Monday, August 31, 2009

Guest Review by Joeybunny - Press Sample - Kenzo UFO


Hello All, Elvira here: I am so very honored and pleased to bring you yet another guest review by our very own Joeybunny! She was much better suited to review this perfume and I think she captures the scent perfectly in her writing. Please enjoy!


Last week, Elvira shared some exciting news from Kenzo, one of my favorite perfume lines, about their latest perfume creation (please refer to her entry here). Unidentified Fragrance Object, housed in an architecturally stunning bottle designed by Ron Arad (which is on display at MoMA in NYC right now!), is a limited edition scent - because of course, all good things are always limited edition, sigh.
image of Ron Arad from kenzo.com

Now in her previous entry Elvira did a great job of listing the perfume’s notes and describing the intentions behind the scent’s creation (“scent of marble powder against a woman’s skin” - hmm, a little weird but sounds appealing to me!). And even better, she mailed me the press release sample! Elvira and I have totally opposing tastes in perfume. She likes what I’d call more feminine, pretty scents. Me? I’m still waiting for someone to make Eau de Man Armpit. I’m a huge fan of masculine, heavy, not-appropriate-for-daytime-usage kind of scents. Want an example? I LOVE Thierry Mugler Angel. My current favorite scent is Bond No.9 New Haarlem, which is heavy on the patchouli note. Apparently, I was a sweaty hippie in a past life.

I digress. I do love Kenzo’s scents; FlowerbyKenzo is one of my Holy Grail fragrances, and KenzoPower and KenzoAmour are high up on the Joey Loves It! scale. To say I was thrilled when Elvira kindly mailed me Unidentified Fragrance Object is an understatement, even more so once I smelled it!

image of Aurélien Guichard from facebook.com

Clearly, Aurélien Guichard was thinking of me when he created this fragrance. It’s either that or his mother (his inspiration for the scent) smells like my dream come true. Whatever. This scent is gorgeous. It’s not for the feminine woman, the woman who likes roses and wears dresses and pearls and drinks wine spritzers in the evening with a salad. This is for the woman who wears leather and f*ck-me heels and can handle her whiskey and steak and isn’t afraid to play rough, because this scent definitely plays rough. It’s sexy as hell, really. I could not get enough of it. I sprayed myself and kept sniffing at my arms all day. My darling best friend took a whiff of it and told me I smelled delicious (I bought him dinner for being so sweet). I did smell delicious, dammit! Apparently Guichard disregarded the normal perfume structure (base note, top note, etc.) and played around with something called a “marble accord” and notes of Bulgarian Rose, Vanilla, Orange Blossom, and Frankincense. Well, upon first spritz I definitely smelled the rose and frankincense, and something else that I’m guessing is the marble accord (it smelled more like the faintest hint of sweat and patchouli than marble, but ok). The vanilla and orange blossom was more apparent as the day went on. This perfume really settled into my skin, and just smelled really natural and warm, but still strong. It also lasted a good 12 hours on my skin.

Here’s the sucky part - this is an extremely limited scent. Kenzo only released 1,000 bottles, and it’ll be sold for $188 at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC and the Kenzo website. However, I did discover something interesting. I realized at some point throughout the day yesterday when I was wearing this perfume that it smelled familiar to me. How could that be, you ask? Well, there was something about the frankincense note that reminded me of Bond No.9 New Haarlem (which has notable patchouli and vanilla notes). This morning, I decided to test out my idea. I sniffed the two scents together. They smelled incredibly similar, but the Kenzo had a fresher note to it. I then decided to layer Bond No.9 Riverside Drive over the New Haarlem (I chose Riverside Drive because I wanted the freshness of its basil and pineapple notes). Voila! I could barely tell the two scents apart. Did I dupe the Kenzo? Well, I came close. The Kenzo smells slightly more feminine than the Bond combination. But let’s be realistic. The Kenzo is limited edition! It’s going to be hard to come by, but the two Bond scents are not. So, if you can’t get your hands on the Kenzo, know that there’s something close enough to it.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Gift - PlumpLips Lip Plumper by Freeze 24▪7

image from amazon.com

Why would I need a plumping lip gloss? I don't. My lips are rather plump...and depending on how much crying I have done they swell to the size of watermelons. But when a friend sent me a sample of this PlumpLips Lip Plumper by Freeze 24▪7 I couldn't resist giving it a try.

I have a love hate thing with lip plumpers. I love the idea, especially for those that have thin lips and hate having thin lips. but I HATE how they work. They, for the most part burn and sting and hurt. The only one I have used that didn't actually hurt and did produce results was Fusion Beauty LipFusion Lip Plumper.

So how did this Freeze 24▪7 lip plumber fair? Let's see. Fist off it's $40 for 0.28 oz. Yikes. That's pricey! but nothing surprising since most of the lip plumpers cost about this much from various brands. Secondly the packaging. Clear container, Gloss style with doe foot applicator. That's all good. The product scent is a cross between fake tropical fruit and Vick's Vapo Rub. YUK! If old age homes had tanning salons run by old people that used to go to tanning salons "back in the day" this is what I imagine them to smell like. Tropical Fruit and menthol. Now THERE is an image for you!
image from yahoo.movies.com
Ahh The classic Lyn Shaye from the move, There's Something About Mary

MOVING ON.
Let me walk you through the experience of application.

Here are what my lips look like prior to application. Pale corpse like, but not necessarily thin.

Application: Smooth easily spread lip gloss. Images of Lyn Shaye occupy my mind due to the scent. The gloss has no taste.

