Saturday, March 24, 2012

Make Up Academy - Love Heart Lip Balms

One of the benefits of being a beauty blogger is meeting other bloggers from other countries that keep you "in the know" about great products that are not available here in the United States.  My partner in beauty, Grace ( sent me these great lip balms from Make Up Academy (MUA).

MUA partners with Love Hearts on this lip balm collection of 5 moisturizing shades in pots that are reminiscent of Valentine's Day Sweetheart candies.  Each pot offers 10g of product for the affordable price of 2 GBP or roughly $3.17 USD.  Of the 5 shades offered, I have three.

  • Sweet Kiss -- pale peach shade
  • Sugar Lips -- pale blue-pink shade
  • Great Lips -- nude shade

Here are pictures of each pot:

Here are swatches:

Top to Bottom: Great Lips, Sweet Kiss, Sugar Lips

The texture is not sticky and is very similar to MAC's Tinted Lip Conditioners at a fraction of the price and more product (6g, $15).

The other two shades, Kiss Me and Hot Lips are a nice coral shade and red shade, respectively.  I believe these are limited edition but I do hope that MUA adds them to their range on a permanent basis as I find myself reaching for these rather often.

Overall rating:  Booyah!

What are your thoughts on trying products from other countries?  What are your favorite "other country" brands?

Please look for future posts on MUA and other UK products.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sephora + Pantone - Color of the Year - Tangerine Tango 2012 - Collector's Edition Set

When Sephora and Pantone collaborated on a collection, I simply could not decide what to order so I ended up ordering the Collector's Edition Set ($68).  Here's a close up of Sephora + Pantone's Color of the Year - Tangerine Tango 2012 - Collector's Edition Set.

Sephora says:


What it is:
A six-piece set of exhilarating products for eyes, lips, and face in tangerine-inspired hues.

What it does:
Vivacious, radiant, and enticing—experience this luxurious collection of gorgeous formulas that are sure to brighten your look and your mood. This expansive set of six is ideal for creating a full face that beams with a spirited, enlightened glow. Flush the apples of your cheeks with the warm hue, give your smile a juicy shimmer, and your eyes an energetic pop of color with this set, all inspired by the exuberant Color of the Year—Tangerine Tango. Each product is housed in an ultra-sleek architectural design as a nod to the iconic Pantone chip, making this collection both a stylish and exotic addition to your makeup bag.

This set contains:
- 0.02 oz Color of the Year Eyeliner in Tangerine Tango Twist

- 0.31 oz Color of the Year Eyeshadow Quad
- 0.35 oz Color of the Year Prisma Chrome Blush
- 0.38 oz Color of the Year Blush Duo
- 0.1 oz Color of the Year Créme Lipstick
- 0.17 oz Color of the Year Lip Gloss

What else you need to know:
United by a passion for color, Sephora and Pantone combine their expertise to become beauty's leading authority on color. Sharing an affection for how color can transform a face, mood, or even an attitude, this breakthrough beauty partnership will change how you wear, feel and think about color. You'll be introduced to playful shades that will inspire experimentation and exhilarating new products you'll impulsively want to sweep on. It will reawaken and reinvigorate your own passion for color—or ignite a newfound love. Join us in celebrating Color of the Year: Tangerine Tango!

Here are close-ups of the products:

Here are some swatches:

From Top to Bottom: Blush Shades, Eyeliner, Eye Shadows, Prisma Blush, On the Right: Lipstick and Lipgloss

Sheer application of Lipstick

Sheer Application of Lipstick and Lipgloss
Overall Rating:  Booyah!

I love the value of this set without having to order each item individually.

What are your thoughts on this choice of Color of the Year?  Did you get anything from the Collection?  Would love to hear what you got.

Tarte - The Miracle of Maracuja Collection Spring 2012

When I received my last installment of Tarte's Glow Your Way to Gorgeous Set, I was so disappointed.  I then learned that Tarte had something new coming in the way of a QVC special collection so when I was offered the pre-order opportunity, I jumped at it.  I received the collection and am happy to share additional information with you.

This set, unlike previous collections, did not include a cosmetic bag but the collection included 8 great items and a 2 bonus extras that I did not expect.

