Friday, April 29, 2011

April Faves: Beauty

Bonsoir, friends!  (Actually it's probably bonjour to you, but I'm writing this the night before.)  I am thrilled that this week is over (it's been nuts at work) for moi.  Tomorrow I'm leavin' on a jet plane to the great state of TX, baby.  I'll be spending the next few days stuffing my face with Korean food, sorting through all my stuff (think mounds of shoes, clothes, stationary, stickers, makeup and toiletries), shopping at Super Tarjay and cuddling with Momma Park.  I can't wait!

Before I leave, though, I wanted to let you know of some of my favorite beauty products that I've been enjoying this month.  I'm going to focus on cosmetics in this post, but I plan to do a skincare post as well.  Between catching up on my favorite youtube gurus, a 15% off Sephora shopping spree and a couple visits to the L'Oreal employee store (50+% off!!), I've been having way too much fun with beauty.  Enjoy!

I switch back and forth between gel and pencil liners, but if you're going to go with gel, Bobbi Brown is the way to go.  This stuff is perfect - creamy, easy to apply and budge-proof.  I've had the shade "black ink" for awhile now, but wanted something softer that I could wear to work.  Caviar is the perfect blend of black and brown.  It's not too soft like certain browns, but it's not as harsh as straight up black.  I'm a huge fan.

Drugstore Dupe: If you're not looking to spend $21 on eyeliner, then I also highly recommend Maybelline's new Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner.  It's fantastic, half the price ($9.99) and comes with a brush that's actually one of my favorites!  In fact, I use the Maybelline brush with my Bobbi Brown liner - it's that good. 

I'm a blush fanatic, and you'd be shocked (or maybe not so shocked...) to see how many shades I own.  One of my biggest complaints, however, is that my blush never seems to stay.  I want to look as rosy and beautiful in the middle of the afternoon as I did in the morning when I applied it.  My typical solution to this problem is to apply a cream/gel blush and then to top it with a powder.  This works great and all, but it also means I have to pack 2 blushes anytime I travel.  When I heard about Tarte's new Amazonian Clay blush and heard that it actually does last all day, I knew I had to pick one up.  I selected the shade "Natural Beauty" (a muted strawberry red) and absolutely love it.  It gives me face a very natural looking flush that truly lasts and lasts.  WARNING: A little goes a VERY long way so make sure to tap off the excess.

Drugstore Dupe: $25 is a lot of money to pay for blush.  I wish I had a drugstore alternative, but the reality is that none of my blushes come from the drugstore, so I can't really give you a good alternative that I personally endorse.  I will say, however, that I've heard good things about Maybelline's Dream Mousse blush (around $4), and I imagine that because it's more of a cream, it's likely to last longer than your typical powder blush.

The roomie I'm closest to works for a beauty PR firm and brings home loads of goodies for Carolyn.  It's usually nail polish (I may have over 100 bottles of nail polish to my name now...), but occasionally she'll bring home cosmetics, skincare and hair products.  One of her clients is NYC, a cheap drugstore brand that I hadn't really heard of.  They recently revamped all their products, and one of their bestsellers is this lip stain.  Y'all, it ROCKS.  Don't bother spending your money on Tarte's $24 version or even Revlon or Covergirl's $10 ish versions.  This stuff is $4.99 (in NYC so it might be even cheaper elsewhere) and works way better.  Now, I wouldn't venture to say it lasts 16 hours (at least not on moi), but it's the best lip stain I've ever tried - namely because it's easy to apply, doesn't dry out my lips and settle into fine lines and did I mention it's CHEAP?? 

Drugstore Dupe: N/A  :D

I know... $18 is a LOT of money to spend on an eyeliner, let alone an eyeliner that's not really an eyeliner, at least not in the traditional sense.  If you're a woman who wears makeup, then you've probably heard the ole white liner trick.  Line your waterline with white eyeliner, and it'll make you look more awake... right?  Well, if you've ever attempted to use white eyeliner, then you know you look more like a 12-year old girl who's "experimenting" with funky makeup than a 20- or 30-something year old woman who just wants to hide the fact that she only got 5 hours of sleep.  I took a gamble on this Tarte liner, mostly because I knew I could return it (love you, Sephora!) and had 15% off (REALLY love you, Sephora!!).  Well, it's FABULOUS.  It really does wonders for my eyes.  I mainly use it on my lower waterline (always use it before you put your regular eyeliner on or it'll stain the pencil), and it makes my eyes look bigger and brighter. 

