Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shu Uemura: Holiday 2010 haul, swatches, & review

sorry for the crap photo!

Here's what I hauled (some of this was free!):

Miracle Cherry blush tint
Pressed eyeshadow in P 595 Deep Emerald Green
Harmony Pink Lip Duo tint + gloss
High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil 
Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O sample (freebie)
Phyto-Black Lift firming anti-wrinkle cream sample (freebie - two of these!)
Face Architect foundation sample (freebie, not shown)

P 595 eyeshadow, Harmony Pink lip duo tint + gloss (the gloss is pretty much invisible - disappointing!), Miracle Cherry blush tint


I was really excited about their holiday collection this year - I'm a sucker for cute packaging! - and when I saw they had a free shipping promo going on, I couldn't resist.  Overall, I'm really pleased with my choices (and the freebies, too!).  The eyeshadow in P 595 in particular is AMAZING. I think this is a shadow that applies nicer when wet (I just wet my brush before applying), but the pigmentation is fantastic. I'm a huge fan of dark green eyeshadow, and this does not disappoint! For those who missed out on MAC's She Who Dares mineralized eyeshadow duo, I think this is a nice alternative to the green shade.  It's more pigmented and less bright, and the sparkle is less obvious.

The Harmony Pink lip duo tint + gloss is what I'd call a "nice to have" product.  The tint is a nice coral pink that reminds me of Illamasqua Obey when applied.  The gloss part, however, in the pan looks like a bright pink, but applies COMPLETELY sheer (can you see it in my swatch? Neither can I...).  I think it's a little too pricey when considering only 50% of the product is any good. I'd go for Illamasqua Obey unless you particularly like the packaging (which is pretty cute, if tricky to open).

The Miracle Cherry blush tint was definite purchased for the packaging! The palettes were too pricey for my liking, but I needed something with the reindeer girl on it, and this fit the bill. (Told you I'm a sucker!) I was pleasantly surprised with this one, though; it has great texture (it's a liquid gel blush) - very soft to the touch, and is very pigmented but blendable.  It gives a nice flushed, winter-cheek glow.  

As for the Cleansing Oil, I wanted it for the packaging, but I really like cleansing oils for removing makeup.  I've been using it every night since I got it to remove my makeup.  If you've never used a cleansing oil, you just pump the product into your hand and rub it into your skin (it gives a nice warming sensation), then remove  with a wet washcloth (I use tissue first on my eyes so I don't destroy the cloth).  My skin feels soft and refreshed afterwards. Aside from their eyelash curler, I'd say Shu Uemura is best-known for their cleansing oils - and it's clear to see why.  I definitely prefer this to MAC's Cleansing Oil, which I liked for removing makeup swatches and cleaning my hands after applying foundation with my fingers, but my face didn't like it much!

The samples were nice, too, and they were all pretty sizable portions, too. The Phyto-Black Lift cream has a light, clean lemon scent (like their lipsticks) and feels good on the skin, without making it oily or greasy. I've been using the cleansing oil as I used to use the MAC one - it has a nice cucumber scent (I'm scared to use it on my face for this reason, though! I tend to be sensitive to scented face products). The Face Architect foundation is a nice, full coverage, matte foundation.  I don't like full-coverage OR matte finishes in foundations, though, so it's not for me! It'd be worth sampling if you do like that, though!

Overall, I really like Shu Uemura products, but it sucks that US buyers are now limited to shopping on their website since they closed all US in-store locations. Who likes buying beauty products without seeing them in person first? However, I have a few products of theirs already in my stash that I really like (one of my all-time favorite blushes is M Peach 44, a gorgeous pale peach), so I wasn't too scared!  

Wow, this was a beefy post! If you've read it through, congrats, that's quite an accomplishment! haha I just really wanted to do an in-depth review, because I think Shu Uemura's a great brand, and it tends to get overlooked (by me, too!), and it's really challenging to find swatches and reviews of their products!

See you all soon,
<3 Jess

Monday, October 25, 2010

HAUL time! (Sephora, B&BW, Target, Forever21, shoes, books, movies)

Wow, it's been a loooong time since I've done a haul post.  This is all from the past month and a half or so, with some birthday presents and Chicago stuff in there, too. 

Pony necklace (Forever21), Barbie ornament (Hallmark), Peace Love & Juicy Couture rollerball, Ginger scalp care shampoo (Body Shop), Clinique Redness Solutions makeup, MUFE Mat Velvet +, Estee Lauder Peach Nuance blush

I'm going to exchange the MUFE Mat Velvet +, the finish is just too powdery matte for me, with not enough coverage.  I really like the Clinique Redness Solutions, though! The Estee Lauder blush is amaaazing, too. You can bet both will be in monthly faves. :)

Bath & Body Works (sale!)
Holly Wreath & Twisted Peppermint mini candles, Winter & Holly Wreath plug-ins
(got Pumpkin Patch, too, but it's currently in use...)

