Thursday, October 1, 2015


Happy October, beauty lovers! Just poppin' in to say that I'll be posting every day in October for Blog-tober! It's 31 days of beauty!
Monday, June 29, 2015

Paris Beauty Haul!

I have just returned from my 16 day honeymoon in Paris and I am going to be 100% honest with you when I say, I did NOT want to return home. I fell in love with the city and our neighborhood (Montmarte, we were living in our own personal Amelie movie!) and the lovely Parisian people. Everyone was kind to us, even when our French was terrible. But we tried and my French got better and better the more I practiced. I have pretty decent enunciation and the ability to accurately copy vocal sounds/placement, due to the fact that I sing classical music professionally, so sometimes, people thought that I did actually speak fluent French, until I started to look confused. Next time we go, my French will be much better.

My first order of business was to visit the Mothership of all Sephora Stores, the Champs-Élysées store. This is a HUGE store. Every beauty brand you could think of was in there...including Chanel and Mac for some reason. Half the store is dedicated to perfumes! It was crazy! The first thing I ran into was the By Terry display. By Terry is a luxury brand that I think you can buy at high-end department stores in the US, but not at Sephora. The By Terry Representative put the Hyaluronic Hydra Powder on my hand and I fell in love. The feeling of it was like...the softest baby's butt you've ever touched and it magically blurred out all of the imperfections on my skin. I walked around the store pretending to "think about it", but truthfully, she had already sold me that powder. I bought it and she gave me a few samples as well. It was about €44 which I think is a little cheaper than what you can get it for in the States, but this is still an expensive powder. 

It is basically a finishing powder, similar to the Nars Light Reflecting Setting Powder. I've personally never used that, but I have used the Makeup Forever version of this product and the By Terry powder is superior in my opinion. It is a product I believe you will probably only have to purchase once a year at the most because you only need a teeny tiny amount on your brush and you get a ton of product in the jar. The powder will look very white when you put it on your face initially, but will adjust to your skin tone and make your face look flawless. It is WELL worth it. If you are in Paris and are looking to buy this product, pick it up while you are here and save yourself a few bucks.

Sephora has been sold out of the YSL Tint-in-Oil in a few shades for a while. I walked by Marionnaud (which is a French beauty product store, like Ulta) and I was able to purchase two of the colors (No 5 and No 8, which are Red and Pink respectively) for about the same price (maybe a dollar more) and I got a free YSL mascara and a BUTTLOAD of samples, including the YSL Babydoll Mascara which I like very much! It is the first YSL Mascara I've tried and I'm very impressed. The mascara I got free with my purchase was the Faux Cils Shocking, which has mixed reviews on the Sephora website. I'll update after I've tried it. 

I also had to purchase some Bioderma. I mean...come on! I was in Paris and there were pharmacies everywhere! Spoiler alert: This stuff is incredible and lives up to all the hype. I've tried the Sephora micellar water and it's okay, but Bioderma blows that stuff out of the water. It doesn't smell like anything and it takes EVERYTHING OFF. If you are in Paris...STOCK UP ON THIS. I bought a back up, but I'll be sad when it runs out.

I also purchased the Roger and Gallet Rose Shower Cream because I ran out of my shower gel while I was in Paris. I absolutely fell in LOVE with this stuff! You can't buy it in the US at a store, but you can get it on Amazon for a plumped up price. I purchased a backup of this and I will cry when it's done. 

I got two Bourjois cream-to-powder eyeshadows from Monop' Beauty, which was down the street from our Paris apartment. They look pretty cool, but I haven't used them yet. But the colors are so pretty!

Lastly, I purchased the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm in the pot. It smells amazing. Feels good. Is going to last forever. I've been using this at night and it's great. The texture is a little strange and it takes some getting used to, but it's VERY moisturizing if used as a nightly balm treatment. You can get it on Amazon for $19, but if you are in Paris, you should get it there for €9 or €10. Seriously. 

I also purchased a backup of my Caudalié Beauty Elixir because it was €8 or something. Compared to $18, this is a STEAL. Get in my bag! I'm still not sure what this does, but it's amazing.

