Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Beauty Favorites

I don't actually have a whole lot to show you this month; I've been staying in the reassuring bonds of my comfort zone and for once, I think I am pretty cool with that. In the end, maybe I do in fact have a strong preference towards certain colors and textures and don't need to try every single beauty product out there? Who knows...
The Pumpkin Caramel Latte from Bath & Body Works smells amaze too!
 Let's get the 'boring' things out of the way and start with skincare. Since I stopped taking oral antibiotics some 2 months ago, my skin has been both more dry and more breakout-prone. To seal in the moisture and plump up the skin, I've decided to start using a toner again and turned to the trusted Alaffia skincare again; this here is the Rooibos and Shea Butter Antioxidant Facial Toner. It spritzes out as a very fine mist and seems to soothe and hydrate nicely; plus, I really like the ylang-ylang vanilla scent!

Now that the weather is getting colder, I've also been more diligent with exfoliating my scaly bod, and Haus of Gloi Ghost Puffs Soft Bubbling Scrub has been my weapon of choice. It's supposed to smell of buttery popcorn and gooey marshmallows on a stick but to me it smells very realistically of one of my favorite Polish desserts called karpatka. It's a bit like two sheets of puff pastry with custard-like filling inbetween; I can really smell the sweet vanilla and butter in this one. Absolutely delicious!
 Make-up wise, I've been glued to my new NARS 'Sin' blusher for the past two months; I just can't get enough! It's the perfect neutral plummy shade with a subtle sheen that goes with EVERYTHING. Or so I'd like to think, because I'm lazy like that. Along the same lines, the eagerly pursued Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo in Barely Beige makes for a great every day staple if you're feeling a bit uninspired, or prefer to go with a bolder lip, which is something I've been increasingly going for. To finish off the look, I pile on the Lancome Definicils Precious Cells mascara sample in Black; I think this might be one of the best mascaras I've tried in a long time. Mine is unfortunately drying up a bit but I may splurge on the full size sometime in the future.
For lips, I've been reaching for the Revlon Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie the most this month. It has to be said that I'm not the biggest fan of the formula; unlike many, I don't find it particularly moisturizing or comfortable to wear. I do love this shade though and I'm thinking of picking up a similar color from a more high-end brand.

Lastly, this Revlon Top Speed nail polish in Royal has to be the most perfect navy blue I've ever come across; thanks for the tip, Essie Button! I do prefer Revlon's regular nail polish formula (this starts to dry almost before I manage to spread it out evenly on my nails) but the shade cannot be beat. Wear time on me, as always, remains the same (i.e. about 5-6 days). 
Here you can see the Definicils mascara and Revlon nail polish in action, as well as some seriously overdue bang trim.
What have you been loving this month? Have you stayed within your comfort zone or branched out a little bit?

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Perfect Mossy Green: L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Emerald

I was never a fan of green eyeshadow, perhaps mostly because of the fact that it's my mom's favorite color and one of the very few she would use in her make-up. The thing is, she has a beautiful golden olive complexion, and me - I'm a ghostly porcelain, so I would always have it in the back my mind that green is just not my color. But, I was lemming a mossy green to include in my fall eyeshadow stash and so I turned to the much-loved L'Oreal 24HR Infallible eyeshadows and selected no. 335 'Golden Emerald' - and what a beaut she is!

As you probably all know, the L'Oreal Infallible shadows are somewhere in between a cream and loose pigment formula, much like the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kills shadow pots, and come equipped with a little stopper to push the shadow down. Much less messy and easy to apply than a standard loose pigment!
'Golden Emerald' is in fact, as the title suggest, the perfect mossy green packed full of golden shimmer. I usually associate emerald with a much cooler gemstone shade, and this is more of a warm green, somewhat greener than olive and of deeper intensity. I think it's supposed to be comparable to MAC's Humid but I can't vouch for that. In fact, I have a hard time comparing it to any other green eyeshadows on the market, simply because it's actually my first green :)
L'Oreal Golden Emerald, deep green (!) from Sleek Storm palette, Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Mildew, NYX Glide-on liner in Esmeralda

