Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some of The Best Bargain Beauty Brands

Psst, Want To Know A Secret? You don't have to spend a fortune to look like a fortune. Okay, so maybe it's not a secret as much as a true statement. It's happened to the best of us--we're innocently browsing at a beauty counter and before you know it, we've spent half our paycheck on mascara and eye cream alone (really, never?).

I know I focus a lot on high end brands and luxury cosmetic lines, but that doesn't mean I'm not an equal opportunist when it comes to drug store brands.

It would be nearly impossible (unless you had an unlimited discretionary income) to solely use high end brands and to ignore their lesser, but equally fabulous drug store counterparts. While frequenting Target, I pick up some great beauty finds and thought I would pass them onto you, my readers.

  • Cetaphil- Cetaphil makes a terrific face wash, especially, for all you sensitive-skinned girls out there. It's gentle enough to use on babies and the fact that I use it on my 19 month old should speak volumes!  I love that its milky and non-irritating.

Cetaphil's Gentle Cleanser
    • Neutrogena - Neutrogena's Norweigan Formula Hand Cream, one of the last things I do before drifting off to la la land is slather this stuff all over my hands. When I awake I have well moisturized hands.  

      • Burt's Bee's - I couldn't make it through the day without a little lovin' from my Burt's Bee's lip balm (mentioned in a previous post here), but I've also used their leg cream. The Mama Bee Leg Relief Cream helped me immensely while pregnant, and  I'm not going to lie...this stuff is pretty terrific! Come to think of it, I miss those daily foot rubs from the hubby (I'm gonna have to bug him for one tonight).     
      Burt's Bee Leg & Foot Cream
        • Jergen's - Jergen's Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer - on any given day if you were to sneak a peek into my bathroom cupboard you would find a bottle of this stuff lying around. I'm naturally pale, and don't want to scare someone with how alarmingly white my legs have become after being covered up for winter. So if I know I'm going to expose my legs I have the decency apply this moisturizer just a couple of days beforehand and my legs magically have color without the harmful effects of the sun. Brillant!  
        • Crest Whitestrips - what bargain beauty list would be complete without a shout out to these gems? They are no mess, no fuss and best of all really get the job done (in about 3 weeks). I've used them a couple of times now, and will not abandon my love of them for helping me keep my teeth their whitest. I use this in conjunction with Crest 3D White Multi-Care Whitening Rinse for best results. What I really like about this rinse is that unlike other mouthwashes, it is not colored. It leaves my teeth feeling so "fresh and so clean, clean" and tastes refreshingly minty. Yum!
        Mouth Wash and Crest Whitestrips

          I hope these drug-store recommendations save you a few pennies so you can splurge where it really counts (look for those recommendations in a future post).

          Wednesday, March 30, 2011


          Springtime flowers from Descanso Gardens
          Now that Spring is here, do you find yourself changing your makeup look or routine? Have you stashed away those red nail polishes from Christmas to more fully embrace the brights being ushered in for Spring? Speaking of nail polishes, a fun color I stumbled upon was Butter London's Snog (a bright, in-your-face fushia). I love how happy it is just in the bottle, and it definitely makes a statement while on your fingers or toes.


          Being a resident of So. California where it is not uncommon to have 80 degree days in January, I know we are lucky that we don't have to suffer through three long months of gray (I lived in Pennsylvania, been there, done that). With the sunshine, I find we can get away with more color during the winter months.

          One switch I make is abandoning my heavier foundation and opting for instead my La Mer The SPF 18 Fluid Tint in light. I apply this over my moisturizer and regular SPF. I like that it provides sheer to light coverage while still giving myself some color. I still use a separate SPF of 30 because I don't think an SPF of 18 is adequate, especially here in sunny CA.

          Fluid Tint

          I also have been reaching for my Le Metier De Beaute Blushing Bronzed Duet in Romeo and Juliet more and more. I like that this one compact conveniently holds both a bronzer and blush. I rely on the bronzer to fill in any areas that the fluid tint may have missed for a more balanced application. The blush is also a really pretty shade of pink, flattering to my usual pale NW20 skin.

