Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Life and Death of Bare Study Paint Pot

Yesterday was a sad day in my makeup collection, friends. I have experienced my very first "MAC Paint Pot" failure. Paint Pots are amongst my favourite things that MAC makes. I own and regularly use 3, with one that I slightly preferred over the others... called Bare Study

Bare Study is a pale champagne colour, perfect for those days when you're in a rush and want a bit of brightness on the eyelid. I apply it with my fingers, like I do with all of my similar potted types of eye products. Paint Pots don't stay completely creaseless on me throughout the day but I do get a good 6 hours of wear out of them.

However, last week, something strange happened. I wake up in my morning daze and having slept in, I wanted a quick and effortless eye brightening... so on to Bare Study I went!

I started applying it on my eyelids with my fingers as I usually do, yet it was NOT co-operating. It went chunky and patchy... a complete nightmare to blend.

a chunky and dry mess
It was in fact impossible to blend out. I had to remove it and just opt for something else. Unfortunately my product has dried out and has become useless to me, which is a shame since you can see from the first picture I took that I have about half a pot full of the product. (I have had it for roughly 2 years if I remember correctly).

I had heard of this happening to people with Paint Pots in the past but I always dismissed it - I always make sure I close the lid super tight after each use. Besides, my other Paint Pot in "Rubenesque" is about 6 months older than Bare Study and it isn't doing this.

It's a shame that these products don't last enough for them to be used up completely. Has anyone here every fully finished a MAC Paint Pot? Or have they all met their dry demise at about halfway through? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Armani Eyes To Kill Excess Mascara

This was my first dip into Giorgio Armani mascaras - they offer a few varieties, with the "Eyes To Kill" range being geared towards voluminous lashes. Volume is probably my most sought-after characteristic in a mascara. I had heard a few people rave about these mascaras so I made the purchase. At $30 it is in the same price range as YSL mascara. (Note: I got mine from the USA. I'm assuming in Canada it's more expensive. In Canada you can find Giorgio Armani Cosmetics at select Holt Renfrew department stores.)

Before I get into it, I'd like to again let you know what other mascaras I love, just to give you an idea. I know that not all of us need or like the same types of mascara because we have different lashes, so here goes. My favourite mascara to date: Makeup Forever Smoky Lash. Other honourable mentions include YSL Faux Cils (the regular one, not the Noir Radical or the Shocking), Prestige My Blackest Lashes and L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black.

So with that being said, you will get the idea of what I am comparing this mascara against.
They do have an "Eyes to Kill" regular version of this mascara, but this is the "Excess" which is meant to be blacker and more va-va-voom, I suppose.

Packaging is all black, nice and sleek. The tube is made of metal, it feels like. It's quite heavy and feel sturdy in the hand, which I really liked. 

The part of the lid holding up the wand is heavy, which offers increased stability and easy application. 

The wand is medium-sized, with different sizes of bristles in a rough spiral shape.

The formula doesn't smell like anything in particular.

Here is what it looks like on - left eye has nothing on, right eye has Armani Eyes To Kill Excess mascara. Lashes were curled beforehand.

The verdict: I liked this mascara. I don't like it enough to bump Makeup Forever Smoky Lash off the top spot in my heart, but it is a nice product. Here's why:

1 - the formula stayed consistent throughout the lifespan of the mascara. It worked great at the start of the tube, and it didn't get "better with age" nor did it get annoyingly dry *cough* like Smoky Lash *cough*
The only way I can tell that it's nearing the end is that it's starting to flake and transfer by the end of the day, which is something it didn't do in the first 2 months of use. Now we are approaching month 3 and it's time to say goodbye.

2 - it's buildable without getting super clumpy

3 - easy to remove at night

4 - didn't transfer or flake (which is a huge issue with me and most mascaras, it's the reason L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black doesn't get any love from me anymore... that sucker transfers within an hour on my oily skin). Like I said, it only started to transfer towards the end of the tube.

What I didn't like about it:

1 - takes more effort to get more volume out of it. I am lazy and I don't like to coat mascara on until the sun goes down. I like one coat and go. This needs 2-3 coats in order to get similar volume that I get from MUFE Smoky Lash or others.

2 - it's not that black. It may say "excess" but it dries with a slight sheen. You can't tell in basic natural light, but with flash or sunlight it's more apparent.

3 - now this is both a pro and con... it's more lengthening, which is fine if that's what you love in a mascara. But it gives more length than volume, while I would prefer volume first, length second... if that makes any sense. I find that because it adds more length, it doesn't hold a curl as well since it weighs the lashes more at the top than at the root. After about 6 hours the curl drops.

