Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Flashback: Photo Realism


Hey, guys!  Does anyone remember this one?  I missed the initial outing of this particular quad due to my late entry into the eyeshadow game, but had heard about it through the makeup lovers' grapevine and managed to scoop it later from a well stocked CCS/CCO (Cosmetics Company Store/Outlet).  Already deep in the throes of accumulating a wealth of their singles, I believe this was my very first palette from MAC.  The residual chit-chat surrounding it was pretty positive and the colors really appealed to me... therefore, I had to have it.  So, if you have a moment, let's go traipsing down memory lane and reminisce a bit about the Photo Realism eyeshadow quad from MAC.


 


(Top L to R: Photo Realism, Fresh Approach; Bottom L to R: Image Maker, Grey Range)
Photo Realism is an assortment dusky greens with a pale, champagne gold thrown into the mix for good measure.  A limited edition offering from MAC, it was one of three quads that hailed from its Makeup Art Cosmetics collection.  The four colors included are Photo Realism, which is a champagne gold with a frost finish (Frost); Fresh Approach, which is a pale, seafoam green with a pearl finish (Veluxe Pearl); Image Maker, which is a clay Army green (Frost); Grey Range, which is a muted teal (Veluxe Pearl).

(Photo Realism)


(Fresh Approach)
 
(Photo Realism - L; Fresh Approach - R)

(Image Maker)

(Grey Range)

(Image Maker - L; Grey Range - R)

(L to R: Grey Range, Image Maker, Fresh Approach, Photo Realism)

Swatching this palette with my fingers proved to be a much easier task than trying to apply the shadows on my eye with a brush.  Although they are nicely pigmented, I found that I had to really pack on the color in order to sufficiently saturate the lid, with Image Maker being the most temperamental of them all.  Also, having a color boosting base is essential to breathing some life into this understated foursome (at least on my skin tone) and have found my NYX Horse Raddish Jumbo Pencil to be über helpful in this area.

So there you have it.  July 4th is this weekend and I'm thinking of rockin' this palette in lieu of any of the traditional red, white or blue.  You know me - I can be pretty "anti" when it comes to certain things, especially makeup.  Hey, I may not wear any makeup at all!  Who knows?  All I know is that I've got to get on the good foot and start makin' use of this bad boy.  Photo Realism is too pretty a quad to just keep hidden away... and I really am glad to have it as a part of my collection!        

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mint Sorbet


Now that summer is officially here, it's time to fall in line and get our fingers and toes season-worthy.  Color is the name... and for this go around, soft and easy is the game.  As you guys already know, I'm not a true fan of pastels, but - lulled by my latest grab's name - this romantic, pale shade of lacquer is more of a "sorbet" (self-indulgent semantics, I know, but let's just roll with it, shall we?).  Anywho, it's an all too familiar story: it was love at first sight when I laid eyes on it in the store and I just had to have it.  So, without further ado, I'd like show 'n' tell you a little bit about Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear nail polish in Mint Sorbet. 




Mint Sorbet is a blanched, pale green and hails from Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear line of long lasting, brightly hued nail polishes.  Richly pigmented, it has a nice, creamy texture and left a nearly opaque layer of color in the first pass.  I did, however, use two coats of polish and found that the lacquer dried fairly quickly between applications, which is a plus.  And while I had slight bubbling on one nail, which was totally due to "user error" as I was rushing during strokes and inevitably caught air, it did not streak.  Worn sans the aid of both a base and top clear coat (which is how I review all nail polishes), it held up well with only minor chipping at the tips despite undergoing the daily rigors of hand-oriented chores like washing dishes.  Mint Sorbet lasted about five days on my busy digits, which is about average for me.




So there you have it!  Although I don't really dig the "P" word when it comes to colors, using words like "sherbert", "sorbet", "custard", etc. help me push through my misgivings.  It's silly.  It's mind over matter, but it's all in fun.  Obviously, I like what I like.  And I really like this Mint Sorbet polish.  I can see it easily playing the perfect complement to sun-kissed skin and it wears well to boot.  Soft and easy and very pretty.  #TWOMINTYTHUMBSUP!  

Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Minty Sorbet is available at various drugstores, including drugstore.com and Target, and retails for around $2.50, depending on the outlet.   

Friday, June 19, 2015

Crimpin' Ain't Easy


When I first started getting serious about growing my hair many moons ago, I invested a great deal of energy into protective styles (i.e., styles that required very little manipulation, thus guarding hair from unnecessary stresses that could hinder its health and growth).  Any texture-haired girl who has ever donned a relaxer knows that dealing with the kinks of new growth while trying to maintain the straightness of permed ends can literally be a "make it or break it" endeavor.  My initial, tress-saving solution was to wear my hair pulled back in a chignon.  And when I tired of that, I graduated to wearing it crimped.  Not only did it keep me from having to manipulate/comb it everyday, the style helped in blending both textures and was a cool alternative to wear during the hot summer months.  It's been awhile since I've worn crimps, mainly because my beloved crimper went kaput years ago and I haven't found a decent replacement since.  But I want to!  Like, really want to!  So, I may need a little help with this one, guys, 'cause what I've found so far in the realm of crimpers just ain't cuttin' it.


You know, I really wish I had gotten the memo on this iron.  When I saw it in the store, I figured, "Sure, why not?"  I mean, it looks almost identical to my dead and gone Windmere version, so it should perform the same, right?  WRONG!  This Conair Shiny Styles comes with a whole lotta bells and whistles like four interchangeable plates, including one for waving/crimping, but falls way short as far as execution.  It's clunky and did not leave a proper wave in my hair at all.  It's a simple plug-in and doesn't have a dial for temperature control, so maybe the heat's too low for me?  I dunno, but color me unimpressed with this one for sure.  #BOO!




Now, these foam stylers obviously aren't crimpers/wavers.  They're bendable curlers that you can find at many hair supply stores, including Sally's Beauty Supply.  They come in a range of sizes, from drinking-straw-small to Shirley-Temple-big; you want it, they offer it!  When my hair was shorter, I had no problem taking the time out to wind my strands up on these flexi-rods, sit under the dryer and wait for my style to take shape.  But now that my hair has some length to it, just the thought of the time it would take to go through the whole process (let alone how many more curlers I would need to buy to fill my whole head!) makes my stomach queasy.  A rod set would look so cute for the summer... but I just don't have the patience needed right now to even make the effort.  #NEXT!



And finally, there's my thermal crimp iron with the Marcel grip.  I have absolutely NO problem with these.  In fact, I adore them!  More lightweight than my other thermals, they get fire-hot in an instant.  The only thing is is that I don't have a ceramic stove to heat them in nor a gas stove top to heat them on (I currently use electric).  Besides, I need/want a travel-friendly option that's as mobile as I am.  So, as much as I love these, I'm still on the hunt.


Well, there you have it!  I guess I could always do the big Shirley Temples this summer, but I'm sincerely feelin' the itch to do come crimps.  Braid-outs kinda look the same... kinda, but I prefer the extra shine the heat of the iron lays on my locks, especially the ends.  I had my eye on a Conair Infiniti Pro Waver, but caught wind of it way late as it has been put out to pasture a beat and a half ago.  Therefore, my search continues.  So if any of you guys know of a crimper/waver that gives a good bang for the buck, please let me know.  I'm on a mission to find a good one... so help a sista out if you can.  #HOLLA!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Weekend Report: Illusions of Grandeur


Hey, guys!  Care to join me in a two-step and a double dip in praise of reaching another Friday?  We made it!  (Woo-hoo!)  I do have a couple of things to take care of this weekend, but for the most part I will be chillin' like a villain.  And while I'm chillaxin, I may possibly hook up with some fellow chillaxers, so I'm pulling out the face paint in preparation.  Flying under the radar color-wise will not be on the agenda, especially for the eyes.  Instead, I want something that's a bit more mischievous in hue... an optical "smoke and mirrors", if you will.  And I've got just the eyeshadow palette to fit the criteria.    




Green eyes is what it shall be for this weekend.  Not straight green, but a shifty green.  Besides the Maybelline Eyestudio liner in Forest - which I will use as a base - and Wet 'n' Wild's Color Icon pencil liner in Green to frame it all, I will be using this delightfully duplicitous duo from bareMinerals called The Vision as the headliner on my eyes.  Illusion is the name of the powder-blue matte while the opposite "cloak and dagger" shade is aptly named Mirage.  The latter is a pearly, green-brown duo chrome; both are potently pigmented.  When all is said and done, my eye should end up looking like this:

 

 



In lieu of a solid, I decided to take it light and opted for this liquid lippy from legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin.  Semi-opaque in nature, Reyna is the coral dynamo that will act as the perfect complement to my makeup ensemble.  Along with a smattering of MAC's Format blush on the cheeks and a run of CoverGirl's Queen Bronzer down the cheekbones, my face should end up looking like this:



So there you have it!  I am so ready to get this weekend going, y'all, and super thankful to have another round of down time.  Believe you and me, I'm going to take full advantage of it, too!  Yessir, I am booked to capacity this weekend with nothing but chill out sessions scheduled for the entire three-day reprieve.  Friday is finally here.  Time for the revelry to begin! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

About Last Night...