          'Romeo & Juliet' Bronzer Duo

          Another substitution I make for Spring is the way I control shine, especially in my t-zone. I ditch my powder for blotting papers. During the spring and summer months, I want my skin to shine through, not be buried under layers of foundation, but still control shine. I find blotting papers are an excellent solution for this! I buy my Blot Film from the MAC counter for $13.50.

          Blotting Papers

          I'm a lipgloss kind of girl. I've never been fond of lipstick and liner so nothing has changed in that arena. I do stash my mauve and taupe glosses from Winter and instead grab bright pinks, corals, and baby pink lipglosses. Doesn't this Chantecaille lipgloss scream Spring?!?

          Chantecaille Brillant Gloss in "Love"

          How does your beauty routine change with the seasons? 

          Tuesday, March 29, 2011

          Staples everyone girl should have (or want)

          Ok, we all want to know the products that we should have in our stash to make us look more Cindy Crawford less (fill in the blank to whoever you would not want to look like). So what are these magic products? Well, stop reading. I don't know, but if I did, you can bet I would be a gazillionaire. Admit it, I had you going for a nanosecond. Here is a list, however, of what I deem to be great products (take that however you want) to add to your arsenal:

          A dependable sun screen

          We all know how damaging the sun can be, so for me (a rosacea sufferer) sunscreen is paramount. There are two I really love.  One I really love is La Mer's The SPF 30 UV Protecting Fluid. It's light, non-greasy, absorbs well and doesn't cake my makeup after applying it (I hate when that happens).  It retails for $65.00 and is pricey, but seriously this stuff lasts forever and you only need a little to go a long way. Besides, my motto is "you only have one face". What good is buying all this makeup if your skin doesn't look good? I don't spend a lot of time outdoors so the SPF of 30 is adequate for me. If you need a little more oomph and SPF power, another great sunscreen is Skinceutical's Sport Defense SPF 45. This stuff is water and sweat resistant (perfect for trips to the beach), but does go on heavier than say La Mer's SPF.
          SPF 30
          A really good, faithful concealer 

          I happen to l-o-v-e La Mer's The Radiant Concealer with SPF 25. This is the closest thing I have found to a magic eraser. I love that I can dab some on any redness around my nose, and apply it to my under eyes and get away without having to do full on foundation (on a good day). I purchased this concealer at for $65.00. I prefer to order LaMer online, because, not only do they offer complimentary shipping, but they also include two samples with every order. Often they run promotions throwing in a generous sized sample (a terrific way to trial a new product without the commitment). Plus, you can see it comes with this concealer brush saving you--if you do not already have one.

          Concealer in 'Porcelain'

          A blush that makes you look you like you are not five minutes from death's door 

          I love, love, love Edward Bess' compact rouge in 'Love Affair'. For $38.00 this little baby is slim enough to fit into your makeup bag without taking over and has a mirror attached! I like to dab a little on the apples of my cheeks and blend for a very pretty, flushed look. You can order Edward Bess from Neiman Marcus.

          Compact Rouge in 'Love Affair'

          The perfect lip balm

          Hello, my name is Jenn, and I am a chapstickaholic. I've tried lots of lip balms ranging from the high end (La Mer), to the mid-range (Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment), to the drugstore variety (Burt's Bees) and the one I keep coming back to is Burt's Bees. Honestly, price point wise, nobody has anything on Burt's Bees. I buy mine at Target for $5.49 for a two pack! I know Burt's Bees will appeal to those who are all about natural cosmetics, this stuff is 100% natural and they are against animal testing (double woohoo!). Who doesn't love that?
          Lip Balm

          Mascara that gives the illusion you are wearing false eyelashes 

          I guess I could always just wear false eyelashes, but a). I'm far too lazy, and b). my 19 month old would not be impressed (trust me). So to save me the hassle from actually wearing fake eyelashes, I turn to Le Metier De Beaute's Anamorphic Lash Mascara (for hazel eyes the aubergine color is terrific at bringing out the green). When the makeup artist first applied this to my eyes, I was floored at how good they looked. You can find this at Neiman Marcus for $34.00.

          Mascara in Aubergine 

          Don't forget your eyebrows!

