Archive | September, 2008

Cool Fall Nights, Hot Beauty Finds!

29 Sep

It is absolutely no secret that I am a makeup junkie. And it’s even more obvious that my favorite glamour getaway spot is Sephora. I remember the first time I went into a Sephora store was when my husband took me to New York City for the first time in my life and I went to the store in Times Square. I never knew a store like this existed. Growing up, makeup was the “Buy One Get One” goodies you got from the Avon Lady or the drugstore splurge you invested in when you went to pick up tampons. I remember I walked in the door and just began to drool. It was like the Disneyland of Glamour. They handed me a bib and a shopping basket and the addiction began.

 With school back in session and the trees turning from green to gold, I have already begun to add a few of the season’s hot fashions to my closet. The dark denim skinny jeans, long tunic sweaters, jazzy high boots, and lots of leather! But with all great outfits comes great accessories, and makeup is my favorite accessory of them all! The rich hues of the season can go right from your wardrobe onto your eyes and lips for a finished look with pizzazz.

 While I spent my hour of monthly therapy at my local Sephora, I came across some great finds that I think are a “must have” for this Fall. My cosmetic co-pay was spent on these must haves this season:

 

  • MDskincare’s “All-In-One Facial Cleanser With Toner” – As soon as the days become shorter and the nights become cooler, my face begins to flake. This means I have to change my skin care routine to include a more gentle cleanser and a more enriched moisturizer. Of course, if Indian summer sneaks in, then I have to swap everything out again for the oil-slick stoppers. It’s such a pain. This cleanser might actually stop the game of musical skin care. It has a very odd consistency, almost like soft butter, but it cleans thoroughly without clogging pores or over drying skin. The longer you massage it onto you dry face, the more or a deep cleaning you’ll get. Felling dry?… rub it on for 10 seconds. Feeling oily?… rub it on for 30 seconds. It’s non-irritating, mildly scented and easily adaptable for the ever-changing weather of the season. It keeps my skin feeling soft and night tight at all.

 

  • Urban Decay Eye Shadow in “Gunmetal” – Smokey eyes are still the rage, and this shadow will give you just that with a little bling. This is THE perfect slate grey shade for Fall. In fact, Urban Decay is promoting it as a main ingredient for the “Glitter Over 40” look. (Okay, stop right there because I want it to be known I did not buy it for that reason. As far as anyone knows–except the clerk at DMV–I am 29… 32 max!) I’ve been looking for a great grey shade for a while now with no luck. Some were too light and many were almost onyx. This is a true dark smoky grey. What I also love is it is a bit sparkly. Yup, there is some glitter, but it is the perfect amount and doesn’t make your face look like a disco ball. It easily can be worn both day and night. Urban Decay’s shadows are a cult-favorite in the cosmetic industry with shades ranging from subtle to slammin’ and styles from matte to metallic. They contain very little binders and can be worn dry for casual wear or wet for a dramatic effect. I use “Gunmetal” as an accent lid color as well as a deep liner too.

 

  • Stila Lip Glaze in “Blackberry” – It is without hesitation that I think Stila Lip Glazes are the ultimate gloss in my cosmetic wardrobe. When I first discovered them this summer, I selected shades is sheer pastels (Grapefruit, Banana, Fig…ok, so I like fruit!) Now with closet filling up with cozy fabrics and colors, I wanted to add a nice rich neutral wine colored gloss to the collection but not have it look over the top with my red hair. “Blackberry” was exactly what I wanted. Nice scent and taste, and had a nice berry shade that worked well all by itself. It isn’t painfully dark, but has a warm purple tone to it. And of course the built-in brush tube is still the perfect applicator for me (once I mastered the click dispenser that is). FYI– the gloss is WAY darker in the package then it is on the lips so don’t be afraid to try!

 

  • Sephora by Opi Nailcolor in “Because I Said So” – Ok, admit it…don’t you just LOVE the names of Opi’s nail shades? I mean you have to just smile when you put on “I’m With Brad” or “It’s Somewhere In My Purse”. Since I had retired all my hot pink, coral, raging blue and tangerine polishes for the year, I was now in search of my first shade for Autumn. When I saw this shade on display, I immediately fell in love. This is a really deep metallic burgundy nail polish. It has a nice frost-shimmer to it and goes on true to the color in the bottle. Like all Opi polishes I’ve used in the past, it goes on smooth and even and dries quickly. Two coats and you are good to go. I’m glad Sephora and Opi took on this great relationship. I mean really…”How Cute Is That?” Oh wait, that’s a shade name too!

