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MAC Surf Baby–Should You Ride This Wave?

20 May

Happy Friday ladies! I am going to get to the quick on this one and just show swatches and comparison swatches for the items I ordered. Hopefully this will help you decide if Surf Baby is something you want to indulge in next week. If you would like to see these items compared to something else, let me know and I can do a twitpic, providing of course I have the item you want to see it up against. Enjoy! Note: All swatches were taken in natural daylight/sunshine

L-R: Sonia Kashuk Coralina, MAC Hibiscus, MAC Vegas Volt, MAC Full Speed

L-R: VS E/S Quad Teal, UD Kush, UD Haight, MAC Surf USA, MAC Steamy, MAC Aquadisiac, MAC Newly Minted, UD Flipside

L-R: MAC Copperplate, MAC Swell Baby, MAC Groundcover, MAC Silverthorn

L-R: My Paradise w/Gold, My Paradise w/o Gold, MAC Bite of An Apple w/NARS Taj Mahal, Illamasqua Excite, Sleek Pan Tao

L-R: My Paradise W/Gold, My Paradise w/o Gold, Stila Make Me Blush, Tarte Tipsy, Korres #44 orange

Wearing Surf Baby! Hibiscus lipstick, My Paradise and Swell Baby

Overall: Swell Baby and Surf USA I don’t have any dupes for. Newly Minted is close, but is matte. The Victoria’s Secret palette was LE last summer so I don’t think it’s available anymore, and that shadow leans more green. Hibiscus is an orangey-red coral while Vegas Volt is more a true bright coral. My Paradise is darker than Tipsy, but similar in tone to Korres. The gold overlay is quite thick. I still find the Korres blush to be better in terms of formula to My Paradise, but My Paradise has a different color to is when applied. It leans more orange-red on me.

I hope this helps you decide what to get. Again, if you have questions or want to see some other swatches I’d be happy to do so! 🙂 I really like what I purchased and feel like everything is very pretty and mostly unique. The most closely dupeable item I bought is probably Hibiscus., but I don’t regret getting it because I actually really like the summery design of the lipstick tube. I can see myself enjoying pulling that tube out of purse all summer!

Surf Baby Haul and Packaging

Gratuitous My Paradise Photo 😉

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TAG: Not Worth the Hype

14 May

Hi ladies! I thought before I debut my super nail polish swatch-a-thon post that I would do a little write up of some products I have tried and just didn’t like or they just didn’t work for me. Most of these products have been endlessly hyped up on blogs and YT everywhere, which is what led me to them in first place.  Please PLEASE understand that the items that made my list didn’t work *for me*, which is not to say that they are necessarily not able to work for others.  Keep in mind that we all have different skin tones and types and that our tastes may be completely different.

Alrighty, then, with that out of the way, I present the products I regret buying, or that were  “not worth the hype” for me.

  1. Benefit Sugarbomb “blush”

Benefit Sugarbomb- Image from Sephora.com

I bought this in April sometime after seeing video after video of how this was someone’s “go to” blush and was their all time favorite and so on and so forth. I just don’t get it. My skintone doesn’t seem too far from those making that claim so why it *barely* showed up on my cheeks, I won’t know. There was absolutely, positively nothing special about this blush for me. So uneventful in fact that I didn’t even manage to take a photo of it and swatches before I took it back to Sephora. I have $3 blushes from ELF that are better than this. I honestly and seriously cannot see how someone of my skintone could ever wear this as a blush. Someone with VERY fair skin could probably do it, and well perhaps. I wouldn’t be so hard on this blush if it weren’t for 2 things: the hype and the price. I would be ok paying may $5-$10 for this blush. But certainly not $28, which is more than MAC, NARS, Tarte, or Sonia Kashuk which make far superior blushes to this one.

Alternative: Benefit Bella Bamba which is my favorite Benefit blush.You can see my review here.