Nine West booties (I'm obsessed with these - can't wait to wear them on my days off!)

Target <3
bella by illume Vanilla Amber candle (repurchase - one of my faves), Kings & Queens Queen Elizabeth Sugar body butter, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

All Kings & Queens stuff was 50% off - guess that means they won't be selling it at Target anymore, which is a bummer 'cause I loooove this range! But the sale was great, because I've wanted the Sugar body butter for months but I didn't want to spent $14.99 - but I couldn't resist for half that! I kind of want to go back and get more stuff, because the prices are so good.  The body washes are about $4 each! Oh, in case you're interested, the Sugar range smells like pomegranate and honey - it's *gorgeous*! I've never smelled anything like it.

Forever21 sweatshirt

JCPenney (ana) sweaters 

The Iron Giant, Beauty and the Beast (fiiiiinally!), How to Train Your Dragon
(three of my favorite movies ever...),
Phyto Phytojoba shampoo, Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Philosophy Sugary Cinnamon Icing 3-in-1

I finished reading Firelight last week (read Mini-Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, too!) - really good book, excited to see what happens next! It's like Twilight with dragon shapeshifters.  Aaaawesome. ;) I'm going to have to do a post about Phyto - this shampoo is seriously amazing.  I don't even need a conditioner with this shampoo.  It's a little runny, but it smells amazing, and makes my hair soft, full, and frizz-free. Love it!

More to come!

Thanks for reading!
<3 Jess

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains haul

As with my monthly favorites post, I'm a little behind with this one, too!  I was really excited about the MAC Venomous Villains collection, which was released the first week of October. I've been itching to show you all what I managed to scoop up!

Evil Queen (Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs)
Oh So Fair beauty powder
Vainglorious eye shadow

Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians)
Innocence Beware lipstick

Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
She Who Dares mineralize eye shadow duo
Formidable! nail polish

Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)
French Quarter greasepaint stick

I've used everything LOADS since this package arrived, and I love it all! Not quite sure how to get the most out of the greasepaint stick, though - I used it as a base with She Who Dares once and liked it, but it applied kind of unevenly.  I'll have to play around with it some more - maybe I just need to find a better tool to apply it with?  If anyone knows, I'd love  your tips!

Be back soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

september favorites, um, a bit late!! oops!

For the most part, last month was all about loving things that I've had and loved and monthly-favorited already!  I already shared my new skincare loves, but here's the rest of what I loved last month (only three of the four were recent finds - one's a "shop my stash" re-discovery!).

The Body Shop Nutmeg and Vanilla body lotion (from Holiday '09)
this pairs nicely w/D&G The One or Estee Lauder Sensuous - my current favorite scents!

MAC Superslick Liquid Eye Liner in On the Hunt
along w/Smashbox's Liquid Liner Pen, this is my favorite eyeliner for doing the upper lashline -- great pigmentation, no smudging, and stays put all day

YSL Rouge Pur Couture in #6 Rose Bergamasque
I've been wearing this almost daily since I got it - it's a perfect nude, natural lip! Also has great staying power, with no caking around my inner lipline when my lips get dry (which happens a lot at work - lots of running around and talking!) -- love that the tube doubles as a mirror, too!

OPI nail polish in Ski Teal We Drop
I loooove this shade! Not much more to say about it!

wearing the lipstick, eyeliner, and nail polish :)

Thanks for reading - see you soon!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

my chicago trip - w/lots of pics! :)

Hi guys! Sorry for my long absence - I worked a 7-day week before my 5-day trip to Chicago two weeks ago, and then when I got back I got right back to working and just got lazy!!  Anyways, thought you might like to see some pics from the trip.  I planned to do a few FOTDs, but now I forgot what products I used - oops!

The trip was awesome, as are ALL my trips to Chicago (sometimes I think about moving back....). I was there for my cousin Christie's wedding, so lots of quality family time was to be had! :) The weather was *perfect* as well - beautiful leaves falling (that doesn't happen in Orlando!) and warm temperatures.  I'm just generally really happy from October through the beginning of January - I love fall/winter holidays!

