Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Accidentally Dressed for Summer

But it sure ain't summer anymore.

Yes, it's supposed to be in the high 70s today. But no, this is not SoCal or some other magical place where light, summery clothes are appropriate most of the year round. I'm in the Washington D.C. suburbs! Isn't late September supposed to call for autumn clothes?

The problem is that while the rest of my office suite tends to be a bit nippy, my office itself is quite warm and stuffy. So I didn't want to wear a long-sleeved sweater and get too hot. And I did want to wear my red, polka-dot flats with bows on them.

And thus, I ended up still in summer.

Summer-ish to me, at least. Maybe more spring, but I'd drag this combo into summer for the office. Imagine this: my actual sweater is a more vibrant blue and my actual shoes have peep-toes and big bows. (It was cruel when I walked out of the house and my exposed toes met the chill of autumn air.)

I'm feeling a bit like a plain-jane too...but I was really tired this morning, getting out of bed and into the shower was tough. I'm kind of embarassed to be sharing this outfit with the blogging world, since I feel so silly in it! Maybe I wouldn't if it was July. All I know is right now, I'm ready to sink into pumpkin oranges and hot cocoa browns and charcoals.

Learning how to dress as an 'adult' every day is also kind of a challenge. I've worked in offices before, but never as a full-time, non-student employee. Matching the business casual vibe is a bit difficult. There is definitely no need to wear a suit everyday, but jeans don't work either. People here really look business comfortable, in fact. Plus, none of them are my age, so I don't have any cues for who to follow since I'm not going to start dressing like a 40-something mom either :)

In my closet, I feel like I have enough clothes, but not the right clothes, you know?

By the way, the above outfit was put together at Polyvore.com, which is an awesome site where you can mix and match web images...including clothing images to create virtual outfits. Definitely check it out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Need Your Product Advice

Hello lovelies!

First, thanks to those of you who gave words of encouragement for my first EOTD. Your sweet comments warmed my little heart :) (And since I read them after watching the Obama/McCain debate and subsequent bombardment of analysis, they were a much-appreciated pick-me-up on the lighter side of life.) I will definitely try to post more looks, it was a lot of fun.

Second, you may remember that a few weeks ago I wrote to Neutrogena after purchasing a face wash that wasn't sealed properly...and though I didn't know when I wrote to them, that same face wash later broke me out and made my skin excessively dry.

Well, they sent me a blank-check coupon worth up to $10! So I'd like your advice on what Neutrogena product I should purchase.

I haven't been happy with the company's face washes in the past - my most recent trial an example of this -but I wouldn't rule one out. I don't really need face wash though, I have enough! I also found their oil-free moisturizer with SPF 15 to be too greasy. I like an eyeshadow duo of theirs I picked up not too long ago, and their ads for tinted lip-balm (or something like that) have also piqued my interest.

A few weeks ago I tried the Wave at a friend's place, and that felt really cool. She said using it twice a day is the only thing that is certain to clear-up her very acne-prone skin. So that's an option too...

The item can be more than $10 at regular price, since I'm willing to pay the few dollars extra or wait till it goes on sale/ I have coupons to get it.

Please vote in the poll on the left and leave a comment on this post with your suggestion! Thanks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blogging My First EOTD: Gold and Green

This is my first EOTD on this blog. Technically my first attempt appeared in A Digital Angel's butterfly-inspired contest a few weeks ago. (Check it out, there were so many beautiful entries.) But unlike that look, this one WAS NOT done at 2 a.m. on insufficient sleep, hehe.

This was done on a whim, however. I was feeling a bit lonely after work so I decided to indulge myself in some cosmetics play-time before taking a shower. Thank goodness I have my own bathroom! I holed up in there with my eyeshadow case and I was in business. I didn't do my whole face, just the one eye you see below. I'm still getting the hang of taking an EOTD pic, which is why I just have this one angle of me tipping my eyelid down, taken from above. I figured it'd be easiest for you to see the colors.