2.  Dior Amber Diamond

Dior Amber Diamond

Ok, I get it. It’s Dior, it’s pretty, it’s soft, the packaging is cute. But this did not give me that “natural” glow that so many people have talked about this giving. It gave me a more subdued  frosty shimmer. It certainly wasn’t ugly on my cheeks, but it wasn’t any better or any different than my Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips, which are around $9 compared to Dior’s $44 price tag. In my opinion, this is worth no more than $15-$20 at best, and the rest is paying for the Dior name. Maybe it’s because I had heard so much about it that when I eventually tried it my expectations were so high that it could never possibly live up to it. Kind of like when I finally watched the movie ‘The Ring’ years ago. Climatic build, huge let down. Whatever the reason, I tried it for two weeks and returned it to Sephora. I am not opposed to some day trying out a different shade if they ever choose to make more. But $44 is an awful lot to spend on a highlighter, so when I do drop that cash it needs to be *Ah-mazing* and this just fell very flat for me.

Alternative: Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow in Rose Gold which is by far the best highlighter I own, period, end of report. It gives me the natural glow I want, with the cream formula I love. Or, if you are looking for a powder, try the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips–they make several shades and they are a bargain at $9.

3.  MAC Feline Kohl Liner

I had heard that this the THE black eyeliner to have. It was the blackest, and therefore the best. Not true, ladies. I don’t normally have issues with liner staying put for me. I use an eye primer and have several liners that don’t budge all day. I am not kidding you when I say that MAC Feline smudges on me EVERY single time I wear it. I end up looking  like a hot mess in short order with this liner. I don’t know what it is about it that either doesn’t last or doesn’t agree with my skin, but it is quite possibly the worst eyeliner it was ever my misfortune to purchase. Unfortunately I still own it because I didn’t realize how bad it was until several weeks into owning it. Trust me when I say you don’t need to hunt this one down. There are so many others out there that work so much better!

Alternative: Urban Decay 24-7 liner in Perversion is just as black and stays put on me on all day. For a gel liner, try MAC Blacktrack fluidline, which does last on me or Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner which is lovely as well.

4. EOS lip balm spheres

EOS Lip Balm Spheres

At first when I saw these cute little “dumplings” I was oh so excited to try them out. I mean, really, I love the presentation. But unfortunately for me, this were all show, and no substance. They really don’t do anything for moisturizing my lips at all. The red one actually made my lips for more dry than they did prior to using it. I don’t think I will ever purchase another because these two were just so uneventful. Unless they change the formula, these are complete duds.

Alternative: My favorite lip balm/chapstick is my Blistex Medicated lip balm. It soothes, protects, and moisturizes. It’s definitely not as cute as the EOS, but it performs like a star.

5 & 6.  Benefit Benetint and Posietint/ Tarte Cheek Stains

Benetint and Posietint

I am sorry, but these were  just plain bad for me. The Tarte Cheek Stains are equally bad on me. I don’t have them pictured here, but I have quite a few minis that have come in sets and the only one I like is ‘Eco Cheek’.  The Benefit ones have a horrendous taste which immediately rule them out for use on the lips. On the cheeks they don’t blend well and they dry so super fast. The Tarte stains are so sheer that you have to keep swiping and swiping for color. They are sticky and greasy as well. They slip and slide on my skin and never quite feel like they have ‘set’. I actually had to dig through my drawers to find them because they are buried in the abyss–which says something about a product for me when it’s at the bottom and the back of the drawer, ya feel me?

Alternative: I actually enjoy the Stila Crush lip and cheek stains immensely and own a couple of them. I can do a review if you are interested. Not budget friendly, but I enjoy the Beaute Flouron stain as well. The Body Shop made cheek and lip stains last year and I picked up an orange-y one. I am not sure whether they still make that shade or the line at all, but it is very nice.

