Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm calling it! (project 10 pan, that is)

Whew. After just about 1 month, I've completely used up 10 products. I am reluctant to pat myself on the back though, since they were mostly bathroom products, which are easy to use up.

e.l.f. professional shine eraser: for $1, these are a great value for blotting sheets, and a total essential for the summer. I'm kicking myself for having purchased only one, so I suggest next time you place an e.l.f order, stock up!

C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint: I love this lip gloss because it is tasty, smells fresh and minty, and imparts a high gloss tint on the lips. However, it can be very sticky!

Mario Badescu hyalauronic eye cream: I enjoyed using this scent-free eye cream and would suggest it to anyone with wrinkles around their eyes. However, I need something that targets dark under eye circles.

Coastal Scents Lip Smacks: I have this in Marilyn a Go Go. Terribly sticky, and overly shiny, I would not recommend this to anyone.

Target's Up and Up Eye makeup remover: Although it swiped away every trace of waterproof mascara, it always left a circle of dryness around my eyes unless I moisturized immediately. I've since moved on to Boots Botanical Soothing Eye Makeup Remover, which works just as well but doesn't yield raccoon eyes. (review here)

Cellnique Skin Purifying Cleanser: This is a cleanser and exfoliator in one, and was initially part of a regimen that really worked for my acne-prone skin. However, over time, the effectiveness diminished, which always happens to me with topical treatments. (full review here)

Olay Regenerist daily wipes: I am glad to see the back of this product (full review here). Although it felt refreshing and left no residue, the wipes were way too scratchy. I've since moved on to MAC Cleanse Off.

Lush Dark Angels: This is a wonderful charcoal-based scrub. I really really loved using it because it had an earthy smell and left me feeling squeaky clean. However, it is messy, so I always used it in the shower. The other downside is that it tends to expire quickly. (review here)

Biore blemish fighting ice cleanser: I have bought this salicylic acid cleanser time and time again. I literally did not repurchase because I was sick of seeing it in my cabinet for so long! But I wholeheartedly recommend it for combo-oily and acne-prone skin types. (see previous review here)

Shu Uemura Face Architect and Base Control: Although I do love these products, they are far too pricey to repurchase. I haven't fully used up either of these, but now I can't since my skin has become tanner.Great products though (full review here).

Armani Diamonds perfume: This scent was sophistication in a bottle. I imagine Charlotte York would smell something like this.

Merle Norman Super Lube: I have finally hit pan on this tub of lip salve after about 10 years. It's gonna take several more months to truly finish it up, but I think 10 years lands it as an honorable mention!

In total, I finished 13 products. Since most of them were bathroom products, I have to say this was not a very successful P10P. Oddly enough, I'm not itching to haul again. This project made me realize that although I have a nice makeup collection, I am sorely lacking in the clothing department, so I think for now, I will continue to build up my wardrobe rather than makeup. :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

My bedroom makeover wishlist

I've been toying with the idea of scouring the net for my bedroom makeover, which I talked about in a previous post. With online shopping, there are no lines, pushy sales assistants, or crowded parking lots. Besides, any endeavor that does not require the shedding of fuzzy socks and sweatpants for civilized clothing is a tempting offer. But most importantly, I think online shopping exposes you to one-of-a-kind items, or at least items that are very unlikely to be replicated by anyone you know. Here are a few things that recently caught my eye:

 Mmm, what a sofa to curl up and read on. One can dream right?

Or perhaps some Japanese-inspired bedding:

I'd love for this beauty to grace the top of my dresser:

And now over to you. Do you have favorite websites that have designer or hand-made items? They can be any kinda websites, from furniture, to jewelry, I'm just looking for ideas!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Favorites

Seeing how we are more than halfway through May, I thought might as well give you the run down of products I've been loving throughout April and May. I've been digging bright lips, neutral eyes, and glowy skin this spring.

1. Urban Decay Pocket Rocket in Timothy: Tim and I were not seeing eye to eye at first because he smelled way too much like creme brulee. But now that summer is here and coral is everywhere, I gotta say that Timothy is filling the position quite nicely, so I am putting up with the smell. I like this gloss because its bright, with no glitter, and a pure coral. It's opaque enough that I don't need any lipstick underneath.
Below, heavy swatch (left), and blended out (right):

2. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation: I've come back to this like you come back to that sweet guy friend who always stood by you when your heart was broken by other meanies. Yes, I still love the look of liquid foundation, but this is a must-have in my collection because it never breaks me out, and is quick and easy.

