Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meow Cosmetics Founders Day Sale!

I've talked a fair bit about Meow Cosmetics (click on the "Meow Cosmetics" tag on the right to go to all my posts about them), and I'm happy to announce that their best sale of the year is going on for the next week+!  Use the code "WildRide" to get free shipping and 25% off your entire order.  I've loved pretty much everything I've tried from them, and I highly recommend taking this opportunity to order anything you're interested in!  Shipping will probably be pretty slow, but if you order soon (before they get too inundated) they should be able to process your order faster.  The longest it's ever taken for one of my orders to arrive is 10 business days to the west coast (after their 4th of July sale), but if you're on the east coast it will almost certainly arrive well before then.  Happy shopping!

Local Produce and Target Goodies

Summer has officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and today I went on a little excursion with Nana and Papa to some local farms to stock up on produce (something they do at least once a week, but I haven't been in ages).  Some of the yummies we came home with:
Clockwise from top left: corn, lambert cherries, cantaloupe, string beans, pea pods, apricots, tomatoes, kiwis, bing cherries
Add this to the blueberries, marionberries, plums, and nectarines we already had, and you can get an idea of the wealth of riches available in the summertime in Oregon :)

I also jaunted over to Target while I was out with the intention of getting some canvas sneakers (on sale this week for $8), and ended up buying three things––none of which were the sneakers.  My no-buy ended with my birthday, and I went to Freddy's yesterday to pick up a couple of things from Essence that I'll be reviewing later this week, and then I got distracted by the makeup section at Target today...methinks I need to instate another no-buy!
Clockwise from top: e.l.f. primer set, Sonia Kashuk makeup bag, Sonia Kashuk contour brush
A lot of stuff in the makeup section is on clearance sale for half-off, so I grabbed a couple things from Sonia Kashuk.  I loved the pattern of the makeup bag, and thought it would come in very handy when I start school again this fall and have to be away from home for a few hours/don't have time to apply in the morning.  Here it is opened up (it has two clear pockets, which you can't really see, since they're transparent and all):
The makeup brush is similar to my E.L.F. powder brush (both flat-topped) but I intend to use it as my bronzer brush (currently using the same brush for foundation and bronzer, which is not ideal for me).  There was also a small E.L.F. display with several back-to-school palettes and such, including a set of eyeshadow primers!  I've been worrying what I'll do when my current tube of primer runs out, since I use it more often now with swatching, and was thrilled to get to try 3 for $3.  I'll test them for wear and to see how they differ and write a post about them later this week, yay!  I'm hoping I love them so that I can go back to Target and get another set or two, and while there maybe actually get those shoes...

Dinner tonight is steelhead trout, caught by my neighbor, topped with a lemon-ginger puree, with wild rice, fresh salad, corn (the corn pictured above, in fact!), and wine, eaten outside in the shade.  I'll be missing this when winter comes and the sun hides for a few months!

What did you have for dinner?  How's the produce sitch where you live?  What do you think of the goodies from Target?

MAC Eyeshadow in Antiqued Review and Swatches

For graduation, one of my dearest friends asked me what makeup item I would hypothetically want, were she to hypothetically get me something makeup-y as a present.  Being the OCD spirit I am, I made a long list of MAC eyeshadows and lipsticks I would be happy to own and left it up to her to surprise me.  Methinks this is how makeup gifts should always be given!  I was excited beforehand because I knew I would be getting a great present, and the anticipation and surprise just added to the glee, and I was excited afterwards, because I had a new delightful MAC eyeshadow to play with!

Friday, July 29, 2011

mark Save the Day Anti-Acne Concealer Stick Review and Swatches

Rounding out the skin-helping trio I got from Mark (previous posts were on their gel cleanser and clay mask) is their Save the Day concealer with salicylic acid, designed to help fight blemishes while concealing them.  I can't really say that I've seen dramatic improvement in my blemishes when wearing it, but I can speak to its effectiveness as a concealer, so that's what I'll focus on in this review.


Today is my birthday!  I am officially 22.  Weird.  Anyways, there's already been a post today that I wrote and scheduled yesterday, but I also wanted to share a couple links to other blogs from the past few days that I found entertaining and/or useful:

Eyebrow shading on Messy Wands:
   This is an extremely helpful, detailed tutorial for how to shade your eyebrows, with beautiful pictures and Messy Wands' signature wit and insight.  I'll talk about her blog more in a future bloglove post, but for now: Go read!  She's funny, she's smart, she's got impeccable style, and she focuses on the high-end things I can't afford (and makes me want them so badly).

