Monday, March 26, 2012

I've got my eye on...

I haven't done a wishlist type post in a while, and things have slowly been piling up in my mind so what better thing than to share them with you? :)

I've got some items to use up and when I do, this is what I'm eyeing. I wanted to call this "Spring 2012 Wishlist" but there aren't really any exclusively spring items in here... I was rather underwhelmed by most spring makeup collections this year so hopefully the summer ones will be more enticing.

Anyway, here's what I am lusting for:

1. Guerlain "Les Fumes" eyeshadow quad (beautylookbook has great swatches of it!)
2. OPI "Ski Teal We Drop" nailpolish
3. Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush (I don't think Dior could have given this a longer name, right? But it's preeeeeetty.)
4. Clarins Ever Matte foundation
5. Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia perfume
6. Miss Dior Cherie Blooming Bouquet perfume
7. YSL Faux Cils Shocking mascara

Just looking at these makes me happy!!

What are you lusting for this season?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Currently On My Nails...

I got introduced to Laura Mercier nail polishes last December, when I kindly received one of their Fall 2011 collection polishes - called Twilight - and I instantly fell in love with the colour. I didn't even know that Laura Mercier makes nail polishes, since most of my exposure to the brand was from seeing it at Sephora, which only carries a limited selection of the range and never features the nail polishes. If you go to a counter at a department store, you will see the nail polishes in all their glory.

I don't think there is a permanent collection of colours. Instead, every season, a number of limited edition shades get released with a collection. I have two from the Spring 2012 "Tres Chic" collection - Oh La La and Cabana. Cabana I received back in December together with Twilight, and Oh La La I became obsessed with after seeing it featured on YouTube so I had to run on over (well, it was a long drive across to the USA) to Nordstrom and buy it.

This post is all about Cabana and its coral glory.


Didn't look like much in the bottle, and I had placed it in my nail polish box to hibernate over the few months after I received it. However, earlier this month, after seeing the Spring 2012 nail polishes in the Laura Mercier range featured on several blogs and YouTube channels, I busted out Cabana from its slumber and applied it to my nails.
O. M. G. 


It's a beautiful, balanced shade of Coral. It doesn't lean too orange like Deborah Lippmann Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, nor does it get too neon/pink on ya. It's just subtle and beautiful, prefect for spring.
The formula is also great. I am wearing 2 coats of it, which go on smoothly with no streaking. The texture of the polish is somewhere in between cream and jelly, and it's what really prompted me to get the light pink shade in the collection as well.

It's quality nail polish. There are some other gorgeous shades in the collection as well but I passed on them since I had similar shades already. Sizzle is probably my next favourite out of the collection but I tried to restrain myself...

What are you wearing on your nails?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Current Ring Mix

Keeping this post short and sweet.

This is what I've been wearing on my hands lately (give or take a few nailpolish changes):


Gold band by Gorjana, a brand that I just started getting into. They have some beautiful dainty gold pieces and I'm eyeing one of her initial necklaces next. Thick silver ring that I've had for years and years - got it on a family vacation to Croatia back in the 90's so it always reminds me of being little (apparently I had big hands as a child considering it still fits haha).

My sweater is by American Apparel and it looks questionable on the website but I promise you it's not as frumpy in real life :) 


Dainty above the knuckle ring, which had been on my mind every since Laura (buynowbloglater) posted about a similar one. I got mine from this Etsy seller - she was lovely to deal with and it took about a week for me to receive my ring. She packaged it really cute too. Also, she makes her jewelry by hand in Vancouver! Always love supporting a fellow Canadian. She does have a little announcement that she is in the process of moving so ordering might take a bit longer than usual. However, if you search for "knot ring" online you will get many similar models. Mine is a size 3.5!

On my nails I am wearing A Oui Bit Of Red by OPI.

Hope your week is going well!

Until next time,

Sandra
x

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Keep on glowin' (FOTD)

Cheesy blog post titles aside, today I woke up feeling grim and dull. My regular foundation routine needed a little kick.
I sang the praises of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (in the colour Pearl) in a previous post and today I decided to mix it in with my foundation. I used one pump of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector with 1.5 pumps of Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation (I am the shade 52) and applied it all on my face using the Sigma F80 brush. The results didn't last that long - only about 4 hours - since I have oily skin and it was quite warm outside... but it was so lovely while it lasted.

Here's my face of the day:


Foundation: Bourjois Healthy Mix #52 -- you cannot buy this in Canada, I got mine in a swap. Shoppers Drug Mart sells Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum which I also loved but it broke me out for some reason. I might try it again but I'm too scared at the moment haha. As mentioned, I mixed it with some Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in the colour Pearl. You can buy Becca cosmetics online here, I got mine at Duane Reade on Lexington Avenue in New York City.

