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Review and Giveaway: COVERGIRL LashPerfection™ Mascara

I remember my mom allowing me to start wearing makeup in 7th grade. Not a lot, a bit of gray liner, some soft, pink lipstick, and mascara. I loved how this little bit of makeup could completely change my look — distract one from what I thought to be a large nose, make my lips look fuller, and give me long lashes like my younger sister. As I got older, I got more creative with my makeup — a strong lip would make me transform me into Rita Hayworth, a smoky eye turned me into a sex kitten, dewy skin and I felt years younger.

When I worked as a personal shopper, I won a makeover at our company convention. They cut off a good 10” of my hair, which was life-changing. But more life-changing was the makeup application — the artist used brushes in shapes I had never seen before, put shimmery, lemon shadow on my eyes, and even mixed shadow with gloss for my lip color. I was so inspired to get even more out of the box, treating my face like a canvas and the makeup as my paint. I was shocked by the final product of the makeover, but so inspired that I purchased a set of new cosmetic brushes that very weekend.

My sister putting the final touches on my makeup before going down the aisle

When planning my wedding, deciding on my makeup was just as important as deciding on my dress. I knew that makeup would complete the entire look, make me feel confident, feminine, and beautiful on my Big Day. I wore liquid liner and lots of mascara to perfectly complement my silk shantung gown and fingertip veil and loved the whole effect.

For me, makeup choices are just as important as my shoe choices or what necklace I paired with an outfit — makeup is the ultimate accessory. With makeup I feel more polished, I feel my look is complete.

If you are a regular reader of Wardrobe Oxygen, you know my favorite type of makeup is mascara. I feel naked without it! So when I got the opportunity to try the new COVERGIRL LashPerfection™ Mascara, I was so excited!

Usually, I am a “the more the better” sort of gal when it comes to lashes. I want them thick, I want them long, I want them full. I want to look as though I am wearing false lashes. However, this past summer I had been wishing for a more natural look that would go with cotton sundresses, sandals, and shorts. I was achieving that by wiping my mascara wand prior to application, but I wasn’t always thrilled with the results. It’s as though COVERGIRL was reading my mind when they created COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara!

I received a tube of black, which is the only color I wear for mascara. The brush is very stiff, almost feels like a comb instead of a brush. The bristles are spaced nicely to wiggle between each lash. After curling my lashes, I applied one coat and was impressed with the results — my lashes were darkened and looked miles long. That being said, they looked completely natural, as though I was born with gorgeous long lashes (just like my sister)!

My lashes with COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara

I applied a second coat, and then a third and was pleased with how well it layered — it didn’t give me spider lashes, just darker and thicker. I even wore this mascara to an outdoor concert, and the mascara held up through the humidity and heat and never irritated my contacts-wearing eyes. COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara is a fantastic day mascara, giving long, lovely lashes without clumps. With a few more layers, it would also be smashing for after-hours events.

Well here’s your chance to try this mascara out! BlogHer is offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 gift certificate to (one of my favorite online stores). Plenty of moolah to try out COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara or any personal care product that carries!

How to Enter:
Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available hereEnter between October 4th and November 4th, 2011. Also be sure to check out the BlogHer Promotions & Prizes Page!

While we’re on the subject of make-up and looking great, you might want to check out the “Looking Your Best” posts in the Life Well Lived section of There are some great application tips and ideas for switching up your look for fall!

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Orange merino scoopneck from Marshall’s, tan tweedy trousers from Ann Taylor, black booties from Sudini, white gold and diamond solitaire necklace and studs from Diamond Nexus Labs, silver cuff.

Hair was washed and conditioned night before and dried while sleeping. This morning hit the bedhead with the curling iron and then some Jonathan Silky Dirt to set.

Makeup is philosophy’s The Present, L’Oreal true Match concealer in W1-3, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – the ivory over the lid, CoverGirl LashBlast in black on curled lashes, Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line, Revlon ColorStay lip color in Real Raisin.


Black and ivory blouse from Banana Republic, black and ivory “gypsy” skirt from Marshall’s, black croco belt with pave buckle from Express, white lace trimmed Bobby socks from Target, black patent leather Mary Janes from Nine West, black and metal earrings from a boutique at Rehoboth Beach, silver necklaces from H&M, silver cuff, black lace gloves from hot Topic, purple glasses from Gucci.

Hair was washed and conditioned, Sexy Straight Hair’s Shine On! and pureology’s amplifier added while wet and blwon dry with a paddle brush. A bit of backcombing for lift.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Body Shop eyecolor in beige, CoverGirl LashBlast mascara in black, Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line and on lips is Revlon ColorStay Lip Color in Red Velvet.

Today is a big day at work – we have a lunch for a new coworker and to finally celebrate my joining the company, and this afternoon we have a cocktail reception to welcome the new Director for our entire office. I wanted to ensure I gave the very best impression, I think the lace of my gloves matching the lace of my socks will really do it!


Black merino shift from Banana Republic, black tights from Target, black heeled oxfords from BCBGirls, silver cuff and hoops.

Hair was washed and conditioned, a bit of Jonathan Silky Dirt added by twirling around wet sections. hair scrunched and allowed to air dry about 60%. Then dried with diffuser.

