Monday, December 31, 2012

Inspired By: Cacti

I considered doing a "year in review" post, but decided that I spend enough time on here rambling introspectively, and as this is a beauty blog, I should perhaps spend some time doing beauty things! So, I decided to attempt something never before attempted here: an "inspired by" post. Generally my FOTD posts are based on products I'm testing, but I so enjoy reading other bloggers' posts that center on a theme (Getting Cheeky and Cute and Mundane, in particular), so I've decided to take a page from their books. The source of inspiration: the cactus and succulent garden at Sherman Gardens and Library in Corona del Mar, outside Newport Beach. The entire gardens are delightful––my mother and I went there when we had a few hours to spare before tea on the Queen Mary, and had a marvelous time wandering around with the mere $3 entrance fee––but the cactus and succulent garden was particularly breathtaking. I took nearly 50 photos in an attempt to capture the magic, and while I don't think I quite did, here are some that came close. (I was going to try and get this into an awesome collage, but ran out of time. Something to plan for in 2013!)


Friday, December 28, 2012

Winner of the giveaway is...

Neens! With her entry for "happy place" being "Swarthmore", which is also where we met! (Yes, she's a friend in real life, but I swear I didn't do it on purpose! It just happened to work out that way, weeeeeird.) I'll have post-trip pics and oodles of posts headed your way, just as soon as I nap––flights were delayed a bit last night getting back, so I did not get nearly enough sleep! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homeward Bound

This is just a quick post to remind y'all to enter the giveaway if you haven't yet, since it ends tonight! There's currently 3 people vying for it, so...your chances are good. And, while the "loot" is quite small, all items are tested and Amy-approved!

Crystal Cove on Christmas

Mussels!

I am excited about the ocean!

Proof that we aren't in Oregon anymore––surfers!

Obligatory pre-dinner in front of the Christmas tree photo

Hope you've all had a fantastic holiday!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

To everyone who celebrates, Merry Christmas! And to everyone who doesn't, enjoy the last day of Christmas music for the next 10 months! (That last one applies to those of you who celebrate, too––I'm so looking forward to the absence of holiday tunes.)

Window display at Neiman––I mostly took it because look at the frog! It's so sparkly!

Fountain at Fashion Island on Christmas Eve

Chandelier and awesome ceiling at the Benson in Portland

One of the many, many decked out houses on Balboa Island

Nutcracker in our lounge

Things shaped like trees
Cranberry orange rolls at Great Harvest, center decoration at Pioneer Place in Portland

Christmas Tree in one of the lounges of our hotel

Baths: When you don't have to pay for the water, there's nothing better
Lush Sakura bath bomb

Bubble bath in our jetted tub on Christmas Eve with Philosophy Holiday Lights Aglow: it didn't bubble under the faucet, so my mother poured the whole little 1 oz container in, and then when I turned the jets on the bubbles just EXPLODED. Ended up turning off the jets because the bubbles wouldn't stop growing and they were about to engulf me!

I was giddy, absolutely giddy

I hope you all are having a lovely day, wherever you may be :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Make Up For Ever Love: Aqua Brow in Ash 25 and Full Cover Concealer in Pink Porcelain 1

I considered breaking these up, because brow gel and concealer have basically nothing in common, but they're both in squeeze tubes and they're both MUFE, so I figured I could get away with combining them. Plus, I don't really have all that much to say about either!
MUFE Pink Porcelain Concealer (top), Ash Aqua Brow (bottom)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vacation!

I'm on vacation (Portland, then Newport Beach!) until the 28th, but you'll probably still be hearing from me. Regardless, as has become somewhat of a tradition around these parts, I offer you a giveaway!

Included are:
––A MUA eyeshadow palette in Undressed––MUA is a drugstore brand in the UK, and I ordered two of these when they had a sale with free shipping. I haven't gotten around to doing a review of the whole shebang, but I find it to be a nice neutral palette, not the most amazing thing ever, but definitely something I enjoy wearing. Here's (blurry) swatches of all the shades:
Yes, it's an UD Naked dupe, clearly.

––A mini French Baguette candle from Bath and Body Works, aka the candle that launched a thousand obsessions. It smells like buttery croissants when burning (and like sweet popcorn cold, which my mother deemed "disgusting", but don't let that put you off!), and it is delicious.

––A brand new L'Oreal Colour Caresse lip gloss in 190 Endless Red. I know some of you haven't been able to find these in your area yet (though probably by the time I get the package off to the winner, they'll be everywhere, ha!), and this is just such an awesome product that I paid full price so I could give it to you. Yes, that's how much I like it. It's an easy, flattering, long-wearing, gorgeous red that I think everyone can make work––if you're not a bright lips kind of girl, you can always wear it as a stain! You can check out my full review here.

Rules: Open until midnight Pacific on Dec. 28 (aka 3 am Eastern on Dec. 28), to US residents only (I can't afford international shipping, I'm sorry!). I'll inform the winner sometime that day, who will have 24 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and I hope you have safe travels if you're going anywhere!

Fragrance Friday: Solstice Scents, Part 2

For most of the past week I felt vaguely nauseated whenever I smelled perfume or scented products, which led to an unintentional embargo on perfume, candles, hand cream, and all those lovely things that usually bring me such joy. I felt better yesterday, though, and decided to ease my way back into the world of fragrance with the woodsy scents from Solstice Scents, as that family is one of my favorites. As before, these are scents that are primarily woody, not just ones that contain woods notes, since that would be...everything ever. Also, I tend to gravitate towards woods that aren't cedar, which tends to read a bit sharp to my nose, but Solstice Scents has several cedar-centric scents (unintentional alliteration ftw!), Attic (from the Autumn Collection) and Old Cedar Magus (from the core collection) that are undoubtedly lovely if you like that sort of thing.

