Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zing Your Under Eye Issues Away - Origins GinZing Eye Cream Review

I know I was supposed to review this a month or so ago.....but you forgive me, right? ::Puppy dog face::

I have been using this Origins GinZing eye cream for the past 3 months and I LOVE it! This is one of my favorite products that I discovered this year. It is a caffeine-infused eye cream that is supposed to de-puff under eye circles and help firm the under eye area. 

The cream itself is very lightweight and blends easily - no tugging or harsh rubbing required. The cream does have a bit of iridescence to it, but it is not appear shiny.

Originz GinZing Eye Cream dabbed on skin and then blended

I only need a small amount of this cream to cover both eyes:

I simply take the amount pictured above with my ring finger and dab it under each eye, then rub it in gently so it gets absorbed. Before I get in to the efficacy of this cream, the things I like are that it does not have a weird fragrance, it gets absorbed in to the skin pretty quickly so you can apply makeup right away, and since I only need a small amount one tub will last me 6+ months (I have been using mine for 3 months and I still have more than half remaining). 

Under eye area with nothing on

Under eye area with Origins GinZing Eye Cream

Under eye area with Origins GinZing Eye Cream and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

You may notice that since the cream has some luminescence, it does help brighten the under eye area. Thus, if you don't have dark circles you can probably skip concealer. However, the reason I really love this eye cream is that is really does help de-puff the under eye area AND it reduces the appearance of fine lines. But wait, there's more. GinZing Eye Cream is the PERFECT base for concealer. GinZing helps prevent makeup from creasing and fading....and concealer glides effortlessly on to the skin. What more does a gal need from an eye cream? 

I think this is the perfect eye cream for daytime (or both day and evening), and I am now intrigued to try out more Origins products. Any recommendations?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Me On A Makeup Bag

If you have been following my blog for awhile you will know that I am ADDICTED to mascara. I can't leave the house without it. So imagine my excitement when I saw this:

Isn't that the most appropriate makeup bag for me? Now I need to track it down....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Looks Using the Smashbox Studio Stash Set

Good Morning Dolls!! How was your weekend? Mine was....let's say...interesting. Thanks to Irene, I experienced my first hurricane. Luckily, the area I live in was not hit that bad and so fortunately we did not lose power and there was no flooding in our neighborhood. Nonetheless, it was a scary experience and it seems that ever since the hubby and I moved to Philly, the East Coast has been experiencing the worst natural disasters.....last winter was the worst snowstorm in years, last week was the first earthquake in years, and then last weekend was the first hurricane in years. Through all these events I am thankful to the powers above for keeping my family and friends safe. 

So back to makeup. Last week I raved about the new Smashbox Studio Stash Set, and I wanted to share with you a few eye looks that I have been wearing using the products from that set. Just to recap, I did all these looks using only these eye products:

Studio Stash Shadow Palette

 Shadow Swatches

 Cream Liner Palette in Perfect Frame
Top: Graphite, Taupe, Lilac, Lava, Blue Topaz
Bottom: Caviar, Picasso, Thunder, Midnight Purpe, Midnight Brown

Top: Graphite, Taupe, Lilac, Lava, Blue Topaz
Bottom: Caviar, Picasso, Thunder, Midnight Purpe, Midnight Brown

1. Natural Eye

- Cream Liner in Taupe (top row, 2nd from right) as base all over lid
- Shadow #2 all over lid
- Shadow #1 on browbone
- Cream Liner in Picasso (bottom row, 2nd from right) to line top lid

2. Anytime Eye

- Cream Liner in Lava (top row, 4th from right) as base all over lid
- Shadow #2 on inner corner 
- Shadow #3 on lid
- Shadow #4 in crease and outer v
- Shadow #1 on browbone
- Cream Liner in Graphite (top row, 1st from right) to line top lid

3. Smoky Eye

- Cream Liner in Thunder (bottom row, 3rd from right) as base all over lid
- Shadow #4 on lid and outer lower lid
- Mix of Shadows #3 and #4 in crease
- Shadow #2 on inner lower lid
- Shadow #1 on browbone
- Cream Liner in Graphite (top row, 1st from right) lightly smudged on upper lash line
- Full Exposure Mascara on upper and lower lashes

These pics made me realize I really need a new camera. The colors do look darker and more vibrant in real life. In any case, I do like the versatility of the neutral shadows and liner palette. As mentioned in my review, I like using the liners as cream shadows and bases because they really do last all day. 

I really think Smashbox makes the best and most useful makeup sets, and the Studio Stash set definitely proves that. What do you think?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Slim Hangers - Get Them!

Have you invested in the new slim, space saving hangers? Ok, they are not that new, they have been out for a couple years now, but they are FABULOUS!!! I recently picked up another box from Costco ($16 for a set of 50...the cheapest I have found so far) so I thought I should see if they have changed anyone else's life closet, like they have changed mine.

