Wednesday, April 27, 2011

There is a fashion pulse in Pittsburgh, PA!

When people think of Pittsburgh, fashion isn't the first thing that comes to mind.  And if you're a Pittsburgher looking for high-end fashion, you'll likely go to Ross Park Mall or the boutiques in Shadyside or Squirrel Hill.  If, like me, you live an hour north of the city, you don't have many choices for fashion shopping.  Thank God there is a Target in Cranberry, and a TJ Maxx AND Marshall's.  I'm happy to shop at all 3 of those stores, but I've been missing the funky boutiques that I'd gotten used to in Southern California. 
Yesterday I went to my favorite store that doesn't sell clothes - the book store.  When I left I decided to walk down to the end of the plaza to check out a store called the Planet Pulse.  I could tell from it's window displays that their target market was tweens, teens, and early 20's people.  The store looked small, so I'd never went in before, thinking it wouldn't have anything for a women over 30.  I was very pleasantly surprised when I went in.  The store front is small, but the space is deep, so it had much more room than I'd expected.  It looked just like the funky boutiques I'd frequented in California.  Aside from the clothes, it had shoes, a sprinkling of hand bags, and lots of fun extras like cards, bumper stickers, air fresheners, magazines, etc..  It even had a bench to sit on to look at magazines!  The clothes were mostly casual, but there was a rack of dresses suitable for a night out.  A lot of denim, and actually I think there were more clothes for men than women.  Which made sense once I found out it's owned by a man.  An eco-friendly man, at that.  There are green products as well as much of the store being made from repurposed goods.
So if you're north of the city of Pittsburgh and are looking for something different to wear or even just a fun place to window shop, check out The Planet Pulse.  Lots to look at, lots to laugh at, and good fashion, too.  Finally, the family friendly northern 'burbs are getting fashionable.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

eye shadow - the ultimate difference maker?

Next up in my experiment was eye shadow.  To be true to the criteria I've given myself, I didn't put on mascara, just eyeshadow and pencil liner.  I used Laura Mercier's smoky grey on the lids and crease, Stila's "Kitten" for a highlight under the arch of my brows, and MAC pencil in Mystery (black).  To be honest, I was surprised by what a difference it made.  Even with a new glowing red zit on my cheek, and no lipstick, I liked the way I looked.  In the past I've often skipped eyeshadow when I was in a hurry or just feeling lazy, but I'll think twice before I do that again.  Here's the eyeshadow example, with the bare face next to it for comparison.  

no make-up

Laura Mercier smoky grey eyeshadow, Stila kitten eyeshadow, MAC Kohl Power pencil in Mystery (black) 

Concealer only (Make-Up Forever #4)

Coming up, foundation.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pittsburgh Fashion Week Take 2

Tomorrow I'm going to my first volunteer meeting for Pittsburgh's Fashion Week 2011.  Yes, we're determined to be a city that has more going on culturally than just winning sports teams.  Of course, we already ARE that city, it's just getting the world to know it.  Pittsburgh has some industries that are very cutting-edge and well-respected within that industry (think Carnegie Mellon University, and most of Pittsburgh's hospitals) But there are other areas that some of us are trying to push more to the forefront, and fashion is one of them.  Last year, Miyoshi Anderson spearheaded a group that created the first ever Pittsburgh Fashion Week.  This year, she's doing it again.  I'm very excited to be a part of it this year.  (Last year all that I did was take pictures, see posts from Sept. 2010.)  I love fashion, and I love my hometown, & I especially would love to see my hometown become a little more hip and well-known in the area of fashion.  So I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Next essential item - concealer!