Manor (musk, vanilla, aloeswood, agarwood): This is the very first Solstice Scent that I tried, thanks to a sample sent to me by Larie who can't do oud, and I fell in love with it. My feelings haven't changed with time! This is a beautifully simple, simply beautiful perfume that smells like oud (aloeswood and agarwood are both names for oud, and refer to two different oils used in the blend) and vanilla. The vanilla is just lovely, not too sweet, rich but not cloying, and the oud gives it depth and longevity. I plan to get the whipped soap of it when I use up my current one (Dark Ginger Spicecake!). I wore this a lot during the hell weeks before the end of the term, and it was supremely comforting and happy-making.

Spellbound Woods (vanilla, sandalwood, cedar, amber, incense): This is quieter than Manor, and also lacking in oud, but similar in that it's a softly sweet woodsy scent. I really love how it starts out, heavy on the sandalwood but still airy, but after an hour it becomes a little too sweet for me, like sugar cookies next to incense in a cedar holder. It's certainly nice, and I think many would love it, but it doesn't top Manor for me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When Indulgences Aren't

Another one for the "things I sent back" mental pile: Guerlain Meteorites in Teint Rose.
$58 for 1.05 oz, via Sephora

I bought it after finishing the term, and because I had the $20 off Sephora coupon, and eagerly awaited its arrival. Beautiful packaging, lovely presentation, I actually really like the smell (like candied violets, which is a perfume I would never want to wear, but it's nice as a face powder), and even the fact that I didn't see much of a (okay, any) difference when wearing it didn't mute my excitement. Care to guess what did?

Yep, it broke me out. SURPRISE! To no one, ever. It may be the bismuth oxychloride, which is known for causing break-outs, or it may be some completely innocuous ingredient that no one has ever reacted badly to, ever, and ugh, wouldn't it be nice to not have insanely reactive acne-prone skin?

So back to Sephora it goes. And now I'm on the lookout for a replacement "hurray, you not only survived the term but got good grades to boot! Way to go, self!" present. I'll probably pick up something when I'm in SoCal––where I'll be for Christmas, yay! My mother and I are vacationing down there for a few days, bracketed by some time up in Portland (starting tomorrow!), and I plan to do lots of cosmetics shopping, or at least swatching, while I'm around places that actually carry a variety of brands.

Have you tried Meteorites? What did you think? Any suggestions for luxe beauty indulgences I should check out? Or places in the LA/Newport Beach area we should visit (and, more importantly, eat at)?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

L'Oreal Shine/Colour Caresse Gloss in 187 Infinite Fuchsia and 190 Endless Red Review and Swatches

Lipstick-gloss-stain hybrids! From the drugstore!
Pristine display at Rite Aid
Ever since reading about these on Nouveau Cheap, I've been eagerly anticipating their arrival in the states (why does L'Oreal release their awesomest stuff overseas first? The anticipation is terrible), and when I heard they had landed at some Targets a couple weeks ago, I put it on my to-search-for list. I didn't see it at Target, but luck struck when I went to Fred Meyer. There, a nearly-perfectly intact display––and at BOGO1/2 off! Angels sung, the sun shone (but seriously, the sun was shining that day, which is miraculous around these parts in December––see photo above), and I dithered for 15 minutes on what shades I should get. Now, a good, non-selfish blogger would have gotten two that were different in pigmentation intensity, in order to compare the longevity/application within the line, but I chose to go with two of the deeper shades because they were both just too pretty to pass up.

In case you'd forgotten what they look like since the last post

Monday, December 17, 2012

L'Oreal Shine Caresse Lip Gloss Preview

I found the new L'Oreal Shine Caresse lip glosses at Fred Meyer, and snatched up two of them (because how could I resist BOGO1/2? I would have bought more, but OPI polishes were buy 2 get 1 free, so I had to restrain myself somewhat). I debated whether to get two brights, or one bright and one more natural pink, but then decided that OF COURSE I should get the bright ones (187 Infinite Fuchsia and 190 Endless Red, to be precise). It is a decision I do not regret. I'm still testing these out and all that jazz, but I thought I should get swatches up sooner rather than later. So far, they seem very similar to the YSL Glossy Stains, are a relatively thin consistency which makes spreading/getting an even layer quite easy, and they smell like roses for a good 20 minutes after application. I'll have full reviews and looks up in the next few days! (ETA: Here it is!)
Endless Red (left) and Infinite Fuchsia (right)

Things I Sent Back

I went pretty crazy with the beauty shopping last month, because my life, it was stressful. Many of said purchases ended up not working out for one reason or another, so after finals got done, I returned a lot. It was a little awkward, but I am used to way huge awkward so I didn't let it phase me. Herewith, a summary.

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Liquid Foundation in 20
via Sephora
There were a few issues with this foundation, unfortunately. For one, the shade I got was too dark by a smidge; I probably should have chosen 15, the lightest, but I was afraid it would be too pink. Had shade been the only issue, I would have exchanged it, but that was, alas, not the case. It's a very pigmented formula, which wasn't a bad thing, but it dries down quickly so you definitely have to work in sections. My problem with it was that it was not successful at withstanding my oiliness and big pores. After merely a couple hours, I would notice increased shininess, and after 5 hours, the oil had broken through and broken down a lot of the foundation, sinking into pores and looking generally pretty terrible. I tried everything I could think of, from different application method (with damp brush, dry brush, fingers, sponge) to different base and powder (bare skin, Cover FX ClearPrep FX, MUFE primer (samples FTW), Kryolan Anti-Shine powder), and nothing worked. So, back it went. For a foundation that is supposed to control oil, MUFE Mat Velvet + sure didn't stand up to my oily skin. That being said, lots of people really love it, and it might work for you if your skin isn't as horrifically oily as mine!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fragrance Friday: Solstice Scents, Part 1

I'm going to be reviewing Solstice Scents fragrance oils the next few weeks, because I have a buttload of samples from them and don't want to review them all at once (for one thing, you would all unfollow me for being stupidly longwinded, and for another, I need more time to get acquainted with some of them). Today, I discuss the incenses.