Makeup is philosophy The Present primer, Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, a very small amount of philosophy The Supernatural in Beige around eyes and nose, Nars blush in Orgasm, Sephora chubby eye pencil in gray, Body Shop eye color in Slate on lid and Soft Black in crease, lashes curled and two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black and one of Imju Fiberwig. On lips is Sephora lip gloss in Think Pink.

The weekend was pretty uneventful. Sunday we went for a hike and then had a friend over to make a fire in the chimenea, drink a few beers while enjoying the day and watched a movie. today is another gorgeous day and a good one to come in late (I had a dentist appointment) and take a slow walk to the office, and go out for lunch!


It is going to be around 80 degrees today! I went to work without a coat! I LOVE this weather, I just hate that it will get cold again tomorrow.

Red crepe jersey dress from Maggy London, black tights from Target, black patent Mary Janes with red heels from Nine West.

Hair was washed with my husband’s cheap 2-in-1 because I am getting my hair colored tonight and want to save the pureology for when it’s finished. No product, dried with the Croc straightening wet-to-dry iron.

Makeup is Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners and along brow bone and khaki on lid. Lashes curled and two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black and a medium line of Maybelline UltraLiner in black. On lips is Revlon ColorStay lip color in Real Raisin.


Look familiar? Yeah, I pretty much took off last night’s outfit, folded it on my bureau and put it back on today. It didn’t get dirty and well… I didn’t do all my laundry this weekend!

Hair was washed, a small amount of Jonathan Silky Dirt and blown straight with a paddle brush.

Makeup is Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, Afterglow Mineral foundation in Bisque, their Organic Glow bronzer in Medium and Natural Lip Gloss in Bellla, CoverGirl Lash Blast in Black with Imju Fiberwig over it, bit of Body Shop Eye Definer in black.

I cannot rave enough about the Jonathan Product Shower Filter; my hair is so smooth and shiny and happy! I just sit and pet my hair while at work. Funny thing is, if I use my old amount of product, my hair gets really greasy and gummy. Saturday night I tried to get more volume with the Root Lift, but it just made it heavy and Sunday it was gross to touch. Before the filter, I wouldn’t have had that sort of issue.


Today I knew it was going to snow and possibly be icy; also had to get to work early because a platform I use for my job was being wacko last night and I couldn’t get my tasks completed before leaving work. And… my feet hurt from yesterday and wanted something comfy.

Burgundy merino shift from Banana Republic (this is a week of red), black thermal top from Old Navy, black heavy tights from Target, tan “Bern” boots from Duo, silver cuff.

Hair was washed and conditioned the night before and a bit of curling mousse from Got2B was added. This morning, took large sections around the curling iron and used the iron to straighten bangs. Finger comb.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners and along brow bone, khaki on lid, chocolate in crease and along lash lines. Lashes curled and applied CoverGirl LashBlast in black. On lips is Nars lipcolor in Dolce Vita.


Yet another warm day in DC. Didn’t even wear a coat, just brought along my pashmina for the commute.

Green and ivory print silk shirtdress from Banana Republic, brown suede slouchy boots from Silhouettes, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren, gold hoops and necklace.

Hair is second day, a few pieces twirled around a curling iron and then finger-combed. a touch of Jonathan Silky Dirt to set.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit That Gal on cheekbones, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon colorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners, olive on lid and along lash lines. Lashes curled, two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black, small amount of black pencil (Body Shop) along lower lash line; lips is Revlon Shiny Sheers in Sheer Cocoa Glaze.


Brown merino 3/4 sleeve v-neck sweater from Gap, gray tab-front trousers from Limited (quick story, haven’t worn these pants since my last job that I left 2 years ago. they fit again!). Brown peep toe pumps with wood heel from Maripe, thin gold hoops from Diva, gold chain from Express, looped once.

Hair washed, not conditioned because I realzied I hadn’t when I was already dried off. I added some of the Sexy Straight Hair gloss mixed with Nexxus Designing Texxtur (small amount of both) and then blew straight.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3, concealer in W4-5, Body Shop bronzer in light, Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral, CoverGirl Lash Exact mascara in black, and on lips is some L’Oreal anti-feathering stuff I have used before in a plum shade. Will report back later on the exact name for I left it at home.

This Weekend

Saturday began with yoga, as usual. After stopped by the local cafe for lunch with my mom.

Jade green scoop tee from Gap, black exercise pants from ProSpirit, white socks, black “Chucks.”

Hair was second day, just brushed.

Makeup is Afterglow Mineral foundation in Bisque, their Organic Glow bronzer in Medium and Natural Lip Gloss in Bellla (product review this week).

That evening was my company’s post-holiday party. It was at an historic DC restaurant and was a lovely time.

Black wool blend sheath from Banana Republic/eBay, leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, long gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren, gold hoops.

Hair was washed and conditioned, pureology Root Lift and a bit of Jonathan Silky Dirt while damp, blown straight and some more Jonathan Silky Dirt on dry hair for shine and separation.

Makeup is Smashbox Photo Finish primer, L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3 as concealer, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Body Shop eyecolor in Slate over lid, soft black in crease and along lash lines, Body Shop Eye Definer in black along both lash lines, lashes curled and Cover Girl Lash Blast in black applied with two coats of Imju Fiberwig over it. Lips is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Glossy Rose.

Sunday I got a lot of chores at home completed, and then headed to Annapolis to our friends’ house for a Superbowl party.