Products used:
-L'Oreal HiP Cream Shadow Paint in Secretive as base (I just got this and wanted to try it out)
-MAC eyeshadow in Goldmine across lid and part of the under eye (One of my two MAC shadows - a present a while back from my artistic little sis)
An unknown-brand eyeshadow labeled "The Flats" Mediterranean Blue from the middle of the eye outward (Gifted from my mom a long time ago)
Palladio eyeshadow in Navy Blue on the outer V (I don't think it showed up well over the other shadow, though normally it's very pigmented)
Beautique eyeliner in Jade (from Sally Beauty Supply)
- CoverGirl eyeshadow in Champagne as a highlighter on the brow bone (A fav of mine for everyday)
Maybelline Full 'n Soft mascara in black, plus some vivid blue mascara I picked up at a local beauty supply place in Maryland

I initially set-out to do a blue look, since I was feeling a bit blue. :( But I only had that one navy shadow readily at my disposal - since I have blue eyes I don't tend to seek out a lot of blue shadows - and the closest other color I immediately saw was the turquoise green seen above. I love that color but never thought it would look good on my eye...however, I had time on my hands and thought 'What the heck? If this eye looks bad I'll just do the other one different!'

Then I saw the gold and figured it would go well too. Since my skin is pinkish I tend to shy away from yellow colors but I think this came together nicely.
It reminds me of a gold and yellow parakeet or something tropical.

It makes me happy too look at, and it felt happy to have on. Sometimes after applying eyeshadow I look in the mirror and think 'who is that?' Like I've totally overdone it and made a mess of myself. This turned out pretty clean for me, and I feel like it enhanced my natural features. You can't see there how blue it made my eyes look! Maybe I'll even be brave enough to wear it out of the house sometime. :) And btw, my night cheered up! So all's well that end's well...for now.

Thanks to all the lovely bloggers whose EOTDs I adore and who inspired me to make my own attempt! I hope this is only the first of good things to come...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time to Say Goodbye

To some yucky old lip gloss. Ew.

Specifically, Maybelline LipPolish in Sweet Blush, a shimmery light pink. But see how nice the tube from the company's Web site looks (obviously not my color)? Yeah, my tube doesn't. I opened my temporary makeup case today - what I used to transfer stuff when I moved - and it stuck out like a sore thumb. The package is faded, the product color looks a bit funny, and sure enough, it smells kinda nasty. It's definitely a couple of years old and mostly empty, plus a lot of the remaining product won't even come out.

There's no sense in keeping it since I have no intention to put it anywhere near my lips, especially in light of my recent NYX lipgloss purchases. So long, lip gloss!

I have a bad habit of keeping cosmetics for way longer than recommended. But I've always wondered if they really spoil in such little time, like three months for mascara. Something to research for another day...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why Didn't I Try These Before?

NYX lipglosses (specifically, lip gloss with mega shine)
Packaging info: Standard lip gloss tube with doe-tip applicator.
Price: $2.99
Hadn't tried before because: I never saw them in my local drugstore.
Trying now because:
I saw them at a beauty supply store near my new place.

Thoughts so far: I picked up "La~La~", a bubblegum pink color, and "Juicy Red," which looks just like it sounds on my lips, kind of like I've been eating a tasty red lollipop. The consistency is really smooth, not too sticky or too runny. Both colors are fairly sheer, and I don't know if that's what the whole line is like or just the colors I chose. But if I keep liking them as much as I am after the first few days, I will definitely purchase more! There is a wide color selection and you can't beat the price when it comes to quality.

Nivea Creme (small size)
Packaging info: Blue tin with hearts on it <3
Price: $1.99 for one ounce.
Hadn't tried before because: I use moisturizer with SPF during the day and don't generally use night cream at night. And if I do, I tend to just slap on whatever body lotion I have around x_x.
Trying now because: Something dried my skin out horribly a few days ago and gave me a temporary allergic reaction. It could be the Neutrogena grapefruit scrub I purchased that was accidentally open. Maybe the package not being sealed properly did something to the contents? It only has 2 percent salicylic acid which isn't normally too much for me, but maybe there's another irritating agent in it. I haven't taken an in-depth look at all the ingredients, I figured stopping it for the time being was a good solution. Plus, I'd recently read that Nivea is a potential low-end substitution for the much hyped La Mer, and this seemed like as good a time as ever to try an intense moisturizer.

