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September 2013 Favorites

Better late than never…right?  Well here are some things I have been enjoying over the past month (more like two months).  I also threw in a little bulldog cuteness so that you can see just what it’s like to get anything done when there is a bulldog or sometimes even two “helping.”  Enjoy!

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Max Factor Face Finity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation – I am loving this in spite of it’s ridiculously long name.  This is the first drugstore foundation I have found that I have not hated and that actually has worked for my oily skin.  I will eventually do a full review of this but for now I can honestly say that this applies easily, wears well, and has a really natural finish while still provided a decent amount of coverage.  For those of you in the United States or other places where Max Factor is not available, this is the same product as the Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation.

Maybelline Baby Lips Peach Kiss Lip Balm – These suckers finally landed in Germany!  I for one am thankful because they are great to throw in your bag or pocket.  Not only is it moisturizing, but it also contains SPF 20 and provides a hint of color.  I am kicking myself for not picking them up when I was in the States last time.  However, I will be trying more of these.

Maybelline Dream Touch Blush in 07 Plum – I have been wanting to give these a try for ages and have had them in my hands numerous times while shopping but always decided to put them back.  Now I am wondering what I was thinking because this is such a lovely blush.  It gives a nice pop of color with a little shimmer.  This is the first cream blush I’ve tried and now I’m on the hunt for more.  Sadly, I don’t believe that these are available in the U.S. any longer.

L’Oréal Color Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow in 004 Forever Pink – This caught my eye since it was included in a special display in one of my local Müller stores back in the summer, yep I’m a sucker.  I think this would suit just about anyone and I feel like it would be a good color to start with if you’re interested in trying the Color Infallible shadows.  It’s great as an inner corner highlight but I especially like to apply to the inner two-thirds of my eyelids with a darker matte color on the outer part and in the crease.

The Balm Down Boy Blush – First off, I have to give a little shout out and an even bigger thanks to Jessica (a.k.a. Product Hoochie), for helping me to purchase my very first products from The Balm.  Down Boy is a nice classic girly pink, in my opinion.  I like to apply this with a light hand as it is quite pigmented.  I really need to try out more of The Balms blushes.

The Balm Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter – I know I’m late to the game on this, but after hearing so many people rave about this I had to give it a try.  It is such a beautiful champagne colored highlight.  While it does work great as a highlighter on the cheek bones, brown bone and inner corners of the eye, I also like to apply it all over my eyelids for a quick fix to brighten up my eyes on lazy days.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils in Zero & Demolition – Another little goodie from the lovely Product Hoochie who was kind enough to send me these two mini’s since she knew I had been on the hunt for an eyeliner that not only stayed put but also did not irritate my crazy sensitive eyes.  Well lo and behold these really did live up to all the hype and ticked both boxes for me.  I will no longer waste another dime on any other eyeliners and will most definitely be investing in more of these in the future.

Garnier Fructis Schöne Haut Öl (Beautiful Skin Oil) – I picked this up when I stumbled upon it after hearing Estée from Essie Button talk about it.  First off I’m not in love with the scent due to the fact that is has a subtle hint of rose, but don’t let that put you because it is by no means offensive or overpowering in the least and doesn’t hang around forever.  However, I can get past my aversion to rose/floral fragrance because this is truly a great body oil that really seems to moisturize your skin and give it a nice healthy glow.  You also can’t beat the easy on your wallet price tag.  The past few years I really find that I have quite liked Garnier’s body moisturizers.   This is definitely available in the UK but sadly it is not available in the United States.  I’ve also spied a new anti-aging version on the German site so I will be on the hunt for it.

Garnier Fructis Wunder Öl (for hair) – This is the best-selling hair oil in Europe supposedly and I can see why.  It really does leave your hair looking shiny, smelling great and feeling soft and silky while also providing heat protection.  I know there are a lot of other hair oils on the market but this one gives the most bang for your buck in my opinion.  On a side note, I checked the US site and I don’t believe that this exact product is available there unfortunately but I imagine that the Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil might be pretty close and the good thing is that it can be used on your hair as well as your skin.

Thomas Sabo Charm Club – This was a gift from my incredibly sweet friend Angy and I absolutely adore everything about it.  There are a variety of different bracelets to choose from and then you can customize it by adding charms from their huge collection.  Since she knows I am a crazy dog mom she picked the most perfect pairing for me.  Love my little bullies and my thoughtful friend!

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things where my poor neglected blog is concerned.  I just got a box of Zoya products that I had ordered so I’m hoping to get some more nail polish reviews up soon.  Hopefully you and yours are enjoying the fall and all the fun that comes with it.  As always, thanks for reading!