First few seconds. Menthol cooling feeling. SLIGHT tingling

Here are my lips a few seconds after application

1 Minute. Oooh. I feel a lot more tingling. My lips feel like they are growing.

2 minutes. IT BURNS OH DEAR LORD IT BURNS!

3 Minutes. The Burning has subsided. My lips feel and look fuller. It's actually hard to smile because I feel like the skin has stretched over my lips. This is what those holly wood starts with the "trout pout" plastic surgery lips must feel like all the time. No wonder they are so thin. It's hard to eat when you lips feel like water balloons about to burst.

OK. I have to admit I LOVE Brittany Murphy's eye makeup here! Don't you?

4 Minutes. No burning. Nicely colored lips. Still a bit plumped. Not too bad. It works!

Here are my lips after 4 minutes. Whoa. Look at the color!

Let's break down the claims from Freeze 24▪7.
They claim:

* Revolutionary lip plumper and gloss that delivers full, pouty, buttery lips in minutes.
WIN! While I think Revolutionary is an over used word to describe any makeup product, I will agree that it only took minutes to see the results

* New technology increases circulation on the lip surface, and eliminates the drying, burning and irritation associated with most lip plumpers.
FAIL! It BURNS! It BURNS! Not at first but Whoa! after 2 minutes you'll be asking why you need plumper lips this badly?

* Mature lips appear more youthful with our Age-Less Technology, and thin lips appear fuller and more sensual.
MEH. I have never been mistaken as "mature" I still snicker when people say "Duty" and when men named Richard call themselves "Dick".

* Enhances the natural color of your lips (looks like you are wearing lip color but it’s clear!).
WIN! Oh yes. My corpse like lips definitely had color to them after applying this product.

* Not tested on animals and contains no animal by-products.
WIN? OK. Not really a concern of mine, but good to know.

* Hydrates, smoothes and soothes…It’s addicting!
MEH/FAIL. It may hydrate and smooth but only because your lips have been puffed up. I do not find this product soothing or addicting, but then again I'm not a masochist.

* Dermatologist Tested
* Hypoallergenic
* Non-Sensitizing
* Allergy Tested
* Clinically Tested
MEH. Who cares. I have used tons of products that make these claims and I still get bad reactions.

* Non-irritating
FAIL! The whole reason your lips swell and change color is BECAUSE they are irritated. DUH.

Do you NEED this? Well. If you have really thin lips and really want bigger lips without plastic surgery and don't care if you feel like your face is being burned off...sure! Otherwise. Try the LipFusion by Fusion Beauty. For $4 less and 0.01 oz more. (psst. for those that are math impaired LipFusion is $36 for 0.29 oz)

Ingredients for PlumpLips Lip Plumper by Freeze 24▪7
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Niacin, Aminobutryic Acid, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Retinol, Menthol, Vanilla Panifolia Fruit. May Contain / +/-: Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, CI 77489 (Iron Oxides), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 19140 (Red 28 Lake), CI 15850 (Red 7 Lake), CI 45380 (Red 21 Lake), CI 45410 (Red 28 Lake), CI 16035 (Red 40 Lake), CI 77007 (Ultramarines)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Poll


The unexpected. You remember those instances where the unexpected happens. Like the day you got into a car accident. Or the time when you ran into a friend far away from home. How about the time when you won a contest, sweepstakes, lottery, or giveaway? Ahh The unexpected can be good and bad. To a control freak, like myself it can be annoying. I like knowing what is going to happen and when it is going to happen and how it is going to happen. That is how control freaks are. I like knowing the answer before the question is asked. I like knowing the result before the experiment is over. I don't like suspense movies...unless I'm clever enough to have figured it out before the rest of the audience. I don't like races if I'm rooting for one person b/c the suspense of not knowing if they are going to win stresses me out...unless the race includes Usain Bolt, then I KNOW who is going to win. So what makes me mad is when MAKEUP does not do what I expect it to do. For example. Bobbi Brown Bash eye shadow....NOT the same in the pan as it is on my eye. NYX 10 shadow palette, the consistency is...well...inconsistent. But then are are unexpected surprises. Like the dreaded Clinique Butter Shine lipstick that I actually LOVE...despite my searing hot hate for all things Clinique. Or better yet the lot of you that share my love of taupe eye shadow and accept and welcome me. I have found my home and it is the interwebz peppered with taupe eye shadow hoors just like me! On to the poll.

1) Lip Of The Day?
- Clinique Buttershine Lipstick in Apple Brandy. A warm red that is muted and not too in your face. Well pigmented and super moisturizing.


2) Can you fake any accents?
- I think I do a decently awful Irish accent and a semi terrible British accent. They are awful enough to be called out by a native as a fake but good enough to get guys in bars (when I was single) to buy me a drink because I'm here in the States "On Holiday" and I "...simply adore you Yanks and the funny way you speak!" That would usually get me a tequila shot!


3) Current NEW product you want to try (new product or new to you)?
-
Shu Uemura has a new brow gel. I really want it, but I'm afraid it won't work for me and it will be close to impossible to return it. I might cave and get it...but then again I might show some restraint and save my pennies for a few OCC lip tars. Ugh. Decisions! Decisions!

4) Name a movie or movies you have seen so many times, you could recite most of the dialogue.
-
Defending Your Life, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and DUH Star Wars - A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi.

5) Say your entire makeup stash is being held over a fiery pit of death and you can only save 3 items. What would you save? - Humm. My Guerlain Meteorites Voyage compact. My Shu Uemura ME Silver 954 eye shadow and my Cle de Peau Concealer. Most things can be replaced...except for my MAC Moth Brown eye shadow or My Chanel Equinoxe glossimer. Umm. It's hard to pick just 3.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Purchase - Bobbi Brown Bash - Don't Judge a Shadow by its Color


Have I mentioned that I have a new obsession? It's not taupe but it is eye shadow. Bobbi Brown Metallic eyeshadow to be exact. It's GREEN! Forest green...well Ivy Green. It's called Bash and it is part of Bobbi Brown's new Ivy League Collection for fall 2009.