Thoughts so far:
I love the smell and the way it melts into my skin. I love how rich it is. My little tin is adorable too! (If I write more about it I will take a pic, since I can't find one online.) My skin is thankfully clearing up, though not using the Neutrogena scrub and trying to take good general care of my body could be helping just as much as this cream. Nevertheless, I'm going to continue using it for a while at night and see how that goes. So far, so good. Again, the price can't be beat for the quality.

Watching America's Next Top Model online
I'm such a sucker for bad TV...especially if I can watch it online. I don't watch the regular television much anymore, or almost at all. When I did though - especially over the summer if was having a lazy day - I'd occasionally catch ANTM marathons on VH1. Yes, it's cheesy. But instead of cleaning my room tonight or going out, since tomorrow morning is work and my friends are all busy, I decided to find some more Internet TV shows. My real guilty pleasure is MTV's "The Hills"...and now that I know I can watch the even-more-cheesy ANTM online, well, I'm going for it.

Are there any products you'd recommend? Or guilty-pleasure TV shows I can catch up watching online?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Funny Wand, Funny Mascara

I bought Revlon's 3D Extreme mascara a week ago in a set with Illuminance creme shadow, whose consistency I've liked and wanted to try again. Well, I haven't gotten around to the shadow but I have been using the mascara, and it's left me...torn.

The drugstore had a few varieties of these kits for about $7 each and I picked 3D on a whim for a few simple reasons: it's shadow colors seemed the most useful, it's hype was enticing ("25X fuller, 70 percent curvier and 80 percent visibly longer" lashes), and the packaging looked fancy. Plus, check out the picture of the wand.

Maybelline Full 'n Soft is great when it comes to making me look refreshed in the morning. But what about when I want to look a bit more glammed up? I hoped that 3D in blackest black could come through.

The first thing I noticed is that when it's gunked with mascara, the wand looks nothing like the press photo. Reluctantly, I swept it on. I was impressed. It made my already decent lashes really POP, look noticeably longer and curvier. About halfway to how they'd look with a couple of false lashes put in, in a good way.

However, I didn't notice much lushness. This is where the problems begin. (Somehow maneuvering the funny wand wasn't a huge deal.) Thrown in with lengthening and curling are minor flakiness and major clumping. Maybe the kits were old and dried out and that's why they were cheap? Because after the first use or two when I really loved it, I found that as soon as I swiped it on it looked clumpy and annoyingly lumped my lashes together.

On second thought, maybe the wand has something to do with it after all. I dislike that I can't comb the wand through my lashes because, in addition to that unique head, two sides of the wand are flat and bristle-less. (Imagine putting a wand flat and shaving off a few rows of bristles on the ceiling- and floor-facing sides. Yeah, weird. In the future I'll keep my eyelash comb close!) This, combined with the mediocre formula, is not great success in my book.

With tweaking this product could be awesome. The brush's unique shape might work better if not so saturated with product; kinks in the formula should be addressed. After 12 hours most of the curl was gone but my lashes still looked long and dark, with no smudging and no flaking on my face. I want to like it! I loved the initial swipes. But it's drawbacks were really a let-down.

Ultimately I don't think I will repurchase this unless it's reformulated because I know there must be equal or better mascaras out there. It still makes my lashes look pretty nice though, so I will definitely finish the tube.

Oh, and one comment about the 'fancy' packaging - my hands were wet and I was in a rush and the darn thing wouldn't open. So I gently clenched the top between my teeth to turn it, as I've done with many a mascara tube before. Well...it dented! lol. Can't say that's their fault since I don't think it was made to be between teeth....Have you ever done that (or similar tomfoolery) before??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ellen is the New Face of Covergirl - Yay!

I can't say that a product spokesperson has ever really swayed me to buy from a particular company, but that may change in light of the fact that Ellen DeGeneres is going to be the new face of Covergirl.