Whether you have a small closet, too many clothes, like your clothes to hang neatly, or all of the above (like me), these hangers are magical! My issue with basic plastic hangers are:

1.  The shoulders of my clothes keep slipping off the hanger because of the slippery plastic
2. They stretch out the shoulders of my husband's shirts because the hangers are not the same width as a man's shirt. 
3. Everytime I need more I grab whatever is cheap and I now have 10 different shades of white hangers

I started using hangers that have a rubber on the edge so that my clothes don't fall of the hanger and my husband's shirts don't stretch, but those hangers are soooo wide! In the photo above you can see the hangers with rubber on the left, basic plastic hangers on in the middle, and the new slim hangers on the right. Although the plastic hangers are the same width as the slim hangers, the slim hangers are covered in a velvet-like material so there is no slipping and deformation of clothes. Also, the slim hangers look the same no matter where you buy them from. Problems solved!!

These slim hangers have really saved my closet because when you add up the hangers with rubber on the edge, they start to take up a lot of space. In the photo above, a set of 5 hangers with rubber is approximately twice the width of 5 slim hangers. 

Have you tried slim hangers? 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Laura Mercier Shy Pink Lip Stain Review

In the past couple months I have developed a new affinity to lip stains. I like having color on my lips but not having to constantly reapply and worry about the feeling of lipstick. I recently finished my all-time favorite lip stain - MAC's Secret Crush Lip Stain from the Rose Romance collection, so I have been on the hunt for a new one. That hunt led me to the Laura Mercier counter where I found this:

Laura Mercier's Lip Stains are described as having "the visual effect of a stain with the comfort and sheen of a lip gloss." The shade I tried is Shy Pink, a light, berry pink shade that I was hoping would be semi-darkened version of my natural lip shade.  

Left: Swatch of Shy Pink from finger, Right: Swatch of Shy Pink blended

The shade itself is a bit more cool-toned and has some purple in it. It is definitely workable for school/work or a night out. 

Shy Pink in Natural Light

In natural light the shade looks more purple. In artificial light the shade looks more mauve-y. 

Shy Pink with Flash

The description of the product itself is pretty realistic, but I think the name "lip stain" is misleading. Stains are usually products that add pigmentation to the lips and get absorbed by the lips so you don't feel anything. This product is not like that....I can actually feel it on, it doesn't get absorbed, and it will transfer to a glass, mug, husband, etc. That being said, the feeling of the product on the lips goes away in about 45 minutes, but the color will still be there. I guess that is why they call this a stain. It lasts about 2.5 hours on my lips, which is annoying because if you want to reapply you have to use a brush or your finger...why do brands still make lip products in jars?

The pigmentation is pretty good and it is non-sticky. That being said, I would think of this as more as a tinted lip balm, except it is not moisturizing or creamy. It is somewhat of a lipstick in a jar....I think. 

Needless to stay, I am still on the hunt for my next favorite lip stain. Any recommendations?

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Set Worth Adding to Your Stash: Smashbox Studio Stash Set Review

As you know I am always looking for a great deal and when it comes to makeup sets sometimes it is a hit or miss. In the last couple years I have noticed that there is one brand that usually hits it out of the park when it comes to makeup sets: Smashbox.

Take for example the new Smashbox Studio Stash set:

First off, how adorable is the little makeup bag?

It looks like a brush roll but it opens up in to an amazingly useful makeup bag! It has an area to put a few brushes, then a clear pouch, and a black round pouch for larger items. 

The black round pouch is detachable via the magic of velcro!! How awesome is that!

I really wanted this makeup set for the pouch, but the products are just as awesome and travel-friendly. First off are the shadow quad and the cream liner palette, shown next to my iPhone so you get an idea of the size.

The Studio Stash Eye Shadow Palette contains 4 neutral shadows in the grey-plum color family:

All shadows are SUPER soft and very pigmented. They blend easily and last all day when worn over a cream shadow or eye primer. The first and third shades are matte, the second and last shades have a tiny bit of shimmer but are not shiny or glittery at all. I have been using this a lot lately for simple summer eye looks (which I will be posting soon).

Swatches of Studio Stash Eye Shadow Palette

My fave product from this set is the Cream Eye Liner Palette in Perfect Frame. Sure, you might look at some of the lighter shades and say "when would I use those as liner?" Ladies, just because it is called a cream liner doesn't mean you can't be creative with it. These creams really excel as a liner but also as a cream shadow on the whole lid! And the best part is these don't fade or crease, even without a base!

This little palette is almost the same size as a credit card and PERFECT for carrying in a purse for touchups or to transform a day look in to an evening look! I think it would be awesome to add a little cream shadow to the lid, a little dark liner and voila....a smoky eye in a pinch! Another plus: the palette includes a small brush and even has a mirror...though in my photo above the mirror still has the blue mirror cover on it. 

Swatches of Cream Eye Liner Palette in Perfect Frame

The Studio Stash set also includes a full-size Full Exposure Mascara, which I really like and will be showing off in an upcoming post illustrating a few recent eye looks using the products in this set.

When I was using the products in this set I was really impressed, but now as I write this post, I am realizing even more how wearable these products are! The lippie included in the Studio Stash set is such a great neutral that will flatter everyone! It is the Lip Enhancing Gloss in Smitten.

