Archive | February, 2013

New Season…New Scent!

26 Feb

SassyPerfume

It’s about that time of year. The calendar is showing that spring is getting closer even if the weather isn’t. Fall and winter merchandise is on clearance, but seeing shorts and swimsuits in the store gives me goose bumps. This is a “mixed emotions” time of year. You know that better days are coming but it seems like it takes every last ounce of energy to get through the ones that are here. Ugh.

I think one of the best things to do when the winter funk gets me down is to get myself a new perfume. It lifts my mood, brings a smile to my face, and helps remind me that spring days will soon be here. Even when it is snowing or sleeting outside, or there is a winter weather advisory scrolling along the bottom of my TV screen (like right this very second), smelling a new, uplifting, fresh fragrance can give me that little bit of “oomph” to get through the day and daydream about better days to come.

Yesterday I set out–clear nose and coffee beans in pocket—to my local high-end department store to search out a new fragrance. I have to say, the scratch n sniff samples that have come in my magazines lately just haven’t jazzed me. I’m pretty particular. I don’t like overly mature scents. I’m not huge into heavy florals. And I certainly do not like musky perfumes since they smell like a locker room when I wear them. I like fruity scents with a light touch of bright florals and with a lingering scent, like vanilla, that sticks around for a while.

After several samples on cards, sniffing, whiffing, fanning and running through different spritzes in the air at the store (looking like a total goofball I’m sure”, I narrowed down my choices to my four favorite scents right now. Here is what I liked:

GuessGUESS – I am a huge Guess brand fan. I have it all: shoes, boots, jeans, tops, handbags, jewelry, you name it. When I saw the stunning, feminine bottle of the Guess perfume, a part of me gasped just a bit since it just seemed like a natural choice for me. I have to say, it didn’t disappoint me. It screams everything I like when I wear a scent: exciting, bold, sexy, and playful. It makes an entrance with notes of raspberry nectar, melon and bergamot, followed up by tinges of orchid, acacia flower and lily. All that gets wrapped up with sandalwood and bourbon vanilla for a scent that stays. This scent leaves a bit of a “heavy” impression which doesn’t always translates well on me, but it is still one that I’d love to have in my collection.

DOTDOT by Marc Jacobs – I’m a die-hard fan of “Daisy” so I did not expect this fragrance to let me down. And it didn’t. The scent alone says bubbly, giggly, energetic and alive. Just like the name only has three letters, it can be described in three letters as well—F U N. This upbeat fragrance has top notes of red berries, dragon fruit, honeysuckle, middle notes of jasmine, coconut water and orange blossom, all tied together with the warmth of vanilla. DOT by Marc Jacobs gives you a simple, straight-forward, sophisticated scent with a balance of sheer elegance. This is without a doubt an anytime, anywhere with anything scent!

BieberGirlfriendGIRLFRIEND by Justin Bieber – Yeah, I said it… don’t hate! You don’t have to be a screaming girl with Bieber Fever to appreciate the scents that Justin puts his name on. I certainly was not disappointed with SOMEDAY and I wasn’t disappointed with GIRLFRIEND either. Top scents of mandarin, blackberry, pear and strawberry with dreams of pink freesia, star jasmine, apricot nectar and orange blossom keep this scent light and young. Hints of vanilla orchid and light musk kisses your senses to keep the scent lingering even after the scent begins to die down. Of course, its target market if the young Beetle-mania type girls who will buy anything with JB’s name on it. But I have to say, it is young, it’s flirty, it takes your breath away, and it makes you feel like a teen again (without all the heartache!)

BCBGBCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Chic – Out of all the fragrances I tested, I think this one is my fave. I liked BCBGMAXAZRIA’s original scent, so to see one with a different edge really caught my eye. It has all the notes that I love in a perfume: Asian pear, black raspberry, mango, pink peony, orange blossom and violet. These light tones are all enveloped in sandalwood, cashmere musk and vanilla to keep it forward but light. I like this refined scent with persuasive accents. It makes a huge entrance and drips with extravagant textures that keeps your senses enticed and other people’s senses allured. This is such a Sassy scent. SO me! It hits you with a sexy “Wow!”, followed by a “What a confident, enchanting, sexy woman!”. Then, as the girl passes by, her memory lingers, and you can’t help but say, “Who WAS that girl?” THAT is the impression I like to leave, and this great scent will help.

