending my own hard-earned cash still stands! :) Join me and tweet me if you feel the urge to buy something new, I tend to be really good at talking myself and others out of buying things haha

- Tom Ford for Men cologne... smells like "sex on wheels", as Dara BelleDuJourNYC would say. It smells great on men, but I prefer to wear it on myself with a mix of a more feminine fresh scent.

- the crab & spinach dip at The Keg. The Keg is a Canadian restaurant chain, a steakhouse, if you will. I have been absolutely addicted to their crab spinach dip and have been consuming it on a weekly basis. If you're in Canada and happen to drop by The Keg... give it a go!

OUT

- snow storms. Come on! I'm over it already. Driving was a nightmare today.

- those big Mega Metal eyeshadows from the new MAC Peacocky collection. Does anyone really need a blush-sized eyeshadow in their life? Especially since half of us have palettes and little pots of eyeshadows building up in our drawers... and I have yet to hit pan on an eyeshadow! That collection is getting a big pass from me.

- since I'm on an eyeshadow rampage... the Urban Decay Naked Palette. I just don't get it. Yeah it's nice, yeah, it's handy. But is it worth the freakout every time it goes back in stock on a website? I don't think so... not for me, anyway. There are plenty of eyeshadows out there that keep me distracted.

All in all I'd say this is a pretty great start to 2011! I hope you're all doing wonderful.

xoxox

Sandra

Friday, January 7, 2011

Product Review: NARS Makeup Primer with SPF


I've never been crazy about makeup primers.
I've always had oily skin and to me, those silicone-based concoctions (*cough* Smashbox, I'm talking to you!) always seemed to make my face feel extra greasy and did absolutely nothing to help make my foundation apply easier or last longer.
So, naturally, when I received this "deluxe sample" of the NARS Makeup Primer with SPF several months ago (one of those Sephora 100 point perks), I tossed it in my box of samples, never to be looked at again... until recently.

Throughout December my skin went from overall Grease-ville to a strange extra dry/extra oily combination. The areas that are prone to breakouts on my face (generally the chin area) became rather dry and flaky - and my nose as well - while my forehead and cheeks remained the usual oil slicks. This made my foundation application a nightmare.
I'm currently using Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, and while it's a dream to apply, you really do need an overall even hydrated base since it clings terribly to any dry patches or slides off any excessively oily areas.

I dug deep in the box of samples and pulled out the NARS makeup primer. I have been using it quite steadily for the past 4 weeks and I really like it. It contains broad-spectrum sun protection, SPF 20, which is great for daytime especially if your foundation - like the Giorgio Armani - doesn't contain SPF. It's not silicone based and it has a light creamy consistency... similar to a light moisturizer.
It has a faint vanilla-lemon scent and isn't greasy at all. I apply a small amount with my fingers and let it sink into the skin for about 5 minutes before applying my foundation.


The full size product contains 50 mL and costs $33 on the NARS website. The little 8 mL sample lasted an entire month with regular use, so it's quite good value for money since the full size is bound to last you about 5 months.
I noticed a big difference in how my foundation applies after using this primer. The flaky patches are well-hydrated underneath so the makeup applies smoothly on top, and it doesn't feel heavy or overbearing on the skin at all.

While it doesn't do anything to combat oiliness, it doesn't add to it, and that's fine with me!
It's a great winter primer for us oily/combination girls or a great all-around primer if you're struggling with dry patches year-round!

I'd repurchase this during the cold winter months, definitely :)

Since I'm diving into the world of primers, any recommendations of some interesting silicone-free ones? (I've tried the MAC ones and I didn't like them)

Have a fantastic weekend,
xoxox
Sandra




Tuesday, January 4, 2011

3 things... (New Year Beauty Inspiration)


As I was doing my nightly scavenging of the internet for all things beautiful, I came across this gorgeous image of Abbey Lee Kershaw for Tom Ford.

Three things came to mind!


1. how hot are those glasses? I want!
2. gorgeous makeup, I love the warm glossy red lip with the cool silvery eyeshadow
3. Abbey Lee is one of my favourite models ever!

I saved this image in a hurry and I am hoping to show this to my optometrist when I go in for my eye appointment later on this month. I think I may need glasses for seeing at a distance (I'm starting to notice my once perfect 20/20 vision being not up to par as of late)... so might as well try and get sexy and bold Tom Ford specs!
Only problem is I've never seen Tom Ford eyewear at any optician places near me... any advice for me, dear readers who wear glasses? How can I obtain such cool cat-eye frames?

Hope you're all having a great year so far!

xoxox

Sandra

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Best Of 2010 Beauty

It's that time... time to reflect on the past year in all things beauty.



