Lipstick Purge. Heaven Help Me.

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Okay, I finally did it.  I finally sat down, dumped all of my lip products (and nail polishes and eye liners) on the floor and asked myself if I would ever actually wear them.  This led to a one of the most aggressive makeup purges I’ve ever undertaken.  The above picture was what I had to start with.  I keep my makeup in stackable boxes, and the lipstick was starting to take over one of them.  I vowed to be rid of half the colors, and I mostly succeeded.  There were tubes I’d never worn.  There were tubes I had only swatched.  There were tubes I hadn’t so much as swatched.  There were multiple tubes of the same shades.  I had nineteen different shades of RED.  I don’t even wear red that often.  What on earth do I need with nineteen different ones?

Needless to say, I hope I have some happy friends soon.  I keep Beauty So Clean at home and regularly sanitize my collection.  The bulk of the tubes I’m getting rid of are still perfectly wearable.

Here’s a picture of what I’m getting rid of:

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Y’all there’s Chanel in there…that I’ve worn once.  Why on Earth did I throw my money away like that?

Anyway, here’s what I’m keeping:

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I can’t help it with the stuff from Bite.  There’s a ton of similar colors in there, but the formula is just so good that I can’t manage to part with any of them.

I’m actually going to break out the big lights and do proper swatches of all the shades I’m getting rid of and explain my reasoning for omitting them from my stash.  I said at the beginning of the year that I would account for everything bought or disposed of, and I’m sticking to that promise.  This is going to take some time to type everythig out, but it feels quite liberating to finally be rid of things.

I moved to New York eight years ago with three suitcases, a backpack, no clue where I would live and a week to find an apartment.  Everything worked out for me, so since then my joke has always been that I could move with three suitcases and a backpack.  In recent years, though, this makeup collection has begun to feel like it has taken over my life.  I had invested so much time and money into it that I couldn’t imagine ever leaving it behind.  Getting rid of the products I don’t need is the first step in proving to myself that I can leave stuff behind, and it’s okay to not buy things purely for the sake of buying things.  I don’t need most of this.

I hope that I can eventually work up the nerve to do an eyeshadow purge by the end of the year.  That’s going to be the hard one.  I’m so attached to those shades, but I have so many, and there are so many duplicates that, deep down, I know I need to do something about it.  Lipstick is the first step.  I’ll get through the entire collection eventually, but I feel like that was the first big step in the right direction.

Here’s to you guys seeing many, MANY lipstick swatches in the coming days and weeks, and me getting back to the point that I could REALLY move with three suitcases and a backpack again.

–Jackie

Sephora Play September 2017.

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This day has been a complete and utter bust, so allow me to wallow for just a bit before I start talking about this month’s Play box.  More than likely, I mean yesterday was a bust, since I’m probably finishing this up, putting it away, and editing it when I wake up in the morning.  Right now, all I really care for is a beer and doughnuts.  If you don’t want to read this part, skip down a ways.  I promise I won’t be offended.  How can I possibly be offended when I’m sitting above a doughnut shop?

I’m sitting down to type this about seven or eight hours after I planned on typing it, and I’m neither at my house nor my friendly neighborhood coffee shop on my day off work, so let’s talk about how I arrived at a tea shop across from the Time Warner Center on a rainy day instead of sitting at home doing the periodic lip product purge I had planned on undertaking today.

A couple of days ago, my husband had a stitch break in his eye.  You see, he had a cornea transplant about ten years ago, and the stitches are permanent.  Every few years, one will go, and he has to go to an eye surgeon and have it removed.  Sunday he woke up with a red, scratchy eye and immediately knew what was going on.  He had to work yesterday as he was the only chef in the restaurant, so he sat in the office during his down time with his scratchy eye and looked for a surgeon to go to who would take our insurance and would allow him in today and not some time in October (Thanks, Columbia Presbyterian), and ended up at the outpatient eye clinic at Mt. Sinai this morning.  They weren’t taking new patients until February, but they did allow walk-ins.  He got there around 10:00 a.m.  I abandoned my day-off plans to take him a phone charger (sometimes I’m a nice person) around 4:00 p.m. because he still hadn’t seen a doctor, and ended up sitting there until around 6:00 p.m. with him until they finally took him back to dilate his pupils and check everything out.  When he came back out to wait for the eye drops to start working, I said goodbye and went to the Sephora at Union Square.  He sent me a text later to say that it actually wasn’t a blown stitch, and the doctors don’t know if the irritation was just from some extremely dry eyes he had or if it’s an early sign of rejection of the cornea.  They sent him on his way and told him to come back if he has anymore problems.  By this time I was feeling really jittery and kind of manic, and I just really needed to buy things at this point.  I get this way sometimes and ANYTHING looks appealing to me.  Tools for the KitchenAid?  You got it!  Four hundred dollar toaster oven?  Sure!  If Jared really wants a RoboCoupe, he should know by now to ask me when I get the way that I was this afternoon.  (For those unfamiliar with kitchen lingo, a RoboCoupe is a food processor that has enough power to run a boat, and will outlast the apocalypse and will set you back about a grand.  Basically, it’s not really something you need outside of a professional environment, but my husband really wants one because they’re cool.)

