Monday, January 16, 2012

heavily under the influence: products bloggers made me buy

i think we all are guilty of it, spending money on products you saw on another's blog. we all are prone to being cast under the influence of another. one of my favorite things about the beauty community is hearing what products others put their faith in. after all, there are so many products and so little time in this world and we need some way of narrowing it down. here are a few purchases i made because bloggers made me do it...


bought this because my skin was craving an extra boost of moisture but i wouldnt have even gave the product a second glance in the body shop if it werent for J! i love this little tonic in a bottle. it is a nice refreshing spray when my face seems a little dull. i usually spritz it on my face before i apply foundation to make things easier or afterward to make my skin feel hydrated and dewy.


this is really a beautiful product and i feel like not many people talk about it. i first saw this because of Sandra. she used it a few times for some of her FOTD and the shade really stuck to me. i had to do a swap for this since it is a PRO item, but it was worth it. i love layering this on top of constructivist paint pot for an antiqued gold eye or even on its own for a complex pale gold shade.

i really debated on getting this since i own over 10 red nail polishes but boy am i glad i did pick it up. i saw Tiffany's manicure with this shade and if i didnt i probably would have never picked this shade up due to essie's massive red lineup. i thought it would be too similar to essie lollipop, but clambake is much more of an orange-red. highly recommend!

essie clambake

i know for sure i wouldnt have given this product a second glance if it weren't for temptalia. im sure all of us have bought something because of christine, her reviews and swatches are phenomenal. i noticed she rated this product as an A+ which doesnt come by often so when i happened to pass by this highlighter at tjmaxx i had to try it. so glad i did since it is one of my favorite highlighters in my collection. so beautiful and the texture is divine.

another product i saw on J's blog. she raved it was her HG lip savior and she was right (as usual). i recently picked this up since my lips have been a bit dry and i wanted to give them some intense moisture therapy. i use it as a nighttime treatment. i love the smooth hydrating formula and the menthol tingle (which isnt for everyone, i personally love it). i find the scent/taste isnt nearly as offensive as carmex (hate when carmex gets into my mouth, yuck).


a drugstore gem. i first heard about these beauties from Danielle since she practically owns every shade and provided helpful swatches. my favorite way to use them is when layering blushes together. usually i set down a matte formula then lightly dust one of these on top. it adds a nice effect, try it!

what products were you influenced by other bloggers to purchase? if you want to see more details on any of the products mentioned, click the links in each category since i linked them back to posts of swatches/it worn on me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

in love with a polish?: laura mercier twilight nail polish

is it possible to love a nail polish? this is one of those nail polishes that i swiped on and knew right away it was going to be one of my top nail polishes i have ever owned. if dark polishes are your thing, you might want to sit down before reading on.


laura mercier twilight has a smokey dark base with a flecks of purple suspended all throughout it. it is more interesting than just your average dark polish. when applied it actually retains the purple hue so it doesnt just look black on the nails, my number one frustration with dark polishes with a tint.

DSC_6191close up of the flecks.


DSC_6213with flash to show you a better look at the flecks.


i feel like i didnt capture the true beauty of this polish to show you all, but trust me when i say it is beautiful. the formula is really great, i did two thin coats. it isnt streaky or too thick, it applies very fluidly and nice. it has been three days of wear time (washing dishes, cooking, daily activities) and i have yet to see any wear on my mani. i highly recommend this if you love unique dark colors. at least check it out if you happen to cross paths with it! i have nothing like this shade in my collection so i am happy to be able to add it.

what do you think of laura mercier's twilight polish? if you are interested you should pick it up soon, it is a limited edition item!

Monday, January 9, 2012

cream products: solace for my dry skin

lately my skin has been going through a dry spell. normally my skin (combo-oily) stays happy if i wash twice a day and apply my usual moisturizer immediately after no matter what season it is. all of a sudden i am getting dry flakes and the dreaded tightness of skin feeling even after moisturizing.

while i am blaming a couple of things for this misfortune (skin maturing, a certain orange neutrogena gel cleanser) i decided to make a little change to my routine...

no powder.

i bet you oily skinned ladies are staring with disbelief at those two little words! not only am i skipping powder, i am using all cream products. my arsenal:

DSC_6276chanel soliel tan de chanel, maybelline dream smooth mousse, laura mercier cream shadow, mac ccb in hush, bobbi brown pot rouge in powder pink.

