Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sephora VIB Haul

Sephora had their bi-annual VIB sale last week and when Sephora gives discounts, you take advantage, since they rarely have sales!  With this purchase, I finally achieved VIB Rouge status (makeup obsession, I know!), which has never happened before.  I'm looking forward to seeing what additional perks I get with VIB Rouge!

Here's what I got from my haul:

  • Nails Inc. VVB Victoria Beckham nail polish set - Bamboo White and Judo Red
  • Make Up For Ever Makeup Brush Cleanser
  • Perricone MD Firming Eye Cream
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Bisque
  • Laura Mercier Smooth Focus Pressed Setting Powder
  • Nars Lipgloss in Orgasm
  • Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser
  • And a whole slew of Ciaté products to try... Ciaté Lip Chalk (Instaglam and Berry-Go-Round), Ciaté Blush Pop (Darling), Ciaté Lip & Mix Pigment (Covet), Ciaté Skinny Shadow Stick (Underground), and Ciaté Liquid Chalk Nailpolish (Wanderlust)
All of these are items I've been wanting try with the exception of the Perricone MD eye cream and Beauty Blender solid, which are products that I absolutely love!  I'll be testing the Ciaté makeup products out for the next few weeks, since they recently launched the makeup line and everything is new.  Stay tuned for a review!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Tradesy Return Experience

Last month I wrote about my experiences with Poshmark and Tradesy.  Since then, I've had some experiences with Tradesy's return policy that I thought might be helpful for those who aren't sure whether or not to trust a service like this offering a return service.  I was skeptical since I've read so many horror stories online about people who requested returns that took forever or got their accounts canceled because Tradesy didn't trust that they were returning items for the right reasons.  I was pleasantly surprised when Tradesy handled my return without any fuss!

I decided to splurge and buy a Lanvin Amalia shoulder bag that I've been eyeing forever.  They are no longer sold in stores but are available on sites such as Poshmark, eBay, the Real Real and Tradesy.  Since I just sold my Gucci GG Twins Hobo bag on Tradesy, I had a large credit sitting in my account, I decided to buy on Tradesy.  By the way, most people who sell high end purses second-hand do it on all these platforms.  I think I saw multiple listings of the same items by the same sellers spread across all these sites.  This Lanvin bag on Tradesy was supposed to be "used only once or twice with no visible signs of wear."  The seller was asking for $885 (original price is $1950), so I thought this was a great deal since it had only been used once or twice, it can't be in that bad of condition.

When I received the bag, it had a heavy chemical odor to it, there were scuff marks on the sides with obvious signs of wear, and the interior pockets had tons of dust or debris in it.  It felt, overall, dirty and it didn't sit well with me that the product was misrepresented.  I thought about it for a few days (you have 4 days to initiate a return) and decided I didn't want to fork over all this money for generally a nice bag, but not what I was expecting.  I initiated the return, Tradesy sent me a USPS Priority Mail label, and I dropped it off at the post office.  Seven days later, I got my full refund returned to me in the form of my original payment (so in this case it was partial Tradesy credit from my Gucci sale and a partial credit card refund).  They didn't question me or nitpick my complaints.  There was absolutely no hassle and was such a great experience.  I definitely commend Tradesy for having this service.  It makes large purchases like these and purchasing second-hand risk-free.

In case you're wondering, I did end up finding another Lanvin Amalia on eBay (pictured below).  This one was completely brand new with tags.  It was a bit more in price, but at least it is brand new and doesn't smell bad or is full of dirt.  I am a happy camper!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Foundation Obsession and Review

Since I've started wearing foundation regularly, after graduating from college (I won't say how many years ago), the only foundation I've worn has been BareMinerals Original Mineral Foundation.  It was new at the time and having never worn foundation before, I found the mineral foundation to be easy to apply and provided good coverage for my then-young skin.

Fast forward to the present.  My skin is no longer as supple and clear as it used to be.  I've always had some dark spots from my younger days of playing in the sun without wearing sunscreen (that wasn't a thing back in the 80s!), but recently, I've noticed the dark spots getting darker and spreading out a bit more.  I've also noticed that my skin has become more "combination" skin, with the t-zone more oily and the rest of the face a bit dryer versus my old "normal" skin.  The mineral foundation didn't seem to last as long with the combo skin and was breaking up and looking patchy towards the afternoon.

