Thursday, July 21, 2016

top 10 drugstore gems

I am not at all snobby about drugstore products.  I think of them as widening the possibilities of exciting new beauty products to try.  As you may have gathered from my midnight online shopping binge, I am not adverse to plunking down lots of money on pretty things, but it also feels really good to get a bargain.  Not only are the products listed below (in no particular order) a bargain, but they excel.  It is my opinion that they are at least as good as, and often even better, than their high-end counterparts.  I am really truly thrilled about them, and excited to share them with you!

1) Yes To Coconut Hydrating Cream Facial Cleanser gets my skin super clean without stripping it or drying it out.  It smells delish and ultimately feels like I am doing something good for my skin.  Plus it's mostly natural and contains wonderful cleansing oils.

2) Bio-Oil Skincare Oil has helped to get rid of my Keratosis Pilaris ie. "Chicken Skin".  Bio-Oil is a healing oil for anywhere on the face and body, but I buy the largest size because I use it on my entire body just after showering while I'm still damp.  I find this to be one of the more hydrating body oils of the many that I have tried, but it is not greasy in any way.

3)  Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips may sound gimmicky but believe me, they work.  I use them after a shower when my pores are steamed open.  They work best if used regularly - the more you use them the better results you will get.  My nose loves them!

4) Biore Baking Soda Powder Scrub Cleanser is good to alternate with your regular cleanser for a squeaky clean, shiny, exfoliation.  I only use it once, maybe twice a week otherwise it is too drying for my dry skin, but oily skin could handle it more often.  No matter how often you end up needing it, it will definitely yield excellent results.

5)  L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation is brand new on the market and is causing a sensation among beauty bloggers everywhere.  Thin in consistency, it provides medium buildable coverage with really only a touch of glow.  There are much more glowy foundations on the market but this one is perfect for me because too much "glow" only emphasizes my pores.

6)  Old Spice Wild Collection Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant keeps me dryer than anything else I have ever tried.  It is supposedly for men but who cares, it's what works, and I do like the smell.  I use the Hawkridge scent because it is the most mild smelling in the collection, but actually Wolfthorn is the most popular one with men and women alike.  These also come in a strictly deodorant formula.

7)  Garnier Skin Active Micellar Water All-In-1Cleanser + Makeup Remover is my most coveted drugstore find.  Everyone has their own favorite micellar water and this is definitely mine.  I feel like it does the best and most gentle job at cleaning and removing makeup.  Micellar waters are all the rage right now- I say give this one a try!

8)  L'Oreal Hair Expertise EverCreme Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner is sulfate-free and great for dry, color-treated hair.  I don't know why it got mixed reviews on because I love this stuff.  I love the smell, the consistency, and how it hydrates my hair just the perfect amount without any weighing down.

9)  Dr. Teals Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, Relax & Relief, Eucalyptus, Spearmint smells divine and lives up to it's name "Relax & Relief".  I don't usually like minty or mentholy smelling stuff in my bath but this is easy - not annoying at all.  Many people like the lavender version, but this one is my jam. And did you know epsom salt is detoxifying?

10)  L'Oreal True Match Foundation is frequently recommended for oily or combination skin, but when I use a more illuminating primer underneath it my dry skin ends up looking flawless.  It gives exquisite medium buildable coverage, and as far as foundations go it was my first true love.

If you like drugstore posts check out my fabulous drugstore finds and review: Milani Moisture Lock Oil Infused Lip Treatment (this is my most favorite lip treatment ever!)

pics stolen from and

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Sunday, July 17, 2016

review: Milani Moisture Lock Oil Infused Lip Treatment

The mistake many people make about Milani Moisture Lock Oil Infused Lip Treatment is that they think it is a tinted lipgloss.  It is not.  Yes, it is shiny but no, the color does not show up - it goes on clear.  And most of all it is meant to be a lip treatment more than a cosmetic.  The cool things about it are 1) its big fat doe-foot applicator  2) its combination of oils contains the very awesome Tsubaki Oil and 3) it is vegan.  I love it!

