Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fresh Holiday 2014 collection review + swatches (Part I)



           I've just returned from a trip to Pittsburgh with mom and our combined three little white dogs in tow. (It's a pet friendly city!) Despite being nearby, this was my first visit to the city ever --- it has this fascinating hilly landscape and steep roads that reminds me somewhat of San Francisco. During my quick stay, I had a fantastic locally sourced meal at The Porch at Schenley : Margherita Pizza, Duck Confit, and Tiramisu (so, so good). A couple glasses of Porch Pink lemonade too; I can't say no too limoncello! Overall, it was a nice trip, finished off with a dusting of snowflakes on our drive back.

         Speaking of inspired ingredients, I've added a couple fresh finds to my skincare and color arsenal as of late! I've been spoiled with festively packaged picks from Fresh Holiday 2014, courtesy of Fresh. I have two lovely gift sets: Fresh Sugar Legends and Fresh Skincare VIPs to share with with you today... shall we take a look?



           The Fresh Skincare VIPs ($70) are a set of great basics from the line, to the theme of Lotus, Soy, Seaberry, and Sugar. The mix of miniature and full sized items is a great way to try fresh skincare favorites without making a full investment. As you know, I've been traveling a lot these past couple of months, so you can bet I'll be slipping a couple of these conveniently sized pieces into my travel case (Lotus eye gel, I'm looking at you!)

          The set contains Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (1.7 fl.oz.)Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (0.5 fl.oz.)Fresh Lotus Eye Gel (0.25 fl.oz.)Fresh Sugar Face Polish, and Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF15 (full size).


           I was most excited about the Fresh Sugar Face Polish. I left my usual exfoliating cleanser at home, and have been feeling the need for a good scrub. The face polish contains real brown sugar to soften and smoothen. It has a nice sugar + lemon too, to boot. Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (0.5 fl.oz.) is a relatively new item to the line. The blend of pure oils has a nice herbal aroma; a couple drops apply comfortably to the face! Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF15 (full size) is a fan favorite lip balm, containing a blend of sugar, meadowfoam, black currant seed oils. This applies clear (i.e. isn't tinted), which makes it nice for everyday use alone or under a lip color.


Can everything smell like Fresh cucumber, please?

           I've used up a couple tubes of Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (1.7 fl.oz.) in the past, so I'm always happy to have another one in hand. The gentle cleanser has such a relaxing cucumber scent, as well as smooth, almost slippery texture when applied to the face. I'm new to the Fresh Lotus Eye Gel (0.25 fl.oz.), but am liking it thus far! It has that same relaxing cucumber scent, and a gel-like feel.

          The Fresh Sugar Legends ($55) set is a gorgeous, gorgeous set of seven mini tinted lip treatment favorites (including the new Fresh Sugar Tulip shade). Fresh has a comparable set every year, and they tend to go quickly, so if you're interested grab one while you can!

        The shades within the collection include: Fresh Sugar Petal, Tulip, Rosé, Honey, Cherry, Passion, and Berry.

I can't get over how cute and colorful these little tubes are!
          I've swatched all seven shades of Fresh Tinted Lip Treatments below. Fresh Sugar Petal is an easy to wear pink blossom. Fresh Sugar Tulip is a sheer hot pink. (Its probably my favorite of the bunch!) Fresh Sugar Rosé is a sheer rose.  Fresh Sugar Honey is a warm nude. Fresh Sugar Cherry is a sheer sunny red. It's a nice tint for the holiday season! Fresh Sugar Passion is a vibrant sheer mauve. Fresh Sugar Berry is, well, a pretty berry!

          At this point, I have a feeling that both the Fresh Sugar Legends and Fresh Skincare VIP sets speak for themselves. I adore the spa-like feel of Fresh products, so I have nothing but good things to say about these gifts. Both are great ways to try a variety of items, without breaking the bank. Plus, the mini sizes will come in handy during my travels. They'll go quickly (if they're not gone already), so be sure to grab one to gift (and for yourself) while they're still around! You'll find Fresh gift sets at Fresh cosmetics online, Sephora, and other fine retailers!

         Thanks for reading! What are some of your Fresh favorites? What is your favorite shade of Fresh Sugar lip treatment?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. I have more Fresh sets on the way, so stay tuned...
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!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TOPSHOP Holiday 2014 collection review + swatches



          My latest obsession? Peachy poinsettias. (They're a nice alternative to crimson, don't you think?) Apparently I'm not the only one loving peach and pink for the holidays. I've been loving these two TOPSHOP Holiday 2014 gift sets, packaged in eye-catching hues. One set's for eyes, the other's for lips. Both have already snuck their way into my December makeup rotation!


        Naturally, the TOPSHOP Mascara and Kohl set ($24) caught my eye first. It contains a full sized tube of TOPSHOP 3-D curve mascara and Kohl in Coal.


         Kohl me obsessed, but I couldn't wait to slick on TOPSHOP Kohl in Coal. (TOPSHOP Kohl in Sable is a regular in my travel makeup pouch). The pencil formula is soft, creamy, and draws a very opaque black. The line stays put, with some smudging over time as you'd expect from a kohl. On my test-run with TOPSHOP 3-D Curve Mascara, I found that the formula adds curl, as well as medium volume. I'm looking forward to putting this to good use!


       Next up, I have the TOPSHOP Mini Lip Bullet duo.  It's got a set of lip colors, including TOPSHOP Lip Bullet in Motel and Wine Gum.


       The TOPSHOP Lip Bullets are a cool hybrid between lipsticks and chubby lip pencils. As you can see below, they're lipstick shaped bullets packaged in a twist-up pencil shaped packaging.


        Both TOPSHOP Lip Bullets have opaque, smooth formulas with a velvety semi-matte finish. TOPSHOP Lip Bullet in Motel is a brown-based pink. It applies a bit darker on my lips than seen in the swatch below.

         TOPSHOP Lip Bullet in Wine Gum is a deep bordeaux. As someone with Sévérine a la Skyfall ambitions (beauty-wise, that is), this shade has been a new favorite this December! (The velvety finish adds a nice touch).


         Overall, both the TOPSHOP Mascara and Kohl set($24) and TOPSHOP Mini Lip Bullet duo ($20) have been quality additions to my beauty repertoire. They're fun, yet practical holiday gifts for friends (and self too), and a nice way to try out some regulars from the British brand's lineup! For these and other holiday goodies, check out TOPSHOP, Nordstrom, and the online TOPSHOP beauty boutique.

        Thanks for reading! What TOPSHOP shades have you tried lately?

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!

Monday, December 15, 2014

TOPSHOP Fall / Winter 2014 collection review + swatches


          Lately I've been having fun with a collection that's deep, luminous, perhaps a bit delicious. (Think candied citrus, red cherries, and wine).  I've been enjoying pieces from the TOPSHOP Fall / Winter 2014 collection, courtesy of TOPSHOP, and have a mix-and-matched selection to share with you today!


         The TOPSHOP Cheek Jellies ($14) are among the more intriguing items from the latest collection. Texture-wise I had the idea of a gelatinous jelly in mind, however on palpation, the formula is actually quite firm. It's when you swirl your finger to pick up product that you recognize that it's more like a 'gel' than a traditional cream. The result upon application is a sheer, slightly dewy effect. I'd liken this product to something similar a cheek stain, perhaps.

       At first glance, the two shades I received look very intimidating in the pan, to say the least.  However, I've found that they're quite sheer and easy to wear upon application (even without tons of blending). TOPSHOP Cheek Jelly in Reign appears as a bright red in the pan, but applies as a muted red-plum on my skin. TOPSHOP Cheek Jelly in Museum appears to be a dark bordeaux in the pan, however it applies as a sheer wine. (Scroll down to see swatches of both!) I'm a fan.


       The collection also includes a line of TOPSHOP Lip Polishes ($10). They're more emollient and glossy than the regular lipstick line. Both shades I received were quite pigmented, yet had a sheerness that made them quite wearable. TOPSHOP Lip Polish in Twin lookes like a black bordeaux in the tube, but swatches out as a nice burgundy. (The effect is of course dark, but at nicely wearable extent). TOPSHOP Lip Polish in Prodigy is a nearly neon orange in tube, however swatches as a nice orange tint.


        For nails, the TOPSHOP Fall/ Winter collection includes a selection of great basic shades that correspond to the cheek jellies and lip stains. The opaque creme shades are fast drying and easy to apply. Like the rest of the collection, they're packaged in dark black, as opposed to TOPSHOP's usual graphic white.


       TOPSHOP Nails in Middle Child ($8) (above) is a medium plum creme. My swatch might appear a bit light in this photo. It's a fun addition to my collection as I need more red plum lacquers!

        TOPSHOP Nails in Exhibit (above) is a dark burgundy red creme. I'm all over dark red hues, so this one was right up my alley! TOPSHOP Nails in Toot is a bright cherry red creme. I'd say it's a nice optimistic color for the holidays!

        Overall, TOPSHOP Beauty Fall/Winter has a fun set of deeps and brights to color the season! At first glance, the shades are quite intimidating. However, I found that the blackened burgundies and bright mandarins mellowed out into more wearable versions thanks to sheerness in the formulas. I'd have to say that TOPSHOP Lip Polish in Twin and TOPSHOP Cheek Jelly in Reign are my favorites. I continue to be pleased by both the color and quality of TOPSHOP shades; the products have been fun additions to my makeup collection!

       At this point, I believe standalone TOPSHOP boutiques are only in NYC and Chicago, but there may be displays in certain Nordstroms. (I saw one in San Francisco, last time I went). You can, of course find much more availability online at the online TOPSHOP Beauty boutique.

       Thanks for reading! Have you tried TOPSHOP Beauty? Do you have access to TOPSHOP beauty boutique in your area or do you rely on swatches?

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!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sonia Kashuk Holiday 2014 collection review + swatches


         This past week, I visited my old stomping grounds in the northeast. New England has such a special charm with its huddled houses and snowflake filled skies. Needless to say, I put a vintage Max Mara and my trusty Uggs to good use!

          Today, I'm dreaming of warmer weather, with a sleek collection inspired by Miami Art Deco. The Sonia Kashuk Holiday 2014 collection sports jet black casing with gleaming gold accents, with an overall theme of smoky eyes and nude lips. Let's take a closer look, shall we?


          The Sonia Kashuk Golden Age Four-Piece Brush Set with Clutch ($19.99) consists of a two-zip tasseled case, accompanied by a powder brush, duo fiber shader, angled eye brush, and smudge brush. The two-pocket pouch is quite flat, so it's going to hold an edited amount of goods. That said, I can easily fit the brushes into one pocket and my two holiday palettes (see below) into the other. I believe the brushes are synthetics. They're full and fluffy and best for a soft (as opposed to precision) effect.

          I love how the Sonia Kashuk Eye Palette in Deco Starlet ($19.99) contains colors molded together for decorative effect, a technique typically employed by high end lines. The shimmery brown, matte black, metallic gold, and cream shades combine to create a lovely smoky eye. Overall the shades are well pigmented; the formula is on the softer end with easy kick-ups by your brush.

          My hands down favorite from the collection has to be the Sonia Kashuk Nude Lip Palette in Jazzed Up Nudes ($19.99). As someone who wears nude lips 99% of the time, I couldn't wait to dip my brush (also included) into this one. The palette includes light to medium shades, including a blush nude, beige nude, pink nude, peachy nude, and mauve nude (that can, of course, be combined to create a multitude of shades). The shades are perfect for complementing the smoky look of the deco palette, however great for practical everyday use as well. Overall the formula gives a medium opacity finish and runs more on the satin (as opposed to glossy) end of the lipstick spectrum.


        I've swatched both the Sonia Kashuk Deco eye palette in Deco Starlet and Sonia Kashuk Lip Palette in Jazzed Up Nudes below. Of note, colors tend to pull warmer on my skin (since I do run a little pink!) I've also noticed that the overall collection pulls a bit neutral to warm in tone.


        Finally, I wasn't sure how much I'd reach for Sonia Kashuk Decadence Shimmering Body Souffle ($10.99) however, I was pleasantly surprised. The product is not nearly as frosty or strong as your typical facial highlighter, making it more appropriate for body use. The lightly shimmery cream adds much needed luster to winter skin. It's hard to overdo, and is flattering when applied to bare arms/legs etc. I like  that it's more champagne toned, which I find to be much more natural than the multitude of bronze iterations that typically come out in the summer months.



         Overall, I've been finding the art deco inspired Sonia Kashuk Holiday Collection to be both a pretty and practical one. My favorite piece has to be that gorgeous nude lip palette (perfect for toting in my purse), with the rich colors of the Deco eye palette coming in at a close second. Like the rest of your Sonia Kashuk favorites, this limited edition line is available at Target and online at Target's Sonia Kashuk shop! Thanks for reading!

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!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A few of my favorite things - Travel edition


          After a brief stint at home in Chicago, I'm on the road again! This time, I'm writing from Midway Airport, en route to ATL. It's been an eventful morning, to say the least. I got here bright and early, only to find out my 8am flight had been cancelled! After some mumbles and grumbles about booking a later flight (and drowning my so-called sorrows in sweet tea), I've found a comfy spot where I can relax and piece together a post! (I'm running on three hours of sleep, so hopefully, I can keep things together and typo-free.)

         Today I thought I'd put together a travel edition of my A few of my favorite things posts, as that seems to be mostly what I've been doing lately! While I don't have a set of bright copper kettles of warm woolen mittens in my luggage, I do have a number of my travel sized beauty and skincare essentials to share with you today. Everything is pictured in my Sonia Kashuk Zig Zag Weekender travel case, which I was sent recently. It's colorful, got tons of pockets for organization, and has been a constant companion during this time. You could say I'm a fan. Now, on to what's within...








         I have a reputation for being a bit of a high maintenance traveler. I feel like my things are well edited, but somehow I always seem to have more bags than anyone else. I'm pretty proud of my makeup edit above, I feel like the combination has worked well for me these past few trips. (I've also linked a lot of my reviews below, so you can read / see more if you're interested)

         I never compromise on my foundation, so I always have CHANEL Perfection Lumière, CHANEL Double Perfection Lumière, and CHANEL Poudre Universelle. It seems like a lot, but I do use all three, usually lightly layered. My current cheek essentials include NARS Gaiety and NARS Oasis, which I've been liking as a contour. I take MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Brow for a long lasting brow. Urban Decay NAKED 3 has been my BFF for eyes; I love how the lightly pink toned mattes in this palette make me look more awake, especially when I'm behind on sleep, like today. NARS Larger Than Life Mascara and MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Liner, are of course holy grail products for me.

         I try to throw in a few miscellaneous minis for fun. Right now you can see Benefit Watt's Up, a Bobbi Brown shimmer gloss, and TopShop Cream Blush in Afternoon Tea in my bag as well. And of course, I have a number of lip products and mini eyeliner pencils rolling around in my purse on a usual basis.

         In terms of brushes, I try to stick with synthetics, both for cruelty-free and cleansing reasons. It's tough to bring around my beautyblender, so I've been using my Bobbi Brown Foundation brush instead. I've been using MAKE UP FOR EVER 132 (wavy flat brush) for powder; I've become quite the fan of this one. Other essentials include MAKE UP FOR EVER 148 (stippling brush) for cheeks, MAC 263 (angled liner), Bobbi Brown Eye Liner brush, and my Shu curler. I usually take other brushes at whim, usually this includes an EcoTools Angled liner and Concealer brush. I don't like bringing too many or too expensive brushes with me, as they seem easy to lose (knock on wood). However, I do prefer full length handles, so it's not often that I'll pack mini brushes to save space.

These two clear zip pockets conveniently attach via velcro to the second compartment of my Sonia Kashuk travel case. 
        Confession: in terms of skin / hair care, I actually have a lot more random little items (a la Q-tips, etc etc) than shown above. However, they're usually stuffed into the non-clear pockets of my Sonia Kashuk Zig Zag Weekender.

       Hair is another one of those things I just cannot sacrifice on. My curly hair is so frizz prone and capricious that I bring my ghd 1" to straighten it out and thereby keep it under control. Which means, the right heat protection and shampoos are necessary. Lately I've been all about Living Proof, so I purchased a Living Proof 'Full' travel size set, and a mini Living Proof 'Straight' hair spray to keep things under control.

        I've shown a few of my skincare favorites as well. Avalon Organics Vitamin C serum is an old favorite that I've used on and off over the years; I actually picked up this bottle during my trip to Alabama. I love Kiehl's Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate for it's high Vitamin C content as well; it's my preferred foundation base (as opposed to primer). TATCHA Cleansing oil is one of my favorite cleansers and a great way to remove the makeup. The miniature size was a part of the TATCHA Jet Set Travel Kit. It's nice to have a good shower gel as well; I happened to find this little bottle of Bliss Lemon + Sage at Marshalls.

        I hope you've enjoyed this edition of A few of my favorite things. Southern weather is beckoning, and it looks like I'm finally getting on a flight! If you have any questions any of the products above, let me know! I've linked a lot of them to my original reviews for convenience. As for my Sonia Kashuk Zig Zag Weekender ($29.99), I believe the zig zag pattern is currently available at Target, if you're interested!

       Thanks for reading! What are your travel must haves? What case do you pack your beauty and skincare necessities in?

Love, Dovey.