 

  • Philosophy’s Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath in “Pumpkin Spice Muffin” – The name says it all. All those great fall aromas are blended together in one bottle to make bath time a scrumptious experience. The infamous Philosophy formula leaves your skin & hair clean, soft and hydrated. You’ll love the smell so much, you’ll wonder if there is any way to enjoy it all day long! Actually, you can… Philosophy also makes their Lip Shine in the same great flavor. Not only can you have the scent, but you can get the yummy taste as well!

 

Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love picking apples with my family, pressing colorful leaves from the trees in my backyard, and decorating my house in the rich warm tones of the Autumn. With these great little finds from Sephora, now I can pamper myself from head to toe while enjoying all the shades and scents the season has to offer.

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It’s Not A Writer’s Block…It’s Just Life.

20 Sep

Every day my husband asks me, “Did you do any new blogging today?” And for the past couple of weeks, I’ve pathetically say no. I think I have a writer’s block. I’ve heard about those. I shouldn’t feel bad. Even the greatest literary geniuses have hit the pen and ink brick wall. In fact, Earnest Hemmingway was once asked what was the most frightening thing he had ever encountered. His reply? “A blank piece of paper.”

It’s not that I don’t experience things I could write about. Hell, I’m a mom of two teenagers—a daughter 13 years old going on 23, and a son 15 years old going on 4. I’m the wife of a guy who will scream to me that we are out of coffee creamer, but is too lazy to move the gallon of milk to see that we actually have two left. I’m the daughter of a narcissistic mother whom I’ve realized, thanks to my therapist, won’t be happy till she’s on every prescription drug they advertise on TV because she thinks she’s entitled to be. I spend more time at doctors’ offices than I do at Sephora, Wal-Mart AND Office Maxx put together. And you don’t think I have anything I could talk about? Ha!

The thing is, I don’t think anyone would believe half the crap I could write about based on what I experience during one day of my life. I, myself, often think that what I see while out and about is nothing but a pilot for a really bad TV series that only shows up on the cable channels your remote can’t even reach. The phrase “Oh that did not just happen!” flashes through my head each day more often than the memories of my 80’s high school years complete with big hair, Jordache jeans and my “Foreigner 4” album.

For example, let’s take a flash view of the breakdown of my day today:

6:00am – Get up to make sure my children get on the school bus without someone losing an eye. The morning routine begins: daughter hogs bathroom, son yells for her to get out, daughter slams door on his knuckles, son threatens to pee on her backpack if she doesn’t hurry up, daughter comes to me whining that she wishes I could have given birth to another girl instead of her brother. I have to remind her that he was born first and it was out of my control. She grabs her still-dry backpack and her I-Pod and storms out of the house. My son pats me on the back, tells me I should have just stopped at one, and leaves as well. I grab a muffin and a Xanax and crawl back into bed.

9:00am – I wake up again from my drug-induced sleep to see husband has left for work. I know this because his spot on the bed has been replaced by a shower-wet bath towel and a pair of dirty boxers. Oh yeay. I pull my aching body out of bed and crawl into a shower myself to loosen up the sore shoulders and knees. On my way to the bathroom, I step on a clothes hanger. Curse words fly.

9:30am – I’m still in the shower. I plan on staying in here all day now. There is no one in the house to bother me except the four cats, one of which must need water because he’s licking the water drops that keep rolling down the shower door from the steam. I’m in my own personal heaven.

9:40am – I now have run out of hot water and must rinse the deep conditioner from my hair by jumping in and out of the ice cold spray. More curse words. My feet begin to turn purple from the cold water pooling around my ankles.

10:15am – I finish getting ready, grab my purse, car keys and sunglasses and head to the car. I start the car. I turn off car. I take the keys and go back in the house when I realize I forgot my cell phone. I grab the cell phone. I go back to the car. I start the car again. I turn off the car again . I take the keys and go back in the house when I realize I forgot my datebook. I grab the datebook. I go back to the car. I start car the car for the third time. I realize I forgot my bottle of water. Screw it. I sigh and drive off.

