Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Neutral is the New Black

Stila Halfmoon// Maybelline Jade// Urban Decay Desperation// L'Oreal Olive// Rimmel Taupe// Revlon Brushed Pewter

I'm what you'd call a "meh" eyeliner gal  sure, I wear it but it's just not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I love a dramatic smokey eye complete with a heavy-handed coat of jet-black liner... just not everyday, and definitely not in the summer. Lately I've been sporting a bevy of neutral liners that bring a bit of soft definition and color to the eye without looking too harsh. Whether worn smudged alone on the lid, or paired with a bright summery eyeshadow, these six sticks are bringing subtle (sexy?) back.

If the thought of any other shade other than black makes you cringe, then the Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof in Halfmoon might be a good option. A matte grey that's easy to use (twist-up liners are da-bomb) and lasts all day, this one's just begging to added to your collection. While we're on the topic of twist-ups, Maybelline's Unstoppable Eyeliner in Jade is not only a gorgeous shade, but an amazing formulation. Reminiscent of the aforementioned Smudge Stick, this waterproof beaut can be yours for less than a Hamilton. Does it get any better?

No eyeliner post could be complete without an Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil shout out. Desperation, a grey taupe, glides on the lash line effortlessly without so much as a tug. Moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba oil and vitamin E merely sweeten the deal. Unfortunately my next pick isn't so sweet. The L'Oreal Bare Naturale Gentle Mineral Eyeliner, a long-time love, has been *dun dun duuun* discontinued. (I should have stockpiled a few more.) Olive, a warm green that looks amazing smoked-out on the lids, is (was) one of my favorite shades. I'll have to try out some other L'Oreal eye liners to see how they compare.

The Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl in Taupe a newbie to my collection  has not only become my go-to eyeliner, but also my go-to cream eyeshadow. The ultra-creamy consistency makes application quick and painless, and once it sets, it doesn't budge. A unique shade, this light taupe brightens the eye for a natural I'm awake look. Wanting something a tad darker? The Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Brushed Pewter is lovely metallic grey that flatters every eye color. This pencil comes with a built-in smudger, handy for taking the liner from heavy to light. It's not waterproof so set it with an eyeshadow if you want to prevent any slipping and sliding.

What shade of eyeliner, other than black, have you been sporting this summer?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Primers/Concealers For Your Peepers

As a flesh-toned primer enthusiast (a lovely reddish-purple birthmark graces my right eyelid), I'm willing to try my hand at any formula that meets my modest requirementsone that conceals completely and one that doesn't budge come hell or high water. So far two, yep just two, have come close to making the grade. One's an old beloved favorite and the other, a newfangled addition to the pack.

My deep-seated love for MAC Paint Pots, which have been an integral part of my eye-prepping routine for years, is not unwarranted. I rotate between Painterly, a neutral pink-toned base, and Soft Ochre, a basic yellow-toned beige. Painterly works well during those winter months when my skin is pale (paste-y) and Soft Ochre knocks out the deep redness brought on by the sun in the summer. Both neutralizing shades lock into place creating the perfect blank canvasno smudging and absolutely zero creasing. So, why the wandering eye? (Hee-hee! Believe it or not, that was unintentional.) Because Paint Pot has one serious weaknessthe dreaded dry out. The consistency starts off thin and silky but then... I have yet to get through an entire pot without ending up with a mess of crumbly bits. And believe me I tighten that lid like a champ. A friend of mine who knows I apply it with my fingertipsit just seems to blend better that waysuggested I try using a brush instead; maybe my fingers where causing it to dry out? Nope. I continue to end up with a of pot o' crumbles.

Enter Benefit Stay Don't Stray (recommended to me by a random customer in Sephora you know how that goes). I gotta admit that its thin consistency and doe-foot applicator had me concerned. After all, I've been using a primer that starts to resemble caulk after a few weeks. And the shade selection is lacking, to say the least, light/medium or medium/deep. Despite my initial reservations, I've really come to like this primer. Completely different than Paint Pot, SDS gets the job done. It's applicator and thin formula makes it a breeze to apply, and the light/medium shade is spot on. The one downside is a bit of creasing, although I've found that applying a powder eyeshadow over it prevents any shifting. If I want to use just a primer on my lids then I stick with Paint Pot. (SDS can also be used as under-eye concealer although I found it to be problematic, a veritable fine line magnifier. No thanks!)