For concealer I used the Dior Nude concealer, shade 2. It's wonderful, especially under the eyes. I bought it from Shoppers Drug Mart last time they had a bonus Optimum Points offer and it delivers. The Clinique Airbrush concealer is nice too but just not cutting it in terms of coverage since my under-eye circles have been bad lately.

On the cheeks I used a little bit of Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel (Bronze Universal), and Burberry Tangerine Blush, which I am slightly obsessed with at the moment.

I forgot to take an eyeshadow photo since I was so pleased with the "glow", but it was boring... just the usual hoopla of MAC Brule and Wedge eyeshadows and black eyeliner. Mascara was Armani Eyes To Kill.

Topped it all off with the Clarins Lip Perfector in shade 01 (the pink one) and that was my face of the day!

Hope your week is off to a great start.
xox

Sandra

PS: I will select the winners for the Revlon giveaway on the weekend, so you can enter to win in my Revlon Smoky Eyes post until Saturday, March 24.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rose Gold Belt

When I saw this beauty restocked on Shopbop a few days ago I couldn't resist. I posted some pictures as I was out and about yesterday and received a few questions regarding my belt so I figured it was worth a little post.



It's by a relatively new (to me) Australian brand called Nicholas. They have some beautiful pieces and this belt stole my heart when I saw it in a lookbook a few months ago. It had sold out until it recently got restocked so I had to have it.
For me, since I tend to buy a lot of "simple" pieces of clothing, something like this is a worthy investment. With it, you can revive any old tunic, shift dress, skirt, etc. and make a fresh new outfit!

Here are some photos (ruined by iPhone's questionable flash) of how I wore it on this particular night:



If you are interested, you can still find some here, available in cream and black. I have the black one in the size Small. It's meant to fit a 26" waist (the XS is 24"). I have a 25" waist so I sized up and it fits well. They have been restocking the different sizes but I am not sure for how long they will restock until they eventually sell out again! I am so happy to have this in my wardrobe and it will be featured in plenty of future outfits.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend :)

xo

Sandra


Friday, March 16, 2012

Casual Smoky Eyes with Revlon

I got the exciting opportunity to do a series of short demonstration videos featuring some new products by Revlon. I think it's such a fun take on showcasing new products - from the eye of a regular consumer such as myself and how I make the products work for me rather than a traditional professional makeup artist demonstration. This is the first instalment featuring one of my favourite makeup "staple" looks - the smoky eye. 



By now from reading my blog you probably know that I am all about keeping it simple. I am just not patient nor skilled enough to pull out intricate eyeshadow looks. It's just not practical for me in my everyday life. However, I still like a bit of drama every once in a while so I think that this look can easily be pulled off for both daytime or nighttime. You could add some fake lashes for an extra kick and you're off into the sunset.


The Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer + Brightener is a cool concept in the sense that it can be used both on the lid as an eyeshadow primer as well as provide some brightening under the eyes as well. It has a slight pink tint to it that can easily help neutralize blue under-eye circles if you need an extra boost under your concealer. 


The texture is very smooth and silky and it comes in a twist-up pen. If your under-eye circles are mild you can easily get away just with using this. As an eyeshadow primer it works nicely at creating a nice and bright base - if you are super oily it might not do the trick at keeping creases away without a base shadow to set it on top.


I was really happy with the eyeshadow quad they sent me to check out - the Revlon ColorStay 16 Hour Eyeshadow in "Siren". The colours are stunning (you know I love my mauve taupes), they were pigmented and not super shimmery. They were so easy to use. In the video you can see that they weren't hard to blend out and apply at all. I mixed a touch of the lightest shade with the shimmery taupe on top of it all over the lid, the purply shade in the outer corner and in the crease, and the darkest shade (which has a matte finish) with a smudge brush as a liner.


My favourite shades were the purple (which reminds me of Chanel's Illusion D'ombre eyeshadow in Illusoire) and the taupey shade, which I initially thought was similar to Chanel Safari (blogged about here). However it's more of a cool toned version of it, which works perfectly with purples and grays and provides a nice contrast against warm brown eyes to really bring them out.

The Revlon PhotoReady 3D Volume mascara is also nice for subtle lash separation and volume. If you are a fan of Benefit They're Real or Chanel Inimitable, you will like this mascara. The wands are similar and the formula doesn't smudge all over the place by the end of the day.

Revlon also generously provided me with 10 of their PhotoReady Eye Primer + Brightener pens for me to give away to you. If you are interested in winning, please leave a comment below including your name and e-mail address. I will select 10 random winners and e-mail you to get your shipping information :)

--- EDIT: winners have been selected and contacted.


