Fave Beauty Companies-2016

19 Feb

sephoraaislesAround this time, I start thinking about the products that I fell in love with last year. As I sat at my vanity today, I realized I fell in love with A LOT of things in 2016! Skin care, makeup, fashions… you name it. I think I have my visit to The Makeup Show in NYC last May to thank for that. I learned about so many big companies as well as “indies” that had products that were above so many others. Not to mention, I was able to ask questions about their ingredients so it could help me decide on possible items that my sensitive skin wouldn’t protest. So instead of me singling out each product that I am crushing on big time (and trust me—there are many), I thought I would talk about some of the companies that have given me items that are now a part of my regular beauty and glamour routine:

twinmedixTwinMedix: None of my makeup products would look or feel good on my face if my skin wasn’t in great condition. I had been using a “variety” of skin care products from different companies to try and get my skin to a place where I was happy. I admit, I am fighting the clock when it comes to anti-aging skin care for my face. I thought I was winning, but then I began to realize that all the different products I was using were usually created to work their best with other products from the same brand. Sometimes those sister products were hard to find, very expensive or even irritated my skin. I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. That was until I attended The Makeup Show in NYC. I was honored to meet and be able to have a little one-on-one time with the fabulous makeup artist, James Vincent. I asked him what smaller, unknown companies at the show should be on my “must see” list. His first answer?—TwinMedix. I stopped by their booth and met their fabulous President, Michelle, who was a sweetheart. I told her about the problems I was having with my skin and what I wanted to achieve in the long run. She introduced me to the ENTIRE line from TwinMedix. If I was going to try this brand, I was going to do it right and use ONLY that product….and I am so glad I did! My skin has NEVER looked and felt as good as it does now. I have been using each product faithfully since last May and I love the results. Their state-of-the-art technology enables them to create the purest and most professional formulas that integrate pharmaceutical-grade vitamins to treat and protect your skin. It is so high tech that there are very few products that are needed—a great cleanser (O2), a phenomenal exfoliator (X), and vitamin enriched serums (C10,E5 A15) that are used each day and night. For a redhead with sensitive skin, I have to say my face has never looked and felt so good. The vitamins they use are known to help fight against aging, and they are abundant in the TwinMedix line. As hesitant I was to try a skin care line without research, Michelle told me how to use each product and why! She even told me to let her know what I thought after I used them for a while… and I did. I am glad I found the TwinMedix line of skin care products. I still don’t like getting old but now I have the goods to help me help kick over the hourglass in the aging process!

katvondKat Von D: Being in the tattoo industry made me aware of the KVD line of cosmetics as soon as her line was released. Anyone who follows her knows that she doesn’t blend in with the crowd and she is proud of it. After many years of “blending”, I finally found my voice (and pen!) and began being the sassy redhead I am now. When I am out in public, I like doing my makeup in different ways. No matter what the attire is for the day, my makeup always has a pop to it. Sometimes it’s a bold lip, sometimes a rocker eye look. When the winged eyeliner look took off, I was lost. VERY lost! I couldn’t get it to look good like some girls that came to the tattoo shop. I watched videos, I played dress up, I tried. Then I learned that it might be easier to get the look I want if I used a better liner. What did everyone suggest? You got it… Kat Von D’s. It all started with her famous Tattoo Liner. I fell in love immediately! The long wear formula and easy peasy pen design let me get the winged liner look the way I liked. It even gave me the precision of the thin pen design to create some fun, “out there” looks. My next love was her Everlasting Liquid Lipstick. It is no secret that I like to talk. If I am out and decide to have a cup of coffee with a friend, I don’t want my ordinary lip color to end up on my teeth or all over the coffee cup. I want it to stay put for a long time. KVD’s Liquid Lipstick does just that! If it is on, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The colors she has are awesome—bold, flawless and long lasting. She even has colors that are REALLY bold, like purple, hot pink, blue and black. What I like to do is create my own color of the day. I pick the shades of Everlasting Liquid Lipstick that I want to blend, use a clean lip brush, and apply my own shade that will last. I don’t think I have ever created the same color twice! The possibilities are endless. My lip look can be as neutral or as strong as I want. In fact, when I went to order my latest KVD lip color, I had the opportunity to get a sample of her Lock It Concealer Cream. When it came, I thought I would just try it out since I don’t really have dark circles under my eyes. Well, that may be true but I couldn’t believe how “bright” my makeup looked on my face when I used it. The color was spot on (which is difficult for a redhead to find) and it carefully hid the flaws that I didn’t know I had! I was in awe and I ordered the full-sized product that week. I will be looking forward to sampling different things in the KVD line when I get the chance to get to a Sephora and adding to my favorite cosmetics. (Oh, by the way? Do not overlook her makeup brush collection. She may not have many of them but the ones she does have in her line are FABULOUS!)

makeupforeverMake Up For Ever: This is a big name when it comes to cosmetics. That’s probably because they are masters of just about everything in the industry! If you are looking for a product that you loved from another company and it recently got discontinued, I suggest you look at MUFE. They even have things I never knew about or thought I needed… but now are part of my makeup routine. One of those items is their Aqua XL Eye Pencil. I love my liquid liner on my top lid, but when it comes to the waterline on my bottom lid, it is hard to get any liner to stay there for a long time. The Aqua XL is perfect for just that. Not to mention, it is a pencil you have to sharpen yourself so you can get a nice tip for precise application. It is a product I use EVERY day. I am also a big fan of MUFE’s Aqua Seal, especially since almost all of my eye shadows are mineral loose powders. If I need to keep my eye look in place through the craziest of situations (all-night dancing, tear-jerker movies, photo shoots…in the rain), I will use a just a little on my eye shadow brush and pat it on using my shadows. It does dry quickly, so have an idea of the look you want before you start because it is meant to stay and IT DOES. This is also great to use if you want to create eye liners in wild shades. Using an angled liner brush, dip the tip in the Aqua Seal, pick up a bit of pigments from shadow pot and apply along the top lashes or in/below the bottom lash line. The bottle lasts a long time, just keep it sealed tight. When it comes to finding a foundation, I will take and suggestion or recommendations (let’s not forget about samples!) really help me decide on one I might like to try. I find my skin to be very sensitive to department store & drug store liquid make-ups. When I had the chance to pick the brain of a professional makeup artist, I asked what his go-to foundation was. He didn’t hesitate: Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face and Body Foundation. It is SUPER light but buildable. It doesn’t “hide” my skin but in fact makes my skin look natural and flawless. Again, the bottle is REALLY big and lasts a long time. Some might be put off by the price, but if a bottle lasts an entire year, that breaks down to pennies a day. Then, to complete my look, I like to give my face a nice dusting with an HD powder. It sets my makeup and leaves my skin flawless. The finishing powders I had used in the past left my face looking “cakey” so I was hesitant to try them again. Then I received a sample of MUFE’s HD Microfinish Powder and I’ve been using it ever since. It was hard to process that a powder could be white but it truly is colorless and anyone can use it. A nice, light finish for all day wear and perfect for movies, videos and photos. I always keep an eye on Make Up For Ever to see if they have any new items that I might love as much as these.

lamineralsLA Minerals: “Who?” you ask. Exactly. LA Minerals is a small indie company that I stumbled on while looking for products that wouldn’t irritate my sensitive skin many, many years ago. I was able to try many different formulas and shades (which they have many of!) to see what mineral powder foundation would work for me. They have samples available for almost all of their products so it was nice to try ones I liked and see after a couple of uses whether it would work for me. Well, they did. They ALL did! I ended up getting hooked on a light coverage formula (Valley Girl) for summer when I just need an all over dusting in the heat; a heavier coverage mineral makeup foundation (Hollywood) during the colder months when my skin is a bit is a little paler and uneven toned; a pure, no talc blush in a color that goes with everything I wear without giving me itchy skin; an oil-controlling finishing powder that keeps the shiny-ies away when my skin gets a little oily in the summer and during workouts; “diva dust” that works as a fantastic high-sparkle cheek, lip and eye highlighter; and pure mineral eye shadows that can go on wet or dry, contain no talc, and requires very little product for a great look. What is nice about LA Minerals is that they have a “frequent flyer” code every month for returning customers. You will never see this company in magazines, on TV, or in cosmetic stores. It is all done by one fantastic woman with a great product that thrives on referrals. I have been singing her praises for MANY years and will continue to do so! (Footnote: LA Minerals just released a pure mineral LIQUID foundation which its AWESOME, especially on my dry, winter skin.)