I am one of those people who constantly has dry chapped lips, and who is forever searching for a lip balm/treatment that actually works.  Since discovering Milani Moisture Lock Oil Infused Lip Treatment I need look no further.  Of course I probably will because I am a beauty junkie and always love to try new things.  But really, this stuff works.  It takes a few days for it to kick in, then I absolutely notice my lips are smoother and more hydrated.  I mostly use it as a night treatment with occasional swipes during they day.

The consistency of this lip treatment is a bit unusual.  It isn't a thin oil like you'd expect if you are used to products such as YSL Volupte Tint-In-Oil.  The Moisture Lock oil is more thick and viscous, and I don't mean this in a bad way, but it is also more goopy than a straight on oil.  Probably because even though it is mostly oil, there are couple other ingredients in it that have complicated names.  It tends to smell synthetic but that doesn't bother me, I have become wildly addicted to both the smell and consistency.  And the fruity scents vary according to what "flavor" or ingredients are in each treatment.

For example, there are eight different treatments, that come in eight different colors/flavors (as I said before they all go on clear), and address eight different types of lip issues.  There are:  Moisturizing Almond Coco (clear), Healing Lemon Honey (yellow),  Rejuvenating Peach Mango (gold-orange),  Conditioning Grapeseed (purple), Repairing Primrose (light pink), Revitalizing Grapefruit (orange-red), protecting Pomegranate (red), and Nourishing Raspberry (dark pink).

I haven't tried every single one yet but I have tried a lot and my consensus is that they are all hydrating and conditioning, the only thing being that some worked better for me than others.  The oil which produced the best results for me was the Healing Lemon Honey, with Repairing Primrose coming in second.  I am dying to try the Moisturizing Almond Coco!

I highly recommend you go to your local drug store, read about the healing properties of each one on their label, and plunk down about $8.50 for your favorite.

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Friday, July 15, 2016

midnight online shopping binge

I have a touch of insomnia.  I can be completely exhausted at bedtime but the second my head hits the pillow "bing!" I am wide awake.  And stuff that I browsed online earlier in the day but passed on, suddenly becomes a necessity to buy (and unfortunately stuff I passed on eating earlier in the day, ie. ice cream, also becomes a necessity.  But that's another story for another blog.)

I have to say though, the other night's haul was a lot of fun and I got some cool stuff, all from Nordstrom.  I bought four things: 1) Diptyque candle in Vanille  2) Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Disco Dust  3) a tiny jar of La Mer  Creme De La Mer Moisturizing Cream   4) Charlotte Tilbury 'Filmstar Bronze & Glow' Face Sculpt & Highlight.   And yesterday they arrived so let me tell you all about them.

I had been wanting the Diptyque Vanille candle for ages.  Not because I'm a huge fan of vanilla, but because this particular candle has deep, rich woody notes.  It is almost smoky with winter spice hints.  It smells like something that belongs in the library of an old English manor house.  Of course it is very vanilla but quite a grown up vanilla.  I put it on my bedside table and let the cozy waft of scent lull me to sleep.  Diptyque candles are always a treat!

Tom Ford Eyeshadow quads are ridiculously expensive, but also ridiculously gorgeous.  Definitely worthy of the occasional splurge.  They are known for their sparkly eyeshadows which you get one or two pans of in most of the quads.  Disco Dust is their most popular quad, and even though I hate to be too trendy, I just had to have it because the glitter it contains is sublime.  Disco Dust has one glitter, one metallic, one satin, and one matte color that go with virtually any skin tone or outfit.  They are neutral-ish but with oomph.  I can't stop staring at my palette, swatching them on my arm every chance I get, and can't wait to do an eye look for my dinner date tomorrow!

can't stop swatching!

sublime glitter

I have also always wanted to try La Mer La Creme Moisturizing Cream.  My skin is super dry, super sensitive, and mature - exactly their target audience.  Plus the special patented Miracle Broth ingredient is supposed to be very "healing".  So how could I not try it?  I was lucky to discover a small .5 oz size that wasn't horrendously expensive.  So far this has made my skin nice and soft and hydrated.  I don't think I would, or could, purchase it on a regular basis, but for now my curiosity is sated.

And finally, on a total whim, I purchased the Charlotte Tilbury 'Filmstar Bronze & Glow' Face Sculpt & Highlight.  I don't know what prompted me to put this in my basket but I am so happy I did.  On my face I prefer a more subtle bronzer and subtle highlighter, and this turned out to fit the bill perfectly.  Without a doubt it gives me the most angelic glow of all my highlighters.  I can't seem to get a decent picture of it - it always looks so dull in them - but in reality it is anything but.  This duo with its gold packaging is class all the way!

