Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bye bye Winter Skin Blues

If you are like me, the change in seasons means dull, dry skin. Your beautiful summer glow is quickly being replaced by pale, lackluster skin and the cold weather days are far from numbered. Well, I have a few tricks in my arsenal to combat your winter skin blahs.

I’m sure you’ve all heard it before but exfoliation is key!! At this time of year more than ever it is extremely important to exfoliate regularly (at least once a week) to aid in cell turnover and to avoid that flaky skin from taking away from your otherwise beautiful canvas. For your body, I like a good, old fashioned loofa or a shower cream with exfoliating beads already in the mix. Try Softsoap’s Body Butter Coconut Scrub Body Wash for a luxurious and economical choice with an amazing coconut scent. For your face, I like the tried and true St. Ives Apricot Scrub (and for sensitive skinned lovelies like me, they do make a sensitive version). My newest find is Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Invigorating Foaming Scrub and my face is thanking me for it. They also have a matching face wash that is worth a look. (It has been working great at removing all my eye makeup with just one lather.)

Once, you are done exfoliating, your skin is primed to be pampered with an ultra-moisturizing lotion made for times like these. I swear by the Jergen’s line of skin lotions. From the Original Scent to the Shea Butter, I don’t really think you can go wrong. As far as facial moisturizers, I have a couple of picks for day and night. During the day, I am loving the Garnier Nutrioniste Skin Renew. Within the Garnier Nutrioniste line, I also love their Night Treatment and would use it all day if it had an SPF. At night, I have also been employing Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. This lotion has a great, light feel but its moisturizing power is undeniable. I originally purchased the Clinique as a day lotion but was surprised (and frankly disappointed) to find out that it does not have an SPF. Since, I do not often wear foundation, I count on my face lotion for sun protection as well, so it was a no-go. It works great at night, however, and would work during the day if you wear a separate sunscreen or foundation with a good SPF.

Now, that your perfect canvas is set, it’s time to embellish. Bronzers and highlighters are not only for the summertime. In fact, I think they are even more necessary those days when you have completely forgotten what the sun looks like. I am currently owing my lit from within glow the Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips in Sunset Strip. These lovelies come in a variety of shades and can be used as eye shadows or bronzers. I find them a bit to shimmery to use as an all over bronzer but on the high points of the cheeks and above the brow bone, they are amazing! In a pinch, I have used them as eye shadows and they are gorgeous. Don’t you look a good multi-tasking product? You can find these at your local drugstore of choice but be sure to keep a lookout for a BOGO or 40% sale so you stock up and save!

On the pricier side, MAC makes a variety of Mineralize Skinfinishes that I also adore (check out the So Ceylon if you love a rosey, bronze as much as I do). Clinique lovers can rejoice that Clinique also makes a product called the Shimmering Tones Bronzer that works in a similar way. Pick your price point and product and glow on! (I promise that I am not normally this cheesy. Blame all of the Christmas music I have on repeat. Is all of your Christmas shopping done yet?)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Christmas in October

Although this holiday season may be a little less than jolly given the current state of the economy, the holidays do still mean great limited edition holiday gift sets from your favorite makeup brands. Most brands amp up the style, the packaging and the savings this time of year, so if you still have a little play money in your budget for numero uno or a makeup obsessed someone special, these sets could be perfect for you.

My beloved Smashbox has just released their holiday collection called Rapture. It includes a great essential holiday brush set ($49.00) and eyeshadow set which includes 8 eyeshadow duos and two brushes ($59.00). My pick from this collection is their set of 6 lip glosses. This collection last year is what introduced me to Smashbox. The color variety in this set is amazing, with shades of brown, nude, pink and berry. And you get a good amount of product (I’m still not done using up all of the glosses I purchased last year) but the size of the tube is perfect to slip into you smallest purse or into your skinniest jeans if you’re going super low profile.

Of course, makeup titan MAC knows a thing or two about a great holiday collection, too. Their Passions of Red collection is the most extensive holiday collection out there (release date: October 23rd) with 3 brush sets, a plethora of bejeweled eyeshadow and lip palettes, and much more (than I can fit into this run on sentence) all in the most festive shade of red. I could go on all day about this collection but I will stick what I think are the most drool worthy offerings.

I am in love with these eyeshadow palettes! The packaging alone is incredible but the colors are also so beautifully coordinated and it comes with a great little brush (and not those horrible sponge things). I am currently torn between the Cool Eyes and the Warm Eyes palettes but you honestly can’t go wrong with either of them. Their brush sets are also a great deal as you can try a variety of their renowned brushes for just a fraction of the regular price. Tis the season…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recession Proof Your Beauty Routine: Makeup Edition

Like many of you, the economy really has me down lately which makes thinking about spending on things like makeup seem quite frivolous. I do, however, know that putting the kabash altogether on something that makes you happy and keeps you going, won’t help either. So, it’s time to find a way to get my beauty fix on a budget. I did a post a while back about recession proofing your beauty routine in terms of hair care, which I had said would be a series (whoops). Well, I suppose I’ll call this is the much delayed conclusion: Recession Proof Your Beauty Routine: Makeup Edition.

My most recent, not-so-wallet friendly addiction has been MAC products. My foray into the Cult of Cherry collection via the Spiced Chocolate quad completely converted me and I definitely found out what all the hoopla was about. In terms of pigmentation, staying power and quality, their stuff basically spits on everything I own, so, yeah, I’m converted. But I have found ways to fulfill my MAC addiction on a budget. First, there is the Cosmetics Company Outlet. These little outlets are normally a small section of another outlet store such as Saks Off 5th (the Saks Outlet at my local mall). They sell MAC products, and various other brands as well, at about a 30% discount. Like your average clothing outlet, these will be items that are often no longer carried at your regular MAC stores or counters but are of great quality nonetheless. I have purchased MAC paints (awesome eyeshadow bases, by the way, but more to come on that in another post) for $11.25 vs. $16.50 full price, eyeshadows for $10.00 vs. $14.00, and lipglosses for $10.00 vs. $14.00. There are definitely great deals be had, so be sure to check it out!