really, it makes a difference. while i did add a few things to my skincare routine to get rid of the tightness and flakes (using TBS intense cream at night, stopping use of that drying neutrogena wash, and spritzing my face with TBS face mist every now and then) my skin is normal to the point where i dont have any oil slipping on my face from going sans powder. i have been loving the use of cream products to help add the much needed hydration and dewy factor to my skin. is this what normal skin types feel like every day?!?

all products in action:

i just slap on foundation with a buffing brush, chisel the cheekbones with soliel tan de chanel, add some color to the cheeks with the pot rouge blush, and add more dewiness by highlighting with mac's hush. voila! i find if i DO add powder to my routine it just sits on top of my skin, a noticeable veil. not to mention it really makes my dry spots prominent.

bobbibrownpotrougepowderpinka closer look.

i have tried this with several (liquid) foundation mixes and it works equally as well. and any cream blush will do but you all know how much i love and highly recommend bobbi brown's pot rouges.

another happy discovery:

DSC_6279layering these two products together. if you own revlon coral reef and mac viva glam gaga, please try them together. by doing so you will get this:

macladygagarevloncoralreef this is the same lip combo i am wearing above, just a closer look.

i was playing around with combos with gaga (since i dont like the color on me at all. too much of a loud pastel bubblegum pink) and i happened to mix this gem of a combo. infinitely more pleasing to the eye, or so i think!

what do you think? do you normally go sans powder or is it a must? i thought it was a must but turns out every now and then, cream is my savior :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

005 what im eating


bed of mixed greens (romaine, spinach, green onion, cilantro), tomato, cucumber, grilled beef (overcooked, i like my beef rarer than this) with lime chili + garlic vinaigrette. craving beef but had to do it in a healthy way!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

greige nails: essie st. tropez


lately i have been on a dark polish kick. i decided for my most recent mani to change it up a bit & do a nude nail. looking through my collection i picked essie st tropez, a color i had picked up last year but never had the chance to wear yet since i dont get into nude polish moods often.


first off, let's talk about the color. st tropez is one of those trendy "greige" colors, a blended mix of grey and beige. to me it leans more on the grey scale. it is a cream finish. i had high hopes for this polish since essie's creams usually deliver well.


now for the formula, ah the formula. the formula was a NIGHTMARE. probably the worst formula i have ever come across for essie. it was so thick and goopy making application VERY difficult. i tried painting multiple thin layers and the color looked streaky no matter what. i had to remove it all and start over again. the second time around i did thicker layers and it worked better but it still has extremely uneven/lumpy coverage which you all probably noticed in my pictures (if not seche vite did a good job at covering up the texture, at least from far away.)

**EDIT: i am hearing from a few people i must have gotten a bad egg since their formulas were just fine! so hopefully if you are interested in the color you can risk it and get a good bottle :)

shame because the color is nice. not my favorite, but nice. i am definitely a fan of the greige shades. i have been wanting opi skull and glossbones but i own essie playa de platinum which i heard is similar...

needless to say i doubt i will be attempting to use this polish again. i do wonder if i have a faulty bottle or if everyone has experienced the same with this shade. do you own st tropez? if so do you have a problem with the formula or have any tips to make application bearable? do tell!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

my hunt for purple blush: mac vintage grape blush ombre


if you have been a follower of my blog, you know i have no true purple shades of blush in my stash. this has started a bit of a personal frenzy to find the perfect plum blush. i recently was gifted my first purple blush contender, mac's vintage grape blush ombre, from a friend who knew i had my eye on the shade. i contemplated picking up azalea blossom blush ombre as well (both are from the daphne guinness collection) but i knew i would rarely reach for it due to it being such a cool pink (my least favorite blush shade.) the only reason i would have picked it up would strictly be for collection purposes (then i would need ripe peach as well, eh?) and because i find ombre products so darn pretty to look at.


i love the way this product looks in the pan. ombres make me so happy. i would describe the color as a pinkish lavender shading down to a dirty dark aubergine.


as expected with most mac blushes, swirling vigorously and copious amounts of layering is required for any color to noticeably show up on my skin. this doesn't bother me TOO much since i am so infatuated with how it looks in the pan. a vain reason, but true. this blog IS called a blog of vain pleasures after all!


on me vintage grape turns into a warm fuchsia. pretty, but not the purpley goodness i had in mind. i like how it wears on jessica more than on myself. next time i will try concentrating my brush on the darker side rather than haphazardly swirling about.

while i didnt find my ideal purple blush yet, i am not disappointed in picking up vintage grape. it is purple i can add to my collection (albeit a pinkish purple), the texture is decent, and it is an ombre which is a good enough reason itself. the hunt continues...

what is your favorite purple blush?

