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Studio Gear Holiday Palette

I don't think I've ever used Studio Gear cosmetics before at least not that I remember, so when they offered to send me a palette for review, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try the brand.

Studio Gear is sold at my local Ulta, but I have to admit that until I was explicitly looking for it, I hadn't noticed.

The festive little package arrived, and had a nice tutorial on the inside cover when I flipped it open.  I have my own technique for applying shadow, which if you've been visiting here for a while you know too me quite a lot of time and experimenting to find a technique that I feel suited my now droopy eyes.  But since I didn't have anything to lose and since their steps describe doing something very similar to what I do for trying to draw the eye up, I decided to follow their guide to applying the shadow.

The colors are definitely a special occasion selection with a really nice silvery shimmer.  My favorite is probably the dark Coal shade, which also has some shimmer.  I was really happy that none of the shades are glitter though just a really good party type shimmer for the holiday season.  This photo is actually a pretty good depiction of the shadow colors, but the blush is a tad bit more peachy than it looks here.  That was the one color I thought would not work on me, but I've been trying to embrace more and different blush colors into my routine, so I went for it.  I do have to say that the color payoff and pigmentation for these products is pretty good.

I blended quite a bit, so I think it's a bit more subtle than it could be.  I would probably go darker when really going out for the evening.  I quite like adding the gold shimmer under the brow bone.   That's not something that I usually do, and I do like the lifting effect it gives, so I might be trying more of that in the future.  Since I wasn't sure about the blush, I just went for a light dusting, and I do think I could have been a little more aggressive with it.  Overall, it's a good holiday palette that is reasonably priced and versatile.  As I was playing with it, I thought of at least three more ways that I want to combine things for looks.  Now that I've tried the products, I'll definitely be picking up more to play with, and to make that even easier, Studio Gear is offering all of us a discount if we use the code SGHOLIDAY on our online orders.  The code is good for 10% off your entire purchase not just on this palette.

I received a sample for review and no other compensation for this post.  The opinion is my own.


When in France

Boots: ShoeMint
Bag: Celine

Coat: BCBGMaxAzria (Sold out but similar sleeves here)

I constantly complain about the heat is Southern California, so I loved the fact that it was freezing cold and raining the whole time we were in France.  The hub, in contrast though, is not such a fan and actually cried foul one day in Rouen when we were out shopping in the pouring rain.  At the last minute I changed the Calvin Klein short coat I was going to take on the trip for this longer BCBG coat, and I'm so thankful I did.  It was a pain to carry on the plane over, but the minute we stepped out of the airport, I knew I made the right decision.  I also threw this really old hat in at the last minute, and it was a life saver.  The Celine bag was a good choice, but I do wish I had packed a smaller cross-body bag for the days we did the really touristy things like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.  


Victoria Jackson Foundation Duo

Way back when, okay it was the 90s, I absolutely loved Victoria Jackson cosmetics.  I think I had everything in the line with my favorites being the lip compact that came with a shimmery powder included that I remember using in the bow of my lips to add highlight and the creme foundation.  At the time, I like a lot of people loved a heavier, full-cover foundation, and this one came with two shades for blending and as use as a concealer.  I honestly don't remember why I stopped using this line, but the next time I went in search of it, I couldn't find it available.  At some point, I found Victoria Jackson's Lola line, which has highly pigmented shadows and blushes.  I always wanted to try more of the lipsticks but just have never gotten around to it.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to find and try Victoria Jackson's updated creme foundation.  I chose the Light shade, which is the shade I always used to wear.  Now that I don't wear a heavy foundation any longer, I was really curious to see how the product would apply and what coverage I would get.  I was pleasantly surprised at the coverage, the wearability, and the match to my skin tone.  I touched the lightest amount onto the applicator sponge and stippled it onto my face.  The rich, creamy formulation smoothed on easily, blended well, and wasn't too heavy or greasy to the touch.  The coverage lasted all day without separating or creasing into the little lines around my eyes and mouth, and because of the two shades in the compact, I could contour my jawline subtly with the darker shade, use the lighter shade under my eyes, and blend the two for the perfect shade on the rest of my face.

