Tuesday, December 29, 2009

glazes aren't just for pottery

(Don't forget to enter the EcoTools giveaway. Dec. 30th is the last day to enter. See here to enter.)

Ahh, the holidays. The frenzy, the traveling, the cards, the postage, the standing in lines. Usually, I don't follow through with all of the holiday traditions. For instance, I don't send cards out. I always have the intention, but I never get around to it. I am just straight up lazy. Then, I resolve to get my ass in gear the next holiday season, but I fall in the same trap.

However, this Christmas was different. One morning several weeks before December 25th, I woke up with an immense amount of motivation, and I told the Scholar that we were going to take a family picture for the Christmas card or bust!

He quickly dressed himself and Cheeks, and I followed suit by putting one my face and a nice sweater (not a Christmas sweater, mind you. Just a regular black one.) Then, we sat in Cheeks' room--because it was the cleanest, ironically--and set the self-timer on the camera and proceeded to smile.

Cheeks was excellent throughout, and we managed to get our first family picture done. Then, I loaded the pics up, picked a holiday card, put in an order, received, and sent the cards out. Getting this accomplished felt incredibly excellent. People were excited to see how much Cheeks has grown, we were able to document our first Christmas, and I remembered how beautiful it is to send and receive mail through snail mail. In fact, I feel energized to send more letters out.

Anyway, as I was putting on my face, I struggled with what lipstick/gloss to wear. See, I wanted something to show up on camera, but I didn't want something very overpowering. I would put on a lipstick, and then rub it off because it just wasn't satisfying the need. Then I would try a gloss, and it looked natural, but just didn't really add any oomph to my lips. Finally, I saw that I had some Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lipglazes, and I figured I would try the Perpetual Plum shade. Viola! Success! In love!

These glazes are a step below a lip lacquer. They have beautiful pigmentation, but still have enough sheen that the lips don't look overdone. The Perpetually Plum shade I wore gave my lips a really pretty deep rose hue. So the glaze brightened my face and I still looked pretty natural.

The consistency of the glaze is thick and a touch goopy. This glaze does have a stickiness to it, which is one reason is lasts a long time on the lips. It is also quite moisturizing. The color is layerable, but be careful because you could have a hot mess if you layer too much glaze on. There is a citrus scent to the glaze, but I can't detect a taste. Finally, this glaze does not make my lips tingle, which is what the Super Lustrous glosses do to my lips.

I am so enthralled by these glazes that I was really excited to find that I had four different colors. In addition, I have been wearing Perpetual Plum since the family portrait. It is my go-to shade now. A positive vote from me!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let's Share (giveaway!) **CLOSED**

Hi Lovelies!!

You know what I hate? I hate when I have something coherent and eloquent to say and then I totally forget what I was going to say. When I finally get around to writing or saying what I wanted to say, nothing valuable come out and then I sound like a fool. And this is what happened just now. I had a fun intro to this entry in my head, and now I am drawing a blank. However, I want to get this show on the road so you are reading this mumbo jumbo instead.

Soo, here we go. Remember not long ago when I reviewed the new ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone cosmetic bags? Remember how I raved about the Overnight bag? Well, guess what!

I have been given the opportunity to give away three (3) Overnight bags, which means that we will have three (3) winners!

I am super excited about this opportunity to share the coolness and convenience of this new ecoTools product.
ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone overnight bag (open)

It is simple to enter this giveaway.
Here are the details:

When: The chance to enter this giveaway will end on December 30, 2009 at 11:00 pm eastern time.

Who: I am opening up the giveaway to all, US and international (if an international reader wins, just bear with me in the mailing process. I can't remember the last time I mailed internationally.).

How: In order to enter, you must (1) follow this blog (check the side bar to join/follow), (2) post a comment with your first name, email address (or you can email me your email address if you want to maintain privacy, my email is in the sidebar. Just be sure that you identify yourself in the email so I can connect the email to the comment.) under this post before the deadline mentioned above.

This is all you have to do, and you can only enter once.

Also, if you have a facebook account, be sure to become a fan of ecotools.
In addition, share the love about ecotools on twitter.