I really applaud the company for picking someone who isn't your typical 18-year-old Hollywood "it" girl or another maturing-but-still-glamorous actress. Don't get me wrong, Ellen is very pretty -- I can't believe she's 50! She's aged so well and her skin looks great. But she's not the classic beauty you'd think a cosmetics company would seek. She's got her own style and vibe and personally I adore her for that. I think it's fantastic that she's being rewarded for being her awesome self, and I hope it sends a message to young women who look up to her that they too can be successful while being true to themselves.

Ellen is simultaneously a safe choice yet a not-so-safe one: she's very upbeat and likable and her humor isn't very offensive, but she is also an openly gay, middle-aged woman with a clean but slightly quirky look....not exactly one who screams makeup poster girl.

But maybe she should. Or more importantly, why shouldn't she? Come to think of it, Covergirl has picked quite a few slightly unexpected spokeswomen lately. Like Queen Latifah, who doesn't fit into all the traditional paradigms of beauty. Even Rihanna and Drew Barrymore are slightly edgy gals. Sure, for each of them there have probably been half a dozen gorgeous models with perfect cheek bones promoting Covergirl. And there's nothing wrong with that either. We don't have to throw all our conceptions of beauty out the window, we could just expand them a little bit.

My hope is that in some even tiny way, Ellen as a cosmetics spokeswoman helps to broaden our interpretation of beauty. That we can appreciate genetic outliers like Halle Berry and Heidi Klum (I think she's absolutely radiant), popular actresses, supermodels, and the seemingly nameless slew of girls who grace each season's makeup ads...but also realize that beautiful doesn't have to be 18 years old, 5-foot-11, 105 pounds with blond beachy waves.

Again, Ellen is no ugly duckling. She has really nice features and a cute personal style. She may not be Portia de Rossi (though being married to Portia is probably the next best thing), but she's a far cry from Dr. Phil, if you know what I mean. (By that, I mean that Dr. Phil is really ugly.) But even a decade ago, the public wasn't ready for Ellen as the person she is. Her sitcom rapidly declined after she came out in prime time.

Now, the tabloids cheered when she and Portia tied the knot. Ellen is a beautiful, smart and talented woman who's come such a long way, and I'm glad to support a company that recognizes that she's a deserving spokeswoman.

Now, if only they'd stop testing on animals, or I definitely knew that they did....then I'd be really extra happy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Neutrogena

The text of my comment form to Neutrogena regarding a recently-purchased bottle of pink grapefruit foaming scrub:

I love the product itself - the scent is great, the texture is great, and it cleans my skin without making it too dry. HOWEVER, shortly after opening the big plastic seal around the product (it was sold with a smaller promo bottle) I noticed that the top corner of the big product was split open about a centimeter. (The very top, where the two edges of the container come together.) I only realized this when I was trying to open the plastic wrap around the two bottles and noticed a puddle of pink face wash leaked onto my bathroom sink.

Did you get all that? Yeah, it sucks. But the scrub smells delicious, just like a grapefruit. It foams, it gently scrubs, it feels great. Just wish the bottle wasn't messed up. Hopefully the face wash itself will continue to be on my good side though.

Being a Slowpoke

Hey, I just wanted to write something since my progress has been pretty slow the past few days. I'm planning to post again tonight AND to write back to a couple of you who've left some very kind words for me. I really appreciate it. And really, I don't know how you bloggers with dozens and hundreds of readers get back to people! Things have been very busy around here because I just moved into a new place and started my full-time job. Just, as in, two days ago.

I'm a bit outside Washington D.C., where I went to college, but this is quite different from my past four years in school. Firstly, no more dorm living - I'm renting a room in someone's house with one other tenant. The people seem very chill and nice, but are a lot older than me. Plus, it's someone's home, to which I'm allowed access everywhere but it still feels a bit strange initially.