Now many of you may say. " Bah. Green eye shadow? You are losing it Elvira!?" I say. NO! I am simply enhancing IT baby! Now granted the model for this collection is photo shopped to within an inch of her life, the message is still clear.

YOU NEED GREEN EYESHADOW.

See? Wasn't that simple? Bobbi has come out with three different green shadows in three different formulas, however I ignored the other two because Bash, in the metallic formula, is just that freakin awesome.

Look at it!


Closer!


CLOSER!

Yeah. that's it. Now you know what I'm talkin' about!

The formula for Bobbi Brown Metallic Shadows is nice. Minimal fallout. Soft texture. The shadow applies smoothly and evenly. Bobbi Brown claims that it will be crease free, but NO shadow is crease free on me without an eyeshadow base. Having worn this with a base and I have to say that it lasts just as well as any other shadow I use with a base.


HOWEVER! Bobbi Brown Bash eye shadow does not looks as warm and golden green when applied to my eyes. It turns almost teal! Ugh. I can't say this will happen to you when you apply it, but when I paired it with Bourjois Ombre Stretch eye shadow in Brun Nylon 09, the loverly warm forest green turned to a cool blackish teal. So be warned...swatches are not always what they appear to be.
EOTD using Bourjois Ombre Stretch eye shadow in Brun Nylon 09 all over lid, Bobbi Brown Bash in crease, Bobbi Brown Navajo to highlight, Becca Barbarella liner, Shu Uemura The Basic Mascara

I did a second eye of the day where I really packed on the shadow and the deep green did show up, but sadly it just isn't as pretty on my eyes as it is swatched on my arm. It goes to show that not all swatches are created equal.

EOTD using Bobbi Brown Bash on lid, Bobbi Brown Iced Mocha blended into crease, Bobbi Brown Navajo to highlight, Shu Uemura The Basic Mascara.

Do you NEED this? Let's put it this way. If you want a green shadow please try this out on your eye - not your hand prior to purchase. If you are OK with the possibility of it changing to teal, go ahead and buy this, but if you don't like surprises I suggest you pick up a different green shadow...perhaps Shu Uemura ME Green 550 or Chantecaille Malachite.

Do I like this shadow? Not all that much anymore. The total difference in the pan versus on the eyekills it for me. I can still use it but I don't love it as much as I thought I would. I'm thinking I might get a different color to complete my three pan palette tho. Any Suggestions? I have Iced Mocha and Navajo. (Taupe and Cream) Maybe a Navy or Deep Purple?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Purchase - MAC Style Snob - A Taupe To Warm Your Heart


It’s been ages since I wrote about a warm taupe. I think I may have been neglecting the warm taupes out there. But neglect no longer. MAC Style Snob is the warm taupe that wins my heart. Sometimes, when you are mired down in a cool silvery and plum taupe bog you forget the bright sunshine that a warm taupe can bring to your heart. Ah yes. Style Snob is that sunshine that warms my heart. This shadow is versatile enough to wear as an all over wash or a crease. It’s also fun to pair with brown, navy and deep green.


Released on July 23rd, 2009 in the MAC Love That Look collection This Starflash formula eye shadow is creamy and metallic and a light brown taupe. I’m very fond of the Starflash formula from MAC. These shadows contain Soybean, Jojoba, and Olive Oil which helps the powders have a more creamy application and also allow it to adhere better than other powders…not to mention that they are more long wearing than other MAC shadows. The difference in texture in these Starflash formula shadows is apparent upon application. It feels a lot softer on the eye, but gives an exceptional pigment payoff when layered. The finish itself is a very frosty, flashy finish. They contain pearlized particles, but they are much finer than the Veluxe Pearl formula because the pigments in these Starflash shadows are “jet-milled”. They can be worn sheer for a more neutral light frost, or built up for a very reflective finish.


The lovely warm brown taupe may look like a similar MAC shadow called Satin Taupe. However, as you can see, when swatched side by side, MAC Satin Taupe (permanent collection) is darker and plumier than MAC Style Snob.


Do you NEED this? DUH! It’s Taupe, it’s Limited Edition and it’s TAUPE. Get thee to a MAC counter or to the MAC Cosmetics website ASAP before it’s gone for good!


MAC Style Snob all over, Sephora Colorful Mono No. 6 in the crease and MAC Shroom to highlight. Becca Berbarella to line and Shu Uemura The Basic Mascara.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kenzo Launches UFO – Unidentified Fragrance Object


Exciting news Fragrance Junkies! Kenzo’s newest fragrance for her, Unidentified Fragrance Object, will be unveiled this fall at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of the retrospective exhibition for designer Ron Arad. Arad was commissioned by Kenzo to create a vehicle for fragrance that breaks with traditional industry codes and evokes sensuality when in contact with the skin. The result – a hand-polished bottle made of Zamac (metal alloy) with a completely internalized spray mechanism. In a bold statement, the curvaceous bottle does not stand vertically and the spray is activated from the side, using the thumb. The complex shape is expressed in a precious rare alloy, Zamac. Exhibition of the bottle in Ron Arad’s retrospectives at the MOMA in New York from August 2nd, 2009 through October 19th, 2009.


Aurélien Guichard, the nose, was tasked with crafting the scent of the skin for this fragrance. Guichard drew on the olfactive memory of his mother who was a sculptor working with marble, and has recreated the scent of marble powder against a woman’s skin.