Yay for giveaways, and Yay for traveling is style!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jet-setting, but take away the jet and add a teething baby

Warning: long review, lots of pictures

Monday I was ready to conquer the world with Mr. Cheeks McGee, but Cheeks had another idea. You see, I had a long list of things to do, and I was actually very excited to get out of the house despite the cold and remaining slush. Unfortunately, Cheeks woke up ready to fight the day. He was angry, constantly crying, and repeatedly doing the "milk" sign. It was already nine in the morning, and he had had three tantrums. I couldn't even go to the bathroom in peace. The problem is that Cheeks is angry at the stubborn enamel beast that insists on making its presence known in his mouth. He is not at the age where he recognizes the importance of teeth; therefore, he wants to rebel against nature. To compound the situation, the Scholar was going to be out on business, which meant I would be left alone to wrangle this frustrated child alone (My, how I admire single mother. I will always tip my hat to you ladies. Always.).

So I did what any mature adult would do: I called Queen Fierce and told her that Cheeks and I were going to stay at her house for the evening. After talking to her, I quickly began packing the suitcase, which leads me to the following review.

Several weeks ago I received the earth-friendly ecoTools Cosmetic Bags designed by Alicia Silverstone, to try out and review. I was excited about the opportunity to review these bags because 1) I like Alicia Silverstone, 2) I have heard excellent things about ecoTools, 3) I have a thing for bags, and 4) I don’t have a satisfying cosmetic bag and this was an excellent opportunity to try something that could work.

You see, before encountering these makeup bags, I would have to strategically pack my toiletries in several different bags as if I was assembling a puzzle, and it was always a hassle. Plus, if I removed one piece from the puzzle the organization of the bag would collapse. I would try different bags, but they either couldn’t comfortable fit everything I carted, or they were too bulky and cumbersome. I refrained from buying replacements for what I had because I really didn’t know what I wanted nor what I needed. And yes, I even scaled back and minimized the size of products I would take to places.

So, when I received the ecoTools cosmetic bags in varying sizes, I was super excited to try them out.

Here is a list of what I received:
The Cosmetic Bag, which fits in a purse ($8.99)
The Train Case ($14.99)
The Overnight Bag ($19.99)
The 5 Piece Brush Set and Bag ($15.99)
ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone collection 2

ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone collection 1

First impression was that the bags were beautiful. They are made with hemp material and have a lovely and vibrant floral design on them made with non-toxic ink. Although they are cloth, they are very sturdy, and are a natural tan/beige color, which assists in hiding any possible dirt.

I quickly filled the bags up to see how much they could hold, and they did not disappoint. The overnight held everything I take on a trip (as far as face, hair, and body), and I still had room to spare. The Train Case was the same situation, but instead of just describing it, let me show you.

Here is the Overnight Bag
ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone overnight bag (open)
As you can see in the group picture, this is a sizable bag. However, I was not sure it would be able to fit everything I carry along. I thought for certain I would have to force the bag shut. One side of the bag has a fixed pocket where you can put shampoo, face wash, perfume, whatever you want, really. Then the other side has two removable clear (recycled PET) zip-up pouches. You can remove if you need more space or you could detach and throw the pouch into a bag for a quick switch-up. Also, the bag has a double zipper, so it opens all the way up for easy accessibility.
Here it is filled with everything I take.
ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone overnight bag (filled)
If you click on the picture, it will take you to the flickr photostream and you can see the list of contents.

Seriously, I love this bag. This is what I used when I was packing for my impromptu sleepover at Queen Fierce's. I just put everything in there, it was easy to organize, I didn't have to fight to close the bag, and it fit comfortable in the suitcase among the teethers, the toy truck, and toy bongos.

The Train Case

EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone traincase (closed)
I have some train cases that are on a smaller scale. However, I always underestimate the space I need when I buy train cases, and I always overestimate the amount of makeup I am going to wear. However, I don't like to scale back on the makeup because my mood inspires the makeup. Plus, I never know when I will need to do some extra concealing or need more drama.

Again, very deceiving look to this train case. I wasn't sure I would be able to fit my brush case plus the bajillion palettes I always pack. However, everything fit, and I had a ton of room to spare. What I really love about this train case is that there is a slim see-through plastic pouch velcroed to the lid. I used it for my brushes, but you can fit many things in it.
Here is everything I packed in the train case.
EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone traincase
If you click on the picture, it will take you to the flickr photostream and you can see the list of contents.

See the cool pouch filled with brushes? Those are all of the brushes I would typically take on a trip, but Alicia and ecoTools has simplified that (more about that in a minute). Here it is all inside the train case.