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 favorites & my 1st set of beauty goals

i dont know about all of you but i am loving all the "favorites of the year" posts that happen around this time since you get to see the cream of the crop in everyone's stash. time to contribute my favorites...


i didnt include a foundation because all year i was in the process of finishing up few foundations that i have had and dont particularly recommend wholeheartedly. i didnt mention a concealer because i havent found one i love yet :/

mac msfn, even though it isnt great at keeping oil at bay. this one pictured is way too dark for me at the moment. i love the finish of the product so i will use it up when i am tanner.

i definitely used my cargo med matte bronzer the most this year. finely milled, pigmented, not orange, MATTE. nars laguna is definitely a runner up. i used laguna more for nights out since it has a fine shimmer to it, adding a subtle glow.

nars albatross. this was hard for me to pick since theBalm mary lou-manizer was VERY close to beating albatross. both are beautiful. if you prefer very subtle highlighters, these might not be a good choice though.


im surprised i was able to narrow this category down to two shades: nars deep throat and nars sin. all year i wore so many shades of blush but when i reflect back on the year, i definitely went crazy with these two shades. funny how deep throat made such an impression on me, im usually not a huge baby pink fan.


mac cork, brun, brule. basic browns, all matte. mac tan pigment, a favorite during the summer months when the sun can catch the shimmers but also great anytime for a pretty smokey eye.

most of the time this year i ignored my UDPP and TFSI and used mac paint pots instead. especially the shade groundwork, my favorite shade of them all.

hands down prestige my blackest lashes. it is cheap, very black, and gives such great volume. i still love makeup forever smokey lash overall but since it dries out so quickly and costs $20 ill stick with prestige for my everyday mascara.

mac feline. people either love this or hate it, i absolutely love it. easily glides on the eyelid AND waterline while being pitch black. i use it in practically every FOTD i post on my blog. i will continue to repurchase.


mac hue. this will always be a favorite. i am not a huge lipstick wearer but when i do wear it i almost always reach for this.

estee lauder impulsive coral. i was gifted this. great texture and color.


too many to choose from. whenever i needed a good dose of a classic red i always reached for opi quarter of a cent-cherry. when i wanted a bright red mani i wore essie lollipop. for dark nails i loved opi my private jet. my favorite glitter was sephora by opi only gold for me. and lastly for my toes i almost always wore opi koala berry.


for softening and pushing back my cuticles i always used sally hansen's cuticle remover gel. and for a base coat i loved CND stickey base. i also used seche vite for my top coat but i forgot to picture it...


definitely victor&rolf flowerbomb. i received so many compliments every time i wore this! do you see the amount i have left? i am already almost done with this bottle that i bought last year during the sephora F&F sale.


neutrogena eye makeup remover. i like this better than estee lauder's and lancome's removers. i havent explored other brands though so after i finish my current bottle i am trying out something new just to make sure this is the best i have tried.

i only had it for a couple months but my favorite by far was la roche posay efflaclar cleanser. it balanced my skin, kept breakouts from happening while not drying out my skin (oily skinned ladies this didnt make my skin feel tight after washing!) i need to pick up the full size.

my HG, CeraVe moisturizing lotion. sinks in quickly, non-greasy, non-scented and easily available at the drugstore. i have been using this since high school when my dermatologist recommended it to me while i was on accutane. will always repurchase.

la roche posay efflaclar duo. this has been such a great find. heard about this from some of my favorite bloggers so i picked it up in new york. it unclogged and reduced the amount of blackheads around my nose and completely eliminated stubborn bumps i always get around my chin and temples. highly recommend if you have small acne (white heads, blackheads, raised bumps) areas.

as for resolutions, i dont usually make them. but i decided this year will be the first time i will make some beauty goals so next year i can reflect back and see how well i did. bit of a time capsule effect.

1. my number one goal: stick with quality over quantity. i am resisting drugstore versions of high end products so i can apply that money toward the real deal. i have so many unloved products. i need to resist running to the drugstore every time i hear about a new product release. i have already started this goal since i have resisted in buying the revlon lip butters and the l'oreal infalliable cream shadows.

2. stop buying so much nail polish. seriously. i plan to get rid of shades by either swapping or selling them. i am going to try not to go crazy over collections.

3. explore brands that i never have tried before. i tend to be so loyal towards nars, mac, and cargo. i want to try out others to see if i am missing anything special. top of my list are becca, illamasqua, chanel, burberry, giorgio armani...

4. attempt a blog sale. this is sort of part of my first goal. i really want to downsize my collection.

& that's all folks. what are your beauty goals? i have been reading some really great goals posted lately. happy new year everyone! here is to 2012.