Paul Mitchell: If your skin and makeup are looking great, you might as well make sure you have beautiful hair too! After a horrid hair decision over 3+ years ago, I had to find someone that would fix my mistake and get my hair healthy again. My BFF at the time said he knew just the person and set up a time for her to come discuss my options. She was a miracle worker! She still keeps my hair, even today. I still have a bit of damage to my ends, but they are almost completely grown out. Whenever I would go see her for my appointments, I would ask her what items would work best on my hair to do this or that. The first item she suggested was a Paul Mitchell spray called “Hot off the Press”. It was a multi-function styling product that could be used with hair appliances to hold the style or after I was completely done with my hair for a good hold that wasn’t sticky or damaging. It was exactly what I needed and there is always 1-2 cans in my loft at all times. Since I had been “enhancing” my hair color over the past several years, it was important to find the right products that would extend the life of my color without causing more damage. PM came out last year with a fabulous line of products just for that! The Ultimate Color Repair line not only helps repair current damage but also seals in color preventing fading and keeps hair shiny & soft. This has been my go-to line ever since it came out to keep my auburn tresses bright and healthy! In addition to those favorites, I also have other Paul Mitchell styling products that I love that helps give me a fab look for the day/night. You will find Super Skinny Serum, Stay Strong, Thicken Up, Extra Body Finishing Spray in my collection at all times. Even with that chaotic hair experience, my stylist along with Paul Mitchell’s great products has helped my hair to get healthy again… and has what I need to keep it that way!

We all know that when we see an advertisement in a magazine or on TV for a beauty product, our ears perk up and we try to justify how this great product could fit into our beauty routine. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. As I have gotten more mature, I have learned that new doesn’t always mean better. Although for us makeup junkies, it is hard to turn away from something new that looks great. Nowadays, I find myself asking “Is it worth the time and money to try this or should I stick with the product I already have that I KNOW does exactly what I want it to do?” Sometimes I do venture off and try something new, but I am also finding that loyalty has its privileges…and results!

Let me know what you think about this: Do you have a brand that you are completely loyal to? Do you have any “must have” products from different brands that do what you love and won’t try anything else? Or are you an “I have to try it!” person who is always looking for something newer/less expensive/better? Let me know your thoughts on brands or products you LOVE!
makeupaisles

Hair Removal: Lasers vs. Non-Laser Methods

26 Dec Hair Removal

Modelmix
When it comes to hair removal, the first thing I think of is doing it at home. I’m busy. Finding time to get to a salon is almost impossible with my work load. Even though it is nice to let someone else worry about this task for me, I have just gotten used to doing it myself over the years. But with that comes complications. I need to find the right products. And that isn’t easy. Even with all the hair removal services available and the DIY items available in drug stores, lately I have been throwing around the idea of having it removed “permanently” and professionally. But let’s way the options, shall we?

shavingShaving At Home: This has been my go-to route ever since day one. I have seen the changes in razors and shaving cream over the years. Yes, products are MUCH better than they used to be. But the fact still remains that razors cut and that is the one side effect that almost everyone runs into sooner or later. Not to mention, that is a problem I really can’t have. (I don’t want the chance of getting an infection in a cut.) Even the wrong shaving cream can be irritating to my sensitive skin or cause my skin to be dry. If there isn’t enough moisturizer in the shaving cream, the razor won’t glide across the skin and tug the hairs instead of cutting them. Since the blades only clip the hair above the surface of the skin, the stubble can be back the very next day. Bikini season is a nightmare when it comes to keeping areas smooth for weeks at a time and avoiding the evil “razor rash” which is uncomfortable as heck!

womancreamDepilatory Creams: There are also products that are a chemical preparation that is applied to the surface of the skin to break down the composition of the hairs in that area. You then wipe or “scrape” away the weakened hair strands. For me, these are just not an option. My sensitive skin has told me so. When I use these products, the results aren’t good. I end up with problems that many people find as well: harsh smells, irritated skin, chemical burns, and even allergic reactions. Although the hair starts growing back slower than if you used a razor, you will still begin to feel stubble within a few days.

waxingWaxing: This actually is a process that I do not mind so much. I can find waxes at almost all department or drug stores. The cost is a bit more than the other two options but is way more thorough. We know that waxing is a process where you apply the product to the skin, then pull it off quickly to pull hairs out from the skin. There are cold wax kits that can be used where the wax is already on the strip so it can be pressed against the skin, then pulled up. Great idea but not if your hair is thick or course. The cold waxes very seldom “latch on” if the hair you are trying to remove is like this. Hot wax treatments work much better—you apply the hot wax directly to the area with the hair you don’t want then press on a cloth strip. After a minute or so, when the wax has begun to harden, you grab the cloth and “rip” if off. Cold wax kits are far less messy than hot wax, but also less effective. Even though hot wax is a better option, you have to be careful of wax burns, bumps and irritation. Some people like the results of a wax treatment, but you have to let the hair grow out for several weeks before you can even have it done. That’s a very long wait time, especially in the summer!!

laserLaser Hair Removal: More and more people are looking into getting their not-so-welcomed hair removed for good. That is where the laser option comes into play. This is a very effective method of removing unwanted hair from the body for as long as possible. Laser hair removal equipment uses intense pulses of controlled light to target the hair follicles and destroy the roots. The lasers use a specific wavelength of light and a limited pulse length to target the hair and not the skin. Because the hair follicle is damaged, it isn’t “healthy” enough to rejuvenate new hair growth right away. Laser hair removal can remove hair for as little as several months and a long as years. The length of time the hair is gone differs widely from person to person.

Professional vs. Personal Use Lasers

Personal lasers are for use in the privacy of your own home. They are far less powerful than professional laser devices. In order to make them safe for the common consumer, personal use lasers utilize lower power settings so people can’t injure themselves without supervision. That means they take longer to use and don’t capture the same amount of hair as the ones that are used in clinics or spas.

Professional lasers are powerful and can injure a person if not used correctly. Only a licensed technician may operate these devices. They are trained to understand the different settings and how to safely apply treatments to their clients. Although it does sound a bit dangerous, qualified and educated technicians are the only ones licensed to use them. Because they are more powerful, though, they do a MUCH more efficient job of removing hair.

Does Laser Hair Removal Require More Than One Treatment?

So, maybe you are like me and considering a laser treatment for hair removal. I have done a lot of research ever since my skin began to get much more sensitive and recovery time got longer after shaving and/or waxing. I know that if I find the right laser removal place, it may take a little while to get the results I want. If you are looking just to be bikini ready for the beach, then one or two sessions should be enough. The first treatment will capture most of the undesirable hairs, though you may need a second treatment if you have multiple areas or just want to make sure everything stays smooth for a while. That’s not bad at all. Perfect for just the areas I need treated for summer.

If you are looking for a more permanent removal, it will take several sessions to capture all the hairs. In addition, you will need to follow up with a yearly treatment to capture any new growth. It will not permanently remove all the hairs, though what hair does grow back will be far finer, lighter and fewer in number than before. This makes it very possible to even tweeze the ones that come back yourself. A lot less irritation for my skin for a longer period of time for just a few sessions. Definitely appealing!