Second, I'm working a 40-hour-a-week job. I usually won't have any work obligations on weekends or evenings. That feels very odd...I'm so accustomed to a schedule that's up and down during the day, with a few classes, some downtime, a few hours at a job, then homework, studying and college newspaper editing in the evening. Oh, and a month off in winter and summer break. That was basically my life for four years. Now I'm in an office all day but when I leave, I'm free. Part of me doesn't know what to do with myself.

Especially since...I'm not close to my friends. I mean, I am. I have friends who live in the District and in Northern Virginia who are Metro accessible. Plus I have a car now, so getting to NW DC is only a 15 minute drive. I think it will take some time to feel out the new phase in all of our lives though. A few people I'm close to are still in school, others are in the workforce. Different accommodations need to be made, instead of how things were in college, when we almost all lived on campus and could hang out practically whenever. (Not that we did. We were such busy overachievers that I don't think we took advantage of it enough! Though I lived with some of my closest friends, so I usually saw them a lot.)

On top of this, I still have to finish settling into my room! I moved here Tuesday afternoon, went on a Target run two nights ago, stayed at my boyfriend's last night (itself, a story for another place...) and have been at work all day. So there's still stuff everywhere.

But I'm happy. Does it sound it? I'm really pretty happy. I miss my friends, particularly friends from back home who now live farther in the Northeast, and I miss my dogs and family. My job is going very well though -- a good kind of busy, my coworkers are really nice and helpful, and I already feel like a part of the team. My housemates seem very friendly and laid back.

So I'm going to try putting together my room now and will post something little and lovely later. :)

Be well,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Picking the Perfect Perfume

Last night made me happy. Aimee is one of my few friends who is remotely interested in makeup and understands the fun of checking out products, so I highly value our occasional late-night trip to a drugstore in search of beauty sales. Yesterday was no exception.

I was happy and smelled vaguely like bad cologne + fresh flowers + cotton candy. Yes, it was a scent-sampling night! (Though most wore out overnight, thank goodness....ugh, but onto my bed.)

Aimee used to work at Sephora and is fairly familiar with perfumes. She first had me whiff "True Star Gold" by Tommy Hilfiger -- a fresh, light-floral scent promoted by Beyonce that Aimee picked up for $8 at Target on clearance and happened to have in her bag. Then, I (foolishly) spritzed myself with Estee Lauder "Mustang" for men....wow, it smelled horrible. A little bit woodsy and spicy, which was nice, but I swear there was also the lingering under note of tire rubber. Fitting. There is probably a real explanation to that smell, but let's face it, if your nose doesn't like a smell it doesn't matter if it's got a fancy name that's not 'tire rubber.' The bottle was cool looking, though.

A few more samples later, Aimee finally turned her attention to Britney Spears' "Fantasy," which has a mild, cotton candy-ish scent. (The linked review describes it with more depth.) Aimee doesn't love it but said she likes it enough -- I tried to convince her to wait for something she totally adores -- but for $13 she felt it was the right decision.

I was surprised what a selection CVS has. Lots of celebrity scents, for sure, but also more high-end products, like Burberry "Brit," Calvin Klein "Eternity" (my mom's staple) and Dolce & Gabbana "Light Blue." Bizarrely, the sticker under the D&G bottle said it cost $49.99 but a promo sticker -- one of the yellow ones CVS puts under the regular tag to highlight an every day bargain -- had the price as $54.99.

I rarely wear perfume. My only real holding in the category are some mini-bottles of Kenzo Flower, which I love, love, love. It was a gift, and a perfect gift for me. It's soft and sweet and fresh but not too sugary-sweet or dowdy.

So my question is, how do you pick the perfect perfume? Do you go to Sephora and sniff everything all at once, or to a department store, or take some different approach? Is one scent good enough or would a few options be ideal -- one for going out, one for daytime, etc.? (That's Aimee's preference.) Can you base if you like it off the initial smell, or do you wait to see how it sits on your skin for a while?