4 - this mascara needs a curled lash before application. While with Prestige or MUFE Smoky lash or Faux Cils I was able to get away without curling, using Eyes To Kill Excess on an uncurled lash is just blah. It doesn't lift the lashes at the root without any help from a curler.

I can't compare it to the original Eyes To Kill since I haven't tried that yet, but the good news is that I do own that one too now so I will be able to start testing it out soon, and I will report back as always.
I hope you found this review helpful if you were considering this mascara.

All in all, I did like it. Takes a bit more effort but it does offer a tad bit more length in return. Would I repurchase? Probably not, but I don't regret trying it.

You can purchase this mascara online here. Not sure where they carry Giorgio Armani Cosmetics overseas - in Germany I have seen it at select Douglas stores. In the USA you can find it at select department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

All sorts of amazing... the Veda Jasper Jacket

I'd like to present you with my current clothing crush; and like my previous one from a couple of months prior, it has leather sleeves... I never got to satisfy that leather sleeve fixation I had.
I was in the process of ordering a gorgeous leather sleeved sweater in December when I kept getting postal code entry errors, then my size sold out. Worst. Luck. Ever.

So I am back to my leather sleeve love, as seen here on the Jasper jacket by Veda.

I saw a similar jacket by the same brand featured on one of my favourite fashion blogs The Man Repeller, but by the time I had crawled under a rock to search for it, it had sold out.

Fun fact: the one she got a couple of seasons ago and is wearing so beautifully here retailed for $398. This one, although shorter, costs almost double now *evil glare*

Anyway, that won't stop me from stalking it like a vulture until
a) I find something similar in New York
b) I get distracted by something shiny
c) it goes on sale
d) I cave

Hope you're having a fantastic weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shopaholics Anonymous

I've picked up a few things in the small bits of time I had available this week (aka I went to the mall during my hour lunch breaks from work and did some damage).
I had a gift card left over from Christmas to The Bay, it was 20x the points on beauty at Shoppers Drug Mart and a "redeem 40,000 points for $90 off" event the next day... long story short, this had to happen!

3 things were boring but necessary repurchases: Shiseido facial cotton which is totally worth the money, La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo which is my holy grail spot treatment for acne, and La Roche Posay Effaclar K which is reformulated and has a weird scent... it no longer has lactic acid in it and its exfoliating powers are supposed to be improved - we'll see!

I also needed a new eye cream and while so many of your have recommended Origins I just have not had the time to head on over to the USA to check out an Origins counter. I refuse to pay the inflated Canadian retail/shipping prices if I know I can get it for less elsewhere, so Hydraphase by La Roche Posay will have to do. I am so far really happy with it. Expect a skincare update video in the coming weeks.

Now for the more exciting bits, a new perfume - the one I had been lusting for as of late - Chanel Chance Eau Tendre. It's beautiful, light floral and has some of my favourite elements: grapefruit, jasmine, musk and some cedarwood. Yum.

A new foundation...

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua - this was a total impulse buy. I had sampled this foundation twice before and LOVED it both times but the first sample broke me out horribly. The second time I got a sample it didn't break me out at all...
So here's hoping third time is a charm! The colour B20 is a perfect perfect match for me right now and the finish and coverage of this foundation is gorgeous. Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum reminds me a bit of this (albeit that one is a touch more dewey) yet unfortunately that one ended up irritating my skin after regular use so I had to stop using it.

Final goody is this new under-eye concealer. I used up the Collection 2000 concealer I was using beforehand and I figured I should try something new. Lisa Eldridge uses this quite frequently in her tutorials and I was curious to give it a try. Will report back once I try it out!

Over all I am quite pleased with everything I got - now I'm back in "use up products mode" and I also have a few things that I sadly never reach for so expect a little blog sale soon. I am in the process of getting it organized, sanitizing and photographing the products and then we'll be on a roll.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Uniform (what I've been wearing lately)

I've been wearing some sort of variation of this outfit steadily for the past week or so. When pressed for time and hopping on the freeway from work to school and vice versa, a simple, comfortable yet put together outfit is my go-to. My key components have been:
  • flat over the knee leather boots
  • slightly oversized (and super warm) sweater
  • some sort of statement scarf
  • black leggings/slim black trousers
Here's one of my favourite mixes, with pieces that I am sure you have seen in previous posts. 