So have I tempted you? In the mood to go find yourself a new perfume to help you transition into a new season? Now is time! Simple things to remember: don’t spray them all on you—spray a tester card, then label it so you remember what it was; don’t sniff too many—it will confuse your sense of smell and if that happens, that’s when a wiff of coffee beans can help; don’t go sniffing if you have a cold or allergies—n thing will smell right or even smell at all!;, and most of all—be open minded. You might not like a name or brand, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like the fragrance. Lightly sniff the bottle without spraying, if you like it, spritz a test card, wave it to give it time to breathe, then smell it again. If you are still liking it, try it on your clean wrists next time you go into the store and see how it stays with you make sure it doesn’t react to your skin. If it’s goood, then go for it! That new scent might just be what Old Man Winter needs to get him out of town and rush in the warmer weather that’s right on the horizon!!

All products in this post are available at your local Macy’s or Macy’s online at macys.com

Happy Hair…AND a Fab Contest!

19 Feb

Parn1
PARNEVU is a company that prides itself on making salon-quality hair products to help restore, condition, repair and prevent damaged hair. Their two lines are their T-Tree hair products and their Extra Dry hair products. Both of these lines are fabulous for those who, like many of us, like to over-process, over-style, or use a LOT of products on our locks that can damage them so much, it can stall the growth of new, healthy hair.

Parn2Tea Tree oil is THE perfect ingredient for hair care products if your hair is slow to grow, damaged, or if you have scalp issues. It helps remove product build up, stop itchy scalp, strengthens hair, prevents breakage and helps repair split ends. This is great to know if you process your hair by either chemically straightening or curling; bleaching or coloring; or over-style with excessive products and/or appliances. Tea Tree oil restores and prevents further damage to hair that has been over processed and over worked. The other ingredients in PARNEVU’s T-Tree product line also help to protect and condition your hair as well.

Parn3PARNEVU’s Extra Dry products are salon-quality products to help people with VERY dry hair, packed with ingredients to help extremely damaged hair and dry scalp. I think we know exactly what that type of hair that is. I remember it vividly: the days of perming, sitting in the sun with a pint of Sun In on it, blowing it completely dry and finishing it with a can of hair spray. THAT hair would be worthy of PARNEVU’s Extra Dry products. Ah, to know then what I know now….

Although my hair isn’t as bad as it was when I was in 20’s (mainly because I smartened up!), I still have to say I am guilty of dry hair due to coloring it every four weeks, blowing it dry often, flat ironing it occasionally, using too much styling products on a frequent basis, as well as dealing with environmental issues on a daily basis (pollution, weather, air quality, etc). Not to mention there are times I do a bun or an up-do which can really break or damage hair as well. I probably never pick up hair products with that much thought as to whether they would help the specific problems that I have with my tresses or prevent ones on a daily basis. But after reading how PARNEVU’s could help the problems I DO have, and prevent ones I DON’T, I thought it might be good to give them a try.

Parn4Since my hair and scalp can be exceptionally dry (especially in the colder months!), I decided to try their Extra Dry Salon Shampoo and After-Shampoo Conditioner. I’ve always said good hair starts right from step one, and that is with washing! I immediately liked the scent of the product which is always important to me. I also notice it wasn’t…. how do I say… heavy? It wasn’t loaded down with extra additives. It looked and smelled clean. The shampoo CLEANSED my hair and scalp. It didn’t coat it, leave it sticky, or left it feeling weighed down. It felt—and smelled—clean! The directions suggest you “lather, rinse and repeat” which I did. You don’t need a ton of shampoo to get the job done either. When washing it twice, a quarter-sized drop will do the job with great results. After shampooing, I used the conditioner. Again, I really liked the scent and even that wasn’t heavy and gooey. It was a lightweight cream that coated and conditioned my locks. I let it set a few minutes then rinsed out with luke-warm water. I don’t know how many different ways I can say it…my hair and scalp felt clean! REALLY clean! Not only did I feel like the products removed all the product build-up without leaving my hair stripped and dry, but I felt like it really condition and repaired my hair. It was a really good feeling! It was even a better feeling when I used it consistently for several months. Even if I “fussed” with my hair with styling or products, the PARNEVU Extra Dry line actually prevented damage from occurring. It was like giving my luscious auburn locks a suit of armour without feeling like they were loaded with unnecessary fragrances, oils, additives and bulk. It was a natural, squeaky clean that I really liked every day.