3. Origins Underwear for the eyes:  I've used this almost every single day as a base, or on its own. I hate the tube it came in though, so I have pressed it into a Mario Badescu sample pot.

4. Coastal Scents M09 Hot Pot: this is a perfect matte cream colored e/s that I have been using for my browbone and inner corner. It highlights, and yet does not draw attention to itself. (see full review of all my Hot Pots here)
Above: heavy swatch on left, blended out on right.

5. Cellnique Advanced Biorenewal Masque: For those of us dealing with acne or scarring, this is instant gratification in a jar. I love it. Check out my review here.

Ahhh with May coming to a close, summer is finally here. Cant wait to sport the dresses, the sandals, and the bronzed decolletage (I love that word).

PS. The Cellnique mask and Hot Pots were provided by the manufacturers. All other products are bought by myself (except the Origins base, which I got from a friend).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Moods

Mmm, what a yummy weekend I had. I attended a lovely wedding in the White Mountains of New Hampshire!  I also recently picked up Boots Botanicals Soothing Eye Makeup Remover and MAC Cleanse Off, so pampering myself is happening quite often lately.
I'm loving both the Cleanse Off and the Boots makeup removers, but a full review on both products will be coming up a little later.  And now onto my Monday Moods:

1. Mood: Wistfully wishing I could blog full-time.

2. Hair: Flat ironed and clipped back into a half-up half-down style.

3. What are your plans this summer? 

To finish up my dissertation so I can graduate next May (which means little to no summer days off, boo). I also plan to makeover my bedroom. Luckily, my sister in law, who is something of a prodigy in decorating, is coming over to help me. How about something divine like this? It's modern, and yet reminds me of  Indian color palettes...
[image from HGTV]

4. What’s the last thing you’ve eaten?
Dunkin Donuts hashbrowns. I'm a health nut aren't I.

5. Eyes/lips/cheeks:


- Kat von D Ludwig palette for a shimmery bronze look
- The usual essentials: UDPP, Fluidline Blacktrak,  Zero, and Maybelline Colossal Volum'  mascara

- Ever so Rich Cremesheen Glass

- Faces cream blush
- MAC strobe liquid as highlighter

6. What’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to you?
Meeting the man of my dreams. I know that's cheesy, but it's true!

7. What’s a quality you like about yourself?
I don't stress out and worry about things. Whatever happens, I can brush it off, think of a solution, and start to overcome it. I think problems become problems partly because your mind tends to exaggerate the size of the problem.

8. Something you’re looking forward to this week:
Going to visit my folks in Florida. I think I'll treat my tootsies to a pedicure whilst I'm there. :)

9. Outfit:

White cable knit sweater (Old Navy)
Rock and Republic jeans

10. Weekly goals: Get a few important posts out (i.e. a VERY belated April favorites!) 

Feel free to pick up this Monday Moods post for your own blog. I totally did not invent these questions; just forgetting where I got them from!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coastal Scents HD foundation review

I've been trying out the Coastal Scents Undercover HD Foundation ($16.95) for awhile now and thought I'd share my thoughts.
image from here

Paraphrased from the Coastal Scents website, this foundation is perfect for creating a soft focus, and a flawless natural finish. UnderCover HD is not oil or water based and it is non comedogenic. HD foundations use silicones, which creates a protective shield on the skin, allowing it to breathe and retain it's natural moisture.

I picked 4 samples so I could get an exact shade match. I am NC42-NC45 in MAC, so I selected shades 6, 7, 8 and 9. Since each 3 gram sample is only $.49 each, its well worth it to pick up several shades.

As soon as I placed the foundation on my hand, I noticed that the consistency of the foundation was thin. It's thinner than my Shu Uemura Face Architect, and much thinner than Revlon Colorstay.

I thought there would be no coverage given the thin texture, but here, you can see that my hand has that "soft focus and flawless finish" when blended out with my fingers.

 Let's cut to the chase...
After a bit of trial and error with getting the right application technique, I have concluded that this is an awesome foundation. At $16.95, it is a total bargain HD foundation, compared to MUFE HD Foundation, which is $40. Also, it hasn't broken me out, and I love how the thin consistency makes me forget that I'm wearing anything on my face. The finish is a sheen (neither matte nor dewy), which makes my skin look flat out gorgeous. I set the foundation with a light swipe of Studio Fix Powder.