7. Guerlain Meteorites

Guerlain Meteroites in Beige Chic

Ahh, one of the single most disappointing products ever. When I just entered “make up addict land”  MakeupAlley was the place I found first, because mostly I was looking for plain vanilla swatches. This product was one I saw frequently on there. Girls who had all the shades, loved them etc. So when Sephora (2 years ago?) had a set for sale that included this baby, I snatched it up, full throttle. Actually, this has a bit on sentimental value because I bought it in Vegas 🙂  at the Sephora just outside the Venetian. But upon trying it I could not see what so many others see in this product. The price is outrageously expensive, and again I think this is more “paying for the name” than anything else. I think the price is around $56 for a full size. Are you kidding me? Plus, I really *really* don’t like the smell of them. I would never buy another of these.

Alternative: Physicians Formula Happy Booster Translucent powder gives me the glow I thought I would get with Guerlain. Plus, the smell is 100x better. Better still is the fact that it costs around $11.  🙂

8. Rimmel Fix & Perfect Foundation Primer

Rimmel Fix & Perfect

I don’t know that this can fall into the category of  “Hype” or not, because I don’t know that I have really heard a lot about it. What I can tell you is that this is a truly awful product (my experience) and I would never recommend this to anyone, especially oily/combination skin ladies. It did nothing in the way of smoothing or making my face feel more ready for foundation in the way of other primers, like my beloved Guerlain (review here). It made my face feel worse and like I had this heavy layer of moisturizer that was quite greasy. It was cheap and performed poorly. I really ought to just throw it away. I just have a problem wasting it. Do you ladies get this way too even if you absolutely hate something? Blech.

Alternative: Certainly loads more expensive, but I love my Guerlain primer. For a more budget friendly option, try Laura Geller Spackle ( I really enjoy this) or Smashbox Photo Finish primers.

9. MAC Nail Polishes

MAC Polishes Mean & Green, Bad Fairy

I can’t say whether it’s MAC’s formula or whether it’s me but these are probably the worst polishes for wear time ever. They chip so easily! It doesn’t matter what kind of top coat or base coat I try, they never last. When OPI, China Glaze and Essie are half the price and last 3 times or 4 times as long there really is no comparison. This is one MAC product I have zero interest in. The colors are gorgeous, but I expect (who knew) to be able to at least get through one day without any wear ‘n’ tear on my nails. Never happens when I wear MAC polishes, which is why I haven’t touched them at all in 2011. <—-not kidding 😦

Well, I suppose I will end with that. Mostly, I have had fairly good if not great experiences with makeup and beauty products. The occasional fail does not stop my quest or my love for trying new things! I think it’s important to remember that beauty is subjective and ultimately lies in the eye of the beholder. How about you, what products have you tried that didn’t meet your expectations?


A little bit of “Eye Candy”

12 May

Hello ladies! Almost Friday! You know, every time I say ‘Friday’ now, I think of that horrible awful song. Yes, it really was traumatic and I really wish I could un-listen to that song. If you haven’t heard it, you are lucky!

Anyway, I have some new products to share with you *ahem* for the eyes if you’ll pardon the pun in my title. Just a few things that have come to me lately that I may not have swatched for you guys yet.

New Eye Candy

L-R: Milani Infinite Liquid Liner in #01, Stila 24kt, MAC Groundcover, Stila Kitten Glitter Liner

  •  Milani Inifinte Liquid Liner in 01 Infinite: A glowing bright blue! These babies really are long wearing. It says up to 24 hour wear! Although, I don’t have any intention of wearing it that long, I wore it on my eyes for a whole day and it didn’t budge. I also had a swatch on my arm and tried washing it off with soap and water–trust me when i say you will need more than that to remove this! lol.  I plan on getting more for the summer. They are waterproof, perfect for a quick swipe before the beach or swimming!
  • Stila 24kt Shadow: Received in this month’s BirchboxIt is the shade of gold I have always wanted from an eyeshadow but have never quite found. This pairs a great, blendable formula with the yellow gold color I love. It remind me of a more pigmented version of Greed, which you will see below. If you love golds, this color will be right up your alley.
  • MAC Groundcover (LE) : From Fashion Flower. While it does go on more pigmented on the eyes, I am not impressed with this shadow at all. I have been craving greys like no one’s business and this just did not really fit the bill for me. That swatch (albeit without primer) is like 15 swipes, I am not kidding. I wore a lot of the flower imprint away getting it to show up on my skin. The formula isn’t that great either. If you didn’t get this in Fashion Flower, don’t feel bad. You aren’t missing some super-pigmented great grey shadow here. I will work with it, and it does go nicely on the eyes, just not exactly what I hoped for.   😦
  • Stila Glitter Liner in Kitten: Finally a glitter liner with color and LOTS of tightly packed glitter. It doesn’t flake off on me and really adds nice sparkle to my eyes for something a little special. I like the shade because it’s so much more natural and wearable for the daytime, unlike many other glitter liners. Lasts all day on me!

