Bags, babies, beauty, and whatever else crosses my mind...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Beauty Purchases... My personal hits & misses

The end of the year is a time of reflection for a lot of people, so I got down to thinking about what 2011 was about for me and it all came down to... BEAUTY. (Well, you know - besides all that mushy, gushy stuff of family, new baby, loving my kids, etc. - it came down to beauty. Ha!) And by beauty, I mean that 2011 was the year of getting my beauty regimen in order.

I tried new products, found some favorites in hair care, skin care, perfumes, nail polish, and makeup - and also had a few misses along the way as well.

I can say that I'm coming out the other side of 2011 with a much better understanding of the types of beauty products that work best for me, some new favorite products, and a developed passion for all things in the "beauty" segment. The year started with a bang, with the Zoya "3 free" promotion and it got me to thinking... what if I took a different area of beauty and focused on it each month. Really honing in on the products and techniques that work best for me, and trying to find my signature pieces.

In the middle of the year, my sensitive skin on my face flared up (because of pregnancy hormones), so one month was focused on my skincare routine, another month I focused on finding great hair products that improved the look of my hair, other months were devoted to nails, eye makeup, lips, etc. I found that I started to gravitate towards the brands Mario Badescu, NARS, MAC, Alterna, and Make Up For Ever - just to name a few. And although it was tough to narrow it down... I came up with a list of beauty purchases that I made throughout the year, that were a definite "don't regret buying it - HIT" or "regret buying this - MISS"...

*~*~* 2011 Beauty Purchases Hits & Misses *~*~*

Top 5 Purchases that "I could have skipped buying this" - Total MISSES!

5) Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition Mascara - It was really hard for me to think of a fifth item that I could totally put in the "regret" category... so this one only gets an honorable mention. In my pursuit to find the perfect mascara (Diorshow won) I tried BE's Flawless Definition mascara - it wasn't horrible. Just nothing great. Nothing to write home about. I found it to to be a perfectly "adequate" mascara... meaning it didn't flake and drive me nuts, but it didn't really do anything for my lashes either. After the first few uses, even its magical lash separating powers didn't really seem to work quite as well, so it just became a regular mascara - with a really annoying applicator.

4) Sephora's Hello Kitty Perfume with atomizer - Sigh. I wanted to love it. I really did. The adorable bottle, the great smell, the fantastic atomizer (of which you can read about my obsession with HERE)... it was the total package. I ordered it online after we moved to our new house in an area that does NOT have a Sephora conveniently located near by, opened the box... only to find - the stupid atomizer didn't WORK! Not cool. 

I realize this isn't exactly "designer" perfume, but for the price - you expect at least working parts. I didn't want to go through the hassle of either driving to a store to return, or having to return by mail (it was right around the time I was due with the new baby)... so the adorable bottle sits on my dresser and when I want to wear it, I unscrew the bottle top and put it on. Lame.

3) Maybelline Falsies Mascara - This mascara gets hype that it works great, even from people that have tried higher grade mascaras... so I fell for it and decided to give it a try, even though I KNOW that drugstore brands mascaras just don't work for me. (I wear contacts and have really sensitive eyes... I can't have any sort of flakage with a mascara, otherwise it just kills just my eyes & contacts.) This was clumpy, thick, and flakey for me... Nothing positive to say about this one. Well... I guess other than at least it wasn't more than $6 or $7...

2) MAC Evolution Revolution lip glass - The color doesn't really do anything for me and I found the colors Prrr, Cultured, and Nymphette after buying this - that are much more suited to my skin tone and lifestyle. ER stays in my makeup drawers, but I could have probably taken a pass here...

MAC lipstick in Blankety & MAC lip glass in Evolution Revolution

1) Urban Decay's 15th Anniversary Eyeshadow Palette - I wanted to love it... I really, really did. This one fell flat on me or just couldn't live up to the hype that the Naked palette fulfilled. The colors were long-lasting, but I found them to be totally unwearable. I'm much more of a neutral gal for every day makeup and don't ever particularly have a need for makeup that is "out of the ordinary"... this was the biggest purchase regret of 2011.

Top 5 Purchases that "I Love!" - Were total HITS! 

5) Marc Jacobs Oh, Lola perfume - I ended up buying the largest size of this when my Sephora was out of all other sizes except the large size during a beauty event, even though I typically always get the medium sized perfumes. I was skeptical I could use it all at first, but now I'm so glad I ended up with the larger size! It's a beautiful scent that works for everyday as a stay at home mom, or is nice enough for a night out with hubby. Plus the bottle isn't too shabby to look at either.