Technique is everything with this foundation. Brushes made this foundation look cakey, and fingers made it look like a tinted moisturizer. Believe me, a week ago, this puppy was gonna get a terrible review! But that was, until I tried applying this with a damp sponge. I've been using a damp non-latex sponge (like $1.99 from Target for a whole bunch), and it gives the most breath-taking finish.

The dreaded Buts:
1. This foundation is not full coverage. If you have any imperfections to cover up, you'll need a concealer. I mean, that's fair enough. After all, this is a foundation, not a concealer.

2. I would not use this on days when my skin was miserably flaky and dry. Because this foundation is so light weight, it actually accentuates flaky dry skin. So if you're going through a huge acne treatment and its Flake City (haha lovely mental image), then stay away. But a few minor dry patches should be no big deal. In fact, applying the foundation with a damp sponge will moisturize away minor patchiness.

Final Thoughts: Pros are shade selection, price, staying power, finish, and non-comedogenic. Cons are: not full coverage, tricky application technique, and does not work on dry skin.

PS. I am currently a mix of shades ST 07 and ST 09.

PPS. Foundation samples were provided courtesy of a voucher from Coastal Scents. I was not even asked to review these products. This is my honest opinion, and I am unaffiliated with Coastal Scents. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Olay Regenerist Makeup Wipes: A review

I've been using the Olay Regenerist Micro-exfoliating Wet Cleansing Cloths ($5.99 at Target) for almost 20 days now and thought I'd share. First, I have to say that the Olay Regenerist line is a great drugstore line. If you haven't tried the Olay Regenerist Thermal Mini-Peel, drop what you are doing and run out and get it now! It's the most amazing scrub because it heats up as you exfoliate, the smell is lovely, and it leaves my skin feeling sparkly clean and bright. But onto the wipes now. I wish I could rave about them to no end, but it has its cons. 
The first thing that irks me a bit is that Olay hasn't created a box for these wipes, like Neutrogena has. So this sits sideways in my bathroom cabinet and takes up a lot of space. Also, after flipping open the little sticker-lid for many days, mine came off, and now its just kind of stuck on. Lame packaging Olay!

On the plus side, this has a refreshing, clean scent. Also, it does take off all of my face makeup, and leaves my skin feeling clean. I had just tried the Neutrogena wipes before these, and let me tell ya, those wipes leave me with this icky filmy feeling on my face. These don't! So conceivably, I could just go to sleep after wiping away the makeup with these. But I never ever recommend doing that.

Now on to the cons. First off, this is supposed to be an "exfoliating" wipe. All that means is that the wipe is scratchy as heck. Neutrogena wipes were super soft, and these are super NOT.

Second, the package says that this wipe removes all makeup, even waterproof mascara. NOT true, guys. Sure, it takes off a little bit of eye makeup, but not all of it. As you can see below, the used cloth shows a bunch of foundation and a bit of eyeshadow, liner and mascara on the left side:
However, look at how much more eye makeup has come off with a regular eye makeup remover after I had used the wipe:

I think I just don't feel clean enough with makeup wipes. I'm probably going to go for a cleansing oil next because it just seems to be more effective and thorough. Makeup wipes are simple and quick, but I don't think they are thorough enough. As someone who is prone to acne, I'd rather spend a few extra minutes ensuring that I have a clean face than going to bed a little earlier. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Putting Hot Pots into a MAC Palette

This is a super simple DIY tutorial for putting Coastal Scents Hot Pots into a MAC eyeshadow palette (see review and swatches here). The reason why Hot Pots don't automatically go into a MAC palette is because of a switcharoo in magnatizing techniques. The Coastal Scents palette is magnetized, and the pans are simply metallic. MAC is the other way around. The pallete is metallic, and the pans are magnetic. So you gotta game the system, but it is very simple.

First, gather all your Hot Pots, and place them on a paper towel.

Next, buy some small magnets that have an adhesive backing. I found these square ProMAG magnets at my local Michael's for around $3. Also, have a scissor handy.

Take one magnet and one Hot Pot (this one is S09).

Cut the square in such a way so that you cover most of the backside of the Hot Pot except the part that shows the name of the hot pot. I made 2 cuts and stuck them on so that the name peeped through. Peel away the sticker backing and stick onto the pan's back, as shown below. Crafty, eh?

Use the paper backing as a template for cutting the rest of your magnets. I suggest going one by one instead of cutting all magnets at once. Place the stickers onto the Hot Pots and place them into the MAC palette. The pans will fit perfectly and the magnets should hold the pans securely in place, even if you turn the palette upside down.