I'm sort of neutral on incense scents in general. I didn't grow up going to church regularly, and the only church I did attend was with my aunt and uncle's family and I hated it and there was no incense there at all, so I don't really have the association of religion and spirituality and otherworldliness that many have with incense. I do, however, tend to like heavier, richer scents, and most incense perfumes fit the bill. Incense perfumes are anchored by frankincense and myrrh, but they vary wildly in how they combine those notes with others (for an excellent comprehensive guide to incense perfumes, see Perfume Posse's here). Solstice Scents has several incense-oriented perfumes, and many more that include it as a note, but I'm restricting myself to the incense-r-us scents I've tried (the only one I haven't is Scrying Smoke, which is just frankincense and myrrh).

Basilica (labdanum, frankincense, rosewood, myrrh, hinoki wood, sandalwood, galbanum, vanilla): This was the first incense perfume I tried, part of their main collection. It's, to my nose, the most traditionally incense of the three, though likely that title really belongs to Scrying Smoke. The opening is somewhat sharp, as most incense scents are to me, and almost bitter, but it softens quickly into a really nice, quiet, meditative blend of incense and woods, sweetened by a touch of vanilla. It's very wearable, quite unisex, and lasts about 8 hours on my arm. $15 for 0.35 oz

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Tale of Two Reds: Rouge Dior in Rouge Favori 752 and Lipstick Queen Chinatown Gloss Stick in Thriller

I've had Rouge Favori for months now and never gotten around to reviewing it, and since I recently picked up another red lippie, I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and review them together! Because I am lazy. I mean, because it made thematic sense. Obviously. (Also, a prefatory note: The Rouge Dior photos were taken in September, when there was still abundant sunshine, while the Thriller photos were taken in November, after the rain killed the sun and peed on it. What I'm trying to say is that the photos are not in the same style, and for that I apologize.)
Post-rain Lipstick Queen Thriller, pre-rain Dior Rouge Favori

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Empties and Stuff

I have a huge backlog of products I need to talk to you about, but I'm a little overwhelmed and don't know where to start, so instead, I'm opening with an empties post! Though it's more accurately an "empties and stuff I didn't like enough to put up with" post. Also, I just realized there were a couple other sample packets I finished and didn't photograph. WHOOPS.

But anyways! Here is a real post! About beauty! With pictures! Aaaaah, it's good to be back.

Skincare Samples
Clockwise from top left:
Biotherm Skinergetic High Recovery Moisturizer: The lovely Liz sent this to me, and I used it when my skin was being dry and grouchy*. Didn't break me out, was nicely moisturizing, not too thick, nothing remarkable.
Eve Lom Moisture Mask: I've already written about how much I liked this. While the packet is empty, I still have some mask left in a jar which I will happily use until it's gone.
Eve Lom Cleanser: This packet's not actually empty, because I decided it was too much effort to try and wash my face the Eve Lom way so I didn't bother finishing it.
Eve Lom Intense Hydration Serum: Nope nope nope. It's almost empty, because the packet was really small, but I didn't bother to use up the last little bit because I so disliked it.
L'Occitane Ultra Rich Face Scrub: Another Liz gift! I really liked this and found it to be just what it claimed, a richly moisturizing face scrub. Excellent for dry skin.
Montagne Jeunesse Dead Sea Mud Pac mask: Got this and another MJ mask for 2/$3 at Walgreens. It was fine, though the packet contained way more than 1 use's worth, but as it was a tear-open foil thingy, I couldn't use it more than the one time. Probably wouldn't buy again, but I guess it was fun to try.
*My skin has become dry and grouchy and absolutely horrible these past couple weeks, due to the perfect storm of bad skin influences––changing birth control, stress of finals, the fact that I touch my face a lot when I'm stressed, trying out a new foundation––and I've been desperately seeking ways to fix the rash, dry skin, zits, and cystic acne that's been plaguing me. YES ALL AT ONCE. Ugh. I'll have a post about that at some point, assuming I ever figure out what the heck fixes it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The End of the Deluge

I am officially, completely, 100% done with fall term! Grades have been turned in, all my final projects have been submitted, and I can feel the traditional post-term cold coming on. I don't know how I did in my classes, but honestly, this term was horrible and I am just glad to have finished. While the quarter system sucks for a lot of reasons (50% more finals weeks, 50% more textbooks, a mere 10 weeks to write major research papers), it can be a bonus when the classes aren't your favorite.

I've already rewarded myself for surviving and, at the very least, getting my work done on time, with some more candles (finally trying out the French Baguette from B&BW––I blame Liz, Larie, and MM) and Guerlain Meteorites in Teinte Rose (because damnit, this was the worst term since senior fall, and it's not like I could let that $20 Sephora gift card go to waste, now could I?). I also just received my Solstice Scents Winter Collection samples order, and I'm enjoying slowly making my way through those. I'll need a little time to decompress, but there will be lots of legit content coming your way soon––right after I get caught up on all the other posts I've missed! For now, I'll just say HI! And talk to you soon. (Also, the mini-blog sale will be open until Monday, when I'll return anything that hasn't sold, so if something catches your eye, let me know!)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Syntax Humor and a Mini Blog Sale

I'm hoping to have this written and posted in less than 10 minutes, so you'll have to forgive my relative lack of wordiness and the complete absence of photos.

Thing 1:
I have a few things I bought during Sephora's VIB sale that didn't work out for me, but that I don't want to return because then they'll just be thrown out and I would rather them find new loving homes, even though it means losing money (I'm such a makeup bleeding heart, Jesus). SO, I figured I would try seeing if any of you want them before I return them. All prices are negotiable, and we can talk about shipping if there's anything you want. I don't have photos yet, because I really have no time to do anything except OMFG WORK WORK WORK, but I can take photos if you are interested in something. (I know, this is the most pathetic/worst-organized blog sale in the history of ever. You're welcome, world.) Also, all "% remaining" estimates are underestimates, because I wanted to be sure I didn't promise more than is there, but consider them all to have (sometimes a lot) more than the stated amount.