The perfume is not defined by the traditional olfactory pyramid of top, heart and base notes. Its structure is a balance between a powerful heart, “the marble accord”, and four natural raw ingredients that add facets to the note. The floral notes (orange blossom, Bulgarian rose) add femininity, tenderness and elegance. Frankincense intensifies the pure, mineral character of the lingering notes. Vanilla amplifies intimacy and sensuality.

Bulgarian Rose - known as the finest rose oil in the world, Bulgarian rose is derived from the Damask rose. Roses are a symbol of love and have been used since ancient times in perfumery

Vanilla - Vanilla is native to Mexico and is valued for its sweet flavor and scent. Vanilla is widely used in food preparation and perfumery

Orange Blossom - The orange blossom is highly fragrant and traditionally associated with good fortune. With its soft white petals, it has long been popular in bridal bouquets

Frankincense - An aromatic resin produced by Boswellia trees. It has a balsamic, sweet fragrance and has often been used in perfume and as incense

The bottle will be produced in extreme limited edition of 1,000 units only
Available from August 2009 exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and kenzousa.com
The 40ml Eau de Parfum will retail for $188 USD.

Ahh but what is even better than that? I was able to obtain a sample (not an actual bottle!) from Kenzo and I am sending to to our very own Joeybunny to sniff and review for you all. I have sniffed it and it's just not my cuppa cuppa. I prefer more floral and light scents. While this fragrance contains Bulgarian rose and orange blossom this is hardly what I would call "floral" no. this is far more rich and stronger than my nose cares to tolerate. Fortunately Joeybunny's nose is keen on such scents and I think she will do a much better job reviewing this scent than I ever could. So keep an eye out in the next week or so...and if you are in New York please go by the MoMA and check out the Arad exhibit!

All images from kenzousa.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Press Sample - Kazam Natural Body Care Peppermint Foot Cooler Lotion

image from kazambodycare.com

I was planning on doing a whole week of Cooling Products for the summer, but soon realized that a) an entire week of body and skin care products would bore me to death and b) Summer is almost over! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot People! Where did summer go? Well before the heat and sun and humidity leaves us I wanted to tell you about a super cool (literally and figuratively) new foot lotion I have been using.

Kazam Natural Body Care is a small boutique and on line e-tailer of all natural products for skin hair and body. They offer a wide range of products without the use of harsh chemicals, parabens, artificial preservatives and artificial fragrances. That’s right. When you read the ingredients on the products you buy, you don’t need a degree in Chemistry to figure out what everything is! The founder and creator, Majorie Moutari is an entrepreneur that has lived all over the world. Ms. Moutari received her training in natural personal care products, perfume and essential oil manufacturing in Europe, Africa and the United States, she also hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Pratt Institute in New York. She has over 10 years experience as a holistic nutrition and diet consultant, counseling patients on nutrition and health matters.

I have been using the Peppermint Foot Cooler Lotion for a few weeks now. I must say I had pretty low expectations for this lotion. First of all. I have yet to find a decent peppermint cooling lotion that actually moisturizes and cools my tired feet at the same time. I have tried several peppermint foot cooling lotions and most of them seem so watery it’s worthless using them. Secondly, "natural skincare" can be so hit or miss. I like the idea of natural products, but some definitions of “natural” still include all sorts of preservatives and fillers that I can’t even spell, let alone pronounce. Unlike the term “organic” which is regulated somewhat when concerning food and other products, the term “natural” isn’t. I mean Baby Powder is “natural” because Talc is a natural element. It’s not that hard to stretch the definition. THANKFULLY this Peppermint Foot Cooler Lotion has actual natural ingredients with NO fillers, and NO preservatives and no ingredient that requires me to look it up in google!

The lotion comes in a 8 ounce bottle. The lotion contains the following ingredients:
Purified Water, Glycerin, Aloe Leaf Juice, Cocoa Butter, Shea Nut Butter, Vitamin C, Honey, Lemon, Fennel, Sage and Yarrow Extracts, Jojoba, Citrus Seed Extract, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Tea Tree Oil.

Kazaam claims that The Peppermint Foot Cooler Lotion is:
“A natural cooling lotion for dry cracked feet. Excellent for tired sore achy feet, antibacterial and deodorizing properties. Awaken your tired feet and increase circulation.”

That’s pretty straight forward.
Oh but how does it work?

It works really well. My disdain for all things foot and peppermint have been shattered by the excellent performance of this lotion. It really moisturizes, it’s thick and soothing. It cools my feet and keeps the dry skin on my heels at bay. I sneak it up my calves and massage it in too. No greasy residue, just nicely moisturized and cool legs and feet. Remember to wash your hands after use or else your hands will be cooling off too, and you don’t want to rub your eye with this stuff on your hands. Get my drift? Good thing is, the lotion absorbs so quickly you can put on your flip flops and walk to the bathroom to wash your hands without slip sliding across the room!

Do you NEED this? YES! I really was impressed with how much I liked this lotion. I want to try the Lemongrass and Mint body scrub next. It sounds like pure summer goodness to me. I’m addicted to body scrubs and this scent combo sounds right up my alley.

