Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cheap Thrills (AKA The Anti-Wiggle Post)

hey all! so in case you're wondering why this isn't a knock-down, drag-out review of everything i loved and hated about SATC: The Movie, i'm just a bit SATC'd out at the moment, i'm going to really get into it in a day or so here so check back. if you're sick to death of the SATC obsessing, then here's some makeup obsessing to fill the void ;D

i might as well have just called this blog "One Woman's Obsessive Compulsive Journey Through a Thousand Tubes of Mascara" because there is quite a bit of time focused on lash-worthy products! i promise i'll branch out, but i'm just eager to share the things i've learned with all of you, my lovely readers, and since i never stop buying mascara, it seems that a good portion of my knowledge lies there... anyways, i know that a lot of readers (myself included) don't always have $25 to spend on a tube of mascara that only lasts a few months, so i want you to know that there are really, really good buys waiting for you at the drugstore! you can look like a real-life Betty Boop with a mascara that costs less than $10, i swear! i have tested tons, and two of my all-time favorites are...

1. Cover Girl Volume Exact Mascara, $5.99. this was the first rubber bristle brush mascara that ever worked for me, and i have really grown to love it! you know how people always describe certain mascaras as giving 'false lash' results? well they are usually talking about an ultra volumizing, super dramatic and most of the time clumpy mascara. if you actually look at a pair of false lashes, they don't look a thing like that! they are very long, wispy, feathery, and defined looking. each lash is perfectly separated and curled. CG Volume Exact mascara will actually give you 'false lash' results! this mascara coats each lash and gets right down to the root, something especially important if, like myself, you have naturally blonde lashes. it never clumps, and your lashes don't get fused together as long as you take your time applying and use a light touch, something invaluable in mascara application. we're always taught through magazines and makeup artists advice that the way to apply mascara is to wedge the brush into your lash base and then wiggle it up and out through our lashes, right? well i used to always apply my mascara this way and could never understand why my lashes clumped, couldn't hold a curl, and just generally looked like crap. let me tell you why: applying mascara that way overloads your lashes with product and does NOT give you your best result. maybe if you have really long, thick lashes to begin with the wiggle method works well for you, but for those of us not blessed with naturally thick lashes, it's not the magic method! if you've been applying your mascara using the wiggle method forever and think i'm crazy, do me a favor and just try this out one time: curl your lashes, grab your mascara wand and *LIGHTLY* brush through your lashes without wiggling at all. just wedge the bristles into your lash base and sweep straight up, being very careful to only gently touch the bristles to your lashes as you sweep. repeat a few times until you're happy with your results. this will put on the perfect amount of mascara on your lashes so that they don't stick together and they stay curled perfectly. anyhow, back to CG Volume Exact-- this mascara holds a curl so well it makes me want to jump up and down! to me, one of the most important qualities a mascara can possess is being able to really lock in the curl i spend 5 minutes pressing into my lashes. this one does not dissapoint. as a matter of fact, for the last week straight i've ignored every other mascara and only used this one, quite a feat for a person who usually uses a different one each day. Volume Exact is cheap, doesn't dry out quickly whatsoever, and works brilliantly. it's very black and doesn't flake or smudge at all, yet easily melts off with soap and water at the end of the day. pretty much perfection by my standards! next up, another mascara that deserves a 10 out of 10...

2. Rimmel Lycra Lash Extender Mascara, $6.49. another mascara that gives you a real 'false lash' look, this slim black tube houses a powerful lash glamorizer! after reading countless gushing reviews on MUA, i decided to pick up this mascara and try it out for myself. at the time i was on a very narrow-minded path with mascaras as i was only interested in super volumizing formulas, so getting a mascara that was specifically marketed for lengthening lashes was a stretch (no pun intended) for me. let's just say i was not the least bit disappointed! this mascara actually has lycra in it to help stretch and lengthen your lashes, and boasts the ability to hold your curl for 14 hours, which it lives up to! the swirling-shaped tube feels very substantial in your hand as you're applying and the thickly bristled brush sweeps the formula through lashes perfectly with no clumps in sight! the only time i've had any smearing or flaking with this mascara is when i fall asleep in it, and even then it's nothing a moistened Q-tip can't handle. the results you get when using this mascara are long, separated, defined, fluttery lashes that stay curled until you decide to wash your face. it is truly a phenomenal drugstore find! i've even gotten my mom attached to this mascara and she is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of gal who would never put up with a mascara that required too much effort!

so if you're finding yourself in desperate need of a new tube of mascara but with insufficient funds for a trip to Sephora, never fear! the Pretty Kitty is here to help you find your way!

what are your favorite cheap thrills? let me know in the comments!

Cover Girl Volume Exact mascara and Rimmel Lycra Lash mascara are both available at drugstores everywhere and their respective websites, which are linked above.

