Tag: OPI

The Liebster Award x 2

I am honored and touched to have been nominated for the Liebster Award twice within a week or so, first by Anna of Beauty by Shortylegs and then by Dea of Her Deauty.

The Liebster Award is a way of giving accolades to blogs with 200 or less followers. Basically, most of us who work hard at our blogs and aren’t famous for it.

The Liebster Award

I’ve been so busy, that I haven’t had time to answer the questions until now, but here we go!

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Samples Soliloquy #1

Soliloquy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\

: a long, usually serious speech that a character in a play makes to an audience and that reveals the character’s thoughts

I decided to start a series in which I (finally) review the (copious amounts of) samples I’ve procured from Sephora (among other places), so it seemed a fitting title. 🙂

DSC_1491 Finding a good use for my empty Birchbox boxes. 😉

(In order to keep track of all my samples, I’ve started to write the names on the top in Sharpie and then using Scotch tape on top to keep it from smearing. I figure if I ever buy the full size, I can refill the sample size and use it for traveling.)

I’m going to use my first entry to discuss the collection of skincare items that, along with the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, I credit for helping to clear up my face after the Liz Earle Incident. Which means, yes, I like them, and, yes, I would purchase the full-size items. (And intend to!)

I’ve read about Ren Skincare everywhere, so when I saw that Sephora had the whole line, I grabbed a few items to try. And, boy, am I glad I did.

DSC_1492 The heroes of the day.

My first pick was the Ren Hydra Calm Cleansing Milk. I specifically chose this because it’s for sensitive skin and I thought my skin was upset enough as it was. I chose this over the gel since, as I’ve said, everything I’m reading these days is saying that any kind of gel or foaming cleanser is bad for you. So I started using this after taking off my makeup with Bioderma Crealine H2O. It smells nice, it feels gentle on the skin—almost like you’re not even putting anything on your skin, which is good for upset skin—and then using the muslin cloth from the Liz Earle kit and hot water to remove it. I put the hot cloth over my face for a few seconds, and then I gently scrub wipe off.

Once things started to clear up after using the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, I introduced the Ren ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. I didn’t want to overstrip or overdry my skin with the clay, so I only used that at night, and continued with the Hydra Calm in the morning. But I have to say that this feels plenty milky as well. It does smell clay-like, and I also remove it with the muslin cloth and hot water.

After that, I used the Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate. This is to help brighten and clear your complexion, with acidic exfoliators. This is especially good for helping to get rid of the marks that zits leave on your face. Which I know firsthand.

Then I use the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil. On top of that, I’ve been using the Ren ClearCalm 3 Replenishing Night Serum. This helps treat the pimples and also helps with the redness and marks. (You only use the Resurfacing AHA Concentrate for 7 days at a time, so this works in the interim.) It’s amazing to wake up in the morning and literally see that your skin looks better.

(I’ve had a deluxe-sized sample of the Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask for a while, so I’ve thrown that in once a week as well to help fade the red marks and discoloration. [I did not receive this one from Sephora. I don’t even remember where it came from!] Especially since Lisa Eldridge mentioned her love of lactic acid treatments for exfoliation.)

Then, rounding out the sample saviors, is Origins Make A Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Treatment (the oil-free one). I mentioned I was liking the Ole Henriksen Vitamin Plus moisturizer sample I got, but the Origins pulled ahead in the end. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ve gotten samples of this about 7 times now, since I can’t be without it. It feels so nice on the skin, it feels perfectly hydrated, and it smells amazing. I don’t get over oily from using it, and my skin has really turned around over the last few weeks. (Although I do find that if I use the acid exfoliators during the day, it does overstimulate the oil production in my skin, and I get oilier, so I don’t use it during the day.)

These are just in place of those things I was previously using. I’m still using the same toners. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just go back to my old cleansing routine after the Liz Earle didn’t work out. I am, too, but I am trying to take to heart the urging not to use foaming/gel cleansers, and both of the ones I was using fell under that category. Also, this stuff has really been working and I haven’t paid for it (yet). :p So…

And now my skin is looking so much better and I’m grateful.

Next time, I’ll discuss some of the makeup samples I’ve gotten.

Have you tried any of these products? Are you sampling anything from Sephora lately?

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Les Cinq Petites Choses #2

It’s time again for 5 things that I’m loving lately.

#1 – My hair is curly, but it’s also very fine, so achieving any volume is always a challenge. I’ve tried a million different volumizing products that usually just manage to make my hair oily within a day and nothing much more. Kate of gh0sparties is always recommending products for this purpose, but being unemployed, I’ve only been able to add them to my shopping list for when I’m working again.

Fortunately for me, I received a replacement September Birchbox because of a damaged item, and this time around, it contained a travel size of Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray. I actually use Davines shampoo and conditioner (I switch between Love Smoothing and Love Curl Enhancing), and I’ve been waiting very impatiently for their fabled OI All In One Milk to become available for purchase (and now to have money). So I was really excited to try this.

I like my curls to look more styled, so I didn’t use it for the beach wave effect, but instead for the promised volumizing action. And, guess what? My hair looked AMAZING after. With plenty of body. And it lasted for a couple of days, with no oiliness.

DSC_0971You’ve gotta love the name of this thing as much as the packaging.

#2 – A brand new knitting project with winter in mind. There is nothing I like more than a long, chunky scarf when the weather makes it so that you want to bundle up with one. And I’m a super slow knitter, so bulky scarves that knit up quickly are right up my alley. Plus, finding the perfect pattern to pair with the perfect colorway of yarn is like finding balance in the universe.

That’s where the Panda Scarf pattern by Kelly McClure comes in, combined with Plucky Bulky in Vintage Icebox by the Plucky Knitter.

DSC_0977It’s going to look like icicles!!