Kazam Natural Body Care, LLC boutique is located at 239 Broadway between 9 &10th streets Bayonne, NJ
or
shop on line at kazambodycare.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Poll

image from kissandmakeup.tv


I'm not sure what to say this week. It's been a short one for me but still feels like ages since last weekend. Time is funny. It plays tricks on you. When you are little, you feel time move so slowly. When you get older, you are in a daze and suddenly snap out of it and wonder where the time went. When you become a parent you see time zip by you. I am amazed at how quickly my little Darthypie is growing up. He's talking and gaining a bigger vocabulary every day. I am astounded when he recognizes letter and numbers because it seems like "just yesterday" that he was this little pinks squishy blob that would cry every 2 hours for food! I sometimes feel like time is passing me by and I could have, should have done more...but then where do I find the time to do all those things? Time is a cruel mistress. She plays tricks on you. You cannot control her, you can only watch as she flows by you. Where am I going with this cliche ridden and pseudo poetic rambling? No where. I just wasted some of your time. Now on to the poll!

1. Lip Of The Day? - Chanel Rouge Allure in Flirt. Peachy, pink, frosty and shimmery all at the same time. But I think I need a little more of a tan to pull this off.

2. What have been your recent beauty purchases? - Bobbi Brown Metallic Eye Shadow in Bash! Oh I can't wait to take pics and show you all. the most gorgeous shade of green!

3. Where did you go on your first airplane ride? - Puerto Rico! My family used to go to PR every year. We stayed near Rincon on the West side of the island. The first memory I have of flying is arriving back from PR in the dead of winter and walking across the snow on the tarmac. Yes. it was so long ago that you actually walked right up to the plane on the tarmac!

4. If you were stuck on a deserted island for a year and finally rescued what would you want for your first:
a) Meal; b) Makeup/Perfume Purchase; and c) Song? - a) Bacon Cheeseburger w/ Fries and a Coke Zero ; b) A Chanel Glossimer & Bond No 9 Astor Place ; and c) Wings/Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed (The song Mr. Sith and I danced to at our wedding)

5. What are you currently lemming makeup wise? - Oh I think I want Chantecaille Sel, Mica, and pretty much any taupe like shadow they make. The most magical taupe is the one I don't own.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Purchase - NYX Thalia lipstick - A Greek Muse for only a $1.90


As some of you may know, I have a sickness. A weakness if you will. When I order a makeup or a beauty item on line. I can’t just order ONE item, even if that is the only item I need. I don’t add junk to my basket to qualify for free shipping. No. Nothing that extreme. However, I do have to add at least one more item to my order for some reason. When I ordered my NYX Champagne & Caviar palette from Nonpareil Boutique I didn’t fall prey to the “place an order for $50 and get free shipping” junk. I certainly don’t need $50 of NYX makeup. But I did notice that NYX sells these lipsticks called “round lipsticks” for about $1.90. Come on. A $2 lipstick? How could I NOT get at least one?

NYX says that
“NYX round lipstick is a velvet-textured lip cream that covers the lips with rich color. Round lipstick smoothes and moisturizes your lips with each application. NYX round lipstick comes in 144 shades, choose the one that's right for you.”

NYX Round Lipstick comes in 144 different shades?! Humm 144 multiplied by $1.90 = 273.60! No. No. I’m not going to do it. I don’t have enough storage space for 144 additional lipsticks…let alone the cash for them. Plus, in all honesty. I wasn’t that trilled with an aspect of the formula.

Uh oh! Here we go again!

No. Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite pleased with the color that I ordered. It’s called Thalia. According to Wikipedia…where I get most of my information because I’m lazy and don’t want to do too much reading,
“Thalia was a rustic goddess, the Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry. In this context, her name means “flourishing,” because the praises in her songs flourish through time. Thalia was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the eighth-born of the nine Muses. In art, Thalia was portrayed holding a comic mask, a shepherd’s staff, or a wreath of ivy. According to pseudo-Apollodorus, she and Apollo were the parents of the Corybantes.”

OK. So Thalia is a Muse. Sweet! I think this shade is perfect for Thalia. It’s pink! It's mysterious…oh who am I kidding? This shade is a lovely light pink nude that does not turn orange on my skin. (I have a problem with a lot of nude lipsticks turning orange on me.) The color is also pink enough that it does not look too purple or grey on me either. (You never would have thought finding a good nude pink lipstick would be so difficult, would you?) It’s just that simple. It’s a very basic color, but needed for when I do a smokey eye and don’t want to have a lip color that is too bold to overpower the eye.



Speaking of color, the pigmentation with this lipstick is superb. It’s practically opaque. It’s so well pigmented that I really can’t tell it cost me only $1.90. The pigmentation is on par with some of my more expensive lipsticks. I’m quite impressed.

The formula is pretty good too. I like lipsticks that have a decent amount of “slip”. Slip is the slick feeling you get when you apply the lipstick. Surely you have applied lipsticks with a low amount of slip. You know, stuff that feels like it is dragging your lip with the lipstick? A slippery lipstick glides effortlessly over your lips, but still apples the same great pigmentation that you would get by pressing firmly during application. Chanel Rouge Allure Lipsticks have a perfect amount of “slip”. The NYX Round Lipstick has a great amount of slip. Dare I say, almost too much? It seriously glides over your lips in a second with little or no effort. And what you are left with is a well pigmented pucker!

BUT…

But What? So what’s not to like? $1.90 Inexpensive! Perfect Color! Decent pigmentation. Excellent “slip”. How can you criticize, Elvira!

Well I’ll tell you how, oh impatient voice in my head.

It’s drying. Oh my goodness. It is sooo drying. I guess I never realized that my lips need a lot of moisture. I have been wearing mostly Chanel Rouge Allure lipsticks, Chanel Glossimers and Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipsticks and stick glosses that I didn’t realize how moisturizing they are. The NYX Round Lipstick, while perfect in every other aspect, dries my lips out like crazy after only a few minutes of wear. My lips get all tight and dry and they start to beg for moisture. I manage to quell the moisture need by applying my Labello lip balm prior to application, but that tends to sheer the color out a bit too much. I have also tried to apply a clear gloss over top, but then I look like I just won a Fried Chicken Eating contest because the gloss combined with the glossy lipstick is a tad too much. While the dryness is annoying, I deal with it because I love the color so.