Overall, I am very pleased with my haul.  Yes, late night online shopping is a dangerous thing, but I can't be the only one out there doing it.  Can I?

pics stolen from

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Saturday, July 9, 2016

sensational summer perfumes 2016

I AM BACK!!!!  And I'm going to start off by doing my favorite type of post - a perfume post.
It's not too late to celebrate Summer with a scent that enhances the experience!

I've been MIA for 7 months due to a wicked depression in the Winter (Seasonal Affect Disorder, yes even in California) and then got bad pneumonia that had me feeling sick for months.  That's not to say I left the beauty world - Hell No! I did plenty of online shopping - I just haven't blogged is all.     Looking back on some of my old posts it seems like I was sick a lot last year but now I am taking massive doses of vitamin C and refuse to let it happen again.  Certainly I refuse to continue complaining about it on my blog lol.  So here I am now and I hope you enjoy this one.....

Etat Libre D'Orange Don't Get Me Wrong Baby is so pretty and happy it is perfect.  Yes, there is a touch of cocoa, patchouli, and amber solaire so it isn't innocent-pretty.  In fact the entire name of this perfume is "Don't Get Me Wrong Baby I Don't Swallow".  How very naughty of them!  But I do think of it as a girly floral.  A seductive girly floral with lily of the valley, jasmine, and orange blossom.  Add it to your perfume wardrobe to be unique.

A mainstream favorite is Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream.  It's somewhat sophisticated for a fruity and sweet floral, but the coconut water in it lends a fresh, almost aquatic vibe.   I keep a rollerball of this in my purse because no matter what mood I'm in while on the go this is never offensive; it easily fits the bill.  Blackberry, pear, blue wisteria, and jasmine are the popular notes.  I initially bought it for the packaging alone - it was irresistible!   

My favorite indie perfume house is Charenton Macerations and they make perhaps the most beautiful unisex fragrance I own:  Asphalt Rainbow.  I know, I know, asphalt doesn't sound beautiful, but in this incarnation it is.  Asphalt Rainbow was created to pay tribute to the street art of NYC's West Village. Here is color, and energy, and a very sexy rose.  This is not your grandma's rose - it is a street-savvy rose.  There are also some lily of the valley, magnolia, ylang-ylang, and leather and woodsy notes.  If you want something really special try Asphalt Rainbow.

As far as celebrity perfumes go, Lady Gaga Eau De Gaga 001 is a refreshing tea-like scent, just right for Summer.  It's not quite as light as say the Bvlgari tea fragrances because there are significant leather and woods present in this background.  Still, it is a vibrant unisex with a hint of floral (white violet).  And to let you in on a little secret of mine, I like to wear Eau De Gaga on one wrist and another celeb scent, Jennifer Lopez Glow (powdery/soapy), on the other wrist.  This celebrity combo gives me quite a lift!

At first I didn't like Derek Lam 10 Crosby Rain Day eau de parfum but I have ended up reaching for it all the time this Summer.  I think it is the vetiver that initially put me off - I'm not a huge fan of it - but this vetiver is lighter; a more brighter citrus.  Once this dries down the underneath turns into almost an Oriental-floral, though nothing nearly as weighty as Opium.  I'd say that Rain Day is a real crowd-pleaser and is easily available at Sephora.

House Of Cherry Bomb Pink Haze is a little different for a Summer fragrance, it is often considered more of a Spring perfume due to the prominent lilac, but I have been wearing it a bunch lately anyway.   With metallic notes and cedar it is considered a unisex scent, however be aware that it is very floral (gardenia).  There is something about this that reminds me of my childhood growing up often outdoors back east, and has nothing to do with the smells of California where I live now.  Perhaps that is why I cherish it so much.  Again, LOVE the packaging!

What perfumes are you enjoying this Summer?

Images stolen from Sephora, Luckyscent, Amazon, Etsy, and Charenton Maceration websites

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

HOLIDAY HIATUS and what's coming in January

Hello my fellow beauty vixens.  I have been having a heck of a holiday season and haven't blogged in far too long- so so sorry.  There was plenty I wanted to write about but unfortunately it is not to be.