Another way to save, if you’re not going to spring for pricey makeup at all, is looking to oft overlooked brands. I did a post about ULTA eyeshadows and how they are of such great quality for the price. They are my favorite affordable eyeshadow brand. Their shadows are huge, thoroughly pigmented, and have the smoothest texture. Paired with a good eyeshadow base like a MAC paint or Too Faced Shadow Insurance, they will last all day. Plus, ULTA regularly has these are on sale as BOGO free or just $3.00 a piece (they are normally $6.50). The only downer with these is that I love them so much that I have a ton and they can become a pain to store. The thing I love about the MAC shadows is that you can depot them and place them in palettes for easy storage. Well, chulas, I have got you covered! I found empty palettes you can buy online that fit these shadows perfectly, so you won’t have to fumble with those little pots. And these shadows are a breeze to depot because they are only held in their pots by a small bead of glue. Simply insert a small, sharp knife (be very careful) or hair pin along the size of the pan, pry the pan upward, and they’re loose. I’ve actually been able to remove some sans knife or pin, so that’s worth a try.

Another great way to save on eyeshadows is to only splurge on colors you are likely to get the most use out of. (How often are you really going to wear a lime green shadow?) Then if you want to branch out and try a funky look, look into a cheap eye shadow palette with a ton of great, funky colors to play around with like the 78 color palette from Coastal Scents. These shadows have great pigmentation and can give you great bang for your buck if you put them over a great base.

My last tip is to know when to splurge and when to save. For products with a short shelf life like mascara (yes, you with the mascara that you’ve been using since the dawn of time, you’re supposed to toss these puppies every 3-4 months), I would not spend a ton. There are great drugstore options like Covergirl’s Lash Exact, Volume Exact, and Lash Blast (my new favorite!). Maybelline has some great ones too but I’ve been using the Covergirl one’s lately. I would splurge on things like foundation, which is harder to match and has a long shelf life.

That’s all I have! If you have any great tips, please do tell in the comments!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

makeup love: Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners... This could be a problem...

Lately, I have been loving eye looks where the lid is kept neutral but there's a pop of color on the lower lash line. The one and only Rihanna has been known to rock this look quite a bit, as shown in this pic of her at the most recent MTV Awards.

You can achieve this look with a bright eyeshadow but I love the precision of a liner. My new loves are the Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners (something else off my wishlist). You may think your fave eyeliner goes on smooth but you have no idea what smooth is until you try these liners. They apply smoothly every time- no need to warm them up at all. And best of all they stay put all day and the colors are absolutely drool worthy. The colors aren't just bright, they have incredible dimension too. It was love at first swipe when I tried these at Sephora. Each color I tried was more beautiful and vibrant than the last. I am not going to lie to you, though- these things are not cheap. They run $16.00 a piece (gasp!) but this is no one trick pony; they go on so smoothly that they can be used as an eyeshadow too! I am currently adoring their liner in 12L (described on as a Blue with Green highlghts).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looks like for me 5 am is the new 7 am...

Good morning! Looks like you guys are getting another I'm up way too early in morning and I might as well make myself useful post.

My attempts at a moratorium on hair and makeup spending isn't going all that well
(though I really haven't bought anything new for my hair since the Joico and Kenra liters I got on sale at Trade Secret). For some reason, I cannot leave the drugstore or Target without something makeup related in my hands. I will say that I have cut down quite a bit as I am trying to save up for a big birthday haul (my 25th bday is in November and I can't wait). I am mainly looking to purchase some Mac (officially converted by that Spiced Chocolate Quad) and Make Up For Ever products, so saving will definitely be necessary. (Lest you think I am completely irresponsible, I have been hitting my new revised monthly savings goal of $500- woo hoo!)

I did manage to leave Le Targe, as I like to call it, with something that I have been looking for forever- the L'Oreal HIP Jelly Balm! I don't know why these things have proven so darn ellusive but I went to a different Target this past weekend and there it was. Like a shining beacon of lip glossity goodness just waiting to be purchased. (This is what you get at 6 in the morning, ladies!) They were a bit on the pricey side (I really need to stop buying this stuff when it's not on some sort of BOGO sale- ULTA is having one by the way!) at $7.99 but it is amazing. I purchased Succulent (love the names of the colors by the way), which is a pretty berry meets mauvey color (as shown below).
You get unbelievable sheer, luscious color with these things. And the best way to describe the texture really is "jelly balm." It's so incredibly soft on your lips and the shine you get is beyond lust worthy. I've been rocking this on my way too overworked to do a full face of makeup, but don't forget I'm still fabulous days and cannot wait to get more. I'd have to say, however, that the best and worst thing about these glosses is the packaging. I hate having to put my finger in my on the go makeup. I'd love to just be able to reapply as needed without having to worry about what grossness my hands have been privy to throughout the day. But I have to say that this product does feel so amazing on your fingertips as you apply it and that the pot really gives you an appreciation for the texture. Oh well, completely torn on that one. I do have a portable lip brush but then I most certainly would not apply it outside of the bathroom for fear of looking uber high maintenance. Who me? Never!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Made for you nudes

Since, I got up impossibly early today (6:45 am!), I figured I'd make the most of it and chat with you guys a bit. Work has been kicking my butt lately so I've actually been going into work this early, so my body clock is completely screwed up. This has had me slacking a bit on my posting and my makeup routine. Something about applying a full face of makeup at 6:00 am just doesn't seem right. It's all I can do to just get my booty out the door in coordinating clothes. Anyway, it has also spurred me to continue working on perfecting my minimal makeup look with the search for the perfect nude lipstick.

I have never been much for lipsticks at all. I just always thought of them in terms of the deep red my mom wears everyday. But I've seen more and more how lipsticks can be layered with glosses for a more polished look with longer staying power than gloss alone. Enter L'oreal Colour Riche Made for Me Naturals. I was completely sold on the concept, the perfect nude lip color for you based on your hair color and skintone. I purchased Bronze (869) for about $9.00 at my local Rite Aid. The color really is my perfect nude. It doesn't leave my lips looking dry and washed out looking, like some nude colors do, and the lipstick itself is very moisturizing though I'm still not a huge fan of that waxy lipstick smell. What can I say? You can't convert a gloss girl in one day! Be sure to add a little blush to your cheeks, though, when you're wearing a nude lip look like this if your not going to do a full on eye look, just so you do bring some color to your face.

Either way, these are definitley worth a go, though I might wait for a BOGO sale to stock up. Y'all know I'm all about a deal!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Now, I'm steamy hot!

About a week ago, I managed to talk the hubs (that's my husband to those of you who are sticklers for proper word usage and all that jazz) into buying me the Caruso Professional ProSet Steam Hairsetter. Perhaps his blood sugar was low or he confused Sally Beauty Supply for Game Stop, but he took me to Sally's nonetheless and turned my product junkie wishes into reality. I had actually been eyeing this thing for quite a while but I had managed to employ some restraint. Either way, it was just under $30 after tax with my Sally's card (so worth the 5 bucks by the way) and I have used it twice so far.