Sephora didn’t have the Smashbox holiday set that I want in stock, which, in retrospect, is probably a good thing, but I was annoyed and hungry, and it was windy and rainy, and I just wanted to buy things.  I decided to swing by the Columbus Circle Sephora on my way home because they usually get the new releases pretty early, but first I HAD to eat.  Fried chicken is my go-to when I’m stressed and feeling kind of manic, and that was in the cards today–calories be damned.  I stopped for chicken strips and gravy on the way to the train, and they were over-fried and gross, and they were out of gravy.  Fail on all counts, but I was starving, so I ate it and got on the train.  At least the rain had stopped.

I took an M to the 57 Street and 6 Avenue stop and was greeted by rain when I got aboveground.  The wind had picked up again, too.  Fun fact about living on an island as small as Manhattan that is made of concrete and steel canyons set up in an orderly grid system:  umbrellas are useless most of the time.  The wind manages to somehow come from all directions.  By the time I got to Seventh Avenue, I had given up and put the umbrella away.  At last I made it to my second Sephora only to be told that they didn’t have what I wanted either.  I went to the restrooms in the Time Warner Center and looked in the mirror.  I had never planned on being out this long, and I didn’t have on that much makeup.  My mascara was runny, my hair was frizzy, and I looked like I would just rather be home.  At least with the Sex Pistols shirt I have on today, the look seems like it may have been planned, but, I assure you, it wasn’t.  When I walked back outside, it was still raining, and the wind was having a go at my hair again.

At this point, I gave up on buying makeup.  I forgot all about instant gratification.  If I decide that I still want this thing in the morning, I’ll buy it online.  I walked across the street to the Argo Tea, bought a cup, and planted myself in a chair by the window.  I’m watching it rain as I type this and hoping it stops before I’m done with my tea and have to leave because I am OVER THIS DAY.  I feel exhausted, and I haven’t even really done anything.

I connected to the Internet here and decided to give blogging a try.  Between it and this delicious tea I’m drinking, this is the first time my nerves haven’t been on edge for hours.

This month’s Play box arrived a few days ago, so I’ll give Sephora credit where credit is due:  they did well with the shipping time this month.  I’ve tinkered around with the contents of the box over the last day or two, and I’m going to say I think they did a good job choosing the products this month, as well.  The idea of this box is to get you ready for a makeup revamp with the onset of fall, and the product selection is a decently wide range of things.  Let’s get started:

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Medium:  This is the slightest bit dark for me, but not so much that I can’t overlook the color discrepancy.  It’s designed to tint your brows, make them look fuller, and hold them in place.  I’m wearing it right now, and can attest it has performed quite well in the water-resistant category.  My brows still look as dark as they were when I left the house today, and I’ve been rained on three times.  It doesn’t look quite as natural as my go-to–ABH Brow Wiz, but it still doesn’t look like my brows are painted on.  It doesn’t feel crunchy once it sets, either.  I think I may like this.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Black:  I love Stila’s Stay All Day line of liquid lipsticks, and this liner seems like it has been around forever, so I was kind of excited to see this in my box.  After swatching it, though, I’m a bit less excited.  I prefer actual brushes for my liquid eyeliner application, and this comes with a felt tip applicator.  I still seemed to get good control, though, and I like that this makes it pretty easy to vary the thickness of the line.  I’m not about to call this waterproof, however.  The marks I made on the back of my hand came off with soap and water and very little effort on my part.  Will I use it?  Yeah, it’s black eyeliner, duh.  Will it replace my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner?  Not likely.  When they call that stuff waterproof, they mean it.

DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask:  My initial reaction when I pulled this out of the bag was, “Oh great, another hair mask that I’ll never use.”  When I started reading the instructions, though, I discovered you could do a three-minute quick application of it, so I got really excited.  I used it in the shower last night, and up until I got rained on today, my hair looked great.  It felt really soft and smooth and manageable.  This stuff smells amazing to boot–exactly like matcha tea, which the tea drinker in me enjoys.  I may have found the first hair mask that I actually like.

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Colour in Happy:  Every subscriber received a lip color this month to help them find a new shade for fall, according to Sephora.  I put this on today before I left the apartment, and I wouldn’t call it a “highly-pigmented” pink.  The pigment is decent enough, but I had to work at it to get the color to build up.  What I do love about it, strangely enough, is the GLITTER in it!  It’s a uniquely fun color, and the glitter particles are fine enough that I don’t feel like I’m walking around town with a sign around my neck that says, “Stare at my lips, EVERYONE.  If I turn my head just so, you can see them from space!”  It feels nice–more like a lip balm than a lipstick.  For my taste, this shade is a little too pink for a something I would wear late into fall, but I’m going to keep it in rotation for the next month or two.  It’s lovely.

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb:  I love, love, LOVE The Aqua Bomb.  It’s been my go-to for the last year or so.  I always keep a jar on hand.  This cream seems more suited to dry skin than the Aqua Bomb, but I’m curious to see how I will take to it.  It doesn’t absorb quite as readily as the Aqua Bomb but still feels nice.

Stella McCartney Pop:  I know this has been out for a year or two, but I confess that I’ve never smelled it.  I can’t believe I’ve avoided it for so long, since I read the scent notes on this one and fell in love when I spritzed some on last night.  It’s right up my alley.  One of my favorite scents is Fracas by Robert Piguet, and I’ve been obsessed with tuberose since I discovered that one many, many years ago.  It’s one of my favorite scents in a perfume.  It’s almost guaranteed that if a perfume contains tuberose, I will love it.  This one has middle notes of violet, tuberose, and plumeria, and believe me when I say you can smell the tuberose.  It is divine.  The top notes are tomato leaves, violet leaves, and green mandarin, and the base is sandalwood, cedarwood, and musk.  The problem with tuberose is that it can get overwhelming if it isn’t done properly (and one might argue that Fracas is overwhelming), but that’s not the case here.  This is a bright floral, and it is beautiful.  I would consider buying a bottle of this if I didn’t already have so much perfume lying around.  It’s glorious.

Well, there you have it.  There’s the recap of my terrible day and the low-down on this month’s Play box.  I’ve been quite happy with what I’ve received the past few months.  Earlier in the year, I was so unhappy with the offerings that I was considering canceling my subscription.  Now, I’m glad that I stuck it out.  I feel like Sephora has worked the kinks out, and they have consistently been knocking it out of the park.  Even if I end up not liking some of the products they send from month to month, I no longer feel like the choices were phoned in.  If you haven’t already signed up for Play, I would suggest giving it a shot.  Like I just said, they’ve gotten pretty good with their product selections now.

Well, I’m about to venture back into the wilds of Manhattan.  The rains seems to have stopped for now even if the wind hasn’t, so maybe I can make it home without getting rained on for a fourth time, and the urge for beer and doughnuts seems to have passed.  The makeup purge will have to wait for another day.  I think I’m just going to call for pizza delivery and call it a night.  I sort of fell off watching Game of Thrones a couple of years ago, so I have been binge watching the old seasons so I can have some clue what’s been happening before I finally watch the latest season that everyone keeps talking about, and tonight seems like a good time to blaze through another half season.

Goodnight to all, and may your tomorrow be wonderful (and may you not get rained on…three times or even once)!

Total spent at Sephora this year: $781.49

–Jackie

Edit:  It’s the next day, and I’ve had time to think about the Smashbox gift set that I trooped all over town in the rain yesterday to acquire.  If I buy it, and that is an IF now that I’ve had time to cool off, I’m going to do an eyeshadow declutter.  There’s no reason for me to buy more when I have a dozen Z-palettes around here full of shadows I don’t use.  There will be a blog post to accompany this, and maybe a (gasp) video of me looking panicked that I’m forcing myself to get rid of pieces of my security blanket and making swatches and trying to justify keeping things I never use.  This is a big step for me.  Lipsticks and liners and other things I can toss without much thought to it, but shadows are harder than hard for me to get rid of.  They really are like pieces of a colorful security blanket that has taken a ton of time and thousands of dollars to stitch together. Anyway, that’s for another time, but considering the Smashbox set is a holiday item, I had best make a decision soon.  Where are my friends?  They could be getting a ton of unused makeup quite soon.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads. No, I Do Not Need a Tan!