Black thermal long-sleeved top from Old Navy, black merino shift from Banana Republic, tan “Bern” boots from Duo, black coral necklace from Mexico, silver hoops.

Hair is second day, brushed and the bangs smoothed with the dryer and a round brush.

Makeup is philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Afterglow Cosmetics Natural Lipgloss in Bella, Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line, CoverGirl Lash Blast in Black with a coat of Imju Fiberwig over it.

The Weekend

Friday night we went to dinner with very good friends of ours. Had a wait for our table, so we went next door to the cigar shop; the boys got some cigars to puff (it was nice enough to be outside) and the wife and I chatted about the upcoming wedding of her sister-in-law (you can’t pull me away from wedding talk!). The place was really lovely – a new joint we hadn’t yet visited. After we hung out at Starbucks until they had to get home and relieve the babysitter. Ah, the wild and crazy life of adults!

Saturday started with yoga as usual, then a few errands. In the afternoon my husband’s cousin came over for a game of Rockband and then we three headed to DC to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the 9:30 Club. There we met up with our good friends and had a great time. I only knew their music vaguely… but after that performance I am a FAN!

Hair was washed and conditioned in a rush and to the sounds of Rockband. Added a touch of Jonathan Silky Dirt while damp, blew it straight with a paddle brush and a round brush for the bangs and ends.

Dressed in a rush as well; black thermal top from Old Navy, burgundy merino shift from Banana Republic, tan “Bern” boots from Duo, silver hoops and cuff.

Makeup was Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners, khaki on lid, chocolate in crease and along lash lines. Lashes curled and two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black. On lips is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Glossy Rose.

Sunday, we did a whole lot of nothing, and it was great! We watched a few episodes from Season 3 Lost that my husband missed, a Netflix movie (Curse of the Golden Flower), took a nap, cleaned a bit, had Chinese for take-out… very relaxing and lovely. No photo outfits because seeing me in a black tank and pink-leopard-print flannel PJ pants ain’t so exciting…

Ask Allie: Office Beauty

I am about to start my first internship in D.C. this fall and can’t wait. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for subtle office-appropriate lipstick? Preferably something by Revlon or an inexpensive brand. I love wearing red lipstick but don’t want to look too crazy in the office. Thank you!

Red lipstick doesn’t necessarily look crazy if you do it right. I love Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters for they provide sheer color that you can layer for strong pigment – one swipe of Cherry Tart is cheery without stopping traffic; add a few more layers for drinks after work. I also like matte reds for the office – they may have the pop of color but don’t have the added shine to really call attention to your face – Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains are a great budget-friendly option that can let you wear color without the color wearing you.

For at least the first week though, I would steer clear of a bold lip. Get a feel for your office culture. Choosing a brownish pink is a wise choice – something similar to your natural lip color yet a bit darker or more intense. A shade that has mauve, dusty, or natural in it is a good choice. CoverGirl Continuous Lipcolor is a great budget-friendly lipstick that will last through your morning cup of coffee without drying out your lips; Iced Mauve and It’s Your Mauve are great choices for women with fair to medium complexions that are neutral to cool in tone.

Finally, I am a big fan of Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms and now own four different colors. Rose is a sheer red that is playful yet office-appropriate, Red Dahlia is more of a sheer wine, Hibiscus is a sheer candy pink, Tiger Lily is a warm neutral that looks fantastic with a hint of a tan.

You often wear very bold makeup at work. I can’t imagine smokey eye or magenta lips in my office yet you do it and from what I assume you have a managerial position at your company. Is such makeup now acceptable in the workplace?

Each office environment is different. I work in a very relaxed environment where people are free to show their personal style as long as it is within the dress code guidelines. I also work in a position where I don’t meet with clients every day and only interact with my teammates.

Before you decide whether to wear a smoky eye or bold lip in your office, take a look around. Are there any colleagues who wear bold fashion? How are they perceived by upper management? Do they get the respect they deserve?

While I may wear a smoky eye once in a while and this winter did rock quite a few bright lipstick colors, I keep most of my “fun” makeup for after hours. No sparkle or shimmer, no intense or bold eye colors, no false lashes, nothing overly trendy. While my workplace may not blink at hot pink lip gloss, a peer company with a similar clientele may freak out over navy eyeliner. Respect your office, your position with the company and the position you desire to have in the future before going bold with your office beauty.

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Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?

If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.

Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.

If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.

Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.

If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.

Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.

Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.

At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.

In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

One-armed Beauty: Hair and Makeup When Wearing a Cast

I must say, navigating life without my dominant arm has been an adventure! They say that mastering your non-dominant hand benefits your brain. It’s fun when I notice my left hand and arm getting stronger (carrying a stack of plates from the dining table), more flexible (I can now scrub, shave and deodorize my left pit, yeah baby!), and more skilled (change the sheets on Em’s bed and empty the dishwasher without breaking anything). And I’m learning ways to accomplish everyday tasks we take for granted.

Like makeup. And hair. And bathing.


Doing my face and making my hair not look like a rat’s nest is nice when a neighbor stops by unexpectedly to check on me, but it also does a lot of good for my morale and outlook on the day. Learning how to work with my non-dominant hand is like learning from scratch. I thought my tips may help to those who are beauty novices as well as those who may be learning how to work with a non-dominant hand.