I'm going to keep the blabber at a minimum and just list the things that have impressed me this year... a big fat favourites post.

Not writing any reviews right now (most things I've written or talked about in a video beforehand) but I tried to stick mainly to products purchased or discovered in this year.

I did a little list of nominees because I felt like some things needed an honourable mention, and I will also be posting a video in which I will reveal my ULTIMATE 2010 favourites, narrowed down from this big list.

Sorry for making this like a silly award show... but I think it's rather fun!

Enjoy!

Favourite Foundation

The Contenders:
Chanel Mat Lumiere, YSL Teint Resist, Makeup Forever HD, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, NARS Sheer Glow

(as you can see I liked pretty much every new foundation I've tried this year - Pro Lumiere was last year's love child, but on to the next!)

Favourite Concealer
The Contenders:
MAC Studio Finish, Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer & Corrector, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage

(this one was hard because my skin is temperamental... some things were better for blemishes and some were better for under the eye)

Favourite Fragrance
The Contenders:
Juicy Couture "Couture Couture", D&G "La Lune", Burberry "The Beat"

(all relatively summery scents... summer is my favourite time for scents for some odd reason, it's when I'm most likely to try and buy new things)

Favourite Eyeshadow
The Contenders:
MAC "Mulch", Chanel "Taupe Gris", MAC "Club", NARS "Nepal", Bare Escentuals "Nude Beach"

(there's a clear winner... a big standout favourite although I do love all these new pretty shadows quite a lot... see my video to find out which one!!! hehe)


Favourite Eyeliner
The Contenders:
Stila Eye Kajal "Topaz", MAC "Feline" Kohl Power, MAC "Raven" Kohl Power, MAC "Blacktrack" Fluidline, MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliner

(love them all for very different reasons, the most reliable of which is also the one that's the biggest effort to apply... *hint*)

Favourite Nail Polish
The Contenders:
OPI "Lucky Lucky Lavender", Essie "Van D'Go", Essie "Lollipop", Chanel "Vendetta"

(is it weird that this was the hardest category? can there be a 4-way tie?)

Favourite Hair Product
The Contenders:
Moroccanoil, Frederik Fekkai Dry Shampoo, Got2B Heat Protectant Spray, Fekkai Advanced Glossing Shampoo

Favourite Body Lotion
no contenders... just lots of love for FRESH Sugar Lemon lotion

Favourite Moisturizer
no contenders... just lots of love for Cetaphil Moisturizing lotion

Favourite Cleanser
no contenders... Cetaphil is my favourite

Favourite Lipstick
The Contenders:
Revlon Soft Nude, YSL Rouge Pur Shine #26, Chanel Rouge Coco "Rose Comete", MAC "Hue"

(when I think of happy times this year, I was wearing this lipstick in probably every single time! The only lipstick I brought with me on my travels!)

Favourite Lip Gloss
The Contenders:
MAC "Ample Pink", MAC "Lustreglass", Dior "#317", NARS "Turkish Delight", YSL Gloss Pur "#7"

(this was also hard since I loved lip gloss SO much this year!)

Favourite Mascara
The Contenders:
YSL Singulier, Makeup Forever Smoky Lash, FRESH Supernova, YSL Faux Cils, L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes

(I think you'll all know which one takes the cake for me... although YSL smells so good I will always repurchase their mascaras at some point)

Favourite Blush
The Contenders:
NARS "Madly", MAC "Stereo Rose", MAC "Well Dressed"

(SO HARD TO PICK! All these 3 were my babies this year)

Favourite Bronzer
The Contenders:
Benefit "Hoola", NARS "Laguna"

Favourite Eyeshadow Base
The Contenders:
Urban Decay Primer Potion, MAC "Bare Study" Paint Pot, MAC "Constructivist" Paint Pot

(last year Urban Decay rocked my socks under every eyeshadow... but will this year be the same?? dun dun dun...)

Favourite Exfoliator:
no contenders... Clarisonic for the win!

Favourite Skincare Discovery
The Contenders:
La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment, Bioderma H2O Sensibio Makeup Remover, LUSH Tea Tree Water Toner

(all amazing and worth a try if you have oily sensitive acne prone skin like me!)

Favourite Drugstore Discovery
The Contenders:
NYC Blushable Cream Stick "Plaza Pink", Revlon "Soft Nude" Lipstick, L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum

Make sure you check out my channel in the next couple of days if you'd like to see me show off, reveal, and blab about only the best of the best :)


HAPPY NEW YEAR ♥
15 steps, then a beauty blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.