Sunday, October 30, 2011

Inspired by cats (ft. Miss Kitty!)

          This Halloween, I wanted to put together a cat-inspired look. I'm a dog person for 364 days of the year, however there's something about cats' eyes and silhouettes that is just perfect for All Hallow's Eve. For inspiration, I've asked Miss Kitty of Makeup Magpie to be my muse! I've always admired Miss Kitty for her distinctive, dignified, and somewhat fearsome appearance. She epitomizes what I imagine a cat to be.

Clockwise from top: Bobbi Brown Forest, Bobbi Brown Sage, Bobbi Brown Caviar, Bobbi Brown Smoke.
          Miss Kitty has such a complex coat and appearance. There are multiple directions one could take when constructing a color palette. Her fur has notes of blackened mahogany, chocolate, earth, and cream. She has beautiful pale mauve ears and a green crescent encircling her pupils. I decided to focus on green accents with blackened brown tones. I pulled out my Bobbi Brown eyeshadows in Sage, Forest, Smoke, and Caviar. You can see in my swatches below that Sage is a metallic silver olive. Forest is a dark olive with a golden metallic shine. Smoke is a blackened brown matte shadow, while Caviar is a brown-black. All of these shadows are quite pigmented and blend nicely. If I could add one more shadow to the mix, I would choose MAC Club (if I had it). I think the red-brown with green sheen would fit my theme nicely. I will probably pair this look with a light mauve lip shade like Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color in Pale Mauve

         Finally, I colored my claws with China Glaze Zombie Zest. Despite the creepy name, it's a pretty olive glitter polish. Halloween is one of the few times when one can get away with wearing green polish!

 China Glaze Zombie Zest
          That concludes my inspired by cats Halloween look. I'm excited to wear it tomorrow. I wanted to pair the look with a set of cat ears, however all the stores I visited seemed to  be sold out as of tonight. I'll be sure to shop earlier next year. Finally, I'd like to send a thank you to Miss Kitty for taking time out of her busy schedule to model for today's post. And, another big thank you to Shannon of Makeup Magpie for generously sharing her beautiful photography with Cute and Mundane.

Jack O' Lantern shaped soaps at LUSH
Happy Halloween everyone!

Love, Dovey.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

NARS Mandchourie eyeshadow duo review

          NARS Mandchourie eyeshadow duo is a part of the current holiday 2011 collection. The colors include a golden denim and an indigo blue. Those colors seemed a bit 'safe' for a NARS duo and I felt as though I've seen enough blue from last season. However, ordering NARS duos is pretty much on autopilot mode for me, so I decided to give NARS Mandchourie a whirl. You can see my review, photos, and swatches below!

          When I first opened NARS Mandchourie, I was most struck by the golden denim color on the left. It's quite complex and beautiful in the pan and on the eyes. I would describe the color as having a little sheen, however it is not overly shimmery. You can see swatches below. The color on the right is a matte indigo blue. This means the blue has the most miniscule hint of purple, which is similar to jeans. Both colors are well pigmented with a good texture. I prefer the texture of this blue to the blue in NARS Dogon.

         The colors in NARS Mandchourie are quite difficult to photograph effectively. Mandchourie looks quite different lighting, as you can see from my photos. In particular, the matte indigo blue is the more difficult to photograph of the two. With all due respect to my amazing fellow beauty bloggers, I haven't seen a 100% accurate depiction of this duo in the pan or in swatches. Most photos/swatches depict the matte blue as a rich dark cobalt blue. In reality, the color is more of a dusty medium-dark denim blue. Even with my best efforts over the course of a few hours and several different lighting locations, I can't declare my photos to be completely accurate either. My sunlight photos are a good depiction of how Mandchourie looks in bright light. The lower light photos, however, have the issue I described above. They should be a bit more dusty denim colored.

NARS Mandchourie in full sunlight
NARS Manchourie indoors with flash

         In case I haven't hammered the point home already, here's a pair of jeans for visualization!