With winter here now, this gives me time to decide if I want to forego the razor and wax to look more towards a laser removal option. I know for a fact it will be more beneficial to my skin, avoiding unwanted cuts and irritation. Now is the perfect time to weigh the options and do some investigating.

So, Sassinistas….. chime in! What is YOUR preferred method of hair removal and why? What are your go-to products. And if you have had a laser treatment, I want to know the details! Put your thoughts in a comment below!!

PRODUCT REVIEW: ‘Tis the season for…. Exfoliation & hydration

21 Dec shemenlogo

winter
**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

Oh joy, oh joy—winter is upon us. Don’t bother looking at the calendar. I can tell you first hand… it is winter. It’s cold, I’m layering, I’ve been wearing a heavy coat for weeks, I bought new gloves. Three pair. And I even invested in a mini ceramic heater for my vanity room for extra warmth when I put on my morning makeup. When it comes to winter, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck…. then it probably flew south already. Just saying.

When the temperatures get colder, taking care of your skin becomes very important. Not only do you need to moisturize more frequently but you will need to possibly use something a bit heavier. This not only applies to your face but to your whole body–head to toe. I recently was sent some items after a product from a distributor in my hometown was featured in the How to be a Redhead subscription box few months back. It was a salt scrub with a nice, gentle scent. When I asked the distributor if there were other products that she liked herself, she sent me some great items to try. I was quite impressed.

shemenlogoLet’s talk about the company for a little bit. Shemen Amour is a woman-owned company that offers a great line of Certified Organic Israeli Dead Sea products. They carry products for face, body and hair for both men and women which is great because men sometimes forget that skincare is just as important for them too. The ingredients in their products have great healing benefits that naturally occur in the minerals and salts found in the Dead Sea. Every product they carry is 100% cruelty-free—part of the Leaping Bunny Program as well as “Beauty Without Bunnies” program certified by PeTA–and is environmentally conscious with each item they carry. That is something that is very important to me.

The local US Distributor was sweet enough to send me a few face and body products to try. I got them very quickly! My first reaction was WOW!—the packaging is huge. You certainly get a lot for your money! I decided to work my way “up” the line in order to give myself a chance to really try them all and see their benefits. Some results took some time to see, some were immediate. I’ll share about each:

img_2922img_2921FEET: Summer is over and it’s time to get rid of “sandal feet” and get them ready for winter. The first thing I used was the Mineral Foot Peeling Cream. I will admit—this was weird! I have used many foot scrubs over the years, but this one confused me at first because it had nothing “gritty” in it. So I wasn’t really sure how it was going to shed the dead skin off my feet. I put a decent amount of the cream in my hand and began to rub my feet with it. HOLY SMOKES! In a matter of seconds, I saw “beads” of dead skin falling off my feet! At first I was shocked but then realized what was happening: I was giving my feet a “chemical peel”. I rubbed the Peeling Cream into both feet for about a minute each then rinsed them with luke warm water in the tub. I could already feel a difference in how smooth my feet felt. It was amazing. Afterwards, I applied the Mineral Foot Cream. I loved how this moisturizer felt on my tootsies. It absorbed quickly, wasn’t sticky or heavy, and made them feel even smoother than before. Again, you don’t need a lot… just a small dollop was enough to moisturize for a day. The scent was gentle as well. I liked that it kept my feet soft even after a few days. It is a really great formula. If you do like things with a soft scent for your feet, they also offer a foot cream with a lavender scent. I tried that one as well and liked it. It seemed to give my feet a gentle cooling sensation as well which was nice.

img_2919-1img_2918BODY: One of my favorite scents when it comes to body products are fruit scents. They awaken my senses and leave my skin feeling and smelling fresh and sweet. When I saw that I got two body products to try from Shemen Amour in a passion fruit scent, I was psyched! The first item was a VERY large “tub” of Aromatic Body Scrub. Enriched with Dead Sea Salt, herbal extracts and nourishing oils including olive, avocado, jojoba, sesame and sunflower, this body scrub exfoliates AND moisturizes at the same time. I found that before I use it, it is really important to SHAKE THE CONTAINER! It will separate if it sits around, so to get the oils into the salts, mixing is really important. It even contains aloe vera so as it removes the dead skin, it soothes too. After the shower, my skin felt smooth and silky… not dry or irritated at all. That is how you want your skin to feel after a mineral salt scrub. When the shower is over, you want to lock in the benefits of the soft skin you have just achieved, and the best way is with a matching body butter. I was sent a “tub” of Shea and Passion Fruit Body Butter to try with it. Again, the scent was awesome! A nice fruity scent without being overpowering. The body butter is enriched with the Dead Sea Minerals as well as vitamins, oils and fruit extracts. It wasn’t “heavy” but it was super moisturizing. The formula did not irritate my sensitive skin, absorbed quickly and didn’t feel greasy. My skin felt noticeably softer to the touch and eliminated dryness immediately. This product is gentle enough to use on your body daily or when you need a boost of moisture… especially this time of year.

img_2920HANDS: I was also sent a tube of the Mineral Hand and Nails cream. We all know that there are endless hand creams on the market with all kinds of ingredients. The thing I like about this hand cream is it doesn’t just moisturize and condition my hands but it also conditions my nails and cuticles. There are a lot of separate products for your nails and cuticles but this one product does both, saving you time and money. The tube is LARGE and I leave it right next to my couch so I can just give my hands a little bump each day, especially this time of year, to keep my nails from splitting, my cuticles from cracking, and my hands from getting rough and dry. If they need a good exfoliating treatment first, rubbing & washing them with some of the Aromatic Body Scrub helps shed the dead skin first before applying the hand cream. An extra boost for those cold months!

img_2924EYES: One thing I learned early on in my glamour career is that there are three areas of the body that will tell your age better than your driver’s license: your hands, your neck and the skin around your eyes. For that reason, you can imagine how many products I have tried for each of those area just to keep my lie about my age as “realistic” as possible. Because of my sensitive skin, the hands and the neck areas aren’t too bad to keep in check. My eye area, however, has been a challenge. I wear contacts, I have allergies, and random things can make my eyes burn terrible. I find that the more natural a product is, the less problems I have with it. That is why I was eager to try the Shemen Amour Black Mud Eye Cream. This cream was actually designed for the sensitive skin eye area. The Black Mud Eye Cream states that it rejuvenates the skin in the eye area, smooths wrinkles, improves elasticity and increases blood circulation which decreases puffiness and dark circles. A product like this doesn’t show the results immediately. Plus, it is the responsibility of the user to make sure it is used day AND night. Apply it with a gentle tapping of the finger under the eyes and around the edges near the temples. Do not get disappointed when you don’t see results in 24 hours. I had been using it about once a day a couple of weeks and did notice some improvement in the fine lines in my eye area, but it wasn’t until I became truly faithful about using it day AND night that I began noticing a significant difference. My fine lines were very less predominant, the skin was much smoother, the dark circles that were beginning had stopped and even lightened. Concealer was now an option—not a necessity. I like the fact too that it is suitable for all skin types. So in the winter when my skin is dryer, I can give my eye area a double dose at night. In the summer, a light layer is more than enough. The jar that it comes in is VERY large and a little goes a long way, but don’t think you have to be stingy with it. It absorbs quickly and if it absorbs very fast, the skin around your eyes may need more than you think. Don’t be put off by its color in the jar either. Just because it is dark like mud doesn’t mean it stays dark on your skin. Once it is absorbed, the color is gone. I really like the Black Mud Eye Cream. I can already see a difference and my sensitive skin and eyes are very happy with it as well!