L-R: Lorac 3d Liquid Lustre, blended, under Stila 24kt, Stila 24kt alone

Lorac 3D Liquid Lustre was a bit of an impulse purchase at Ulta (shocker, I know) sometime in early April. It kind of stood out to me as a unique product and idea, plus the price tag was right (around $15 I think). It really adds a shimmer lustre to any shadow. I will do more swatches with shadows under them in a seperate post so you can see how this really transforms them. Is it 3D? I don’t know about that, but it certainly punches up my shadows, can make matte shadows shimmery and definitely gives them new dimension. A caution here–use primer underneath this on your eyes, if you don’t it may crease on you depending on the type of shadow you are using. You can see a clear difference between the Stila shadow with and without the lustre. Isn’t it pretty?

L-R: Mally Evercolor Stick Champagne, UD 24-7 Shadow Stick Midnight Cowboy, UD 24-7 Shadow Stick Rehab, UD Greed Primer Potion

I have a confession. I have been getting SUPER lazy with my eye looks and want something that is literally “swipe, swipe, go” and these next products give me that for sure.

  • Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick: I saw this in a YT video from Emily Noel (Beauty Broadcast, link in sidebar) and loved the way it looked. I got this from QVC. I really want more of these because is one lasts all day, is easy to blend out and doesn’t drag on my eyes. It was a little pricier, I think in the mid $20 range, so the UD pencils are a bit better of a deal.
  • UD 24-7 Shadow Pencils in Midnight Cowboy and Rehab: I am absolutely over the moon for these. I have my eye on Clinic and Wasteland next. I love the colors, formula and the fact that I can literally swipe, swipe and go with these. You can sheer them out or build them up to whatever your desired shade is. Definitely check these out at Sephora or Ulta if you haven’t already. They stay put without primer and dry fast.I wouldn’t mind owning them all.
  • UD Primer Potion in Greed: Of course I would want the yellow gold primer because I love yellow gold on my eyes. Although it is more sheer in color than I would care for, it gives a nice gold wash to my eyes  when I’m in a hurry, and is great for underneath gold, brown and green shadows especially. I have had Greed since it first came out a few months ago, but have just now started using it again. If you like Sin, you will like Greed. Just be aware that it is not going to be as pigmented as Sin is.

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Intense L-R: #8 lightly, regular; #4 regular, lightly

Ahh, the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense shadows. You gals have seen these before, so I don’t need to go there about how wonderfully awesome and amazing these are. Yes I love them, yes they are worth it, and yes I am getting more. I mean, that “regular” swatch is literally one swipe, no primer, not wet, nothing. They are stunning! They have a similar feel to the Lancome Ombre Magnetiques if you own any of those. These just pack more punch 🙂

Laura Mercier Black Karat: Dry (L) Wet (R)

And the last and latest edition. The new Laura Mercier Baked Shadow in Black Karat. I was looking at a new Stila liquid liner in a khaki color at Sephora a week ago and the SA asked if she could help. Of course! I wanted a color that looked like the liner but that was actually an eyeshadow. Ever the helpful staff at my Sephora, she led me to the new Laura Mercier baked shadows and plucked up Black Karat. She swatched it dry, and I swooned. She then took a bottle of water and sprayed it directly onto the shadow, and swatched it wet. Then it was over. I knew she was going home with me. I wanted the perfect “not quite khaki, not quite bronze, not quite gold” color and this is IT. It stays put all freakin’ day! I used this as liner the other day and loved it. I have used it as shadow as well, both wet and dry. It is lovely, and I can see myself wearing this all summer long with a tan!

