Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Blurple (and Leopard)

         Hello, at long last! There's something magical about the month of October that's pulled me out from a blogging slumber. The crisp sixty degree weather has me drawing my windows open, wrapping myself in fleece blankets, and enjoying the change of seasons.

        I've also been reveling in the rich, gorgeous colors of fall, that seem to be everywhere you turn. I found unexpected delight in the rich 'blurple' shades of these ornamental cabbages decorating the walk to work! My goal is to incorporate this new color inspiration into my wardrobe this month!

       Speaking of my work wardrobe, I've picked up a few new basics that I've been totally loving this month. First, are my J.Crew Gemma leopard flats, which I've been wearing almost non-stop. I'm hoping J.Crew comes up with more pretty patterns in this design. I've also been loving my Lululemon Jet Crop Slim pants in black. (ends of which are seen above). They're a sneaky way to sneak comfort into my work wardrobe! Pair these with a J.Crew featherweight cashmere sweater, and I'm good to go!

       Thanks for reading! And I hope the month has found you well! What fall basics have you been loving lately?

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My TOPSHOP lipstick collection review + swatches

         Ever since my first TOPSHOP post, I've become quite the fan of TOPSHOP lipstick. They're rich, pigmented, and come in standout shades! The British brand has long been popular with beauty lovers and bloggers overseas, and has recently been making headway here in the U.S. For city-dwellers like myself, it's easy to pop into the local TOPSHOP, however I know it's not yet accessible to everyone (yet)! Thanks to the folks at TOPSHOP, I'm able to give you a taste of TOPSHOP beauty today!

         Today I have swatches of the TOPSHOP lipstick collection, including Secretary, Petal, Naturist, Boardroom, Suspected, Sashay Away, Wicked, Beguiled, and Black Widow!

           TOPSHOP Lipsticks are housed in charming striped tubes (made of coated metal). The contents (i.e. the lipstick) are made in Italy. In general the formula of these lipsticks are very pigmented. They have a slight vanilla scent (which kind of reminds of my MAC lippies).

             Despite their nude/ natural appearance, I'd have to say these TOPSHOP lipsticks really come alive when worn. My favorite of the moment is TOPSHOP Lips in Secretary, a light nude. The peachiness of this nude is perfect for the summer season and seems to work well with my current tan. It's a great Kim K kind of shade that works well with a more dramatic eye. TOPSHOP Lips in Petal looks demure in the tube, but turns out to be a dramatic white-pink. The white in the shade makes it really stand out against my current skintone. I have a feeling that it would work better for lighter, cooler skintones. I'll have to wait til I return to my winter complexion before pulling this one out! TOPSHOP Lips in Naturist is an interesting muted mauve. It has this slight greyish tint which makes it a bit different than your usual my-lips-but-better kind of shade. I feel like this shade would be an amazing shade for fall! TOPSHOP Matte Lips in Boardroom is a cool brown, perhaps slightly greyed as well. TOPSHOP Lips in Sashay Away is a richer cocoa brown. Both these shades are major statement shades on my light complexion; they may be interesting nude shades for deeper complexions.

            The wines and reds in my TOPSHOP Lipstick collection have variety of dramatic and different undertones that make for a standout look. TOPSHOP Lips in Wicked is a rich warm red, with brown undertones. TOPSHOP Lips in Beguiled is a warm red that has a bit more mauve and less brown than Wicked. TOPSHOP Matte Lips in Suspected is a rich red-plum shade. You can definitely appreciate the plum undertones here. TOPSHOP Matte Lips in Role Model is a red-violet. It takes the idea of a purple undertone further than Suspected. TOPSHOP Matte Lips in Black Widow is a super dramatic, dark purple. It doesn't get more intense than this!

          I've swatched my collection of TOPSHOP Lipsticks below! As I mentioned above, TOPSHOP tends to interpret color in ways that make them stand out, as opposed to blending in. It's helpful to see all the nuanced undertones below, whether they be grey, brown, plum, or violet!

           Overall, I'm a fan! TOPSHOP Lipsticks (or as they call them, Lips) are incredibly rich, pigmented formulas. I can see why they're so popular on the other side of the pond! In addition to quality, I really appreciate TOPSHOP's avant garde interpretation on color. The brand great place to start if you're a fan of standout shades. Admittedly, I'm a nude lip person, so TOPSHOP Secretary and Naturist would have to be my picks. That said, I'm looking forward to pulling out my collection of deep wines when opportunity calls!

         Thanks for reading! Have you tried TOPSHOP lipsticks? What are your TOPSHOP beauty favorites?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. TOPSHOP is available at select Nordstroms, as well as TOPSHOP online.
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own. As usual, no ads or affiliate links!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Five : Peonies + graduation edition

         Happy Friday! This week's been a busy one, filled with family, flowers, and great food! My family trekked all the way from the East coast to attend my graduation. It's not often I get to hang out with them, so it was a real treat. In addition to graduation festivities, I dragged them to yoga, rock climbing, and a brief foodie tour of Chicago. (By the way, it's always a good week when dinner at Piccolo Sogno is on the schedule). 