NARS Smudgeproof Primer: I really liked this, but found something else that's cheaper and works as well, so I don't need both. I used it less than 10 times on bare, clean eyelids; 90%+ left. $16 (regularly $24)

SOLD Hourglass Opaque Rouge Empress: A truly fantastic shade for a vampy lip, and I love the matte finish, but it dried out my lips something terrible. Others have not had this issue, though, so don't let that scare you off! I wore it 3 times and swatched it once on my arm; 90%+ remains. $20 (regularly $28)

NARS Sheer Lipstick in Cruising: Lovely nude pink sheer lipstick, but it also dried out my lips. 85%+ remaining. $14 (regularly $24)

Too Faced Shadow Insurance: I used this for months, and it worked fine but didn't keep my shadows from creasing entirely. Have found another that works better, but there's still SO EFFING MUCH of this left. Like, I can't even tell I've used any, but to be on the safe side, we'll say 50% left. $6 (regularly $18)

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + liquid foundation in 20: A little too dark for me, didn't control my oilies much at all, and SHIT I ONLY HAVE 1 MINUTE LEFT. UM. This one I was just going to return but then I thought hey, maybe someone reads the blog who uses this and would love to get it for cheaper. 90% left, $25 (regularly $36)

Email me if any of these pique your interest, beyondjustbeauty at gmail dot com. And again, prices are negotiable. I hate sending makeup to its death. Warning, though: I definitely won't get these shipped until after the term is done, so no earlier than Dec. 7, and likely not until Dec. 10. All packages will come with yummy nuts and candy, though!

Thing 2:
I'm writing a paper on child acquisition of language (in particular, particle verbs in German), and came across this quote in one of the articles that just makes me giggle every time I read it:

"A boulder is a ROCK? ... TWO names?! <incredulous> ... Is 'boulder' a LAST name?" (Zack, 3;3, as cited in Goldberg 2005:93)

CHILDREN ARE SO FUNNY. (I get to spend my time coding transcripts from this little German child, and they are just hilarious. In one, she's like, "I want that cat to go away, and while I'm waiting on that, I'm just gonna take off my clothes and play in the mud." Logic, she haz it.)

Damnit, this took me 15 minutes. GOOD BYE.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Self-Imposed Hiatus

Alright, y'all, it's reached that point: I have to go into work hibernation. I have mind-boggling amounts of work to do in a depressingly short period of time, and I can no longer use online shopping as procrastination, because the sales are over, I need find no more Christmas presents, and Mint is very angry at me. I'm sure I'll be tempted to work on posts and not abandon you entirely, but I'm going to try to stay away––but don't think I don't love you! I do. And I will hopefully get all caught up with posting and being a more enthusiastic human being once this hellish term is over. Rumor has it there will be a giveaway to celebrate my survival, assuming I make it through, so don't go too far ;)

But, before I fall into the abyss, does anyone else think that "apothecary" ([ə'pɑθɪˌkɛ˞ɹi]) should be pronounced [ˌæpəˈθɛkɚɹi]? Doesn't that sound more awesome?

That's all. I MISS YOU ALREADY.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gourmand Perfumes

Ermahgerd, a Fragrance Friday! A bit short, but hey! Now excuse me while I go work on coding particle verbs in a German toddler's speech (it's more fun than it sounds).

I used to think I didn't like gourmand scents. With Angel being the poster child, can you really blame me? (Blech.) But then I fell down the perfume rabbit hole, and came to discover that I can enjoy scents in families I had formerly written off. Case in point: All the perfumes in this post. I tend to dislike really sweet scents, so most of these are on the spicier end of things, though there's a fair amount of vanilla to be had, too.

Arquiste Anima Dulcis (Gourmand: cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, chili): This is the perfume that set off my quest for oriental gourmands. It's the first gourmand I've encountered that I really, truly, love, and it's made me realize I should find others! This quest is off to a good start (see Volutes and 5 O'Clock au Gingembre, below). It smells like chocolate and spices and incense, foreign and familiar at the same time. I think everyone should smell it. Yes, you too, gourmand-hater. It might change your mind!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are many things I am thankful for this year. I am thankful for my family, as always, for being wonderful, loving, supportive people. I am thankful for my friends, both near and far, for putting up with my numerous shortcomings, for making me laugh and think and play, even when they're 3000 miles away. I'm thankful for the internet and cell phones for making it possible to stay connected with those I love and miss, and for letting me create new connections, for frabbits and giggles. I'm thankful for professors who challenge me and understand when I come up short, for fellow grad students who suffer along with me, for shared library systems that allow me to find the books I need for free, for students who make me laugh and challenge me to be a better teacher, for online freely available corpora, for being at a university that embraces the weird and pays for my education. I'm thankful for disposable income, due for the most part to the generosity of my family, and the luxury of being able to buy myself pretty things that comes with that. I'm thankful for perfume and makeup for cheering me up when I'm blue, for other blogs for inspiring me, for Calvin and Hobbes for always, always being appropriate. And, of course, for all of you, for reading and commenting and supporting. I am so grateful to have you all in my corner.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Sexual Assault

Majorly personal not-at-all beauty-related information behind the cut, so if you're here for lippies and blush, I recommend reading old posts. Also, major trigger warning for sexual assault/rape, in case that wasn't clear. It's really long, and kind of sad, and please don't feel like you have to read it. (I'm also a little scared about posting this, since the internet is not always an understanding place, but it's risk nasty comments or say nothing at all, so I'm sharing it anyways.) This was scheduled to post tomorrow night, but after reading this post on the Swarthmore weekly newspaper site just now, I've decided to move it up.

