Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 favorites & beauty goals


Another year has gone by and boy was it a year of discovery for me. Reflecting back I am happy with the brands I explored, products I tried, and personal growth I gained. I hope you all feel the same with your year. Time for the annual post of my favorites for the year. If you were curious, click HERE to see the post I did last year.


2012 was definitely the year of experimenting with my base makeup. While I still have a long way to go in my exploration in this field, my favorite foundation I tried was Koh Gen Do Aqua foundation. Painful price but it is a wonderful foundation if you prefer breathable and natural coverage.

Concealer is another area that I still need more experience with. I suppose the only concealers I own, DiorSkin sculpt lifting smoothing and Laura Mercier secret camouflage, win by default as my favorites this year. Dior's works well for under the eyes but can crease if you use too much. Laura Mercier's works well for spot concealing.

Maybelline Dream Matte Powder wins for my most used this year. It is inexpensive and not cakey. I would repurchase if I was in a pinch but once this is used up I'll be on the look out for a replacement from another brand.

My bronzers of choice did not change from last year. My most used and everyday bronzer was CARGO Medium Matte Bronzer which I finished up this year and enjoyed. For travel and nights out, NARS Laguna would be my pick as it has a more glowing finish.


I had a love affair with MAC Tenderling since it is a shade that goes with just about anything. For summer CARGO Laguna was my top choice. And during the fall and into winter I was obsessed with CARGO Lyon. This year was definitely the year of CARGO for me.

This was impossible to pick. Really. I stared at my collection trying to figure out which I used most this year and I drew up a blank because I rotated them all so often. So no highlighter favorite this year, I was too mercurial.


I MUST mention my Smashbox PhotoOp Trio in Filter. Seriously, no one ever talks about this trio. I love it so much, as you can tell since I hit pan. The colors are super smooth, pigmented and last forever even without primer. The packaging is so compact making it the best for travel. I can't think of one con about this product. Poor Smashbox, I feel like their eye shadows are kept in the dark and neglected which is a shame since they are phenomenal.

MAC's Cork, Brun, Brule, and Tempting are staple shades for me. This has not changed from last year since they are basic browns and fit into my quad for easy travel. I like to have three matte shades for sculpting the eye and one shimmery shade to blend with my kohl liner.

Also, I went through a taupe craze and my favorite by far is Le Metier de Beaute's Corinthian.

I still love Prestige My Blackest Lashes. It beats all the other mascaras I tried this year (Giorgio Armani ETK Excess, Maybelline Falsies Flared, L'Oreal Telescopic).

For liquid liner I prefer L'Oreal Lineur Intense with the felt tip. For kohl liner it depends. When I was a contact wearer, hands down MAC Feline was my pick. As a glasses wearer and (recent) LASIK patient, Giorgio Armani ETK waterproof liner and Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Perversion work just as well. All are inky black and last on me the same so I now have no preference. When I run out of liner I will pick Feline or Perversion as they are easier to get and not LE.


The year of lipstick as well for me! I had fun trying out different textures and colors this year. But realistically my most reached for shades were the fleshy NARS Dolce Vita and the warm and natural Burberry Lip Mist in Copper. I can't imagine life without either of these shades and urge EVERYONE to check both out if you haven't already. If it helps, I am wearing Dolce Vita in THIS post and Copper in THIS post (fourth picture down).

Initially I didn't care much for Revlon's Colorburst Gloss in Pink Ice. But it grew on me and ended up being something I reached for quite often. I like the Colorburst gloss formula as it is not sticky, smells nice, and doesn't give me the dreaded lip rings.

Blistex Lip Medex, the little blue pot, is the best night time treatment for me so far. Nuxe Reve de Miel is a recent buy but I am half way done with it already if that gives you an idea of how much I am enjoying it.


OPI Ink is a complex dark blurple that looks great on the toes. Essie Set In Stones was my favorite glitter. OPI Cajun Shrimp is one of OPI's best shades and formulas. BUTTER London Blagger is bright, unique and eye catching. OPI Koala Berry is my only repeat from last year. It is such a cheery, beautiful color that I never get tired of for pedicures. I tried really hard to narrow down my list but, as you all can see, I failed. But I tried guys!

I still enjoyed Sally Hansen's Cuticle Remover Gel. For a base coat I loved OPI Nail Envy (like everyone else and their brother). As for top coat, I have not found one I love. I rotated between Seche Vite and Out the Door, both of which turned thick and unusable so I need a replacement stat.


I still love Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb, but I would say I enjoyed Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche the most this year.