        For this edition of Friday Five, I'm sharing a five things I've been enjoying this week:

I love garden-grown peonies! They have this organic feel that you just don't get from in-store bouquets!
1. Graduation 
I'm graduating for what (most likely) will be the last time! I can't tell you how amazing it feels to finally finish eight years of graduate school and now graduate with my second doctoral degree. It was even more special because my dad was able to give me my doctoral hood during the ceremony. I'm so thankful for the opportunity (after all, it's what brought me to Chicago), and can't wait to see what's ahead! At this point, it looks like I'll stay in Chicago one more year before moving on to new adventures!

Really loved this graduation cap - I'd have to say it's a pretty flattering shape!

2. Home-grown peonies
For graduation, my mom brought this enormous, amazing bouquet of peonies grown in her garden. I wish I'd taken a photo at the time - the mix of white, pink, and dark pink peonies in all stages of blooming was really a sight to see! Most of the blooms have since wilted, but I have a small vase with baby blooms left to enjoy (see below!)

By the way, I love the fact that Kate Spade makes phone cases for Samsung Galaxy models as well. This one is too cute!
3. My basic beauty routine, updated
After making-do with products in my current stash, it feels nice to get a small update! I'm loving my bottle of CHANEL Perfection Lumière in B30 (most of the year, I'm a B20). It looks so natural against my current tan; I don't know what took me so long to take the plunge! I think I may have to pick up my favorite CHANEL Double Perfection Lumière in B30 now as well. (CHANEL foundations to cost a small fortune, so it is a little painful to have to stock my collection with so many...). NARS Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara is still my long-time favorite. One tube lasts me forever, however I think it's time for a new one. In terms of blush, I'm loving my new Bobbi Brown blushes in Nude Pink and Pastel Pink (reviewed here). When it comes to tan skin, I find that more pigmented blushes are appropriate - and these blushes have been great options for me.

4. Kakao talk
I spend so much time on social media for blog purposes, that often I'm slow about using my personal accounts for personal purposes! I really need to be better about keeping in touch with friends and family. One step in a positive direction has been downloading Kakao talk onto my phone. It's a cute messenging system commonly used by Koreans that's been around for some time now. It's so nice to finally get this; now I can chat with my mom and aunts anytime!

Some of my current beauty favorites. You'll probably recognize that a couple of these seem to appear on Cute and Mundane time and time again!

5. Incoming skincare + swimwear
It's only a matter of days before I leave my current vacation-like schedule and go back to work (eek). I'm trying to pick up anything I might need before that time comes, as I won't have much time for shopping (online or otherwise)! A shipment of my favorite Avène skincare is on it's way. I was lucky to find a deal for 20% off, so I ordered my favorite Avène Cleanance cleanser (reviewed here), as well as new masks and a moisturizer that I'll be trying for the first time.

I've really been all about fitness lately. (I guess my New Year's resolutions kind of stuck this year!) I've been doing a near daily combination of bouldering and yoga at Brooklyn Boulders, and have seen some pretty gratifying results. Soon, my schedule will prevent daily visits, so I'm hoping to pick up new ways to stay fit. I'd been wanting to get back to swimming for some time, however I just don't have the suit for it! On one hand, I don't feel like squeezing into competition suits anymore and on the other, my two piece beach wear collection is hardly suited to training. I just placed an order for a cute Nike two-piece which I'm hoping will be a nice in-between.

Mom's home-grown peonies, up close and personal!

          Thanks for reading this little life update! How have you been? What are you loving lately?

Love, Dovey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil in Saddle review + swatches

            If there's one thing I've learned, it's the importance of good brows. In fact, I'd say brows are the most important step in my beauty routine (with mascara coming in at a close second!). I find that a good, clean eyebrow shape does wonders for making me look awake and widening the eyes. Really, it's a step that should get more love!

            Today, I have the Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil in Saddle to share with you today, thanks to the folks at Bobbi Brown. Wear time is an issue with most brow products, as that region of the face is prone to sweat/oil, so it's awesome to see Bobbi Brown come out with a new long-wear brow formula!

           Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Brow Pencil is available in a number of shades including : Blonde, Espresso, Grey, Mahogany, Rich Brown, Saddle, Taupe, and Wheat. I chose Saddle, a shade I'd been meaning to pick up for some time in eyeshadow (or that cute mini-brow kit form). It's a slightly greyed brown which looks natural with my dark hair.

          Many of my workdays can be 12+ hours at a time, so long-wear products are of utmost importance! I've had really great experiences with Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear line - including the eyeliner and cream shadows (see my review here), so I couldn't wait to put this to the test.

A look at my Bobbi Brown brow brush (which I also love) and the new Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil! The background is actually the cover of Bobbi Brown's Makeup Manual - which has great brow tutorials, amongst other things...