I saw BareMinerals' new BareSkin foundation in the stores last year and decided to give it a go.  It seemed easy enough to put two drops on the special foundation brush it came with and brush it across my face.  I instantly fell in love with this.  It gave me more coverage and applied smoother than the mineral foundation, which actually has a lot of fallout, that I was used to.  This was the beginning of my discovery of new liquid bases.  Several things led me to try other liquid foundations, one of the reasons being, that I again, felt that the BareSkin foundation started to breakup in the afternoons, leaving my complexion feel splotchy.

Here are the ones I've tried and my favorites thus far.  Please keep in mind that my review is for medium to full coverage foundations, since my primary reason for using these is to even out my skin tone.  I also used the NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder over all of these foundations.

BareMinerals BareSkin Foundation (Beige 08)
Pros: Two drops per side of the face is all you need for full coverage; easy to apply with brush; smooth dewey finish
Cons: Not long-lasting - starts to break up after about 5 hours
Tip: I also noticed that this foundation applies better with the Beauty Blender for a smoother finish

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation (Ceylon)
Pros: Two layers gives you full coverage; flawless, matte finish; lasts all day... I had it on for more than 12 hours in one day and it remained flawless
Cons: Applying this is a bit difficult because it sets fairly quickly and you need to move fast
Tip: Best way to apply this is with a dampened Beauty Blender and dab!

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation (Shade 5)
Pros: Lightweight and smooth
Cons: Very, very sheer... I would say this is light coverage at best - not good for someone looking to smooth out their complexion; I also found this to be too dark for me... I think I bought it when I had a tan, and this just doesn't look good on me.  I think I should be more of a shade 3 or 4.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation (Light-Medium Neutral)
Pros: This stuff is not joking when it says full coverage... I think I only really needed one layer; has a matte, powdery finish; this lasted ALL DAY... no patches and no retouching
Cons: This foundation leaves my skin feeling a bit dry a few hours in.  Especially on hot days, I feel like I might look like a lizard, but I don't.  There's also no pump and it comes in a squeeze tube, so things can get messy.
Tip:  The Beauty Blender doesn't work well for this foundation... a good foundation brush is best for applying this.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation (109 Wheat)
Pros: Nice full coverage - all you need is one layer; lasts all day without having to touch up
Cons: I'm not a big fan of scented makeup and this foundation definitely has some sort of perfume scent added to it

I would have to say that my favorite out of this bunch is definitely the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation.  I like the coverage it gives me and the fact that after 12 hours of wear, it still looks the same as it did when I put it on in the morning.  It's definitely a product you can build up and can be medium or full coverage.  Here is a before and after shot of the left side of my face with the NARS foundation.  A lot of the the hyper pigmentation towards the top near my eye is covered up!

My least favorite is, obviously, the Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation.  I just found it to be too light for me.  I also prefer more of a matte finish and this one was dewey and I found my skin to be oily after a few hours.  Do you have a favorite?  Let me know what else I should try!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 2015 Stitch Fix Review!

The beginning of the month has become my favorite time of each month now that I'm getting a new Stitch Fix box delivered on a monthly basis.  This month, I had requested my stylist to include items that would be appropriate for my trip next month to Paris and London, that I could wear for both work and fun.  It was the first time I've made a specific request on Stitch Fix, so I was excited to see what she had chosen for me.

The colors in this month's fix were definitely focused on spring.  Upon opening the box, I was actually a bit scared to see two white articles of clothing and the other three in colors that are usually too bright for my liking.  Here's what I received:

  • Marin White Denim Jacket by Liverpool Jeans
  • Brixon Ivy Heidi Scallop Hem Pencil Skirt
  • Margaret M Emer Cropped Straight Leg Pant in Teal
  • Milo Knit Top by Loveappella
  • Daniel Rainn Ishara Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse
Honestly, my first impression upon opening this box was bad.  I really thought that all these items were going to go back.  The first item I pulled out of the box was the pencil skirt and my initial impression was, "Great... I look incredibly bad in pencil skirts."  The next thing I took out was the white blouse and thought, "I hate white blouses."  This month's experience didn't start off so well.  Hesitantly, I started trying out all the clothes.  Before you read any further... I just want to point out that I have no idea where this hideous farmer's tan came from, so no judgments.  Without further ado...

