Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More NARS lip color swatches

I posted recently about my obsession with Nars's new satin and gloss lip crayons.  I got a few more since that post and thought I'd share the colors with you.  In the glosses I got three colors - Club Mix, Mexican Rose and Happy Days.  Since they're glosses they're a little more sheer than the Satin or Matte textures, so if you want to try some brights but you're not ready for an opaque bright, these may be just what you want. The darkest is Club Mix. It's a brown-red mix, and I was surprised at how dark it went on for a gloss.

The medium color shade is named Mexican Rose, which I think is my favorite.  It's a lovely pink-rose shade, and it makes your lips look so luscious.

The palest shade is Happy Days, a nice pale peach gloss.  I don't have any photos of it on me yet, but you can tell that it's the first one of the swatches.  These are all so pretty and perfect with summer.  They'll look even better once I get my fake tan!  I have a few more bright, opaque lip colors coming up in a post, for all of you who like to be full-on bright.
I hope that all of you had a good Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What are your favorite things to win in a giveaway?

I'm planning to do my first giveaway on here.  I thought a beauty product would be the best thing, since that's what I write about most often, but I can't decide what one.  So I thought I'd ask all of you.  What would be your favorite type of product to win?  Eye liner? Lipstick? Eye shadow?  Please leave a comment and let me know.  Once I see what people like best then I'll write up a post for the giveaway.  Thanks, everyone!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NARS and Urban Decay lip pencil swatches

It's the time of the year for bright and light lip color, and I'm trying out a fun new way of applying them. I first bought one of NARS lip pencils/crayons a year or two ago (can't remember).  That was a matte pencil.  This year they came out with their satin lip pencils, and they've been very popular.  Almost everyone I talked to loved Yu, their bright pink one.  Since I already had several bright pink lipsticks, I told myself I didn't need more, so I bought another matte one in a dark pinkish-red (Never Say Never, the name of a classic 80's song by Romeo Void).  It was a nice color, but a little drying. Easy enough to remedy - I just put lip gloss over it.  But the idea behind these is that it's an all-in-one product, it should be good enough by itself.  So I decided to experiment with a Velvet gloss one named Baroque (a sheer brownish-red), and a Satin one in a dark fuschia named Luxemborg.  

Never Say Never matte lip pencil  taken on my iPhone and pretty blurry

Never Say Never matte finish pencil (see above also)

Nars Baroque, a gloss finish pencil, and Luxemborg, a Satin finish pencil

NARS Velvet Gloss lip pencil in Baroque

And of course, I broke down and bought the bright pink Yu.  It's the bottom swatch on my hand.

NARS Satin finish in Yu (sorry, another phone photo.  So hard to focus it on yourself  AND click the button while holding the phone!

And then I saw that Urban Decay had similar "fat pencils" that were $6 less than the NARS ones, so I bought 2 of those to compare.  The Urban Decay ones don't come in the different varieties of finishes (yet).  They're all "super-saturated high gloss" finishes.  It takes a minute bit more force to put them on than the NARS, but that's about the only difference in application.  They're a little tackier than the NARS Velvet Gloss ones in texture.  They both look fabulous.  I am crazy for these lip pencils!!  So easy to put on, and such gorgeous colors.  The photos below show a NARS Velvet Gloss pencil on my top lip and an Urban Decay one on the bottom lip.  The colors aren't meant to be similar - the top one is darker.  But look how luscious they both make my lips look!

NARS Baroque Velvet Gloss pencil on top lip, Urban Decay Love Child pencil on bottom.   Same for the next 2 photos.

Here are swatches of 3 of the NARS pencils and 2 Urban Decay pencils:

From left to right, COUNTER-clockwise:  Nars Gloss Baroque, Nars Satin Luxemborg, Nars Satin Yu, Urban Decay in Crush, Urban Decay in LoveChild

And here's a look at Urban Decay's bright pink, Crush, on my lips.

Urban Decay lip pencil in Crush

Another thing to note about the Urban Decay pencils is that some have metallic in them, making them extra-pretty.
Now, the few downsides to these other than price.  First, I find them harder to apply without a mirror than regular lipstick.  First, the line you are drawing is thinner, and therefore has to be more exact, and second, I've been putting on lipstick for decades, so it comes more naturally.
The second downside is the need for sharpening the pencils.   The Urban Decay ones seem to need sharpening more often, probably because they're glossier.  I used Lovechild only two times before it needed sharpened.  And that's not "it would be better if sharpened but it still is usable".  It was a "I can't use this again until I sharpen it."  Not a big problem at home, but what if you're out.
Those negatives aren't so bad that I won't buy the pencils (I have ordered more already), but I will think about how sharp they are and how long I'm going to be out before I choose to wear them.
Overall, I really love them, and I highly recommend them.  Buy one!  Or all of them!  You'll be glad that you did.
They're available at Sephora, at each company's web site, and possibly at other stores  (Nordstrom online has the NARS pencils)..