L'Oreal Golden Emerald swatches beautifully with very little effort; what you see below is a single swipe, no primer. It is however a bit more difficult to achieve the same intensity on the eye; I found patting multiple layers with a finger worked better than using a brush. The gold sparkle definitely shows up on the lids and it wore with no fallout over eye primer and minimal creasing for a solid 8 hours.
 The green smokey eye I had here was a simple wash of 'Golden Emerald' on the lid blended upwards using 'Sophisticated' and 'Sultry' from theBalm Nude'Tude eyeshadow palette, with a touch of 'Snobby' in the inner corners. I then lined my upper lashline and waterline with a black khol and applied lots of mascara. Done! I think the look was a bit more dramatic in real life and I actually liked it a lot. Maybe I've conquered my fear of green eyeshadow?
Is there an eyeshadow color you subconsciously tend to avoid? What is your favorite green shade?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Tea Favorites

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it somewhere before but I'm a rather avid tea drinker. I've been raised in a family where the tradition of a digestive hot black sweetened tea with lemon was celebrated every evening without fail and while nowadays I see how most tea lovers wouldn't even call such a concotion 'tea', it certainly made me appreciate the ritual of steeping and sipping a hot drink, especially on cold, rainy days.
I love discovering and trying new brands and varieties of tea, so I thought I'd share my favorites with you in the hopes that you might reciprocate with yours... Do we have a deal?

Let me start by saying that on a day-to-day basis, I don't have time nor patience to steep loose leaf teas - as much as I love the result, the process is just a bit too messy, same as with loose pigments in make-up. Instead, I bastardize the ritual by using tea bags so that's what I'll be describing in this post. I really want to go to Teavana some time soon and get some nice loose leaf teas but for now this is it!
The first two favorites are actually caffeine-free so they technically should be referred to as teasanes, not teas. I drink the Tazo Passion Herbal Infusion and Tazo Honeybush Herbal Infusion the most often as I'm not very big on caffeine in general, mostly because I tend to get dehydrated very easily. The Passion has a very distinct fruity flavor and a lovely deep garnet shade when steeped; it tastes light and refreshing and not very herbal at all, so tea haters rejoice! Honeybush is a name of a plant that can be infused much in the same way as tea but it has a much lighter aroma and no caffeine; the Tazo one is additionally flavored with fruit and floral notes. I always have some sort of herbal tea in rotation, mostly rooibos and occasionally honeybush or tulsi.
Next we have two white teas; the basic difference between the white and black teas is the level of oxidation they go through after the leaves are being picked from the bushes. If you've never had white tea, it is somewhat similar to green tea but more subtle and with less of the slightly bitter/nutty aftertaste, which is why I prefer them. The Tazo Berryblossom White has a beautiful blueberry aroma and a very slightly fruity taste whereas the Numi Orange Spice is a lot warmer and spicier with a distinct orange peel note. It's a bit like orange pomander in a tea form so it'd be perfect as we're getting closer to Christmas.
The last pair are black teas in a 'chai' variety, meaning that they have warming spices such as black pepper, cardamom and cloves added to them. These two adorable cans are from Zhena's Gypsy Tea; we have Hazelnut Chai and Coconut Chai here. I like drinking both with a little bit of tea to enhance their creamier taste; the Hazelnut almost tastes a bit like a Viennese coffee, and the Coconut has just a hint of buttery sweetness to it. I've probably repurchased the Coconut Chai at least three times now, it's one of my all-time favorites!
I usually get all of my teas at Whole Foods, they have a wonderful selection, especially of the Numi teas that me and Mr drink the most of overall. Other good places to look for yummy teas in the US would be the above-mentioned Teavana or Cost Plus World Market; and while you're there, I recommend you pick up some delicious Greek halva or Austrian marzipan.