Do you NEED this? YES! Drying my lips out aside, this is an incredible bargain and a decent lipstick to boot. With 144 different shades, there is at least one “perfect” color for everyone. Heck! Worse comes to worse, I’ll use it to write love notes to Mr. Sith on our bathroom mirror! Awwww.

p.s. I have NO idea why the lipstick looks so much darker in the tube and on my arm than it does on my lips. To get a good color representation I tried to alter the color of the swatch but it didn't look right so I left it as is. No altering at all. I guess once applied to my lips the lip color has a mind of its own.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Press Sample - Revlon Runway Nails Collection. DO NOT WANT - I guess I'm the only one.

image from revlon.com
I am blessed to have very strong nails that grow quickly. I don’t do anything special to them. It’s just genetic. One thing I don’t like about my nails is my cuticles…but they would look better if I took better care of them. I’m just warning you that in the upcoming pictures my cuticles don’t look all that great.

So you ask,


“Elvira, if you have such great nails; (bragger!) why on earth would you wear artificial nails?”


That’s an excellent question.


I wouldn’t. Not normally. But Revlon sent me some nails to try and review. So I did it for the sake of Science...err. I mean Beauty. I was sent these by Revlon. Mind you they didn’t pay me, but they did give these to me. I planned to do an honest review. In fact, I thought it would be a pretty decent review with slight ragging on the designs as I’m not one for French tips or designs on the nails. Well I was mistaken. Brace yourselves Revlon, but I HATED these nails. Now don’t be sad because apparently I’m the only one that did. I looked at other beauty blogs that reviewed these Revlon Runway Collection nails and most, if not all of them, LOVED these things. I guess I’m the lone dissenting opinion. Meh. I’m OK with that.

First of all the designs. They are a little too flashy for me…I think I received some of the more conservative designs from the Revlon Runway Collection. I’m not fond of glitter lines, hatch marks etc. It’s just not for me. However. I know several people like to have designs on their nails, especially for a special occasion so I guess, if you can find these, they would work for you.
I tested Stella -the most conservative of the designs with a pink-y beige with lighter beige hatch marks on the tip Minx - a bit flashier with white tips with black fishnet design overlay and a glitter line at the base of the tip. And lastly, Starlet – A flashy Metallic Pink tip with metallic silver design interlaced with glitter. (Ugh). I have seen other designs in the collection and they get a bit more dramatic. If it’s your thing to have designs on your nails then I think you will like the ones that the Revlon Runway Collection offers.

Secondly the application was annoying. I never perfected a way to apply these artificial nails without getting glue on my skin. I thought that for a novice it wouldn't be easy to screw these up. I guess I was incorrect. The instructions tell you to apply glue (Included with each nail kit) to your natural nail and also to the underside of the artificial nail. Pay NO attention to that. If you actually do what they say, you will have so much glue that it will seep out the sides and get on your skin and form bubbles under the nail. Just apply glue to your natural nail. Have an orange stick (included in the kit) handy when gluing to remove any excess glue that may seep out from under the nail. Nail glue is like super glue. It bonds in seconds and you basically need pure acetone to remove it.


The curve of my natural nail must be higher than most people’s because NONE of these nails laid flat on my natural nails.

I had problems with air pockets and bubbles. It pressed down firmly. I swear to god I did. But even after doing that, they would pop up in the middle and I could see air pockets…which allow moisture to get in (which it did when I showered) and moisture and nails don’t mix. Hellloooo perfect breeding ground for nail fungus! FAIL.

I will say that I find it positive that the artificial nails come in a variety of sizes that I think that most people will be able to find a good fit.

Thirdly the wear. Oh they wore really well…unless you have to buckle darthypie in his car seat and CRACK! I lost my artificial thumb nail!
Also, because I was so concerned with making sure I didn’t get air pockets I pressed too hard on my nails and I think I really hurt them. Some of my nails were so tender that it HURT the next day. That’s my own fault…not Revlon’s. I just didn’t like the feel of them on my natural nails. It just felt strange…again that’s my issue…not Revlon’s.

Fourth and lastly. Removal. OMG what a pain in the butt. Trust me. The glue Revlon includes is awesome. Once applied it will probably survive almost anything. So how do you get it off? Acetone. And I’m not talking about watered down acetone that you find in nail polish remover…however that will work too. I’m talking about pure, straight from the beauty supply store Acetone.
image from sallybeauty.com
Once I was ready to remove these talons of evil…uh I mean artificial nails…I gave each one a quick file on top of the nail and soaked them in acetone for about 8 minutes and they dissolved off. I once soaked them in nail polish remover with acetone and it took 20 minutes to FINALLY remove them and my fingers looked like prunes. Either way, after both removals I applied cuticle oil generously all over my nails and used a strong hand cream to help replace the moisture that was lost during the removal process. It’s not a pretty sight.

In summary…ooh doesn’t that sound so scientific?... I would NOT purchase these artificial nails for myself…I can’t say re-purchase, since I received them directly from Revlon.