NYX HD Concealer Wand in Fair 02 Review and Swatches

Alright, I've had this for a couple months now and I should really review it, but it's concealer and therefore boring, so I'm going to take the lazy girl's route and not bother with structure. Here's the rubric, with comments as needed (ended up being rather plentiful, surprise surprise).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Haulage

20% off sales are a terrible, wonderful thing. In spite of my ongoing malaise, or perhaps because of it, I've taken advantage of the Sephora and Beauty.com sales the past week. I'm really still not up to writing actual posts, or taking pictures, or being, y'know, a decent blogger, so instead, here are some pictures of the things I've ordered (which you can expect to see posts on at some point in the future). I also ordered several Christmas presents, but those aren't shown below, because some of them are for people who read the blog :)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow
in 25 Ash
Tarina Tarantino Conditioning Lip
Sheen in Queen Alice

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Eve Lom

Hi, guys! Here's a post I wrote awhile ago but never got around to posting. Hope you like! Now I must get back to my statsyntaxing (I love concatenations, hehe).

Back in September, I went to Barneys with L on a perfume sniffing mission. We accomplished that, I found my perfect lip gloss, and got a bunch of skincare samples from Eve Lom. I've already mentioned a couple of them on here, but I figured I should do a full "review" of them in one place.
image via Barneys

Eve Lom is a London-based skincare company best known for their cleanser, which is oil-based and is meant to be used with a muslin cloth. They also claim that it works as a makeup remover, cleanser, and toner in one. Now, I love oil cleansers, and am well familiar with how they work. Eve Lom's is thicker than true cleansing oils, more of a paste, but it becomes more liquidy as you rub it between your hands. They recommend applying a penny-sized dollop to your dry face, making sure to massage thoroughly and work the product in to break down your makeup, including heavy eye makeup. Then, you get the muslin cloth wet with hot water and lay it over your face, letting it sit for a few seconds before wiping away and repeating the process. I don't know if the muslin cloth that came with my sample was full size or not, but I sincerely hope it is not, because it's so weirdly shaped and sized that I find it to be somewhat of a hindrance in the actual face-washing process. It's much longer than it is wide, to the point where it's simultaneously too long and too narrow (looking at the Eve Lom website, though, it seems likely that this is one of the "travel size" cloths, so the full size ones are hopefully better). I tended to lay it over my face diagonally, since that covered the most real estate, but it was still less than ideal. I did think it was really cool how any makeup that got on the cloth just washed right off, like magic! But I didn't actually find it to be a terribly effective cleanser. Yes, it managed to get my face makeup off without issue (unless you consider the several minute process to be an issue, which I most certainly do when I'm tired and just want that shit gone), but it was much less successful with eye makeup, even the relatively light eye makeup I tend to wear. It never fully removed my non-waterproof mascara, so I can only imagine how less than stellar it would be at removing something waterproof! So, all in all, I found it to be much more trouble than it was worth, and gladly returned to my usual Shiseido oil-Philosophy Purity combo, which has never let me down. And which, together, are cheaper than the smaller size of Eve Lom, and last longer (I get 6 months from that combo, and the Eve Lom spokespersonn said the travel size tub would last about 2.5). If, however, you're the type who really loves thorough face cleansing pampering and don't wear much eye makeup and are fine with putting off bedtime to repeatedly wipe at your face with a weirdly shaped cloth, you may find Eve Lom's cleanser to be just the ticket! (Okay, that's not fair, because lots of people really love it. Google and go read their reviews, because I obviously am not one of them.) $50 for 1.7 oz, $80 for 3.4, $135 for 6.75, available from Barneys and Space NK (all purchasing information is valid for the US)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blergh

This post is an acknowledgment of, and apology for, my relative absence of late. Between my classes, research, teaching, and this damned depression (though I will say that last night cheered me up considerably!), I haven't had much time nor motivation to blog, and for that, I apologize. I'm no less dedicated to my reading of blogs and my enjoyment of makeup and perfume has yet to wane, but I haven't felt up to doing much in the way of production (the irony of posting this after my most recent post/celebration of reaching 500, it kills!). I don't plan to disappear entirely, but I will be posting less often. There are many things I would love to chat with y'all about, but most will have to wait until a less stressful time. The weekly features will likely be on hiatus, as they've been weighing on my mind in an unpleasant manner (strange how the consistent routine I prefer when I'm happy feels stifling when I'm sad, eh?), and I'm putting the monthly empties post on hold until school gets out––it'll be a doozy, though!

I'm trying to find my balance again, but I promise, I will be back. And you can probably expect to hear from me at least once a week until then. I feel really bad about neglecting the blog and y'all, but I just have to hope you'll hang around until things get back under control at Casa Amy! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

500

HOLY SHIT, GUYS, THIS IS MY 500TH POST.


I'm kind of in shock. That's just crazy! I tend to get all introspective and rambly at times like these (or, like, all the time), but since I just did a post like that, I'll try to keep this one relatively brief :)

500 posts
86,000+ page views
971 comments

Posts tagged with:
nail polish: 63
skincare: 47
lipstick: 38
eyeshadow: 36
Fragrance Friday: 29
blush: 28
lip gloss: 25 (how the hell do I have so many posts on a product I generally dislike?!)
lip balm: 23
cleanser: 18
oil control: 16

Most-viewed post:
Holika Holika Petit BB SPF 30: This got to be too dark for me in the winter, so I stuck it away in my drawer and forgot about it. It's over a year old now, so I should probably just throw it out...

Post that took me longest to write:
Affordable Makeup Brush Guide, which desperately needs to be updated, though that will probably have to wait until winter break.

As far as the Beyond part of the blog goes, I've written 6 posts tagged with adorables, 3 with drunken ramblings, 6 with personal, and 11 with just straight-up ramblings, many of which are cross-tagged with each other. I am very much not one of those people who can keep their life and blog separate, and this blog is a reflection of that; I am still very amazed that anyone decides to hang around here!