I had so much fun with skincare this year it is unbelievable. My wallet sure didn't have fun but I don't regret it in the slightest. I focused more on my skin this year and I predict this is an addiction I won't be able turn my back on.

Clarins Gentle Cleanser with Cottonseed was my favorite cleanser I tried this year. Cleans very thoroughly but gently and smells like fresh cotton. You need the smallest amount for a rich foam. Can be stripping if used too often so I only use it once a day. I must include a cleansing oil as well since I discovered they are a staple in my skincare routine. My favorite I tried this year was Boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing oil.

No surprise here, my HG CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. Sinks in quickly, non-greasy, non-scented and easily available at the drugstore.

No change here either since it is also my HG. La Roche Posay Efflaclar Duo. I tried living without it and it was the pits.

I am still in disbelief with how much I love LUSH's Mask of Magnaminty. My skin noticeably loves this gunk. And I am pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed using my Clarasonic Mia. It is fun and cleans thoroughly.

WHEW. I must wipe my brow after typing all that, I hope you all made it to the end. I sense a lot of skimming was done :) Now on to the beauty goals section. Let's reflect on last years first, shall we?

1. Stick with quality over quantity - Check. I didn't go crazy with drugstore OR MAC releases leading to me not having piles of unused makeup.
2. Stop buying so much nail polish - Check. I avoided my cheap nail polish retailers and argued with myself multiple times that new colors looked very similar to old colors that I already owned.
3. Explore brands that I never have tried before Check. I tried Burberry, Becca, Chanel, Koh Gen Doh, Giorgio Armani, LUSH, and various other brands which I had never tried before.
4. Attempt a blog sale - My only goal that was not fulfilled.

So...I followed through with 3/4 of my goals. I am content with that. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of the blog sale. New set of goals for me to revisit in 2013:

1. Attempt a blog sale. I seriously need to suck it up and just do it! Is it weird that PayPal intimidates me?
2. Buy at least one Chanel polish. I've been dying to own a shade. I'm looking at you, Black Pearl.
3. Hit pan on a blush. This will probably be my hardest goal as I rotate my blushes quite often.
4. Organize my makeup station. I already have plans for this so it is a very achievable goal.

What are your beauty goals? Congrats to making it to the end of my post. I hope you all had a happy holiday. Here's to the New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

cargo blush collection roundup

cargoblushcollection Just a little round up post for your reference on my CARGO blush collection. Feel free to click the shade names to link back to each corresponding post:

The Big Easy | Mendocino | Laguna | Key Largo | Lyon | Tonga | Catalina

Hope this helps with decision making in all your blush purchasing needs.

Friday, December 14, 2012

cargo blush: catalina

Finally, I am wrapping up the CARGO blush collection posts I had started back in September. My last blush shade that is left to talk about is Catalina.


Catalina is a matte bubblegum pink. I am not a huge fan of bubblegum candy, but looking at this shade invokes fond memories of Bubble Yum gum. It has been said that the head makeup artist for the show Gossip Girl touts this as one of her favorites. I can see why as it is a pretty shade that could work for paler girls as well as darker complexions.


Catalina is very brightening on the skin. It is easy to blend and easy to layer if a stronger look is what you are after. Although it is a cool pink, which is normally a shade I have difficulty making work on my complexion, Catalina still is flattering on.

cargoTBEandcatalinaswatchFrom left to right: CARGO The Big Easy, NARS Deep Throat, MAC Well Dressed, CARGO Catalina

Catalina is the brightest pink out of the four but not the coolest as Well Dressed takes that title. It has no sheen or shimmer.


I would definitely recommend Catalina. It gives a nice dash of color with ease. If you are looking for bubblegum pink to add to your routine Catalina would be a great choice, especially since the texture is tough to beat.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

butter london marrow


Current manicure at the moment: BUTTER LONDON Marrow. It is a unique shade that is apparently named after the appearance of dried bone marrow (it dries purple?) It has VERY fine silver shimmers that are nonexistent at a distance. I really like this color. It is dark enough where it isn't too loud of a color yet still manages to be fun. So far I own only two BUTTER polishes and have been satisfied with application and the colors. Wear time is a little less than average since at about the 3 day mark I start seeing minor chipping and wear.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

my mac blush palette


There is something about a filled out MAC blush palette that looks so appealing, don't you think? Albeit my palette looks a little worse for wear due to my shoddy job of depotting a couple shades but I still prefer this easy way of storage over the pot form any day. Here is a rundown of the shades I own and my thoughts:


A PRO item which you can (finally!!) buy online at the official MAC website. It was about time MAC made their PRO items available online for purchase. This is an intensely pigmented punchy pink with a satin finish. It may look stark and hard to wear but as you can see from my blended swatch, it has the possibility to be sheered out into a beautiful flush. I did a comparison swatch with this and CARGO Key Largo blush. You can check that out HERE. Salsarose looks pretty similar on my face as Key Largo.