I tend to run into Sephora, sniff a few things until I can't take the intensity of it all and must quickly flee. Maybe you have a better method. I'd love to know you're secrets. And I'll let you know what happens once I get into the market for a new fragrance.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Even Hippie Girls Know Where It's At

During the last leg of my trip I visited a friend at an ultra liberal, New England college. His apartment-mates are his girlfriend and a third friend of theirs. On the afternoon I arrived, he, the girlfriend and I went to a farm share to get locally grown produce and then picked tomatoes, beans and herbs from an adjacent field. Barefoot, she tucked probably two pounds of tomatoes into the top layer of her ankle length, white-peasant skirt and carried them back to my car that way; I just collected the veggies in my wide-brimmed blue hat. This is the sort of place where a number of people do that on a weekly basis.

The college population itself is undergoing a war of the "suffixes," my friend put it -- hippies versus hipsters (with a smattering of young, more-conventional freshman thrown in to make this year possibly transitional and interesting). My friend's girlfriend comes across as the former, a Catholic-school girl from middle of nowhere Pennsylvania who now favors farm work, neutral colors, long skirts and bohemian scarfs. She eats local and cooks organic. (And she gave me delicious homemade tomato sauce! Soooo good. Straight off the vine.) This is the vibe I got for only knowing her for a few hours though, I'm sure there's more below the surface.

But since it is the vibe I got, you can understand why I didn't expect what I'm going to explain next.

Yesterday morning I dragged my road-trip-tired self to the bathroom to wash up when I realized I'd left my face wash in my bags. It's also that-time-of-the-month, but I left my Advil in the car and could really have used a painkiller for cramps. So I started browsing around all the odds and ends laying out in the bathroom (they just moved in) for an Advil and face wash.

I found neither. But what I did find, to my surprise, was a bottle of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer with SPF 15. It could only have been hers. Surrounded by all-natural bathroom spray, essential oils and Tom's of Maine toothpaste was this little slice of the stuff beauty blogs are made of!

I also spotted Bed Head hair products and Bare Minerals powder. Totally not expected! But pretty cool, I thought. That even in a seemingly remote place that's outside the mainstream, this girl still has part of her mind on the things we all have on our minds.

That's not to say all women have to be interested in beauty products or high-end stuff -- I am a total drugstore product addict -- but it was a breath of familiar air in a largely unfamiliar place. I mean, who'd have thought?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Shower Pouf Power

Many of you probably already understand the awesomeness that is the shower pouf. Yes, I'm talking about the fluffy, synthetic kind you can pick up at any drugstore for $3 or so...what a great invention!

See, I wasn't a believer in shower poufs until my recent mini-vacation, when a friend with whom I'd been crashing convinced me that using a pouf is a far more effective method of getting sudsy than using body wash alone. He even has a whole rhythm down as far as how to soap-up (it's his thing), and though I rolled my eyes at first, I eventually figured it couldn't hurt to try it out.

Well, it really did make a difference. With the pouf, the soap gets into a nice lather and is thus much easier to rub all over my body. Of course I'll be replacing my poufs with some frequency or putting it in them dishwasher or something to be disinfected, since these things can start to harbor bacteria. (Yuck.) Still, I can't wait to go home and start using a pouf with my regular arsenal of body washes...

And so, here are things I've liked lately (unfortunately I am not home and couldn't pull ingredients up on-line, so below are just my opinions from using these products on a regular basis):

St. Ives Whipped Silk Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash ($3.99 at CVS online) -- My former roommate from Duluth, Minn., says this is the only thing that keeps her skin moisturized without additional lotion during the cold, dry winter back home. I tried it and liked it. I also like the Swiss Vanilla Moisturizing Body Wash, which is what I borrowed from my friend this week. Whipped Silk doesn't have much of a scent, but Swiss Vanilla does in a very subtle, sweet way. I also like its consistency and can vouch for the fact that it gets quite sudsy with a shower pouf. I might switch to Swiss Vanilla when my Whipped Silk is done, but I think both are worthy choices.

Aveeno Positively Smooth Shower & Shave Cream ($6.49 at Ulta online) -- A creamy, unscented wash that I find quite moisturizing. I can't gauge how well this works in enabling you to shave less. I have used it while shaving my legs though, and it's thick enough to keep me pretty nick-free. I prefer something with a bit of a scent and next time will look for the Aveeno body wash that another friend of mine described as almond-smelling.