I was super excited to score some beauty products while I was in France! I brought back a few home things and coffee as well! What are your favorite European beauty products?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pink Flamingos - Beauty on the Stage

The past two months have been very busy for me! I have been working very hard in staging rehearsals for two different operas that I am currently singing in. I am a hardworking chorus girl in a young opera company in Boston called Odyssey Opera. Last year, I was very excited to be in the chorus of their last fully staged production and this year I am so honored to be back and singing in two productions! The first, Vaughn Williams', Sir John in Love tells the story of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor and it's hysterical.

In addition to Sir John, we are also performing Arthur Sullivan (without Gilbert!)'s very charming operetta; The Zoo. It's a pair of classic love stories with constant running commentary from the "British Public". Being that there are no actual animals in the show, the producers have decided that the chorus should be elaborately costumed as members of Victorian British society, but as caricatures of zoo animals. I happen to be cast as Miss Flamingo - she's very pink! And I am so happy to have the opportunity to wear some beautiful pink and fuchsia lip color to go with her gorgeous pink feathers.  I have mixed Bite Beauty's Quince with Palomino. I think the effect is terrific! Bite Beauty is in the opera! She also gets a gorgeous pink flush from Nars Starscape blush - a limited edition neon pink from their Christopher Kane Collection. It looks scary in the pan but it's the perfect flush!!! Get it while you can! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Product Review: Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette

The palette relative to the size of my hand. It's smaller than it looks online.
That title is a mouthful, I'm not even going to lie. When I first really started to get into makeup, I was (and still am) really into shimmer. Shimmer and glitter was the THANG. Urban Decay's Naked Palettes were like WHOA. But every now and again, a girl needs a matte eyeshadow. Whether it's a transition shade or you're just feeling not so sparkly that day, every girl should have a choice of matte shadows to choose from. If you wanted to, you could buy singles...or you could buy an all matte palette. I was very thrilled when I saw Tarte was releasing a palette just full of matte neutral colors. I think it is limited edition, but I can't be sure. 

Tarte was inspired by beauty bloggers/vloggers when it named the individual colors in the palette. If you are interested in who they are, you can read about it on Tarte's Website! It contains 12 beautiful matte neutral colors and is $44 available at Sephora and I wasn't sure I really wanted to check out this palette until I touched the shadows in the store. They are unbelievably creamy, buttery and soft. As soon as I touched it, it was in my basket and I was checking out. Ridiculous.

Thank you Tarte, for printing the names of the colors on the palette. Look at that reflection of me taking this pic. Amateur.
So, I'm going to be completely honest with you here...I almost returned this. I really struggled with this palette. I had trouble making the colors show up on my skin and I had a really hard time blending them. It was a mess. I kept the box around for days...weeks. Then, one day...I just decided to start really trying to figure out what the issue was.

I've never really used matte eyeshadows. Not really.

There is a serious learning curve when it comes to all matte eyeshadow looks. It does not blend the same or apply the same as eyeshadows that are satin, shimmer or glittery finish. It just doesn't. Sure, maybe you use one here and there to work with your look, but if you've never tried to work with ONLY matte eyeshadows and make your look happen, you'll be in for a rude awakening. It's a different animal and it's a whole different set of skills. Once I got around the idea that I needed to work with these differently, I really enjoyed this palette.

Swatches over primer in order from left to right, top to bottom.
Swatches over primer...different light
So, I think this palette is worth the money. You get a little instruction book to use with it that tells you how to do two different looks. For the sake of this review, I did the "Daytime" look, which used Caregiver (light pink) on the lid to the brow bone, Natural Beauty (Mauve) on the inner crease, Best Friend (Mulberry) on the outer crease and Bombshell (Dark Plum) to line the lid with a wet liner brush. I actually don't have an angled liner brush (Which I think would have worked better, it's on my wishlist!) I have a Sonia Kashuk pencil brush, which worked okay. I'm not a makeup artist, but I figured Tarte thought any old Beauty Blogger could do this look. I think the effect was pretty and natural. Especially since I love pinks and mauves. I have a hooded, almond shaped eye, so there isn't much real estate to really work with here, but I think I did an okay job for an amateur. If I can do one thing, it's follow directions.
Tarte's "Daytime" look from the Instructions. Did I do it right?
Close up of the look. Kinda pretty, right?
All of the colors watched beautifully and I had no issues with pigmentation. The only one that was a bit weak was Power Player (Taupe), but it's not terrible. I was VERY impressed by the Black (Fashionista). It's quite black and intense. I am going to enjoy using it as a liner or to do a smokey eye. The rest of the colors are quite pretty and this is a great palette for using on its own or as a go-to when you need a matte color in a look with shimmery colors too.