... and the day before that... and pretty much the entire weekend!  Indeed, what was supposed to have been an allotted time for rest and leisure ended up being overtaken by the same frenetic whirlwind of organizing, coordinating and planning that has consistently consumed me for the past few weeks.  But leave it up to me to find someway to indulge.  Desperately seeking some distractions, I ambled over to my local discount department store just to take a look-see and found enough eye candy to keep me occupied... like this pair of black "red bottoms".  Well, "red bottoms" of the acrylic kind. 


Not putting the cart before the horse by buying house things before actually getting a "home" is still a directive I'm striving to adhere to, but this white vase adorned with abstract, gilded leaves was calling my name.  It spoke to me in all types of languages, especially the language of L.O.V.E, but I stuck to my guns and left it looking pretty on the shelf. 


And do you see this huge mortar and pestle?  Ooh-wee!  So purty.  I have to tell you that I engaged in a groping and fondling session of this stone specimen for quite a number of minutes.  It was only after assessing that I had no fresh herbs to crush nor wicked potions to whip up that I finally unhanded the device.  And why was I so taken by this rudimentary contraption in the first place, you ask?  Well, it's a mortar and pestle, for goodness' sake!  Outside of pharmacies and serious kitchens, you really don't see them everyday.


When it comes to makeup, I've been doing a whole lot more purging than splurging; nothing, and I mean nothing, has really captured my interest as of late.  But I did mosey on down to Ulta and laid my eyes on an item I became familiar with last year - the Multi-Colored Cheek Powders from jane.



And so after indulging in a short, but veritable feast for the eyes, I decided to pay my stomach the same favor and indulge in some good eats... starting off the weekend with an organic Margherita pizza.  #YUM!


Believe it or not, Birthday Boy swung through and made a brief appearance this weekend!  Yepper, and he did not come empty-handed, bringing an assorted trio of seafood delights to mark his arrival - a salmon burger; halved baked potato stuffed with crab, shrimp and lobster; and a crab/clamshell medley.  #MMM!


And finally, to close out the weekend, I noshed on a hunk of lasagna stuffed with ground beef, spinach and extra provolone.  #DELISH!

So there you have it, guys!  That is the complete rundown on how I spent this past weekend.  I did a lot of work and got a lot done, but managed to squeeze in some downtime, too.  All work and no play makes for a dull and bored Dolce.  I needed this little reprieve and relished every moment.  And, needless to say, I'm all the better for it.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Barbie: Basics No. 9


And so, without much thought or deliberation, I plucked yet another stylish diva from the flock of like-minded fashionistas I like to call the "BBC" or "Barbie Basics Crew".  Oh, you may have seen them around.  They're the über sophisticates whose style boasts a simple philosophy: black frocks rock!  Their style is unmistakable, each flaunting a uniquely tailored interpretation of "minimalistic chic" via surprisingly simple LBDs that are, no less, worthy of a double take.  So let's jump right to it, shall we?  I'd love to introduce you to Number 9 from the BBC and do a little show 'n' tell on what she's working with.





While her voguish cohort Number 1 opted for a cowl-neck version, this beauty decided on a slouch turtleneck ribbed-knit with an empire waist.  Sleek with a gentle hug on all the right places, this sleeveless LBD's cocktail length affords her the best of both worlds as she can comfortably go from daytime's uptown to nighttime's downtown all without having to make a pit stop in between to change.



Working as the perfect complement to her dress in both comfort and versatility are a smart pair of black slingbacks.  Pointed in the toe and high-heeled, they provide the extra BAM! needed for her already shapely gams to achieve pin-up worthy status.


From the top of her arms right down to her naked wrists, there are no excessive adornments in sight... except for the flash of color beaming from her freshly manicured hands.


Short hair, don't care!  Every flaxen lock is in its assigned place as she fearlessly sports a sculpted, chin-length bob, courtesy of the expert shears at Vidal Sassoon.



And while at the salon, Barbie decided to have the full-on works and get her face "beat" by one of the resident makeup artists, giving the MUA carte blanche in the process.  Sparkling gold with a brown cut crease and purple highlights was what the artist composed for her lids while large, butterfly-like lashes were used to accent her almond-shaped eyes and make them appear more open.  On her lips, a glossy rose-pink helps to balance out all the drama and add the final touch.



So there you have it!  Another member of the BBC expertly rockin' a version of the "little black dress" and doing it with finesse and much flair... but without the raucous and visual clamor of bangles and such.  Again, simplicity is the main element to their philosophy.  Hair and makeup bring a bit of interest to the conversation, but clearly the floor belongs to the LBD, leaving the timeless classic to do most of the talking and speak for itself.  As Barbie has proven time and time again, less is more when you stick to the basics.  It's the perfect equation for fashion success!