          Finally, here is my swatch comparison of NARS Mandchourie to other blues in my collection. The lighter golden denim has a grey character when compared to MAC Parisian Skies. Christine at Temptalia mentioned that it also reminded her of MAC Blue Spruce from the MAC Holiday 2011 Ice Parade collection. I wondered the same thing, since Blue Spruce and Mandchourie have a similar beautiful complexity where warm shimmer is added to blue toned colors. However, you can see from the swatches below that the two colors are vastly different when swatched. Blue spruce is considerably darker and has a green tone. I compared the dark blue side of NARS Mandchourie to the dark blue in NARS Dogon. You can see how Dogon's blue is significantly darker and blacker.

         Overall, I'm pleased with this duo. In particular, the lighter color is beautiful. As you may know, I do like grey and blue tones. I find that a full eye with these colors appears very jeans-like. I haven't been a very "blue" mood lately, but I have applying both colors in NARS Mandchourie along my lashline with my new Sephora Professionel smoky eye brush for a nice effect. I'm certain I will warm up to this palette as the season progresses deeper into winter.
Thanks for reading!

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sephora Friends and Family haul

          Today I'm presenting my purchases from the Sephora Friends and Family sale this year. I was inspired to post by Beauty Vigilante, who shared her haul as well. It's fascinating to see what essentials people pare their lists down to. It says a lot about them, don't you think? I tried to stick to big-ticket basics like foundation and foundation and tools. Recently I've had the notion that I'd fallen a little out of love with NARS. However, judging from the number of black cardboard boxes in my Sephora haul, this was clearly not the case!

          Recently, I've been exploring foundation. I've used most of my NARS Sheer Glow in Ceylan (Light 6) and love the formula, however I felt the color washed me out because it lacked pink. I therefore picked up NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Deauville (Light #4) which has a mix of yellow and pink undertones. Secondly, I've wanted to try MUFE HD foundation for a long time, because of it's photogenicity. I ordered MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Foundation #118 (Flesh) in a value kit that came with the HD powder, primer, and kabuki brush.

          In terms of eye products I ordered NARS Manchourie eyeshadow duo, NARS creamy concealer in Vanilla, NARS Smudgeproof eyeshadow base, and Sephora Professionel Smoky eye brush. My favorite product so far is the smoky eye brush that I first read about on The Non-Blonde. I didn't know what I was missing until I got this a couple days ago! I was also quite excited to get NARS Manchourie eyeshadow duo. I've been using this as liner for the past two days, and will try to post a review and photos this weekend.

          To satisfy my nail needs, I picked up NARS Orgasm and NARS Bad Influence nail polishes. Both had been on my list for a while. I was sad since I had missed out on Bad Influence, however it recently reappeared on Sephora's website for steal at $8! I also picked up the Tweezerman petite manicure set. It seems like a travel friendly kit, and I was much in need of a pushy tool and a hangnail clipper.In post-sale retrospect, I think I should have ordered more nail polish! I could have used some pink Sephora by OPIs.

          And.... this is for my mom, per her request. It's Christian Dior Capture R60/80 XP Wrinkle correction eye cream. Does anyone know why all Dior products have ridiculously long, difficult to remember names? Also, on a funny side note, the product is listed on Sephora as "wrinkle restoring cream". I'm not sure people would want their wrinkles 'restored'!

          I also received a 500-point BUXOM perk, that I'm enjoying now, as well as a 12 oz. bottle of Philosophy Purity face wash as a 100 point perk. I probably have enough Purity at this point to wash my face well into next next year! I also find the fact that I have 600 points sitting around to be somewhat disturbing, but I should probably not dwell on that fact... Products that I barely passed on during the sale were more Sephora Professionel brushes, NARS Orgasm multiple, NARS Brumes eyeshadow duo, and more nail polish.

          Thanks for reading! Is everyone else enjoying their Sephora Friends and Family hauls? Care to share any surprise favorites?

Love, Dovey

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inspired by Burmese monks (19th cent.)

          There is always one point during the year when I'm drawn to the color purple. In fact, that time is usually mid to late fall, which is right about now. Recently I was inspired by this pair of kneeling monks from Burma (Myanmar) circa the 19th century. The golden bronze contrasting alongside the blackened indigo-purple was quite stunning. The colors feel regal, yet zen. When it comes to makeup, purple, bronze, and gold are some of my least favorite colors. It was therefore a good time to step out of my comfort zone and play with these colors.

