Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Nor-Cal weekend Part 2 : Pinnacles National Park + Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Sitting on one of the sandstone formations in Point Lobos!
            When it comes to vacation, Mr. Lovey and I are park people. I imagine it's because we've had our share of city living. Between the two of us, NYC, Chicago, Boston, and SF have been home at some point! Lucky for us, California has an amazing selection of National Parks, and natural wonders. Hence for part 2 of my NorCal weekend (you can read part 1 here), I have a few park pictures to share with you today!

            With a weekend trip, time is of the essence. Initially, I had hoped to re-visit Yosemite, as it's a quintessential National Park, however at this time of year, it's largely closed. Instead, Mr. Lovey and I decided to focus in on Pinnacles National Park (the newest NP!), as well as make a quick morning stop and Point Lobos State Park in Monterey.

The coastline here was absolutely gorgeous! That and you'll get to spot the occasional sea lion or sea otter.
1. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve - is a beautiful park within Monterey county. (You've probably heard of Monterey Bay as being one of the most beautiful pieces of California shoreline. The park has a gorgeous shoreline trail that makes for a nice morning stroll (or run), as well as a cover for scuba divers.

         Along the shoreline, you can soak in all the breathtaking hues of marine blue. It's a great spot for wildlife as well. At the little cove above, we heard the barks of sea lions, and even a couple basking in the sun and swimming in the surf. The park is said to have sea otters as well (sea otters are the cutest!), though I didn't personally see any that day. I'd recommend bringing binoculars, if you have a pair. We didn't think to bring them, but we noticed a number of people who'd brought them for a better view of the wildlife.

The shores are lined with pretty, variegated sandstone formations!
          As a side note, I actually hadn't planned on a hike, so I ended up walking the trail in my suede J.Crew flats. It probably wasn't the best choice of footwear, but other than collecting some dust and pebbles, they worked out reasonably well!

2. Pinnacles National Park - is the newest national park in the U.S.. Previously it had been a National Monument, but was upgraded in 2013! The park's variegated terrain formed as a result of multiple volcanic eruptions that occurred some 23 million years ago.

        The park itself has convenient proximity to the more urban San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. Interestingly, unlike most other National Parks, it's most popular in the cooler months (as summer temperatures can be extreme), making it perfect for my December trip!

It's a good idea to wear a helmet, in case rocks rain down from above! (Incidentally, they don't protect your face, as I found out the hard way...)
          As Pinnacles National Park (given its name) is a great climbing destination, we decided to enlist the help of a guide through Outdoor Adventure Club! We ended up having a fantastic time; our guide Eric set up a number of top-roped routes for us to try, in addition to a 100 ft (or so) rappel down a cliff. From a climbing perspective, the conglomerate rock can be a bit hard on the hands, but it makes for some pretty fun features.

        I'd definitely recommend a climb here if you have time. A lot of local climbers enjoy the spot in winter, as other popular destination like Yosemite are less available. With a guide, it's accessible to outdoor  beginners as well. For non-climbers, there are a lot of hiking trails throughout the park, including a couple cave routes!

As you can see, a lot of great potential climbs in Bear Gulch! 
         Both Pinnacles National Park and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve were unexpectedly gorgeous stops on my weekend trip to NorCal (see part 1 in San Francisco here). Both are beautiful stops for a winter weekend trip! There's so much to do in the region, I'd love to visit again. I'd definitely love to trek up Half Dome in Yosemite, as well as visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, amongst other things!

        Thanks for reading! What parks have you visited recently? Which would you recommend?

Love, Dovey.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Nor-Cal weekend Part 1 : San Francisco

Roaming the halls of the Legion of Honor
        Happy Friday! Today I'm excited to share snaps from my recent weekend trip to Nor-Cal! Mr. Lovey's been living in San Francisco for the past several months, finishing up a fellowship. With my current job, vacations and full weekends are few and far between --- last weekend, I finally had a chance to head out west! We spent some time touring the region, enjoying some of the usual and more unusual sites. I thought it would be fun to share my experiences with you on Cute and Mundane today!

        By the way, California weather always throws me off with its lack of seasonality! (I think I was the only person on the plane to Cali wearing a down parka and Uggs). I found that a combination of my favorite J.Crew cashmere boyfriend sweater and Lululemon Jet Crop Slims made for a Cali-friendly combination. I had also indulged in a Patagonia Better Sweater in Birch White, which was a great weight for San Fran weather. (As an East Coaster originally, I'm more North Face, but seems like Patagonia's the way to blend in out west...). But anyway, on to my travels...

The breathtaking view from Twin Peaks
1. Twin Peaks - What better way to start the day than with coffee and a view? Mr. Lovey lives up in the hills, so we started the day off with a bird's eye view of sky, water, and city. The view above is more residential, if you turned leftward, you'd see more of the San Francisco skyline.