The Lip Enhancing Gloss formulas are non-sticky and last a good 3-ish hours on me. The gloss is very moisturizing and this shade is one of those easy ones you can apply without a mirror.

What face would be complete without blush? Gosh, Smashbox thinks of everything! This set does come with a Blush/Soft Lights duo in Split/Second, but unfortunately mine broke so I don't have a photo to show you, but I did gather enough crumbs to swatch the colors for you:

Look how the Soft Lights shade glimmers under the light of the flash! This is a great highlighter shade for many skin tones.

This set is $59 and currently available on Smashbox's website, or you may even be able to find it at Nordstrom, since this was one of the special sets for the Nordstrom Anniversary sale from July. It is a great deal considering how many products you get. The Studio Stash set has all the color products necessary to do a full face of makeup. All you have to do is add the base products (foundation, concealer, and powder) that match your skin tone, and a few brushes.  I HIGHLY recommend this set for yourself or as a gift....who wouldn't want to open a gift box and find this inside!

Disclaimer: The products in this post were provided by PR for consideration. Please read my disclaimer for additional information.

Friday, August 19, 2011

MAC Must-Haves: Arena Eyeshadow

As you may or may not know, I am a MAC-addict. Since I have tried and religiously use so many of their products, I decided to start a new series that highlights the MAC products that would cause me to have a hissy fit if MAC ever discontinued.

So the first MAC product I absolutely cannot live without is Arena eyeshadow. It is described by MAC as a soft gold-peach with pearl and it has a Satin finish.

From the pan above, you can tell I use this shadow a LOT. I mostly use it as an all-over lid shade or as a blending shade. I often use this on the lid with browns or greys for neutral looks, but I also use this with bold colors goes with everything! It is the perfect neutral for me because it is so similar to my skin tone and is on the warm side of the color spectrum. I also like the Satin finish because it is not matte, but not shimmery......just perfect! 

I have used Arena on ALL skin tones ranging from NC 15 to NC 50 and it just works. Have you tried Arena?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MEGA Urban Decay Sale!!

FYI, Urban Decay online is having a HUGE sale right now! I think they are clearing out some of their discontinued products and some things like their loose pigments are only $1. Yes, one dollar!! Check out the sale items here

Nars Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara Review

You may have noticed that I have been using a new mascara in my recent face of the days...the Nars Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara:

I have been using mine quite a bit so the packaging has taken a beating, but the mascara itself is pretty good. I like wands that are full and have lots of bristles to coat each lash, and this one fits the bill:

I know this mascara is pricey ($25) but it works pretty well. See for yourself:

Bare lashes

Bare lashes after being curled

Lashes with one coat of Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara

 Lashes with two coats of Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara

This mascara does not smudge or flake on me, and it doesn't clump up like a lot of volumizing mascaras do. It lasts all day and holds the curl very well. I'm not sure if it really thickened or lengthened my lashes, but it does what I want a mascara to do: darkens my lashes while holding the curl. Overall I give this a two thumbs up but I don't know if I would repurchase because there are so many mascaras that I want to try and many of them are cheaper than this one. 

What mascara are you using currently?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Taming My Hair....Karmin G3 Hair Straightener Review

If you have thick, long, frizzy, wavy or curly hair (or you just like smooth, straight hair), then you know that a hair straightener is as crucial a necessity as underwear. If I were to walk out in the streets without first straightening my hair I might as well be walking around commando. 

That being said, the straightener that I have been using for the past 6 months or so is the Karmin G3 Salon Pro Flat Iron

Prior to using this I was using my Sedu Pro Flat Iron. 

Top: Sedu, Bottom: Karmin G3

Pros about the Karmin G3:
- Longer plates
- 1 inch plates allow you to get closer to the root of the hair
- Can be used to curl the hair

Pros about the Sedu:
- 1.5 inch plates allow contact with the hair for longer time
- Better construction...the plates are super smooth and don't snag the hair (the Karmin occasionally snags hair)

Both irons have ceramic plates with ionic tourmaline technology and both have adjustable heat settings. Both irons leave my hair super straight and results are very similar. With either iron my hair remains straight for at least 3 days before a wave starts to become visible. Overall, I really like both irons and use them equally without any issue. I do like that the Sedu doesn't snag my hair at all, but I like that the Karmin has longer plates so I can straighten larger sections of hair than I can with the Sedu. My ideal hair straightener would be a combination of the two. If you like to curl your hair, the Karmin works well to curl the ends, but is a bit difficult to curl all the hair. I think the Sedu Revolution Iron (different than what I have pictured above) works the best at curling hair. But honestly, if you are going to curl your hair just use a curling iron.

Hair straightened with Karmin

 Hair straightened with Karmin

The Karmin is definitely one of the best flat irons I have ever used. However, I don't think is is significantly better than other professional flat irons like the Sedu. My Sedu iron was purchased from, and they have GREAT customer service. I had even ordered one for my mom and when I got it in the mail, it wasn't working well and they shipped a new one to me without hassling me at all. I also like that they have great offers on a regular basis. The Karmin G3 was provided to me by PR, so I have not dealt with their customer service. 

Do you use a hair straightener? Which one?


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