Victoria Jackson is offering a discount to my readers.  Use code BLOG2013 at checkout to receive 20% off of your order.

I received a sample for review, but no further compensation was received for this post, and the opinion is my own.


Suited Up

Scarf: H&M 
Suit: via TJ Maxx
Bag: Charlie Lapson
Earrings: BaubleBar

Contrary to popular opinion, I am alive and sort of well.  Jet lag really took a toll on me, and before I was even over it, Thanksgiving was upon us.  Thank goodness I took these pictures before we left for France because I have no idea when we'll be able to take any others.  Our trip was amazing and left us wanting to go back as soon as possible.  My husband was actually making plans online today, so we might be traveling more in the not so distant future.  One thing preventing that potentially is that I am still job-less.  I had a really great interview also before we left, and I know that the company has checked with my references, so I'm hoping that is a good sign, and I'll hear something soon.  I am starting to fit in a lot of the little things that I always thought it would be fun to do if I wasn't working during the day but never really got around to in the last 10 months.  I can't believe it's been 10 months; time really does fly.  


BA STAR Holiday Red Lips 50% Off

Earlier this year, I did a post about BA STAR eyeshadow.  BA STAR markets their makeup for cheerleaders and dancers, and since A is a dancer, we are always looking for stage makeup that will last all day on competition day.  We were so impressed by their products, we jumped at the chance to review their new Holiday Red Lip Color.

Lip crayons like this are my ultimate favorite way to apply lip color, and recently I've been overly addicted to lip butters except they don't stay on very long and take frequent reapplication.  Knowing that BA STAR is meant to be long-wearing, I expected this crayon to combat that reapplication issue.
When it arrived, I immediately applied, and it lasted at least 5 hours before needing to be reapplied, and I was drinking coffee and water constantly over that time.

A doesn't usually like red lips, but I know she's now scoping how to get this one away from me.  I've found her lingering around my vanity frequently over the last few days sneaking an application.  How gorgeous is the shape of my girl's lips?

I do have to admit to being worried that the long-wearing formula would be drying, but if I apply a little bit of lip balm before applying, it still lasts for hours and doesn't feel dry at all.

The color does come across a little brown in the pencil, but when you apply, it's the greatest pure cherry red.  This is definitely going to be my holiday red this year, and because BA STAR is so amazing, they are offering all of us a discount of 50% on their site.  Just use code BBLIPS at checkout.

This product was sent to me for review; however, I have received no other compensation for this post, and the opinion is my own.  I would tell you if I didn't like it.



Top: Zara
Blazer: Forever 21
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Pearls: Vintage
Bag: Zara
Shoes: Shoe Dazzle

I know I've been lying low for the last month or so.  Every since starting a focused job search, I've come to realize that looking for a full-time job is a full-time job.  So much has changed since I last looked for a job that it's really been more of an educational experience than anything else.  I had some false starts: I honestly didn't know what level or title I should be searching for based upon my prior experience and skills.  I had to do a lot of thinking and make a lot of lists.  What skills do I really like using?  What do I enjoy doing the most?  How much did I want to compromise salary versus location?  A lot of my career has been spent in finance, but I don't have finance degrees, so although I'm working with a financial recruiter, I'm not basing my search on finding a position in finance.  I really like being an administrative manager even though I spent the majority of my career working on business process improvements, so I'm looking for operations director positions.  Unfortunately, now that it took me so long to figure all this stuff out, I'm hearing from quite a few people that the 4th quarter is notoriously bad for finding work.  If you have any tips for job hunting, I'd love to hear them.

The other reason I've been lying low is because of my hair.  I just couldn't take the three-toned weirdness any longer, so these pictures will be the last of me with the freaky light ends.  It's not perfect, but I tried to match the ends to my base color without covering any grey.  It felt like the reverse of any hair coloring process I've ever been through before in my life.  Pictures coming soon, I promise.