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Why does everyone seem to think they need a tan?  I have pale skin and red hair and green eyes.  Want to know what happens when I go in the sun and forget to wear sunscreen?  I burn.  I cook.  Usually, it takes as little as thirty minutes.  Want to know what happens when I use sunless tanners?  I end up looking some unnatural shade of orange.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’ve embraced the pale.  It’s worked well for me, too.  I recently saw a photo of someone I’ve known for years and who spent a lot of time in the sun when we were teenagers, and I found myself thinking, “Girl!  That sun damage!  WTF!  We are the same age!”

I don’t have sun damage.  I don’t have wrinkles.  I stay out of the sun, and I have accepted that I am not supposed to have a tan, so these showed up in a Sephora Play box, and my initial thought was just no, no, no, no, no.

I don’t care how much I like the regular Alpha Beta peel pads (a lot, actually).  I don’t care that the results of the tan claim to be “gradual.”  I wasn’t about to try this.  Given my skin tone, odds were good I would end up with an orange face and neck and white arms and legs after one use.  It just wasn’t worth it to me.

My best friend came into town, and I tried to pawn them off on him.  He has more of a medium skin tone and used to tan often when we were in high school, and if I’m being completely honest, I wanted to see if he would end up looking like a clown for the sake of my own amusement.  He took one look at the packaging and said there was no way he was trying them, so I tossed them in the garbage.

Look, you don’t need to have a tan.  If you’re like me, you probably look a little weird with a tan.  Just embrace the skin tone you were born with and stop trying to change it.  I mean, we all go out and get a little sun every now and again, and that’s cool, but I don’t need something that’s going to make me orange, and you don’t either!  Rant over.  Don’t buy this sh*t.

–Jackie

Sephora Play August 2017.

20170816_174630I suppose I should start this post with a bit on an explanation as to why I have been AWOL for most of the previous month.  The vacation bit was obvious, but vacations don’t last forever, and upon my return to New York, I was basically thrown back into work full-force.  I worked for almost two weeks straight, and by the time I got around to a day off, I didn’t feel like doing anything aside from reading a book.  All of this was coupled with a nagging suspicion that a depressive episode was coming on, and I really wasn’t one to talk about makeup or anything to anyone.  I started running more and eating better in an attempt to stave off the flood of negative emotions I knew was inevitable, and that helped to a point, but still.  The last couple of weeks have been pretty rough.

I managed to land three days off this week, and that’s gone a long way to help.  I vowed to do whatever I wanted to in an attempt to feel better, as I know this, too shall pass.  Yesterday, I ran six miles, ate a giant salad, went shopping, swung by a protest in the city, and caught up on some television.  Today, I laid in bed until 2:30 in the afternoon, made myself shower, and trooped over to my coffee shop.  The intent was to just read a book and binge on lattes, but I broke out my keyboard and am making a stab at this whole typing thing again.  The knowledge that there is ‘nduja pizza within walking distance is tucked safely in the back of my brain, and the promise that I’ll have some if I can make it through one blog post is at the forefront of my gray matter.

I actually got this month’s box three days ago, so I must commend Sephora on not taking forever to get the latest Play box to me.  This one seems to be a great one, too.  I played around with a couple of the products while I did my makeup today, and, on first impressions, they hit this one out of the park.  Without further ado, let’s get to it.  There’s pizza waiting for me.

Beauty Blender Micro Mini:  I like Beauty Blenders, but I’ll be honest.  I like the Sephora Perfectionist better.  The density of the sponge is roughly the same, and I like that it is pointy on both ends of the sponge.  This makes it easy to do foundation and concealer with one end and highlight and contour with the other.  It’s also half the price of the beauty blender, and if you check the sale section of Sephora.com right now, you’ll find that they are on sale for five bucks.  Those are amazing.  I also like the one from Real Techniques.  I find it to also be roughly the same density as the Beauty Blender.  Why do I bother bringing those two up when Sephora sent a Beauty Blender?  Easy.  I will never pay $20.00 for a sponge that I have to replace every three months when there are options on the market that are cheaper and just as good, if not better.  With that being said, I’m going to use this for concealer and highlighting, and I’m going to love it because Beauty Blenders are as good as everyone makes them out to be.