  • Beauty & the Box Amazonian Clay Eye Shadow Quad (6.8 g) - Includes Pink Cloud, Silver Mist, Purple Fog and Dark Ash shadows in a lovely floral-patterned box.  Shadows apply very smoothly and have good color payoff and work nicely together.

  • Cashmere Waterproof Gliding Liner (0.28 g) - In Black Magic - I am a big fan of the SmolderEyes liners but it's nice to try a thinner liner.  The pencil has some staying power once you give a bit of time to set.  I wore it layered under Dark Ash Shadow and I liked the effect.

  • Airblush Maracuja Bouncy Blush (5.3 g) - In Shimmering Poppy - I will be honest, a panicked when I read "bouncy" in the blush description as I immediately thought of Maybelline's marshmallow-like blushes which had very little color payoff (boo-hiss) though the texture was interesting.  Tarte, in my opinion, got it right, in that the texture is smooth and the pigmentation is perfect!  I would have liked the ability to pop the pan out of the compact like their Amazonian Clay blushes but the mirrored compact is sleek enough to throw in my purse and it's in my favorite color....PURPLE!

  • Airbrush Finish Bamboo Blush Brush makes for perfect application of Shimmering Poppy just where I want it.  I love the soft, duo-fiber bristles!

  • Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss (3.6 ml) - Peaceful - A nice, sheer, universally-flattering color, I just love the floral packaging.  It took a while for the product to "click up" through the bristles but I love the formula.  The mint-scented gloss includes maracuja oil for hydrating your pucker while glistening your lips with a nice gloss.

  • Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara (7 ml) - Black - The same tube offered in the Glow Your Way to Gorgeous Sets.  Would love to try the Waterproof formula one of these days.  (Tarte!  hint!  hint! - Any chance you will include in your next collection?)
  • Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (8 g) - Medium - The collection can be ordered with any one of 4 shades of concealers.  A little of this concealer goes a long way so don't fret the fact that not a lot of product comes out when you squeeze the tube.  Personally, I like that the product doesn't easily ooze out of the tube so there's no waste and I can build the coverage as I need to.
  • Pure Maracuja Oil (50 ml) - This oil is absolutely awesome!  I have used it as my night-time moisturizer since I first received my first Glow Your Way to Gorgeous Set.  It has definitely improved the condition of my skin.  I carried the smaller vial in my purse for use on my cuticles, hands, and face during the harsh winter weather and have been known to smooth a drop or two in my palms for a nice shiny, lustre to my hair.  This same size retails for $46 on QVC.

Here are some swatches:

From top to bottom: Pink Cloud, Silver Mist,  Purple Fog, Dark Ash, Amused Blush,  Black  Magic Liner on the right

And now for the bonuses:

  • Brazilliance Skin Rejuvenating Maracuja Self-Tanner (15 ml) - I am not one for self-tanners as I didn't like the orange hue that many turned my skin.  I did try this my leg as a test and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at the nice, natural-looking bronze results.  Will definitely have to try this on my face.  This is a "Sneak Peek" item that, according to the enclosed pamphlet, has been in the making for the past two years.
  • Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Eye Base ( 2.6 ml) - I have never tried tarte's eye shadow primer so I am happy to try it.  I did wear it under the quad shades and loved how it hydrated my lids while keeping the shadow in place.  Tarte boasts that their primer is waterproof and works equally as well on oily and dry lids.  I love the clear tube so I can see how much product I have left.

Overall rating:  Booyah!

This set is well worth the $59.96 price tag.  If you get a chance to snatch one up, I highly recommend it and can't wait until the Summer 2012 set.

Have you tried any of these items?  What are your thoughts?

Tarte Glow Your Way to Gorgeous Set #3

It all started with my selection of auto delivery with for Tarte's Glow Your Way to Gorgeous Set.  This is the third, and sadly, the final installment of this selection.  All items are completely different as the previous two installments with the exception of the mascara, sharpener, and concealer, which were the same as the last two kits.

The set comes in a quilted, purple satin in Tarte's signature purple with a gold-tone zipper closure featuring the Tarte logo.

The complete set includes:

1. Maracuja creaseless concealer
2. Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Dazzled
3. Amazonian Clay Cream Shadow emphasEYES in Pink Champagne
4. smolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Brown
5. Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara
6. LipSurgence Lip Luster in Obsession
7. Double-ended eye brush 
8. Fluffy Face brush 
9. Sharpener

As in previous kits, the shades go very well together.