Parn5I think the frosting on the cake was PARNEVU’s Extra Dry Shining Gel. Because I always use something to help hold in my loose natural waves, I wanted a product that wouldn’t leave my hair feeling gummy but would let my natural curls shine though. OMG, this was better than I hoped! I have to say, the product felt really funny—almost like old school Dippity Do. (If you are too young to know what I am talking about, please keep me in your thoughts but refrain from sending me AARP membership applications, thank you.) You really need VERY little of this product. Although it looks and feels thick, it practically melts into your hands and smoothes into your hair without the stickiness or heaviness you might expect. The jar is large and since you use so little, it will last you a long time! I usually just scoop out a soda-cap sized dollop and let rub it with my hands till it “melts”. (I have pretty long hair.) Then I run my hands and fingers through my hair, paying special attention to the top layer (for shine) and the ends (for hold). Even if you decide to go two days without washing your hair, the Shining Gel does not make your hair tacky or knotted, which is nice to allow you to give your hair a styling break.

Although PARNEVU can be found in some retail outlets, I think it is just as easy to get it from their website. (And they are having a sale till March 13th when you use the coupon code FANCY25) Plus they often have other deals going on for their customers so it’s best to check out their website first. Even though their products are salon quality, they are not salon priced! The entire set that I have been using– Dry Extra Dry Salon Shampoo, After-Shampoo Conditioner, and Shining Gel—is only $15 ($5 each piece). To get your hair and scalp in healthy, happy condition, that is a fabulous price for these products. Drugstore products are almost the same price and we know that salon products are more than TWICE that much!

Kudos on your line, PARNEVU! It’s nice to see a great array of items to keep our tresses clean and healthy. I am sure my glamour-istas will be glad to know they can have happy hair too! Want to try PARNEVU products? They can be purchased at your local beauty supply store or online at http://www.parnevu.com. For current giveaways and coupon codes, connect with them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/parnevu and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/parnevu.

As a perk for our fans, PARNEVU and I will be giving away a set of the products that I fell in love with–
PARNEVU’s Dry Extra Dry Salon Shampoo, After-Shampoo Conditioner, and Extra Dry Shining Gel. To enter, you must do ALL of the following:

1) Follow @PARNEVU on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/parnevu)
2) Like PARNEVU on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/parnevu)
3) Follow @SassyAuburn on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/sassyauburn) and
4) Leave a comment below on this blog post as to what you would like to change about your hair. Make sure you leave your Twitter ID in your response.

All four things must be done to be entered for the prize. Contest begins February 20th at 12:01pm est and will end at March 7th at 11:59pm est. Winner will be chosen at random from entries that have completed all requirements and will be notified via private message on Twitter. Good luck!!

Once, Twice, Three Times with Sassy…

17 Feb

3+
Without researching, I would be willing to say that there are over a million different makeup, skin care, hair and nail products on the market. That doesn’t even include the various colors and formulas of many of them. It is not easy for a company to get a consumer to buy a product once. The money they put into television and print advertising is beyond comprehension. Now, to hold the customer’s interest with eye-catching displays, money-saving deals, and quality results in order to get them to be a repeat customer is pretty amazing. After that, it’s a crap shoot. The cosmetic company now hopes they have gained your loyalty and business. They hope you love it so much that you would not even consider shopping out the product and buy it a third time—THAT is a cosmetic company’s dream come true, and an accomplishment beyond words.

I can totally relate to this as a glamour junkie. Commercials, displays, magazine ads and samples could literally get me to jump the fence on almost anything I use with the right tactics. Even if I’m thrilled with the product I am currently using, I can justify in my head and heart to try something else, even if it’s just once. But really… isn’t that what the cosmetic companies want? Just a chance? They know I’ll either say, “Wow, this is the best xxx I have ever used! Why haven’t I been using this before? I’ll never use anything else ever again!” Or I will give it an immediate thumbs down, kick myself for being a traitor to the product I had been using before, beg for glamour forgiveness and go back to using the one I had loved all along. Not to mention, with me winning contest prizes, getting products to try or review, or sending away for samples for me to try on my own, I’m always getting “teased” with things that are new, improved or could be better. That’s what the companies are hoping for. Some times, I admit, it works. But for a few products, I won’t even bother to deviate. I stick with what I love. Not just once, or even twice…. but have bought them three times or more because to me, they far exceed anything else I have tried or tested. I have found they truly are my favorites at what they do.