Too Faced Shadow Insurance review by Elvira on Pink Sith:
    I've never used TFSI myself, but I love this post for the numerous acronyms she comes up with for common beauty afflictions, and how incredibly accurate they are for my life.  These include "makeup is always greener dysfunction", which is the urge to try other products even when you love the ones you have, and "beautyblogitis", which is the side effect of reading beauty blogs––you want to buy everything!  There are a few more, and it's very entertaining to read her explanations of them.  Of course, now I've got a lemming for TFSI...damn you, beautyblogitis!

And, last but not least, a post from Shannon at Lipstick Musings on why you should never buy things you haven't fully researched:
    Always such a bummer!  Posts like this, however, are a good antidote to beautyblogitis.

I hope you're having a lovely Friday, and that you've got something exciting planned for the weekend (even if it's just taking a nap––in my world, that is very exciting)!

Meow Cosmetics Blush in Centerfold (from the Taboo Collection) Review and Swatches

Another Meow blush!  This one, Centerfold, was mentioned in my post on Hot Mama as a comparison, but here's the full review.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

theBalm ShadyLady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane Review and Swatches

Taupe is a color that fascinates beauty bloggers.  A look at the taupe eyeshadows in the Temptalia Swatch Gallery gives a clue why: the scope of taupe is extremely wide.  The official definition of taupe is "grey with a tinge of brown", but there's a lot of ways to define that.  Some are more grey, others are more brown, some are warmer, some are cooler, some lean purple, some are dark, others light, some are matte, some have is truly a chameleon color.  I previously reviewed a purpley-taupe from a Wet N Wild trio, and I'll be talking about another today! Yay!
ShadyLady eyeshadow in Insane Jane, in the middle

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer Review and Swatches

Being the oily-skinned creature I am, I've never really given much thought to luminizers.  Why would I want to make myself look shiny?  But as I've become more makeup-obsessed and started reading more beauty blogs, my horizons have expanded.  Luminizer (also called highlighter) is used to accentuate the places on your face that the light would naturally hit: tops of cheekbones, nose, browbone, cupid's bow.  It's still not something I would wear regularly, because my skin is more than capable of drawing attention to itself, but for special occasions (where I redo my makeup beforehand and know I won't be sweating or getting too oily!) it's a nice touch.  I've tried using Benefit's High Beam (review to come, my GOD I say that a lot), but the first powder luminizer I've used is the lovely Mary-Lou Manizer, which came in the Balmbini palette.  I'd read many good things about it before, and was very excited to give it a try!
From left to right: Mary-Lou Manizer luminizer, ShadyLady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane, ShadyLady Eyeshadow in Jealous Jordana

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

mark. Shine Fighter Oil-Control Mask Review

Okay, one note before I start the review: the brand of this mask is a subsidiary of Avon, and is alternately spelled "mark.", "mark", and "Mark".  I have used every one of those in my reviews so far (in the title of this post, and in my post on their gel cleanser), but I really have no idea which one is "right".  So I'll probably use them erratically interchangeably, but I'm always talking about the same thing!

Clay masks dry out the gunk in pores, tighten skin, and reduce oil production.  Or so they tell me!

Meow Cosmetics Top Cat Luxury Finishing/Setting Powder Review

There are so many good things about Top Cat finishing powder that I'm having trouble picking just one to serve as a hook for this review.  It's weightless, it controls oil, it provides a natural matte-ish finish, I only need a tiny bit to cover my face, it lasts all day, it's much awesome!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Other Blags

I find beauty blogs to be an endless source of inspiration, humor, discovery, and experimentation.  When I'm feeling sad, I go back and look at the archives of some of my favorites, because few things cheer me up as much as seeing pretty pictures of makeup (Jesus, I sound like a stereotype!).  I've decided to try and share with you some of them and why I think they're great, in the hopes that you'll find them as enjoyable as I do!  I'll start with a couple of the biggest beauty blogs: Temptalia and Makeup and Beauty Blog.

Wet N Wild Color Icon Trio in Silent Treatment Review and Swatches

You may have heard about Wet N Wild's Color Icon palettes in recent months.  They've taken the beauty world by storm with their smooth texture, vivid pigmentation, and tiny price tag.  A few weeks ago I finally caved and bought the one that I thought I could get regular use out of: the Silent Treatment trio.
Wet N Wild Silent Treatment trio, lightly used

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Aspirin and Yogurt Mask Review

For some reason, my skin was really acting up today––perhaps because it's finally gotten hot here and my skin doesn't know what to do with the sweatiness.  Lots of new zits, redness, irritation...not fun.  I figured tonight would be a good time to try an aspirin mask, known for helping calm reactive skin.  Lord knows such remedies haven't always worked as they should for me (cucumber toner, for one)...

theBalm Down Boy Blush/Eyeshadow Review and Swatches

Down Boy by theBalm is, I am starting to think, the quintessential pink blush.
Down Boy on the left

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grading Guidelines Update

I've decided to modify the parameters I use to grade products just a smidge: the nebulous "quality" score will be out of 10 now instead of the previous 15, and the remaining 5 will go towards an "ease of use" score, reflecting how much hassle proper application and use of the product is.  I'll go back and modify most of the scores I've given so far, which may change the grades somewhat, but my hope is that I will now be able to give a more accurate reflection of my opinion of the product.  For the original explanation of the guidelines, see here.  Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming!