Are you a tea lover? What are your favorite brands and varieties?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warm & Cozy Nails of the Week

I've just came back from an hour long stroll to the lake; the day was absolutely glorious, a perfect fall weather with warm sunshine, crisp cold air and golden leaves crunching under my feet. Alas, as soon as I was finished taking these photos on the balcony, ominous dark clouds gathered at the horizon and it started to rain! What a timing, I tell you.
 Anyway, I've wanted to share my Nails of the Week with you (why do bloggers insist on calling these posts Nails of the Day? Who changes their polish on a daily basis? Certainly not me!) since they feature two perfectly fall appropriate shades. I decided to go for an accent nail, which I very rarely do for reasons unknown even to myself, and combined two Essie nail polishes with not-so-coincidental names: Angora Cardi and Hot Coco. Don't these two make for a scrumptiously warm and cozy manicure?
To be honest, these two for sure are not part of my autumnal nail polish staples - I much prefer more dramatic, saturated shades like burgundy red or navy blue. The dusty, subdued quality of both Angora Cardi and Hot Coco is not something I usually go for, yet they do look very nice paired together!
Wear time on both is the average Essie longevity - by which I mean that they wear very nicely on me with minor chips for at least 5-6 days, which is also true for most nail polish brands I've tried so far. I'm sorry, folks; I really do believe it's mostly your nails that make the biggest difference! Photos were taken on day 3, you can see some tiny chips at the very tips but it also has to be said that I was quite rough on my nails these past couple of days.
Now I so want to snuggle in an angora cardi with a cup of hot cocoa in my hands! What is your favorite fall nail polish shade? Any evocative names there?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Empties Galore & A Few Honorable Mentions

These past few months I've been making a concentrated effort to downsize my collection of beauty products; the amount of things I have hidden in various drawers, boxes and baskets has started to feel more like a burden than a proud collection. I'm very happy to see a lot of them finally used up and gone - it felt awesome to get rid of that mound of beauty trash! As you can see below, there are so many products here that it'd be ridiculous to try and even give a brief review to each and every one, so instead I'm just going to focus on a couple of honorable mentions.
Haircare. So far, the Healthy Sexy Hair Beach Spray is my favorite sea salt spray of the ones I've tried but I would mostly recommend it to gals with fine, silky mane like myself. It gives a lot of grip/texture to the hair and a very matte finish, so perfect for disguising slightly oily roots.
Skincare. I've gone a bit crazy on the eye creams and the front runner is definitely the Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen. It's very light yet moisturizing, doesn't ball up under make-up and has a nice cooling effect that I especially appreciated in the mornings.
Make-up. The Rimmel lipgloss and GOSH Darling lipstick were only half-used but these colors really do not work on me, regardless of what I do. I did like CoverGirl Professional All-in-One mascara in terms of the look on my lashes however it dried up pretty fast and started to flake. Still looking for my HG mascara!
Bodycare and nails. I very much enjoyed and already repurchased the Shikai All Natural Moisturizing Shower Gel in the Coconut scent (I now use the Vanilla) and Haus of Gloi Elevenses Pumpkin Butter (switched to Vice); weirdly enough, my husband used up the bulk of the Haus body butter and is probably half-way through the new one - he says he enjoys 'smelling like a cookie'. Well, I might have overshared here :) NailTek Foundation II is good, if you're wondering, but I might like the OPI Nail Envy a smidge better.

The Round-up:
5 tossed/ half-used
5 sachets/ foil packet samples (not pictured)
7 deluxe samples
15 full size products (including 2 bars of soap, not pictured)
Total: 32 empties for June - September

I'm already excited to add more products to a fresh empties pile! How are you doing on the empties front? Any success in downsizing the beauty stash?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Coming Soon...

First off, let me apologize for my unplanned, prolonged yet necessary absence - I was really struggling with a writer's block of sizeable proportions and just felt that I needed to take time off to gather some much needed inspiration. I have however decided that I am not ready to completely let go of my blogging ways and so I'm back, with some make-up porn to look at while I'm busy drafting a couple of more substantial posts.
To be honest, I haven't accumulated very many beauty products in my absence; I'm still very much on a make-up purchasing diet and I think that will definitely become a theme of one of the upcoming posts, together with a jaw-dropping number of empties I collected within the past two months (or more).
Other than that, you can expect more reviews, as usual, a make-up look here and there, a word or two about my skincare and maybe even my nail polish collection; does that sound interesting? I sure hope so - because I've missed you, lovelies!