I am so glad I had the opportunity to try these products, thanks to the lead from my family at How to be a Redhead. You don’t have to be a redhead to enjoy these great beauty products from Shemen Amour. They are on track with other, more known brands as far as treating you with ingredients that will help you achieve or maintain younger, healthier skin. The state of the art minerals and salts found in the Dead Sea give you the anti-aging benefits without heavy chemicals. Anyone who likes to use natural products which are good for the skin would not be disappointed with the product list from Shemen Amour! I am very happy I was able to give them a try and will add them to the products I have come to love over the years.

You can check out their entire line at www.shemenamourusa.com!

Destiny….

9 Nov

img_1662“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~ William Jennings Bryan

Webster’s Dictionary tells us what the word destiny means:
destiny (noun) des·ti·ny \ˈdes-tə-nē\
Simple Definition of destiny
: what happens in the future
: the things that someone or something will experience in the future
: a power that is believed to control what happens in the future

William Jennings Bryan explains simply that destiny doesn’t just happen… you make it happen. And I couldn’t agree more. Especially right now.

I’ve made a lot of changes in my life over the past year. (Oh trust me, I AM writing a book!) I have always taken full responsibility for everything that has gone on, even though I know it has created changes that not everyone is happy with. I just felt it was time to actively pursue my dream of writing professionally, taking some chances and risks, traveling when I needed to expand things, and really putting myself out there. It is so easy to stay where things are comfortable, but nothing changes if nothing changes. So I took on a new mindset, pushed myself to my absolute physical limits and set out to achieve my dreams. But out of the mouths of the band, Dr. Hook:

“But our minds won’t really get blown
Like the blow that’ll getcha
When you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone.”

So, is that what I wanted? Is that what I did? Am I on a rock star magazine? Well, not really. As a fashion writer, the cover of the Rolling Stone isn’t someplace I’d normally end up on the cover of anyways. In my own mind, I know I am a rock star, but that’s just me. I’m not a performer, I’m a writer. A fashion and glamour writer at that. And in addition to that, I love the tattoo industry. I love interacting with the people at the shop I help out at. I am in awe of their talent as well as the reasons why people want their personal tattoos. So it would probably be more of a dream to see my name on the front of a magazine that has to do with my passion of fashion and glamour as well as tattoos.

Recently, I added on to a large tattoo that has been a work in progress for some time now. Where it is right now is absolutely gorgeous, but I know that there is more to come. It will look amazing! I decided to take a photo of my updated tattoo which matches a large tattoo I got several years ago. I lInked how they looked together and posted it on Instagram. I will admit, it was a bit risqué for me. I might be a “girl next door” but I am definitely a shy girl next door (most of the time). Well, to say the least, the photo blew up. Magazines saw it, Instagram followers saw it, other artists saw it. It went pretty big pretty fast. I was a little surprised that this “32+” mom had such a reaction to her photo, but it was very cool.

Soon after the post, I received a message from the founder of one of the select magazines I had tagged in my photo. He liked it. He liked it a lot! It wasn’t just my tattoos that caught his eye, though. It was the fact that I was a writer. He liked that this sassy, fierce redhead had somewhat established herself in the writing world. I took some time to see what he was looking for in regards to the magazine. He wanted someone to talk fashion—about what is hot right now, the trends that are going on. Well that’s me all day! I’m always in the know with fashion, not just for me but for my blog. After a crunch time of getting an article and bio done, I showed him I could do it. And so it came to be:

Sassy Auburn is the new
Fashion Editor for
Sweet and Inked Magazine!!img_1664

Pretty awesome, huh? You won’t miss me here, don’t worry…I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I will be linking some of my other articles from Sweet and Inked to here as well. I will also share some tattoo photos with fashion styles that are great right now. Some things I’ll talk about will even be able to show off some of people’s favorite tattoo pieces.

I’ve been been kind of pinching myself since the issue was released, but I have to say that I couldn’t be happier as well as more fortunate to be working in an industry that embraces both of my loves. There are still things to do and room to grow, but I’m excited for the ride.

So, my loyal and faithful Sassinistas… you are lucky. You some of the first people to learn of my new endeavor! Feel free to talk to me about all things on here from fashion to ink. And don’t worry—I will make sure to keep you up to date on just fashion and glamour goodies on my blog still.

Keep an eye out for me in the tattoo community and follow me in Sweet and Inked as well! I look forward to sharing my adventures with every one of you!

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Product Review: “Model in a bottle”

11 Oct

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

image

B ack in July, I wrote about a product that I had discovered at The Makeup Show NYC. “Model in a Bottle was a featured item that everyone were talking about. The top makeup artists in the industry said it was a must-have makeup kit item. The concept is pretty simple: if you want to keep your makeup look prestige for hours through almost any force, then finish your look and spray on Model in a Bottle. Bam… done. Too easy to be true? I thought so. Because seeing is believing, I contacted the great crew at Model in a Bottle and mentioned that I heard about them in NYC and wanted to feature them in an upcoming blogpost. They were so nice and excited about my interests! They sent me a complimentary bottle as well as a couple of other goodies to try. So the testing began.

According to the information on their sister website link (Hollywood Fashion Secrets), the original Model in a Bottle (pink label) offers the following:

  • Dries with a translucent matte finish
  • Absorbs excess oil
  • Doesn’t clogs pores
  • Never interferes with or reduces the effectiveness of SPF
  • Is fast drying, never sticky
  • Has a fresh clean scent
  • Adds moisture with Aloe Vera extract
  • Not tested on animals
  • Proudly made in the USA

  • (*According to the product statements, the sensitive skin formula doesn’t claim to not clog pores, and is lightly scented with natural lavender.*)


    image
    That’s a lot of big claims to live up to! Can a product do all of that for a sensitive & combination skinned, raging redhead without any irritation? Can it do all of that AND still keep my makeup looking epic all day–from 9-5 then hit the dance floor without any touchups? We were about to find out.

    First, I’ll start by saying that Model in a Bottle is SO easy to use. Simply apply your makeup as usual, allowing your mascara to dry completely. With your eyes closed, just use 2-4 sprays of the Original Formula Setting Spray (Sensitive Skinned formula if that’s your style) to set your makeup. Keep your eyes closed for a minute to allow it to dry. (If using the sensitive skin formula, give it an extra minute.) That’s it!

    The day I decided to try it, I wanted to put it through a good test. I left my loft with a full faced makeup look: SPF moisturizer, primer, foundation, glitter eyeshadow, mascara, liners, lip color, blush, HD powder. The temperatures were in the high 80’s with humidity. I started out by putting in five hours at the tattoo shop next to a window with direct sunlight. From there, I walked home–close by–during the warmest part of the day. After a bit if sweating (girls like to call it glowing!), I changed into something more “fun” and headed out to see my friend’s band playing at a local club. Several hours of dancing and mingling, I headed back to the loft. As I sat down at my vanity to “take my face off”, I realized my skin and makeup still looked AH-MAY-ZING! I actually was beyond happy at how well my makeup stood up throughout the day and night. Nothing had smudged, smeared, flaked, fell out or streaked. I had a nice matte glow, just like I had when I left the house that morning with no breakthrough shine. Awesome!

    Removing my makeup didn’t require any extra effort either. I took my eye makeup with a cotton ball and my eye makeup remover just like usual. My simple face cleanser washed all the makeup off without scrubbing or a repeat cleansing. I was very happy about that. And so was my face. Even though Model in a Bottle DOES come in a sensitive skin formula (with the added benefit of hydro essential oils of lavender and Aloe Vera, this formula adds moisture to the skin and helps control inflammation for those who have drier complexions or more sensitive skin conditions like rosacea), I didn’t need it. The original formula held my look tight without causing my skin irritation or redness. I was beyond impressed! I had finally found a way to lockdown my makeup look all day! Not to mention? I couldn’t have found this at a better time. A new writing endeavor will have me out and about for long photo shoots and extensive “mingling” and my makeup will need to look spot on for long periods of times, in all kinds of conditions. This is exactly what I’ll need!