(Side note: it was quite nice to enjoy an iced coffee in the middle of December...)

The Monet's at Legion of Honor have a wonderful pastel, ethereal feel.
2. Legion of Honor - I had hoped to explore a little bit of San Francisco's fine arts scene, so we decided to head to the Legion of Honor Museum. It's a smaller museum, located in the more elevated NW region of SF. (The nearby views of the Golden Gate bridge are pretty fantastic as well).

A closeup of Monet's Water Lilies 1914-1917.
       My favorite Gallery featured a few very pretty Monets (yes, even for Monets!) I especially loved the Water Lilies at Legion of Honor. I've seen a number of versions of Monet's water lilies hung elsewhere (in fact, Chicago's Art Institute has an impressive collection of Monet works), however I loved how this particular one had such an ethereal, optimistic feel.

A closeup of Monet's Waves Breaking 1881.
        I was also struck by Monet's Waves Breaking (of which you can see a partial closeup of above). I don't think I've come across a Monet like this previously. I'm intrigued by how much motion is in frame. It's so pretty, yet so different from his other watery still lifes!

It's an upward hike to Cliff House (from the beach, at least)
3. Lunch at Cliff House -  For lunch, Mr. Lovey took me to Cliff House, on Ocean Beach. (It's a fitting name, as you can probably appreciate from above!) As a Marylander at heart, I'm a blue crab proponent, however I thought I'd give Dungeness crab a try. We had Dungeness Crab crab cakes, as well as in the Cioppino below. (I'm feeling a little hungry now, reliving the photo...)

         Incidentally, I learned that Cioppino originated from San Francisco! I love Cioppino and have enjoyed it on previous occasions but had assumed it was a typical Italian dish. Regardless, it was a delicious meal, enjoyed with the accompanying wave-side views.

A closeup of our Dungeness Crab Cioppino.
           Here's a look at Ocean Beach, while headed back down the hill! To me it looks like a typical picture of white surf near the shore, until you realize the scale! The waves pound the shore with such force that all the sheets of surf appear white with froth.

Looking down on Ocean beach. To give you an idea of the wave scale, you can see all the little footprint indents to the left!
4. Dinner at the Plant Cafe - The last time I visited San Francisco, I remember stopping at the Plant Cafe. The idea of organic eats tickles the Whole Foods junkie in me. Inadvertently we ended up stopping at the exact same Plant Cafe in the Marina district. I'm kind of obsessed with their Plant Burger; it's soft and fresh, unlike your typical frozen veggie burger. I like to get the Wasabi version, which comes with sauerkraut and wasabi, and a raspberry vinaigrette side salad.

Fish tacos and a 'Plant Burger' at the Plant Cafe.
5. The Golden Gate Bridge (near Planite Granite) - The two of us love climbing, so we stopped at the San Francisco branch of Planite Granite, which is Mr. Lovey's usual. Luckily, Planite Granite is just a short walk away from a gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge! It was really nice to enjoy this SF mainstay from the docks.

A near-sunset view from the docks. (On the other side, you could see Alcatraz).
         Well, that wraps up Day 1! To summarize, I'd say that Starbucks, Water Lilies, ocean surf, cioppino, and plant burgers make for a good day, any day. I'll have a few more photos from my NorCal travels to share, so look for those soon!

          Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorite things to do in SF? I'd love to hear so I can plan for the next chance I have to go back!

Love, Dovey.

Monday, October 12, 2015

NARSissist Blush, Contour, and Lip palette review + swatches

           Today I'm enjoying an unexpected day off! I can't tell you have wonderful it feels to be at home, wearing my new pink UGG slippers (thanks Mom!), and putting in some quality time into my blog. It's been a whirlwind past several months for me, with a new job and new responsibilities. It's going to be a work in progress, but I hope I'll continue to find ways to find ways to incorporate Cute and Mundane into my schedule!

         I'm excited to share my newest beauty acquisition, the NARSissist Blush, Contour, and Lip palette. I'd actually been eyeing this set for some time,  including on my most recent trip to Sephora. One of my dearest friends must have read my mind, as she sent this my way! I can only begin to express my delight...

Both the top and inside of the palette are mirrored!
           The top 'shelf' of the NARSissist Blush, Contour, and Lip palette contains three blushes. Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that Enrapture, Enthralled, and Roman Holiday are all limited edition blush shades. I prefer this to  other blush palettes that contain shades that I already own, as I'd rather not have repeats. I found that all three formulas were quite pigmented. Because the pans are smaller, I have to experiment with which brush to use. Ideally I'd like a fluffier loose brush due to pigmentation of the shades, however, a small head would be idea to fit the pans. Hm.
One can never have too much pink...
          I really love the selection of shades, as they're ones I'd actually use! NARS Roman Holiday blush (better known in lipstick form) is a gorgeous shade of cool pink. Cool pinks are my favorite, and I'm looking forward to using this as an alternative to my everyday pink, NARS Gaiety (click for review). I'm also loving NARS Enthralled blush, as it's a deeper pink that would make a nice contour color for me. I've been using blush as opposed to bronzer for contour, as it seems to better suit my coloring. (My usual as of late has been NARS Oasis). I'll have to experiment with NARS Enrapture blush, it seems like another great contour shade for warmer toned makeup - perfect for the fall season.