Once I got off the painkillers and felt good enough to leave the house for a bit, I made a hair appointment. I asked for lowlights instead of a single process to add depth to my wavy hair and cover gray without visible roots. I told her how I can spray product on my head, but lotions, creams, and hair dryers aren’t happening for a long while. She cut it to let the bangs grow out gracefully and cut long layers that would wave and curl in a beachy way when washed and air dried.

I ordered one of those waterproof cast covers that looks like a giant blue condom, but the largest size was so tight on my upper arm that it worked like a tourniquet making my fingers tingle in just a minute. So I am resigned to baths with my well-wrapped arm sticking out of the tub. I squeeze shampoo directly onto my scalp and scrub it in, and then I slide down to rinse out as much as possible, Karl making sure I don’t slip or miss washing out any product. Conditioner, I squeeze onto the edge of the tub, then scoop it into my hair so I can bypass the scalp and focus on the ends.

When I get out, I put a towel on the bed and bend my head onto it and blot dry.  To keep my hair more on the ringlet size and less on the Kip Winger side, I invested in a DevaCurl towel.  It’s small enough to use one-handed; I scrunch blot, apply product, then sometimes scrunch blot again if any spot is too drenched.  The biggest issue is my bangs; they sometimes curl nicely into my hair, but more often than not they part in the middle and curl up like horns.  So I sometimes have Karl point the hairdryer at my roots and I brush my bangs back and forth in a window washer style with a paddle brush (thanks Ted Gibson for the bangs tip!), or use a curling iron and carefully curl them into my hair (random grabs actually work for the bangs, looks more natural).

As for styling products, I have a shelf of spray-bottle products now.  Liking Nick Chavez Amazon Infinity Mist for waves, TIGI Bed Head Foxy Curls for ringlets, and once dry, TIGI Bed Head spray shine.  For second day, I’ll use Batiste dry shampoo in deep brown which gives body, reduces shine, blends without a ton of rubbing, and provides some control to keep bangs merged with the rest of my hair.

I’ve put my tube of Miracle Skin Transformer in my medicine cabinet so it’s easy to have a minimum of nice skin each day. It has replaced my traditional moisturizer, going over treatment and serum. I know it may be contaminating the tube, but I squeeze the product directly on my face then blend with my fingers.

If I know I am going somewhere or wake energized, I put on actual foundation and concealer. My foundation (Revlon ColorStay Whipped) is in a jar, so it’s easier to apply. When I started, I would dip my Beauty Blender right in the jar and blend onto the skin. Now I feel confident applying with fingers then using the Beauty Blender to blend around the nose and jawline. Concealer goes over the foundation, using Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, which is dry enough to not be a smeary mess. I pat it into places with my finger, then go back and blend so it has time to dry a bit. This helps because I don’t have as light or precise of a touch and letting it dry a bit keeps me from rubbing it all off.

Next is brows; I’ve found the easiest and most natural is tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse which is sort of a cream, sort of a wax and comes with its own brush.  Not nearly as precise as I like but at least my brows are filled in.  Better to be too gentle than too hard of a hand; if need be I can go back and tap the brush where there’s pale spots.

Blush is my best friend these days, it really makes me look finished and healthy. I’ve returned to an old favorite, NARS Orgasm, which gives me a healthy glow and doesn’t make me look like a clown if I am too heavy handed. With less other makeup the shimmer in this blush looks more glowy than disco. I switched to my bareMinerals Flawless Application Face Brush, which is fluffier with longer bristles than my blush brush.  A traditional blush or powder brush made obvious streaks if I had too heavy of a hand; this brush gives more of a wash of color.

For eyes, I was curling my lashes until I had quite the mishap.  Now I’m just using CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara which has a tube that can stand up on its own and doesn’t bend when I open it with my teeth (hello metal capped mascara). The formula is water resistant and a bit dry, so I don’t end up with raccoon eyes from shaky application or tears. I sometimes apply shadow, but just one of the nudes from my Urban Decay Naked Basics 1 palette, also applied with a fluffy brush so there’s no strong lines. As I have gotten more skilled with my left hand, I sometimes add a brown shadow in the crease for dimension.  I’ve always felt confident with liquid liner, and when I’m feeling really good I’ll do a thin line with Maybelline Line Stiletto right along the lash line, from middle of lid to outer corner; otherwise I put a dampened slant brush in black or black-brown shadow and tap along the lash line which hides the missing lashes.

As for lips, my daily go-to is Revlon Balm Stain; my two faves are Romantic and Adore.  When I go out I sometimes wear Revlon Matte lipstick in Really Red which stays nicely, is elegant, and with my glasses makes me look finished.

Finishing touch is e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set which helps everything stay in place without looking dry. Not too done, and more refined than a bare face!

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An Ode to Revlon

the most unforgettable women in the world wear revlonThis post is inspired by the Refinery 29 piece I recently shared on Wardrobe Oxygen’s Facebook page. I must say I was surprised to hear Revlon is not doing well; while their recent Love is On campaign doesn’t appeal to me, their actual product does. And unlike Refinery 29, I find Revlon’s packaging to be elegant, sturdy, and often times equal to department store brands in regard to style.

When I was first allowed to wear makeup, my mom allowed grey pencil eyeliner, mascara, and a light colored lipstick. That first lipstick was the one my mom currently wore, Revlon’s Iceblue Pink.

