I can normally tell by reading a press release or seeing a blog post about a product whether or not it’s something that will work for me. I have been blogging for a number of years now and I’ve learned a lot about what I like and what I don’t when it comes to beauty products. It’s not often that my initial or first impression of something is wrong, at least when it comes to how I will like or enjoy using something. For instance, when I buy a green eyeshadow or a very vampy lipstick, I know it’s something I won’t use every day. It’s with that same analytical eye that I view most of my purchases. How often will I use this? How many other things will compete for my usage of this? When you are trying to tame a large makeup collection, you have to carefully consider purchases that will take up space and see little daylight.

To make a long story even longer, I never in a million years saw the practicality in purchasing the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palettes. To begin with, they are mostly neutral or neutral adjacent shades which I initially believed I could easily dupe. Secondly, I already have LOADS of neutral eyeshadow palettes, single MAC shadows and et cetera that I almost couldn’t (and wasn’t) be bothered to even investigate the Too Faced ones as they were released. Lastly, Too Faced is pretty known for releasing the exact same shade under a different name in many of their palettes. Being that I have several already, I thought, NOPE. PASS (see my swatch posts of my Too Faced Palettes here and here).

But then there was that fateful trip to ULTA in March when I really just needed shampoo but perused the beauty section and very suddenly decided that all of my initial hesitations about the palette were null and void and it became mine.

DSC_0057The packaging is delicious, from start to finish! The eyeshadows are formulated with cocoa powder which gives them a delectable scent. Normally I shy away from highly scented makeup products (just not my jam) but I make an exception for the Too Faced Chocolate products because I figure the scent is of a more natural origin. At least. I hope it is.

DSC_0304This is the palette that got me through my move. It was the only thing I reached for for several weeks. You can see the dents forming in the shades already!

The one down side to this palette (which they have corrected with their new Semi Sweet Palette) is that the names are not printed here. They had a plastic sheet inside but it’s not user friendly so I tossed it.

The shades from left to right, top to bottom: Gilded Ganache, White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Black Forest Truffle, Triple Fudge, Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Semi Sweet, Strawberry Bon Bon, Candied Violet, Amaretto, Hazelnut, Creme Brûlée, Haute Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, Champagne Truffle

Many of the shades are soft, blend easily and are nicely pigmented. There are a couple of shades that are a little more chunky and dry. You will easily be able to tell in the swatches below which are which, but just in case I will identify the troublemakers. 😉

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Swatches

Swatches L-R: Candied Violet, Strawberry Bon Bon, Semi Sweet, Marzipan, Salted Caramel, Triple Fudge, Black Forest Truffle, Milke Chocolate, White Chocolate, Gilded Ganache

Candied Violet, Black Forest Truffle and Gilded Ganache are drier in texture and have larger glitter/shimmer particles. The glitter isn’t a problem, but the shadows themselves are prone to fall out and are more difficult to blend. I use White Chocolate and Milk Chocolate constantly as they make for great blending shades. I also use Salted Caramel a lot as a transition color. Triple Fudge makes an excellent liner and I smoke this out along the lash line for a super easy night out look. Marzipan is one of those pink champagne shimmer colors that add light to the lid.

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Swatches L-R: Champagne Truffle, Cherry Cordial, Haute Chocolate, Creme Brûlée, Hazelnut, Amaretto

Champagne Truffle is a very light pink that looks almost white on my skin. It’s a great inner corner highlight shade. I LOVE Cherry Cordial and Haute Chocolate! They are so creamy and have a beautiful satin finish. Creme Brûlée is a gorgeous shining gold that’s perfect for a bronze/summer look. All of these shades perform well.

I have created so many looks with this palette, and repeated those looks over and over and over again. I am so glad I purchased this palette. I never would have thought a neutral palette like this could have impressed me this much. I still keep it in my daily makeup drawer so I can quickly grab it when I need it. The palette retails for $49 at Sephora and ULTA. It’s on the pricier side, but you do get 16 eyeshadows. On the whole, it’s a solid performer with great shades that can be neutral and wearable or more glam and colorful with the purple/berry shades they included. I haven’t felt the urge to purchase the Semi Sweet palette yet. Let me know what you think of this palette or the Semi Sweet if you have it!

 

 

 

Press Sample

Earlier this year Juicy Couture launched a new, fresh version of their signature scent called Hollywood Royal. I took one look at the bottle and fell in love. However, it was only after reading the top notes that I really knew this was a perfume I could definitely get along with.

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The bottle itself has a stunning gold star and sparkle design. It’s weighty and looks beautiful sitting on top of my vanity.

The notes according to the company: begins with notes of candied apple, pear and pomelo. Its floral heart is filled with creamy white petals, resting on the base that combines cashmere wood and soft musk with sweet nuances of vanilla and marshmallow.

It’s sort of a nice blend of many aspects of fragrance that I love; it’s a little bit sweet, a little bit soft, slightly fresh and quite sophisticated. It lasts around 6 hours on me. If I put a little in my hair I can smell it throughout the whole day. It’s a fragrance that I don’t think people will obviously notice, which is a good thing in my book. I like fragrances that can just blend into your body chemistry and don’t announce themselves when you walk into a room. Fragrance is a very personal thing and if you’re into a heavier scent this probably won’t be for you.

I can see many age ranges wearing this because it fits into so many different categories. It’s an all-occassion all-season scent, though I definitely liked it in the spring with the white petal component.

This perfume retails for $72 at ULTA and Macy’s. The versatility of this scent makes it a true winner for me.

I first discovered Clinique Cheek Pops early last year when they released four shades (Plum, Ginger, Peach and Berry Pop). I picked up Peach and Plum Pop early on, but with the limited shade range I felt my collection was pretty complete. Imagine my excitement when I found out that Clinique was to release a whopping 8 additional shades earlier this Spring. As soon as my local Sephora store had them in I went in for a swatch session.