         The palette top flips up to reveal the contour and highlight shades below. Unlike the limited edition upper shades, the bottom shades are classics: NARS Albatross highlighter and NARS Laguna bronzer.  Believe it or not, I actually did not yet own NARS Albatross! (I've been more of a NARS Copacabana girl). Albatross is a pretty pale yellow-gold highlight. It's also pretty pigmented. NARS Laguna bronzer is a shade I do own (swatched here), though haven't reached for as often as I'd like because it does tend to run quite warm. That said, I noticed while swatching this palette that Laguna was relatively sheer, which makes it potentially usable for me.

          Finally, the palette comes with the cutest little NARS Lip gloss in Istria. It's a really pretty light pink. Because my lips are fuller, I usually don't use an all over gloss; however a dab of this shade would add just the right touch to finish off my usually light pink lip colors. It's nice to have a mini, portable version as I don't consume enough gloss to justify a full size!

           Here are swatches of the NARSissist Blush, Contour, and Lip palette! I'm really loving NARS Roman Holiday blush, NARS Enthralled blush, and NARS Istria Lip Gloss. My skin still has some of it's summer warmth here, but as usual, my mildly pink undertone makes these swatches pull slightly warmer than they might look otherwise!

         I'm really excited to add this little NARSissist beauty to my collection! Not only do I love it's cute packaging, it's a practical, compact set that I can pack for the gym or on short trips. As I haven't had much time to shop for beauty as of late, I'm thankful to my friend for this thoughtful gift! It's nice to receive a much needed new infusion into my beauty routine.

         Thanks for reading! What palettes have you been loving lately? What NARS shades are you reaching for this fall?

Love, Dovey.

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 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!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush review + photos

             When I first started out with makeup, I remember that Bobbi Brown brushes were amongst my first major investments. Admittedly, the reason I started was because I love Bobbi's line (and they looked so nice photographed in the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual - yeah, I collect her books too!) However, they've worked and held up so well over the years (see my core collection here), I have to say it was a wonderful decision in retrospect!

           Periodically, I check Bobbi Brown online to see if new brushes pop up. I'd been crushing on the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush, a relatively new design which seemed to be getting excellent reviews online. You can imagine I was pretty excited to receive it to share with you today, courtesy of the folks at Bobbi Brown!

A full head of bristles... all soft, without poking!

         The Bobbi Brown Full Coverage brush has a full head of short, tightly packed bristles (see above). They're designed to be great for buffing foundation and providing a full-coverage, even finish. Though powder foundation is the initial designated media, the brush can be used with liquid foundations too!

         Of course, I tested the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Brush with all different formulas. I started with my usual liquid foundation, CHANEL Perfection Lumière by pumping small drops onto the brush head at a time, then blending over different portions of my face. (I suppose you could apply to the back of your hand first, but I prefer to skip that step). The brush worked beautifully to work in the liquid foundation. I liked that the brush itself didn't soak up a lot of the foundation and instead deposited it onto the face.

I had to share a quick snap of one of my favorite new plants! I love the color of the rubber plant's leaves --- as well as how it's supposed to help with air purification!

         I had similarly good results with my new Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick (review to come soon!) I used the foundation stick to 'draw' stripes on my face before blending it in with this brush. This full headed brush seems like a nice tool for blending in cream formulas, which sometimes require a little more buffing work than liquid.

        In terms of powder foundation (for which this brush was designed), the full head of bristles work well for buffing. I don't typically wear powder foundation alone, however I found that the brush worked well to distribute my finishing powder (CHANEL Poudre Universelle or Double Perfection Lumiere) over my liquid foundation. I felt that the short bristles were able to hold onto more, and therefore distribute more powder for more coverage on my face. It's kind of conveniently actually, as I can use the same brush for applying both liquid and powder foundation!

My Bobbi Brown foundation brushes : Face Blender, Foundation, and Full Coverage Face
         For reference, I've compared my new Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush to the other foundation brushes in my collection. Of note, both my Bobbi Brown Face Blender Brush and my Bobbi Brown Foundation brush date from before a recent redo of brush handle length. However, the heads should be the same!

         As you can see, the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush has much denser and shorter bristles than the Face Blender Brush. (Typically I find the latter to be better for sheer application of finishing powders or blush). The bristles are shorter and more similar in length to a Foundation Brush. The short, thick, handle is nicely shaped for using the brush perpendicular to the face.