Clinique Dual-Ended High Impact Mascara and Primer Duo:  I’m wearing this on my lashes now, and I’ll say that I like the primer, but I’m on the fence about the mascara.  The primer does a good job of adding length to my lashes, but I’m not so sure about the mascara wand.  It’s pulling my lashes together and making them look a little spider leg-like.  There’s not much volume to speak of.  Granted, I’ve only used it once, so I’ll keep at it and see if the problem lies with the operator and not the tool.  The black color of the mascara is VERY black, so I’ll give it that plus.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick:  I’m so glad I finally got my hands on some of this without having to pay for an entire tube.  I do not say this lightly.  If this stuff doesn’t break me out (that’s a big IF…everything seems to break me out sometimes), it will replace the Diorskin Nude foundation that I have used since 2008.  Yes, I realize that this stuff is expensive, but it is nothing short of amazing.  It is EXTREMELY pigmented, so it requires very little product to get coverage.  It feels like a liquid going on, and not some thick, greasy mess that some sticks can feel like on me.  The best part is that it blends out to look like skin.  Not skin covered by makeup.  Skin.  I have no idea how something this full coverage can look this natural.  I find the use of concealer isn’t necessary with this product.  If I want extra coverage, I just add an extra dot of foundation on places like acne scars or under eye circles and blend.  It hides EVERYTHING.

KORRES Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixier Serum:  I find KORRES to be a bit of a mixed bag.  I love their body lotions and washes, but their skin care usually winds up in a disaster on my face, meaning most of it breaks me out.  This is an anti-aging serum that purports to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.  I’ll give it a try, but I confess to being a bit nervous about it.  It is much thinner in consistency than most of the skincare products that I’ve tried, so I’m hopeful.  Plus, it smells amazing and is a lovely golden, shimmery color in the bottle.

Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist:  This is supposed to be moisturizing and volumizing, but I could care less.  As I’ve said before, for as much as I love makeup, I really could not care less about my hair.  As long as the frizz is under control, I’m good.  I keep it in a ponytail at work, and don’t really do much heat styling on my days off.  I also have a ton of hair, so, thankfully, I don’t really have much need for a volumizer.  My hair is pretty voluminous if I do say so.  This stuff smells really good, so, of course, I’ll use it, but most hair styling products don’t really do much for me.  I’m not super excited about this one, and if I’m being totally honest, I would really like to make it a month without some kind of hair styling product showing up in my Play box.

Burberry My Burberry Black:  I’ve not given this a spritz yet, but I generally like Burberry scents.  This is a floral, so points there.  Top notes of jasmine, which I like.  Middle notes of candied rose and peach nectar.  I like one of those.  Base notes of amber and patchouli.  I HATE patchouli.  That’s mostly why I haven’t tried this one out yet.  I’m a little scared.

So there’s the breakdown of this month’s box and also the explanation of why I have been so scarce.  Hopefully, I’ll get back to regularly posting sometime soon.  I have quite the back log of products I’ve used up and need to talk about.

Total spent at Sephora this year: $637.77.

–Jackie

Programming Note

I got back to New York almost two weeks ago, and this is the first day I have had off since I arrived at Penn Station from my vacation.  It was spent reading mediocre Stephen King novels, drinking lots of coffee, and eating pizza and drinking wine served to me by my extremely hot Italian pal (not to be confused with my Russian pal, who is the most gorgeous individual I’ve ever laid eyes on).  Hopefully, I can get back to regular updates in the next few days, but until then, I’m slated to dye my hair even more red than it already is and go to a pop-up dinner at South Street Seaport presented by Alon Shaya.

I hope to saunter into work for drinks tomorrow so my crew can see that I do, in fact, clean up on occasion, and pray that the leather skirt I plan on wearing to dinner tomorrow night still fits after all of the wine I consumed this evening.  Wish me luck.

–Jackie

Travel Essentials

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I’ve really managed to downsize the makeup that I travel with over the last year or so.  I decided to do something about the sheer volume of product that I take with me when I had to do an overnight trip with my old boss last May.  I not only wrote recipes for his cookbooks and television appearances, I also travelled around with him and helped with demonstrations.  I had to look presentable, but for one overnight trip last May, I took a Sephora Weekender bag bursting with products.  There was no conceivable way that I could have used all of them in 24 hours.  That’s when I decided to downsize and de-pot everything and it took me until the end of the year to muster up the nerve to break down my pallettes.  Once that happened there was no turning back, and I love it now.