I spent the first day in St. Charles w/my parents.  The second day was the wedding - reading at a park w/Dad, eating hot dogs at Portillos, helping my aunt Connie & Mom set up decorations for the wedding... with lots of hanging out in my hotel room in between! The third day I visited my grandparents, had lunch w/my best girlfriend since I was born - my cousin Amy (found out she's preggers!! I was a bridesmaid in her wedding back in July), then the family got together at my aunt Laura's for a dinner party (tacos!).  The fourth day I spent with my parents, shopping at Woodfield Mall, lunch at Cheesecake Factory, going to see The Social Network (really good - definitely lusting after Andrew Garfield now!), and ordering room service for dinner because Cheesecake Factory had us feeling full until 10 PM!!  The fifth day was my last - my parents and I visited my brother and his girlfriend downtown and had lunch with them at the Sit-Down, a family-run restaurant w/great sushi and sandwiches.  Then it was time to head to Midway for my flight home... sad goodbyes, etc.... but Mom, Dad, and possibly Jonathan will be visiting for Christmas, and I'm sure I'll be a busy girl until then!

Sorry for all the rambling about the day-to-day stuff -- it's more for my own memory preservation! lol

Avocado melt - AMAZING

cute children's books from a little bookshop in St. Charles

a little Target hauling...

bella by illume Falling Leaves candle - I love seasonal scents!!

dress: Gap, sweater: Ann Taylor Loft, scarf: Target, 
flats: Vivienne Westwood/Melissa Anglomania, watch: Michael Kors

FOTD for the wedding...

this is what I call the MK&A duck-lip smile! lol

I spent a lot of the wedding day in the hotel room - nice view, though!

my aunt took this pic & the one below - love this one!

my cousins Sarah, Christie, & Amy w/their men

w/my grandpa :)

w/my bro & Amy (she didn't know she was preggers till the next day!)

w/my aunt Connie

w/Mom, Dad, little bro, & his g/f Kim

w/Amy's stepdaughter Kaley (& Barbie)

Rocky & his baby taking a nap (so cute!)
Cheyenne - the meowiest kitty ever (and softest!)

another FOTD...

cute caricature of my bro & his gf w/their doggy

I did a bit of hauling at Woodfield, too, but more on that later!  I'm sure I'll see you all soon - hope you're having a great fall!


Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm loving Origins skincare! (not being paid to say this! lol)

So, just wanted to do a quick "product rave"-type post to tell you all how much I'm loving Origins skincare products.  Well, two in particular (the only two I have!): the Brighter by Nature high-potency brightening peel with fruit acids, and A Perfect World antioxidant moisture with White Tea.

Origins A Perfect World moisturizer
(nails are Essie Sew Psyched!)

The Brighter by Nature peel is an exfoliating product in the form of thin cotton pads that pretty much look like astringent pads.  I've been using it twice a week, as the packaging recommends, after I cleanse my face at night (with Aveeno Positively Radiant daily cleansing pads - I love this!).

Origins Brighter by Nature peel (in the center!)

I follow with the Perfect World moisturizer (which I've also been using pre-makeup during the day).  It's a rich and creamy consistency that feels amazing on the skin. It has a nice scent of orange, bergamot, and spearmint, which I find kind of relaxing. My skin is combination, if you're interested (dry cheeks, oily t-zone)!

One of the great things about Origins is that it's GREAT for sensitive skin types.  I never realized my skin was sensitive until I really got into makeup and noticed certain products irritate my skin and cause breakouts.  Origins products are plant-based, organic, and contain natural essential oils. Good stuff!

After only ONE USE of the Brighter by Nature peel, the breakout I was experiencing at the time around my jawline was completely gone the following morning. I've also noticed the redness and scarring in my cheeks is less visible, and my skin just feels smoother in general. I've been using it for about two weeks now, and along with the moisturizer, I have not had ANY breakouts!

a recent pic, just to show some "skin".. ;)

I do think it's a good idea to change up your skincare routine every once in a while, and I definitely recommend Origins if you're looking for a change!  They sell their products on their website ( and in stand-alone shops. I made my purchases at Macy's Origins counter and on (LOVE this "e-tailer" - always have coupons and great service).

Oh, and in case your interested, here are some of the other skincare products I use and love:

+ Soap & Glory Clean Mary cleansing milk (almost daily)
+ Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash (once or twice a week)
+ Aveeno Positively Radiant daily cleansing pads
+ Boots Expert Sensitive Cleansing & Toning wipes (when I'm feeling lazy!)
+ Pond's Cold Cream (the one w/the green lid; my absolute fave eye makeup remover EVER...)
+ Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (for the occasional pimple - which I've had none of lately!)
+ Soap & Glory The Fab Pore facial peel mask (once in a while - my fave mask)
+ Shea Moisture African Black Soap shea butter wash (this keeps my body soft & clear!)

What skincare stuff are you using and loving - or hating?  One product I hate is St. Ives Apricot Scrub - breaks me out horribly!!

By the way, My MAC Venomous Villains order arrives tomorrow! Eeeee, can't wait!! Surely a post will come soon....

Love you guys!