My sweater is by Vince, from a collection a couple of years ago. It's cashmere and ridiculously warm. It is no longer available unfortunately but I highly recommend the brand Vince for knitwear. They are pricey but they wear beautifully and can be worn for multiple seasons.
I also found a very similar sweater style on sale online (here's the link), in a variety of colours, also made of cashmere and at 50% off if you are interested. I'd probably buy it 1 or 2 sizes larger since I love oversized knits but that's just my suggestion :)

Scarf - Zara (last year's collection)

Leggings - Only Hearts (I've blogged about them. They're the "So Fine" black long leggings and they are my holy grail leggings, if there ever was such a thing!) 
I get mine from Shopbop/Revolve but they are both sold out at the moment. They periodically restock them though :)

Boots - I LOVE THESE. A black pair of flat leather over the knee boots can do no wrong. Mine are by Tahari and are no longer available but I found a super similar pair at a great price by Report here. Some other beautiful similar pairs also here, here and here. As you can tell, I have a small obsession with over the knee boots at the moment. I saw some droolworthy Stuart Weitzman ones in store the other day, but that's another story. Sigh.

I hope your week is going by quickly, I sure hope mine will. I have next week off from school and I have a trip to New York City that I planned for next weekend. Exciting times ahead :)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Updates R Us

I feel like I've been a bad blogger recently and that must be rectified.
I've been a busy bee but I feel like a few minutes must be taken aside to catch up... via point form because it's more simple:

yummy yummy yummy
  • how good has the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion been? It's funny and interesting how some of them come off completely different when they are on screen versus in that reunion room. Also, can someone please hire Adrienne a new makeup artist/stylist? Girlfriend looks like Malibu Barbie gone horribly wrong.

  • I bought my first Sigma brush! Woohoo! The F80 (sounds like I bought a car or something)... I have yet to use it but first impression is positive. Looks nice and sturdy, and did not shed after the first wash.

  • I've been on a jewelry craze lately and I blame Dara (BelleDuJourNYC) for it. She constantly takes pictures of the more gorgeous things on Instagram and it makes me grow increasingly unsatisfied with the jewelry I own haha. I'm also 100% convinced I need one of those Tiffany & Co. "Diamonds by the yard" necklaces. I'm not a necklace person but every once in a while a dainty beautiful piece comes along and steals my heart.

  • Accounting is my worst enemy.
Hope you're all doing well!! I am looking forward to the weekend and to a new perfume. I'm gonna need a pick-me-up by the end of this week! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

I smell spring!

I'm slowly getting out of the winter rut and looking forward to spring. For me, that marks the first time I paint my nails with a colour that reminds me of warmer weather - Essie Van D'Go. Not sure if it's part of their permanent collection now since it came out a couple of years ago in one of their limited edition releases but it's a gorgeous pastel peach that never fails to put a smile on my face.

Now that I'm in the spring mindset I can start musing over new things to buy! I thought that this season for sure I'd be all over Chanel's Spring 2012 makeup collection but I found myself rather disappointed and walked away empty handed. It looked pretty but the two things I was interested in - Flirt Rouge Coco Shine and June nail polish - just didn't work on my skin tone. Flirt barely showed up on my pigmented lips and June did not flatter my hands. Orange Fizz or Miami Peach would probably be better matches for me. The other two nail polishes in the collection called May and April, although I love the names and the colours, were rather basic.

On the other hand, one surprising thing that isn't really "spring" but it feels light, brightening and refreshing (which are quite spring-like adjectives so there's my excuse) is this sample I have been using of the Clarins Extra Firming Day Cream. I have been using this as my eye cream for the past week and WOW. It smells great, it's light yet it makes my under-eye area plump and hydrated. 

It's geared as an all-over face cream for women in their 40s but it has been such a nice eye cream for me! I had been using a Boscia eye cream for the past couple of months and I hate it. It's too greasy and does nothing for my under-eye area. So moral of the story is - use up your dinky samples of products because you might find a pleasant surprise in there :)

Now that the under-eye area is nice and bright, let's focus on wardrobe! I have tried to avoid it for ages but the time has finally come - I need "dress pants". I hate the term, I hate every pair of dress pants I have ever tried on or owned, but as my school career is coming to an end and I have to give numerous presentations in "formal business attire", I cannot avoid it any longer. Pencil skirts, blouses and blazers I own and love, but trousers have always been a mystery for me. I heard good things about the J Crew "Minnie" trousers, so I have added them to my list of things to consider. If you have any advice, it's very welcome. (Many people recommend Express but their editor pants just don't suit my body type at all. Boo)

Let's throw in a light, airy, spring blouse... by Equipment. A brand for blouses that I absolutely love. They are not cheap but they feel lovely, they are comfortable and effortlessly beautiful.

Of course last but not least, with a new season comes a new fragrance! I'm eyeing this one right now
(along with Jo Malone Wild Bluebell and Elie Saab because I'm still obsessed).

What gets you in the spring mood?

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