I've never had serious issues with Tarte Eyeshadows not being long wearing and the lasting power on these is good. I didn't find that there was any fallout with these shadows at all and they are not terribly powdery which is great. This is a nearly perfect matte palette. What do you think? Are you used to working with matte eyeshadows? Is it different than shimmer/satin/glitter finish eyeshadows?
Saturday, February 21, 2015

Product Review: Tarteist Clay Paint Liner

Having discovered the wonder of cream eyeliner this year, this product intrigued me. It was in a tube and came with a really nice looking brush. For those of you who don't know...gel or cream eyeliner typically comes in a glass pot that you use with a brush and you can apply it to your top eyelash line or anywhere really. Even your waterline, just be careful. There are some pretty good gel eyeliners at the drugstore, L'Oreal makes a lovely one as well as Milani and Maybelline. Benefit makes one in a pen form which is...not good. But I digress...

Tarte is one of my favorite high-end cosmetic brands. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know how I feel about the Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes. The Tarteist Clay Paint Liner is a cream liner in a tube. It comes with a very nice angled eyeliner brush, which is a very nice bonus. The brush is quite nice and I think Tarte is terrific for giving the brush with the product. This claims to be a waterproof cream liner, that wears for 12 hours. Tarte is really pushing that 12 hour time period, aren't they? It retails for $24 available at both Sephora and the Tarte Website.

The tube delivery system is really different and innovative. I found this to be a very sanitary way to use the product, provided that you don't squeeze out a ton of product on the easel.

Tarteist Clay Eyeliner and the included angled eyeliner brush

Product with the cap off

Squeeze the tube and a little bit comes out and you can work on your little eyeliner easel!

Hand swatches. It dries completely matte.
The angled brush that comes with the liner is really nice! There were a lot of reviews on the Sephora website that stated the brush didn't allow for a lot of accuracy, but I actually found the tip to be very precise. I was able to get a thin line at both ends of my liner and was able to build up the line in the middle. 

The product itself is quite liquidy for a cream liner. The liners that come in a pot are solid (but creamy, like peanut butter?) and this is most definitely a liquid. However, it is very creamy and is easy to pick up on the brush. It smoothed on to my lash line without tugging and very smoothly. Because it is so liquidy, it is not as opaque as a solid gel liner. If you let the liner dry a bit and go over it again, you will find it's very black and dries completely matte.

Once it sets (I left it alone for about 10 minutes), it is pretty much waterproof as it claims. I was able to smudge a bit of it off on my hand when I rubbed it. I am hardly ever doing this to my eye area so this didn't concern me. Did it wear 12 hours? Not sure...I wore it for about 9 hours and it was fine. At the end of the day, it was easy to remove with an oily eye makeup remover. But it doesn't come off easily with soap and water or facial cleanser. It's pretty waterproof...but you can smudge it.

The eyeliner applied on my top lid only
A view of both eyes done! I'm also wearing Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Blushing Bride and LipSurgence Lip Tint in Moody!
The Verdict: If you are a fan of gel or cream eyeliners...give this a try! It's a decent size for what it is and it comes with a really great brush that I'm happy to have in my collection.

Pros: Cool product delivery method, Comes with a brush, sanitary, matte, easy to apply, decent black pigmentation, waterproof, long-lasting

Cons: Liquid-like texture affects the opacity of the liner, not totally smudge proof

As I'm writing this review, this eyeliner is sold out on both Sephora's website and Tarte's website! Why do you think it's so popular? Do you want to try this? What is your favorite gel liner? Tell me in the comments!
Friday, February 20, 2015

Boston bad is it?