          I have a friend who seems to wear purple eyeliner every time I see her. It's actually quite pretty. The purples I have are Make Up For Ever (MUFE) Aqua eyes liner in 6L and 11L. I mix 6L and 11L to get my desired blackened purple effect. The closest color to gold I have is MUFE 9L. You can see from the swatches below that 6L is a blackened berry, 11L is a medium purple, and 9L is a metallic yellow.

          While exploring my purple and gold color story, I pulled some of the purple and gold nail polish I have. For someone who doesn't use purple a lot, I have quite a few purple nail polish bottles. I wish I had a more indigo-blue toned purple to fit the bill today.

I also have Sephora by OPI's Only Gold For Me, which is a gold glitter topcoat with larger hex glitter and smaller pieces of glitter mixed in.
Sephora by OPI Only Gold for Me top coat
SOPI Iris I was thinner, SOPI Domestic Goddess, SOPI Only Gold for me, SOPI Metro Chic, OPI Tease-y does it

          Below, you can see swatches of Sephora by OPI Iris I was Thinner, Domestic Goddess, Metro Chic, and OPI Tease-y Does it. I think my favorite is SOPI Iris I was thinner. It's a very pretty blue-toned lavender. SOPI Domestic Goddess is a fuschia purple. SOPI Metro Chic was an incredibly popular color a few years back. It's a chic greyed mushroom purple. OPI Tease-y does it was released in the Burlesque movie collection. It has multi-faceted shimmer, which brings life to an otherwise dark color base. I've been switching up my pedicures using some of these purples. Right now I have on Metro-Chic.

          Thanks for reading my indigo-purple and golden bronze "inspired by" post. I'm trying to get the most use out of these colors before I go back to my usual non-purple frame of mind. If you want more purple and gold eyeliners, check out Makeup Magpie's recent post of the NARS Holiday 2011 eyeliners. St. Mark's Place and Campo de' Fiori would fit into the color scheme quite nicely =).

Love, Dovey. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Pale Mauve

          Lately my favored lip color has been Bobbi Brown's Lip Color in Pale Mauve. It was recommended by my aunt as a good lip color for pairing with smoky eyes, and I couldn't agree more.  As the weather gets cooler, I find myself reaching for cooler colors.

          Bobbi Brown Pale Mauve Lip color is a light slightly cooler pink. I see it as more of a pink than a mauve. However, the  hints of mauve make it more wearable. You can see that my swatch of Pale Mauve is cooler, pinker, and lighter than the swatches of Bobbi Brown Blondie Pink lip color, Bobbi Brown Lilac Rich Lip color, and MAC Shy girl. I was surprised since I'd always considered Bobbi Brown Lilac to be the coolest lightest pink in my stash. Bobbi Brown Pale Mauve is one of the paler colors in Bobbi Brown's lip color range. I find that Bobbi Brown's lightest lip colors are more wearable for me. Many of her lip colors are a bit dark for me.

          Bobbi Brown Pale Mauve lip color is very well pigmented, like most Bobbi Brown lip colors. The formula is not moisturizing, however I don't find it to be too drying. The color lasts well.

         Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my brief review of Bobbi Brown Pale Mauve. It was a gift from my mom. (Thanks mom!) When fall and winter roll around, I find that I prefer cooler colors like this for everyday use. I don't really find myself reaching for richer darker tones that are more typical of the season. However, now that I have thought of this, I'll try to incorporate darker tones into my rotation as well. Have any of your lip color habits changed now that it's fall?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. I just got back from a very short trip, so I'm finally getting around to reading comments on my last post now =) I'll post a couple pictures from my travels later this week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Inspired by Armor

         At the turn of fall, I began hankering for new color inspiration. I'd become a little weary of my usual standbys and summer blues. I needed something fresh, unexpected, and fitting for fall. I pondered this question on my comfy armchair (as I often do) with color wheels flying through my imagination. Finally I speared a combination I found exciting: matte rusty, earthy red-brown and pure polished silver.