Drugstore Dupe: Err... still looking for one.  :/  Here's what I would recommend - go to the drugstore and just look at ALL eyeliners to try and find a nude.  Admittedly, it's tough, and it may not exist (although you'll find plenty of cheap whites).  As SOON as I find a good dupe, I'll be sure to share as I don't want to spend $18 on eyeliner either!

I don't wear foundation, and I never have.  I think I tried it once back in high school because I thought it was cool, but hated how it felt on my skin and never looked back.  These days the foundations on the market are super excellentay, but I'm lucky in that my skin doesn't really need it (yet).  I pretty much stick to an under eye brightener, blush and a light dusting of MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish Natural.  (If I'm going all out, I'll bust out the highlighter and bronzer as well.)  But, on a whim and during a lunchtime visit to Saks Fifth Avenue (yes, it's dangerously close to my office), I decided to give Clinique's new tinted moisturizer a try.  (There was also a sick bonus at Clinique that day with all kinds of skincare goodies I wanted to get my hands on!)  It's deliciously light, moisturizing, but also does a decent job at evening out my skin.  I've only used it a handful of times, so I'm not so sure I should be calling it a "Fave" yet, but I'm definitely impressed.

Drugstore Dupe: I've never tried it, but I hear/read good things about Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhanced Tinted Moisturizer (around $11).

Hope you guys enjoyed!  Let me know if you have specific requests in regard to beauty/makeup/skincare blog posts.  Also, let me know what your fave beauty products as I'm always in the mood to try new things :D

Monday, April 18, 2011

All About Books

 {photo from Domino - RIP}

As mentioned earlier, I am on a book reading binge. And friends? It feels really good. After months watching episode after episode of Criminal Minds, Bones and Glee (in that order), I am thrilled to say that not only am I completely caught up with those shows, but that I also now have time to indulge in, um, more intellectually-stimulating activities.  That includes reading.

It all started innocently enough with the enormously popular Stieg Larsson trilogy.  A coworker had given me a tattered paperback copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo awhile back.  It took me forever to open it and perhaps as long to get through the first 60 pages, but once I was in, I was in.  I inhaled the rest of that book in just a few short subway rides.  Luckily my roommate had the next in the series, The Girl who Played with Fire, so I dove in.  I had an upcoming 3 1/2 hour train ride coming up and knew that I'd be done with book deux before then.  I immediately hopped onto Amazon and purchased the third - The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  I finished that one during my train ride to and from D.C.

My review?  Definitely good.  The hype is there for a reason, and I now understand why.  That being said, I don't think they are for everyone (and the first one takes awhile to get into) so use your own judgment.  I am immensely grateful for them, as they reminded me of how much I love to read and get lost in someone else's story.  Since then, I've read the following:

Little Bee by Chris Cleave (highly recommend)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (highly recommend)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (highly recommend and can't wait for the movie even though I know it will be sub-par)

Love Junkie by Rachel Resnik (interesting, but definitely not for everyone)

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (I was desperate, and my roomie handed it to me - I read it in 3 hours. It's... well, it's a Nicholas Sparks novel so you can decide for yourself what that means.)

I am currently reading:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Book of Salt by Monique Truong 

In the next couple of weeks, I plan to read:

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

Running for Women by Kara Goucher

What's on your bookshelf these days?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Le Weekend

{photo found here}

Indulging in a much needed pedicure here

Brunching here and there
Trying to get fit here

Hopefully running here

Shopping here (15% off for VIB's!)

Reading this, this and this  
(psst - have been on a reading spree and have an upcoming post about all the goodies I've been reading)

Praying here
Bon weekend, mes amies.  I miss you.  Gros bisous.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


{photo: weheartit}

I know it's been awhile, and I really, REALLY miss you guys. I'm... exhausted. This past month has been tiring to say the least, and tomorrow morning a car is picking me up at 4:45 a.m. (!!!) so I can catch a way-too-early flight to Canada. I'll be back in my beloved NYC Saturday night, and then I plan to catch up on life. That includes you, mes amies.

And because it's completely appropo considering this title and my ridiculous and recent OBSESSION with Glee, I leave you with this ah-mazing song.