In college, brown lipsticks were all the rage and the best ones were by Revlon. While many adored Revlon’s Toast of New York, I preferred Coffee Bean, which had a bit of shimmer and a cooler chocolate tone.

After college, I had a job as a brand visual merchandiser and my supervisor really pushed having a polished appearance and dressing not for the job you have but the one you wanted. I began getting manicures to clean up my gnawed-on fingers, and went to get a makeover from a department store cosmetics counter. After that, I felt to be an adult, I had to leave the drugstore and enter the mall. I was a MAC loyalist for a bit, spent a good portion of my lunch break and paycheck in Sephora, and when I got married I knew I had to have the best – a face by Chanel.  But after the novelty wore off, I found myself returning to the drugstore for at first, lipsticks and then, almost everything else.

audrey-hepburn-breakfast-at-tiffanysOver the years, the drugstore brands caught up to the department store lines and in my opinion, the one at the head of the pack was Revlon. They had the most beautiful celebrities for their ad campaigns, the most beautiful packaging, the best variety of colors, and the highest quality formulas. And one thing I loved is their lipstick containers hardly changed at all over the decades. While Refinery 29 used a picture of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as an example of how the brand needs a makeover, I think it’s a selling point to use a brand that was chic then and now. I mean, look how many people still use Holly Golightly and Audrey Hepburn as style icons in 2016!

And so, I will share the current Revlon products on my dressing table and in my cosmetics bag. By doing this post it made me realize even more how much I use and trust Revlon:

I have written many times before about the awesomeness which is Revlon ColorStay foundation. I have used the liquid and the whipped formula and am amazed how it will stay on through humidity, through sob sessions, through a mega dance session at a GA concert. It never breaks me out, and whether I have a bit of a tan or am at my deathly palest, I can find a color that perfectly matches my skin.

Revlon’s Insta-Fix was something I picked up by random in early fall when I had an event after work and nothing to refresh my face. I bought it in Nude and I have never had a product so perfectly match my skintone. Lately, I use just a BB cream with Insta-Fix under the eyes, around the nose and lips and a bit between the brows to even out my skintone and add a bit more opacity. It’s awesome for travel and late in the day refreshes so I bought a second one to keep in my makeup bag.

I’ve tried a kazillion concealers over the years, but for the past several months I’ve been using Revlon’s Photoready Concealer in Light. It’s that perfect mix of creamy yet dry, so I can apply it, pat it in place, and it doesn’t fade, crease, or slide during the day. I use it under my eyes without it making my eye area look older; the formula is equal to fancy brand concealers I’ve paid twice or three times as much for (and that usually come in a smaller container).

revlon ads from the pastRevlon ColorStay eye shadow has been in my makeup drawer for over a decade. I still mourn the loss of the Neutral Khakis quad (RIP), but currently own Addictive, Adventurous, and Decadent and love how the colors truly stay, even with me constantly rubbing my allergy-prone eyes.

The only cream blush I have had success with is Revlon’s Photoready version.  Both Coral Reef (a non-sparkly creamy alternative to NARS Orgasm) and Flushed (a cool pink that can look quite pretty) are in my arsenal and are go-tos when it’s hot and sweaty or if I want a less “done” face.

I don’t think I have recommended a makeup product as much as I have Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic. I love this red, it’s a soft wash of color that makes me feel like Snow White, but it can be layered for more impact. It’s also gorgeous when worn over matte lipsticks (like Revlon’s discontinued matte lipcolors) to give a bit of shine without the original color wearing away. I also have this balm stain crayon in Smitten and Adore and always have at least one in my purse because they’re so easy to apply without a mirror (they also make great cheek color in a pinch).

I also love Revlon’s Lacquer Balms. Last summer when I was stuck in a cast up to my armpit, I decided to make the most of the situation and have it wrapped in hot pink. I matched that hot pink with Revlon’s Lacquer Balm in Vivacious and that bright bold pink was my signature color through Labor Day. While many things from my broken arm situation now make me sick to my stomach, I can still whip out Vivacious and feel like a complete badass.

Revlon’s Ultra HD lipsticks are awesome for when you want a super bold pout that is low-maintenance. The color really sticks on, is saturated, but your lips are soft and comfortable and look hydrated. Poinsettia and Gladiolus were my jams this past summer and looked amazing with just a flushed cheek and defined lashes. Another great product for bold lips with moisture is their Moon Drops lipstick. I am sorta in love with the green tube, and regularly pull out Hot Coral or Orange Flip for a bold pout with some summery warmth to it.

Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipgloss is a great alternative to high-end brands. I love applying it over the balm stain or a matte lipstick for some shine, or wearing it alone for weekends or when I have a really intense eye. Rosy Future and Fatal Apple are in my makeup bag at this very instant.

Blog_Revlon_1952_DorianLeigh_FireIce_Avedon_2010_JessicaBiel_MarioTestinoAnd of course the classic, Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick. No heavy smell, no drying formula, caps that stay put, bullets that stay strong even when you’re at the bottom of the tube (hello $26 lipsticks that crumble or gets smeary when not even halfway through the lipstick). The colors are true and there’s over 80 to choose from. I have seriously gone to four different big box and drugstores in a day to find different colors, and I likely have over 20 of these lipsticks currently in my possession. Red Lacquer and Certainly Red are regular bright reds that I rock, Cherries in the Snow is a bold pinky-red I adore, Plum Baby and Goldpearl Plum are pinky brownish nudes I regularly wear, and Teak Rose and Rosewine are warmer pinky brownish nudes I wear when I’m sporting more autumnal colors.

