Tuesday, September 27, 2011

street style loving - coloured denim

I've noticed over the past couple of months, peppered throughout all the street style websites and blogs I follow, the perfect little way to spruce up a tired and dulling wardrobe - coloured denim!
Red, fresh green and royal blue are my favourites so I made this little collage showcasing some of my favourite ways to wear them.

My favourite is probably the last one on the right with the striped top (don't ask me why but I've been looking for the perfect breton striped top for ages and I still haven't found it. I've been close a couple of times but my size wasn't available... *tear*). So simple and put together yet with a hint of creativity.

I tried a pair of green skinnies at Zara when I was in Europe and the colour was perfect but the style did not look good on me at all - it made my behind look like a flat pancake and nobody wants to have that!!

I'm going to continue my search for these because I am convinced that I need a fun pair of jeans for this season. I still remember seeing a girl in Munich this July rocking a bright red pair of skinnies, simple white pocket t-shirt, a black leather jacket and a Chanel wallet on chain worn across her body. I kept staring like a big creep because it was such a simple and cool outfit.

What do you think of this trend? Have you seen or tried any bright skinny jeans this season?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reformulation Frustration?

Pardon the cheesy title but I couldn't help myself.

This post is about - you guess it - a product that was an ultimate favourite for me (an item many of us in the beauty community refer to as the "Holy Grail") for under-eye concealing and it was the Bobbi Brown Corrector in the colour Light Peach.

This is the third consecutive year in which I have been using this product and it's a daily staple for me. Most of the time I just use it by itself and find that it suffices in coverage and lasting power.

Well... all of that was nice and dandy until a new formula came along. I'm not sure when in the past year they reformulated their concealers and correctors since I had purchased and used 2 back-ups from last year in the old formula, but as of last week I opened a new fresh pot that I bought last month and... *tears streaming from face* I don't like it anymore!

Here's my problem:

They made it a lot creamier. See the picture above? My old ones never used to do that. This melts on contact almost. It now slides off my face after a mere hour or two, even when I set it with Benefit Powderflage powder. I hardly ever had to powder it before. Now, without powder, it makes my under-eyes look greasy (and it's not a good look). It's also more pigmented which ends up looking like a cakey mess on me once it slid down half a centimetre and settles into every crevice.

I am so disappointed. Now, I understand that the new creamier and more pigmented formula might now accommodate more users with drier under-eye areas, but it's sad to see a product that used to work so well for me not work anymore.

I guess the hunt is on for a new under eye colour corrector and concealer! Feel free to share your favourites with me below. I'm also curious to see if anyone else has had a similar experience with the Bobbi Brown concealer/corrector range.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Wishin'

I think I can safely say that summer is now over *tear*... but hey, at least I've got fall fashion keeping me warm. I'm obsessing over bold necklaces, rings, bracelets and rose gold anything as well as dreaming of the perfect pair of riding boots - two toned, if possible.

Here are some things I've got my eye on for this season...
This amazing bracelet by Noir (amongst others) has been sold out for MONTHS and I probably will never get to it but if I find something similar I'll be happy. Would look so beautiful with a watch and other bracelets, or by itself wearing a very simple yet feminine black shift dress to "toughen it up" a bit.

Alexander Wang
The alternative to the structured shift dresses I love so much would be something like this. I love the slouchy silhouette, it's relaxed and sexy. Could be worn with a black camisole and thick opaque black tights and boots for daytime, or with bold platform ankle boots (my favourite kind) and some dangling earrings for evening.

HRH Collection
I'm also thinking of getting this soon. Alex makes some beautiful jewelry and I think the "Cuff" necklace will be my first buy.

Last but not least, riding boots. This year my heart has been set on these two-toned ones. Initially I wanted some light brown/camel boots but these seem to be even better! One is slightly more painful for the wallet than the other, but both pairs are adorable and I'm keeping an eye out in the stores for either of them. Sadly I can't ever buy boots online because most end up being too wide in the calf area.

Stuart Weitzman
Juicy Couture
I'm also on the fence with rain boots... I think I need them (it's been raining for the past week and I keep hopping over puddles in my sneakers) but don't feel like splurging. I know Aigle and Hunter do some nice rubber rain boots that LOOK like the two-toned leather riding boots above but have any of you owned them? Is it worth dropping $150 on rubber boots?
What about Hunter rain boots in general? Worth the hype or not? I really need to make my mind up on this issue ASAP before my feet soak haha

Hope you had a great day!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

an In and Out post!


- school. Now, I know it's early on... but dare I say I really like this semester so far? Despite the 8:30am starts.

- warm, big scarves with funky patterns

- so many TV shows coming back on - currently loving UK X-factor, the US version starts this week, as well as my other favourite TV shows from across the pond like Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex. Then we have Gossip Girl, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and of course Dexter. I've got my hands full (of mostly crap but hey, it makes me happy haha)

- excited to check out these new Dior smoky trio eyeshadows, hopefully I'll see them at the counters when I go shopping in the US later this week (my local counter is barren, as always... I swear I see tumbleweeds rolling by every time I walk into The Bay)

so pretty!