If you read my last post, you know I am several weeks post relaxer (almost 7 now) and my new growth is coming in something viscious. So, the first time I tried it was last Saturday. I had done a braidout a few days before and I wanted to see if I could use this hairsetter to extend the life of my braidout. I normally just wear a braidout 3-4 days and wash my hair when I'm ready for a new style, but I was hoping the steamsetter would let me eek out another day. Well... no such luck. I don't know; I feel like I'm only person to not have a good experience with this thing but it just did not do it for me. My hair felt great when I first took the rollers out- super moisturized and soft. And then like Mr. Hyde morphing in Dr. Jeckyl, it got hard, dry, and reverted back to its braidout crinkliness.

Not being one to write off a product after one use, I was determined to give it another go. This time I tried it on my hair a few days after a rollerset. This time I left the rollers on the steamer a few seconds longer (about 7-8 seconds), figuring that perhaps the first time I did not let them get quite steamy enough. I wish I had good news, I really do but no go. My hair was very moist when it took the rollers out (a good 30-40 minutes later), not moisturized but just plain moist! I was forced to blow dry the curls lightly and, just like before, within a few minutes my hair was hard and my curls were falling. I haven't felt my hair in this state since before I began my hair journey and I was not happy to be reunited with my pre-hair journey self.

Help me out ladies, am I missing something? I thought this thing would be the holy grail for a healthy hair care maven, like myself- a great, no heat way to add curl and body to your hair. The tenacious girl that I am, I will give it one more go after I get my relaxer (one more week!), so I can see if it's something that works better on just relaxed hair. But for now it looks like I'll be sticking to my rollersets.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hair Care Regimen: Later weeks of a relaxer cycle

I am getting to the point in my relaxer cycle where it’s all about being creative when it comes to hairstyles, where the sight and feel of my scalp are distant memories, and I am counting down the days... and possibly weeks until my next touch up. It has been almost 6 weeks since my relaxer and this is usually when my hair starts to crave a slightly different regimen.

For the first weeks post relaxer, I use lighter conditioners like my beloved ORS Replenishing for my deep conditioning treatments as they give me great conditioning without weighing my hair down too much. However, as my new growth starts to kick into high gear, my hair craves more moisture. I am still sure to get some protein in as well; since the point where your new growth meets you previously relaxed hair (the line of demarcation) is the weakest point of the hair.

So, this is an example of what my reggie looks like in the last few weeks leading up to my relaxer:

Prepoo (15-20 mins with heat or 30-45 mins without heat)
Mizani Fufyl (this conditioner is a good mix of both moisture and protein- love multitaskers!) or Suave Tropical Coconut conditioner mixed with ¼ cup of EVOO or coconut oil (the oil helps to make detangling your new growth easier)

Keracare Hydrating Detangling

Deep Condition (15-20 mins with heat or 30-45 mins without heat)
Giovanni 50/50 Balancing Conditioner or Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner

Though I may normally be able to stretch washing my hair to every 5 days, during the later weeks of my relaxer my hair likes to be washed no later than every 4 days. If your hair still craves even more moisture, you can always add in a conditioner wash. I also like to do a light to moderate protein treatment with the Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor or Nexxus Keraphix every other week. I just apply it to my hair as a pre-shampoo treatment (prepoo). I find that doing these light protein treatments regularly eliminates the need for me to ever do a heavy duty treatment like the Nexxus Emergencee or Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. I would just keep a close watch on your hair, though, as what is a light protein for me might be a heavy one for someone else and you don’t want to go overboard.

I have been relaxing my hair every 8 weeks but I’ll probably stretch that to every 10 weeks in the winter when hair generally grows more slowly. I more gauge on how much new growth I have; as long as I have a good inch of growth where you can easily see where the new growth ends and previously relaxed hair begins, I’m good to go as far as I’m concerned.

As far as hairstyling, I choose styles that allow to me to manipulate my hair as little as possible and allow my new growth to blend in better with my relaxed ends. So, braidouts, twistouts, and flexirod sets are my best friends. I continue to rollerset as well, but I just use smaller rollers so my hair will have more curl to it. This is the time where retention really becomes the name of the game because these weeks are primetime for increased shedding and breakage. So, I would recommend being extra gentle with your hair at this point and these styles are great for that. Also many of these styles also lend themselves very easily to air drying which is as gentle as you can get.

That’s all I have! Be sure to share your tips in the comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let's do lunch

My all-time favorite makeup line, Smashbox, has a thing they call Let’s Do Lunch on their website every Tuesday and Thursday. On these days if you purchase anything from their website during lunch time (9am to 2pm PST- for you east coasters like myself that is 12pm to 5pm), you get a free gift! And I’m not talking those little samples you get with your Sephora orders (though I love those too) but full sized products! Plus their site has free standard shipping all the time with no minimums! I love this makeup brand. Their stuff is of impeccably high quality (it is designed by makeup artists after all) and it’s all so wearable. They are all about making you look like yourself but better which is my mantra when it comes to makeup. There is a place and time for bright colored, statement makeup, but how few and far between are those occasions?

Either way, last Thursday I ordered one of their eye shadow trios in Big Screen (this was in their Curtain Call section which means it was on sale for $21.00) and received one of their Fusion Soft Lights quads in as part of their lunch special. They also threw in a sample of their incredibly popular O-Gloss too. Did I mention I love free stuff? If you haven’t tried their eye shadows, you are missing out something serious because they have the smoothest, cashmere-like texture. Their Soft Lights products are highlighters used to give you that flawless face look, like you’ve been photographed with ultra forgiving soft focus lenses. And if you haven’t heard of O-Gloss, it’s an evolution of their O-Glow blush that adjusts to your body temperature and skin tone to give you that perfect, natural blushed look. It’s supposed to be what you would actually look like if you were blushing. So, their O-Gloss is that same idea but aimed at your lips; your own customized gloss color. This stuff is pretty cool to see in action because it comes out of the tube perfectly clear but as it warms up to your skin, it turns your perfect, subtle color. It’s definitely worth a try next time you’re in Sephora.

P.S. I tried to find a pic to go along with this post forever but I just couldn't find anything that made sense. So, I decided to spare you guys a pic of a tuna sandwich or some sushi or something... mmm, sushi!