    So, regular skinned and sensitive skinned makeup gurus, relax. If you are looking for a product to hold your make up look all day for whatever reason–weddings, outdoor gatherings, late nights, moving activities, photo shoots, etc.–I would definitely suggest Model in a Bottle to hold your look in place!

    Model in a Bottle setting spray offers their original formula (pink label) and their sensitive skin formula (purple label). They also make an Eyebrow Sealer and a new Lipstick Sealer as well)

    imageimage image

End of the summer? – Start Preparing…

29 Aug

summer-is-almost-over

You have probably been to the store and have started to see school supplies in the aisle. If you live someplace other than where I am (upstate NY), schools may already be in session. That means it is time to start thinking about cooler temperatures and autumn colors. Don’t worry—you definitely have some time. We will still enjoy some warmer temps before that fall chill hits the air. (FYI, this is a great time to start hunting for summer/year round necessities that may be on clearance) But before the hustle and bustle of back to school, starting college, soccer mom schedules or anything else overtakes your precious little bit of free time, you may want to keep a look out for a few of these goodies to prepare yourself ahead of time!
Foot Peel FootCream AloeSox



1) Time for post-summer home pedicures. You have been wearing sandals all season and your feet feel like leather. It happens to many of us, including me. I try to keep my feet soft, smooth and healthy all season but I really want to make sure they are in great condition before boots weather hit. I suggest an alpha-hydroxy foot cream that sloughs off the dead skin without harsh abrasives. Then follow with an extra rich foot cream with natural oils and minerals. For an extra boost, apply at bedtime and cover with aloe infused socks! Sassy uses: Shemen Amour Foot Peeling Cream and Mineral Foot Cream. Shemenamourusa.com, $20.00 each; Airplus Aloe Infused Spa Socks. $2.97, Walmart.

GraffitiNudes ClayBlush BrushCleanser

2) Give your makeup a once over. Pull out those drawers and boxes where you have all of your makeup stored. Look over each piece. Is it leaking? Is it crushed? Is it more than a year old? (3 months if it is mascara), Do you still wear it? Do you have doubles of things? Really think about each piece you look at. If you aren’t going to use it or if it is old, just toss it. Don’t take up the space if it isn’t needed, wanted or might not be a healthy option. Try to minimize your makeup as much as possible. And just because you threw out one thing doesn’t mean you need to replace it with two! (I know you do it…. Because I do too!) If possible, throw out multiple singe eye shadows and replace them with one new, good pallet. Try reducing your blush colors to just two—a good warm shade and a nice cool one. And don’t forget about your makeup tools. When was the last time you took care of them? Give them a good cleaning with anti-bacterial soap and let them air dry. Get in the habit of taking care of your tools by rinsing each one with a quick, daily cleaner after each use. This will not just keep the brushes in good condition longer but will keep the makeup you use with them fresher longer too! Sassy likes: Maybelline’s Nudes Eyeshadow Palette in Graffiti Nudes and Rock Nudes. Ulta, $9.99 each; Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Glisten (shimmering peachy pink) and Dazzled (shimmery soft rose), Ulta, $28.00 each; Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner. $24.00, Sephora.

WomenCardigan LongLeanTank HenleyTee Yoga

3) Analyze your closet. Now is a good time to take a look to see what you did wear and what you didn’t during the summer. If you did wear it, you are good to go. If you didn’t? Start asking yourself some questions why: Does it fit? Is it out of style? Is it out of your style? Can you integrate it into the fall/winter season? Is it worn? Was it just a bad purchase decision? Use these guides to help you decide whether you want to keep it out for next season, you will pack it away for next season when the weather gets cold, or if you need to give it away. This time of year, after my sorting has been done, I try to see if I can grab anything that might be on sale that I can wear during the fall with a sweater or jacket. Things I like to look for are things like camis, t-shirts, thin long sleeves, lightweight cardigans, maxi dresses and other clothes that can be layered. These items are perfect with a cardigan or even a hoodie. Sassy likes: Junior Drape Front Open Cardigan, $13.78; Women’s Long & Lean Tank, $2.70+; Women’s Crochet Front Henley Tee, $12.58; Junior’s Yoga Tie Waist Pant (assorted styles), $4.48. All available at some Target stores and Target.com

skinnyserum Olay burtsbees ShemenHand



4) Get ready for extra moisturizer. When the season changes, the first thing that usually notices is your skin…. so now is the time to get ready. Really think from head to toe: your hair, your face, your lips, your hands and especially your body. All of these things can be affected when the weather gets cooler and indoor heat starts kicking on once in a while at home and at work. If possible, keep the temperature in your home warm not hot, avoid cranking the heat, crack the windows for some fresh air whenever you can, and grab an extra blanket instead of turning on the furnace. Adding a few plants will keep moisture in the air which helps your skin as well. You do not have to go out and change everything you need for your skin—sometimes just adding a product once in a while can give your skin that little extra boost without spending a ton to improve its moisture retention. Sassy likes: Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny Serum at select salons; Olay Regenerist Regenerating Face Serum (Fragrance-Free), $23.99 at Walgreens; Maybelline Baby Lips Crystal Lip Balm, $4.49 and Burt’s Bees Body Lotion w/Milk & Honey, $9.99 at Walgreens; Shemen Amour Mineral Hand & Nails Cream, $18.00 at ShemenAmourUSA.com

AntibacterialSoap5) Get your body ready too. Kids are getting ready to head back to school, if they haven’t already. This means that those charming little nasty germs are going to be flying around more than ever. I remember when my kids were in elementary school, they would both bring me home a case of strep throat in less than a month after classes began. As much as you can prepare or try to prevent, it is not unusual for some of those buggers to get to you, and it isn’t hard to go from parent to patient very quickly. Even if you don’t have kids, just grabbing a shopping cart at your local supermarket can turn your hands into a germ breeding ground. If you haven’t yet this year (before it gets really busy!), get yourself to the doctor for a physical to make sure your health is good. That would be your chance to ask about any immunizations needed, vitamins, or general tests you might need. The best thing to remember is that your hands are germ breeders. Keep them clean with anti-bacterial soap and use hand sanitizer only if you can’t wash them properly. General rule?—It takes 20 seconds of washing to kill germs and bacteria. Sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” twice while washing to be effective! Sassy likes: Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap with Moisturizers in Fresh Citrus, price varies at different retail & drug stores.

So now you have ideas that will help you transition into changes in weather and temperatures. Of course, you may run into days that will be hot like the middle of summer as well as days that are cooler than fall. Days like that may throw your usual fashion and skincare selections into a tailspin. Don’t panic. Each morning, take a look at the weather forecast and take a possible +/- 5 degree difference into consideration when making your selections for the day. With a little hunting and different options, it’s not too difficult to make this transition as “smooth” as possible!