10:45am – I get to my doctor’s office to have a past ear infection checked. The nurse asks if I’m better. I lie and say yes. The nurse takes my temperature. I am told I have a fever of 101. Oh great. The doctor says my ear still looks bad. In fact, the other one is now infected AND my lungs are congested. I am given a handful of antibiotics, a cough medicine, and some funky looking teapot. I ask the doctor if I am supposed to use the teapot to soothe my aching body with a nice cup of chamomile before bed. He tells me that the “teapot” is actually for my nose, so I can squirt warm water and baking soda from it up one nostril and let it run like a faucet out the other to flush my sinuses of nasty toxins. Are you freaking kidding me? The last time I experienced something remotely close to what he had just described was in high school when my best friend liquefied cherry Jell-O in her mouth and I made her laugh hard causing it to shoot out of her nose and onto the back of the cutest guy in lunch, who just happened to be wearing a  white oxford shirt that day. The poor guy. Even to this day, I feel bad we did that to him. The receptionist schedules an appointment for me to come back in two weeks.and tells me to have a great afternoon. I give her a look that makes her so uncomfortable, she tells me I can keep the Viagra pen I was writing the check for my co-pay with. Nice…sick but still intimidating!

1:00pm – I arrive at my local Wal-Mart Super Center to pick up just the basics so my family can survive through the weekend till I’m feeling better to do “real shopping” on Monday. I begin my trip through the store by having an old woman drive up the back of my heel in the antacids department because she can’t see over the steering bar of the shopping cart. I grab Pepto for the house then back up to get a bottle of Motrin for the pain I now have in my foot. I head to the grocery department and see there is absolutely no line at the deli. I muster up the last bit of energy I have to make a mad dash to get sandwich meat for lunches. I am immediately cut off by a man in a sleeveless shirt that says “I Think Your Mom’s Hot”. He’s about 40. He looks at me, straightens his John Deere hat, sucks in his stomach and smiles. I have an urge to tell him my mom is 82 but I’m scared of the response I’ll get. I get all of my food and household items and make my way to the checkout lines. There are only two lanes open: the “15 items or less” aisle and the tobacco/Red Bull aisle. Even though I don’t smoke, my cart containing over 20 boxes of frozen foods alone exempts me from going to the short lane. I kill time by reading the latest headline about how Tom Cruise was abducted by aliens. I can’t help but overhear the woman in front of me on her cell phone talking to her BFF that she’s in Lane 19 and to meet here there so they can go outside for a smoke as soon as she’s done paying for her 40 packs of Ramen Noodles and a 12 pack of Bud. She begins to fight with her son, who I actually thought was her young boyfriend till he called her mom, never hanging up the phone on her BFF for a second. My head begins to pound, so I grab a Vitamin Water out of the nearby cooler and pop an Excedrin Migraine. The cashier tells me the bill for my “basics” comes to $168. I write her a check and pop a second Excedrin Migraine.

3:00pm – I get home, unpack the groceries and make myself lunch. Finally. While I heat up a hot pack for my now piercingly painful ear, I decide to call my mother. I should have waited for the migraine meds to kick in a bit more before I dialed the phone. This conversation was no different than any other daily check-in-with-mom phone call.Hi mom…. yeah, I just got home from the doctor… oh, you’re sick too?… what’s wrong today?… you had that last week… oh, it’s different this week?… no, I don’t think my antibiotics will help with your new bout of diarrhea… maybe you should eat some applesauce… oh that gives you gas?…. I didn’t know that… gee, it’s nice that it is finally cooler outside… the cold weather makes your rosacea bad?… mom, I’ve gotta go. My husband is home from work early to help me stick hot pokers in my eyes… ummm, I said my husband is home early to help me fix the exercise ropes for my thighs… I’ll talk to you tomorrow mom.” I check the clock to see if I was able to take another Xanax. Dammit.

5:00pm – I officially declare my day has ended to all who are in the house, including the cats. I inform them that they are on their own for the rest of the night and I am not to be disturbed unless the house is ablaze  or someone is bleeding to death. I remind my daughter of the words “to death” so she won’t bother me for her daily eight Band-Aid hangnail injury. I take my medicine for my ear infection, grab an ice pack for my new Wal-Mart Achilles injury, and go upstairs to lay down in bed. As I begin to drift off to a nap, I hear my husband call out that he can’t find the ketchup in the refrigerator. I smile to myself as I hear my our daughter tell him, “If you aren’t on fire, don’t bother. She won’t answer.”

See? Nothing special to write about here. Just another boring day in the life of Sassy Auburn.