- it's 8:00 PM and it's pitch black outside -______-

- I don't own rain boots and I probably need to start looking for a pair before the rain returns

- YouTube and their subscription box being missing in action all weekend

- procrastinating. I'm trying to be good this season - which means I must organize the disaster going on in my dresser sometime soon.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and I'll see you with some fresh posts later on this week!

Also, I'll be heading to Sephora this coming thursday and would love some recommendations! I want to repurchase MUFE Smoky Lash mascara because I miss it and Lancome Doll Lashes has been transferring like crazy :(

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Currently Using...

This past week I complained about products a lot, so today we are going in a different direction - a product I recently started using and that I actually like!

It's the Liz Earle Skin Repair Light moisturizer, and since my skin is combination (mostly oily but I do get the odd dry day) I have been using this as my night cream ever since it came in the mail courtesy of the company.

can be purchased on the Liz Earle website - both UK and International
I like to use this after nights in which I have cleansed my skin really thoroughly with my Clarisonic, I dry my face with a towel, apply any spot treatment if needed (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo) and then apply the moisturizer.
One pump is enough for me, I gently press it into the skin on my face and neck, focusing on the area where I get dry (my forehead and eye area). I absolutely love the packaging of it and the fact that it comes with a pump.

If you are a fan of the Cetaphil moisturizing lotion, you will definitely love this. The texture is quite similar to that albeit a bit lighter so it sinks in right away. It's very gentle, free of parabens or animal byproducts and has a light sweet scent. I was hoping it would smell as amazing as the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish cleanser, but it doesn't... either way it still smells nice. 
At the moment I'm only using it every other night or so since my skin doesn't need too much moisturizer yet, but later on in the fall/winter season I will definitely reach for it more and more!

What moisturizers have you been using?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Find of the week!

You probably remember my desire for all things studded/spiky when it comes to bracelets (it was in this post), I have finally found a fix - that doesn't break the bank.

Drum roll, please:

PS: on my nails I am wearing YSL nail polish in #4

I found these spiked cute things at Forever21, a place that I have tried to avoid over the past couple of years because A) it's always crowded and B) after about 10 unsuccessful visits I just gave up.
I was pleasantly surprised by these. The metal finishes and tones are nice, they feel nice in my hand (not too light or plasticky -- is that even a word?) and the best part... they cost $5.60 each!

They will look lovely paired with more high end bracelets and perhaps a watch! I need to get myself a proper tripod for my DSLR camera so I can start posting outfit posts again.

Hope you had a great week

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Disappointment 102

Keeping on the roll of products that just aren't doing it for me, today we've got this bunch:

coincidentally they all match :)

1. MAC Prep & Prime Skin Refined Zone
2. EOS lip balm
3. LUSH Grease Lightning
4. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

I previously mentioned my dissatisfaction with MAC Skin Refine Zone in another post. I tried following some advice from readers, I let it sink in a good 10, 15, 20 minutes prior to applying foundation and the results were still the same. All it did was manage to turn my foundation into gunk. It didn't sit right on top of the product, and even if I used it on clean skin as a skincare treatment it ultimately had zero effect on pore size. It just mattified the hell out of the area it was applied on.

The EOS lip balm is the worst lip balm I have ever tried (maybe tied with the Softlips menthol ones). There are so many better ones out there by Nivea, Carmex, Labello, etc. Even Aquaphor does a better job. I just don't see why these are so popuar given their poor performance. The fact that they look interesting and come in different flavours shouldn't warrant their bad lip balm performance.

LUSH Grease Lightning is a product that works well for others, but does absolutely nothing for me. I've used about half of it and I give up because it literally does nothing but turn weird and flaky on my skin if I leave it on, or do nothing after I rinse it off.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation used to be an old favourite of mine - until I discovered better powder foundations that put this to shame (Giorgio Armani, Chanel, even Bare Minerals Matte kicks its ass). I bought it earlier this year for nostalgic reasons, I guess... and I have maybe used it 5 times. I end up wanting to wash my face about 4 hours in since it starts looking cakey and oxidizes on me during the day. It's also insanely matte when applied so you need some sort of facial spray for it to look natural... off to my "Back 2 Mac" box it goes!

What products haven't been doing it for you lately?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Disappointment 101

The time has come to finally sit back and evaluate my healthy deodorant experience.

After years of sticking to what I knew I decided, in my quest for becoming more paraben free, to try switching up my deodorant and opt for a more natural alternative --- sidenote, I did try that natural clear crystal deodorant thing before and wasn't a fan.

This is Lavanila's Vanilla Coconut "Healthy Deodorant Stick. It is found at Sephora, it costs a whopping $18, it contains no chemicals - specifically aluminum and parabens which some scientists believe are related to breast cancer but you can read more about it here - and it contains a lot of moisturizing ingredients.