Sunset

Fab Finds in June…

4 Jul

imageWelcome to summer, Sassinistas! Sun, warmth, cool shades, top down, shorts up. What a great time of year. Although the elements can be somewhat unpredictable–ranging from warm to very hot, dry to oppressive humidity, sunshine to thunderstorms–this doesn’t have to stop us from looking our best at any time in any weather. In June, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some great “must haves” that aren’t just perfect, but also have extra punch on these warm days when keeping your look fabulous is more difficult. You may want to check these summer-friendly items out:

imageModel in a Bottle: This is one of those items I stumbled upon at The Makeup Show in NYC. I knew I wanted to try it as soon as one of the speakers said it was a must have for anyone wanting an all day look that stayed put. When I spoke to the Model in a Bottle company, they were very generous to send me a full-size bottle to try. There are days when I start at 8 am and don’t stop till midnight. From running around at the tattoo shop, handling personal appointments, meeting with clients and prospective recruiters, then finishing my night spinning fire with my local fire jammer, some days can be day non-stop. Other than refreshing my lipstick occasionally, I don’t have a whole lot of time to do big touch ups or even redo my makeup look completely. Model in a Bottle is simple but great! A few spritzes on my face with my eyes closed for a few seconds and my look gets locked in with all-day hold. No eyeshadow creasing or glitter fallout, stay-put blush and steadfast foundation… for almost 24 hours! I can see how models would need something like this is for a photo shoot but even simple glamouristas like me find this to be a necessity. No matter what life throws at you (including surprise weather changes!), Model in a Bottle will keep you looking amazing all day and night.
modelinabottle.com, $18.00
(This is also available in a sensitive skin formula too, but my easily irritable skin had no problem with the original formula!)

imageEye Kandy Glitter: Although I am an independent fashion & glamour writer, living the simple life in a loft around a historic area of NY, that doesn’t mean I still don’t love anything fancy, frilly, glittery and sparkly. I still adore my sequined tops, shimmery shoes, and sparkly makeup. This was another “must have” Makeup Show item that I fell in love with as soon as I tried it on at the show. With 60 colors available, this makeup item it great alone or over your favorite shadows for a dramatic, dimensional look. What I love about this glitter is it goes on with a specially designed brush and an adhesive made with liquid sugar that creates a strong hold without harsh chemicals around the eyes. Use the different degrees of fine grinds to give you a soft, all over shimmer or use it only on certain areas of the eyes for a look that makes your eyes pop. I’m still experimenting but I already know I’m in love with this product! With my circle of activities, glitter is something I will always feel I need. Eye Kandy gives me endless colors and combos for a bold eye look!
eyekandycosmetics.com, $24.95 for a complete starter set with one color glitter; additional glitters are $7.50 each.

imageTarte’s tartiest lash paint mascara: Usually when you hear the term “lash paint” you expect to find a coloring lash gel that just gives your a hint of color. Not Tarte’s. This mascara is made from black pigments that nourish the lashes while it coats them with a glossy volumizing formula. The soft yet defining brush coats each lash giving them a 2700%+ increase in volume. Plus the formula is super water resistant which helps keep your lashes strong all day without smudging or flaking. When I wear this mascara, one rich coat then a hit with the eyelash curler gives me the look of full, fake lashes! If I DO decide to wear false eye lashes? This mascara is great for an extra level of oomph to coat them. This may actually be a mascara that I will have no hesitation buying again…. it’s that good for what I want!!
tartecosmetics.com, $23.00

imageLumene Bright Now Vitamin C Sleeping Cream: I found this product through a campaign from Influenster. They gave me a coupon to try out a Lumene product then tell them what I thought. I had purchased other Lumene products way back in my blogging days, but my favorite product–an eye makeup remover–was no longer available at my local drugstore so I strayed from the brand. With a two coupons in hand, I hit the store again with not even an idea of what I may want to try. While looking at the limited amount of products they had, I did find this little gem. I have my daytime skincare routine down, but my evening routine was lacking just a bit. I have a great serum I use faithfully but I wasn’t happy with the evening moisturizers I had tried. This one had specific things I knew were important to my skin: it contains Vitamin C to help brighten my skin during cell renewal overnight; essential oils such as sweet almond, cloudberry seed, olive, and sunflower seed to provide anti-aging hydration; and hyaluronic acid to bind and retain water for maximum moisture to reduce the signs of fatigue and fine lines. All that in one nighttime moisturizer?… that didn’t irritate my sensitive skin? Perfecto! So far I have noticed a great difference with my skin being firmer, softer and definitely brighter in the mornings–almost to the point where I can use very little foundation for an even look. Just what my skin needs!
Walgreens, $18.49

imageGarage Cold Shoulder Bodycon Top: Working in a tattoo shop gives me the opportunity to get some great ink done by my fabulous artists. One piece, currently a work in progress, is a beautiful arrangement of roses and vines that was inspired by a picture taken by someone close to me. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to do something on my arms. I knew if I did, this would pretty much put the nail in on ever working in corporate America ever again. I was already writing for “fun” but as soon as my first article was published for money, I knew I had found my calling. At that point, I didn’t care where my tattoos were and how many I had. I was now a professional writer! So now I have great tattoos to show off and I need a way to do it with a little fashion sense. That is what is great about “peek-a-boo” shoulder tops. You can show a bit of skin without looking unbecoming, enabling you to jazz them up with accessories to fit your mood. These tops are simple, great fitting and come in go-with-anything colors. Find them online (with a coupon code) or in a store near you!
Garage Clothing, $19.99

imageNo Boundries Junior Crochet Shorts: It is definitely shorts weather, and the style that’s in right now is the crocheted look. These pretty, feminine style bottoms come in several colors and sizes and can be dressed up for a casual dinner out or dressed down for a laid-back breezy feel at a picnic. It is a no-brainer that if you need to keep cool but stay classy on a warm day, this is a great fashion item to have close by. Me? I got them specifically for one reason: I plan on wearing them with two chained/charmed black scarves tied at the hip that will will be perfect for jingling when I perform with my hula hoop or for fire spinning. Sexy, reasonable and very comfortable!
Walmart, $9.88

So let’s welcome July (safely!) wth a bang and get ready to rock the summer. Sassy has A LOT going on in the next few months so you are going to want to stay in touch to get all the details of what adventures I’ll be taking. All of this will be new to me so I can only imagine how a fashionista will make this happen with style. Am I worried? Hell no. I can flash my style anywhere, anytime! Do you have any plans for the summer? How are you going to style them up? Let me know! I’d love to hear about your adventures and how YOU rocked them!!

Define: “Steampunk”…

24 Jun

SteampunkCartoonSteampunk is…a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!” ― George Mann

From the Oxford dictionary:
steampunk
Pronunciation: /ˈstēmˌpəNGk/

1.1 A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction:
the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist.

I don’t think without a proper dictionary definition, the steampunk style could be understood. Even with the definition? It’s hard to process. Anyone directly in the alternative world of fashion and design may get it. But many on the outside looking in may be baffled. I tend to think of it like this: take a Harry Potter style, give it a punk edge with some designer style and you are on your way to a steampunk look.

Steampunk is definitely not front and center in the glamour & fashion world. In fact, it’s a little underground which makes it that much more eclectic and romantic. It is definitely built around the individual and each look is unique. No one goes into Macy’s and asks for the steampunk section of the store. But that doesn’t mean you can get a look there either.

As my fire-spinning evolves, so does my look. I find myself looking at things that I like, with an edgy flair, and a mystical aura. Do I still love my Manolos? Hell yeah. But you might find them next to a pair of worn black suede combat boots with wired taffeta laces. What can I say? Style is about individuality. That’s why I love this industry.