A soft mauve with a matte finish. This was one of the first MAC blushes I owned that I picked out at the store in person on a whim. It is a pretty standard blush color that goes with most looks and looks natural on. I wore Mocha in my most recent FOTD post.

I would venture a guess this is one of MAC's top selling shades. I like how it is a more brown and muted peach as it makes it blend nicer into most skin colorings. This is also matte. Sometimes this shade looks nice, other times I feel it shows up too orange. Overall it isn't life changing on me (see below). It looks phenomenal on Barbara (persianbabe on YouTube) though!


Another peach shade but compared to Melba, Peaches is much cleaner of a color. Also quite a popular shade, especially for peach lovers. This is a sheertone finish. I don't reach for this often if I am being honest.

A cool and shimmery delicate pink. This is one of those "bloggers/youtubers made me buy it" items. Very often you will find this listed in beauty blogger's favorites. I don't see the big hype with it. It is very sheer and doesn't add much to my complexion. I still keep it around though...I suppose I am waiting for my "Aha! I understand why this is popular!" moment with it. Here's to hoping...

Definitely my favorite shade out of this palette which might be surprising as it has the most boring swatch. Tenderling is a beige pink. The more blush I own the more I find how much of a weak spot I have for these boring/blah shades. They go with everything and make complexions look so healthy! I featured this shade in my nude blush ramble post.


MAC certainly does well at offering plenty of finishes and shades of your choosing in their blush range. While their blushes aren't my favorite out of my collection, I give it merit for the color range, fool proof application, and sleek storage system. Tenderling, Salsarose, and Mocha are my most worn out of these shades and are what I would recommend if you are my coloring. Orange based peaches never look quite as flattering as I'd like on me which is why I don't reach for the peachier shades often.

What are your favorite MAC blushes? I certainly don't need more but I always seem to have a soft spot for Cubic, Rhubarb, and Fever whenever I browse new shades to try.

Monday, December 10, 2012

lazy makeup: mac constructivist & tempting

It feels like I haven't posted a FOTD for quite some time. My latest posts have been mostly focusing on products themselves sans my face. Have you missed seeing my mug? I truly doubt it but it looks like I am giving you no choice as I wanted to share a look that I have been wearing consistently for the past couple weeks. I am noticing I have started falling into routines with using certain products. By all means, I am not complaining! I actually like this new found "routine" feeling. It makes me feel like I am actually putting a dent in the amount of makeup I own. Anyway, enough of my ramble. Here is the breakdown of my lazy and fast look:


Theme of this look is smudgey, subtle shimmer, and most importantly EASY. I just have not been in the mood for perfectly polished eyes. You know how everyone has (or strives to have) their signature makeup look? Mine is definitely smudgy, messy eyes done right with lots of kohl liner and layers of mascara. Not for everyone, I am sure of it, but there is something about the "worn in" look I find very appealing. The fact that the look is easy and fast to accomplish just adds bonus points in my book.


First I use a thin layer of contructivist paint pot by MAC all over the lid. I then haphazardly line the outer half of my upper lid as well as my waterline with a black kohl liner. Lately I've been reaching for either the Giorgio Armani eyes to kill waterproof eyeliner or Urban Decay 24/7 liner in perversion. I soften the kohl with MAC's tempting eyeshadow, the only MAC shadow I have hit pan on. Last step is curling my lashes (finally bought the shu uemura curlers, what a difference) and adding plenty of coats of Maybelline's falsies flared mascara (I actually like this).

**NB: Paint pots have a bad rep for drying out before you are able to finish it up. As of right now my constructivist is still as fresh and perfect as when I first bought it. BUT my paint pot in the shade quite natural is starting to show signs of drying out. I'm not sure if it depends by shade? My oldest paint pot is indianwood and it has shown no signs of drying out whatsoever. And so is the mystery of the paint pot. If you have any insight/experience on the matter I'd love if you could sound off in the comments. I am curious as to if there is a pattern to the madness.