Friday, August 22, 2008

If it looks like a gloss, smells like a gloss…

You guys are getting a hat trick this week since it is our slow time at work. So, I mentioned last week that I placed an order at Avon for some (okay, 4) of their lip glosses since they were having a great sale on them at $1.99 a piece. Well, the shipping and processing were great because I got my package in 3 business days with their standard shipping. I ordered the glosses in cantaloupe (my favorite color- a sheer pinky coral color), gold digger (an opaque gold color), crimson (a deep, translucent wine color), and tickled pink (an opaque mauve color). Now that I’ve gotten a chance to try out these glosses, here are my two cents.

First of all, I wouldn’t really call them glosses. In the ad, they called them glosses but the name of the product is more specifically liquid lip color which is a much more appropriate description. They do not have the shine of your average gloss, but rather, more of a nice subtle sheen or shimmer depending on the color you get. If you are really into super glossy lips, then this wouldn’t be the item for you but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who aren’t into the high shine look for which these glosses would be a welcomed change. I usually go for the super glossy look but I like to mix things up as well. I think these would work great for a nice low-key summer look (especially the cantaloupe color); since they add some color without looking like you tried too hard. (For a great super simple and easy summer look I would use some clear mascara, bronzer, and the cantaloupe gloss.) And sometimes if your overall look is a little more dramatic, you may not want to amp it up even further with a glossy lip. Also, I’m sure the more mature femmes out there who love lipsticks but want to take a small foray into the gloss arena would love these as well, as these are a nice hybrid.

Well, it’s unfortunately not all sunshine and lollipops because I’m not in love with everything about these glosses. I think their more sheer colors would work best for women with darker skin tones as you won’t get that lips lighter than your face thing I am not a fan of. Unfortunately, though, they do not tell you on the website which colors are sheer and which are more opaque. So, while I love the cantaloupe and crimson, I hated the way the gold digger and tickled pink looked on my skin tone. Since, you all know I hate waste, I was able to salvage gold digger (and I’m sure it would work for the tickled pink color as well) by using a lip liner underneath the gloss. This completed changed the color of the gloss, mellowing out the gold, and warming it so it worked perfectly with my skin tone. I used a wine colored liner, so I ended up with a wine lip with pretty gold pop- perfect for fall since the dark lip is in but this look is much more wearable for most. And this way you won’t have to invest in a deep color you may not wear that often. So, before you call a lip gloss (or any lip product) a complete loss, try layering it with another product like a liner or lip stick. (Bonus: using a lip liner also ups the staying power of your glosses.)

Overall, these were a great buy. You can’t beat the price if you catch it on sale like I did (and look out for those free shipping offers). They are not drying at all to your lips, they have a great subtle scent, and they are a nice change from the hyper shine lip glosses. If you’ve ever tried the Avon Glazewear liquid lip colors, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is there a 12 step program for product junkies?

While I was on the thought of maintaining oneself, in terms of your appearance, I came across this blog post on the Sephora blog. It’s says that women, on average, use 12 beauty/toiletry type products per day while men only use 6. It really got me thinking about how many products I use per day. This is what I’ve used so far today:
  • Toothpaste
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant cleanser
  • Aveeno Positively Radiant moisturizer
  • Avon Renew face cream (I used this on my cheeks because they have been dry latterly and this cream has a thicker consistency than the Aveeno)
  • Suave Tropical Coconut body wash
  • Jergen’s Shea Butter lotion
  • Dove deodorant
  • Donna Karan Cashmere Mist perfume
  • Revlon Colorstay eyeshadow quad in Sterling Rose
  • L’oreal Decrease (I haven’t sprung for the much loved Urban Decay Primer Potion yet. This stuff is cheaper, $8.99, and works pretty well)
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous mascara (This was a free sample. It works well but I don’t usually go for expensive mascaras since you have to toss them so often)
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild liquid liner in dark brown
  • NYX Mosaic Powder Bronzer in Love (I like that this doubles as my blush and bronzer)
  • Avon lipgloss in Canteloupe
  • ELF clear brow gel/mascara duo (I've been using this for my brows; I’m not in love with it but I hate being wasteful and I’m all out of my Covergirl)
  • C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine (I use this throughout the day in lieu of Chapstick)
  • Johnson’s baby lotion (I have this at my desk at work for use after washing my hands; not pictured)
  • Hand sanitizer

I never realized just how many products I use during the course of the day. I haven’t decided if my total is a good or a bad thing yet. How do you measure up?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life is not a dress rehearsal

As my 25th birthday is fast approaching (November 7th!), I have been seriously thinking about what direction I want my life to take. On my last birthday, I posted this excerpt that was sent to me by a friend of mine in my cube at work: “The old adage that ‘life is not a dress rehearsal’ is so true, and yet we act to the contrary by putting off what is truly important or indulging in things that are not.” With this in mind, I have been assembling a “Quarter-life Goals” list of the things I want to accomplish or adjust in the months coming up to my birthday and beyond. I am mainly trying to give myself a swift kick in the rear and stop my procrastination and, let’s be honest, all out laziness at times! I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and we must some kind of mind meld thing going, because she is going through the same thing as she approaches her 30th birthday.

My list includes things like: cooking at least 2 times a week (I absolutely looove to cook but I have been majorly slacking as of late), exercising 3 times a week (I want to give myself a very attainable goal as I try to get myself back in shape), and to finally stop saying I want to go to Europe and just go! My husband and I have chosen Rome as our first destination and we have begun saving up. So, basically my list is getting me to finally put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and turn my thoughts into actions.

Most of the things on my list boil down to maintenance! Taking care of every aspect of your life so that nothing ever gets totally out of control; things mama tried to teach you growing up. So, yeah, keep me honest, chulas! Your girl is trying!

P.S. My list also includes you guys! I love writing this blog and I hope you all love reading it. My goal is to update at least once per week, though I like to show you some love at least twice a week.

P.P.S. This photo is a stretch in terms of how it relates to this post but I love this girl! Shawn Johnson has shown immense poise beyond her years and performed so amazingly throughout these Olympic games. And even though she is almost 10 years younger than me, she is a great role model and inspiration.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cult of Mac

I am sure my MAC addicts out there have been eagerly awaiting the Cult of Cherry Collection for quite some time now (though how can you keep up with the all of the collections MAC has been releasing what seems like every week now). However, I am not among you (travesty, I know) as I only have a few MAC products: a few lip glasses, some blotting powder, a lip pencil, and some tinted moisturizer, most of which I purchased for my wedding; I had most wonderful MAC artist do my makeup- shouts to Laura Vaeth!