I think BJB has changed a lot over 500 posts, but the important thing for me, at least, is that it is a place for me to escape, and for that, I must thank you all. Thank you for listening to me blab about beauty, thank you for your kindness and support in my times of need, and thank you for inspiring me. I don't always give the blog as much time as I would like, and am pretty terrible about commenting, but I so enjoy every bit of time I get to spend with you all. So thank you! And here's to the next 500.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fragrance Friday

So, I didn't post one of these last week, because I was sad. And this one is rather paltry, because I had my stats midterm on Thursday and didn't have time or energy to write about many perfumes. But I will try and catch up for next week! Because I've got a lot of perfumes to yammer about...

Piguet Bandit (Chypre Floral: aldehydes, orange, ylang-ylang, bergamot, galbanum, gardenia, artemisia, neroli, tuberose, rose, jasmine, violet root, carnation, coconut, musk, patchouli, leather, civet, oakmoss, vetiver, amber, myrrh): This is the new version, which has still been received quite well by the perfume community. It's a leather chypre (though look at that list of notes! what the heck!), which is distinctly chypre from a distance, but I get armpit from up close. Major musk going on up in there. I have only worn it dabbed, though, so I'll have to see how it performs sprayed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lippies Experiment: Final FOTDs!

Guys, I did it! I wore all my lippies this month! HURRAY! Let's see how the last few panned out.

What do you mean I can't have a bunny?
Clinique After Party: This is a delightful vampy plum, with one caveat: gold shimmer. So much gold shimmer. It doesn't migrate, thankfully, but it does remain after the lipstick wears off. The formula also isn't moisturizing, so after a full day of wearing just this, my lips were quite chapped. And very shimmery. I think it's a lippie I'll keep in mind for shorter events––it looks awesome for a couple of hours, and my lips can survive that long just fine. Definitely has inspired me to get another non-shimmery vamp, though! Got my eye on Hourglass Empress.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Summary

First off, I want to thank everyone for your kind comments on my most recent post. I really, really appreciate them, even if I'm putting off replying to them because I don't know how to express my gratitude (also, social anxiety). I'm still feeling a little blue, and more than a little overwhelmed, but I'm trying to just keep myself in the relative present. Here are some things that have helped:

Tea! I ordered a bunch of loose tea samples from Adagio, since there's not really anyplace in Eugene that sells a wide variety, and have slowly been sipping my way through them. I'm drinking the Spiced Maté right now (also pictured to the right), but I've also really enjoyed the Rooibos Lemon Cloud, Rooibos Earl Grey, Rooibos Chai (I like rooibos tea, clearly!), and black Earl Grey Lavender. I've placed another order with some more flavors, particularly more black teas because I've realized that tea provides some much-needed caffeine on early mornings and upsets my stomach much less than does coffee. I really like the Adagio website––it's sensibly organized, has pretty visuals, provides lots of information, and the tea is so affordable! Sample bags are $2 for enough tea to make 10 cups, and even with my 12 oz tea mug that's still nearly 7 cups' worth. Relatedly, I am also enjoying lactose-free milk. Thanks, world.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Depression and Generosity

The past week hasn't really been happy fun times at Amy central.

Nearly Perfect Lashes: Maybelline Full N Soft Very Black Review and Swatches

There are many things about my appearance that I might change, given the choice (not having to pluck my brows would be great, not to mention some way to fix my skin!), but my lashes are not one of them. They're long, dark, thick, and hardy. They are not, however, particularly curly, but I have my kickass lash curler for that. My goal when using mascara is to lengthen, separate, and darken yet further, since in the course of applying eyeshadow and face powder I inevitably end up with product on my lashes. There's a lot of things I don't want, including (but probably not limited to) crunchy lashes, clumps, sad spindly lashes, smudges, flakes, and jabby mascara wands; my goal is always my lashes but better, natural and believable. My absolute HG mascara is Armani Eyes to Kill, but at $30 a tube, it's not something I can repurchase lightly, so when it finally dried up on me I decided to start hunting for a cheaper alternative. I picked up Maybelline Full N Soft, as I remembered liking it when I used it several years ago, apparently forgetting about the 3 sample tubes of mascara I have waiting for me to try. Ah well, at least I used +Up rewards so it ended up being free...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Manicure Monday

I got through 6 unworns this week! Yippee!

Sinful Colors What's Your Number
I got this awhile back to use in nail polish jewelry for galaxies, but hadn't yet worn it. It's a really nicely opaque black with duochrome shimmers that shift from turquoise to purple. You can see the shimmer inside, though the duochrome is really only evident in the sun when you tilt your nails. Formula was good, opaque in two coats, though I had noticeable tipwear after less than a day (see photo).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fragrance Friday

Another week nearly done. Fridays are my hell days, but at least tomorrow is the weekend! Things I've worn this week and found particularly noteworthy, many of which are very rose-centric, because it turns out I like some (but definitely not all) rose perfumes:

L'Artisan Safran Troublant (Oriental Spicy: passion flower, sandalwood, rose, vanilla, saffron, sugar, ginger): Tried this because Ari of Scents of Self loves it, and I must say I agree. It's really a gorgeous scent, a soft oriental rose, all sweet and friendly and just beautiful. Not interesting enough to be HG for me, but definitely one I would deem FB worthy if I had the money. As it is, I'll continue ordering samples of it from Aedes, my perfume heroes.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady (Oriental Floral: rose, raspberry, patchouli, incense, sandalwood, clove, black currant, cinnamon, benzoin, amber, musk): Got this to try and see if I like rose and patchouli together; based on a sample size of 1, I'll have to say no. The first couple hours are just PATCHOULI of the earthy sort (and being a native Eugenean, I am well familiar with patchouli, but I can't say I love it on its own), and over time the rose becomes more apparent, but it's the sharp kind of rose I don't love. Not a success for me, but maybe it would be better sprayed (I just dabbed it). We'll see.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lippies Experiment: More FOTDs!

I've been making good progress through my lippies this month; I haven't been great about photographing all of them, so this post is a little lacking in photos (4 days missing, my bad), but I have included notes about what I wore.