Item #1: Milo Knit Top by Loveappella

Photos of the front and the back of this top

Here is the Milo Knit Top by Loveappella with my own pair of Lucky Brand jeans.  I absolutely hate the aztec print on this top, but when I put it on, the fabric was incredibly soft, had great stretch, and was super comfortable.  I immediately thought that I may actually keep this one, until I went out into the living room for my husband to take the photo and he said, "Oh my god, they sent that?!  That is ugly!"  Honestly, I don't know where I would wear this top, but it's super soft!  

Verdict: I decided not to keep the top since it is $48, and I would only be keeping it for pure comfort.  I'm sure there are other tops out there similar in fabric, so I won't be spending my money on a print I really don't like.

Item #2: Marin White Denim Jacket by Liverpool Jeans

I decided to try this one on with the knit top and was hoping that I could pair these two.  The top still looked bad from an aztec print standpoint.  The jacket fit really nicely and I actually liked it.  The ONLY complaint I have with this jacket is that the fabric is a bit thin and you can see through the back.  So if your'e wearing a darker color underneath, as I am in this photo, you can see everything from behind.

Verdict: Sending back.  As much as I like this jacket, I really can't see myself wearing this all the time.  For $88, I would much rather get a dark wash denim jacket.  This is unfortunate, since I've now received two denim jackets from Stitch Fix, but they haven't been exactly right.

Items #3 and #4: Margaret M Emer Cropped Straight Leg Pants and Daniel Rainn Ishara Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse

My stylist knows that I LOVE the Margaret M Emer Cropped Straight Leg Pants, so when this new teal colored piece came in, she sent it to me.  As with my previous pair, I find these pants incredibly comfortable and flattering, but still wish they were in a darker color.  The Daniel Rainn blouse is a bit too sheer for my liking, but surprisingly, it is incredibly comfortable and fits well!  I love the lace detail on the back of the blouse as well.

Verdict: I'm keeping the pants, since I already own a pair and wear them almost everyday.  At $98, it is expensive, but I know I'll get my money's worth out of these.  I'm not sure about the blouse yet.  I would need to find something to wear underneath the blouse, because as you can see in the photo, it is very sheer!  Still thinking about it.

Item #5: Brixon Ivy Heidi Scallop Hem Pencil Skirt

My favorite thing about this skirt are the pockets!  I'm in love with dresses with pockets these days and I don't have a skirt with pockets yet.  I paired this with the Daniel Rainn blouse and the skirt gave the blouse a whole other look.  These were the two pieces I hated the most upon opening the box, but they have actually changed my mind!  The skirt was comfortable - it fit incredibly well and wasn't too tight or restrictive.  I also like the scallop detail on the hem and pockets.  I can probably put a nice cardigan over this and make it a decent work outfit.

Verdict: As much as I like the look of this entire ensemble, I just don't think I would have anywhere to wear this to.  I work in Silicon Valley in tech... if I showed up to work like this, people would think I was out interviewing, since it's more of a jeans to work culture.  At $64 for the skirt and $68 for the top, it's a hefty price tag for something I might wear once or twice.  Sadly, I will be sending these back.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5.  Overall, I think this fix was successful, even though I decided to keep only one item.  I think my stylist is now starting to figure out what items would fit on me well.  I only wished that my stylist would have given me more items that I could take from day to night for my trip to Europe.  I don't foresee myself hitting the town in this pencil skirt after work nor would I have worn the denim jacket or knit top to work.  I've already scheduled my May fix, so I can potentially have a few more items for my trip.  I've sold so many things on Poshmark this month, that I need to actually replenish my wardrobe!  If you don't know what Poshmark is, check out my previous post on Poshmark and Tradesy.  It's a great space to sell your old clothes, shoes and purses.

One thing I did learn about myself this month, and something that is great about using a service like Stitch Fix: I can actually pull off lighter colors!  I would never have picked up any of these items in a store, getting fixes each month definitely pulls me out of my fashion comfort zone and forces me to consider items I normally wouldn't if I were just shopping myself.