So you want to look at some steampunk inspired items? I happen to like these items when I’ve got the S-punk urge:

Makeup: Because steampunk is a genre which embraces individuality, no makeup look is right or wrong. There are a few things that can give your look more of an edge than a general look.
**Dark lips are always a plus. Heavy outlined lips, true red lip colors or black matte lipsticks or glosses are a nice look.
**Stenciled designs such as gears, feathers and scrolls around the eye/temple area is cool. You can also find temporary tattoos to give you this look. Enhance them with black or metallic liner for an extra pop.
**Dark gold or copper eyeshadow is a MUST! And the more sparkle and glitter, the better. Add a touch of glittery black liner for a deep look. A touch of the shadow in the middle of your bottom lip looks awesome too.
Sassy Likes: Eye Kandy Cosmetics Eye Kandy Glitter in Taffy (Copper Penny), $7.50; Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in “Outlaw”, $20.00 – Sephora

Clothes: Take a mixture of the Victorian era romance, elements from the Industrial Revolution from the 1800’s and a hint of the post-apocalyptic era and you may have an idea of what the general steampunk look is like. The key is individualism–wear what you feel comfortable in and feel it represents the style that reflects you. Key pieces to look for are long, flowing dresses, regal jackets and bodices, ruffled and/or lacy tops, unleveled hemmed skirts and more. I advise people to look at what other steampunk lovers wear and see what jumps out at them. Remember to try before you buy. What is good for some may not be good for you. Looking at styles presently in your closet may give you an idea of what types of s’punk clothes might interest you… if any! It may not be for you, but if it is, there are lots of places to shop. Start with your local thrift and consignment shops. You’d be surprised what treasures you may find there. You can even find a base and embellish it the way you want. If you are looking for something specific, there are several online stores that offer options such as SteampunkEmporium.com, pyramidcollection.com or my favorite rebelsmarket.com
Sassy Likes: Rebel’s Market Black Corset & Buckles Halter Top, $32.40; Belladonna Corset, $44.95 – goodgoth.com

 

Accessories: Your steampunk look most likely will never be ordinary but accessories can help take it to another level. These items can fall into categories that range from head to toe. They include hats, boots, jewelry and everything in between. When it comes to jewelry, the key thing to look for is bronze. Not necessarily the metal but the color! Necklaces and bracelets with old keys, buckles and chains are a perfect add-on. Chokers made of lace, velvet or leather accented with gems, gears, keys and locks are a pretty pick as well. Boots are a popular choice for footwear. All boot heights including knee high lace up, mid-calf with buckles or low Mary Janes are always popular. When it comes to shoes, dark colors of lace, velvet or leather look fab. And those cute mini hats are always cool if you can pull them off!
Sassy Likes: Necklaces from @Fishscalecreations on Etsy; UGG “Simmens” leather boots, $169.95 – Nordstrom; Steampunk Velvet Top Hat, $19.95 -yandy.com; Black leather metal studded fingerless gloves, $22.00 – rebelsmarket.com

Row

If punk is a little extreme for you ladies but still want to stand out from the crowd, see if the individuality of the steampunk genre is your cup of tea (or poison). If you would like to know more about the why’s, who’s and what’s, check out the links below to give you more information. And as always…. keep me posted on your finds, looks, styles and so on. I’d love to see and share!!

www.steamfashion.livejournal.com: This link gives you a LOT of information. What steampunk is, your individual style, plus it’s history. A great start.

www.pennlive.com: If you want to master a steampunk look or costume, this is a great tool. I love how it talks about the recycling aspect of the look. It doesn’t have to be new, especially since the theme is Victorian based anyways.

thesteampunkempire.com: I love the fact that this is a discussion group that addresses questions you might have. The contributors are people just like you and me that need answers too!

Enjoy and be Steamsavvy, Sassinistas!!
Stopwatch Fierce

Black is the New Black….

31 May

imageI think every makeup connoisseur has SOMETHING black in their cosmetic collection. If they don’t?…. they should. Nowadays, black goes beyond just mascara. If you go down the makeup aisle at your local drugstore or venture into your Sephora mecca, the items you see will most likely have a “shade” that is a form of black. What is nice is that you don’t have to be considered goth to wear black anymore. Black is back. Plain and simple. And black glamour is awesome.

There are a few things I have in my makeup go-to bag that are black and are MUST HAVES for me no matter where I go. I may not use them every day, but I need to know they are close by…just in case!

imageL’Oreal Paris Infallible Eyeshadow in “Eternal Black”: It is hard to believe when any makeup product refers to itself as “24hrs” but this one comes really darn close. This silky shadow comes in a little pot that you apply with your finger. The key is to just dot and blend QUICK! A little goes a long way. I like this shadow as a lid color when I want a bold look or a great smoky edge when using a pop of color. The glitter content is high but because of its great binders, it doesn’t crease or fallout. Don’t worry about hot days either–it’s waterproof and sweatproof! For an extra intense look, I will apply it along my bottom lash line with a flat-top brush. It is also available in 12 other bright colors. Sexy! (Available in most major drug and retail stores, $7.99)

imageUrban Decay 24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil in “Legend”: If you are like me, you love that dark, crisp black eye lined look on your lower lid. The problem? It only stays that way for a few hours. Grr. I actually found this product at Sephora when I did a search for a 24 hour pencil liner. In fact, it was the first one to pop up! I love the fact I can sharpen it myself to get a nice, crisp point on the pencil. It glides on with no tugging and yes…. it stays put all day! The black is a nice creamy, demi-matte shade that goes on easily and stays put. If you like the formula and its stay power, it comes in five other shades too! (Urban Decay, $20)

imageSenna Lash Detail Mascara: Over the years, I have tried a countless number of mascaras in different formulas and colors with all types of tubes and brushes. It is probably the one makeup item that I am the most fickle about. I really really like a few different ones I have tried, but to say I love them enough to throw out all of the others wouldn’t be possible. Not to mention, I have different mascaras for looks I want–natural, lush, evening, day, even for when I wear false eyelashes. The one thing that has been difficult for me, no matter which mascara I use, is being able to hit those teenie tiny lashes in the inner and outer corners of my eyes. The bigger brushes either can’t reach them or leave a clump of mascara or worse…a blob of black on my lid or side of my nose. When I attended The Makeup Show earlier this month, I was given a tube of Senna’s Lash Detail Mascara to try. Wow! Anyone that is very detailed about their makeup look needs this mascara, no questions asked! The “brush” is about as thin as a coffee stir straw. It gets in the corners without a problem and hits the bottom lashes from corner to outside without an issue while coating them with a “don’t move” formula. Whether you wear your own lashes with your favorite mascara or add false lashes for extra fullness & length, don’t forget the hidden lashes. Give them some love too. (Senna Cosmetics, $20)

imageDuo Brush-On Adhesive with Vitamins in Dark: Speaking of lashes, I can tell you I have been trying to master fake lashes for years. I either put them on too high, too far to the right, too far to the left, get glue everywhere but on the lid, you name it. Instead of fake lashes, I end up with a real disaster. If I do happen to get them close to normal, I always seem to have a small space between my own and the strip where you can see the skin tone of my lid, and getting a liner in between is virtually impossible. At The Makeup Show, the press was given a set of fake lashes to try. I liked the look of them in the package–soft, long, dark and full (but not too full). The lash glue was okay, but I still had issues with applying it neatly. On my next visit to my local drug store, I checked to see what other options there were in the fake lashes aisle. I saw all different kinds at all different prices with styles from natural to peacock feathers. Umm… wow. But then I saw something unique. They had this fake eyelash glue that was applied with a thin brush–similar to a thin eyeliner brush–that had an easy to apply, stay put adhesive. But what I really loved about it? It was dark…almost black! And when I put the lashes on, it looked like I had epic top liner on too! Two pluses in one product. The lashes stayed put ALL DAY with no smearing. This is JUST what I needed! (CVS, $6.49)

imageHard Candy Lip Gloss in “Black Rose”: I’m not so goth where I will wear straight-up black lip gloss or lipsticks, but I like to add a touch of midnight to a few of my favorite pencils and lip colors. Some of the products I have tried cannot be altered–just all-day black and only black. Personally, I like to wear a reds, dark wines or purples and add a thin black gloss over it for just a bit of an edge. So far, Hard Candy has been the only cosmetic company to offer that. Granted, it doesn’t have a long wear, but if you put it over a lip product with some serious stay power?… a touch up now and then it is well worth it especially since the gloss is seriously inexpensive! A great way to bring out your mysterious side with your regular colored lip products. (Walmart, $5.00)

I have talked before about how it is okay for you to embrace your inner goth even if you aren’t a teen anymore, but when it comes to black makeup items, you need something! You can be as edgy as you want with a touch of class without looking outrageous or out of place. If working with black makeup products is out of your element, take some time to practice till you are comfortable with the application and the look. You have a lot less room for error when creating a look with blacks than others so take your time and try different techniques. I don’t usually recommend this, but it might help to watch a couple of good YouTube videos for help or ideas. I can happily say that it won’t be long before this sassy redhead will be creating a YouTube channel to help you with many of the things I write about here! I am excited–I hope you will be too!
Roses

The Makeup Show “Must Try” List…

13 May

IMG_8406Well, it has been a week since my trip to NYC to attend The Makeup Show and I think I have decompressed enough to start talking about it. To say the least?…. it was AMAZING! It’s like a tattoo—once you get the first one out of the way, you are officially hooked! To start, The Makeup Show is the largest pro-only makeup event in the United States. Two days are set aside to focus strictly on Artistry, Networking, Community, Inspiration and Education. I will certainly be looking for ways to keep myself up to date with the who’s, what’s and where’s when it comes to this industry. The people I met, the companies I saw and the new products I fell in love with were endless. If you like the beauty, glamour and cosmetic industry, it is easy to get to the edge on a personal level. To go to a show like The Makeup Show? That is something that will officially push you over!