Linked to: The Pleated Poppy 


Resvology Eye Cream

I recently received the Resvology Age Corrective Eye Cream to review.  It's great to receive products, but since I'm sometimes brutally honest about things, I'm always hoping that I'm going to like the product, so I don't have to be a mean-y.

Let me immediately get to the point...This is probably the best eye cream I've ever used.  And I've used a lot.

I wish I had taken pictures before I started using it, but this is after four days of use, and you'll just have to trust me that there was already so much improvement, it was mind-blowing.  The thing I love is that as it's improving over time, after you apply daily, it shrinks everything up instantly to get rid of puffiness.  So this picture is of my eyes first thing in the morning after using the product for 4 days (Scary and I need to get my eyebrows done.).  The Resvology has already made such improvements in my puffiness, these pictures are a vast improvement to what it looked like before.  These pictures are not retouched (obviously).  My problems are mostly confined to the inner corners where I'm puffy, dark, and very crepe-y.

This is about 20 minutes after application.  It almost looks as though the area beneath my eyes is larger if that makes sense.  The puffiness is significantly reduced and so is the darkness at the outer corner of the left eye.  The fine lines under the lower lashes are almost completely gone.  I'm hoping that the crepey-ness will continue to improve as well.

I can't recommend Resvology enough.  And I know it's important to some of you who ask, so the product is made in the US.  This product is so much better than the La Prairie eye cream I reviewed.  There's just no comparison.

Note: I was sent this product for review; however, all the views in this post are my own.  If I didn't like it, I would have told you.


September Favorites

I've really been vocal about the multi-colored hair thing I mentioned in my previous post.  I may not have a long-term solution, but you might be surprised at the temporary solution I've found.


Well, I Never

I'm at the point where I truly believe I should not have gone with a lighter shade during the growing out process with my hair.  I think it's only enhanced the what would have been two-tone and is now actually three-tone phase I'm in.  That combined with the humidity has led to moments where I've thought about going for a pixie cut and getting it over with.  Then I come to my senses and wonder what I've been thinking.  But this has been an opportunity to find some really great products.  A silver lining.


Look at Me Being Boho

Blouse: Zara
Pants: Ann Taylor
Earrings: JewelMint

Since I've been trying new things with my hair to adapt to the growing out phase, I attempted beachy waves by using a salt spray and curling iron.  I've never liked my hair parted in the middle, but it just seemed to fall better that way, and in keeping with the look, I thought I'd try to go boho.  Only one problem, I don't have anything bohemian in my wardrobe, so I pulled on this scarf-print blouse, white pants, and some coral earrings and pretended that I was boho.  Well I am wearing white after Labor Day, right?  Very free-spirited, I know.

Linked to Casual Friday on Two Thirty-Five Designs


Back to Beautiful Workshop

Kim Acedo, Jeanette Chasworth, and I will be hosting a free workshop on September 25 at Brookside Golf Club to kick off our new Back to Beautiful Program.  If you join us that evening, you will receive the first module of the program as well as information on the rest of the amazing two week program, which is kicking off on October 6.  Seating is limited to 50 for the workshop on Sept. 25 and only 10 for the program, so if you are interested, please click on the link to register or call as soon as possible.  We had a full house the last time we did this over the summer.  If you'd like further details, please leave a comment below or send me an email.  I'd love to see you there.


August Empties Video

I didn't spend a lot of time pulling myself together before making this video because I was more focused on getting to my work out, which I had let slide for a few days.  I'm still working on lighting, so I almost look two-toned here.  I used up a lot of stuff in August and even more in the last week or so since I've been running out of all the products I bought when I was working on my skin congestion issues.  Next month's empties should really be something.  I did receive the La Prairie Eye Complex for review, but I was not paid for this review (I mean, would you pay for this review?).  