        I'm really loving my multi-purpose Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Foundation Brush ($44) and have only positive things to say. It's a buffing brush, so I do think that it's well suited for those who regularly use cream or powder formulations. That said, I've been using it with my everyday liquid foundation as well. As mentioned above, a plus is that I can use the same brush for both liquid and powder foundation in succession (as an alternative to my usual Foundation Brush followed by the Face Blender Brush)! Overall, the Full Coverage Foundation Brush is a handy addition to my core collection; plus, I'm happy to see a great buffing brush added to Bobbi's lineup!

        The Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Foundation Brush is available online at Bobbi Brown (which I tend to like, for the nice samples and expanded color selection) and of course at counters nationwide.

       Thanks for reading! What Bobbi Brown brushes have you tried? What are your favorite foundation brushes?

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!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bobbi Brown blush in Nude Pink (29) and Pastel Pink (33) review + swatches

       I hope everyone's weekend got off to a great start! I managed to check off a few things on my to-do list, including an intense yoga session, picking up the Harper's Bazaar beauty issue, and planting the mini herb garden! (It's got flat-leaf parsely, rosemary, sweet mint, sweet basil, and lavender, in case you're curious). Having had such a great day, I figured what could be better to end on than typing up a blush post? Today I'm sharing my review of Bobbi Brown blush in Nude Pink (29) and Pastel Pink (33).

        If I recall correctly, the first blush I ever owned was Bobbi Brown's Desert Pink (which, by the way, is still a part of the permanent lineup). The brand has an amazing blush lineup, especially if you're talking natural, photo-friendly mattes. What I've noticed recently, are more light pink options - perfect if you're a light pink aficionada like me. When asked about what Bobbi Brown products I'd like to try, I had to go with Bobbi Brown blush in Nude Pink (29) and Pastel Pink (33)!

Love the Bobbi Brown palette system! The shade names always travel with the colors.
           Before getting into the colors themselves, I thought I'd mention the Bobbi Brown interchangeable palette system. To date, it's still my favorite customizeable palette system (after all, it's one of the originals). The colors easily pop in and out of their cases (see above) and what's nice is that the name label (on the back of each shade) travels with the product into the palette, so I can easily reference them.

          To give you an idea of size, I have palettes in 2,4, and 6 pan sizes. My mom has this awesome 9-pan palette that was a Neiman's limited edition from way back. How great would it be to have an entire 6-pan palette filled with Bobbi blushes? (It's next on my bucket list...)

          Bobbi Brown Nude Pink is described as the 'palest pink'. To be fair, it is one of the lightest shades in the lineup, but I'd probably say it's more of a clean, light pink. The formula is pigmented and smooth.

         Bobbi Brown Pastel Pink is one of the newer shades in the blush lineup. It's described as a 'light pink lilac'. I don't notice an overt lilac tones, but it definitely is a cool-leaning light pink. This has the same smooth pigmentation as above.

         I'm actually glad I have both blushes to show you, as they look quite similar at first glance. If you look below, it's easy to appreciate the difference between the two. Bobbi Brown Nude Pink is a touch warmer and perhaps more natural (hence nude), while Pastel Pink is cooler and touch brighter.

I think here, you can really notice the differences between Bobbi Brown Nude Pink and Pastel Pink!
            I've swatched both shades below, next to a couple of my favorite pinks. For the record, my arm is probably two shades tanner than usual, thanks to my recent trip to the Floriday Keys - so keep that in mind when comparing this to previous posts.

            Because I have a good amount of pink undertone, I tend to gravitate towards cool pink shades. Both NARS Gaiety and MAC Peony Petal (reviews linked) are among my everyday kind of pinks. (They look a bit stark here since swatched heavily on my tan...).  As you can see, Bobbi Brown Nude Pink and Pastel Pink are cool, but not as starkly cool as Gaiety and Peony Petal.

           I'd say the difference between the two is more pronounced (vs. in my swatches) when worn. Bobbi Brown Nude Pink has a more natural finish, while Bobbi Brown Pastel Pink is pinker and brighter. As you can tell from the swatches below, both have the natural feel that Bobbi is known for.

         Both Bobbi Brown blush in Nude Pink (29) and Pastel Pink (33) are gorgeous shades, especially if you're a fan of light pinks, like myself. I love how soft and natural both look, and can't wait to incorporate them into my routine. I'm really happy that Bobbi has added more light pink shades to the permanent collection. I've already got my eye on 'Pale Pink', 'Peony', and even my old favorite 'Desert Pink'!

       Thanks for reading! What Bobbi Brown blushes do you have in your collection? When it comes to blush, do you prefer pinks or peach/corals?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. I'm working on more of my new Bobbi Brown basics, so expect more in the near future!
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!