And I leave for vacation in two days. It's the type of vacation where I will be racing around not chillin' so I will have to resume blogging in mid January.  Some posts you can look forward to are:  magnificent mascaras, my holy grail products (lately), January empties, splurge! January, and my skincare routine. 

I wish you the happiest of Holidays and the best New Year.  Mwah!

Friday, December 11, 2015

sensational stocking stuffers 2015

I love shopping for stocking stuffers!  It is the perfect excuse to shop for a whole bunch of (not too pricey) stuff.  It requires both imagination and savvy.  It's a real chance to play Santa!  And do you want to know what the most memorable stocking stuffer gift I ever got was?  It was not a beauty item, or even anything pretty, but was a very practical roll of stamps.  They were forever on hand because I hate having to go to the post office to wait in line - its a total pain in the ass.  Of course this was back in the day before you paid all your bills on line, but still I would appreciate getting another one.  Go figure.
However, on to more exciting stuff.....

Stila Eternally Yours Liquid Lipstick Set comes with six vivid colors including reds, plums, and nudes.  It is a bit of an extravagant stocking stuffer for $39 but would definitely make quite an impression. Better yet, break up the set and toss one or two tubes in each person's stocking.  That comes out to $6.50 - $13 a gift.  FYI:  liquid lipsticks are all the rage in the makeup world (they dry down matte and indestructable) and would be much appreciated by the makeup maven in your life.  I chose this particular set because Stila makes some of the best liquid lipsticks around.

Jo Malone London Cologne Gift Set has a selection of five .3 oz spray bottles of her popular colognes.  Another pricy item ($115) it is also perfect for breaking down into several loved one's stockings equaling $23 each.  Jo Malone is a luxury fragrance house and pretty much everybody likes at least one of her scents.  This coffret includes:  Lime Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, English Pear & Freesia, Peony & Blush Suede, and my personal fave Wood Sage & Sea Salt.

Tony Moly I'm Real Face Masks.  The Korean skincare brand Tony Moly has a wide variety of sheet masks that do a wide variety of different things.  An individual packet is not a bad price at $7.50, especially because it comes with two individually wrapped sheets.  Plus it is fun packaging to find in a stocking.  Also you could get super cheap sheet masks at Korean stores and throw a whole handful into the stocking.  Sheet masks are the thing right now!

Sephora Collection Wishes Come True Eye And Face Makeup Palette is just so beautiful and compact.  For $15 it has six gorgeous and useable eyeshadows, a universally flattering blush, and two awesome highlighters (who wouldn't want to glow for the holidays?)  It is perfect for an on-the-go makeup bag, or takes up virtually no room in a makeup drawer.

Agraria TasselAire room fragrance defusers make a unique and unexpected stocking stuffer.  A very classy find at $40 the perfumed silk cord tassel is a lovely decoration to hang around your house:    door handles, certain window locks/handles, dresser drawer knobs etc.  These come in eight different scents, including interesting ones like Mediterranean.

OPI Infinite Shine PRIME + GLOSS Duo Pack Top & Base Coat is the set to make any (well preferably OPI Infinite Shine) nail polish look like professional gel nails.  It claims to make your manicure last for up to ten days!  Nail polishes are the perfect stocking stuffers and this special duo definitely takes things up a notch.  Most suppliers charge $19.95 for the pair, but if I'm not mistaken you can get them on Amazon for half that.

The Body Shop Mango Body Butter.  Of course these body butters come in all different scents but I am making a plug for my very favorite delicious mango.   It is sooooooo sniffable!  For $21 the 6.9 oz fits perfectly into a stocking.  The consistency is to die for, silky/creamy, not too heavy, and absorbs easily.    Ulta and the Body Shop are both having limited-time sales on them right now.

Aveda Stress-Fix Concentrate roll-on.  Love this stuff!  It's the perfect blend of natural essential oils for total relaxation.  I keep one in my purse and one on my bedside table.  It's $24 for .24 oz and whoever you buy it for will be sure to thank you.  Let's all de-stress!

I was at Nordstrom yesterday and in their cosmetics department they had several tables of the most wonderful, exciting, INEXPENSIVE, little do-dads for stockings.  Total abundance and something for everyone.  Check it out!