DSC_0975It’s so fluffy!!

#3 – A little splurge I allowed myself was to purchase one of my coveted fall nail polishes, Peace, Love & OPI by OPI (as pictured here with Illamasqua Stance). I saw it in and ad, and I just had to have it. I love the duochrome colors. I love the color combination possibilities.

And another great find in my September Birchbox was my Ruffian nail polish in Delirium. As I mentioned in my video, I was delighted to receive that color, because it’s the one I wanted the most. It’s an absolutely gorgeous shade of purple (as seen here), and purple IS my favorite color.

DSC_0978Technically these are 2 things, but I’m just filing them under “nail polish.” 😉

#4 – One of the things I have been doing to try and improve my French is to read a lot of blogs written in French (salut à tous!), as well as to watch a lot of French-speaking YouTubers. It has definitely helped my listening comprehension, and I’m so glad at how much more I’m understanding (IF ANY FRENCH SPEAKERS ARE READING THIS—I had never heard of the verb “craquer” before and now EVERYONE is using it. Is this a new popular word or was it always used?). Sadly, my speaking still is pretty abysmal, as you might have heard if you watched my last video.

One particular tutorial I loved was this Autumn look by Julielovesmac07. The weather in New York hasn’t seemed to be able to settle on Autumn yet, weaving back and forth between Indiam summer and fall, but this makeup tutorial by Julie just SCREAMS apple cider and pumpkin picking. And luckily, I had all the eye shadow colors and similar blush. I’ve just got to work on the lip color! Even if you don’t speak a word of French, you’ll be able to follow along with her. And she has a ton of other great video tutorials.

Julie Look how pretty she looks!

#5 – My friend Amielle has done more by her age than I ever knew was possible to do at 21. Previously an au pair in the French Alps, she is now looking after the children for a family in Madrid (lucky bitch ;)), learning a new language, and documenting all of it, diligently, on her blog (since December 2010! THAT is dedication I, as a failed blogger, cannot conceive of!).

She studied as a photojournalist, so her posts are full of beautiful photography of her travels. But it’s the entries populated with her wry humor and thoughtful introspection (and, sometimes, amazing gifs) that blow me away. And if you don’t like any of that, her “Things I’m Loving” at the end of each entry has introduced me to so many cool, useful, entertaining, and educational things. It’s basically a post like this in every single one of her posts. You should go read them.

Amielle My fake little sister is adorable, no?

What things are you loving lately? I’d love to hear!

Allongé (West Village Adventure part II)

Continuing the tale of our day in the West Village (and the fitting ballet terms), we finally made it to Aedes de Venustas. But not before being accosted by the beauty sales equivalent of a used-car salesman. Okay, that’s being harsh, because this guy was actually quite good at what he did.

We were walking down Christopher Street, on our way, and we passed by this man generously handing out samples in front of his skin care store, Shalva. (That’s how he reels you in!!) He promised us a treat (I swear, it wasn’t candy), so we came inside and were treated to a demonstration of the products. Our hands were scrubbed with a Dead Sea salt scrub, and then slathered in a really luscious body cream he promised we’d only have to apply once a day. (I told him I use hand cream about 4 times a day.) There was some special deal going on, but since I’m broke, I had to pass. (Which may have been lucky, if you read the reviews. I think they’re a little harsh; my hands felt soft hours later, but I can understand. As I said, he was really good at his job: trying to sell this stuff.)

With our hands feeling soft as a baby’s bottom, we made our way to Aedes. Sadly, they don’t allow photographs in the store, but I highly recommend you visit to see for yourself. It is a boudoir of visual and olfactory delights. Literally. There is carpeting and drapery and vanities and cabinets. It is dimly lit. But populated with the most high-end and obscure perfume brands you could hope to find. It really is special. If you’re looking for a scent that you won’t smell on everyone else, you know where to go. And they even will give you a sample of any one fragrance you choose. (For more samples, see their web site.)

DSC_0933The fantastical Aedes window, the only thing you’re allowed to photograph.

Once we finally made it out of there (trust me, you’ll never want to leave, either), we were trying to find a specific pharmacy, but wound up getting a little lost, having not yet resorted to using Google maps.

DSC_0934With intersections like this, can you blame us for getting lost?! How does this even work?!

DSC_0935But we just considered it as taking the scenic route. 🙂

DSC_0936I was inordinately pleased with my inspired nail color combination choices.

DSC_0944A moment’s rest, an excuse for more posing.

Ironically, in order to get where we had to go, we had to get back onto Bleecker Street. This time around, we passed by Goorin Bros., and I was so enamored of a hat in the window, I stood outside for five good minutes knowing it would break my heart if I walked in, tried it on, and then walked away. But I went in anyway. And it was as gorgeous as I feared. It is now at the top of my wishlist. But more on that on Wednesday. 😉

DSC_0949I also tried on this beauty. Believe it or not, I would actually totally wear this. (Sadly, I can’t find it on their site.)

I tore myself away, nearly in tears. But I consoled myself at Bisous Ciao with a couple of macarons. Feed the sadness, right?! And at least those I could afford.

DSC_0951Honey Lavender and Rose. Macarons make EVERYTHING better.

After all that meandering and getting lost, we finally made it to Avignone pharmacy (yup, still hate the misspelling), only to find out they didn’t carry what I was looking for, either. In the absence of this mythical Bioderma Sensibio H2O, I settled for Klorane eye makeup remover. (Of course it had to be French.)

Walking around all day in 80+ degree (Fahrenheit) weather, we definitely worked up a thirst, and so a nice cold beer was definitely in order. We stopped off at one of the best beer bars in New York, Blind Tiger, and indulged. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

———

Outfit details here.
Nail polish: Peace, Love & OPI – OPI, Stance – Illamasqua
Ring: Shirley Dom