What primers are in your makeup routine?

Monday, July 14, 2014

What My Kids Taught Me About Clothes Shopping

Liam's side thumbs mean that the outfit is so-so. (The blouse was "too old grandma," but he liked the skirt.)

Although I love fashion and clothing (my mailman will concur Vogue, Instyle and Marie Claire jam up my mailbox every month), I find putting together and purchasing outfits overwhelming. It's not uncommon for me to go into the dressing room with 20 items only to come out empty-handed and utterly defeated. The fit, color and fabric has to be just right, and don't even get me started with "hand wash or "dry clean only." On many an occasion, I just say eff it and march myself right over to the nearest makeup counter. Lipstick never makes my butt look flat (I'm talking to you Hudson jeans).

And now my husband won't even shop with me; he doesn't have the patience. Fortunately for me *did you catch that sarcastic tone* my two kiddos/comedians have the pleasure of accompanying me on most shopping trips. I'll be honest, clothes shopping with my little loves used to be a nightmare. I hated every minute of itthe whining and complaining, "Hurry up mom. This is taking forever!" They hated every minute of itthey knew I'd spend two hours trying on clothes without buying a single thing. Sounds fun, right?

Then something happened on one of these miserable trips, I listened. Between all the moaning and groaning, my daughter said something that resonated, "Mom, you don't even wear dresses. Why are you trying them on?" A light bulb went off. She was right. I don't like wearing dresses. Why was I wasting time trying them on? Maybe my kids had the no-nonsense, unfiltered opinions I was looking for.

So, I started asking for their input on my choices. At first they seemed perplexed that I cared what they thought, but then they began to show an interest. They provided brutally honest opinions and based on those, I was able to make decisions quicker. It was a win-win situation for all of us, and in the midst of all this shopping, I learned a few things from my kids...

Know your style - This is a tough one, but one that will save you a ton of time and effort. I absolutely love Free People clothingboho, floral and carefreebut it's just not my style. Like my daughter said, I don't wear dresses (especially flowy dresses) very often. I tried on a Free People skirt a while back and my son said it looked like a Barbie skirt. Not what I was aiming for! What's the use in buying something if it's going to end up in the back of your closet? My advice, take a peek at what's already in your closet and go from there. I'm in no way saying that you shouldn't branch out and try new things, but you've got to be realistic.

Don't jump on every trend - Okay, so maybe I tried on a pair of overalls (a moment of weakness). You can't blame me; just try and walk through the mall or open a magazine without seeing them in every style and shade imaginable. I know I'm not in my mid-twenties anymore, but they looked so cute on the mannequins and models. I knew I went too far when my son looked up from playing his Nintendo DS to mumble, "Aren't those for farmers?" Enough said. There are just some trends that you need to take a pass on.

Don't buy it just because it's on sale - Huh! I know! This is a hard one for me. If something's under $20 or over 40 percent off, I automatically want to take it home with me. I found a florescent pink and coral pair of pants on sale yesterday (for ten bucks!) and contemplated trying them on. That is until I saw my daughter's face, "Where in the heck do you think you're going in those?" Nail on the head. The cheap sale items you don't end up wearing add up and take up valuable space in your closet.

If you can't jump/run in it, it's too short - Another brilliant, self-explanatory gem from my daughter. You're welcome.

If it's expensive but you're not totally in love with it, let it go - Want a reality check regarding the price of that must-have sweater? Tell an eight-year-old who has a $4-a-week allowance. The sheer shock and awe on my kids' faces when I show them the price tags is enough to walk away and vow to only buy Walmart sale items. I'm not saying you should never splurge, just make sure you really love (and will wear) that pricey item.

Hope these tips are as helpful to you as they were to me. Now if only I could collaborate with my kids to make grocery shopping less painful...
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