          To develop this color story, I looked for inspiration in art. While doing, so I stumbled upon the perfect 3-dimensional inspiration: armor! Armor has a reflective silver plated appearance, which is contrasted with utilitarian earthy embellishments like leather straps. I also fancifully imagined a knight's shining armor contrasting against his red steed, or the red earth on a jousting field. Hints of red rust can also be found on armor in need of polishing. I searched out some real life armor. These metal suits are stunning in real life. The photographs shown here are of German (right) and English (below) armor from roughly the 15th-16th centuries. The intricate detailing on some of the pieces, like the one below, was unbelievable. They seemed more like artwork than instruments of battle. (It is worth mentioning that these pieces belonged to nobility). These medieval peices were a wonderful inspiration for fall.

          To translate my inspiration into creation, I dug through my eyeshadow stash for red-browns and space-age silvers. Unfortunately, these colors were simply nonexistant in my collection. Red-browns are way too warm and red for my taste. True silvers and too cool and frosty for my taste. However, in combination these strong colors can balance each other out to create an interesting combination. The ideal eyeshadow colors I wanted to purchase for this project were MAC Electra and MAC Brown script. However, I'm saving up for some other things, so I made do with what I currently have. I layered some colors, as I would with paint, to create a close approximation of what I wanted . To get a matte red brown, I combined Urban Decay Buck with NARS Grand Palais (see swatch below). To got a more silvery silver, I combined NARS Tzarine (the grey) with Urban Decay Virgin. I also have a very silvery MUFE Aqua eyes eyeliner pencil in #8L. I also used hints of gold using Urban Decay Half Baked and Bare Escentuals Gold Medal. For this look, I use a wash of silver on the lid, with the brown on the outer corners or crease.

I really love the contrast between brown and silver!

          That concludes my "Inspired by Armor" color story. I have a lot of fun with these posts. My mini missions get me out of the house and looking for new ideas. Thank you to the girls who encouraged me to get this done!

Love, Dovey.

Monday, October 10, 2011

LUSH haul: It's Raining Men + more!

          Recently, I rewarded myself with a bit of LUSH therapy. Lately, skincare, bath and body, and hair purchases have taken precedence over makeup. After all, a painted face is only a small part of the portrait! I'm trying to take my skin back to its glory days (if that's even possible) and to learn how to manage my hair. I've never really had a handle on my hair.

          LUSH is currently having a mini-skincare event, as I first saw on Daydream Amy. The samples are 0.4oz and are priced cheaper per oz. than their full sized counterparts. I've been wanting to try Enzymion and Gorgeous, so I was really excited to get my hands on these pots. Enzymion is supposed to be citrus-y mattifying for oily skin. Gorgeous is supposed to be great for everyone, and is LUSH's most expensive moisturizer. I've tried each for a week. I think Gorgeous feels a bit more balanced for my skin. However, I need to  try both products longer to see how well I like them.

          I have a tendency to mill about LUSH for long periods of time, so I end up being helped by at least three different people. The LUSH staff are just so eager to educate you. It can be intimidating if you're just browsing, however it's helpful if you've got a couple things in the basket. I always ask for samples of products I'm interested in trying. This time I got a generous sample of BIG Shampoo. Big is famous for it's sea salt and lime-based volumizing abilities (think beach hair). I'm currently contemplating mixing BIG into my normal hair routine since I already use their solid shampoo bars. I also got a sample of LUSH R+B which is a hair finisher. R+B is supposed to smooth away frizz and flyaways. This would be helpful on my curly/wavy hair. I also like the idea of a more natural hair smoothener, as opposed to some oily silicone-y synthetics which might make me break out. I haven't tried this sample yet because my hair's been under control by my new American Cream conditioner. Finally, I randomly received a sample of LUSH Coconut deodorant powder. A sales associate told me it could be used as a dry shampoo as well. I'm curious to see if that works. I haven't tried yet because I never miss washing my hair.