If you don't live in New England, you've probably been seeing some coverage in the news about how New England is having record-breaking amounts of snow this winter. Before the end of January, we were actually running a snow deficit. We looked winter in the eye and pointed our index fingers in its direction and laughed. Winter had been a cakewalk! Where was the snow? Sure it was kinda cold, but we were convinced we were going to get off scot-free.

And then blizzard Juno happened on January, 26. Okay, Winter, you showed us. We were asses to laugh at you. She dropped 2' of snow here in Boston and we were like...OKAY. That's cute, you can stop now.

On Groundhog Day, we got more. MUCH MORE. Every Sunday/Monday it seemed to blizzard with Mother Nature sprinkling annoying intermittent snow in between just to be a biotch. We went from Holiday Paradise from Frozen Hell in 23 Days. She dumped 58 or so MORE inches of snow on top of what was already there in three weeks. Plows drive by and just push snow to the side of the street and when you're pushing like 8' of snow to the side of the street, you basically replace a parking spot with snow so...

No Parking. No, seriously.

That snow needs like a thousand parking tickets.
Both sides of the streets now have snow, making the roads incredibly narrow and challenging for two lanes of traffic to exist on. You can only park on one side of the street in some places. My husband and I have taken to a game which is called: Snow Pile or Car? I believe some people have just given up. There's no place to park your chariot anyway once you get to where you're going. Boston is a challenging place to drive enough WITHOUT all the damn snow.
Is it a Car? Is it just a Snow Pile?
Can't drive? No problem! Just take the ever-so-reliable MBTA, the world's oldest public transport system! Well, guess what? There was so much crippled the poor MBTA. I've been living here for 20 years and for the first time in my memory, the MBTA (Otherwise known as the "T") just put up both its hands and shut it completely down. No buses. No Trains. No Ferries. No commuter rail. NOTHING. There is too much snow on the tracks, stuff is frozen and the T is completely crippled. The T usually can return to regular service if it's disrupted within a few hours, but officials from the MBTA are saying it could be 30 days or more (provided there isn't any more snow). Your commute which might have taken 30 minutes might take hours now. People are just walking instead to get to where they're going.

And you may have heard...Bostonians are going crazy and jumping out of windows into snow piles. It seems we are hoarding all the snow in the Nation. Someone better call A&E. 

Terrifyingly enough, we are getting rain and 46 degree temps on Sunday which scares the crap out of me because it's going to FREEZE EVERYTHING. WHY?!?! It's all become very depressing. You don't want to leave your house because temps are somewhere between 4 and 24˚ F with wind chills often below 0˚. Sidewalks are seriously treacherous. Because of the massive piles of snow and ice in intersections on sidewalks, my new paranoia is falling into the street as I attempt to cross. I wouldn't bat an eye at walking a mile under normal circumstances, but walking even around the block right now is a daunting proposition. I cannot begin to describe the misery and aggravation Bostonians feel on a daily basis. It feels like the snow will never melt and when it does, there will be a host of new problems with flooding, leaking, rust and road damage. Winter is not even close to being over and everyone in New England is counting the days until Spring in this currently 2nd Snowiest Winter in history. How is Winter where you live?

Keep Calm and bake more cookies...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Product Review: Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

Sephora always gets me with their little promotional emails, and when I saw there was a chance to try this new mascara before it was released, I jumped right on it. I am a mascara and blush junkie. I did like the They're Real mascara when it was first released (Read my review on that mascara here. I've found others that I've liked more since then, but it's still a nice mascara). I was excited to see how much I would enjoy Roller Lash.

Roller Lash will be officially for sale next Friday, the 27th of February (at 10:00AM Sharp!) and it will retail for $24. Frankly, this is quite expensive for a mascara, but considering the Better Than Sex mascara that Too Faced makes (which is my favorite right now) is $23, the price is consistent with the rest of Benefit's line. Right now, it is showing up on Sephora's website as VIB and VIB Rouge exclusive and I was able to add it to my shopping cart.