Wednesday, October 10

Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm 04 Coral Pink, NARS Deep Throat, Too Faced Heaven, Honey Pot, WNW Comfort Zone 3rd green, Laura Mercier mascara. This was a nice warm but natural summer look, for one of the last sunny days (though shockingly, it was sunny yesterday and today as well! The sun hasn't abandoned us yet!). The Clarins gloss is really comfortable, albeit none too long-lasting, and very natural. The WNW green shadow was intended to match my shirt, but I found the texture to be dry and it really didn't want to apply evenly. Now I'm on the hunt for a good green palette! Suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lashes as Curly as My Hair: Shiseido Eyelash Curler Review and Pictures

Okay, quick rundown of my lashes: They're long, dark, thick, but lacking in curl (because apparently my hair stole the whole allotment), and I find that unless I curl my lashes with a dedicated curler, they bump against my glasses lenses endlessly. I used to use Tarte's curler, because I would buy it in the duo with the mascara mini, which my mother adores, but I've been feeling like trying something else and leaving the Tarte one behind on the East Coast somewhere gave me kick in the butt I needed to find something new. (I've also tried Revlon curlers in the past, but found them to be lacking.) At Larie's suggestion, I opted for Shiseido's over Shu Uemura's, because of the refillable pads, not to mention the fact that I could just jaunt right down to the mall and pick it up, rather than having to wait for shipping. Herewith, my thoughts.
A super-artsy shot by yours truly

Monday, October 15, 2012

Manicure Monday

More manicures! This is going to be brief, again, because I have a bunch of quizzes to grade and a sure-to-be-confusing syntax article to read (the life of a grad student is just an endless party, y'all).

OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest
I caved and bought this when I spotted it in New York. Yes, I hate OPI's terrible punny names, but the color is SO GORGEOUS. And after using it, I have to say the OPI formula (okay, based on a sample size of 1, so take it with a grain of salt) is fantastic. I will be paying more attention to their other collections now! And I will be wearing this polish all the freaking time.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Guest Post at Eye Heart It!

Hey! Y'all should go check out my guest post (Polishes for a Rainy Day) on Eye Heart It! Larie is honeymooning and asked me to fill in for a day, which I of course gladly did, since Eye Heart It is one of my blogging ideals, and Larie is just the loveliest person. A teaser:
DUOCHROMES!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fragrance Friday

A bunch of quick reviews, because I'm too busy to be my normal verbose self (at least, for some of these scents!). This week's focus is indie fragrance oils, with a couple rose-focused niche perfumes thrown in for good measure.

Solstice Scents Manor* perfume oil (woody-vanilla musk, vanilla, oud x2): Delicious vanilla-woods-oud, impressive longevity, gorgeous scent, I adore. I have a sizable order planned from Solstice Scents for next month! (I'm hoping to be able to take the last couple weeks of this month reacquainting myself with my [frighteningly large] sample collection.)

Amouage Epic Woman (Oriental Floral: caraway, pink pepper, cinnamon, rose, geranium, jasmine, tea, amber, vanilla, incense, orris root, patchouli, oud): The last Amouage female scent available at Aedes I had left to try! This is a rose oud, and a very opulent one at that. I'm pretty terrible at describing Amouage scents, because they always have so much going on, but basically, it starts out being quite rose-heavy, but it's the sharp kind of rose I don't get along with well. Then it segues into a rose-oud balance, which is quite nice and reminds me of By Kilian Rose Oud, L'Artisan Safran Troublant, and the like, before becoming pretty much pure oud, with that slight acridity that oud sometimes has. I've only worn it the one time, and that only dabbed, so we'll see how I feel when it's sprayed, but at this point I prefer Amouage's other rose-centric perfume, Lyric, not to mention Rose Oud/Safran Troublant. Memoir Woman is the only Amouage that I really, really like, but I (sadly? or happily, given how expensive they are?) don't think I love any of them at this point. Yet more evidence that I am not a true perfumista! *sob*

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Lippies Experiment: FOTDs

I've been making some progress in wearing all my lippies this month. Here's the looks I've done the past week-plus! Only...a lot of lippies left.

Tuesday:

I started with Tarte LipSurgence in Glitzy, the only LipSurgence left in my collection. I'd held on to it because I didn't have anything else like it––it's a beigey pink base with gold glitter––but it's also a shade I definitely have to work around to not have it clash on my face. I wore Maybelline Barely Beige, L'Oreal Iced Latte, and L'Oreal Bronzed Taupe on my eyes and NYX Marbella blush on my cheeks, and I quite liked the warmer-but-still-natural look. Unfortunately, the LipSurgence cap cracked sometime during the day, and that, coupled with the gritty feeling (and the fact that it's not actually all that different looking on than Le Métier Purple Haze) has led me to put it in the discard pile.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Manicure Monday

Yay, yet another alliterative feature on the blog! Manicure Mondays are when I plan to show the previously-unshown polishes in my collection that I've managed to wear the week before. This past week I only wore 2, and each only for a day, because pretty much from Thursday on I was completely swamped in work. But the two I wore are super gorge! And both discontinued and somewhat HTF. Sorry.

Sally Hansen Nail Prisms in Golden Tourmaline
A red holo! The pigmentation on this is insane––this is one coat. ONE COAT. FOR A HOLO. Not to mention IT'S A RED HOLO! It's not as holographic as others from the line, but I'm willing to forgive it because it's red and so pigmented. I took these pictures a day after I applied it (well, okay, more like 18 hours), and it was already showing tipwear, but that may be due to my crappy nails or the base/top coat I used. I love it no less. (Also, most MMs will be taken the day after application, which helps give some idea of how well the polish wears, but I apologize for the inevitable tipwear-filled photos!)

Inglot EOTDs

These are a little belated, as I'm generally pretty harried in the morning so I don't remember to take photos, but I managed to get my act together 3 days, so here they are! I've made note of what I wore where; all looks feature lashes curled courtesy of Shiseido's lash curler and Maybelline Full N Soft mascara.