So what are these heart stealers that have shown me that “third time’s a charm”? Here are my ultimate favorite products that you will always find somewhere in my beauty ensemble, either in my drawers or on my vanity:

OleFoam**Ole Henriksen’s African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser** – Having sensitive skin has made finding the perfect cleanser difficult for me. I want something that washes my face, fights aging and doesn’t strip it of its natural oils, drying out my skin. I have tried a LOT of cleansers, I fell in love with Ole’s African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser after their customer service department sent me a sample because I thanked them for their “Three Little Wonders” box set I got for a holiday gift one year, which stole my heart. The cleanser immediately became my favorite face wash. My skin felt and looked noticeably healthier, it didn’t irritate or make my skin burn, and the foaming formula really made it so you didn’t need a ton. Plus, in combination with Ole’s other products I had, I really noticed an overall improvement in my face’s skin. I have been using the African Red Tea cleanser pretty consistently for over two years now. Even though I have tried a sample of other cleansers here and there, I always use Ole’s at least once a day. Happy to say, I’m on my fourth bottle! (Available at Sephora, $30)

BurtsBeesHandCream**Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream** – I never used to be a hand cream kind of girl. I never had to be. My hands never got dry, cuticles were healthy and I had no problems. Then came this year. I don’t what changed but my cuticles turned into corn flakes, my hands felt dry and the tops of my hands looked…old !!(*GASP!*). Oh no, no, no. My years in the cosmetic and skin care industry taught me that your eyes and your hands can tell people your age better than your driver’s license can. The minute I felt my hands drying out, I went looking for something good. I tried several simple “squeeze” lotions for my hands, but they didn’t seem to keep them moist for too long. Burt’s Bees caught my eye because of the Almond Milk in the name. I love the scent of almonds and know that almond oil is fabulous for moisturizing skin naturally. The beeswax is perfect to lock it into the skin and really keeps the hands, nails and cuticles soft. And the scent is to die for! I just dove into my third jar last night—and I’ve only been using it since November! (Available at most drugstores, $9)

TreeHut**Tree Hut Brazillian Nut Shea Body Butter** – The more natural you can keep your health and beauty products, the better they are for your body. I have always turned to almond or coconut oil to keep my body soft after a bath. In the colder months, however, I need something a bit more rich when my skin begins to get dry and itchy. I saw a review for Tree Hut’s Body Butter on a review site once, and remembered seeing the product at my regular retail store, so I thought I would look into it a bit more. It had my two favorite natural moisturizers that I love in it: shea butter and cocoa butter. In addition, it also contained Brazil nut and safflower seed oil, both rich in vitamins and antioxidants which help to keep the skin healthy. The smell is divine… like a yummy latte from your favorite coffee shop! I like the fact that it is not a liquid or a lotion—it is a solid “butter” which goes on thick and melts into the skin. This leaves the skin soft and moisturized for a long time. Since I first discovered this about four years ago, I have purchased at least six jars of this gem. Currently I have one in my bathroom AND bedroom! (Available at some local retailers or drugstore.com, $7.49)

NYCliner**New York Color Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil** – Eyeliners are a dime a dozen. I’ve seen some liners as cheap as 99 cents and some as expensive as $30. It is not too difficult for me to describe what I want in an eyeliner. The problem is… finding it. I want a DARK black pencil that I can sharpen myself so I can get a crisp, tight line. It has to be soft enough to go on with ease but tough enough to not smudge or run. And it has to last—I mean LAST ALL DAY last. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, right? Ha, that’s you think. I have tried so many liners over the years, it’s crazy. The fact is I’ll probably continue to try different liners, depending on the look I am going for. But if someone said I had to grab ONE liner to use for the rest of my life? I’d take NYC’s Waterproof Eyeliner. It can sharpened to a good point, soft enough not to tug at my eyes, cry-proof, rain-proof, sweat-proof and even swim-proof. It. Stays. Put. No smudging, no running. Even though I have tried gels, liquids, minerals and kohl liners for different looks, my go-to everyday no-fail eyeliner will always be NYC’s. Oh, and by the way? It won’t drain your wallet. And that is always a plus! (Available at Walmart & other retailers, $3.99)

I can’t deny that I don’t like to try new things. I’m a girl. It’s not just my nature but it’s also my job! There is nothing wrong with seeing what is out there. What is good for me may not be good for you. And what is good for you might just be what I am looking for! Times and styles are constantly changing so it is expected that cosmetics are going to change right along with it. These items I mentioned might be my go-to products for what I am looking for right now, but who knows if they will even be available in a year! I’d like to hope so, but in case they aren’t, I need to keep track of what other options are out there in case I need to switch. But today?…I am pretty content with these products for their specific purpose and will love ‘em till they are gone!

How about you? I am sure you have a couple of “must have” items of your own. No matter what else is out there, you will use them regardless of the competition. Are they makeup items—a favorite lipstick color? A blush? What about skin care—an eye cream? A moisturizer? Maybe it’s a nail polish remover. Or a can’t-live-without hairspray. Let me know what items are staples in your routine and I’ll let you know if I agree!