            The Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil is a double ended 'pencil' with a spoolie on one end and a twist-up brow product on the other. I can't tell you how much I love, love, love the shape of this 'pencil'. It's a thin, slant as opposed to your usual pencil-point shapes. While pencil points tend to round out and get dull, the slant is maintained throughout use, which makes it easier to draw out brow-like strokes. The spoolie is great for brushing/blending out strokes. (Though, I have to say I'm a fan of using the regular Bobbi Brown brow brush shown above for this as well).

The two different ends of the brow pencil. I love the twist up end with the long edge. I like this a lot better than simple points which tend to round out.

         The formula is nicely pigmented, but not overly so (no-one wants caricature like brows!). The formula is indeed long-lasting. It last about several hours on me, but not a whole day. To be fair, no brow product really can do that on me. I'd say it has a similar lasting time to my long-time favorite MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Brow formula (reviewed here), which is quite a feat. (It's actually quite similar in shade to Aqua Brow in #25 Ash, as seen my swatch below!)

        It's love! The Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil in Saddle is a new favorite in my brow collection. It combines a long-wear formula (typical of liquid or cream formulas) into the easier-to-use, portable shape of a twist up pencil. I have to say I'm a huge fan of the shade Saddle as well. (I definitely need to collect the eyeshadow form for my collection). It's just the right shade, considering that it matches my well-loved MUFE Aqua Brow in #25!

       Thanks for reading! What are your favorite brow formulas? What Bobbi Brown products have you picked up recently?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. General shopping tip: Bobbi Brown products are available at counters nationwide, but I personally like www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com for samples and special deals!
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own. As usual, no ads or affiliate links!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Cool Sand (2.25) review + swatches

        I've wanted to try the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick for what feels like forever! I love the idea of combining a creamy, blendable texture with a no-fuss applicator. It's perfect for everyday use and handy for the times when I'm on the go (which seems to happen more often than not...).

       As someone who's very particular about matching skin tones and undertones, it's a definite plus that the foundation stick comes in 24 shades (the broadest of all Bobbi Brown foundations)! I decided to go with Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Cool Sand (2.25), a relatively new shade in the brand's lineup!

        I'm quite excited to see Cool Sand (2.25) as a new shade in the Bobbi Brown foundation range! Bobbi Brown foundations are yellow-based (which, historically speaking, was an important concept for the line). They look natural, but tend to run on the warm side. As someone with a hint of pink in my natural undertone, I do need a little bit of pink/peach in my foundation to make it match my neck. I think Cool Sand is a much-needed a cooler counterpart to the existing shades Sand and Warm Sand.

The foundation stick packaging is a twist-up stick, kind of like a really really large concealer!
          The best part of the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick is the ease of application. I apply the stick directly to my forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin. (I think it works better this way as the product warms up on skin, preparing to blend). The formula is creamy and blendable, though it does set over time. It's easy to draw on / layer on parts that need more coverage.

          Blending can be performed with fingers, sponge, or foundation brush. I prefer foundation brush, since it keeps my fingers clean! I've found that the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face brush (reviewed here) and the Bobbi Brown foundation brush are great options. Once blended, I found that the finish to be very natural and quite much like 'skin' - really lovely.

          I have a feeling that Bobbi Brown Cool Sand may have been an awesome match for my light skin pre-Palm Beach. However, as I've mentioned previously, this Chicago girl's a shade or two darker thanks to some time in the sun! So, keep that in mind when examining my swatches below!

        Despite my recent shade change, I really like how Bobbi Brown Cool Sand meshes with my undertones. It definitely has a peachiness to it (thanks to incorporating a little cool undertone with Bobbi's typically yellow formulas). I might have to try Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in Cool Beige in store to see if that slightly deeper shade might be a good fit for the moment!

        In terms of shade comparisons, I was surprised to see that Cool Sand was on the lighter end of my foundations. You can see that Bobbi Brown Cool Sand is a touch lighter and pinker than NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville (which is yellow + pink, according to NARS). It's also lighter and cooler here than CHANEL Perfection Lumiere in B20. 

           I'm really happy to add the iconic Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick ($44) to my foundation repertoire. I can see why they're so well loved. It's so easy to swipe, blend, then go! The portable shape is really handy for purses or gym bags, unlike your typical glass foundation bottle. The only downside I can think of, is that one could go through product more quickly than liquid formula. Coverage is great and layerable. I'd say the emollience probably makes it well suited for normal to dry skin.

            Of course, I'm also really excited about the shade Cool Sand as well (can't wait to put this to good use once my tan fades)! I think it's a much-needed shade in a line that tends to be warm. Hopefully we'll see this popping up in other foundation from Bobbi's lineup!

         Thanks for reading! Have you tried Bobbi Brown's foundation stick? What are your favorite cream foundations?

Love, Dovey.
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own. As usual, no ads or affiliate links!