          Lastly, I am obsessed with great eyebrows, but unfortunately, I was not blessed with them. How I would kill for Camilla Belle's eyebrows! I'm dying just looking at her picture.

          Camilla Belle

           Anyways, I way I try to achieve great eyebrows is by using an eyebrow gel everyday. They come in a range of colors, but I prefer the clear, that way you don't have to worry about it blurring outside your natural eyebrow arch and looking unnatural. The one I like best is Anastasia's Clear Brow Gel for $21.00, found at Nordstrom's. I like the way it holds up for most of the day and doesn't flake. Really, people, Anastasia has built a career around eyebrows, she knows what she is talking about. Here's a tip - if you are in a jam and find yourself without any brow gel, simply spray hairspray onto an old toothbrush and brush the hairs up and away--viola instant eye brow gel.

          Brow Gel in Clear

          What are your must haves? I love to hear about new products!

          Monday, March 28, 2011

          My nail polish storage solution

          Nail Storage

          With my baby toddler sleeping peacefully and armed with Chamomile tea, I am ready to do some blogging; hope you all are enjoying your Monday....

          In a way, this could be considered part two of my cosmetic storage post. Organization is an area I think we all could strive to be better at and our cosmetic's area should be no exception. It was, ironically, pointed out to me that I should not store my nail polishes sideways by my husband of all people (how he knew that I would seriously like to know). I was previously storing them on their side in my Clear Cube (see my previous post here), so off I went in search of more appropriate storage.

          I saw this nail polish organizer at The Container Store and quickly snatched it up as it was the last one in the whole store (serendipity, I tell ya)! It retails for $5.99. According to the woman helping me, it was the only organizer in the store directly marketed for polishes. As a result, these things sell out quickly.

          As you can see, it conforms well to my Chanel, Deborah Lippmann, and Dior brand nail polishes. Please note, this does not hold the OPI, Essie, Butter London, or Le Metier De Beaute nail polishes because this is solely for cubed nail polishes. I'm a bit disappointed that it does not accomodate the Butter London polishes as I have a couple different ones. I think this is a nifty solution to an otherwise odd storage problem. I do still have nine nail polishes left in the lurch, so this hasn't solved my nail polish storage quandry completely, but it is a good start. How do you all store your nail polishes? I'd love some more suggestions!   

          Sunday, March 27, 2011

          My Cosmetic Storage Solution - The Clear Cube

          The Clear Cube
          I fell in love with the Clear Cube after spotting it on numerous episodes of "Keeping up with the Kardashians". I loved the look of the acrylic and thought it was a great way to show off one's collection while still maintaining a neat appearance. I for one, am a huge fan of packaging. Why would I want to shove all that pretty packaging into a drawer only for it to see the light of day when applying it? I have always strived to keep my collection streamlined and the fact that I can see all my makeup reminds me of all the makeup I already have (a great feature) preventing me from further buying more makeup (wink, wink). I would obsessively watch LisalisaD1's video on YouTube showcasing her Clear Cube and she really deserves the blame credit for helping me decide to bite the bullet and buy one. So with my birthday money in hand last year, I purchased it. Having owned it now for a little over 8 months, it really is true love. The craftsmanship of the Clear Cube is unparalleled; it is very sturdy and well made.  You can clearly see this baby holds a helluva lot of makeup, perfect for me someone...hopelessly devoted to makeup (and loving every moment of it)!

          You can purchase the Clear Cube here, and if you have questions, contact Sylva (I've dealt with her twice before; she is super nice and helpful). This retails for $290 plus tax if you are a resident of CA (like me) and/or shipping costs (I live locally and was able to pick it up in person saving me a little $, yay!). The inserts retail for $9.99 a piece and if you like the look of a top handle, add an additional $2.50.  

          Here are closeups of the way I've organized my Clear Cube. I opted for two different inserts: the grid and the x-insert. I find the grid is helpful with keeping my nail polishes in order (I know the optimal storage solution for nail polish is to store them upright, so I'm actually looking for a nail polish holder. In the mean time this is how they are stored) and I use the x-insert for my lipglosses.