Sampling Some Samples – January…

6 Feb

Samples
Companies know us women are suckers for samples. When it comes to playing makeup, we are never too old! Just about every month, I consider myself to be blessed that I am on so many “try before you buy” sample lists. Some are ones I request from advertised offers, others are new products I won, some are gifts with purchases, and others are trial offers. Doesn’t matter to me… I LOVE to play with new products. I think a good number of my favorite skin care and glamour products came to me through a trial or sample somehow. What is nice is I get to see if I like a product enough to buy it in a full size without worrying about the monetary commitment. This is especially helpful with high end makeup and skin care items as well as expensive fragrances.

January was no different. Trials and samples came rolling in, just like it was Christmas still. Every trip to the mailbox was like a trip to the mall of freebies! Here are just a few of the samples I got last month that caught my eye (and nose and skin) as well as my thoughts on if I’d consider them for a future purchase or not:

YSLMascYves-Saint-Laurent Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils Shocking – I am pretty lucky. I have good lashes. My only problem? They are pretty straight and light in color. Curling is a necessity no matter what. But if I can find a mascara to give them some extra pop with a little extra length, volume and color, I’m pretty happy. YSL’s Shocking mascara gave me just that. After two coats with its easy to control brush and then a tight curl with my lash curler, it really gave my eyes the look of wearing false lashes! The mascara wore true all day and didn’t smudge, clump or flake. Something I noticed with this mascara that I hadn’t seen in others? The black color was shiny, almost patent-leather shiny! It really gave my eyes a more dramatic look. Although I was a fan of the sample, I would have to seriously fall in love with it to pay the high end price. Still… I liked this mascara A LOT!
Available at Sephora for $30

BillBoyfriendKate Walsh’s “Billionaire Boyfriend” Perfume – If thoughts of diamonds, yachts, and dreams of wealth and glamour consume your mind throughout the day, this might be a scent for you to try. This high-floral scent with oriental influences has notes black jasmine, velvet orchid, gardenia and patchouli flower. Even as the scent dries down, its back notes of sandalwood and golden amber keep it rich. It is a forward, bold yet pretty scent and it does last. Personally, however I have never been a high floral-scented perfume person. I lean more towards citrus-based fragrances. If you are a fan of strong-scented, sophisticated, warm scents, you might really like this. Me?.. I have to pass.
Available at Sephora for $65

BFTEBeauty From The Earth Mineral Eye Shadow in “Suede” – Last month, BFTE had a special on their sample jars for only one dollar each. It was a new year and I thought I needed to try some new colors to spice up my makeup look. I went outside my comfort zone and grabbed some colors that were going to be hot this year and that were very new to me. When my order came, I was so loving the new colors I had selected. I was also delighted to see that BFTE sent me a sample of one of their other colors. “Suede” is a high shimmer light grey with a touch of taupe that makes it a great highlighter with any color shadow. For a real wow look, wear it alone with a bold liner like a purple or bronze. Here I had ten great uber chic colors that just arrived and I couldn’t stop playing with the speck of shadow in the little plastic baggie!! We will have to see how much I like the colors I did get as the days go by, but right now it’s the freebie that has my interest for a future buy!
Available at BFTECosmetics.com for $6.50

ChanelChanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner – I’ve been wearing eyeliner since I was 16. It is a must have in my makeup routine. Always black, always waterproof and always a pencil that I can sharpen to a crisp point. When I got this pencil to try, it was pretty much a fail on every thing I wanted in a liner. It >was waterproof. But that was about it. Sure, it had a high-ticket name brand, but if it wasn’t what I liked, it wasn’t going to matter. Since the pencil came in a purple-ish bronze color called “Grenat”, I thought it might be nice to try it with BFTE’s sample! Wow… what a stunning look! The liner went on very smooth with a crisp line (even with the self-sharpening pencil.) The color was bold and classy and it gave me a very unique look that was new to me. As to its wear power? All day is an understatement! The liner stayed true, did not smudge, and looked as good when I took it off as it did when I put it on even after all day wear. The good points are it is easy to use, stays put, didn’t irritate my eyes with my lenses and comes in a LARGE array of colors. Its downside? The price. Since I have been wearing liner since 16, I am guilty of saying I don’t think I have paid more than $10 for a liner. However, with the Chanel liner’s stay power, ease of application, and a variety of colors for different looks? I’d seriously consider purchasing another one in the future.
Available at Macy’s for $30

A new month is here and samples, trials and winnings are already rolling in at my house. This is going to be a fun month for testing out new things in my beauty routine. I should have lots of reviews and opinions for you next month. How about you? Did you try or sample anything new recently? Did you like it? Would you buy it in the future? Let me and my other Sass-inistas know! We always want to hear about what our friends have tried recently and what we think! Seriously… don’t we just love to give our opinions whenever possible? So share away!!