As for the other parts of the line, I have owned Revlon lash curlers, tweezers, and scissors and find them high quality. A Revlon brow brush is currently residing in my makeup brush cup and one of their pencil sharpeners is in my dressing table drawer. I don’t buy nailcolor often, but have found Revlon’s formula to rival trendier brands (and have just as cool of colors).

revlon magazine ads over the yearsOver the years, there have been many other Revlon products I have used and loved. But like most cosmetic brands, items (like my mom’s Iceblue Pink lipstick) end up discontinued. While I haven’t been impressed by their mascaras and haven’t tried their liners because I have a HG favorite from another brand, usually if I try anything from the line I end up liking it.

I do find their current target market with the eye and nail art products to be odd and a contrast to the rest of their line. I also wonder with their latest mascara collection’s bright tubes if they’re trying to be CoverGirl. I think what makes Revlon great is that they ARE a classic brand, a brand that focuses on quality, elegant packaging, and wearable color. I wish them the best, and hope they don’t discontinue that which makes them so great.

Recent Beauty Buys

I like to do some beauty splurges on my birthday – a good way to start the new year off on the right step. A lot of my purchases I make based off you – reviews on your blogs (I may not always comment but I do lurk!), your comments here, Tweets about new purchases. I trust you more than an ad in a magazine or a sponsored post, and I like to share my reviews for the same reason. And so, my recent beauty buys:

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
A couple years ago, I decided to try the Oil Cleansing Method after hearing rave reviews. I found it time consuming, complicated, messy, and then my little bottle of castor oil slipped out of my hands and smashed in my sink and I saw that as a sign to just give it up. But a friend kept raving about DHC’s oil cleanser saying it was a revolutionary experience and not complicated, I decided to give it a try.

Big fan. Two pumps on dry hands and then massaged onto my dry face. I can really feel it sucking gunk out of my pores and it dissolves all makeup, even waterproof mascara. It also rinses quite easily by splashing water on your face, or using a cotton pad/washcloth (or used with another product, see next review). Since switching to this cleanser, my fave seems softer, less dry (I deal with dry and irritated patches under my nose and between my brows in the winter), and more plump/hydrated. Also a little goes a long way – I have been using for almost two months straight and have only used half an inch of product in the bottle.

Avene Thermal Spring Water
Karl said I was insane for buying “fancy water,” but when reader April recommended it, I couldn’t resist. See, April has never steered me wrong when it comes to beauty products. So yeah, it’s water put into an aerosol can for a pretty penny with a bunch of hefty claims… and well, it’s pretty awesome.

When I started using the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, I was wiping it off with Avene Thermal Spring Water and cotton pads. That combo was perfection – my skin felt AMAZING, it was so soft and happy. I did it for two weeks, and was amazed with the change. Then I started worrying about the cost of Avene – I can’t justify a bottle every month of fancy water, so I switched to regular water. And that worked… though not a nicely. For a week, I used tap water instead and after two days got a zit. After four days, I started getting redness and sensitivity under my nose. While the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is pretty awesome, it is even more awesome with Avene Thermal Spring Water. I can’t afford to use it every evening, but I am using it every third day to keep my skin happy through the winter season.

So is it an overpriced bottle of fancy water? Technically yes, but it is also a pretty magical product. Really great for those with sensitive skin or live somewhere with hard water. It seems to hydrate and soothe skin unlike regular water. And the bottle is well designed, giving a fine controlled mist.

Kevyn Aucoin Lash Curler
One I switched from my old Revlon curler right after college to Shu Eumura I never looked back. Shu Eumura gave a more natural curl, didn’t pinch, and was worth every penny. However, they don’t sell Shu Eumura curlers in the US any more. I looked around for a worthy alternative and saw Kevyn Aucoin’s received positive reviews. And after using, they are well deserved. It’s not as curved as Shu Eumura, and I actually like that. I never pinch with it, can get an even more natural curl than with Shu Eumura, and it feels better in my hand. Fan.

Tarte emphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener
I have been dealing with insomnia for a couple months off and on, and it has gotten so my eyes look tired and haggard. Wearing glasses draws more attention to my eyes, and any bags or darkness from lack of sleep. Reader Claudia said she swore by this pencil and I should try it as well.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to try this stuff – I used white liner back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s to try to make eyes look more open and it just looked as though I lined my eyes with chalk, this being a peach color I figured would look more natural.

And it does. Used with a light hand, emphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener can open your eyes and make you look less tired. It’s pretty natural looking and stays on for a couple of hours. Thing is, the product is VERY creamy, so it moves and slides. If you try to put it in the inner corners of your eyes it may creep onto the skin and make you look like you have eye boogies. It fades after a couple of hours and if you recently switched to contacts for astigmatism you may find that it smears all over your contacts after wearing about 45 minutes so you’re yanking your contacts out at a stop light and digging in your purse for your glasses. Completely hypothetical, just an example, not like I have done this on an early morning while driving down Rhode Island Avenue or anything…

Point is, I really like this product but will only be wearing it when I wear glasses!