The rest of my face:

Kevyn Aucoin sensual skin enhancer (shade sx06)
Dior skin sculpt concealer
Laura Mercier secret camouflage concealer
Maybelline dream matte powder
theBalm betty loumanizer bronzer
MAC mocha blush
Estee Lauder modern mercury highlighter
Nuxe balm on lips

I think with time I will eventually revert back to my cleaner liquid liner looks but for now I don't foresee my smudgy look going anywhere anytime soon. Of course if the inner OCD in you can't stand the smudge this look could easily be done with cleaner liner and primer to make the paint pot last longer (this look slightly creases on me which I like as it adds to the "worn in" look).

I have been having quite the affair with MAC products. I think it is because I feel bad for neglecting the brand, I own quite a bit from them when I take a good look at my inventory. Look forward to a future post talking about my MAC blush palette as that is all I have been wearing lately.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

review: kevyn aucoin sensual skin enhancer


kevyn aucoin is a brand i have always wanted to explore. the first product i heard about and wanted to try was the creamy moist glow cream blushes. then i heard about the magic of the celestial powder in candlelight. both products are still on my mind but i have not picked them up since i already have enough highlighters for a lifetime and we all know i do not need to add anymore blush to my collection. i then heard quiet murmurings of kevyn's sensual skin enhancer. with only a few reviews out there (most being positive) and it being such a unique product i was intrigued. my interest plus cyber monday deals = me finally being able to try out one of kevyn's products.


the sensual skin enhancer can be used as a foundation, concealer, and highlighter. it retails for $45 USD. bergdorf goodman's website gives great details on the different ways it can be used: link! i personally have only used this as a foundation. this is a VERY concentrated thick cream. seriously. don't let looks deceive you. you might think $45 is a lot for a dinky little pot (think the size of the blue blistex lip medex pot) but it is so concentrated that you need the tiniest smear so it will last a LONG time. you have complete control over how much coverage you want/need. figuring out how much product i needed for the coverage i liked took me THREE tries. third time really is the charm (where did this saying originate?)


i read different ways on how people used this. some used it with a damp beauty blender, others used it as a base to cover scars/blemishes, and others used it mixed with their moisturizer. i chose the latter way as i do not own a beauty blender and using it as a base seemed too heavy for me. as you can see from my (fancy?) animation, i just mix the tiniest amount, enough to smear across the tip of my pointer finger, with a blob of my moisturizer (cerave) until it is an even consistency. then i just apply with my sephora platinum 55 brush.


i ordered my shade blindly (Sx06) and it is a little dark for me since i am at my palest right now but since i mix it with moisturizer it isn't noticeable. as i said before, coverage is completely in your control. i prefer a lighter coverage as i like the "my skin but evened out" look. i don't go for the completely full and flawless finish as i think it looks unnatural. all preference! with the ratio i mix together i get a really nice and natural skin finish. the first time i used this i used WAY too much product and it looked very cakey and jarring to me.

with concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, and highlight. FOTD post coming soon :)

i feel as though i can't judge the lasting power as i mix it with moisturizer and i think that dilutes the true lasting power. as for oil control, in normal situations i have to blot halfway through my day; this product is no exception. i have a feeling this will slip off faster during warmer months.

the one thing i will mention that annoys me a bit with this product is the scent. it smells if that makes sense. it disappears once applied so it isn't a huge deal but if you are sensitive to smells you may want to take whiff yourself before buying.

also, the first and main ingredient is mineral oil. i will admit i did hesitate in buying this when i saw that but curiosity got the better of me. here is the full ingredients list if that is a priority to you:

Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Polybutene, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Polyethylene, Quaternium 18 Hectorite, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrin Palmitate, Honey, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (Jojoba), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Butylene Glycol, Cholesterol, Lecithin, Talc, Triethylhexanoin, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum) (parfum), May Contain (+/-): Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)



i would recommend this if:
+ you like having control over your coverage
+ you like multipurpose products
+ you are curious about kevyn aucoin and want to try something unique
+ you like a natural looking foundation and don't mind making your own mixture

i would NOT recommend this if:
+ you don't want to put extra work into making your own coverage
+ you are sensitive to scents
+ you do not like products with mineral oil/parabens

i really like this and would recommend it if you don't mind putting a little effort into your routine. i like how it is a multipurpose product and i love the natural skin like finish. i would consider buying a much lighter shade to use as an under eye concealer/brightener as the coverage would be phenomenal. i think it would suit all skin types and the shade range is pretty nice.

what do you think? is this a product that would be too much work for you or are you curious to test out the different possibilities? i will post up a separate post on what i am wearing on my finished face. i didn't want to make such a picture heavy post. happy saturday!