Murad Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30 Review

Rounding out the Sephora Sun Safety kit moisturizer review collection, whee!  I've been putting this one off because I really didn't like it when I used it at school a couple months ago and didn't want to risk my face breaking out from using it again, but in the interest of complete disclosure for you, dear readers, I attempted it once again.
Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30
Image from

Friday, July 22, 2011

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser

My trusty Mark face wash is about to run out, so I decided to try and find something to replace it that was sulfate- and paraben-free.  Fred Meyer happened to have a coupon for $1.50 off any Neutrogena product, so I decided to take the plunge and try their new Neutrogena Naturals facial cleanser, which has no sulfates, parabens, and other such things, in spite of not having read any reviews for it.  We've all done it, so how did it work out this time?

Image from

Meow Cosmetics Foundation Review and Swatches

I'm sorry this review has taken me such an inordinately long time to post!  It's really, really exhaustively long, but I've tried to bold the important parts if you just want to skim.  On the upside, I've had the chance to review another shipment I got from them, so this includes more foundations than it would have originally.  It's quite pic heavy, and I am very verbose, but I hope you find it informative!

Meow Cosmetics is one of the better-known mineral makeup companies online, particularly for their foundations, which I'll be reviewing in this post.  Before I do that, though, I'd like to discuss the Meow shopping experience, because there are some MAJOR flaws.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wet N Wild Idol Eyes Creme Shadow in Pixie Review and Swatches

I am a fundamentally lazy person, and the idea of being able to sweep an eyeshadow pencil over my lid and be done is immensely appealing.  Walgreens was having a sale on Wet N Wild and I decided to pick up the WNW creme eye shadow pencil and see if it could be my one-stop-shop solution for early mornings.
Image from

theBalm Hot Mama Blush Review and Swatches

The first things I heard about theBalm were about their blushes, particularly Hot Mama, which was touted as being a good NARS Orgasm dupe with more product, less shimmer, and a lower price.  At $19 for 0.25 oz, it's $8 cheaper than the NARS, with 0.09 oz more product, but still well out of my comfort zone for a blush.  I was thrilled to see it included in the Balmbini, and thought it would be a fitting way to start off my series of reviews.
theBalm Hot Mama blush/eyeshadow on the right

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UPDATED: theBalm Balmbini Master Post

theBalm was having a 5 hour 50% off sale last Thursday, so I took the plunge and ordered one of their palettes, which has 2 of their most popular blushes, their beloved highlighter, two eyeshadows, a lipstick, and a lipgloss.  I've long been lemming the blushes and highlighter, and Temptalia had given their eyeshadows fantastic reviews, so for $14 (and free shipping!), I was super psyched to try them out.
theBalm Balmbini Babies of theBalm Face Palette

Ole Henriksen Fresh Lips SPF 15 Review

Yet another entry in the Sephora Sun Kit series, this one has the distinction of being something besides a moisturizer/sunscreen!  I've proclaimed my deep and abiding love of Jack Black lip balms, which have SPF 25, so I didn't really need the full-size Ole Henriksen lip balm that came with the kit, but I'm happy to review it nonetheless!
Fresh Lips SPF 15
Image from

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I went to Fred Meyer because they have cherries for $1.49/lb, and cherries are like crack for me (and who doesn't love cheap crack?!), and while there got sidetracked by the makeup section (damn you, Essence display) and the facial cleansers.  Admittedly, I actually do need a new cleanser (mission accomplished, for $1.50 less than retail!  Review will come in the next couple weeks after I've used it some), but the lipgloss I got?  Totally unnecessary, especially since l/g is not my favorite.  But $2.29!  And coral!  And non-sticky (which I knew because I'd gotten the same gloss in a different color on a previous visit...)!  How was I supposed to resist?  And therein lies the problem.  I can justify my makeup purchases way too easily.  Thus, I am going on a no-buy!  I will not be buying any new products until at least after my birthday (end of July).  I have all my basics covered, so there's absolutely nothing I will find myself needing, and that's that.  But not to worry, I've still got a slew of things to review, which hopefully now I can get around to doing!

Have you ever gone on a no-buy?  Would you?

Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive Skin Review

Having now reviewed the cleansers I currently use, I thought it might be worthwhile to review at least one that I'm no longer using.  I'd read great things about the Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin on MUA and decided to give it a try.  The fact that I'm no longer using it should suggest some potential issues...
Gently cleanse and refresh sensitive skin with a formula that’s 100% soap-free, oil-free, and fragrance-free.
Image from

mark That's Deep Purifying Gel Cleanser Review

A friend asked me what I used as my cleanser(s), and I told her what I'm using now (oil cleanserhoney, and sea salt), but I realized I'd never done a review for my boring morning cleanser that I use with my Clarisonic (which I also haven't reviewed, but it's on my list!).  It's made by mark, a subsidiary of Avon, and I got it last fall with mark Shine Fighter Oil-Control mask and mark Save the Day Anti-Acne Concealer Stick (okay, seriously, I have so much shit to review).
mark That's Deep Purifying Gel Cleanser; Photo from

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 with Dermaxyl Complex Review

I'm on a Sun Safety Kit roll!  I realized there's still several products from there that I haven't reviewed yet, and a few that I haven't even tried, so I'll try and remedy that.  I was excited to see that the kit came with a mini Smashbox Photo Finish with Dermaxyl primer, because Smashbox's primer is popular in the beauty world (admittedly, the famous ones are Photo Finish and Photo Finish Light, but I was happy to get a chance to try anything from their line, and who can complain about SPF?), and because, with my oily skin, I try and take any help I can get at prolonging the wear of my makeup.

Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 With Dermaxyl Complex To Go
Photo from

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 60 PA+++ Review

This was one of the sunscreens that came with the Sephora Sun Safety kit (previous reviews from the kit include Boscia, Philosophy, and Peter Thomas Roth moisturizers).  It came in a teeny little 0.23 oz bottle which has enough for at least a few applications.  It's got ridiculously high SPF and PA+++ (the Asian standard for SPF measurement; the more +'s the better the protection, where +++ is the highest), which can be risky for the face, since many with high SPF are thick and sticky.

Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 60 PA+++
Image from

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yogurt, Honey, Lemon, and Oatmeal Mask

Yogurt masks are touted as being good for exfoliation (thanks to the AHA lactic acid) and as a carrier for other ingredients (like honey, oatmeal, lemon, aspirin, tea tree oil, banana, strawberry, cucumber...).  I'd used this mask once a week for the past month+, but then decided earlier this week to try using it every night for 4-5 days to really see its effect.  Anyone care to guess what happened?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eyelash Curlers: My Favorite Medieval-Torture-Looking Tool

I wear mascara very, very rarely; I used to wear it daily, but between my emotional tendencies and allergies, I would often end up with mascara down my face, and since I'm severely far-sighted, my glasses enlarge my eyes a lot, making mascara that lengthens, thickens, and/or multiplies rather redundant.  Since my lashes are nearly black as it is, I also don't need the tinting properties of mascara.  The one thing I do need?  Curl.  The few times I've tried to use a curling mascara, though, I've ended up with mascara all over my eyelids (and once, memorable, on my nose).  Fortunately for me, eyelash curlers exist!  Many people are frightened by them, understandably--they do look like something used to torture blasphemers during the Inquisition.  But don't let that scare you off!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wet N Wild Fast Dry Nail Color in Silvivor Review and Swatches

So, I know I said I don't do nail polish, but...I lied.  After ogling nail polish swatches on other blogs, I got a few Wet N Wilds to try out (awesome, because they are $1-$2 apiece!).  First up: Silvivor.
Wet N Wild Fast Dry in Silvivor

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cucumber Toner

I recently decided to try adding shredded cucumber to my go-to sea salt toner, since cucumber is recommended for oily skin.  Now, I love eating cucumber.  It is the vegetable I crave most often.  The crunch!  The juice!  So refreshing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Eyebrow Grooming

This is dedicated to N, who is unfortunately out of the country, but I trust she will see it when she returns!

I have been "blessed" with very dark, very prolific eyebrows.  Being pale with dark hair is really a pain--something Snow White never mentioned.  Curse you, Disney!  Admittedly, the whole immediate-stubble thing is less of a problem than the marrying-the-guy-who-sleep-kisses-you thing, but that's for another blog.  For today, I'm going to talk about eyebrow grooming options, for all of those who have similar "blessings" as me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tokidoki Gelato Lip Balm Stain in Pink Martini Review and Swatches

The boyfriend has gone back east, which is very sad for me.  On the upside, I have some time to do some reviews!

Next installment in the HG Lip Search series: Tokidoki Gelato Lip Balm Stain in Pink Martini!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Meow Cosmetics Blush in Risque (from the Taboo Collection) Review and Swatches

This is the second blush from Meow's Taboo collection that I ordered.  I was feeling very summery, so went with hot pinks and corals, and Risque is a great example of the former (for the latter, see my review of Racy).
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