EcoTools by Alicia Silverstone traincase (open and filled)
Do you see how the sides are slack? That is because I have a lot of room to spare. Again, this fit very comfortably among the toys and clothes in the suitcase. I loved how I just did not have to worry about strategically assembling the palettes to make everything fit well. And since I was in a hurry, I didn't have to decide what stayed and what went. I just dumped and dumped.

Cosmetic Bag
This bag, seen in the group picture, is in my purse. I could not dedicate an individual picture to it because Cheeks was attempting to eat paper and I had to tend to him, so I forgot to take the pictures. However, it is a nice, roomy, little bag. It has a wide bottom, which allows for more space and easier visibility. I have a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a 3 oz bottle of lotion, several glosses, two lipsticks, one mark. compact, and a mini powder brush in the bag.

Now, the piece I love the most from the collection (other than the overnight bag): The 5 piece Brush Set and Bag. Oh la la, I love this set. The set includes a "Finishing Brush," which is a skunk brush, a Blush brush, an angled eyeshadow brush, and a lash/brow groomer. Overall the brushes are soft and dense. They feel sturdy, they wash well, and only the skunk brush shed two hairs. I have been using only these brushes (with exception to the brow groomer, that has been neglected) since I received the products, and I am surprised at how much I love them. The angled eyeshadow brush is very versatile. I have been able to use it to cover the entire lid, do crease work, outer "v," blend eyeliner, highlight, and blend shadows. I just clean the brush in between each process. The blush brush works really well. I have pretty much exclusively used it for blush. Since it is very soft, so it does take several applications to make the blush visible.

My favorite brush is the "Finishing Brush," or the skunk brush. Holy High Heaven! This brush is very soft, dense without being too sturdy, and very effective at applying foundation. As all of you know, I like to wear medium to fuller coverage foundation, and my favorite foundation is Revlon Colorstay, which can look cakey depending on application. Well, when I first used this brush I was friggin' amazed at how it applied the foundation. The brush left this sheer feeling, but definitely high-medium coverage on my face. My face didn't feel like it had much foundation on it at all. It was easy to stipple the foundation on and the buffing took little effort and not much time. I used the skunk brush with liquid, cream, and powder foundation. And the brush delivered every time (the lightest coverage was the powder foundation, of course. When used with powder, this brush leaves a very light finish). Also, I used a lot less foundation when I used this brush. I was so intrigued by the results that I compared this skunk brush to the other skunks I have, including the 187. It seems that the ecoTools skunk brush has less white fibers than the other skunk brushes have. Therefore, it deposits less foundation; however, the shorter hairs are softer and quite dense which makes the blending and buffing more effective. I am not a brush expert, but this is my reasoning. Either way, definitely worth trying out. I will say that the skunk brush does take a long time to dry after washing, about one full night and well into the morning (it was still a little damp in the morning), and when the skunk brush dries it smells a little like semi-dehydrated breath. Odd description, but that is what it reminds me of. The smell does dissipate; so you won't smell like breath all day. These four tools close very nicely in their own little pouch. Actually, I will probably only take these brushes, and maybe two more eyeshadow brushes just in case, when I go on travel. This set has proven that this is all I need, really.

Here are some pictures of the skunk brush (I focused on this brush because we are always looking for 187 dupes.)

ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone skunk

ecoTools by Alicia Silverstone skunk v.
MAC 187 on left (when facing monitor) and ecoTool By Alicia Silverstone on right.

Go to my flickr photostream (link in side bar) to see more pictures of the ecoTool skunk brush in comparison to the Studio Tool (Target) skunk, the Sigma skunk, the Sonia Kashuk, and other 187 pictures.

All in all, would I buy these cosmetic bags? Yes. Yes, I would. I wouldn't buy all of them at once, but I would definitely purchase the 5 piece brush set and the overnight bag. I think the prices are reasonable, especially considering that these products are environmentally friendly, and they are very pretty and stylish. You won't confuse these bags with your friend's black or clear cosmetic bags. These bags traveled really well, they feel sturdy, and I don't have to search any longer. I am super satisfied.

Oh, and as far as Cheeks and his teeth, well, he is still fighting for that top tooth to break through. Poor baby.

If you see anything that you would like me to review in the pictures, just holla!

Note on review: I did receive these product to review. However, I was not paid for writing a review, and I always vow to be honest. The gratis products did not sway my opinion one way or another.