Look 1: The Pretty Peacock
Maybelline Barely Beige Color Tattoo as base, Inglot 352 all over, 415 above the crease, 428 in the crease and outer corner, 391 along lash line. I like this because it's colorful without being over-the-top, and I love how the duochrome in 415 makes it look like I'm wearing green in it, too!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fragrance Friday (A Mini Episode)

It's week 2 of classes (week 1 of teaching), and I've already got more to do than there is time in the day, so this is the quick-and-dirty version of Fragrance Friday, just covering the new fragrances I happen to remember in some detail.

Parfums de Nicolaï New York (Woody Spicy: bergamot, cloves, lavender, lemon, green notes, thyme, cinnamon, pepper, paprika, patchouli, cedar, amber, vanilla, leather): Reminds me of Guerlain Derby and Habit Rouge, both of which I love. Clearly I have a thing for men's perfumes. Crazy longevity! Don't like the citrus top notes (too screechy), but they disappear after a few minutes leaving behind the lovely leather-musk-amber-moss base.
Hanae Mori Butterfly (Oriental: blackcurrant, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, peony, sandalwood, cedar, rosewood, almond): mostly vanilla, a bit of berry. reminds me a lot of Pacifica Island Vanilla, which I like better because it's just straight-up vanilla, none of that berry crap. Still, very inoffensive, even for someone like me who tends to hate berry gourmands.
L'Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons (Floral: tuberose, orange blossom, lime blossom, white flowers, jasmine): Tuberose-lite. A pollen-y, soft rendition of tuberose, which balances the voluptuousness and character of tuberose with a more traditional floral feel, making it a nice starter tuberose (and also a floral I can wear, as I find most traditional florals unbearably...floral). Disappointing longevity, but the scent while it lasts is lovely.
Arquiste Anima Dulcis (Oriental Vanilla: cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, chili): Smoky gourmand incense (I don't care what the notes list says, this has incense!) to start with, becomes softer and sweeter but still complex over time. Really, really lovely. Arquiste keeps knocking me off my feet!
Chanel Coromandel (Oriental Woody: benzoin, woods, incense, patchouli, vanilla, musk, orange, neroli, olibanum, orris, citrus, rose, jasmine): Really complex to start (though I was rather frazzled this morning when I put it on, so I can't recall any details––will update with more details once I wear it again), then becomes a nice cozy amber, somewhat friendlier than Ambre Sultan but not different enough to own both, barring the opening.
Haus of Gloi Picaroon: The lovely Larie sent me a wonderful little package (including a pink blush!!!) and included several indie perfume samples––she knows me too well :) I dabbed this on last night before bed, and dozed off happily sniffing my arm. Picaroon smells like lemongrass and coconut and lime, very tropical and delicious (Liz, this is another case of "perfumes that smell like things I want to eat", and seriously, it's delightful). It lasted ~8 hours on me, impressive for an oil-based perfume, and smelled woodsier and less citrusy when I woke up this morning (at 6:15, because my life on Fridays sucks). A definite success!

What have you been wearing this week?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Revlon Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti Review and Swatches

Another Lip Butter! This one I got because I felt I should have an orange lippie, even though I tend to look atrocious in orange, and even though the whole tangerine craze is rather done now. I'm rather behind the times––though I will say I was wearing leggings as pants when I was only 6 years old. (That doesn't mean I approve of the practice nowadays.)
One swipe Tutti Frutti

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Face Cleansing

Hey, look, Tip Tuesday's back! For at least today––don't count on it becoming a frequent feature. But this is just such a perfect Tip Tuesday topic that I couldn't resist!
image via Philosophy

I use oil cleanser at night to remove my makeup, then double cleanse with Philosophy Purity. Purity claims to be a makeup remover as well as cleanser, but I like to be extra sure that I'm getting rid of everything. However, when I went back east, I didn't have an oil cleanser, so I had to make do with just Purity. I'd read somewhere (don't remember where, my apologies!) that you should always massage cleanser onto dry skin before getting your hands wet and washing it off, much as you do with oil cleansing. Turns out, it works like a charm! I found I had to use about twice as much cleanser as usual to cover my face sufficiently before getting it wet, and I always double cleansed it with another dollop of Purity after rinsing the first batch off, but the end result was completely makeup-free skin. I don't know if that would work for all cleansers, as I've only tried it with Purity, but it's certainly worth giving a shot. It's cheaper to do oil cleansing followed by normal cleanser than to do this method ($7.50/month vs. $10/month), but if you use a cheaper cleanser than Purity that may not be the case, and it's certainly a good tip to have in your back pocket should you ever find yourself without your normal makeup removing products!

Do you apply cleanser to dry skin? How has it worked for you?

Monday, October 1, 2012

October: A Month for Lips and Nails

I've given myself a couple of goals for this month. I feel like my stash has gotten to the size that I don't use everything regularly, and I want to rectify that, so my plan is thus:

I will wear every one of my lippies at least one day this month. I don't have more than 31 (in fact, it appears I have 16, so I could do everything nearly twice!), so this should be doable! I'll try and take FOTDs with them, and hope that it will force me to branch out of my usual product routines––I'll often do blush and eyeshadow before thinking about my lips, and be unable to wear, say, a warm-toned lippie because I've already done cool-toned everything else. We'll see how it goes!

I will also go through and swatch/wear all the polishes I haven't yet posted about on the blog, shown in the picture above. This doesn't include polishes I bought just for polish jewelry (crackles), but everything else will be worn! And if I hate how it looks, or don't like the formula, or can't imagine myself actually opting to wear it, well, into the give-away drawer it goes. So you can expect to see a lot more polish posts this month! I doubt I'll be able to make it through all my unworn polishes, but I tend to change my polish every other day, so I should be able to get through a dozen, maybe more if there's any that I end up hating and remove right away.

What are your beauty goals for October?
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