Monday, January 27, 2014

Deep purple (lips, that is)

Radiant Orchid may be the color of the year, but in lipstick circles, dark purple is very popular right now.  I've always loved purple lipstick.  My favorite was MAC's Rebel, but I longed for one that was just a little bit darker.  For that reason, this winter has been great for me.  MAC alone has come out with several dark purples, and Urban Decay and NARS have added some, too.  I'm sure there are more, but I can only justify buying so many.
At the end of December MAC came out with the ultimate dark lipstick collection, Punk Couture.  I actually stayed up all night to make sure I got the ones that I wanted.  There was a dark purple, a blackish-purple, a reddish black, and a totally black lipstick.  I bought all but the black.  I've been through my serious punk phase already, and I knew I wouldn't wear it anywhere.

Here are a few of my favorite dark purple lipsticks and lip pencils.  When I wear dark lipsticks I sometimes like wearing a lip liner, as it's easier to get an accurate outline of your lips with a pencil.

Lining my lips with Riri loves MAC's Talk that Talk lip pencil

My lips with just the liner  
Far right, Instigator and Punk Couture swatches
Instigator, Punk Couture, and No Apologies lip gloss

Applying Punk Couture over lip liner

Punk Couture over Talk that Talk liner

Here is a link to another post I did with a great dark purple from MAC, Dominate

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Buy a better slipper

Lots of people give slippers for Christmas gifts.  If you're planning to do that, I have a few suggestions. First, find out what kind of slippers they like.  Most people have a preference - slip-ons, booties, slipper-socks, flip-flops... there are a lot of different kinds.  Also take into consideration how often they'll wear the slippers. Some people are rarely home and don't wear them often.  Other people, like me, are at home most of the time and wear their slippers all day and night.  For people like me, investing in good-quality slippers is worth the money.  Slippers with rubber soles last awhile and are great for walking out to the mailbox or garage.  If someone has any problems with their feet, back, or knees, slippers with arch support are almost necessary. With those things in mind, here's a few of my favorites.

My favorite brand right now is Acorn slippers.  Several of them have arch support, or very cushioned bottoms.  I bought their spa thongs and slides.  They're wonderful! So much softer than cheap slippers, but sturdier at the same time.  And washable, which is a requirement for me.

After wearing those during the summer, I was a fan, so I wanted something a little warmer for fall.  I saw a pair with a retro daisy print that I loved, and the reviews on Zappos were good.  I ordered those and just loved them!  They fit well, they have a strip of suede around the bottom, and a sturdy rubber sole on bottom.  Perfect for cooler weather, walking out on the deck, etc.  They don't seem to have as much cushioning as the spa slides and thongs, but are still comfortable.

When it got colder I ordered one more pair with a furry faux animal print around the top and side.  They are surprisingly warm.  I wear them with socks and my feet have been nice and warm even when the weather dips into the teens.

Another brand that gets rave reviews and are very cute are Haflingers.  They're a little pricey for me right now, but they're good for people with foot problems, and they have such cute designs.

Haflinger classic hard soles

Another cute, good quality brand is Giesswein's.  They're out of my price range, but they get rave reviews.
Giesswein Spital slipper
 Others that look comfortable and get good reviews are Minnetonka's moccasin slippers and Ugg slippers.  I can't speak to the arch support or cushioning in those, but at least they would be good quality.
Minnetonka Cally moccasin slippers

Ugg Cozy II

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Time to buy (and wear) sweaters!

One of the things about winter that I do enjoy is wearing sweaters. It's like wearing a cat - fluffy, warm, cozy, and comforting.  And if you choose well, stylish, too.  And with the temperatures where I live being in the negatives this week, I'm going to be wearing multiple sweaters. As I finish this post it's below zero outside. If you're still in the market to buy sweaters, January is a great time to do it.  Lots of sales!
Here are some photos of some of my favorites.  You might notice that most of them are from Kohls. I do have others from other places, but Kohls had my favorites.  If you're lucky a Kohls near you might still have them and they'll be on clearance!

Elle embellished sweater from Kohls. It's on clearance now!
A close-up of the beads on the Elle sweater. This is the gray version. The black one has white beads

LC Lauren Conrad sweater from Kohls. This sweater is so soft that I hate to take it off.

Another Lauren Conrad sweater with a beaded collar. I love it except that the beads weight the collar down and pull some of the inner collar out. It's also a bit uneven, as you can see.  Still, I liked it enough to keep it.

Open front cardigan from Monoreno on Hautelook
Paris sweater by Catherine Malendrino from Kohls

Knit and lace top by Catherine Malandrino from Kohls
Fuschia baby doll sweater by Daisy Fuentes and fuschia cardigan by 212 Collection both from Kohls
Black cable knit cardigan by Apt. 9 (Kohls)and Nerd sweater by Say What? (Marshalls)

Openwork sweaters by Rock and Republic (Kohls)
Do you have a favorite sweater?