4) MAC Fix+ - Took a gamble on trying this product and I'm glad that I did... I find that it does work to help "set" my makeup and gives me a soft finished look. I don't use it everyday, but I do feel like it gives me a little boost on the days that I do use it.

3) NARS Douceur Blush - A beautiful brown with pink undertone blush that looks great against my fair skin. This is my every day blush right now. 

NARS Douceur blush is pictured in the bottom right corner, with some of my other favorite beauty items.

2) NARS Crusing Lipstick - Another hit from NARS... This IS the perfect nude lipstick on me. Practically the same color as my natural lips, works with almost any makeup color scheme... This one is going into permanent rotation!
MAC Blankety on left, NARS Cruising on right

1) Urban Decay's Naked Palette - This is my go to eye shadow palette that I use practically every day! This was such a great investment for me and I'm actually one year later getting ready to purchase my second replacement one. I started off the year trying out this palette, and it quickly became a favorite. Wearable colors, travel friendly, and long-lasting formula... what's not to love?!?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas present... Tiffany & Co Paloma Picasso Marrakesh pendant necklace

Hubby did good! He picked it out all by himself!

I had a little blue bag waiting under the tree for me (I admit, he sent me down to the store to get it... so I knew what I was getting - that doesn't take away from the excitement of blue bags though, ha) and will be more than happy if a little turquoise blue becomes a Christmas tradition. (Last year's gift was a three row heart ring.)

This year, hubby looked at the Tiffany & Co website all by himself and picked out his top choices. I have to admit, his number one pick was something that never would have caught my eye if I were picking out something for myself - but I love it! When I tried it on at the store, I knew it was perfect and that it was going home with me to be my Christmas present.

Sterling silver Paloma Picasso Marrakesh pendant necklace:

To be followed up in the next week or so with some additional blue box Christmas gifts that aren't here yet - can't wait to share!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas 'n' stuff

Well it's that time of year again. And I've been hopelessly neglecting my blog lately, but I'm hoping to get back into the grove of things as the new year rolls around. We are slowly getting into a routine around here and even with the lack of sleep, we are at a decent level of functioning and dare I even say it... I'm becoming proficient at getting two kids ready and out of the house.

I've done fair bits of shopping lately, but of course most of it was for other people since I'm spreading holiday cheer and all of that. (I keep offering to send my screaming 3 week old over to people's houses for a few hours to spread holiday cheer, but for some reason no one seems to want to take me up on that. Hmmm...) I am finding fun new things in "Mommy world" that make being a mommy of two more manageable - and perhaps maybe even a fun item or two for myself! Assuming I can get by a computer for 20 or so minutes in the future, reviews will be forthcoming!

I was joking about the diaper bag in my post below, but good grief - who ever knew that it was TRUE?!? The same diaper bag you used with just one child in diapers definitely does NOT, I repeat NOT, work when you have two in diapers! (Plus, bottles, sippies, extra pants, etc etc etc) So I've been on the hunt for diaper bag solutions and have come up with a few different ideas...

We had been using the JJ Cole Mode diaper bag, which was a nice little bag for just one child - hooked onto the stroller nicely, and was easy to carry. It just wasn't functioning for a full days outing with both kids (although I probably will still be able to use it if I'm dropping one or both kids off at child care for a few hours... so its going to become our "child care" diaper bag.) Since I had Natalie, I had been bringing two bags out with us every where we go... one for each girl. This was just not cutting it. Especially when I was by myself trying to haul two bags around.

So my first solution was to get one bigger diaper bag, that I could use for both girls at one time.

I ended up with the Coach Op Art Diaper Bag in Dark Merlot, which is a bit bigger size - but also importantly, it is wider than it is tall, so that things don't just fall to the bottom (like our Mode Diaper bag, which was taller than wide) and hopefully will be easier to find. The color is gorgeous too, a rich purple with red undertones that I am hoping will go with about everything. This bag just arrived, so I will do a proper review after I've had a chance to use it.

My other interim solution was to get one of these JJ Cole Diaper Pods for easy quick changes on the go. (And I have a feeling I might end up with two of them, one for each girl.) My plan is to keep these in the car/stroller and they will be my grab & go item for when I just need to run into the bathroom to change one of the girl's diapers while someone stays with the other girl. This way I won't have to root around in the diaper bag to find that girl's specific items, especially if the diaper bag is in the bottom of the stroller being trapped in by the lower seat.

So all in all, we are figuring how it works with two, slowly but surely.

And just because it is only 10 days until Christmas... I feel compelled to share pics of our Christmas tree.

We just bought a new camera too (a Nikon 3100, love! will do a review on this as well in the future) - so I'm hoping to be able to share better pictures of the girls as time goes on...