I hope you enjoyed this post and don't hesitate to check out these Revlon products next time you're perusing the aisles of the drugstore in search for something new!

Also, you can Click here for more fun beauty tips :)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Face of the day - soft spring daytime makeup.

Despite losing an hour of sleep over the weekend (weirdly enough it always affects me more than any type of jetlag) I am so excited for the start of spring. I am sure plenty of you are sick of my constant weather rambles so this is good news for you - I love spring so I am not going to complain!!

Here's the makeup I wore today, featuring some items I've had on heavy rotation as of late:



Cheesy poses aside, I wore Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation in the shade B20. I love this stuff. I initially thought it was breaking me out but it seems that it was a false alarm... it's so easy to work with and the finish is semi-matte and very natural. I strongly suggest asking for a sample if you're interested. I asked for samples of this on two separate occasions since the first time it broke me out really badly (or so it seemed) and I finally decided to purchase it. I can do a more in depth review of it if you are interested!

I put links to some of the items in case you were interested in checking them out!

Under the eyes: Armani Master Corrector shade #1, Dior Nude Concealer shade #2, Benefit Powderflage

I set everything with MAC Careblend powder - not sure how I feel about it yet so I'll keep you updated.

Lips: Dior Addict lipstick in Singuliere


Eyes: Burberry Pale Barley eyeshadow all over the lid (<3), Bobbi Brown Hot Stone in the outer corner
17 Liquid Liner and Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara (the regular version, also leaves me rather unimpressed).

I am SO in love with Pale Barley, it's so easy to work with and looks amazing even without a primer. I didn't wear a primer today, I am writing this post up a good 6 hours since applying my makeup and the eyeshadow is still kicking. Yay.

I hope the week is off to a great start for you!
xo

Sandra



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Subtle Glow: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pearl) vs. MAC Strobe Cream

I got a great idea the other night on Twitter from one of my favourite bloggers, Tina from All The Vanity. She was inquiring about how my newly acquired Shimmering Skin Perfector by Becca (in the shade Pearl) compared to my previously loved liquid highlighter, MAC Strobe Cream. I ran out of MAC Strobe Cream, which is something that I always kept in my makeup drawer - saved for those dreary days when my skin feels dry and dull. I either apply products like these to the cheekbones under/over my foundation... or I mix it in with foundation for a bit more luminosity. MAC also makes a more liquidy version called Strobe Liquid, but I always preferred Strobe Cream because it was a bit more emollient and easy to distribute on the skin. Strobe Cream also contains antioxidant ingredients that benefit the skin.



Their textures were quite similar and both blended into the skin with the same amount of ease.

LEFT - Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, RIGHT - MAC Strobe Cream

Main differences:

This was hard to capture accurately on camera but MAC Strobe Cream has more of a "mother of pearl" effect and colour... It can pull some subtle pink/blue tones in different lighting, which probably can look amazing on very pale or pink-undertoned skin. This property wasn't necessarily flattering on me when I had a bit of a tan (when I tan leaning towards yellow/olive undertones) so do keep that in mind if you're on that end of the colour spectrum.

Becca is more subtle. The lotion itself doesn't leave a white or pearly cast - even though it appears to do so on camera since I really had to pack it on to get it to show up! It simply delivers a soft glow to the skin without altering the colour underneath. It also contains SPF 25.

The pearliness of MAC Strobe Cream is so strong that it leaves a slight white cast if you try to use it on top of your foundation/blush. This is why I personally only ever used this under makeup or mixed with foundation.



I prefer the packaging of Becca - Strobe Cream can get quite messy and hard to get out of the tube when it's close to reaching the end of the tube. Strobe Liquid comes in a pump, but like I said, I just always preferred the Cream for some reason.

Price is also a big difference - they are both 50mL, but MAC retails for $18 while Becca is almost twice as pricy at $41. You need only a small bit of these types of products so I definitely think that a bottle of either can last you a year or more, even with regular use.

MAC Strobe Cream looks better on the decoltee area because of that extra sheen.

Ultimately they are both quite similar in the effect but after trying out the Becca I can definitely say that I prefer it. It's just a more subtle and refined highlight. It's probably the most natural highlighter I've ever tried. It does come in 3 different shades yet I think that Pearl can work on skin tones from the palest ivory to about a MAC NC40 or so.

You can find MAC, as always, on their website maccosmetics.com and you can find Becca at beccacosmetics.com - not sure if they ship to Canada, though. I got mine when I was in New York City at Duane Reade (on Lexington Avenue & 42nd St. if I remember correctly).