Since it seems that I am going to continue breaking out until the day I die, concealer is an absolute must for me.  I suppose it doesn't make me look more polished, but it does make me feel more confident if I don't have bright red acne spots that are visible to everyone!  So although I may not look noticeably different in this picture, the lack of red spots makes me look better and younger.  If you don't believe it, experiment on yourself - cover ANY red spots, including areas around your nose and mouth, as well as dark circles under your eyes with a GOOD concealer.  It should be one shade lighter than your natural skin tone, and it should also be in the same "color", ie:  if you have blueish or yellow undertones, your ideal concealer will be different than someone with reddish undertones.  The concealer that I put under my eyes is totally different from the color that my sister needs for hers.  If you have no idea what I mean by undertones, go to a make-up artist in a department store or a MAC store.
Make-up Forever concealer #4
bare-face, no make-up

mascara only - L'Oreal Voluminous Black
Lipstick only - MAC Wild 'Bout You

So, any opinions?  Which ones make the best difference?  (Not the biggest difference, but the best.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 2nd product in my experiment...mascara

I've read that most women say their "must have" beauty product is mascara, so I made that my second experiment.  There is more emphasis on lash products now than ever, but I know from experience that just mascara isn't enough for me to feel like I look good.  Regardless, here it is.  I curled my upper lashes with a Shu Uemura curler, then used 2 coats of L'Oreal's Voluminous mascara in black.  Once again, I'm posting the original picture with no make-up at all and then the photo with mascara only.  I'm also posting the lipstick only photo so we can compare all three.  What do you think? 
*********I'd love to get some responses and have a "winner" each time, so please comment!*******
no make-up

Mascara only (L'Oreal Voluminous)
Lipstick only, MAC Wild 'Bout You

Monday, April 11, 2011

Smith's Rosebud Salve just got better

I've put some kind of lip salve or balm on my lips before I go to sleep each night for as long as I can remember.  A few years ago I started using Smith's rosebud salve.  It's super-moisturizing, smells good, and doesn't have any taste (why would I want something that tasted good?  I'd lick it off, and isn't that the opposite of what I want it for?).  The only problem with most salves is that they come in a tin that you have to stick your finger in to get it out.  Depending on where your hands have been, I'd think bacteria could be a problem in that scenario.
So imagine my happiness when I found the same great salve in a tube that I can squeeze onto my lips!  And for the same low price at Sephora (I think it's $6.00).  This is one of the best products ever.  If you've never tried it, you should!  The only problem is that it's addictive.  It feels so good that I just want to keep putting it on!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The first one is lipstick

I've always thought lipstick, especially a bold color, added instant polish.  It makes a woman look like she took more time grooming than she actually did.  So I decided this would be my first item to try out for my "one best thing" experiment.
I chose MAC's "Wild 'Bout You" shade, a dark berry with a matte finish - limited edition from 2006.  Obviously I don't follow the suggestions to throw out your makeup after certain time periods.  How can I when it's not available anymore?
So here's the picture from 2 angles.  One picture has the nice pink bathroom lighting, and for the other I color corrected it to get rid of the nice pink light, just to be brutally honest.  It does seem to me like it dresses up my look a lot from a plain, no-lipstick face.  I'm still self-conscious about the zits, big pores and blotchy red spots on my skin, though.  For ease of comparison I put the first "no make-up" picture at the bottom.
Lipstick only - no concealer, foundation, etc.

Lipstick only with harsh natural light
Bare face - nothing but a smile!

Friday, April 8, 2011

What beauty tool or cosmetic makes the biggest difference?

If you had to name the one thing you could do to change your looks for the better, what would it be?  I hear many women carry mascara as their "must have" cosmetic.  I've always been a lipstick woman, preferably red.  But I've started wondering if there is something else that should be me one go-to thing if I only have a few minutes.  So I've decided to do an experiment.  I start out with a picture of me with hair pulled back, no make-up, no jewelry.  Then I add 1 thing and take a picture, then another day I add 1 different thing and take a picture.  And at the end of it all maybe I'll know which does make the biggest change for the better.
I'm even going to be brave and share my experiment with you.  First off, here's my bare me photo.  Hopefully you can see that my skin is kind of blotchy - lots of red dry spots after this winter, and being a natural blonde, my eyelashes are light so without mascara my eyes don't draw much attention.  I'm not young enough to have perfect, line free skin, but not so old that I no longer break out every month.  So I've got lots that I think I need to cover up or enhance.  Feel free to share your opinions if any of you have tried similar experiments.