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This is fascinating

Did any of you go to the Kentucky Derby last weekend?  Or watch it on TV?  I didn't do either, but I did go on Instagram to check out the hats and fascinators that the women wore.  If you're not familiar with the "hat tradition", it's a tradition for people to wear the wildest, craziest hats they have to the Kentucky Derby.  I LOVE hats, and fascinators.  Fascinators are head pieces, usually something attached to a headband, and  usually off to one side of the head.  They are more popular in the U.K. than the U.S., but they are becoming more common here in the states.  So many people admire the style of Kate Middleton, and she wears them.  You can wear a stylish type like she wears, or indulge your creative side and wear one that's more unusual. They’re the perfect thing to wear to a spring or summer wedding, or an evening cocktail party.  They don’t cover your head as much as a regular hat, so they won’t give you "hat head", and it’s acceptable to keep them on throughout an event.
Still, for many women dressy hats and fascinators are the least utilized fashion accessories.  The prospect of wearing something bright, embellished or feathery on our heads for the first time is enough to make some women nervous and self-conscious.  So they stick to the safe route of not wearing anything.  We don’t want to be noticed TOO MUCH!  Why not?  Don’t we want people to look at us and think “she’s so sophisticated” or “she’s got great style”?  Or even better, “she looks like Kate Middleton”. I’d take that compliment any day! 
My style runs from sophisticated and elegant to fun and out there.  The nice thing about headpieces/hats is that there’s a style for everyone.  And you don't have to worry that they won't have one in your size. I’ve been exploring a variety of special occasion hats and fascinators on the website of one of the U.K.’s biggest department stores, House of Fraser.  Below are some examples of the kind of fascinators they have.  There are A LOT of them, so if you don't see one you like below, click the link here to look at more.  Have fun with your style, and be confident.  That IS something that people find fascinating.

  1. Madelyn black pillbox cocktail hat, Phase Eight.  Similar to this one from Jane Taylor
  2.  Spotted pillbox, Untold
  3. Purple quill fascinator, similar Here
  4.  Aurora fascinator, Phase Eight
  5. Alexon disc fascinator
  6. Red feather flower fascinator, Precis Petite 
  7. Cecily hat, Hobbs Invitation 
  8. Wavy flower saucer, Kaliko
  9. Lace covered pillbox with feather, Untold

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

If you can't wear high heels, you can still have fun with shoes

The other night I was reading some of my favorite blogs, and then started reading Elle magazine.  I saw several really amazing-good pairs of shoes, almost all of them high heeled.  I do occasionally wear high heels, but I'm not supposed to. Seven years ago I had a herniated, bulging disc in my back that was pressing on my sciatic nerve.  The doctors tried different things to alleviate the pain, and when none worked very well I had surgery.  Unfortunately, like many people, the surgery didn't completely alleviate the pain.  My Dr. gave me a list of things to do and not to do, and you guessed it, one of the "don't do's" was wearing high heels.  This past year my left knee has started to bother me also, and from the reading that I've done on my condition, once again, high heels are to be avoided.
This sometimes really depresses me.  I love fashion.  I've always enjoyed finding a killer pair of shoes and knowing how good they look on me.  And now that's been taken away.  **sigh**  While I was thinking my depressed thoughts, a thought popped into my head (honest - I do occasionally get some of those).  Aren't there fun or maybe even sexy shoes without much of a heel?  I decided to do some sleuthing.  What I had in mind was something like this first pair, but without the heel.  (I might have even gone for these despite the heel had they not been $225.00.)

Ted Baker, Lissome
I liked these Born shoes - specifically the purple straps.  Purple is one of my favorite colors, and Born shoes are supposed to comfortable.  The blue flats with the ribbon were cute, too.
Born, Joya

Born, Marnee
Then there's my go to brand when I want something funky - Doc Martens.  I always get their boots, but now they have some pretty cool shoes, too.
Dr. Martens, Ceri Brogue

Dr. Martens, Hackney
How cute are the pink boots with the smiley face on them, and the tongue sticking out on one of them?

Dr. Martens, Hincky
And these floral ones are so perfect for spring!  They have them in yellow, too (and now so do I).
Dr. Martens 1460 Pink floral leather
Then there's Birkenstocks. I've never owned a pair but have heard a lot of good things about them.  Right now I'm debating on buying a pair.  I know that they're not the trendiest or funkiest shoes, but some of them come in nice colors and styles, like the fuschia ones below.  And as I've learned the hard way, good shoes can be really important and save you a lot of pain later in life.
I'm wondering if any of you have worn Birkenstocks?  If so, do you think they're worth the price?
Birkenstock, Turin
Then there are the metallic flats.  Metallics are in this spring in general, so a pair of metallic shoes sounds like a good idea.

Lucky Brand, Emmie

These Superga shoes had two big pluses for me - metallic AND studs.  And I've heard they're very comfortable.  I had to try them, but I had a hard time deciding between the regular ones and the high tops.  (High tops are back, if you haven't noticed.)  I finally ordered the regulars (from Zappos), but I'm still not sure if maybe I should have gotten the high tops.  Regardless, I got the regular ones today and LOVE them.  The metallic fabric will need a little breaking in, but even with the first wear they were comfortable (with socks) and looked SO cool!!  I'm a happy camper! (In a manner of speaking.  I actually hate camping, but there's that phrase... you know what I mean.)
Superga lame studs (they're not Lame as in pathetic, but rather lamaa fabric. I don't know how to put the accent above the a. Neither did Zappos.)
Superga lame hi-tops studded
And last, I had to include these Doc Martens just because they're the most gorgeous color purple!
Dr. Martens 1460 purple patent leather
So, there are some good examples of flat shoes that are still unusual, cool and/or fun. Do you have any other suggestions?  I must say the Superga studded shoes made me feel like ME again.  At last I have some hope that I can still be stylish and cool even in middle-age.  I do have a question for all of you - does anyone out there wear Havaiana's?  I can't figure out what the big deal is about them.  They're fine-looking, but don't look much different from any other flip-flops I've seen.  And their price seems a bit high for what they are.  Am I missing something?