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April 2013 Favorites

Let me start by saying that my long hiatus has in fact come to an end as I arrived back in Germany last Wednesday.  For those of you who did not already know, I had been in Michigan for just over a month.  To make a long story short, my mom has been dealt some rather nasty blows health-wise over the past year and a half and I traveled back to the States to be with her.  Although she still has a tough year ahead of her, she has done remarkably well thus far.  Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has kept her in their thoughts during this difficult time, my family and I appreciate it so very much.

Now it’s time for my monthly favorites, which include items from March and April since I skipped March.  I picked up most of these items while I was in the U.S. so just beware that some of them might not be available in the UK or Europe yet, if at all.

April 2013Faves

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette – My wonderful mother picked this up for me and shipped it along with some other goodies I had requested way back in early March and she and I both loved it (she kept stealing it while I was in the Mitten).  This is simply a great, versatile, neutral palette that you would do well to add to your collection.  It’s small but mighty!

Cover Girl Jumbo Gloss Balms in Ballet Twist 205 & Cocoa Twist 270 – One of these I purchased on my first day back in Michigan and the other was gift from that awesome gal pal of mine, whom I was lucky enough to spend a day with, Product Hoochie.  These stubby lip crayons are very hydrating and allow for a fool-proof application even on the go.  Not to mention that they come in a wide array of colors so you are sure to find one, or a few, to suit your skin tone and tastes.

Essie First Timer – This lovely shade of green is part of Essie’s 2013 Resort collection (not out in the UK or Europe yet).  Green is my favorite color so as soon as I laid eyes on the press release photos for this collection I knew I had to have this.  It’s such a fun color for spring and summer.

Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Ultra Shea Shampoo – Hands down one of, if not the best, drugstore shampoo’s I have ever used.  It smells fantastic, leaves your hair feeling soft and moisturized not to mention that it even helped with my itchy scalp problem. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that this shows up in Europe.  (Not pictured.)

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Blushing Bride – Don’t fret, it is not as scary as it looks in the pan and can be sheered out nicely if you like.  Super pigmented, long wearing, great formula.   Would suit a multitude of skin tones.

Tarte Skinny Smolder Eyes Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Golden Tigers Eyes – Whew!  How long is that name?  Love the creamy formula, the color and the fact that it does not irritate my sensitive eyes.  A big thanks to Product Hoochie’s lil’ sis for suggesting that I give this a try.

Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer – I’ve heard Heather from How To Be Fancy talk about this in her videos and was intrigued.  So far I am very happy with this concealer.  I feel it is a great match for my skin tone and it stays put.

Real Techniques Blush Brush – Such a great brush!  Super soft, micro-fiber, cruelty free bristles.  Allows for excellent application whether you need more precision placement of a product or if you need to blend it out.

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo in Pink Gold 65 –  The Color Tattoo’s are an amazing product and this particular color is no exception.  It’s subtle and gives a nice glow while not being overly shimmery.  I find it’s perfect for those not so fussy days and can easily transition to an evening by popping a bit of a darker color (plum or charcoal) in your outer crease keeping it darker at the outer corner.

I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly and you can count on seeing reviews of some of these products soon.  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

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Products I Regret Buying

I’ve done a few posts about products I love, but I feel like I should be honest and also share with you some of the products I haven’t been so fond of.  I generally don’t end up with so many regrets when it comes to personal care products.  Actually I think I have more regrets about different food products that I’ve purchased, especially the first few years living in Germany.  Maybe I’ll do a post on that as well down the road.  Anyhow, back to the business at hand, in this post I will be focusing more on personal care and cosmetic products.

Benefit Some Kind-a Gorgeous:  First of all, I bought this ages ago when I lived in Canada and for some reason I have hung on to it, probably because it was a little pricey.  I was looking for a product that would give me a bit of coverage without feeling so heavy that would also work with my combination oily skin.  The girl in Shoppers was incredibly friendly and helpful.  She applied this perfectly and even suggested a primer by Duo that wasn’t so pricey to use with it, which I also purchased.  So far so good right?  Well when I tried applying this product at home I was shocked, no more like horrified by how awful it looked on me.  For one it looked way to dark for my corpselike skin tone, and it was so cakey looking.  I even tried numerous different application techniques in hopes that I could make it work, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  Another thing I noticed was how unpleasant it smells, kind of like oil pastels.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to put anything on my face that smells bad, so that’s why I have to smell things.  So yeah, it was all kinds of bad. I also feel as though you receive very little product for the price.  I suppose if this works great for you and turns out to be one of your holy grail products then it might me a tad more justifiable.  Retails for: $29 USD, €31,95 Germany, £23.50