The shadow is a lovely pinkish champagne shade (true to its name) which again is very easy to apply and budge-proof. The brown liner glides on well, sets quickly and smudges nicely with the smudger end, as long as you don't wait too long.

The blush is a lovely medium rose blush which looks more shimmery in the pan than it does applied.  Lastly, the lip pencil is a sheer berry shade, which is perfect for those of us that want to try deeper shades but shy away from ultra-pigmented dark lipsticks.

The domed-end of the eye brush works great to apply the cream shadow and blend it into the crease.  I also used the liner-end of the eye brush to apply the brown liner in a more precise and thinner line than I could ever achieve with the pencil itself.  As I have stated before, I am not a fan of double-ended brushes as they are difficult to store, I do like both of these brush ends.

The booklet that's included has "Get the Look" instructions.

Again, the items in this kit go nicely with those of previous kits.  The price tag was the same, $49.92, which is about the cost of the blush and lip pencil alone.

For those of you that do not own any of the Amazonian clay blushes, you should note that these blushes are easy to depot as they have a little indentation in the back where you can insert the tip of a large paper clip or safety pin and gently push it up.  I have been storing mine in a large Z palette which is already magnetized so I just pop them in.  Don't throw the compact away though as you can easily transfer it back in and carry it in your purse for travel.  No need to carry it for touch-ups though....this blush has staying power.

Overall rating:  Booyah!

Looking forward to see what QVC and Tarte have in store for future Special Value kits.  If they're anything like the Glow Your Way to Gorgeous Kits, I am happy to opt for Auto-delivery.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fifty Shades Trilogy: by E. L. James

It's been a while since I've read a series of books that hooks me from the first page.  E. L. James has done just that with her Fifty Shades Trilogy, starting with Fifty Shades of Grey, followed by Fifty Shades Darker, and lastly Fifty Shades Freed.  From the moment Anastasia Steele meets Christian Grey, Ms. James brilliantly combines romance, erotica and suspense.

All three books are available electronically and in traditional form.

Overall rating:  Booyah!

For more information on E.L. James and her works, please visit:  She can also be followed on Twitter @E_L_James.

Have you read any of the books in the Fifty Shades Trilogy?  Am curious to learn if you enjoyed them.

Edward Bess Deep Shine Lip Gloss

Every once in a while, I find a great bargain on  Recently, they offered several Edward Bess Lip Gloss shades for $14.00, more than half off its original $30 price tag (0.19 fl oz./5.8 ml).

Having never tried EB glosses, I opted for 1 shade, Sweet Dream, a sheer raspberry-pink shade.  The gloss itself has a berry scent to it, but no flavor. says,

  • Lavish your lips with seductive, brilliant color.
  • Luminous finish provides radiance and hydration to the lips.  Nourishes and protects with an exclusive treatment to ensure fullness.

Here's a close-up of the shade on the doe-foot applicator:

Here's the shade on my lips:

Overall rating:  Booyah!  

This has decent staying power for a gloss and I definitely like the shine!

Have you ever tried any EB glosses?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birchbox March 2012 Shipment

Two days in a row, I am surprised with a beauty sampling package, this time from Birchbox.  This month's package included some new items that I have been wanting to try.  Without further adieu, here is a picture and a description of the contents.