DSC_0278Peach Pop, Nude Pop and Plum Pop

The formula on these blushes is very unique. It’s not a powder, but it’s not really a cream either. It’s a hybrid product but I wouldn’t describe it as a gelee. The product feels very silky to the touch, but it’s not pliable or “bouncy.” They are pigmented enough to work for many skin tones but not so pigmented that they are hard to work with.

DSC_0283Plum Pop, Peach Pop and Nude Pop

Once applied to the cheeks you notice a glow, almost how your skin looks after a facial. They are not shimmery or dewy, which helps combination skin girls like me get longer wear time. Speaking of that, these last all day on me. It’s rare that a blush formula will do that on me.

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Plum Pop, Peach Pop and Nude Pop

Plum Pop is a bright berry pink that perks up even the dullest complexion days. Peach Pop is a perfect peach/coral blend that looks great on tan skin. Nude Pop is a brown, almost flesh toned shade that adds dimension and a hint of color to the cheeks. My favorite way to wear my new shade, Nude Pop, is to sweep it generously across my cheekbones, focusing more on the back and then layering a small amount of Peach Pop on the very front of my cheek bones. It creates a perfect bronze-blush shade that I will definitely be wearing all summer long.

I still have my eye on Heather Pop or maybe Fig Pop, but I’m trying to wait until fall since it’s likely I won’t get a lot of use from that type of shade until then. But all of the colors are so tempting, I could see how it would be easy to own the whole collection.

Cheek Pops retail for $21 each at Nordstrom, Sephora and Clinique. They get a big A+ from me. 🙂

 

 

 

Spring is officially here! I know there is a lot of talk about pastels and pretty pinks, but for me the spring season always means that summer (yes, summer!) collections are being released. I love summer collections because they usually contain my most favorite products- bronzers and highlighters!

Laura Mercier and Estée Lauder have made many of my favorite highlighters in the past, so I was very excited to find out that they were both releasing a new one in their respective summer collections this year.

Let’s start with Estée Lauder.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Gelee

The Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder Gelee is new for summer 2015. It retails for $40. I found mine at my local Nordstrom store (they just got them in this week).

I know this was touted as being a re-release of their famous Heat Wave gelee from two summers ago (see my original post here) which is why I thought it was an easy pass for me. I saw more photos and swatches online and quickly realized that although it shares the same design as Heat Wave, the two were not the same.

Bronze Goddess is much less shimmery, and darker. It is a more bronze color.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess vs heat Wave

Bronze Goddess and Heat Wave

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Gelee Swatch

Bronze Goddess vs Heat Wave

You can see from the swatches here how different the two are. I actually consider Bronze Goddess to be more of a bronzer than a highlight for me. It’s too dark on my skin tone to be a highlight. I do, however, think it adds a lovely glow to the skin when layered over my bronzer or my blush. I can easily see myself using this on those no makeup days or all summer long to add a sunkissed glow to my skin. It’s not metallic so it makes it easier for all age ranges to use it.

Laura Mercier also released a product that looked nearly identical in both description and photographs to the previously released Spellbound highlighter (my original post here). The “new” highlighter is called Indiscretion.

Laura Mercier Indiscretion vs Spellbound

The only difference between the two is that you can tell which one I’ve used. 😉

These two products are practically identical in every way. The pattern and texture are exactly the same as well.

Laura Mercier Indiscretion Swatch

Spellbound vs Indiscretion

If there is a difference it is that Spellbound is ever-so-slightly more rose gold and Indiscretion is slightly more true gold. When blended out they are the same shade.

Laura Mercier Indiscretion vs Spellbound

Spellbound vs. Indiscretion (lightly blended)

I have to say I am disappointed. Not that they re-released it, but that they decided to rename it. I am glad those that missed out on the original release of Spellbound have another shot at getting the shade. For those of us who already had it and bought this one expecting something new, well, you’re going to feel a little let down. But don’t worry, I have two new highlighters to show you soon that will be sure to be a… spring in your step.

How do you feel about these two new releases? What are your thoughts on companies renaming products?

It’s a polarizing holiday isn’t it? I’ve known people who cannot stand it and others who lived for it. Some say it’s silly and made-up and just another “Hallmark Holiday.” I somewhat agree with that. I also have to agree with those who think it’s sweet, romantic and just kind of fun. Do I really want some cheesy Teddy Bear wearing a shirt that says, “I heart you” on it? No, I can’t say that I do. However, the idea of spending a day with my husband just celebrating the way we feel towards one another makes me smile. And if that makes me lame…well…so be it. 🙂

Because I enjoy the holiday and take it for what it really is, I thought I’d dedicate a fun little post to my picks to bring out during this love-fest week.

 

Valentines Eyes

Eyes

Pinks and purples are easy to use together and they really do create the perfect romantic setting for a Valentine’s look.

 

Valentines Eye Palettes

Eye Palettes

Rose golds and purples can also create some pretty amazing combinations. Your eyes don’t have to be Barbie Doll pink to give off that lovey-vibe.

 

Valentines Blushes

Cheeks

It’s all about glowy, healthy looking cheeks. Something that gives you a believable, maybe slightly embarrassed or shy blush.

Valentines Lips

Lips

My idea of a Valentine’s lip is something a bit more….kissable. That’s why you won’t see any bright pinks or deep reds here. I prefer to play up my eyes and let my lips look more natural.

 

Valentines Nails

Nails

For nails I go with shades that are girly. Feminine and chic, these polishes add an extra something to your look.

 

I hope you were able to draw some inspiration from my picks for Valentine’s Day makeup. Here’s hoping your day is filled with love, wherever or whomever it comes from. 🙂