Either way, I saw a few YouTube videos and read a few reviews on the eye shadow quads in this collection and I think I am in love. I am particularly obsessed with the quad in Spiced Chocolate. This quad is an infinitely wearable, totally modern take on fall neutrals. I think the colors would perfectly compliment any woman of color and the quad is a perfect addition to your makeup case if you’re just looking for a few things to update your makeup as we go into fall. The quad is $36.00 and will be available when the collection is officially released next Tuesday, August 19th (online; August 21st in stores). See you there!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hot Hair, Hot Body

One of the most frustrating things about beginning a new workout routine is trying to figure out what to do with your hair. You certainly don’t want give up your new healthier lifestyle but you don’t want to walk around looking a HAM either. So, what is a girl to do? Well, don’t put away those running sneakers just yet; your hairmakeuplove guru has a few quick tips just for you.

1) Align your workout routine and your hair routine- You probably already have set days for cardio and weight training with some days slated as high impact versus low. So, plan to do your high-impact cardio (your longer runs, kickboxing classes, etc.) before your wash days and save your lighter routines for just after your wash.

2) Bump up your shampoo frequency to at least every 3-4 days - It is very important for your overall hair health and appearance that you clean your hair and scalp frequently. Allowing the sweat to sit in your hair for an extended period of time can lead to dry, brittle hair and slow your hair growth by clogging your scalp. Frequent washing need not be drying to your hair either. On the contrary, it can actually improve the health of your hair by keeping your moisture levels high and keeping your scalp clean. Just be sure to take advantage of the increased chances to deep condition by doing so, with or without heat, at least once per week. If you find the frequent shampooing to be too much for your hair, you can just alternate with conditioner washes and use a cheap conditioner to cleanse your scalp instead. You will still get a clean, refreshed scalp and you hair will get an extra conditioning boost.

Even if you can’t manage shampooing this often, try to at least cleanse your scalp with a dry shampoo such as T3 Refresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo. Dove and Aveda also make great reviving mists to freshen up your hair those days in between your washes.

3) Go with the flow- Since the constant sweating will cause your hair to be a little more voluminous, shall we say, than usual, don’t fight it by going for super sleek, straight styles. Embrace styles with more texture, such as rollersets, braidouts, and flexirod sets. These styles can also be beneficial to your hair in the long run as they do not require the use of direct heat (as in blow dryers and flat irons).

4) Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! – There is no better excuse to explore hair accessories. Headbands, clips, and scarves can hide a multitude of sins. Just let your inner Carrie Bradshaw out and have fun!

5) Be a multi-tasking beauty! – Try deep conditioning your hair while you work out. Simply apply your favorite deep conditioner to your dry hair, pin your hair up in a loose bun, and get your workout on. The heat your body produces while you’re working out will actually help the conditioner penetrate your hair better. Then once your workout is done, rinse the conditioner out in the shower, and style.

Share your tips on keeping both your hair and your body bangin' in the comments!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hello savings!

Somehow despite how many items I have crammed into my makeup traincase, I can still find some thing (or things) that I absolutely must have whenever I go to the mall. I have been more discerning lately, as I'm trying to stick to my $400.00 a month savings goal (so far, so good), but I must admit that I am an absolute sucker for a deal. Luckily for you guys it means the 411 on some great deals.

First off this weekend I ventured into ULTA to find that they are currently have a BOGO free sale going on for their ULTA Collection eyeshadows, lip products, and nail polishes. I nabbed two of their eyeshadows, one in Keywest (a beautiful, summery blue) and Granite (a gorgeous, medium dark gray). Their eyeshadows are normally $6.50 a piece, so I got those shadows for $3.25 each! Sufficiently happy with myself, I stumbled upon their clearance aisle and found an eyeshadow in Flame (a pretty peach color) for $2.99! Now, that's what I'm talking about. I left ULTA with my three shadows and a hair applicator brush (the kind used for applying hair color but I'm going to use it to apply my deep conditioners) for a little over 10 bucks including tax! I'm only bummed that I forgot to bring one of those $3.50 off a purchase of $10.00 or more coupons. I really need to just have these kinds of coupons in my purse because I never have one on hand when I truly need one. Oh well, still happy. By the way, the shadows are great. Great color payoff, not too powder, and wonderful staying power.

Not content to leave it at that, I also did some online shopping at Avon. I read a blog a few weeks ago that piqued my interest in their makeup. They have some great sales, often making them cheaper that drugstore brands, so I figured why not give it a try. Case in point, they currently have their lip glosses on sale for $1.99. $1.99!!! So.... I bought 4! I added a few more products to my happy little cart (some face lotion, a cleanser and couple of brushes) to make my haul complete. But what about shipping? You know I had that covered. I used a coupon code they sent me for free shipping on any order of $20 or more (code: AVN20SF is good until 8/14/08). Love it! Now, I just have to try not to be an impatient 3 year old until my package gets here!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mmm, smells like coconut love

A few weeks ago my husband stumbled upon Suave's Tropical Coconut Body Wash and we have been in coconut heaven ever since. I say we because it smelled so incredible that I couldn't let him have all the fun. For once his frugality has paid off (I shop to balance quality and price, he wants to know: how cheap is it?) because I have been in love since. The rich smell permeates the house long after you have left the shower without being at all overpowering. I wouldn't call it a moisturizing body wash, which is what I normally go for, but it not drying either. I just follow it with my usual post shower routine of Jergen's Shea Butter lotion and a few spritzes of good ole Johnson's baby oil (I transferred mine to a spray bottle for easier application). If moisturizing then sealing works for your hair, why not your body, right? I was previously cycling between Dove's Deep Moisture body wash and Olay's Body Wash plus Body Butter Ribbons (which unfortunately leaves an oily film on your hands... ick) but this stuff is cheaper and just as fabulous.

All of this led me to try Suave's Tropical Coconut conditioner which I got on sale for about $1.50. I've used it mixed with coconut oil as a prepoo (pre-shampoo treatment) and as a quickie conditioner in the shower. I must say this stuff is wonderful! It really is an instant conditioner because all I did was apply it on my hair and rinse it off about a minute later and my hair felt so incredible. I could not believe it. I normally use Nexxus Humectress as my in shower conditioner (this used to be my staple deep conditioner but I have since found things I love even more so I am using it up) but this Suave works just as well (if not better, shhh) as an instant conditioner. And you cannot beat the price! Mind you, I would not use this as a deep conditioner without some finagling but as a instant or a conditioner wash? Puhlease! This stuff is the ishh. Sorry, Brooklyn moment. Either way, it has the same great smell as the body wash too, so all I need is a coconut body lotion and I'll have the trifecta of coconut deliciousness.


Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Distearyldimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, 2 Bromo 2 Nitropropane 1, 3 Diol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Propylene Glycol, Silk Amino Acids, Honey (Mel), Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Extract, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract, Coconut (Cocoa Nucifera) Extract

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Recession Proof Your Beauty Routine: Hair Edition

Right about now, everyone is feeling the pinch and looking for ways to save. So, how could I not provide you with tips on how to still get your beauty fix without going broke? I am starting a series on how to “Recession Proof Your Beauty Routine” that will give you tips on how to still look fabulous while staying on a budget, something we all should be doing regardless of how the economy is performing (this is the financial analyst in me talking now).

Anyway, first up is hair care. The nature of our hair often requires more hair products and higher quality hair products to maintain. Though, I will not dispute the fact that the more expensive products are often of higher quality, with greater concentrations of the key ingredients, there are still ways to save.

First, consider taking things into your hands… at least partly. If you add up how much you spend on salon visits, it can easily be a couple thousand dollars per year. I recommend leaving the chemicals to the professionals, however, you can learn how to wash and style your hair yourself. This can save you tons of the money in the long run and it can be very satisfying knowing that you are not dependent on a stylist for your hair care. If you can’t imagine only going to your stylist for relaxers and hair color, consider only going to the salon for every other wash. This will still result in a big savings.

Secondly, try looking at those cheapie conditioners in the grocery store with a new eye. Cheapies like Suave, VO5, and Tresemme are not only great straight out of the bottle for conditioner washes and leave-ins but, if you are willing to become your own kitchen chemist, you can turn these into great deep conditioners as well. Think of the conditioner as just a great base to work off of. Try adding oils like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil or jojoba oil to your cheapie conditioners to give them more punch. Also, you can try adding an egg to a cup or so of your favorite cheapie to turn it into great protein conditioner.

Thirdly, know where to spend and where to skimp. If you do have a little extra money to spend, I would recommend spending your money on conditioners as these can have the greatest effect on your hair’s health. You can rotate your newly upgraded cheapie conditioner with your salon quality conditioner, to extend your buck even further. Where I might skimp would be on shampoos. The main issue with cheap shampoos is that they can be stripping to your hair; however, you can counteract this effect somewhat by doing a pre-shampoo treatment (prepoo). This will leave a coat on your hair that will provide a barrier against the harsh effects of the shampoo. You should also be sure not lather your hair until you get to that squeaky clean stage (this should be a must no matter what shampoo you choose); two lathers should be more than enough to cleanse your scalp. You can also try rotating your shampoo washes with conditioner washes (where you use a cheapie conditioner in lieu of a shampoo).

Lastly, know a hair care bargain when you see one. There are a lot of hair care gems out there that are both affordable and high quality.

Here are my all-stars:

1) Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner and Hair Mayonnaise– You guys already know I love the Replenishing Conditioner but the Hair Mayo is a wonderful protein treatment as well.

2) Giovanni 50/50 Balancing Conditioner and Smooth as Silk Conditioner – These are my favorite moisturizing conditioners for the latter weeks of my relaxer cycle. They leave my hair incredibly soft for days for about $6.99 at your local drugstore, ULTA, Target, or even grocery store. Look for this stuff on sale too. My local grocery store had these on sale for $5.99 yesterday. If you cannot find it in your local stores, try purchasing this online at Vitacost. It is ridiculously cheap there even after you factor in shipping. Vitacost has great prices on hair oils as well.

3) Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor – This a great light protein treatment that you can find in your local beauty supply store. I often use this in my post relaxer hair care routine.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moisture, Moisture, Moisture!

Even the best conditioners are only designed to work for about 4 days. If your wash cycle is longer than 4 days or if your hair is in need of a boost during this time, a good quality hair moisturizer is key. Regularly moisturizing my hair and following with a light coat of oil, have made an incredible difference in the manageability, texture, and elasticity of my hair.

A good moisturizer is water based and void of cheap fillers such as petrolatum and mineral oil. However, finding a moisturizer without these ingredients can be more elusive than finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But, you know your hairmakeuplove guru would not leave you hanging, now would I?

Here are my faves:

1) Organic Root Stimulator Carrot Oil Creme - This is my staple moisturizer. I love how light it is and how it really gives my hair moisture without weighing it down. I apply it to my hair in dime-sized amounts as needed.

2) Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner - This may not have been designed as an everyday moisturizer, but leave-ins work great as moisturizers. They generally have higher quality ingredients and they have light enough formulations to be used on a daily basis. Giovanni Direct Leave-In is one of the best that I have tried and who doesn't love a multi-tasking, overachiever?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

40% Off Sale at Trade Secret and Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner Review (updated)

I went to the mall on Saturday with my husband, since he actually wanted to go shopping (minor miracle probably due to the fact that he wanted buy Rockband). So, while he indulged his obsession at Gamestop, I indulged mine at Trade Secret. I don't usually shop at this store, however, I was lured in by the word "clearance." Before I could even make it to the clearance rack, I saw that they had all of their liter sized shampoos and conditioners on sale for 40% off.

Even though I have my set regimen, I am still curious about a few products that I have always heard rave reviews about. Two of these products are the Joico Moisture Recovery condtioner and the Kenra Moisturizing conditioner. So, I picked up a liter of both of these conditioners, originally $29.95 and $30.00, respectively, for about $38.00 after tax. I can't resist a deal!

Since, today was wash day, I decided to try out the Joico. This conditioner is specifically designed for dry hair and contains Hydramine Sea Complex, Quadramine Complex and jojoba oil to provide the ultimate in moisture replenishment. It promises to leave dry hair revitalized, hydrated, smooth and manageable with increased elasticity.

My two cents:

My hair already felt wonderful after doing a pre-shampoo treatment with Mizani's Fufyl conditioner. I applied the Joico to my hair after rinsing and lightly towel blotting as usual. The smell is pleasant, nothing particularly outstanding or offensive. After deep conditioning my hair for 20 minutes under my hooded dryer, my hair felt wonderful. It felt really hydrated and my hair was extremely easy to detangle. I always use high quality products for my hair, so I wouldn't say this was an enlightening hair experience but it worked very well. The true test will be in the coming days. I will have to see how long this well moisturized feeling lasts before I fully give it my stamp of approval.