          Finally, I have a medium sized bottle of LUSH American Cream Conditioner and a small LUSH It's Raining Men shower gel. Previously, I used LUSH Jungle conditioner on the tips of my hair. It's extremely conditioning, and great if I want to dry my hair straight. However, it can weigh down my fine hair and reduce my curl definition. Because of this, I got American Cream which is a lighter conditioner. It's the mid-range conditioner in their line. When I condition my hair with it, my curls are retained, but less frizzy. It also has a gorgeous cream smell that really lingers even out of the shower.  It's Raining Men is a previously limited edition shower gel that is now a part of LUSH's permanent shower gel lineup. It smells similar to the LUSH Honey I washed the kids soap. The smell is sweet like honey with a hint of vanilla. According to LUSH it's a "fudge toffee" smell. Yum.

         As you can see, I've been having good showers lately! More than anything, I love what LUSH has done for my hair. The natural products make it feel clean, soft, and wavy (not frizzy). I feel like I'm finally learning how to handle my hair. Thanks for reading! Are there any LUSH loves or hair revelations you've had lately?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. If you want more LUSH, check out Kelly's Makeup Bag for her LUSH Loves post.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

On my mind

           This little prismatic rainbow was an unexpected surprise at a bus stop the other day. Sometimes grimy panes of glass can filter light into something beautiful. Speaking of transportation, I saw this pair of silver hummers. I couldn't help but wonder whose entourage was out rollin' in these gas guzzlers.

          I want to start my 'inspired by' posts again. They tend to be more difficult for me to put together because I have to find both a piece of art and a color palette that really speak to me in the moment. I have my inspiration, but don't have the colors yet! I need to order them from MAC. The painting below is of Paris. It's not my inspiration, but it's such an everyday-elegant city scene.

          I have to attend a wedding soon and realized I have no basic dresses to wear. The few I have are too fancy, too summer, or too patterned. I don't even have a LBD! Jeez. I figured it was time to buy a good basic dress I could wear to variety of occasions. I settled on a silk crepe dress from J. Crew in the color Graphite. I feel completely gorgeous in it. Light grey is definitely my color. I'm going to call this my 'LGD'.

          Speaking of J.Crew, Mr. Lovey took me to one outside my usual downtown location. It's surprising how well stocked stores outside of city epicenters are. They actually have things you want in stock. I was only there to return the dress that was too big, however I did have a good time ogling the color palette. Here's the accessory rack. I'm a real minimalist when it comes to baubles, so most of these things would be too much excitement for me. However, they do look nice clustered together.

          I'm going through a LUSH renaissance lately. After seeing mini moisturizers on Daydream Amy, I had to get a couple for myself. Bath Bombs (below) are what LUSH is famous for, but I'm more in love with their hair-care products. I'll share a LUSH haul sometime soon.

          October is one of my favorite months. I love the crisp air and all the colors that come with it. Here's a pile of gnarly pumpkins that really epitomizes that mood.

      Finally here's a bouquet that Mr. Lovey brought home for me. Flowers surely make a girl feel special =).

         So those are the eclectic things on my mind lately. In terms of makeup I've been enamored with Chanel as of late. I've been clicking and re-clicking on reviews of Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation on Front Row Beauty and Cafe Makeup. I'll likely be getting it in B10. I'm also ogling Chanel Rouge Carat nail polish which is swatched on Beauty Look Book. The glossimer in Sweet Beige, found on Natural N Chic makeup, will likely be a must-have for me as well. I'm also realizing that I should have picked up Chanel Graphite a long time ago. It would look nice with my LGD, and who am I kidding, I love grey. You can see Graphite and other great fall nail colors on Chiki's Nails. Right now I'm just lying in wait for a good beauty event before pouncing.

          Speaking of Chanel, I just watched the film Coco before Chanel, which is about Gabrielle Chanel's early life (pre-Nazi era). After seeing that and reading her wiki bio, I'm not sure whether to like or dislike her. Regardless, she was a true innovator and female mogul, a rarity in her time. The movie is worth queuing on Netflix if you have time. Thanks for reading! I hope your weekends went well. Any stores / nature / movies catch your eye this weekend?

Love, Dovey.