**UPDATE** – After my husband reviewed my latest post, he feared that people reading it would think I’m a chronic pill popper. I jokingly said “What stay-at-home mom isn’t?” He didn’t find that so funny. So, for the sake of my health, his reputation and our sanity, please make the following changes in the posting you just read:  a) replace all references to Xanax with the words “piece of fruit”; b) replace all mentions of the product “Excedrin Migraine” with the words “Tic-Tac”.  Thank you.

Product Review: Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder

6 Sep

HD Microfinish Powder

By Make Up For Ever

Price: $30 @ Sephora or Sephora.com

Item Description: from Sephora.com:

What it is:
A universal translucent finishing powder to be applied over foundation or worn alone.

What it does:
Sets the foundation and slightly matifies skin without changing its natural contours. This 100% mineral silica powder softens the appearance of imperfections. Completely evens out the complexion for a glowing, radiant look. One universal shade for all skin tones.

What else you need to know:
It’s completely translucent and goes on any skintone. Its talc-free formula does not dry the skin and is formulated with 100% silica. Dermatologically tested.

Things I like: White in color but goes on translucent so it doesn’t change the color of the foundation/skin; good for all skin tones; talc- and cornstarch-free; very fine—not heavy or sticky; easy-to-use sifter jar; a little goes a long way

Things I don’t like: Price seems high, but since you use so little it’s a good long-term investment

Rankings:

Packaging Design: 5 out of 5

Portability/Convenience: 4 out of 5

Wearability: 5 out of 5

Shade/Color Variety: n/a

Value: 5 out of 5

Overall Rating: (scale of 1=worse to 10=best)  9.5

Likely To Buy It Again? Absolutely!

Here’s my imitation of a SassyAuburn Infomercial:

“Have you ever put on your foundation and want to “set it” with a touch of powder then realized the powder just changed the color of your foundation & skin? Do you have a nice complexion but can’t find a finishing powder that’s colorless so it won’t change your look? Do you notice the powder you use looks like pancake batter on your oily skin in less than 2 hours? Does you powder sit on top of your skin, sticking to each little hair and fuzz like wet snow sticks to a tree branch in Winter? If so then do I have the product for YOU!!!!!”

As a Sephora Insider (which, honestly, is just another name for a Sephora Shop-a-holic), I got an email about this product about a month before it was released to the public. With a small purchase from sephora.com, this deluxe sized sample was available to me to try and review. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just changed foundations (went from a liquid to a true powder mineral foundation), and was looking for that little bit of sheer powder to set everything up when I was finished with my makeup application. In the past, me and pressed powders have not got along. Me and loose powders have gotten along even less. With my oily skin, large pores, hormonally baby-fuzzy face, and paler than pale skin, powder was an impossibility in my glamour drawer. Pressed powders got that nasty oil film on top after a couple of weeks. Loose powders made me look like a fuzzy pumpkin since the only shades they seem to come in turned my face orange. Plus, anyone who is part of a professional photo shoot—in front of or behind the camera—knows the #1 product on the set is powder. And lots of it. I needed one…and fast!

I love the way Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Powder makes my skin look and feel. It’s super fine and translucent so it doesn’t matter how old, how young, how dry, how oily, how light or how dark your skin is—it will work. It doesn’t “sit” in or on any fine lines or large pores, so it gives you an even, velvet-like finish. And because it is doesn’t have talc or cornstarch in it, it won’t turn cakey on your face if you sweat or get oily. It’s great if you have sensitive skin and it won’t clog your pores. And if you have slightly dry skin, it won’t make you look like you have fish scales for a complexion. It won’t change the color of your foundation or skin, or even take away from any blush you might already have on. And you do NOT need a lot! I lightly dust it on with a standard foundation brush to avoid it sticking to my face and making me look like a Chia Pet. You can also dust it on with a big powder brush as well. And its stay power? Awesome! Very seldom to I have to touch up my makeup during the day when I use my HD Microfinish powder. And that’s saying something.

I got my deluxe sample at the end of March, and I’m not quite done with it yet. Cool huh?

Don’t strain a brain cell trying to find a loose or pressed powder that matches your foundation, or that doesn’t make you feel like you have an extra three layers of makeup on after you apply it. Go sheer, go colorless, go lightweight, go High Def…go to Sephora (because they have the exclusive contract for it!) and get a jar for a fabulous “photo-finish” for your face!!