Bath and Body Works Creamy Body Wash in Midnight Pomegranate
(normally $9.50, I got it on sale for $5 a few weeks ago!) -- Alright, now we're talking when it comes to scent! This wash is the most liquid-y of the bunch, with the consistency of thick hand soap. Don't be confused, it's opaque like creamy soap, not a clear bath gel. I love the scent. To me, it's light, fruity and not super synthetic smelling, and I like that it leaves a soft trace of the scent on my skin. (Like, you can smell it only if you're very close and, well, sniffing my skin, lol.) Smell is a very personal preference though and I'd encourage you -- if you're gutsy enough to handle the barrage of scents -- to go into B&BW and hunt down your own nose's favorite.

I don't have any complaints about the body wash when it comes to cleaning me off too. We'll see how it fares when the weather gets cooler and drier. I have a good feeling that this product's consistency will lend itself very well to sudsing on a shower pouf, so I think it will be the first one I use when I get home Saturday night. :)

Does anyone know the perfect scented + moisturizing body wash? And what do you use to apply your soap?? Are you down with Shower Pouf Power?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rapid Fire: My Five Daily Essentials

The five top items in my current beauty stash in no particular order:

1. Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara: A few swipes instantly open my eyes without making it look like I'm trying too hard. It gives me the look I wish I'd rolled out of bed with at 8 a.m. -- one that says I had a full night's rest and balanced breakfast instead of a few measly hours of sleep and a handful of cereal while running out the door. This stuff doesn't flake or smear but is still easy to remove at the end of the day.

2. Almay Clear Complexion Concealer: It is easy to blend and long lasting. Plus it contains 1 percent salicylic acid, which should help dry up blemishes. FYI, I don't use it under my eyes, just on select spots on the rest of my face, and it's never made me break out.

3. Milani Blush in Luminous: I actually didn't bring this with my on my current trip because I'm using NYC's Color Wheel in Rose Glow - it's a good combination of peachy and rosy for the last warm days before autumn kicks in. Luminous is tauted as a dupe of Nars Orgasm, which I've never tried but is an insanely popular color that supposedly works well on all skin tones. Luminous is a pretty, natural, rosy flush color on my fair skin, with just the right amount of tiny shimmer particles in it.

4. Tinted lip balm: I am definitely a lippie sort of gal, so a product that keeps my lips moisturized and deposits subtle color is an absolute must. Right now I'm hooked on using two products together -- first a petroleum-based product like my new Carmex click stick with SPF 15 (I'm not a Carmex addict though), then Tarte's 24/7 lip sheer in Tea Time. I need something more moisturizing before putting on Tea Time because it's very much a lip stain, not something to rely on to make your lips soft. The color is so pretty though! Burt's Bees lip shimmers are nice and have a bit of color, sometimes I use those. On this front, however, I'm still looking for a true all-around HG product.

5. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15: Okay, so this actually belongs at the top because it's probably the product I'd most swear by. My 85-year-old grandmother who's always had radiant skin in an Aveeno devotee, so my family used it growing up. Then, as a teen, I eschewed old faithfuls like Aveeno in favor of the exotic colors and overwhelming scents of Bath and Body Works lotions. Now that I'm back to appreciating subtlety -- hey, I still use some B&B products, they can be nice! -- I appreciate the simplicity of Aveeno, especially when it comes to face cream. My grandmother just used their regular body lotion on her face, but I've gone 21st century and picked up this ultra-calming moisturizer.

It is very light and not oily yet makes my skin feel incredibly supple and smoothes flaky areas. It contains feverfew, which is related to camomille, and supposed to calm irritated skin. I don't suffer from persistent redness or severe irritation but this seems to work well on my sometimes sensitive skin. The SPF is a definitely plus, and I'm looking for an Aveeno product with a higher SPF for my next face purchase.

I'd very much recommend trying this product or others from Aveeno, but of course everyone's skin is different and like all the items listed above, what works for me might not work for you! But hey, usually it can't hurt to try. :)