Here’s a list of everything in my makeup bag, minus the brushes and their names and numbers:

–Blinc Mascara Amplified
–Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero
–Urban Decay Razor Sharp Liquid Eyeliner in Perversion
–Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown
–Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original
–Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
–Diorskin Nude Foundation in 022
–Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer in Light 16
–Kat Von D Setting Powder in Translucent
–Benefit Watt’s Up (champagne cream highlighter)
–Bite Beauty Multistick in Cashew (warm, rosey mauve)

I carry one Z-palette with me.  That’s all I allow.  If the powders won’t fit in there, then I take some out.  I brought the following along with me for this trip (I was really feeling the Urban Decay X Gwen Stefani collab on this trip…mostly because I only ended up with an hour to pack and knew that all of those shades looked good on me):

–Smashbox shades Glow, Highlight, Bronze, and Contour from the Shape Matters Palette
–UD X Gwen Stefani blush shades in Hush (light shimmery pink), Easy (rose with shimmer), and OC (peachy pink with shimmer)
–Nars blush in Goulue (warm pink with gold shimmer).  Dear Lord, I love this color so much.
–UD X Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow shades in Stark (light nude matte), Anaheim (light brown matte), Zone (medium brown matte), Serious (smokey gray with iridescent floating pearl), Skimp (pale nude satin), Baby (cool metallic rose), Steady (medium rose with metallic gold shift), Blonde (pale beige with pink iridescent shift), Blackout (black matte)
–Make Up For Ever eyeshadow in I-544 (warm taupe with a satin finish)

So that’s what I’m travelling with.  It all fits in one Z-palette and one small makeup bag.

I favor the Benefit and Bite creams since I’m currently in Louisiana, which is only a few degrees cooler than Hell on days like today.  Creams don’t melt right off my skin when I leave the house.  They stay in place a bit better than powders, and still look pretty good once I start to sweat.  I really like the I-544 shade from MUFE because I don’t really need to use more than that single shadow if I’m in a hurry or just can’t be bothered to put time into my eye look on any given day.  I just concentrate most of the color on the center of my lid, blend out with a fluffy brush from MAC to blur the edges, add a bit more shadow to the outer edge, blend again, and I’m done.  I’ll use Watt’s Up on the inner corners and brow bone if I feel like doing a highlight.

The powders I’ll use more when I get to Chicago where I hope that the weather won’t be pushing 100 degrees and going outside for a walk isn’t out of the question.  I tend to favor neutrals when I travel purely because they are easy and go with everything.  If I want to add pops of color, I’ll generally go with a red shade like Gash from Urban Decay.

Oh, I forgot to add in my lip shades:

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–Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin’ Watermelon.  I wouldn’t usually take something like this with me, but it arrived in my Play box the night before I left, and I decided that I would give it a try while I was away.
–Two Bite Beauty Custom Lipsticks.  I carry these everywhere with me because they are perfect.  I went to the Bite Beauty Lab and told them to make the perfect matte red and the perfect peachy-pink neutral cream color for me, and they did.
–Wander Beauty Wander Out Dual Lipsticks in Wanderberry (burgundy) and Barely There (mauve nude)

I really only need two colors–one red and one nude, but I went a little crazy on this trip.  I like the design of the lipsticks from Wander because the tube can fit in my pocket, and the shade selection is good for day and night.  Generally, I just travel with one red and one nude.  That keeps me covered for daytime wear and for any fancy evening dinner I happen to go to.

So there you have my travel collection.  This really has made my life so much easier.  I no longer carry around shades that I know I’ll never use just because they are in a pallette I love, and I don’t waste space in my luggage.

I know I talk about depotting quite a bit, but I can’t fully articulate how much easier this has made my life.  To anyone who has even entertained the idea of depotting, I say do it!  I know we all love the cool packaging on pallettes, but that’s not what’s important.  The shadows are the important part, and I just love being able to move shades from one custom pallette to another and mix and match as the mood strikes without having to carry around three or four massive pallettes.  I used to allow half of my backpack space for my makeup collection.  Now it’s down to a bag and a Z-palette. I’m never going back to that old travel set up.

–Jackie

Sephora Pro Warm Eyeshadow Palette. I Caved. So What?