The topic of this month's shipment was Spring Training with tidbits and samples of items to help us get through March Madness, not of the basketball kind, but of the seasonal kind.  This month's shipment included:
  • Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien (0.06 fl. oz; 1.75 ml) -- Inspired by Tuscan citrus groves, this bright scent features a winning combo of lemon, grapefruit, and green mandarin notes.  (Regular size: 50 ml,  $85)
  • Color Club Nail Lacquer in He Loves Me (0.25 fl. oz., 7 ml) -- Jazz up blah fingers and toes with this lovely pink polish.  (Regular size: 0.5 fl. oz., $8)
  • Eve Lom TLC Radiance Cream (0.49 fl. oz., 15 ml) -- Dull skin no more: this cult British facialist's intensely hydrating moisturizer brightens your complexion with vitamins A and C. (Regular size: 50 ml, $68)
  • Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water Cloths (0.23 fl. oz., 7 ml each - two cloths) -- Made with mineral-rich spring waters, this Japanese brand's travel-friendly cleansing cloth wipes away a day's worth of dirt and makeup in a few seconds.  (Regular size: 3 packs of ten, $39)
  • Traditions by Nick Chavez Yucca Root Shampooing Cream (2 fl. oz., 60 ml) --  Hollywood stylists rave about the restorative abilities of this silky cleanser, which is made with fortifying wild yam and yucca root.  (Regular size: 250 ml, $20)
  • Lifestyle Extra: Tea Forte Skin-Smart Teas (3 tea bags - Honey Yuzu, Cherry Marzipan, Cucumber Mint) -- An antioxidant tea that tastes amazing and helps our skin look more radiant?  Yes, please.  Editor's Note:  Honey Yuzu - Green Tea for Natural Renewal, Cherry Marzipan - Green Tea for Corrective Repair, and Cucumber Mint - Green Tea for Youth Recovery. (Regular size: 16 tea bags, $6)
Overall rating: Booyah! for the wonderful variety of items including Japanese and British products that I am dying to try, not to mention the tea!  Yum!!!!

Are you looking forward to Spring?  I like to think of Spring-time as a time for renewal and a time to break out new shades of eyeshadows, polish, lipstick and fragrance.  Thanks Birchbox for getting me started!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Glam Bag Shipment March 2012

Hi Beauties!

Just received my Glam Bag March 2012 shipment and wanted to show you what was in this month's goodies.

The green-motifed glam bag contained the following items:

  • Keracolor Color Enhancing Leave-In Treatment in Natural (5 ml) -- Includes an exclusive offer to Glammies -- Keracolor Natural enhances dimensional highlights for all hair types -- adding volume, luminosity, and vibrancy to all tones.  Infused with our C.E.T. Complex to Enhance, Protect, Strengthen, and Hydrate.
  • Pur~Lisse Pur~Protect Essential Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 (0.14 oz/4ml) -- Includes 20% savings from on Pur~lisse Pur-Lip Comfort and Pur~Protect SPF 30 -- Hydra-shield Complex provides balanced UVA/UVB sun protection, while Vitamin E and Soy Proteins let skin's softer, supple side shine through.  White Tea calms sensitive skin.  Absorbs quickly for grease-free application.
  • Pur~Lisse Pur~Lip Comfort Daily Lip Nourisher (.5 oz/15g) -- Comfort dry, chapped and cracked lips with our exclusive petroleum-free lip moisturizer.  Formulated with fruit butters and vegetable oils.  Provides amazing healing benefits for soft, moist and youthful-looking lips.  This is a full-sized product that retails for $22.
  • Murad Eye Lift Perfector (.015 fl. oz/0.44 ml)  -- Increase your skin's firmness by 50% in as little as 15 minutes with this revolutionary product, which relies on exclusive firming and illuminating complexes to address dark circles, both instantly and long-term. A subtle tint adds just the right amount of coverage.
  • Coupon Code -- $25 off orders of $50 or more
  • My Glam Brush Brush Case --  Includes My Glam Classic Crease brush in case with magnetic closure.
Overall Rating:  Booyah! considering receipt of a full-sized product, coupon codes and My Glam Classic Crease Brush and case.

Have you subscribed to Glam Bag yet?  So glad I got in before they closed membership to address popularity concerns and service.  Here's hoping they open up again soon.

Beauty Army March 2012 Shipment

For those of you contemplating beauty sampling, here are some photos of the contents of my Beauty Army March 2012 Shipment.

This month's contents:

  • CellCeutical Extreme Defense Anti-Cell Damage Skin Treatment (0.33 fl oz; 10 ml) -- This powerful anti-oxidant fights skin-damaging free radicals, diminishing wrinkles, reduces redness and improves texture.  Fight skin damage all day long with regular use of this treatment.  (Regular size: 1 fl. oz; $70)
  • Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil (0.25 oz) -- A naturally occurring oil that promotes elasticity in the skin. (Regular size: 1 fl. oz; $24)
  • Weleda Iris Hydrating Facial Lotion (0.17 oz) -- This all natural face cream is a light, fast-absorbing cream that regulates your natural moisture balance and provides long-lasting protection against drying out. (Regular size: 1 fl. oz.; $20)
  • Befine Night Cream (0.5 fl. oz.; 15 ml) -- A rich, nourishing treatment that helps your skin recover, repair and recharge as you sleep.  Bio-available nutrients moisturize and soften skin while natural estrogen works to reduce wrinkles and prevent premature aging. (Regular size: 1.7 oz; $30)
  • Eye Prep Fx (0.16 fl. oz; 5 ml) -- Eye primer for concealer, foundation and eye shadow application.  Instantly smooths fine lines and creases to enhance color blending. (Regular size: 0.67 oz; $43)
  • Babor Argan Cream (1/2 oz.; 15 ml) -- 24-hour cream with argan oil, Morocco's liquid gold.  The cream will stabilize your skin's natural barrier and maintain collagen fibers.  (Regular size: 1.6 oz; $125)
Overall rating: Booyah!  When you compare the value of the samples to the retail prices, this beauty sampling program is well worth the $12 price tag, especially since you can select the samples you want each month.

Random Drug Store Purchase - New York Color, Love + Toast, and Sula Products

On a recent trip to my local Duane Reade, a few things caught my eye that I wanted to share with you.  The first is the New York Color (NYC) Sun 'n' Bronze Bronzing Powder in Hamptons Radiance.

This product comes in 4 shades: Hamptons Radiance, Fire Island Tan, Coney Island Glow, and Montauk Bronze (Retail price: $4.99, 12 g).  I couldn't help but notice how much this resembled Chanel Lucky Stripes Highlighter from the recent Las Vegas Collection (review to follow).


Here are some swatches:

Overall rating: Booyah! for the price and quality; Boo-boo! as it left me wanting a bit more pigmentation.

As I perused the aisles, I noticed some Sula Products and purchased a Lip & Cheek Tint, a Creaseless Creme Shadow, and a lipgloss.  Sula Beauty is a division of Susanne Lang Fragrance Inc., a Toronto-based company with distribution in Canada, the US and the UK.  It can be purchased online at and is also available in Ulta stores.  The line is free from parabens, phthalates and petroleum by-products and is not tested on animals.  Here are 
some photos of the items I purchased:

Creaseless Creme Shadow (Retail price: $8.00, 4.5 g), In Your Dreams (a golden shade)

Sula says: Sula Beauty offers cream shadows in gorgeous on-trend colors. Easy to line, shade, blend and contour eyes, this formula is made with natural 

Lip & Cheek Tint (Retail price: $8.00, 6 g), Run The World (a berry/coral shade)

Sula says: Sula Beauty offers playfully pretty lip & cheek tints in gorgeous on-trend colors that are long lasting, moisturizing and made with natural ingredients.

Lipgloss (Retail price: $8.00 2.69 g), It's About Me (a sheer peach shade)

Sula says: Sula Beauty offers playfully pretty lip glosses in gorgeous on-trend colors that are long lasting, moisturizing and made with natural ingredients.

Overall ratings: Booyah! for all three items.  The products are of good quality and offer decent pigmentation for the price.

The last item I purchased was Love & Toast Handcreme in Honey Coconut.  The handcreme is paraben-free, never animal tested nor does it contain animal ingredients nor artificial colors!

Love & Toast says:

Happy Hydration.  Natural super-softeners shea butter, macadamia nut, and olive fruits team up with pore pleasing avocado and sunflower oils to create a dream cream.  Love & Toast can't live without its botanical perfume blend in the perfect lightweight and luxurious lotion.  I was pleased to find that this company (by Margot Elena) has a philosophy behind it.  "Pretty is as Pretty does. At the heart of Love+Toast is the simple philosophy: it is just as important to do good, as it is do look good.  So it's good to know that with every Love+Toast purchase, you are doing both.  A portion of every Love+Toast sale goes directly to Regional Affiliates of Girls Inc.  We believe there is more than just being a pretty face.  Along with Girls Inc., we encourage girls everywhere to be 'strong, smart, and bold.'"

This true feel-good product retails for $8.99 (35 g).  I can't wait to try other scents and products.

Overall rating:  Booyah!  Nothing works better for me than a cruelty-free beauty product that gives back and I just love the little cut-outs on the package flaps.

Have you tried any of these items?  Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.