Et voila! You have a head start on filling up a 15 pan MAC palette!
Because I'm a bit of a neutral queen, I don't like to buy tons of eye shadows. For that reason alone, I couldn't justify starting a 15 pan MAC palette when I would probably only use 5-6 eyeshadows from MAC. But every now and then I do get a lemming for gorgeous shades that only MAC can come up with such as Black Tied, and Smoke & Diamonds. This is a great compromise for me because I can create a palette that is half CS and half MAC. I already love the matte white (top left) as a perfect brow highlight. As for the MAC eyeshadows, I'm delighted that now I only have to pay $11 for the pan rather than $14.50 for the packaged ones. A haul may be coming up sometime this summer!

Note: Hot Pots were provided courtesy of Coastal Scents. The MAC palette and craft supplies were purchased by myself. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Coastal Scents Hot Pots Swatches and Review

As mentioned in my recent haul post, I recently got some Coastal Scents hot pots. If you're not aware of what these are, they are basically single-pan eye shadows. Except for one matte shade, all other shades that I selected were shimmery. Here is how they look in the pan:

Below are swatches of these colors, with Origins Underwear for the Eyes as a base. I strongly recommend using a base for these shadows--whether it be UDPP, paint pots or whatever floats your boat. I actually selected these shades based on some really helpful videos by Enkore on YouTube, where he said these shades are dupes for some MAC eyeshadows. I don't have any MAC e/s right now, so I can't verify whether that is true. However, below, you'll see the color shade by Coastal Scents, and in parenthesis, the MAC e/s that it is a dupe for. 

Top row, left to right: M09 (Vanilla), S09 (Paradisco); S35 (Satin Taupe); S13 (Trax)
Bottom Row: S01 (Juxt or Lusterleaf); S26 (Electra); S36 (Amber Lights)

So far, I am loving these hot pots. Compared to Coastal Scents e/s palettes, these are of higher quality, and have no fall-out issues. However, I feel that the shimmer is a bit overboard one some of the lighter colors, such as S09 (Paradisco), S01 (Lusterleaf) and S26 (Electra). When I apply these 3 shades to my lids, they just look silvery. 

The shades I am loving are, predictably, the neutral ones. I recommend M09 (Vanilla) as a great matte highlight for the browbone. S35 (Satin Taupe) looks gorgeous as a crease color or all over the lid as a soft daytime brown. S36 (Amber lights) is best applied to the center of the lid as a bronzey pop of color.

Which of these hot pots do you guys like? Are they really dupes for MAC? Would you be interested in seeing a tutorial using only these colors? Do leave me some feedback in the comments below. :)

Disclaimer: The Hot Pots were provided courtesy of Coastal Scents. The MAC palette and craft supplies were bought by me.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In and Outs

Although I love to blog about makeup reviews and such, part of the reason I blog is because I am able to  use my audience as a virtual confession booth. So I think once a week I'll put up a ramble of some kind. In and out this week, Monday moods, next week, etc. After all, a girl's gotta vent!


1) MAC Merrily. What an amazing blush. I never want to be without this guy. In the pan, it literally looks like a ketchup red. But on my face, I just look like the most natural blush on my tan skin (NC45). Olive and tan skinned ladies should definitely try this out. Note to the fair: stay away.

2) I just received a lovely package in the mail full of treats I won in Emily's giveaway. I feel so lucky, and her giveaway was so generous. All the products were all in such good taste, and a lot of the brands were new for me. I'll do a post on the products with swatches soon. Thanks Em!

3) I just booked a flight ticket to go see my parents! I'm so supremely happy because I haven't seen them since my Thanksgiving vacation. I'm looking forward to the Florida sun, my mom's never-empty pantry, and my dad's doting.


1) Project 10 Pan. Ok...HOW do you guys finish things like lipstick and blush in a reasonable amount of time? I need strategies people. I am intent on finishing up my Nars Orgasm, which I have hit pan on, but try as I might, I can't use it everyday because MAC Merrily comes in to steal the show. Seriously, throw me a lifeline. Is there some way to accelerate this? I have needs. Specifically, a need for YSL rouge volupte. One innocent swatch at Sephora and I became a little slave to it. I am also drooling over the summer collection by MAC, so...yeah...someone might be falling off the wagon pretty soon...

2) My nails...I haven't bothered to paint my nails in literally 3 weeks. They are shapeless, full of ridges, and overall making me feel crappy. I am thinking about getting gel nails so that I have perfectly shaped, non-chipping nails for 3-4 weeks if I'm careful. What do you guys think?

3) Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy lipstick. I would only wear this lipstick at midnight so that no one can see my lips. I am really not loving this grit-infested excuse for a nude lipstick. This was laughably included in the Urban Decay Hall of Fame set, alongside far more amazing products like UDPP and Zero. Who I ask, who, would look good in a nude lip with silver grits that make you look like you died at a disco?

That's it for my ins and outs for this week. I found this post very therapeutic, so I think more personal-ish posts will be coming in the future.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Free samples of Cellnique!

Hey guys, a lot of you commented on my post about my Cellnique skincare routine that the products looked really great but a bit pricey. So Cellnique is offering free samples of the Skin Action Gel Plus to the first 50 readers of this post!! 

All you have to do is email your full name and your mailing/shipping address or your blog's URL (if any) to with the subject "".

If you are a reader who has your own blog, definitely think about writing to them, because you may have a chance to do a product review yourself! 

This offer ends 1 week from today (May 12th), so hurry!

According to Cellnique's website, here's a bit on the Skin Action Gel Plus:


: proven AHAs plus BHA formulation in reducing inflamed acne lessons and lightening acne marks. The infusion of Tea Tree Oil, Camphor, Eucalyptus Oils and vitamin C accelerates the healing process, thus preventing the formation of scaring.


Controls and prevents further breakout
Reduces inflamed acne lesions
Lightens acne scars or marks
Anti-bacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant

FTC Disclaimer: this offer is sponsored by Cellnique. I am not being compensated for sharing this offer on my blog. 

And the winner is...

Hey guys, thanks for being patient while I chose the winner for the Hana Professional Flat Iron giveaway. Thank you all so much for entering, I had a blast reviewing this product and hosting the giveaway. Enough blabber though. As chosen by, the winner of the Hana Flat Iron is...

Siam! Congratulations girl!

I've already been in touch with Siam and will have Misikko send out the gift to her right away. 

For those who entered but didn't win, don't lose heart! I hope one of these days I can do a personal giveaway, which will most definitely be open to everyone, and the rules will probably be super simple. Thank you all once again for entering, reading and commenting.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Coastal Scents Haul

I hauled a few items from Coastal Scents last month and thought I'd share my purchases with you. Although I am currently on Project 10 Pan (which is going excruciatingly slowly; I don't know how you people do this!!), this was a haul that was sponsored by the lovely people at Coastal Scents, so that didn't interfere with my no-buy rule. Thanks Coastal Scents for helping me game the P10P! Before I get on with this haul, I just wanted to say kudos to CS. They simply allowed me to purchase up to $75 worth of items from their website for my blog. They did not make it mandatory for me to review any of these products, much less sing their praises. So I feel really happy that they have not put any pressure on this little blogger. What you'll see in the coming weeks will be, as always, ruthlessly honest reviews. 

Onto the haul: 

I picked up 5 eye brushes, below:
Left to right: black large pointed crease ($3.95), Italian badger doefoot stippler ($3.89), Blending brush ($2.99), Chisel fluff large shadow brush ($2.75), chisel detail mini brush ($1.99)

Next, I got some face brushes for applying foundation, setting powder, and concealer:
Left to right: synthetic buffer brush large ($13.95); Italian badger kabuki brush ($8.45); oval camouflage brush ($3.49)

I wanted to try the individual Hot Pots, which fit right into MAC palettes and several have been suggested to be MAC dupes (how could I pass up?!). I will soon post a DIY tutorial in how to put these pans into a MAC palette, and swatches will be included. Till then, enjoy the colors in the pan.

Lastly, I wanted to try the Undercover foundations. Since I was ordering online, I picked up 4 sample sizes with 4 different shades ($.49 each)

I also went for a sample of the Veil effect mineral powder in Medium ($2.00 for a sample)

Because I had ordered just over $75 worth of stuff, I got free ground shipping on these products. The package came 3 days later on my front door, and everything was packaged well (I think only 1 hot pot was a little chipped at the edge). I've ordered about 3 times from Coastal Scents before with my own money, and have always been satisfied with how speedy their delivery is. 

Over the next few weeks, I'll review these items in digestable installments. Initial thoughts are that some products are truly fabulous bargains, while other products remind me of the old adage: you get what you pay for. Stay tuned while I compose a series of "hits and misses" posts for you guys. :-)

Now over to you: have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? Are there any other Coastal Scents products you love? Please share in the comments below!

FTC disclosure: Coastal Scents sponsored the purchase of all items shown. I am not affiliated with Coastal Scents and wasn't compensated for reviewing these products.