Do you NEED these Revlon Runway Collection nails? Maybe. If you have a special event and you want a pretty design and like wearing artificial nails. Otherwise steer clear of any and all artificial nail products. Your natural nails long or short, as long as they are kept well groomed are the nicest look in my opinion. However, as I said before, the majority of beauty bloggers out there that reviewed these Revlon Runway Collection nails really liked them. So I’m sure my experience was unique or should be chalked up to bad luck.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Purchase - Ulta Eye Shadow in Twilight. This Ain't No Tweener Sparkly Vampire


An Ulta opened up about 10 minutes from my house. Surprisingly enough I have only been to it twice since it opened. Partially because I'm not fond of the customer service...or lack there of at most Ultas and mostly because there is this super awesome playground near the Ulta that commands my attention because Darthypie commands my attention. Yes. Ladies. I put my son before makeup. I know it's a bit hard to believe. In fact I can't believe it myself. Yes. Darthypie is coming between me and my makeup shopping. My bank account is happy but my taupe collection had been suffering. Well suffer no more. I finally had time to peruse Ulta about 10 min before closing on a Sunday and basically ran in grabbed 2 shadows and ran out before Darthypie could put up a fuss and before one of the employees gave me the evil eye for shopping 5 minutes before closing!

So what did I pick up during my mad spree? Just two shadows. One of which is Ulta Eyeshadow in Twilight. Now normally I shy away from ANYTHING and EVERYTHING related to The Movie and Book Twilight, but since this shadow is named Twilight simply by coincidence I was OK with it.

Now all Twilight Fans (The books/Movies not the shadow) cover your eyes. No peeking!


GAH I am SICK TO DEATH of this whole Twilight phenomena. Good god I hope I was not as annoying when I was a tweener. Seriously. What's wrong with The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink? Those are classics! Sure, they weren't books, but that's besides the point! I mean, they made a movie, you don't need to read right? RIGHT! Sparkly Vampires indeed! Pah-Leeeez!

OK. Twilight fans, you can open your eyes. No offense. It's just fun to be in with the in crowd bashing Twilight. I honestly have never read the books or seen the movie. I do believe I would enjoy them, but I prefer to be a grumpy old cow and act like the whole Twilight thing is the worlds worst thing to happen to literature and cinema ever. Hey It cant be as bad as Bad Boys II. Worst. Movie. Ever.

Moving on.


So the Ulta brand eyeshadow is a plummy taupe. This is one plumtastic taupe. It's seriously bordering on purple that it almost shouldn't be called a taupe...but it has enough brown in it to just qualify. The shadow is frosty but not opaque. It has no glitter but a beautiful shimmer to it. The color is excellent as an all over wash or as a crease color. The shadow applied smoothly and was decently pigmented but nothing overly impressive. It's a tad on the hard side and there was a little fall out but nothing that couldn't be brushed away with a clean powder brush. It wears well (with an eyeshadow primer) and seemed to last most of the day without creasing.
The shadow quality is not the best I have ever seen. I prefer softer and creamier powders, but the color is pretty enough to use more than once. For the low, low price of $6.50 USD this is an excellent value. With almost 100 shades to choose from, I think that even if you aren't fond of this color, you might find one that does suit you.


Do you NEED this? Maybe. It depends. This is a lighter and somewhat cooler version of MAC Moth Brown but it certainly is NOT a dupe of MAC Moth Brown. It's a very plummy taupe, if you have a lot of those, you might just save your $6.50 and use it toward something else. If you don't have a lot of these colors then go for it. You really have nothing to lose...other than $6.50.

Here is my eye of the day using Ulta Twilight all over and Aveda Cobolt on the outer V and to line. Guerlain Oriental Metal loose powder kohl on inner rims. Shu Uemura The Basic Mascara with Maybelline Colossal Volume Mascara. Please excuse the wonky brows. I had a small over plucking frenzy with my tweezers...hence the placement of the Pink Sith watermark!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Purchase - Skyn Iceland Detox Set for Stressed Skin - From the land of Volcanoes & Bjork. Can't be all bad can it?


image from skyniceland.com

Skyn Iceland Detox Set for Stressed Skin. This sounds like a holy grail. I want to detox all the crap my body has ingested over these long years I have been roaming the earth. Trust me. The Montgomery County Fair is an amazing fun place to visit each year but funnel cakes and deep fried Oreos do a number on my skin. Stressed Skin? How about stressed self? If it isn't lack of sleep b/c of Darthypie, it is lack of money for everything else or work or the car or just the state of the world as we know it. I'm gonna let you all in on a secret. I'm not as tough as you would imagine. Sure I have a wry sense of humor and a biting sense of sarcasm, but my feelings get hurt just like anyone else...well. I tend to laugh it off most of the time, but I do have feelings. No really I do. I cried during Steel Magnolias. Hey I WATCHED Steel Magnolias! That should say something right? Anyway. I can get stressed and stress definitely hurts my skin. Hormones plus Comfort food equals crap skin. I figured this would be the absolutely freakin perfect set for me. I went to Sephora and purchased it as soon as I could.

Skyn Iceland touts that its products are WITHOUT:

- Parabens

- Sulfates
- Synthetic Fragrances
- Synthetic Dyes
- Petro-Chemicals

- Phthalates

- Triclosan
And are sulfate-free, cruelty-free, 100% vegetarian and allergy tested. So what's not to like right?

I went to Sephora and purchased it ASAP. This is what I got:
(Allegedly a month’s supply according to Skyn Iceland)

- Glacial Face Wash
- Arctic Face Mist

- The ANTIDOTE Quenching Daily Lotion

- Oxygen Infusion Night Cream

On a side note. Have you ever been to Iceland? I really want to go some day. But I plan to do it once I have lost like 100 pounds. I want to be lanky and skinny like everyone else there. Aside from the Swedes, I think women from Iceland are some of the most perfect looking in the world. Hence why I instantly hate them. Stoopid Viking genes making you all look pretty without trying! Oh and Bjork is from Iceland. Bjork is the shizz! How could you not appreciate her pixie like qualities and avant-garde style? (OK. Maybe some of you don't, but this is my reality and I will assume you all agree with me on this.) so yeah. Iceland. Totally cool place. Nice cold weather and VOLCANOES! Helloo. It's fun to say the word "Magma" and even funner [sic] to see the earth's magma explode through a mountain and become lava. From a safe distance of course!