          For all you voyeurs out there (yeah, I'm talking about you) here are closeups of the way I've organized my Clear Cube:

          My MAC eye shadows

          My Le Metier & Chanel eye shadows along with eye shadow base

          More Chanel eye shadows, brow gel, and eye brow stuff

          My lipsticks & glosses

          My nail polish collection

          A view of my vanity

          Saturday, March 26, 2011

          The Le Metier De Beaute Crochet Kaleidoscope Review

          To delve a little further into my obsession love for all things Le Metier De Beaute I thought I would give you a closer look at their Neiman Marcus online only kaleidoscope, named 'Tunisian Trist'. Once I saw this was finally available to purchase, I did not hesitate. I already possess several of their kaleidoscopes and have yet to be disappointed. I love the way they thoughtfully put colors together and the way they blend so effortlessly into each other creating a gorgeous effect. For me personally, there always seems to be one color I'm a little hesitant about--and in this kaleidoscope it was nutmeg. However, I shouldn't have been worried; once applied with the other colors, it is really a stunning result. I think it is very appropriate for spring and looks very natural (basically your eyes, only better).

          Lightly swatched with my finger

          These swatches were taken in the direct sunlight, working its way from top to bottom. The last shade on the right is all the colors blended together, or what Le Metier calls couches de couleur (the layering of colors).

          Here is a little background information on Le Metier De Beaute, translated to mean "the craft of beauty".  They are a high end luxury brand found in Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, select Nordstroms and online at,, and

          Here are some close up pictures of the individual colors. The kaleidoscope contains:
          • Refresh Eye Brightening & Setting Powder
          • Rose Champagne Eye Shadow
          • Nutmeg Eye Shadow
          • Bordeaux Eye Shadow
          Eye shadows in the Kaleidoscope in clockwise order

          Refresh Eye Brightening and Setting Powder
          Rose Champagne



          What it looks like once layered all together

          At $95.00, I don't take this purchase lightly. I do, however, recognize that one of their shadows sell for $30.00, so if you were to buy each shade individually this kit would normally cost you $120.00. A true savings indeed! That kind of math I can do, no problem.

          This kit was designed by genius, Mikey Castillo, Director of makeup for Le Metier and is a limited edition. You know what that means, folks, once it's gone it's...gone!

          Bottom line, I love this kit for spring. I like the convenience of having the shades together and the fact that is has a mirror for touchups is a bonus. It's spring and love is in the air!

          Friday, March 25, 2011

          Welcome to my blog!

          Wow, after much deliberation and thought, I have a blog! There are plenty of beauty blogs out there, I know I read stalk them daily to see if they have updated their posts. Let me introduce myself so we can get to know each other a little better, shall I? I love makeup and most things makeup tools (hello my Clarisonic brush I'm talking about you), skincare (I'm a La Mer devotee) and high end cosmetics (like Le Metier De Beaute much to my hubby's and wallet's dismay).

          I'm not always makeup minded; it's hard to muster up the energy to apply your aubergine mascara when you know your day is going to consist of reading Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for the 14th time to my 19 month old daughter. Or remember to put on concealer under your eyes when also wondering how one begins potty training (no, seriously, how do you potty train?).  In fact,  being a mom to my daughter is part of the reason I'm starting this blog. After devoting time to her and my hubby, I want something for me--a creative outlet: a world that I can escape to filled with images of interlocking CC's on my compact, or a beautiful pink gloss glistening in its tube and go back to being that girly girl I am deep down inside.

          Onto my favorite makeup brand, I swear if I were Superman, Le Metier De Beaute would be my Kryponite. I don't think I have the willpower to walk past the counter without whipping out my faithful credit card and saying "CHARGE IT".  I love the line, and the fact that they seem exclusive adds to their allure in my mind. It is no wonder why Le Metier is fastly becoming the darling of fellow beauty bloggers; they deliver stellar products with sleek packaging -- a true win-win. Yes, I am a sucker for great packaging. What is it about holding a chunky gold tube of YSL that just gets the heart beating?

          I hope you continue to join me on my beauty blogging journey. Be patient as I learn to navigate the blogging world and tell me what it is that fascinates you the most about makeup? I think for me it is the transformative power one lip gloss can provide. Let's face it, when you look good, you feel good!