Thursday, January 2, 2014

My favorite skin care products

I've never had perfect skin, being prone to monthly breakouts, but when I have no breakouts my skin looks very nice.  I have good genes on my side - my Mom has perfect skin. She has never needed foundation and still doesn't.  Both my Mom and Dad looked younger than their years for most of their lives.  Genetics have a great deal to do with having good skin, but using sun screen and skin care products is a must, too.  No matter how good your genes are, if you don't use sun screen and don't moisturize, etc., you skin will show it.

I don't need sunscreen every day, because some days I don't go outside, but I still have Clarins 50 SPF.  I grew up when people rarely wore sunscreen and we laid outside every chance we could to get a tan.  By the time I heard that I shouldn't do that, a lot of damage was already done (I was in my mid-thirties).  Still, at 50 years old, I don't have many fine lines or wrinkles.  The place where I see them the most is on my wrists, especially my left wrist.  All of those hours driving my car with no sunscreen on has made the left side of me look older than the right side!  Ugh.

My message for anyone young reading this is...  take care of your skin!!  You will be happy you did when you get to my age.  There are so many good products out now, but here are the ones that I've tried and/or like best right now.

1.  Retin-A.  Nothing beats it.  It helps acne (although it can't totally prevent it), and it helps fine lines.  The best kind is the one you get with a prescription from a dermatologist.

2.  Cleansers:  my favorite is from First Aid Beauty.  I've recently developed sensitive skin, so I have to be careful with my cleansers.  This one has a nice creamy formulation and it doesn't irritate my skin at all.  The creamy formula works very well with my Clarisonic, too.

3.  Speaking of Clarisonics, I like mine.  Since my skin was good to begin with, I can't say that it's helped anything, to be honest.  But I like using it, my skin feels cleaner when I use it.  I'd say if you have the money, get one, but if you don't, you're okay with your wash cloth.

4.  Skin serum.  I've been using Skinceuticals Phloretin CF, and I like it.  It's got a great reputation, and my skin doesn't seem to be aging too much, so I assume it's working.  I did try La Mer's Revitalizing Serum last spring.  It was nice and had great packaging, but I didn't notice any magic things happening with it, and for that price, I'd have to see some great things to justify buying it again.

5. Moisturizer.  I have Skinceuticals moisturizers for oily skin.  I don't need to use it every day, but when my skin feels tight after cleansing I use it. It's nice and lightweight, and a little goes a long way.  I can tell that it will easily last me for a year or longer.

6. Neck cream.  Depending on your age, you may or may not want to invest in this. If you do, I highly recommend Strivectin's TL neck cream.  I swear it really does tighten the skin on your jawline and neck.  Like most good anti-aging products, it's pricey, but for me it's worth it.  I also use their tightening face cream, although not every day.  I don't think I can rave about it quite as much for this reason.  If I can remember to use it more regularly I'll write another review.

7.  Eye cream.  I wish there was an eye cream that I could rave about and swear it works miracles, but alas I'm still not sure about any 1 product.  I only have very fine lines around my eyes, and no dark circles, so I suppose what I'm using is doing something good.  But I do notice that my skin is getting looser around my eyes, and so far none of the eye creams I've used seem to change that.  I used Kinerase Intensive Eye Cream for years, and liked it because it seemed to prevent any signs of aging. But once I noticed the skin getting looser, I started trying other things. I tried Kinerase's Restructure Firming Eye Cream, but didn't see any improvement. So I tried Skinceutical's Eye Cream.  That may have helped some, but not enough to make me thrilled.
Maybe I'm asking too much.  Maybe it's inevitable that the skin around the eyes will lose elasticity at some point no matter what you use.  But I'm not ready to give up the fight yet. I'll keep trying the best eye creams that I can afford.  I think if they work even somewhat, it's better than the money it would cost for an eye lift.

8.  Hand cream. If you want to look young as long as possible, you must use hand cream.  This is another area where I've just started noticing that my skin is getting looser and I'm losing some volume.  (Why is it that your hands get thinner as you age and everywhere else gets larger?)  I've tried several different hand creams but haven't noticed much difference.  I tried Strivectin's volumizing hand cream, since I love their neck cream, but I didn't see any difference in my hands. I've also tried Soap and Glory's Hand Food.  It's got a great scent, but otherwise it seems the same as other good hand creams (and by "good" I mean ones that are slightly thick that really moisturize your hands).  I also really like Korres Guava body butter for my hands.  Again it's not infused with any anti-aging ingredients, but it's very moisturizing.

9.  Body lotion/cream.  I have always put moisturizer on my feet at night.  I don't like the thin, watery kinds. I want a thick cream.  My favorite right now is Soap & Glory's The Righteous Butter.  It's relatively thick and smells great.  I don't actually use anything for the rest of my body, as I haven't felt the need yet.

10. Make up remover. This doesn't normally fall under the skin care category, but I've always used Pond's cold cream, and I think this has helped my eyes over the years.  My make up comes off without pulling at the skin, and it leaves a bit of the cream to moisturize your eyes.

11. Last but it shouldn't be least, lip care! For many years I used petroleum jelly, then I switched to Smith's Rosebud Salve.  I still like Smith's a lot, but lately I've been using Neutrogena lip balm during the day, and MAC's Lip Conditioner at night.  Also, Skinceuticals Lip Repair is very nice.

So, that's my round-up.  If any of you have different favorites, please comment and share.