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Well, this week has been significantly better than last week.  My replacement phone arrived this morning, and everything has been transferred over to it, and my old one is boxed up and ready to send back to Samsung.  I also learned all about an app called Side Switch that allowed me to transfer EVERYTHING from one phone to the other via Wi-Fi.  This had to be the greatest thing ever.  I literally tapped the screen a few times, took a shower, got dressed, came back an hour later, and everything was on the new phone exactly the way it was set up on my old one, from text messages to contacts to pictures to apps.  I can’t even express how happy that made me.  Downloading all of my apps manually is easily the most frustrating part of getting a new phone, and I was super excited to not have to do that again.

I’m coming off of one of the worst hormonal breakouts I’ve ever had.  I can’t count the number of pimples I got around my chin over the last two weeks.  To make matters worse, I pop my pimples.  Always have and always will.  It’s like my brain screams at me to not do it, but I can’t stop myself.  My dermatologist used to get so irritated at me about that when I was a teenager.  I finally told him I would stop popping them when he could give me a pill to take that would make me stop doing it, but until then he was just going to have to treat the aftermath.  I still feel the same way about that matter.  As of right now, there is still some redness around my chin, but I don’t have any new zits, and the scarring seems to be clearing up quickly and cleanly.

My old boss is beginning to post pictures and recipes that I developed and wrote for his upcoming cookbook release on his Instagram account.  I thought this would make me angry because I would be forced to remember the hell he put me through after he, essentially, stopped paying my salary while I was doing the development and all but forced me to front the money for the recipe development without knowing if I would ever see reimbursement for it, but I am quite happy to report that I’ve moved on and could care less about it.  I guess I am just glad to have closed that chapter of my life.  If it’s on the NY Times bestseller list, great.  I wrote a damn creative cookbook.  If it’s not, great.  Good riddance to that man.  I’m thrilled that I seem to have moved on.

I know I said the point of this year is to not buy extraneous crap I don’t need, and believe it or not, I’ve stuck to that goal better than I could have ever anticipated.  As I was sitting around yesterday, I mused on some of the things I bought last year, and I honestly couldn’t think of anything.  I mean, I know I bought a ton of lipstick, but if you ask me to recall anything special about any of them, I can’t.  I don’t even remember any of the colors.  Same with eyeshadow.  And blush.  I bought so much last year, and nothing stands out as special in my mind.  I guess my goal for the year has begun to morph from not buying anything I don’t need into not buying things I’m just going to throw in a corner and forget I own.  For instance, I REALLY want the new Ultra Slim lipstick from Hourglass.  The packaging is amazing and the colors are pretty, but I know I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the purchase.  Those are out.  The Sephora Pro palettes on the other hand…

If you had told me a month ago I would willingly buy Sephora house brand shadows, I would have looked at you like you had bumped your head or something.  The pro palettes went up on the site a few weeks ago, and my initial reaction was, “Wow, that warm one is gorgeous, but there’s no way I’m buying it.”  Let’s be honest.  Sephora brand eyeshadows are almost always crap.  They’re chalky.  They lack pigment.  They don’t blend.  With their eyeshadows, you get what you pay for.  That’s why my jaw hit the floor when the pro palettes were listed for $68.00.  I thought Sephora was getting brave for charging that for 28 mediocre shadows.

I was in love with the colors in this thing, though, so I put it into my favorites list on the website and decided to keep an eye on the reviews when they finally began to come in.  I mean, the warm palette would be right at home sitting next to the Natasha Denona Sunset Palette or the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette.  I want the Naked Heat and make no bones about that.  I’m in love with the Sunset Palette, too, but I’m not going to buy it.  I think $129.00 for 15 shadows is absurd no matter how good they are, and yes, they are an amazing quality shadow.  I also think the pans are entirely too large for someone who isn’t a makeup artist.  Think about how long it takes you to hit pan on something like a shadow in one of the UD Naked palettes.  A long time, right?  That’s 1.3 grams of product per pan.  The Natasha Denona shadows are 2.5 grams each, so you do get a ton of product for the money, but I would rather have a range of shades in smaller pans because I will never use most of the product.  I don’t buy Natasha Denona eyeshadows, period.

The Sephora palette was exactly what I like to see in a palette.  The shade range is pretty good, and the pan sizes are reasonable at 1.2 grams per pan, but could this thing really not be a steaming pile of crap?  As the reviews started to come in, I was pleasantly surprised.  People didn’t just like it.  They were raving about how good it was.  I thought this surely couldn’t be true and the reviews had to be computer generated or something like that.  But the reviews kept coming, and they were overwhelmingly good.