Either way, this sale is great opportunity to stock up on some staples or try something new.


Well, it's been a few days and this stuff is the truth! My hair is still incredibly soft and moisturized and I have only applied my moisturizer once since I washed my hair. Tomorrow is supposed to be wash day, but my hair feels so great I think I can go another day. Joico Moisture Recovery has officially achieved hairlove status.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Save the masks for Halloween

Why is that most cosmetics companies have yet to realize that Black women come in a beautiful array of colors too? You look at most cosmetics lines and they have such wide array of choices for women of other races, with options ranging from very fair to olive skin tones. However, they seem to think that Black women come in just a few-black and very black.

This can make finding the right foundation match an extremely frustrating process. And what can make the process even more trying is the fact that how a foundation looks in your bathroom mirror can be very different from how it looks outdoors. Most of you probably know to check your foundation color on your jawline and to check the color in natural light. However, did you know that you should also check your potential match in a photo? I have seen enough pictures of celebs and other women with an off looking foundation to know that the mask look is definitely not in, unless we are talking Halloween... and even then, who'd want to go as an ashy version of themselves?

So, my foundation matching musts are:

1) Check the color against your jawline and be sure that it disappears completely.
2) Review your color choice in natural light.
3) Say cheese... fromage... queso, whatever. Just be sure that the first test click you take with your new foundation is not while you're out on the town with your girlies.

And, oh yeah, make sure your store of choice has a great return policy because this could take a while.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minimal Makeup Must-haves

When you are running late for work, what do you grab? Your lunch, your keys… your blush? What are your absolute must-haves in terms of makeup before you will step out of the door?

Even though I adore makeup, I seldom have time during the week to pull together a full look. Full face makeup, eye shadow experimentation, and all-around attempting not to look like a bum are reserved for the weekends. However, I have this ever growing stash of makeup that I’m starting to feel guilty about not tapping into a daily basis. As a result, I have been trying to incorporate small, quick steps into my daily routine that will help me look more polished without having to whip out a ton of makeup brushes and products every day of the week. Plus I am a big fan of letting my face breathe. I really get the feeling that wearing a ton of makeup too often can wreak havoc on your skin, no matter how gentle it claims to be.

Anyway, my makeup must have has always been groomed eyebrows because they make such a world of difference. No matter how beautiful your clean skin or makeup is, if your eyebrows are jacked, your whole look is… whack (when did I become the Black Dr. Seuss?). So, before I head out of the door, I am sure to pull out some clear mascara (the one pictured above is by Covergirl) and groom my brows. I have recently also been experimenting with adding a touch of blush (Everyday Minerals blush in Wake up Call) or bronzer (Mabelline Dream Matte mousse in Glistening Sun). I pride myself on my clear skin, so I’ve just been looking for something to add a little punch to my otherwise plain Jane look. I always have a plethora of lip gloss choices in my purse (my fave everyday gloss is C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine in Magenta Mint), so I swipe that on in the car and I’m good to go! What are your minimal makeup must-haves?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

makeuplove: BOGO Sale!!!

I just got back from Rite Aid (yes, at 10:00pm at night... in the middle of a thunderstorm. I'm sick, I know) and they have an awesome BOGO sale going on. You'll want to check your local circulars but at my store all L'Oreal HIP products are buy one, get one free. Free!! If you have not tried the L'Oreal HIP collection, where have you been? These products are hyperpigmented and of such high quality. If you're looking for your typical neutral brown eye shadows, this is probably not the line for you. But if you are looking to experiment and are not afraid to stand out, this line has your name all over it.

They also have all of the Revlon products (yes, all of them) on sale as buy one, get one free as well. I love the Revlon Colorstay line. They have wonderfully wearable eye shadow quads and eye liners. These really do last all day, even without the use of an eye shadow base. Genius! Oh yeah, the sales ends July 26th.

Post-relaxer hair care regimen

I just got my hair relaxed on Saturday, so you know I am feeling myself right now a la gorgeous Gabrielle Union in this photo (well, at least in my own head). But then comes time for the often dreaded first wash. Will the same shine and "swang" I had after I left the salon still be there? Should I do anything special for this wash? Well, your hairmakeuplove guru has come to the rescue with my battle tested post relaxer hair care regimen.

You all know that with the added ease and versatility that relaxing our hair gives us comes the need for greater diligence in caring for our hair. In order for relaxers to “relax” our hair’s natural curl pattern, they must break the protein bonds in the hair. If you do not attempt to restore some of this lost protein, you will be left with weak, dry, brittle hair. In order to combat this problem, I have come up with a special wash regimen that I use for the first wash after my relaxer.

I normally wash my hair every 3-4 days depending on how it feels. I will do a pre-shampoo treatment (or prepoo… yes, I said poo), shampoo my hair, do a quick in shower conditioner, then deep condition my hair and set it. For the first wash after my relaxer, I do a pre-shampoo treatment with a mild protein based conditioner. Last night I used Aphogee’s 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor. This stuff is wonderful and restores some of the protein lost in the relaxer process while not leaving your hair hard, as some other protein conditioners can. I then wash my hair with a neutralizing shampoo to ensure that there is no residual relaxer still active on my hair. I follow that with a shampoo with a clarifying shampoo to remove any other buildup from the relaxer process. Since, the neutralizing and clarifying shampoos can be so harsh and strip your hair, I then use a moisturizing shampoo to restore some of the hair’s moisture. I like Nexxus Therappe and Keracare Hydrating Detangling shampoo. While I finish the rest of my shower I apply Nexxus Humectress to my hair for a quick in shower conditioning step. I know this process sounds long and possibly unnecessary but I have had great success using this method.

Now that I am a mere pruney shadow of my former self, I hop out of the shower and apply my deep conditioner. I like to use the Organic Root Stimulator Replenshing conditioner as my deep conditioner. (I just did a review on this conditioner.) I apply this to my hair in sections, cover my hair with a plastic cap and sit under my hair dryer for 20 minutes. If you do not have a hooded dryer, you can wrap your hair with a moist, hot towel prior to placing the plastic cap on your head and then let it sit for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Once, this is done, I rinse out the conditioner, apply my leave-ins and style.