So...before I get into this review, you should know that this mascara claims to lift and curl lashes and they claim that the brush was inspired my old-school rollers. I haven't worn a roller in a long time, but I remember them...there's a bunch of rollers under this shower cap type hairdryer...

circa 1985?
So let me also preface this review by saying, I have very naturally curly eyelashes. It's just something you should know. I've never had to use an eyelash curler, except to un-curl my lashes in order to put on false lashes., which I hardly ever wear. So, I can't speak to whether this mascara keeps a curl or makes them curl. That is just something I cannot tell you about. Now that that's out of the way, I can get to the review. 

One thing Benefit does exceptionally well is packaging. Every single product is adorably packaged and this mascara sample is no exception. The full-sized product looks different than the sample. You can see what it looks like here on the Benefit Website. Here is what the sample I got from Sephora looks like: 

Benefit packaging and marketing is pretty top notch
The inner packaging gives you the down low on the price, availability and there's even a hashtag!
The sample size is a third of the full size, so a great little value
The plastic wand is has very fine spikes and is slightly crescent-shaped
My initial thoughts when I opened the product is that the mascara formula is very wet, which I find very appealing. I don't like drier formulas (like Dior mascaras) because I find that the product doesn't transfer to my lashes. That being is slightly messy to apply if you have already curly lashes like I do. There will be a lot of mascara on the wand when you pull it out of the tube. To avoid making too much of a mess, apply your mascara looking down into a mirror instead of looking straight on. Here is what my lashes look like without any mascara at all. They are pretty pathetic. Excuse my undone brows! This was pre-brow dress!

My lashes with no mascara
I applied one coat of the roller lash mascara. I was very pleased and pleasantly surprised with this one coat of product on my lashes! It made them look SO MUCH longer and blacker. It did lift them up as the product claimed and I thought the effect was very pretty with just one coat. I could have stopped there and been very happy. But for the sake of this review, I applied two more coats.

The left eye has one coat of Roller Lash and the right eye has nothing
Applying a second coat of mascara is where some problems started. It dries fairly quickly and by the time I got around to applying a second coat, it started to become a little clumpy. My lashes started to stick together and I didn't want to apply any more coats. That being said, from a normal distance, it still looked really pretty. 

Two coats of Roller Lash on the left eye
Three coats of product was VERY clumpy and was hard to apply. I went through with an eyelash comb to get rid of some of the really terrible clumps. It still doesn't look too spidery in the photo, but it was starting to get that way. I still really like the effect of this mascara. I think it has a nice lifting effect, but I think it helped to actually look my obnoxiously curly lashes act not so curly, which is probably not what Benefit would like to hear, but that's just what happened to me.

Three coats of Roller Lash on the left eye only
Here is the result of three coats on both sets of eyelashes.

The Verdict: This is a really, really nice mascara! A great formula and a great brush. I am very impressed by the lengthening and separating and lifting effect of this mascara. I find the effect to be as if the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and L'Oreal Telescopic had a baby. Not bad at all. Probably a great mascara for layering and making mascara cocktails.

Removing this was not easy. I had to take a little bit more time with my Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover, but it came off eventually. I believe soap and water alone will not remove this and you probably need an oily makeup remover to dissolve it.

Pros: Cute Packaging, Very black, lengthening, Separating, Lifting effect is amazing
Cons: Gets clumpy when layered, messy - a lot of product will be on the wand, price point is high

The Bottom Line: If you have $24 burning a hole in your pocket, it's a great thing to pick up. It's a beautiful mascara. That being said, there are about 20 mascaras at the drugstore you can buy for less than $14 that will have nearly the same effect. Drugstore mascara is so good that high end mascaras have to REALLY perform to be worth the extra cost. This mascara performs well and I will probably pick up a full size after my sample is gone as a treat for myself, but is it a new Holy Grail? Probably not. But I do really like it and I want to give Benefit a high five.

What do you think? Do you think you will be trying this out? Have you tried any other Benefit mascaras? Let me know in the comments below!