I hope this was useful in making your decision.
Ultimately if you are pink/cool toned and more pale I think that the pearly finish of the MAC Strobe Cream will be more flattering on you, and will also provide a more intense highlight.

The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector is ideal if you just want a subtle natural glow. It doesn't look shimmery or glittery or have that duochrome pearl in it. It also still manages to shine through foundation (if you apply it underneath) better than the MAC Strobe Cream.

Keep an eye out for some Face of The Day posts featuring it pretty soon.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ins, Outs, and some NYC highlights

IN

- that Sigma F80 brush. It has made applying foundation when in a rush such a joy, I tell ya.

- sunshine

- Etsy. I placed my first order today as I was laying in bed nursing a cold... there really isn't anything better than ordering new jewelry to make oneself feel better, is it? The experience was easy and both sellers were prompt and helpful. Post to follow once I receive my things.

- clearing out the makeup drawer. I am gearing up for a blog sale soon (aiming the end of this week) and I will be posting a preview of it on my Facebook page, so make sure you are tuned in and 'Like' the page if you are interested!

- NYC. It was a short trip, but a great first visit to a city with so much to offer. I spent some quality time with one of my cousins whom I don't usually get to see very often unless I travel back to Romania. He now works in Manhattan so this means more trips that way might be on the horizon :)

I also got to meet one of my favourite bloggers that I have known through here for ages - Dara aka BelleDuJourNYC. I remember we started making YouTube videos at around the same time, and we had both been blogging before that. She is so beautiful and fun to hang out with, it really was like catching up with an old friend. Some of the friendships and people I get to "know" through this process is one of the absolute best parts of blogging/tweeting/YouTube and makes it all such a great experience.

I did a fair bit of shopping, a couple of clothing items and accessories here and there - I wanted things that I couldn't buy easily where I live. So that meant diving into some Burberry makeup (and walking by the Tom Ford counter without looking twice), and smelling obscene amounts of perfumes by brands I had never heard of before. My favourite beauty buying spot was probably the Saks on Fifth Avenue. They had amazing selection and great, helpful staff. The Bergdorf Goodman beauty floor was also amazing but the staff was quite cold and loved sharing evil glares with everyone who walked past... which brings me to my one and only OUT!

OUT

- One of my all time pet peeves are rude/stuck up department store staff members. I could honestly write 287182 pages with mean jokes and complaints but come on, you work at a beauty counter - take that stick out of your ass and be friendly to your potential customers ;)
I was honestly shocked by the overall bad customer service experience I have had in NYC. You'd think with it being one of the shopping capitals of the world, they would be a bit more helpful. It took me about 30 minutes to get the attention of someone at Barney's when I wanted to try on some trousers. There were about 2 other customers and 5 sales associates on the entire floor. Unbelievable. All the SA's look like they've been plucked from an editorial but their attitudes left much to be desired. The Saks store on Fifth Avenue was the only one where the staff on all levels - shoes, beauty, clothing (I tested out all floors on purpose) - was kind, not pretentious, and helpful. I also got helped by one very kind and funny gentleman in the accessories department of Barney's - this is what I do, I find a nice person that I like, and that's where I take my business :) 
It just bugs me when luxury retailers hire rude and pretentious staff. It's not always about hunting the big fish you can make the most commission off of.

Anyway, rant over - here are some snapshots from my long and painful daily walks:

      

PS: I was asked by the lovely Tanya Burr to share some of my recommendations for things to check out while there. Keep in mind that having only been there once, I am no expert, but this is what I enjoyed:

- Central Park, grab a coffee and walk through there. A peaceful retreat in the midst of the concrete jungle.
- Broadway... try to get tickets to a show! There are so many great ones out now, just don't go to the Spiderman one.
- Sprinkles cupcakes. Cute and delicious. There is only one location I believe, on Lexington Ave.
- DON'T go to the Sephora in Times Square. It's an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Opt for a more quiet one like the one on 5th Ave by the Rockefeller Center. The skating rink they have by there is so cute, and some great stores in the area like a big Anthropologie and J Crew. Try to avoid any shopping in Times Square in general, unless you don't mind huge crowds  o_O
- I loved shopping for beauty and clothes at Saks on Fifth Avenue... the original Saks!
- Barney's on Madison Ave if you'd like to explore luxury goods... go up Madison Ave for more amazing boutiques
- the Meatpacking district is fun for going out
- dinner at Phillipe in the Upper East Side was fantastic (I also saw Lavo and Tao which are supposed to be good too... I've only been to Tao in Vegas and the food was phenomenal as well).

Things I didn't have time to see but I want to next time:
- the Met museum
- World Trade Center memorial

Hope you enjoyed this monster of a post and see you soon with a blog sale!!
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