Iceland is pretty cool. I'll admit I'm a sucker for cooling themed stuff…especially during summer in Washington, DC. Summer in DC is hot, humid and a summer breeze is akin to opening an oven door in a hot kitchen. It's hot and smelly and there are mosquitoes and chiggers and I pretty much hate being outside in the summer.
Anything with "Ice" or "Cooling" in the product name/description is a plus for me.

OK. Back to the Detox Set for Stressed Skin set.


Let's break it down shall we?


image from skyniceland.com

1. Glacial Facial Wash. This facial wash comes in a pump style dispenser. The wash is mildly foaming. Has a pearly look to it. Like frosty nail polish. The cleanser is so sucktacular I had to stop using it after a week. Yes. I said it. I do not like this cleanser. Aside from the fact that is BROKE ME OUT! It hardly removed any of my makeup; it left a strange film on my skin that basically felt like a combination of wax and oil. It was terrible. A day or so after use I started having these awful breakouts on my cheeks and nose and forehead. I hardly ever get breakouts on my nose, but I looked like freakin Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa lives in LAPLAND not Iceland damnit! This cleanser is useless. I seriously wanted to stop using the entire kit, but I carried on...for you! (guilt, guilt)


image from skyniceland.com

2) Arctic Face Mist. OK this is better. It's not really a toner per se, but it's a really nice mist if you like that sort of thing in your skincare routine. The icy blue liquid is lightly scented and definitely imparts a cooling sensation to your skin once applied. The set comes with a spray bottle that is small enough to carry with you on hot days if you need a pick me up. It is soooooo refreshing! I felt like I was spraying arctic cool water on my skin in the middle of the wretched hot summer. This is truly a nice treat. I don't use it every day, but I do use it when my skin feels particularly irritated or after being outside with Darthypie at the park. Ahhh. However be warned that this does contain witch hazel and alcohol. Those with very sensitive skin should steer clear.

image from skyniceland.com

3) The ANTIDOTE Quenching Daily Lotion. Ah ha. Here is the real gem in this little kit. This daily quenching lotion has a minty / clean scent to it. It comes in a handy pump dispenser and is an ecru colored gel creme. (Like how I slipped in the word ecru? A color that Mr. Sith refers to as beige. Sha! Men!) Once applied there is a definite cooling sensation, but it is mild and nothing like putting an altoid on your skin. The lotion is wonderful under makeup. It absorbs quickly, leaves no stickiness and seems to...wait for it...mattify my skin! Yes ladies. I said mattify! My oily T-zone looked much better while using this lotion. I used two pumps every morning and the small size lasted me two to three months! This is definitely worthy of a full size purchase.

image from skyniceland.com

4) Oxygen Infusion Night Cream. There has been a lot of debate about Oxygen in skincare products. Some say it works wonders (Paula B.) while others say Stay away (Paula B.) Yeah. Paula B. flip flopped on the whole oxygen debate. Said Hydrogen peroxide for the skin was wondrous then when the whole antioxidant craze started she changed her mind...which she has every right to do mind you! So is oxygen good for your skin? Yes and No. I have a whole slew of Anti-Oxidant Creams and lotions that say No, but my skin loves oxygen products. I can't say for any real certainty that is harms you, but I can't say it helps either. To give you a definitive answer would require research, reading and effort on my part. That's something I just don't feel like doing right now. You understand right? According to Skyn Iceland, Oxygen Infusion Night Cream is "...[d]esigned to work with skin's natural renewal process, it transforms your complexion into the translucent, glowing, fresh skin you crave." OK that sold me. I love me some glowing skin y'all! But they also go on to say "Microencapsulated oxygen fortifies and energizes skin depleted from stress, while helping to restore tone and texture to optimal levels. With a mild warming sensation, our night cream delivers antiaging rice peptides and calming natural extracts to help alleviate the premature signs of aging due to stress." OK. See here we go. It sounds even better. It definitely does warm the skin. I definitely felt the warming on my skin when I applied it. I definitely saw and improvement in the smoothness and brightness of my skin, especially on my forehead with the clogged pores and such. Oh. Am I still using it you ask? No. After about 2 weeks I noticed my skin had hit a plateau. It had improved but wasn't getting any better. It was almost like my skin became immune to the creme. I know it didn't in reality, but it seemed that way. Plus, I was worried about using it with my 12% Glycolic gel and my skin neeeeeds that stuff so bad. So I now only use it on special occasions. Basically I'll start using it 3 nights before I am going out or need to look particularly radiant, and then I go back to my trusted Sponge Rosemary and sage cream.


Do you NEED this kit? Maybe. Perhaps the cleanser will work better for you, but honestly the best thing in it is The ANTIDOTE Quenching Daily Lotion which retails for $45 at a full size. The Facial Mist and Oxygen cream are nice but I wouldn't spend the $35 and $75 (respectively) on each product. Skyn Iceland's Detox Kit for Stressed Skin is TSA approved so you can bring it as a carry on item when you travel. That's nice. But for the cost of the kit, $45, I can find better stuff or just buy a full size The ANTIDOTE Quenching Daily Lotion.

You can purchase Skyn Iceland Products from Skyn Iceland Directly or at Sephora, Beauty.com, dermstore.com, skincarerx.com and others.
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