Bare Minerals Purifying Facial Cleanser 
Soap and Glory Scrub Your Nose in It
Bath & Body Works Sensual Amber Body Splash
Suave Dry Shampoo 
Minxxette The Brush Hanger
La Prairie Eye Complex with Caviar Extract 
Cures by Avance Age Defyer Eye
Smashbox Bionic Mascara 
Tarte Multipleye Extend 3 
Cargo 3 Triple Action Mascara
Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil (Out of stock again already)


Backyard BBQ

Tee: StyleMint
Shoes: Tory Burch
Bag: H&M
Ring: JewelMint

I hope everyone is having a great weekend whether you are celebrating the holiday in the U.S. or not.  I  had plans not to leave the house all weekend, but I did go out to Starbucks this afternoon, and I will have to go to the grocery store tomorrow because of poor planning on my part.  We barbecued yesterday, and it is just sweltering hot and humid here.  I'm actually enjoying shopping my closet these days rediscovering some things I've had for quite a while but don't wear enough.  Today's jewelry is a perfect example of that with lots of pieces of silver I've picked up along the way.  This clutch has been my go-to this summer, and I'm afraid it's on its last leg.  The colored covering is starting to wear off in spots revealing the woven texture underneath that looks like raffia.  I'm planning on pulling it all off to see how it looks, but since I only paid around $10 I might be pushing it.  These flats have also been on almost constantly all summer, and the toes are a little the worse for wear.  Nothing I can do to overcome that issue, and I'm afraid replacing them might have to wait for awhile since I'm still on shopping moratorium.  Since I have plenty of other pairs to wear, I'm sure I'll manage.

Linked to The Pleated Poppy


Mish Mash

Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins
Tee: Target
Pants: H&M
Earrings: Bauble Bar
Bag: Coach
Shoes: Shoe Dazzle

Have you ever had mish mash soup?  I love the stuff, and this post kind of feels like that: all the little bits and leftover pieces thrown together.  This outfit is kind of like that, too.  A while ago while flipping through the old closet, I realized that I don't have a lot of yellow in my life.  It's not one of my favorite colors, and my coloring really doesn't do well with it, but it's a cheerful summer color, and I thought I could slip some in as an accent color somewhere.  For some unknown reason now, I become obsessed with finding a yellow blazer, which is not an accent piece at all, but that's another story.  It's probably good that I couldn't find one and ended up settling for this light little cardigan, which was only $12, but then it arrived, and I've spent I don't know how long trying to figure out what to wear it with.  I was finally at the point of, "You have to wear this or get rid of it admitting that it was a mistake," when I decided to just throw it on top of whatever I was wearing this day no matter what.  Now initially I had on a DKNY sleeveless blouse, and I put a picture up on Instagram of what they looked like together.  I actually wore that to do the school drop-off, but I just felt like they were fighting each other, so I changed to the plain black tee.  I added these huge earrings, which I have to admit I did not know were so big when I placed the order.  I love big necklaces, big rings, and big bracelets, but I've never been a big earring person.  I quite like these because of the colors and they hit at just the right spot at the chin.  

I'm not sure why I threw on these shoes again.  I'll wear them a few times in a row and then forget about them for awhile usually discarding them after I've tripped over my feet and put a hole into the side of my leg from the spikes.  Hasn't happened so far this time around...yet.  I love when I find Coach bags at TJ Maxx, but for anyone else who has found one there, in my experience, the little tag that's usually attached to the handles by a chain is always missing.  Have you noticed the same thing if you've found one there?  

Thank goodness the shorter layers are finally growing out.  I couldn't take the choppiness for much longer.  I'm starting to feel like myself again.  The roots are pretty pronounced at this point, but I'm really loving the fact that they are long enough for me to feel the unprocessed texture of my hair.  It's so much softer than the crunchy hard stuff I have to work so hard to condition.  Even as I'm complaining about the short layers, I have to admit that another 2 - 3 inches of growth, and I'm thinking about getting a really short bob to be done with the color grow out.  Then I'll just have to grow out the length again, but I know that will be so painful for me who hates short hair on myself.  