L’Oreal Infallible Le Rouge Lipcolor in Coral
I wanted orange lips like Jessica Alba and took a chance with this. I wanted a long-wearing formula that wouldn’t leave me looking as though I had nude lips and orange liner. This did the job. The color lasted for about three hours before needing to be reapplied, and as it faded it did so evenly, leaving a nice coral-colored stain. When I reapplied, it didn’t feel cakey or gross. And the color is a pretty red-orange that stands out, but doesn’t look crazy. It’s a bit more orange and a bit lighter than NARS Heat Wave, and will be a super fun lipstick for spring and summer.

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm in Rose Twist
I trust The GlossarieLara has mastered being a successful blogger and providing helpful honest beauty reviews. She mentioned she’s been wearing this product so I figured I’d give it a try. I like the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains and was happy to try an alternative in a more neutral shade.

While I will always love and trust The Glossarie, I don’t like this product. It has a more powdery feel than Revlon’s similar crayon, and the color is far too matte, gray, and pale for me. Lara and I do have different coloring and I didn’t take that into consideration, but I’ll just have to admit I’m a Revlon fan when it comes to the drugstore brands of chubby gloss crayons!

L’Oreal Voluminous Power Volume 24h Mascara, Black Smoke
Lara didn’t steer me wrong when it came to mascara! I ran out of Mary Kay, I had a tester size of Bare Escentuals that wasn’t impressing me, and I couldn’t justify the cost of another bottle of DiorShow. I then saw Lara’s review of L’Oreal Voluminous Power Volume on The Glossarie and decided to try it out.

It’s not DiorShow, but it’s the best drugstore mascara I have used in a long while. It’s a matte black finish that I like because it doesn’t look as spidery. It holds curl, it elongates, it makes the lashes really soft and thick and glamorous looking without appearing false. The brush is the type I like that reminds me of a fat fuzzy caterpillar. The only issue I have had is it occasionally flakes a bit into my contacts, but not so much I have to stop using it. I like it enough that I would buy it again.

Have you had any great new beauty buys?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments and may take your suggestion and buy it in the future!

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My Best Beauty Buys of 2011

2011 was a year where I reclaimed myself. Emerson was born at the beginning of 2009, and that year was a fog of sleepless nights, pumping milk, and I think a case of mild PPD. 2010 I started getting regular sleep and got back into the swing of things with my blog, my job, and my body. I began Weight Watchers, and started finding my personal style. And 2011 is when it all clicked again. I am not the same woman I was in 2008 – I don’t have the same exact personal style, don’t have the same body, and surely don’t have the same lifestyle. Instead of missing what I had, I created a new Alison.

In 2011 I focused on taking care of myself, be it with clothing that fit and flattered this new figure, choosing smart when eating, and also taking better care of my skin and hair. Below is a list of products I started using in 2011 that made a major difference with my hair or skin. Products that transformed, simplified, and are worthy of a re-purchase.

Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste. I love coffee, red wine, and the occasional Diet Coke. Thing is, these are some of the worst things for teeth. Over the past couple of years my teeth have yellowed to the point that I started a fund to get my teeth professional bleached. I tried a couple at-home bleaching systems and either they were ineffective, or caused major sensitivity. A couple months ago, Crest 3D was on sale and my husband bought a tube. I couldn’t believe it would be more effective than any other whitening toothpaste I have used.

My husband and I have seen a drastic difference in our teeth since using Crest 3D White Vivid. We don’t have blinding white teeth, but it has bleached our teeth enough that we no longer think about our teeth looking yellow, and I forgot about my teeth bleaching fund. Not only is it effective, but neither of us experience any sensitivity from it. We just got home from Target where they are selling 2-packs of the toothpaste for $5.00 – we bought two packs. I was always a Colgate girl, but Crest 3D White Vivid has made me a Crest convert.

L’Oreal Youth Code Serum. I wrote about this here, and I have to continue with the rave reviews. I use this every morning before my SPF moisturizer and every night over my retinol and under my night cream. I still don’t know what it does, but it makes my skin look better and yes, younger.

Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder. A month or so ago I had a professional facial. When I asked the esthetician what I should change about my skincare regimen, she suggested adding a Vitamin C serum for daytime to fight free radicals and even skintone. Doing a bit of research, I chose the Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder. I put ½ to 1 scoopful into two pumps of the L’Oreal Youth Code Serum and apply each morning before my SPF moisturizer. It doesn’t irritate, it smells delish, a little goes a long way, and I think in just a month it has lightened some of my freckles and age spots.

Clarisonic Mia. I bought myself this gadget for my birthday back in January and have felt pretty meh about it. A couple months ago Une Femme D’un Certain Age mentioned how she uses the Clarisonic sans cleanser just to exfoliate. Since then, I keep it in my shower and exfoliate with it if my skin is already clean, or use it with cleanser if my face is dirty. This means it gets used on my face about 4x/week. I think it does a better job at exfoliating when not used with cleanser, and since using it consistently I think my pores look smaller and I no longer have the tiny white bumps on my chin.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. I have written about this before. It’s awesome. This cleanser is super gentle, rinses clean, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling taut or dry. No irritation, no redness, and no greasy feeling that I felt with Cetaphil. It also works great with the Clarisonic Mia.