For more stocking stuffer ideas check out my super star stocking stuffers 2013
A few of those products are no longer available but they still might give you ideas,
and the ones that are available are terrific!  

pics stolen from Sephora, Aveda, Google, Selfridges, and Neiman Marcus dot com

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Sunday, December 6, 2015

great holiday gifts for men 2015

Before I got really into the beauty biz I used to think men were impossible to shop for.  But now I find that there is always a little something grooming related a man would want.  And sometimes even perfume/cologne.  My brother-in-law loves it, so I either buy him a full bottle or a bag or box of samples that he can use for travel.  I even send my lost and wayward 20-something nephew a bunch of fragrance samples every year and although I never hear from him I like to imagine that he enjoys them.  Anyway, the gist of it is that I love to shop for men these days, especially when there is so much out there.  Here are a few of my ideas for this year:

Let's start with perfume (yes men's fragrance is also called perfume) seeing I was just talking about it.
 A no-fail, everyone-loves-it selection is Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme.  It is a fresh, modern, woody scent that is not too citrusy (like many colognes are) and not too strong.  I'd say it's even ok to wear to work.

But my personal all-time and forever favorite is Prada Amber Pour Homme.  It is sex-on-a-stick with softly blurred edges. But not sleazy at all - quite classy in fact.  Vetiver, saffron, orange blossom, and suede!

And if you want him to try something unconventional I would go with a unisex perfume.  Bond No.9 makes some of the most accessible ones and the bottles are works of art; terrific for display.  Their selection is wide and varied and even though their website breaks them down for women or for men, pretty much all the formulas are considered unisex.  Very upscale but worth the investment.

More and more men are getting into skincare these days, especially when it concerns their pores.  Clairsonic Alpha Fit Cleansing System For Men is perfect for them.  The very famous Clairsonic brand has come out with a compact, more masculine looking sonic technology brush that is designed to use with or without beards.  Because of the super deep clean, it is recommend to use before shaving for a cleaner,  smoother, less irritating shave.

Kheils (since 1851) is a skincare/grooming brand that men usually love because of it's no-nonsense packaging and non-froo-froo smelling products.  Plus it is all very effective.  This year I am impressed with a couple of their things.
#1 Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner Collection counts coconut oil in it's ingredients and has a very mild, non-floral coconut scent to it.  Other than that no real scent at all.  This set is loved by many because the shampoo gives a good lather but is gentle on the hair, and can be used on any hair type.  The conditioner doesn't weigh hair down, which is a big thing for men (well, women too actually).  Buy the huge 33.8 oz sizes!

2#  Body Fuel All-In-One Energizing Wash For Hair & Body would make a great stocking stuffer.  Because I admit there really are some guys who don't care so much about fancy grooming.  This is for the no-fuss kind of guy but will give him something fun and new to try, and with it's many cool benefits it'll make you feel like you are doing something good for him.

Ok here's a weird one (or maybe I should say unique):  Frank Lever Bavarian Sausage Hand Soap.  Beautifully and expensively packaged, it makes the perfect luxury gift.  And maybe upon unwrapping, good for a laugh.  But don't be grossed out, the predominant scent is spice.

L'Occitane Zesty Cedrat Gift Set is a crowd pleaser.  L'Occitane is a natural brand from the Provence region of France and Cedrat is the newest scent in their collection of products for men.  The scent is an agreeable light citrus, woody, smokey smell, and it's not hard to imagine it coming from Provence.  The set includes:  3.4 oz Eau de Toilette, 5.1 oz Shaving Gel, 8.4 oz Shower Gel,  and of course the reusable gift box.  It's a great deal!

Baron Shave Kit is the most sleek and sophisticated shave kit I've ever seen - very special.  It blows The Art Of Shaving stuff out of the water!  The old fashioned way of shaving with a safety razor, brush, and soap is taking over.  It is an extremely hip trend men are curious about and feel good about.  And this particular set comes with a year's worth of razor blades - you can't beat that!

For more great men's gift idea's check out: hot holiday gifts for men 2013
(it's an oldie but still has some great ideas)

pics stolen from Sephora, Uncrate, Google, L'Occitane, and Khiel's dot com

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews