Monday, May 30, 2011

I've gone dot com!

New Cute and Mundane banner!

Exciting news: Cute and Mundane has finally gone dot com. Specifically, www.cuteandmundane.comSomehow my dad found out about my blog, and gifted me my own domain name. I doubt he actually reads anything here, but thanks dad! I know this small-scale blog is a pet project, but it still means a lot to me. And something like having my own domain name feels pretty special. Also of note, Mr. Lovey spent all day configuring and doing techie things to get things up and running. If it wasn't for him, who knows when this would have gotten off the ground!

I'd like to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this blog and/or write words of encouragement. It really keeps me going, experimenting, and creating.

Happy Memorial Day!

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NARS Exotic Dance duo eyeshadow

NARS Exotic dance is one tricky duo eyeshadow. I've put off my review of Exotic Dance to give ample time to play around and figure out exactly how to use it. The  colors look deceptively refreshing and beautiful together in the pan, however figuring out how to use them and then how to describe them has been an ordeal. Fortunately, I've had an energizing day, filled with a trip to the art museum, free tickets to a baseball game, and just now a slice of Trader Joe's Strawberry Rhubarb pie, so I feel ready to tackle that challenge today!

 NARS Exotic Dance is one of two duo eyeshadows that were released in the NARS Summer 2011 collection. I think it's received less love than its smoky sister Dogon (previously reviewed here), due to the tricky texture and color of the white half. It's a shame since Exotic Dance is so pretty in the pan. Despite reading reviews warning of the chalkiness of the white, I went and got it anyway, because the idea of white and gold was intriguing. The golden half did not disappoint--- it's really lovely, smooth, and I love the color. Which is saying a lot since I usually steer clear of golds. The white, as described by bloggers, was difficult. It feels chalky, hard to pick up on my brush, and kind of a pain to blend. I failed many attempts to blend it together with the gold for a cool eye look. However, it's been growing on me (more details below), and I've been cured of my buyer's remorse. The way to make this duo work for me is to simply not use them together, and to use them as singles. As singles, they're awesome and really shine. I use them on the lid and use a plain black/brown liner color like NARS coconut grove to add a little depth. After all, there's only room for one queen bee. True of cliques, and for eyeshadows.

Let's take a look at some photos.

Here's a closeup of Exotic Dance. In the pan, the white has a sheen, as does the gold half. As you can tell from the dents, the gold half kicks up product a lot easier than the white half. There's also large particles around my pans that I haven't cleaned up; that dusty look is inevitable when you're dealing with the white.
And here are swatches of the two colors. In the pan, the white looks like a polar white and the gold looks like an old gold. However, when swatches, the colors are a bit different. This is likely due to the part sheerness of some NARS shadows, which allows for incorporation of your skin tone into the final color. I really like slight sheerness and don't associate it with cheapness. A good semi-sheer eyeshadow blends compliments skin tone better. So, when looking at my swatches (and others') keep in mind it'll look different on everyone. My skin has neutral yellow-olive undertones, for reference.
NARS Exotic Dance indoors with camera flash

NARS Exotic Dance indoors with no camera flash

The gold is a relatively neutral gold, perhaps a slight rose gold even. There are no strong yellow, bronze, brown, or orange undertones, which is great. The reason I don't like most golds is because of too strong of a presence of those other tones. I really love the gold in NARS Exotic Dance; I find myself reaching for it often despite my gold-phobia.

The white is a sheer and has a small amount of iridescent quality.  As you can see, it swatched well with my brush and looks even despite the weird texture when picking it up. On the eye it's actually very pretty. I used it as my lid shade and used coconut grove for lining and slight smoke. I got the idea from Bobbi Brown, who usually uses a matte white-toned shade all over, as well as the new NARS book which I noticed used the sheer white in Pandora to brighten smoky eyes quite often. The sheerness is great because I can use it all over and it doesn't scream white! In fact, you can't really see much, however it results in a really bright-eyed look, due to the lightening power of the white and the light shine. It made my eyes look wider! This is the surprising redeeming quality that made me a fan of the Exotic Dance duo.

NARS Exotic Dance swatches

The next order of business was to find potential dupes. My stash is limited, however gold is a pretty ubiquitous color so I had a couple colors in mind that looked similar in the pan. I pulled out my Bobbi Brown Warm Eyeshadow palette, my Urban Decay Naked Palette, and a few single shadows. One of the whites, Sephora Aspen Summit single eyeshadow was Sephora's birthday gift last year, so many of you probably have it.

The results of the swatch comparisons was quite elucidating. Although the colors looked relatively similar in pan, they looked drastically different when swatched!

The whites looked especially similar in pan, after all shimmery white is shimmery white. However, whites can be quite different! NARS Exotic Dance is much less pigmented and shiny than Sephora Aspen Summit. It's also sheerer than my CoverGirl shadow (animal testers, hence not promoted here), which has the more milky white aspect that is more common in white mattes. This reinforces the idea I wrote above that this was meant to be a sheer shine type of shadow. If you're looking for it to be white white, that's not going to happen.

The golds were all over the place! NARS Exotic Dance is my favorite of the bunch, as it has the neutral rose gold tone as I mentioned above. Urban Decay Half-Baked is way to yellow-orange and warm for me. Bobbi Brown Burnt Sugar is a really nice darker old gold, but more appropriate for fall, which is when it was released. Bare escentuals Gold Medal is a cooler gold.

NARS exotic dance swatches with comparisons
In conclusion, NARS Exotic Dance is a surprising winner for me this summer. Once I figured out the white, and found peace in using the colors separately, I really embraced this palette. I wouldn't say this is a must have by any stretch of imagination, although it is unique and I really do like the gold a lot. $33 is a lot if you're going to use just one shadow! (At that rate,  you could get a Chanel.) If you're looking for something a little different, this might be for you. If you're stash is small, you might have bigger better holes to fill with your pocket money.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you've tried this, and feel the same or differently, or have other tips! I have a future post planned showing what products I've been using alongside Exotic Dance. However, I have a presentation coming this week, so I won't get to it for at least a few days at least. Hope you guys are enjoying Memorial Day Weekend wherever you are, especially those with friends and family who have served!

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

NARS 'Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself' Cheek Kit (Nordstrom Exclusive)

Makeup Your Mind Nordstrom Exclusive Cheek Kit (without flash)
As a continuation of my NARS-issistic weekends series, today I'm sharing the Nordstrom Exclusive 'Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself' Cheek Kit. To celebrate the release of Francois NARS's new book, Nordstrom has three exclusive sets: a cheek kit, and eye kit, and a lip kit. I pre-ordered the cheek kit to get signed at the 'Meet Francois NARS' event that I blogged about earlier, while my friend Ponyo ordered the lip kit. I still can't believe I got to meet him!! But I digress...

Makeup Your Mind Nordstrom Exclusive Cheek Kit (with flash)
The NARS cheek kit had a full size Laguna Bronzer, full size Copacabana multiple, and Duo Blush in Orgasm and Angelika. I chose this set because all the products are quintessential NARS basics that I didn't have yet, with the exception of Orgasm. I did almost buy the lip set, but lip colors are a bit more personal and I figured I'd rather just buy the exact colors I wanted. I've only used the products for a couple days now, but here are my initial thoughts and swatches:

1. NARS Laguna bronzer- it's a lot lighter than I thought it would be, which for me is an awesome thing for my light skin ( NC20-25? / NARS Gobi / Bobbi Brown 2.5 Warm Sand). It's a golden brown that has shimmer, but isn't too apparent. I used Bobbi Brown's Face blender brush, which is a very light fluffy blush to contour my cheeks and add some color to my temples and jawline. It was just the perfect amount of color: noticeable, but not too subtle or dirty looking. I was pleasantly surprised! I think I do need to give some credit to my brush though, which does seem to work well for light application.  With the right brush, this bronzer seems hard to overdo, however it likely looks good thanks to the golden tones in my skin. I imagine Laguna might be more stark against cool-tones (but that's just my guess). I can also see why darker skin tones would favor NARS casino, since this bronzer is a lot lighter than I'd imagined! So far, I'm really liking this. The size is huge, and it'll take forever to make a dent in this pan!

2. NARS Multiple in Copacabana- I'll admit, I was a little scared to take the jump and get a multiple after reading reviews about poor lasting time and oiliness, as well as the possibility that it might make me break out.  However, so far I'm pleased, and happy to have this in my stash. Copacabana gives such a nice subtle sheen that really is un-noticeable unless the light is hitting my face. When light does hit my face, it looks really pretty. It's described as being a "silvery sheen", however it looks completely natural against my light olive/yellow skin. I apply using clean fingers to my upper cheekbones, nose bridge, and under the arches of my eyebrows. It's really fun, and easy. I tend to have an oily T-zone, however I don't think the multiple disappears too quickly, and it doesn't look oily either. Perhaps this is because I'm applying lightly with fingers instead of directly rubbing the stick on my face. I can't see how setting it with powder would help ---sometimes having too much powder + cream works against you and causes more sliding. So, so far thumbs up. I don't think it's worth the nearly $40 price tag, but I'm happy to buy it in my kit. I haven't noticed severe break out problems yet, but I'll definitely edit this post if I do.

3. NARS Blush in Orgasm and Angelika - I don't need to write much about the blush. If you follow my blog, you know that Orgasm is my HG blush. Despite already having Orgasm, I purchased this because I didn't have Angelika yet (and wanted it), and I figured a duo would be convenient for travel. I've only worn Angelika once because I've been using NARS Sex Appeal lately, however I'm 100% sure I'll like it.

Swatches of NARS Laguna bronzer, NARS Orgasm blush, NARS Angelika blush, and NARS Copacabana illuminator.
All in all a really nice set of NARS basics for face, if you don't have the products yet. Although, only real makeup junkies would feel the need to add bronzer, blush, and highlighter as a part of their daily routine =P. If you're a "simpler is better" person, I'd probably recommend checking out the other two kits (eye and lip) instead.

I hope you enjoyed reading! There's still more NARS to come.

Love, Dovey.

P.S. Be sure to check out my I met Francois NARS!' post if you missed it. It's the root of my NARS-issistic obsession.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I met Francois NARS!

Yes, you read that right. I met Francois Nars. The man, the brand, the legend.

Do you mind if I say it again? I met Francois Nars!!! 

To celebrate the new book Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself, Nordstrom organized exclusive book-signing events at a very limited number of its stores by Francois Nars himself! I don't check the Nordstrom events page often, but I fortuitously stumbled upon this information while I was thinking of ordering NARS makeup. I was hoping to find a NARS artist event, and what I found instead was jackpot--- Francois Nars himself was coming! What are the chances of that? My friend Ponyo and I got there early, of course, to get our makeup done, and stand in line. A good amount of time passed waiting. And then.... we heard clapping! Mr. Nars walked down the entire line of NARS national makeup artists, greeting everyone individually, until he made it to the end.

Then it began. He greeted every fan, asked them what their favorite products were, signed the books. Here's a picture I shot of one of the first few women who made it to the counter (I believe the first person was actually a man). Don't you love her dress? The black and white stripes make a fun complement to the NARS aesthetic. They even had a designated person (in another beautiful black and white dress I might add) that would take your photo with him, whether it be with your cell phone or with your camera.

When it was my turn, I walked up to the table, and said "Hi Mr. Nars, I'm a huge fan of your line" (witty, I know). Before I got to the end of that sentence, I lost my cool and got choked up, eyes brimming with tears, hands waving, trying not to cry (after all, running mascara is not attractive). Fortunately I regained control and was able to answer his question about what my favorite products were: Orgasm, Deep Throat, and Sex Appeal. I babbled on about how I loved his French accent and light blushes for my light skin tone and he recommended that I try New Order.

He was very gracious and kind. He answered my numerous questions, and even stopped to think about some of them (maybe a bit too long for the organizers). I had bought three books, one for me, my mom, and aunt, as well as a face kit, so I had a few moments longer than most. We talked about paintings, inspirations, and recommendations. It was such a special experience, and some of those things are so dear to my heart that I couldn't bear to write them here! However, in the future I do have a tidbit to share about NARS single eyeshadow in Outremer, a ultramarine blue coming out in Fall 2011. I also learned that all the colors and names are all him (dreamed up on his island).

I was totally blown away by the experience of meeting Francois Nars. It was awesome, and better than anything I could have imagined. I think my last picture epitomizes the experience. He's such a warm and friendly person; it's a great feeling knowing that a brand you love is designed by someone like him.

Love, a still-floating-on-air Dovey.

P.S. The NARS love-fest is not over! Coming soon I'll  have a look at the Nordstrom exclusive NARS face kit, my (and Ponyo's) experience getting made over by NARS National makeup artists, and a look at some other NARS goodies I've picked up recently.

P.S.S. You can read more about Francois Nars in this NYTimes article

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My NARS-issistic weekends

Portrait of a NARS-issist
Bonsoir! (Or Bonjour, depending on your time zone). The past couple weekends have been action packed for me, in a good way. I've had some pretty exciting experiences and accumulated some awesome products that I can't wait to share. I started working on a few pictures and ideas this weekend, and hope to post them soon! In the meantime, I thought I'd give a hint of what's to come. Stay tuned...

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coach Poppy perfume review

Long before I became a makeup fanatic, I was a fragrance fanatic. I still remember when I was young and in grade school I'd persuade my mom to take me to Bath and Body works just so I could smell all the lotions and potions they had in the store. I always coveted the body splashes, which back then came in the trigger-shaped spray bottles, but never got one since my mom mildly disapproved of dousing oneself in a chemical laden spray. I guess she was probably right about that. However, my love of smells and fragrances has continued to this day.

I haven't written about perfume previously, since it is a bit futile as people's tastes differ vastly even when it come to subtle details. But today, I thought why not? I'm not a sales associate. I'm just a blogger who likes to write about things I'm loving at the moment. And hence, no need to be accurate (if that is even possible with perfume). So here goes:

Recently, I got a sample size of Coach Poppy as a gift-with-purchase. I'm usually a pink fragrance kind of girl, meaning I like sweet feminine floral smells, which is often indicated through the choice of pink tint in many perfumes. And so, Coach Poppy, being pink, was quite promising. I'd describe this as a warm and cozy floral.  There floral scents in Poppy, however they're not overpowering. Gardenia and jasmine are present according to the description. Often I find gardenia scents to be beautiful, but too strong. However in Poppy it's a nice balance. The gardenia adds a touch of beauty, while the jasmine adds a sweet mellowness, which is really nice. Perhaps there's light musk, or perhaps it just might be the weightiness of the gardenia. Candied rose petal and cucumber are listed, however I'll just take them at their word. I think my chance of sniffing out cucumber from this concoction are limited! Because there are no lighter, crisp ephemeral scents, lasting power is good. I think Poppy is a fitting scent for 20-30 somethings, which is the demographic that Coach Poppy handbags and accessories target anyway. It might be a bit heavy for teens, or not enough for more mature ladies. However, this is a huge generalization based on my own subjective opinions!

Overall, I'm really pleased with Coach Poppy. I'm usually a more of a energetic and bright fresh floral type person, however I do find myself reaching for this every evening. I think the mellowness fits with my mood after a long day at work. The cute bottle and box don't hurt either!

I hope you enjoyed reading my first attempt at a fragrance post. I'm a real smell-addict, so let me know what your favorites are, and I'll definitely be sniffing them on my next trip to Sephora!

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

NARS Dogon Eyeshadow Duo

Hola chicas! I've had such a wonderful weekend so far. A good friend from afar flew here on business and I had the chance to hang out with her for a day. We baked bread, watched a chick flick, and did some touristy things. And... she's not a makeup person, but let me give her a makeover. It was the first time, I've actually done someone else's complete makeup, which was exciting! After some thought, I chose a old gold shadow made deeper with some chocolate brown, along with some light cheek contouring. It was an enhanced natural look, which looked really lovely, if I may say so myself.

So, what does this have to do with NARS Dogon? NARS Dogon duo eyeshadow is the palette I've been favoring heavily as of late. It makes for a nice cool smoky look, which is right up my alley. Hoewever, during the makeover, I passed over it immediately, because it would be way too dramatic for a non-makeup user with warm skin. And smoky doesn't seem to fit my friend's personality. Which really underlined the fact that both coloring and personality play a complex role in color choice. It's not a new idea, but still a cool idea.

I've had NARS Dogon duo eyeshadow for at least a week now, so I thought it was time to share my review and a few photos as well.  As I mentioned above, it's a really cool toned eyeshadow duo, however it's really wearable on my warm skin tone. Dramatic, but wearable. This isn't the case with some cool shades, for example Urban Decay's Gunmetal which I find really difficult to wear unless blended or worn at night. I think this is a characteristic of some higher end cosmetics. In the pan, the colors may look the same, however on actual skin, higher end colors mesh better. I'm really pleased since I love cool tones despite my warm skin.

Outdoor picture of NARS Dogon

 One of the really striking things about Dogon is how beautiful it looks in the pan. You've probably read this in other reviews, and it's true. As you can see there's a complex taupe-ish color that appears to have some hints of green and pink, as well as a darkened cobalt blue. I think my pictures capture the color quite well, however the flashes of cool green (and iridescent) shimmer are lost from the taupe side. The dark blue also has its own subtle blue flashes in light.

Outdoor picture of NARS Dogon
Indoor shot of NARS Dogon
And yes, the nail color you're seeing in the shots is Dior Vernis in Aloha!

Dior Aloha nails!
Here you can see my swatches of NARS Dogon. Both colors are well pigmented, but the color on my skin differs a little from what I saw in the pan. I'd have to say the colors are a teeny bit soft compared to what I'm used to with Bobbi Brown, but still not as easy to dig into as Urban decay.  The lighter taupe side of Dogon makes slightly sheer wash that goes on smoothly. I think the semi-sheerness helps the color meld well with my skin underneath. Hence, what you see in the swatch below is likely warmer than something you'd see on a cooler toned skin. On the eyes it's a very complex taupe with both mauve and green leanings--- if that sounds possible to anyone. The Darker navy looks more like charcoal on my skin, and the sparkles are mostly lost to the naked eye. When swatched it goes on a bit chalky, however I've had not problems when blending it with the taupe on my eyelid. It also looks a bit bluer on my lid. The colors look more special when blended together for a smoky look. The combination makes a smoky eye with subtle mermaid green flashes. The key is the subtlety. It's not in your face, but it looks special.

NARS Dogon swatches

Finally, I've made some comparison swatches. I don't have an extensive eyeshadow collection, so I don't have any close dupes (good, since I don't want to buy the same color twice!) I've compared it to Bobbi Brown Burnt Sugar, Velvet Bronze, and Navy. One thing I noticed is the sheerness of NARS Dogon in comparison to the other shadows. Sheer in this situation is a good thing, as I've tried to describe above. It makes the cooler colors mix with my skin tone and more ideal for layering with one another to produce the cool green shimmer effect.

Eyeshadow comparisons to NARS Dogon

Overall, I really like this duo. It makes a cool smoky eye that can be taken up or down a notch depending on how much of the dark blue is blended in. However, I think it's a bit of a niche object, since it is inherently special and dramatic and won't necessarily fit with everyone's tastes. But, I think that's just how NARS rolls.

I hope you enjoyed this post! (I did try to put extra effort in, since the duo is so interesting). So what do you think? Yay or nay? Are there other duos you prefer?  The coming week will be a bit quiet for me  since I have a presentation I haven't started yet, and some catching up to do. However, next weekend, if all goes well, there will be some more exciting NARS related posts to look forward to!

Love, Dovey.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beachy Keen

Here's an array of products I've been reaching for the past couple of days. The theme is soft, glowy, nude tones, with precisely defined eyes and brows. Hence, beachy keen! (Does that make sense to anyone besides me? I thought it sounded cute.)

I'm still using my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige Pastel every day. It still wears well despite the warmer weather. I don't think I'll have to buy a darker shade for a while at least, especially when combined with bronzer. On top, I layer different amounts of Dior Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora for a slight tan allover and heavier as a blush / bronzer / contour on cheeks. I add a slight dusting of Bobbi Brown Shimmer brick in Beige as a highlight. One thing I've learned not to do, is to add blush on top of Aurora. I tried a slight amount of NARS O for added color, and that was too much flush for my skin. Along with my naturally flushed lips, it was just too much! I'm not complaining though--- I prefer simplifying anyhow.

For eyes, I've been reaching for a nude "my eyes but better" look. After a layer of UDPP, I place a base layer of Bobbi Brown Navajo eyeshadow, a sheer pinkish off-white, all over, up to the brows. On the lids, I blend in Bobbi Brown Nude Beach eyeshadow, which is a nude shimmer. The shimmer is barely perceptible, and makes the lids slightly more luminous. I line my eyes with my new Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Expresso into a slightly winged shape and finish with a few layers of Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara. I've been trying to incorporate more brown into my eyes, instead of my usual grays, since it fits a summery theme! Brows are defined with Benefit Brow-Zings.

I keep forgetting to include my lip products in photos. My favorite lately has been Bobbi Brown Rich Lip color in Bare Pink, which is a pale beige-pink. It smells like vanilla ice cream, which is a definite plus!

And, a final closeup of Dior Aurora and Bobbi Brown Beige shimmerbrick. Actual swatches are forthcoming, but I need to wait for actual daytime-sunlight on the weekends so I can take better photos!

Hope you're hanging in there this week. Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dior Aurora and NARS Dogon previews

TGIF! Here's some end-of-the-week eye candy for you. Yesterday these goodies arrived in the mail: DiorSkin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder in Aurora 001 and NARS Duo eyeshadow in Dogon. They're my first picks for summer 2011. I'm just sharing initial thoughts and pictures today. It's going to be a busy weekend, so I'll try to put together more swatches and a better review after more extensive use.

If you've read the blog lately, you might know I'm starting to develop a slight obsession with a bronzers. Achieving the healthy glow without overly tanning or muddying my light skin (NC20-25 I think) is actually an attainable goal! The bronzers that came out this year at higher end makeup counters were especially tantalizing, including ones by Estee Lauder, Dior, and Chanel. I've been perusing  Beauty Look Book's Summer guide to bronzer favorites as well as Summer 2011 bronzer comparisons by Beauty Look Book and Cafe Makeup on a more frequent basis than I'd care to admit!

In the end, I went with Dior Aurora Bronzer. Maybe it was because of the slightly lower price tag, maybe it was because my tastes align well with Cafe Makeup. I was initially a little put off by the peach color seen in swatches, as I certainly don't want an orangey tan, or like I have peach blush all over my face. When I opened the product, I was a little underwhelmed by the tan and peach colors, and was worried I'd made a mistake. However, when I actually tried it on my face, wow. All I could say and think was wow. I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror! The brush was so soft and perfect for application (I just wish it wasn't fur). I brushed it on my temples, forehead, cheekbones, nose, and chin, and layered it more heavily on the cheek as light blush. It looked so light natural on my warm skin, impossible to overdo. The peach gives an "I've just been in the sun" look, as opposed to a purely brown or gold color. There is shimmer that's visible if you hold a mirror closely to your face, but it's not apparent at normal distances. Somehow bronzer looks amazing as a blush/bronze. This might even be my go-to for blush this summer, and that's saying a lot considering my NARS O obsession.

So at this point, wow, wow, wow. I can't wait to put it on tomorrow morning. That's how excited I am about it. We'll see if this continues into the future.

Secondly, I bought NARS duo eyeshadow in Dogon. It's actually my first duo ever! I tried to avoid purchasing NARS for a long time because I was uneasy about their animal testing policy (NARS supposedly doesn't test, but they belong to Shiseido a known tester). It still makes me uneasy, but I've made peace with the idea that I can't be perfect. So, that's why Dogon is my first NARS eyeshadow. I missed out on Rajasthan, and am still kicking myself for that. Dogon is somewhat similar in appearance, so I knew I should just take the jump!

Bloggers have said Dogon is a bit dark for a summer color. In a sense, I agree, however the icy green-gold-silver-mauve shine in the lighter color really do remind me of summer. And for summer, I think both nude eyes and  smoky eyes are fitting with a tan. So I think the NARS duos this year are on target : one smoky (Dogon) and one nude/gold (Exotic Dance). The colors in this duo are a spectacle within themselves.  Like I said, there's a crazy taupe (that's not really a taupe), and a bluish charcoal with blue shimmery flecks.

On the eyes is a different story. The craziness isn't as evident, and makes for a very wearable smoky eye when blended together. The complexity is still evident in a subtle way, and that makes it really beautiful. I have very warm skin, so it's harder to wear true blues and cooler tones, since the contrast can be too great. No such problem with this duo though. The subtle golden-green sheen and slight warmth blended into the cooler tones gives enough balance to make it very wearable. As a big fan of slightly smoked eyes, I bet this complex beauty will get heavy use this summer.

Now, all I need is to get my hot little hands on Exotic Dance...

Coincidentally, Sabrina from Beauty Look Book posted on these duos today as well. I've borrowed her photo idea of using the NARS plastic insert as a part of the photo. She has such nice photos! I actually keep all my NARS plastic inserts with my products, because they're pretty and they keep powder from getting all over the rubbery outer case.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! I ended up writing more than planned =). Both Dior Aurora and NARS Dogon will get a lot of use, and I'm glad I purchased them. Have you purchased summer items yet? Any lemmings, hits, or misses?

In the same package, I'd ordered a pair of nude pumps I was hoping to wear to my friend's wedding this weekend, however those were a bust. Sky-high nude close-toed patent pumps seem like such a great leg-lengthening idea, but somehow my legs looked a bit truncated and odd. Hm. Or...Steve Madden is just really hit or miss. Well, it's not a huge tragedy. I have my favorite summery peep toes I plan on wearing!

Happy Friday!

Love, Dovey.

Edit: You can see a my more extensive review of NARS Dogon Eyeshadow Duo here

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Urban Decay Primer Potion tube comparison

A quick pic for you today comparing the Professional Size Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion to the newest Urban Decay Primer Potion Tube. 

I was curious about the difference between the professional and regular size ever since the new smaller tube came out. I've had my pro size for a while now, and just bought the smaller UDPP as a gift. The professional size ($29 for 0.85oz) was a better deal than the new tube ($19 for 0.37oz). However, it would take forever to use up even the small tube. I also read on Musings of a Muse that after 6 months the texture of the UDPP in the pro-tube seems to change to a thicker unusable form. I hope this isn't the case, but we'll see. I've had mine for a few months now and so far so good.

I like the packaging on the pro size better, with the shiny cap, but that's a minor cosmetic detail. According to Sephora the smaller UDPP is also limited edition. I wonder when Urban Decay will make up their mind and stick to one style of packaging. As long as they keep offering tubes instead of wands, I'm a happy camper!

The background is from a painting I started a while ago. Blogging takes up a chunk of my free time, so I haven't had much time to devote to art. Photographing things for the blog and applying makeup have been stand-ins for my art-fix for a while, however I think I need to pick up some brushes and draw on canvas (that's not my face) sometime soon! Are there any hobbies you've picked up again recently?

Love, Dovey.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 2011 Favorites - neutral and navy

Smells like spring! I sat on the porch for a few minutes this morning just soaking up the sun. The end of April means fewer rain showers (I hope), May flowers,  and... time for monthly makeup favorites!

1. NARS Blush in Orgasm - HG.  Some people don't like the high sheen to pigment ratio, but I love it. I think face shape plays a role--- those with rounder or fuller cheeks or faces probably wouldn't like this, however those in need of more fullness in the cheek area (like me) will love it. See more here.

2. Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzer in Aruba - My newest bronzing powder that gives a barely perceptible glow. This is great because the whole "bronzed goddess" look really isn't my thing. It does give me a subtly more tanned look that is impossible to overdo.

3. Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Black - I've gone back to this liner after using wet powder shadows previously. It gives a great strong black line that's easier to apply since extra steps (like wetting brush) aren't required)

4. Smashbox eyeshadow trio - This was part of a recent 500 point perk from Sephora (in fact, it's probably still available now if you're interested and have points). The trio is composed of vanilla, champagne and bronze shades that are great for a soft wearable eye. This was my first experience with Smashbox products, and I have to say I was pretty impressed at the texture and quality of colors. I prefer more dramatic shades, so I'm passing this palette along to my mom, but I'll definitely be looking into more Smashbox in the future.

5. EcoTools Bronzer Brush - My favorite brush (see it here). I still use this everyday for blush, and find it hard to believe that it's less than $10!

6. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige Pastel - I had more skin issues this month so I was using foundation more frequently. The water based formula doesn't irritate my sensitive skin (at least not that much). I just looked at a couple pictures of myself with friends recently, and my skin looked great =). Read more on Vitalumiere Aqua here.

7. Benefit Brow Zings in Dark - A recent acquisition, not completely of my own volition since I'm not a Benefit fan. Due to an event (I'll write about later) I had to buy $50 worth of Benefit. It's a tinted wax that is supposed to shade and hold your brows in place. I use it everyday, and it does make my brows look pretty good, albeit a tad too dark.

8. Bobbi Brown Dress for Success eyeshadow palette - At first, I didn't think the looks I'd create from these colors could be that versatile, seeing as two out of five colors were dark liner shades, and the white is a base shade. However, I found that shading my lids in the shimmery nude then blending the navy blue in the outer V made for a really pretty smoky eye.

9. Bobbi Brown Extreme Party mascara -   My favorite mascara thus far. Although it doesn't give the mega impact that others might give with fewer layers, I prefer this formula and brush since the clumping is minimized and my lashes stay separated.

10. Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color SPF15 in Bare Pink (not pictured) - A really pale nude with a hint of pink that balances out a heavier eye. I'll feature a few Rich Lip colors in the blog soon. These lippies really deliver on creamy texture and rich color.  Grade: A+

Here's a closeup of this month's products so you can get an idea of the general color scheme I've been going with. They're natural tones, with a fresh pop of blush, and some navy smokiness in the eye.

And a closeup of one of my favorite houseplants: the zebra succulent. Aren't the stripes fun?

I hope you enjoyed this month's edition of favorites! I can already tell that next month will be different. So far I've been playing around with NARS Orgasm illuminator and dusted off my Urban Decay Naked palette. I've got my eyes on a couple NARS products and maybe a MAC lippie. We'll see what happens.

Any favorites out there? I hope you're enjoying the new green buds and balmier weather too!

Love, Dovey