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. I have been against these wipes because I hate the idea of all this waste. Then I thought about how I end up using cotton pads or toilet paper to apply makeup remover, and then use face wash to remove the greasy residue. By using these wipes when I wear liquid liner or other difficult makeup, I reduce steps, and I only need to use one product.

I bought them for Bonnaroo and became a convert. They don’t irritate my contacts-wearing eyes, I don’t have to rinse afterwards, and they really get my skin very clean without being dry or taut. I cut the wipes in half – saves money and reduces trash. I don’t buy the fancy container, I get the refill packs and just use that.

At the same time I received a pack of the wipes from Yes to Cucumbers – they can’t compare to Neutrogena in gentleness, and the ability to remove the most stubborn cosmetics.  I would wipe with the Yes to Cucumbers, and then wipe with Neutrogena and remove a ton more makeup.

Klorane Dry Shampoo. I have tried a half a dozen dry shampoos and each one is… fine. Some good points, and some bad. I feared Klorane because as a brunette I didn’t want the ashy look to my hair. While Klorane goes on hair white, it will actually brush out leaving hair shiny and its natural color. I can’t use it on curly hair because I do need to brush a lot, but Klorane will extend a blow-out, add body, de-grease my roots without a harsh smell, ashy residue, or a weird texture to my hair.

T3 Tourmaline Evolution Hair Dryer. You get what you pay for. For years I have been using my red Conair dryer and I felt it was fine. My hair got dry, and isn’t that the point? Then Misikko contacted me and asked me if I would like to try out their T3 Evolution dryer. I would never normally purchase such a costly dryer, but my Conair was getting so old it would burn my hand if I used it too long and would often stop working mid-styling.

The T3 is like a Corvette to my old Yugo dryer; it dries my hair faster, I have fewer split ends, my color lasts longer, and my hair has more shine. Before, I used leave-in conditioners, heat protectants, and shine serums on my hair to make it look and feel less damaged. Now with the T3 I don’t need any of that for healthy hair. While the dryer isn’t cheap, when I think how much I save on products to heal and protect my hair from my old cheapy dryer, it’s worth the money. I no longer fear drying my hair!

TheBalm Mary-Lou Manzier. Highlighters always make me look like a disco ball or greasy. As I age, my skin is less luminous. I wanted a product that would just make my skin look dewy and healthy, not Studio 54. April, a long-time reader suggested TheBalm Mary-Lou Manzier and I have been using it daily ever since. I apply it to my brow bones, inner corner of my eyes, cheek bones and bow of my lip. If I want it really subtle, I apply it under foundation. Lately I apply it over foundation and under powder and it gives a gorgeous, natural luminous look. This product can also multi-task – I will apply some to lipstick to make it a shimmer, apply it heavy for a shimmery nighttime look, and have even applied it to shoulders and décolleté for glowing skin on a summer night. Even though I have used it daily for months, I have yet to hit pan. One compact of Mary-Lou Manzier will likely last me over a year which makes it a great value.

Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara. BlogHer sent me a tube of this to review back in June and I was highly impressed. I am extremely critical of mascaras and usually another person’s Holy Grail is meh on my lashes. If I could afford it, I would buy a new tube of DiorShow every month. So when I got a tube of Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara I was skeptical. Come to find out, it was one of the best mascaras I have ever tried. I was so thrilled when Mary Kay sent me a second tube a couple months ago, and I liked it just as much as I did this summer.

Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara has one of those spiky brushes, but it seems to work better than the ones I tried by CoverGirl and Maybelline. It coats every lash, building volume and lengthening. It dries fast enough to not smear and it also holds the curl from my lash curler. It doesn’t flake, and doesn’t irritate. It’s not waterproof, but it stays put if I sweat or watch a sappy movie. At $15.00 a tube, it’s far more reasonable than DiorShow (and it doesn’t dry up as quickly as a tube of DiorShow).

What are some of your favorite new (or new to you) beauty products from this past year?

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What I Wore: It’s Myne

myne heidi dress hobo bags clutch zippers myne heidi dress review

Dress: Myne | Bag: Hobo Bags (similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Glasses: Zenni Optical | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Lipstick: Revlon ‘Certainly Red’ | Ear Cuffs: Etsy (here and here)

I wrote about this dress in this post. A lot of you wanted to see me in it since I am a very different shape from the model, but it has been too cold to bust out this lightweight silk dress until now. When I bought it I figured I’d style it with peeptoe ankle booties and my wide silver metal plate belt, but once spring arrived I decided I liked it a bit more stripped down. The dress is by the brand Myne, and each time I read the label I say, “It’s MINE!” in the whiny voice I use when I read Emerson her book, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share.  As an FYI, this is a size 10; I originally got a 12 but found it too long for my petite stature.  The 10 fits comfortably but the belt that came with it is too small (no biggie, the belt is kind of ugly and cheap looking).

If you signed up for my monthly Style File newsletter you know that I recently got these glasses. They’re huge, they’re bright, and they’re a lot of fun for a very low price (hello prescription lenses under $30!). I’ve been wearing a lot of red lately – I’ve been doing a red lip almost all winter and have been choosing OPI’s Big Apple Red as my nail polish of choice for almost a year. It made sense if I was going to buy some funky glasses to have them in my current signature shade!

Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!

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