For your hard work and dedication, you should be rewarded with soft, strong, and shiny hair and a new appreciation for your hair stylist. Oh, the things we do for beauty.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

hairlove: Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pak

Lest you think that I've only been thinking about makeup lately, it's time for some hairlove. My favorite conditioner right now is Organic Root Stimulator's Olive Oil replenshing conditioner. It is sold in these handy little packets, which are perfect for commitment phobes.
  • Deep Penetrating Conditioner.
  • Helps restore, moisturize, & rebuild damaged hair.
As an African America woman with relaxed hair, I need a lot from my conditioner. Our hair can be some of the driest and most damaged around, so extra care must be taken to maintain the proper moisture and protein levels to prevent breakage. This conditioner does just that with a wonderful balance of moisture and protein. I use this as my moisture based conditioner once or twice a week during my deep conditioning treatments. (I apply this conditioner in sections to my towel dried hair and cover with a plastic cap then sit under a heat source for 15-20 minutes.) It has a nice citrus smell that is not overpowering and leaves my hair incredibly soft and easy to detangle.

The "paks" can be purchased at your local drugstore, Target, Walmart, or beauty supply store for prices ranging from $.99 - $1.49. For those of you who are ready to settle down with this wonderful conditioner, it is also available in full sized bottles at your local beauty supply store and soon in stores everywhere.

Water Aqua , Soybean Oil Glycine Soja , Glycerine , Olive Oil Olea Europaea , Hydrolyzed Collagen , Quaternium-80 , DMDM Hydantoin , Amino Silk Acid , Dimethicone Copolyol , Orange Oil Citrus Aupantium Dulcis , D'Limonene , Panthenol Vitamin B5 , Dimethicone , EDTA , Chamomile Extract Anthemis Nobilis , Sage Extract Salvia Officinalis , Nettle Extract Urtica Dioica , Rosemary Extract Rosmarinus Officinalis , Aloe Vera Gel Aloe Barbedensis , Yarrow Extract Achilea Millefolium , Kiwi Extract Actinidia Chinensis , Polyquaternium-37 , Trideceth-7 , Triethanolamine , Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans , Methylchlorosothiazolinone , Methylchlorothiazolinone , Yellow No. 6 CI 15985 , Yellow No. 5 CI 19140

Monday, July 21, 2008

ELF- Yeah, I vaguely remember ordering this.

Well, the people ELF must have been listening because I finally got my package!!!! Yes, finally- 3 WEEKS after I placed my order. 3 WEEKS! I didn't know that a company could do business in this century with such horrible business practices. Oy! Anywho... wanna see what I got??

I actually faired better than most and received 12 out of the 13 things that I ordered. They did not have the Earth & Water Mascara Duo in Noire that I ordered. It's a double ended mascara with one regular end and one waterproof end. They however have (pictured clockwise):

Shine Eraser blotting sheets
All Over Color Stick in Toasted
All Over Color Stick in Lilac Petal
Candy Shop Lip Gloss in Mocha Maniac
Natural Lash Kit
Candy Shop Lip Gloss in Cherry Bomb
Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara
Plumping Lip Glaze in Champagne
Lip Gloss Cell Phone Charm Duo (free gift)
Duo Eye Shadow Cream in Black Licorice
Waterproof Liquid Liner in Plum

As for the missing item, Elf did give me a credit. This is the other downfall of shopping at Elf. They simply return your funds and ship what they have in stock rather than shipping the missing items once they are in stock. Humphf!

So, why bother ordering from Elf at all? The hope of finding something wonderful, a little buried treasure, shall we say. Case in point? Their liquid liner!!! As you can see from the list above, I did order one of their liquid liners in plum, a really pretty deep wine color.
This stuff is wonderful. It is very pigmented and it works as promised. It really is waterproof and I plan to get one in every color. I normally use L'oreal Lineur Intense Carbon Black liquid liner which runs about $8.49 at your local drugstore, so you can imagine my excitement at being able to replicate the same fabulosity for $1.00. And what of the money spent of shipping, do you ask? Well, I found a coupon code online that saved me $6.00, basically the cost of shipping which is a flat $6.95! Try code "Carolina." (Tip: Before I order just about anything online, I do a quick Google search for a coupon code. You'd be surprised how often you will find one.)

So, my tips for ordering from Elf:
1) Do your research!! Look for reviews online to tip the hit/misses odds in your favor. Youtube is wonderful for reviews and tutorials. Youtubers Lostris143 and EmilyNoel83 have great Elf reviews.
2) Order what you want, not what you need. Do you not place an order for items that you are almost out of or need right away. My order took 3 weeks to arrive and from what I have read, this is no aberration.
3) Have fun and try new things! This stuff is only $1.00 so this is the perfect time to go outside the box. I already have a great black liner I love, so I took this opportunity to try one in a different color.

I'll be reviewing the other items I received in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nice to meet ya

It seems like almost overnight I have become completely enveloped by hair and makeup sites. I shudder to think how much I have spent on hair and makeup products in the past six months… especially in these recessionary times (but we’re not allowed to say the R word, are we?) Anywho, all work and no play yada-yada, you get the gist. So, I have decided to see if I channel my love into more writing and blogging and less buying, which will indeed benefit my wallet and perhaps my marriage. =) So, if anyone finds this the least bit interesting, please let me know. And if not, let’s just pretend this never happened, okay?

Now that the pleasantries are aside, let’s talk. I just ordered the sample kit from Everyday Minerals. As part of my rampant obsession, I have gotten into watching makeup tutorials on Youtube and many of my favorite makeup mavens love Everyday Minerals. They say this stuff is just as good, if not better, than Bare Escentuals for a fraction of the price. The only deterrent is that they do not sell in stores. However, you can order samples for just the cost of shipping. The sample kit includes 3 foundations, 1 blush and face Color, and 1 concealer. For shipment to Maryland it cost me $3.09 and I also ordered two eye shadows for $2.50 each because what the heck? I’ve still only spent like 8 bucks and I get tons of stuff to try. So, according to their site my makeup has shipped (yay!) and as soon as I receive it, I will post my review.

I also placed an order at ELF since I’ve heard some good things about their makeup as well. They are the kings of cheap makeup as most everything they sell is only $1.00, but alas, there is always a “but”, their shipping SUCKS!!!! I placed my order on 6/30/08 and still no word. Nothing. Nada. I’m not sure how a company can do business like this. Yes, I get that this stuff is cheap and you can’t expect much but I can expect decent customer service. I digress. If I receive these products before I am old and gray and have completely forgotten what makeup is, I will review this stuff too.

I could really go on and on but I will save some for another day. Happy Friday!!!