Well, thanks for playing along ladies. What are some of your recent finds for eyes? Do you have a favorite of the ones above?

My Current Obsessions

1 May

Hello ladies! Happy May! It was an awful, wet and cold April. I am looking forward to May in a big way! More sun, warmth, and of course…flowers! 🙂 I really get into gardening, and my lavender is already green again and growing and so are my Irises! I love growing my own herbs and different flowers. I will definitely share pictures along the way this spring and summer!

I wanted to pull together all of the items I have been using pretty much daily so you can get an idea of what I am “obsessing” over at the moment.

Dish of Obsessions!

  1. DDF Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew: I have finally found my HG moisturizer in this. It was a 100 point perk on Sephora.com, and it sounded interesting. Before using my points on it I read the reviews and people with oily skin were RAVING about this product. I knew I had to try it after that, being an oily/combo skin gal myself. This stuff feels amazing on the skin. It never feels greasy or oily or anything like that. EVER.
  2. Guerlain Meteorites Primer: I have already reviewed this here, but cannot say enough how much I enjoy using this product. And use it I do, every single day. I really feel like this gives my skin that added boost of luminosity and smoothness.
  3. Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer: My HG foundation and HG concealer are never far from reach. After trying numerous of each, I have finally settled into happy land with these two essentials. Let’s face it, if you don’t have these two right, you can’t be fully happy with your makeup, at least I can’t!
  4. MAC Quad: I finally got the brilliant idea that keeping all of MAC shadows in 15 pan palettes is great for saving space, it isn’t the most conducive to using the shadows on a daily basis. So I took four of my favorites and plunked them into this quad. I don’t use them all together, but sometimes I do use just this quad for my eye makeup. Patina is great all over the lid in a rush. I love using Nylon on the upper lid and blending Mystery halfway onto the lid and into the crease for a grey smokey look. Soft Brown can and is used in many, many looks to blend out harsh edges.

    MAC Shadows L-R: Nylon, Patina, Soft Brown, Mystery

    T-B: Stila Kajal Topaz, MAC Sharkskin, JK Dewy Glow Rose Gold

  5. Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow: Although more recent to my collection I can already say that I am 100% in love. After trying it out I promptly returned Amber Diamond as this gives the same effect but in my preferred texture! Those of you who prefer creams and liquid highlights to powder will definitely want to give this a go! I got it in the shade Rose Gold.
  6. Stila Kajal Liner in Topaz: I have never really liked white on the waterline (except certain special circumstances and looks) I prefer more of a nude liner there. Having struggled to find something to stay the course on the waterline I finally settled on Topaz during the latest F&F sale at Sephora. I have used it everyday since and I am so impressed with the staying power! Keep in mind that my eyes are not watery and I don’t suffer from allergies so this may affect your results if you do.
  7. MAC Sharkskin Shadestick (Disc.): Found at a CCO in Orlando earlier this year. I had wanted it for some time and was delighted at finding it. I recently re-discovered it upon digging through my collection one day. I use an eyeliner brush and swipe it on my eyes. I have no problems with it staying put. Much more brightening than a black liner!

    Tarte Clay Blush in Flush

  8. Tarte Clay Blush in Flush: Ahh, long lost love. When I first discovered my love for these blushes back in February I went on a spree and snatched up 6 shades right away. To my dismay I haven’t had a chance to play with all of them that much because, yes, I have several other new blushes to try as well. Flush is gorgeous! It was one of the first two I chose (the other being Tipsy) for good reason. You should check this shade out if you haven’t already!

That wraps up my current obsessions, save for two things: my new favorite mascaras! I am saving those for a separate post, coming right after this one! I can’t wait to share these with you guys because I am really excited about these two products!

Do we share any obsessions? What products do you find yourself reaching for day in and day out?