Cover Girl Outlast Lip Stain in 435 Flirty Nude:  This is another old product I bought with such great hopes, have kept kicking around and recently gave another try.  Well it was just as crappy as I had remembered it being.  I know it’s a lip stain and not a lipstick but it was so damn drying and therefore emphasized any dryness already present on my lips.  I have tried using a lip scrub and using a moisturizing lip balm pre-application and it really didn’t seem to make a difference for me.  Also, I think the name “Flirty Nude” is deceiving.  The only person with a skin color that this would look nude on is Spongebob’s lackey, Patrick.  How this constitutes as a nude is truly beyond me.  In fact I find it surprisingly colorful especially for something with the word “nude” in it’s name and I feel as though that is saying a lot considering that I have what I would consider rather pigmented lips.  Personally I think this looks more like an orangey red coral (if that even makes sense).  Major waste of money for me.  The only thing that didn’t suck about this product was the scent.  Go figure.

Essence Smokey Eyes Brush:  I picked this up back in March after reading good reviews on it.  Initially it wasn’t quite so horrible.  As with most relationships, there was a honeymoon phase of sorts.  The bristles felt reasonably soft, and although it didn’t do a stellar job of blending, it did okay.  However, once I washed this more than once it just got more and more rough.  That’s about when I knew this brush and I just were not meant to be.  I wash my brushes carefully and have tried using different shampoos in hopes it would help with the scratchiness of this brush, but sadly nothing helped.  Quite honestly, this thing actually began to hurt my eyelids.  If you want to exfoliate your eyelids though, then this brush will certainly do the trick but do so at your own risk as I will not be held responsible for chaffed eyelids the world over.

P2 Paradise Dream Eye Pencil in 060 Charming Gold:  I bought this in hopes that it would make a good highlighter for the inner corner of my eyes and brow bone.  The color is actually rather nice but it has major shimmer fallout.  Not to mention the disgusting smell.  Yep, I really do smell everything, it just can’t be helped.  Anyhow, in case you’re wondering, it smells like burning rubber and seriously makes me gag.

P2 Nail Varnish in 510 Virgin:  This white is so incredibly sheer and to achieve even a little opacity you have to apply numerous coats.  If you’re looking for a sheer white then by all means give this a try.  I for one was hoping for a much more opaque white polish and this just didn’t do it for me.

P2 Matte Dream Eyeshadow in 040 White Connection:  I wanted to like this because I really needed a matte white shadow and you can’t beat the price. When I did a quick swatch of this in the store it looked pigmented enough and felt incredibly smooth and silky.  However, when I got home and tried applying this to my eyelids it basically had no color payoff what so ever.  Granted though, I am incredibly fair.  So perhaps someone with a darker skin tone might find that this totally works for them.  This product also claims that it is long wearing.  I can’t say for sure since I didn’t ever wear it for more than ten minutes, but I suspect that it isn’t since I was able to wipe it easily off with a dry finger.

Essence Nail Art Magnetic Nail Polish in 02 Hex Hex!:  I was all for giving this a try and I came across this quite a while before the whole magnetic nail polish craze took off.  Sadly this simply disappointed me.  I gave this product multiple tries but I just couldn’t get it to work very well.  I found that this was incredibly thick, gloopy and difficult to apply.  I’ve never bothered with any other magnetic polishes after using this one so I’m not sure but perhaps that is just how the formula is.  I will say this though, the color is really nice.  So I suppose if it weren’t for the difficult application I  could just wear it sans magnetic effect.

Essence Nail Art Stamping Kit & Polish:  I wanted to try these out because I had seen the Konad plates and they definitely caught my interest.  So I thought this would be a good way to give nail stamping a try before making a more significant investment.  After giving this kit numerous tries, I can honestly say that it was not worth the money.  Granted, it was only a few dollars but I just didn’t feel that it worked well and the results were incredibly sloppy.

Alverde Kajal Eyeliners in 10 Shimmery Silver & 30 Shimmery Green:  These were from a limited edition Alverde did around Christmas (sorry but I can’t recall the name).  I tried these out on the back of my hand quickly in the store and once again they seemed pretty good.  Yet upon trying them out on my eyes at home I found that they were really quite hard which made applying it to my upper and lower lash lines incredibly difficult.  When I saw that they were kajal liners I thought they would go on a lot nicer and perhaps they went on my hand more easily because of the warmth of my hand, I’m not entirely sure.  I was really bummed though because I really liked the colors and Alverde really is a great reasonably priced natural cosmetic brand. I also feel it’s worth mentioning just how cute the packaging was on this particular limited edition.  Everything, with the exception of the eyeliners, had adorable little Russian nesting dolls on the packaging.  After I tried these out I felt especially awful because a few weeks before I had sent these two colors along with the a third gold color to my friend.  I so wish I had tried them first, but I am hoping she was able to make them work for her.  Luckily I found these weeks later on markdown for €0,75 when I purchased them for myself.