The packaging is beautiful and sturdy. It is a solid white stick. It smells great. I chose Vanilla Coconut but a few other kinds are available as well. 
Now, that's about all I can say... deodorant performance-wise, this product was (and continues to be) AWFUL:
- it stains my clothes... every time
- it feels wet and greasy when applied
- it crumples and settles into the lines of the armpit after a few hours and you can SEE it, it's gross
- has zero sweat control capabilities (which I can understand since it's a deodorant and not an antiperspirant, but it honestly makes it feel like I am sweating even more because it's so "moisturizing" and greasy feeling)

In conclusion, I am going to use this up since it's on its last leg but I am never repurchasing this crap again. $18 deodorant that stains my clothes and feels absolutely disgusting within a mere 2 hours? No thank you...
I've heard some good things about The Body Shop deodorants so I may give those a whirl.

Have you ever deviated from your trusty deodorant (mine was Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea) and what was your experience?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes

This is the mascara I've been using recently.
First things first - the packaging is perfect. Sleek, simple, sexy. The name sucked me right in because let's be honest... who doesn't want beautiful fluttery doll-like lashes? SOLD!

I got this at Sephora and I do not regret it! This is a great mascara. I haven't experimented too much with Lancome (the only ones I tried before were Courbe Virtuouse and Definicils, both of which were in the "meh" category) but I definitely like this better than the previous ones I've tried.

It's definitely more lengthening than my other mascara favourites - I tend to favour volumizing mascaras like L'Oreal Voluminous, YSL Faux Cils, MUFE Smoky Lash, you get the point! This one has volumizing action but it also adds a bit more length, focusing on the ends of the lashes and winging them out.

one coat of Lancome Hypnose Doll Lashes - no eyelash curler used

I figured I should photograph it with one coat and on UNCURLED lashes to show its full ability. It's definitely more lengthening and curling than Prestige My Blackest Lashes, and while that one adds more volume and depth, Lancome takes the ends to pretty and fluttery lengths due to its funky wand:

So... the verdict - I like! It would probably wow me more if it didn't transfer on me, but then again its because it makes the ends of my lashes so long that they inevitably touch my brow bone so I shouldn't complain. I've also had a viewer send me a comment on YouTube suggesting I layer this with Prestige My Blackest Lashes for a beautiful effect... I can't wait to try that now!

What mascara have you been adoring lately?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainy days...

I recently started reading a book called The Happiness Project, and while it's quite boring most of the time it has inspired me in the organization aspect. I spent most of the morning/early afternoon cleaning out drawers, my nightstand, my dresser, the bottom of my closet, etc.

my "creative" manicure - Sephora OPI Metro Chic & Chanel Graphite

I finally made room in my dresser for a proper jewelry drawer. I don't have a massive jewelry collection but I seemed to have collected a lot of crap throughout the years. Prior to this I had too many random boxes, hooks on doors filled with rusty old forever21 necklaces that I hadn't touched in years... I went through every piece and kept only my favourites.

I always get such great satisfaction when I organize, it's therapeutic and it even becomes a bit fun mid-way. I blasted Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album and went to town...

How have you been spending your rainy days?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder Review

I've been wanting to try this product for ages and now that I have been using it for the past 2 weeks I feel like I have made my verdict. I'm going to try to keep it short and to the point!

The product in question is Laura Mercier Mineral powder.

here it is in all its pretty packaging glory
The colour I bought is Natural Beige - and I knew this from watching other people's videos on YouTube with skin tones similar to mine. The colour is a perfect match for me right now - I have medium skin with neutral undertones, sometimes leaning towards yellow more than pink, but products with truly neutral undertones tend to suit me best and this is exactly that.

Natural Beige

The only other "mineral" foundation I have tried before are MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powder and Bare Minerals (both the original and matte formula) so I will compare them to those. The packaging is great - I love the fact that the container is larger so you don't have to struggle fitting a larger brush, and it also has a tab you can twist to close the holes so that product doesn't spill out. 

It has a luminous, natural finish - less luminous than Bare Minerals Original but not as flat as the matte. It is my favourite thing about this foundation. It just looks effortless and natural.

I am wearing Bobbi Brown creamy concealer on any problem areas, then applied LM mineral foundation with a MAC 182 kabuki brush. The blush I am wearing is MAC Earth to Earth.
The coverage is medium when applied with a kabuki brush, and you can build the coverage up but it tends to get a bit cakey-looking, so I stop at "medium" and just use concealer underneath on any problem areas. When I first apply it (like in the photo above) it looks amazing, however...

I was afraid this would happen since it happened with the original Bare Minerals formula as well - it makes my face itch like crazy! It doesn't happen all the time and it doesn't make me break out in a rash or give me acne... but the feeling is uncomfortable and it happens when my face would start to sweat (therefore in warm, sunny environments). The staying power is also quite low on my oily skin, it lasts about 1 hour before it starts letting oils through.

I have tried it with different primers underneath and while they stopped the itchiness and prolonged wear an extra hour or two - the finish just isn't as nice as opposed to when I apply the powder directly on the skin.

So, I will use this up (hopefully in the fall/winter my face won't sweat and the itchiness won't be as annoying) but unfortunately it was a miss for me.

If you have had itching/reactions to the original Bare Minerals formula, I suggest not trying this since I believe they have the same irritating ingredient in them. Bare Minerals matte works well but lacks the luminous finish that I very much desire.

What has your experience been like with mineral makeup?
15 steps, then a beauty blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.