The Makeup Show was amazingly organized. Kudos to Melody who was my go-to girl when I needed any information regarding the event. She got me my press pass as well as invites to the gala beforehand and the after-party following the event. Unfortunately I was unable to attend either this year but look forward to going to these events next year. The vendors included big names that I have be familiar with ever since day one with my writing career and so many new brands that I was honored to learn about and try. The people I met were phenomenal. On day one, I was so excited to meet James Vincent—a world renowned makeup artist who has worked with names and companies bigger than the mind can conceive. Not only was he full of knowledge of what items are necessary and what are not in a makeup, but he also gave me his scoop on what brands will do the job best! I was also privileged to meet Wende Zomnir, one of the co-originators of Urban Decay cosmetics; Angela Wilson, COO of Mustaev Cosmeticts; and Michelle Shaffer, President of Twin Medix Skin Care. I learned so much—especially small things that you don’t think make a difference in your skin and glamour look but actually help prevent aging! That was major.

James Vincent and I hanging out before the fun began!

James Vincent and I hanging out before the fun began!

Wende from Urban Decay and myself having a chat!

Wende from Urban Decay and myself having a chat!

Angela from Mustaev telling me the details of her company!

Angela from Mustaev telling me the details of her company!

Michelle Wilson introducing me to her great skin care!

Michelle Shaffer introducing me to her great skin care!

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The goodie bag that the press was given was huge. I have been using new stuff day after day after day. I try and test to see how I like it and how it reacts to my skin. There are foundations, lip colors, mascaras, pencil and liquid eye liners, dry hair shampoo, brushes, eye shadows, HD powders and so much more. I like to compare them—the items that well knowns in the industry like James Vincent use—to items that I use on a daily basis. I ask myself, “Are they affordable?”, “Are they worth the extra money if they are on the expensive side?”, “What do they offer that no one else does?”, and things like that.

Today I just want to touch on a couple of the items that I looked at and tried at the vendor booths that have interested me quite a bit. I am going to see if I can try them for a bit to see if they live up to the famous artist’s hype. They are unique and special, and it was hard to find anything that compared to them. Let’s take a glimpse:

IMG_8355Urban Decay! B6 Vitamin Infused Complexion Prep Spray: This vegan spritz is the perfect skin pick-me-up before you start your glamour routine. Containing stabilized vitamin B6, this spray will absorb excess oil throughout the day, minimizes pores and quickly reduces redness. UD will say you probably don’t think you will need it, but once you try it, you will wonder how you survived without it. This spray is perfect for the morning to “wake up” your skin before you begin your makeup routine or even during the day without messing up your makeup. In addition to the B6, it also vitamin E will provides antioxidants that helps cells turn over faster, keeping skin young. Urban Decay says the more you use it, the better results. I hope to be trying this out soon since tired, red skin is one thing I battle on a daily basis. (Urban Decay, $33)

IMG_8358Senna Cosmetics Moisture Drops Gel Primer: I recently switched face primers from a standard primer to a lavender tinted primer to help adjust the color in my face. I think it is working?…. but it is not something someone is going to run up to me to say, “OMG, your purple face primer looks great under your makeup!” The one thing that most primers have is silicone. It’s great if you need a layer down before you paint your bedroom walls. But on your face, it can cause clogged pores, breakouts, irritations and skin reactions. It also does something that isn’t good for your skin: prevent natural moisture from getting to your face. Senna’s Moisture Drops Gel Primer not only creates a perfect canvas for your foundation but also boosts your skin’s moisture. Encapsulated water droplets “bust” open when you apply it and blends with the primer to prevent dehydration, plumps the skin and tightens pores while nutritious Argan oil softens the skin for a radiant look. I was lucky enough to try this on my hand at the convention and it felt great! It was light, silky and you can feel the moisture without excessive dewiness. I am anxious to try this soon!! (Senna Cosmetics, $40)

IMG_8361Static Nails Reusable Nails: I help out in an industry where my nails need to look good, but I blow through a manicure every day or max two. I have tried the stickers which do okay, but some tend to be a little over the top. Not to mention, my nails are thin and tear easily. I need different base and top coats just to get them firm enough to not be overly flexible. The creator of Static Nails is a 22 year old beauty guru who knew what women wanted and went out and made it happen. These nails are beyond your average press-on nails. These are reusable. They are paintable. They will not break down when removing the polish with non-acetone remover. They look more natural than salon gel nails without the thinning and the damage—and the heavy cost! The have a few different looks, but my favorite is what I call the Louboutin style: black tops with red underneath! Très chic! They also have designs and styles with Swarovski crystals. Pretty!! I really want to try these and put them through the punches of my daily routine. If I can get them to stay on and last for a week then I have found a glamour life saver! (Static Nails, $16 and up)

IMG_8367Model in a Bottle Setting Spray: So, you have perfected the look you want for the day. Your usual course of action is to pack a ton of extras in your bag to make sure it stays that way—a setting powder, more foundation, extra blush, you name it. Well, from what I have seen and heard, that may be a thing of days gone by. At The Makeup Show, some of the more famous artists were raving about this product called “Model in a Bottle”. What does it do? Simple. You get the look you want then spray it with Model in a Bottle. Done. All day hold for whatever you are going to do: photos, modeling, work, play, a night out. You name it. What makes this even better? They have a SENSITIVE SKIN formula. Yeay for us redheads! I get busy during the day and don’t always have a chance to look at my skin or check my look. This would help me keep that look solid without worries or issues! A must try & review soon. (Model in a Bottle, $21)

CleanerCinema Secrets Brush Cleaner: I have a LOT of makeup brushes. Different hairs, types, styles, shapes and sizes. They all get used. From foundation to lip glosses, I have a brush for the job. The one thing I am not that good about doing, however, is keeping them clean. Shame on me. Anyone who has been in this industry for a while knows that dirty brushes breed bacteria. And if you use your brushes all over your face then you are putting nasty bacteria all over YOUR face! Eww! Cinema Secrets showed me the most awesome brush cleaner I’ve ever seen. I think what I find a pain is the time involved. Their brush cleaner is a breeze: dunk the brush quickly in their cleanser, take it out (no pushing, swishing, swiveling) and wipe two to three times on a paper towel….. done. The brush will be dry in no time. You now have a clean, sanitary brush in a minute. What every artist needs—professional and personal! (Cinema Secrets, cleaners start at $8)

I can’t wait to tell you more about The Makeup Show over the next few weeks. These are just some the products I want to try—wait till I tell you about the ones I DID try and fell in love with. So many great names with great products that do great things. This was certainly an event that I am glad I attended and can’t wait to tell you all about it. Get ready… the ride is about to begin!!!
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