Okay mish mash over.  Have a great long weekend if you are in the States but a great weekend no matter where you are.  Take care.


Inspired Dots

Collared shirt: Izod
Sweater: Zara
Pants: J. Crew
Shoes: Shoe Dazzle

I bought these pants earlier this year from J. Crew but then didn't wear them for a really long time partially because they seemed kind of boring paired just with a white tee shirt.  Then I saw this outfit laid out in the September In Style and thought, "Let me try that with my polka dot pants."  

So I did.  The ring I'm wearing in the second photo above is hematite, which someone brought back as a gift for me from Mexico.  It's not the best picture, so you might not be able to see it, but I really like the glossy quality of hematite and wish that I could find a bigger piece set into a ring or necklace.  I added the white collared shirt because otherwise I thought there was too much blue.  I do like the sweater with the pants because it does give me an idea of what to wear with them.  I went with the silver shoes, but I would probably choose a heel next time.  


New MintStyle Catalog

The new comprehensive MintStyle catalog has finally arrived, and I only just realized that even though I was really excited for new pieces, I would have been really upset if some of my favorites were sold out.  I was so happy to see two of my favorites, the Coquette Collar necklace and the Caspian cuff on the cover as well as the Baroque Bloom necklace inside.  My other favorites, the Lantern Tassel, Victoria Cameo, and Heirloom Tassel pendants are back as well.  Everyone who has purchased a piece or attended a showcase has commented on what great quality the pieces are for the price.  My new favorites are the Chombard earrings and the Honeycomb bangle.  If you'd like to see samples, arrange a showcase, or place an order please contact me.  If you book a showcase, you will receive credit from any purchased made toward your own purchase of jewelry.  I hope you enjoy the new catalog, and I'd love to hear what your favorite pieces are.


Pantene Age Defy Review

I have this all consuming need to finish something when I start it.  Probably comes from my childhood. I have to finish books, products, food, etc.  It would probably take something turning me blue for me to stop using it.  Based upon that statement, you probably get the idea that I didn't really like this system, but go ahead and watch and see what I really thought.


I received these products to review.  No other compensation was given to provide the review (because seriously, why would you pay for this review?).


Guerlain Foundation and Maybelline Powder High-Low Product Review

The dog started barking halfway through this video, so I stopped it, and when I came back, I had done something weird to my hair, and the lighting was weird.  I stopped again, and it seemed better, but yet again, there is some weirdness in my moviemaking.


Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation in 31 Ambre Pale
Maybelline Shine Free Loose Powder in 01 Light
Maybelline Shine Free Compact Powder in Medium 1 Soft Cameo


Sleeping with the Enemy (Except There's Insomnia)

Blazer: Red Valentino (Similar in beige)
Tank: H&M
Jeans: Zara
Bag: Kate Spade (Updated style)
Pumps: Steve Madden (Similar)
Belt: Forever 21 (Similar)
Bracelet: Bauble Bar

If you are like me, you are your own worst enemy.  I am far more hard upon myself than anyone else would ever be.  It's been that way for years.  I'm always expecting the worst to happen and that I will be the cause of it.  There's been a lot of that going on around here lately, which only makes it worse.  It inevitably turns into insomnia where I just lie in bed with my mind running.  I had been doing okay with it, tempering things by staying on my routine and working out as much as possible.  Then our air conditioning broke just as we hit the hot point of the summer.  Dealing with that threw me out of my routine, which then threw me into worry mode.  I'm hoping by saying it out loud, I'll be able to snap out of it before it consumes any more of my life.  I definitely am not at my best, so taking pictures has been low on my agenda.  I'm trying to work back into my routine and just keep going.  This blog has been a huge help for me in dealing with my anxiety the last few years.  It's hard sometimes, but I just keep reminding myself how much a part of my life this has become, and eventually, I start to relax.  Thanks for being a part of my therapy.

                 Two Thirty-Five Designs