Alverde Eyebrow Kit in 02 Brunette:  I had originally intended to pick up the Essence brow kit, which I had heard rave reviews about, but for some reason grabbed the Alverde one instead because I like that their products are all natural.  Bad idea.  Firstly, the color just didn’t seem quite right on me.  It does come with a brown and a creamy beige color so that you could potentially blend them together but that just didn’t work either.  Secondly I just felt as though this was too powdery, if that even makes sense since it is in fact a powder.  This product produced some major fall out, rubbed off super easy and just looked really unnatural.  The compact did also come with a wax and two small brushes, a flat one and and angled one, which I quite like and use with other products.

Manhattan Cover Stick in 01 Naturelle:  I purchased this in hopes that it would help cover up blemishes and other redness.  This was just so so wrong.  It wasn’t a good color match and I assure you that there was nothing “naturelle” about the color at all.  It doesn’t blend well and it’s greasy as all get out, kind of like an oil slick.  It kind of has a faint musty book smell mixed with a slight waxy crayon smell also.  I don’t see how this would work for anyone to be honest.  Just don’t buy it.

Bebe Young Care Facial Wipes for Normal Skin:  I picked these wipes up in order to help remove makeup.  While they do the job well enough, I just find them really rough and harsh on my skin.  Also, as with the Bebe moisturizer, I experienced a slight burning sensation on my skin and especially around my eyes.  Perhaps these aren’t meant for eyes but even if I just got anywhere near my eyes with them they would burn.  I don’t know about you but I feel as though if I can’t actually clean my eye makeup off that I should at least be able to get around my eyes with a product like this without causing such discomfort.  Another thing I did not care for was the smell, these have an unpleasant perfume scent.  This is was also a product I sent to my friend before testing out myself.  In my defense though I had heard these were nice and I had previously fell in love with another Bebe product before trying this and the facial moisturizer.  For those who may not know, Bebe is actually owned by Johnson.

Fanta Lip Smacker & Paul Frank Coconut Lip Smacker:  I figured I would just group these two together since I found the same faults in both of them.  When I was younger, much much younger, I loved Lip Smackers and used them along with cherry Chapstick exclusively for years.  In fact I had amassed a rather impressive collection of them at one point.  I guess that’s proof that my lip balm addiction goes back even further than my love of nail polish.  However, these Lip Smackers were nothing at all like the lip balms I once adored.  Don’t get me wrong, they still smell amazing.  However, they were so waxy and you will have to excuse me here, but these both tasted like shit.  I just have no other words for how awful these things were.  Maybe I was just young and dumb or perhaps my flavor palette has simply become more refined, but I just don’t recall Lip Smackers being so damn horrible.  I think I will be sticking with my old stand by Labello lip balms, and my current favorite Aquafina lip balm (thanks again for that one Leslie).

Catrice Colour Show Colour & Stay Lip Gloss in 140 Peach Boy:  This one actually pains me to admit that I don’t like it.  For those of you who don’t already know, I absolutely love Catrice cosmetics, especially their lip products.  I picked this up about two months ago while picking up some items to send a friend of mine.  Orange is the color of the season and she had actually requested some orange products to try so this lip gloss seemed perfect so I snatched one up for her.  Then while continuing my shopping I was really loving this color.  It’s looks beautiful in the tube.  It’s such a nice orangey color with a lovely shimmer.  So I decided to pick one up for myself as well.  Sadly this is not the color for me.  I have tried applying it lightly to just give a wash of color as well as layering it over other colors, but it’s just no use as it simply does not suit me.  I also did not care for the smell of Peach Boy either.  It kind of has an artificial cherry smell reminiscent of the cough syrups that were a source of torment in my child hood.  I will say that I have heard that my friend is enjoying it though, which I was happy to hear.  On a side note, this product claims to be long wearing, up to four hours in fact.  Since I wasn’t really able to wear it I will try to get in touch with my friend to see if these claims are true.

I don’t want to sound as though I’m hating on more cost friendly drugstore brands and or products, in fact I love products that are widely available and easy to find at discount and drugstores that don’t have such hefty price tags.  With the exception of my nail polish collection, the majority of the products I use on a daily basis are from my local grocery store and drugstores.  With that said though, I do not think I will ever bother with P2 or Manhattan products again, nor will I give Essence nail art products another go.  I personally have not had any success with these products and I just don’t feel as though I can bring myself to waste any more money on them.  If they work for you then that’s great though and I am well aware of the fact that what doesn’t work so well for one may work wonderfully for another.  These are just my opinions based on my own personal experiences with these particular products.  So please keep that in mind.  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

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