Last night I found myself down in Meatpacking with my husband because he cracked the glass back on his cell phone and took it to the Samsung store to have it replaced.  They were taking forever, and I got bored, so I went to the Sephora around the corner to wait for him to finish up and get his phone back.  I started playing around with this palette and nearly went into shock.  It was genuinely terrific.  The colors were intense as I swatched them on the back of my hand.  I wanted it.  Really, REALLY, SERIOUSLY wanted it.  And I didn’t want it in an impulsive kind of way.  I wanted it because Sephora had come out with something special.  It felt like there was actually some thought behind it.  The packaging is sturdy and thin.  The mirror is huge, and the shadows are just so, so good.  So I bought it with my husband’s blessing.  Do I need it?  Strictly speaking, no, but I guarantee you I can remember actually purchasing this a year from now.

I got it home, made a frozen margarita and got to playing around with it.

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Seriously, JUST LOOK AT THOSE COLORS!  The reds and oranges and yellows make me melt.  I love them so much I did swatches.  I couldn’t help myself.  True, there are a couple of duds in here, but, overall, I feel like this thing is so worth the money.  Now onto the swatches (Ignore the burn marks on my arm.  By now you guys know I’m a chef.  I’m covered in burn scars):

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Left to right:  Canvas, Oat (basically, a good all-over color for the pale among us), Biscotti, Camel, Ochre (gorgeous golden yellow), Saddle, Auburn

All of those are matte and all blend quite well.

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Left to right: Sand, Brass, Clay, Copper, Bronze (virtually the same as Copper), Adobe, Sandstone

The foiled eyeshadows almost feel like a cream, and they payoff is unreal.

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Left to right: Hazelnut, Khaki, Peach, Brick (!!!), Terracotta, Burnt Umber, Chestnut

Peach is a total dud.  It’s beautiful in the pan, but only shows up as a chunky glittery mess.  Maybe if you wet it and try to use it as a topper for another shade it could be useful, but I’m honestly not so sure about that.

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Left to right: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Sepia, Coconut Shell, Cocoa, Cedar, Obsidian

Brown Sugar is another dud with the same problems as Peach.  Patchy, glittery, and a general mess.  Cocoa requires a little bit of work to get it even, but it is usable.  Obsidian, though, not bad, will not be replacing Urban Decay Blackout as my go-to black shadow anyime soon.

In general, there’s a lot of kickup from the pans and a good bit of fallout, so I would definitely do my eye makeup before the rest of my face, but if you use and love the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette, you’re going to love this one.  I find these shadows perform much the same as the Modern Renaissance ones.

There’s a good matte to everything else (shimmer, cream, metallic) ratio.  While there are a couple of bad shades, this palette is well worth the sixty-eight bucks.

I did play around with the Cool and Editorial palettes in the store, and both were very good.  I won’t be buying those, however, because I just won’t get the use out of them to justify the purchase, but if those colors strike your fancy, they are totally a good investment.

I’m probably going to depot these shadows, since that’s what I do with almost all of my palettes, but the packaging seems to be very sturdy.  There’s a magnteic closure and a very large mirror that would make this perfect for travel.  I, personally, only travel with one palette, which is why I’m such a fan of depotting.  I just toss my blush and whatever shadows I want to take with me into one Z-palette, and I’m off.

I’m still not sure if I should feel guilty about buying this, but I’m madly in love with this one.  I wasn’t impulsive about just running out and buying it, either, so, at the very least, I feel like I’m beginning to crawl my way toward being a responsible adult.

The cost of this with tax was $74.04, and it’s well worth it.  this means that I’ve spent $615.79 at Sephora this year.  I’m at about the halfway point of the year, and I suppose that number could be a bit lower, but for the first time in years, I can actually tell you everything I’ve bought from that store for the year, so I guess that counts for something.

Really, though, if you are even entertaining the notion of getting one of these palettes, pick it up before they are sold out as they are limited editions.  I can almost guarantee that you won’t miss the Natasha Denona palette once you start playing around with this one.  This is the first honest to goodness excellent palette Sephora has produced, in my opinion.

The nice lady at the checkout threw in deluxe samples of Benefit’s Boiing Airbrush Concealer and Living Proof’s No Frizz Nourishing Oil.  Why, oh why, can’t Living Proof turn that smell into a perfume?  I love it so much.  I haven’t tried either of these out, but I’ll get around to it eventually.

–Jackie