Friday, May 30, 2008

drumroll please...

i went, i saw, i LOVED! the movie was everything i'd hoped it would be and i am totally thrilled and satisfied with it, it was well worth the wait. i'm very exhausted and tired from all the hoopla so there'll be more tomorrow, just wanted to give you my opinion, if you're on the fence about seeing it, don't be- GO!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Talika Lipocils

you know how sometimes you use a new shampoo and get fabulous results, but after you've been using it for about a month or so it seems to not work so well? that's because your hair adjusts to it, and gets used to it, and then you have to go find another formula to get those amazing results again. i'm hoping that eyelashes work the same way, because i've been faithful to Mavala Double Lash Eyelash Conditioner for over a year now (read about it here) to get longer, thicker, stronger lashes, and have recently decided to try out a new lash conditioner, Talika Lipocils Eyelash Gel. although my beloved Mavala hasn't stopped working for me, i'm curious to see if Talika can give me even more length and take my lashes to the next level. i'm thinking that maybe the new, different formula will kick-start my lashes into another growth phase? maybe i'm delusional, but i'm testing it out anyways, and it's just been a few days but i will gladly give you my initial findings.

Talika Lipocils promises longer, stronger lashes in 28 days from using their formula which contains soy lecithin liposomes that are said to stimulate lash growth. a few points from Talika's website that make their claims promising:
  • Lipocils is the only lash product on the market to rightly claim and prove eyelash growth. It is the only product ever to be authorized in France to advertise this claim
  • Lipocils can be used everyday and is suitable even for the most sensitive eyes (Except in the extremely rare event of an allergic reaction)
  • Effects are proven by clinical tests
from my own preliminary testing of the product, i can tell you that i really like the delivery system of the Eyelash Gel. instead of coming in a little glass bottle like Mavala Double Lash, Talika comes in a regular mascara-like plastic tube which is much more user friendly. the mascara brush applicator that you use to apply the gel is much bigger and more densely bristled than Mavala's, making it easier to coat all your lashes thoroughly with one quick sweep of the brush. compared to Mavala's whitish tinted product, i prefer Talika's lighter, clear formula because in the morning when i wake up i can't even tell there has been anything on my lashes. with Mavala, sometimes i will wake up and find tiny little white flakes on my cheeks from where the product has dried and fell off during the night. so formula and packaging-wise, i already prefer Talika. however, the most important thing to me is that what i'm using promotes eyelash growth and keeps my lashes strong and healthy, and i know Mavala does this well for it's $18 pricetag. Talika is over twice as much, clocking in at $40 (eeek! i know!), so it had better show me some significantly more noticeable results if it wants to become a permanent member of my beauty arsenal. stay tuned for updates on how it's working out and whether or not you should splurge on your own tube!

have you ever tried Talika Lipocils? if so, what was your experience?

Magic Mushrooms

alright, a break from the SATC nonsense now :) ever since my face turned bumpy, itchy, and raging bright red from testing out Philosophy's Hope In A Jar (buyer beware!), i've been trying to go extra easy on it, especially since a lot of dermatologists theorize that wrinkles can be brought on by facial irritation. i've quit exfoliating each time i cleanse and instead started using Clinique's Mild Facial Soap, (still loving it soooooo much, i wish i could send each and every one of you a bottle of your own to fall in love with!) stopped with any kind of potentially irritating BHA/AHA acid treatments, and have started using Dr. Weil for Origin's Plantidote Mega Mushroom Face Serum.

created by Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-trained medical doctor, botanist, and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, this line of products was made to calm what Dr. Weil calls "the fire within", a combination of dryness, redness, irritation, wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation in the skin that give you a less-than-stellar complexion. also included in the line is a cleanser, two treatment lotions, a cream, and an eye serum that you can check out here. so far i'm about a week and a half into testing the serum and i'm liking it very much! it's very light and absorbs into the skin quickly, yet is hydrating enough for me to skip using moisturizer afterwards, although this is partly due to the fact that the weather is warming up significantly. in the winter i would definitely need to follow the serum with something more hydrating, and i'd really like to try the Plantidote Mega Mushroom Face Cream for this. when i wake up in the morning my skin is calm, hydrated, and smooth, and the persistent redness that has been lingering since my HIAJ trouble seems to be fading slightly. i'm going to give the serum a solid month before i expect a great improvement in the redness, but after a week and a half i'm very pleased. this serum is the perfect summer moisturizing treatment, light yet nourishing, quickly absorbed and a good base for makeup. i'll update in a few weeks to report more on how the treatment is going, and if you'd like to learn more about the Mega Mushroom line of products, visit the Origins website and click on "Dr. Weil".

have you ever tried the Mega Mushroom Face Serum? how about the cream? let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


that's all i have to say. there are no more words to describe my feelings on this "headdress". this is SJP at the London Premiere of SATC: The Movie, and i think her hair and makeup look phenomenal, but that piece of hideousness on her head...tsk tsk tsk. also, what was up with Kim Cattral's outfit this same night? she looked about 300 years old! i really, really do NOT like her hair pulled back tightly and that dress! oy vey! dios mia! she looks like Mrs. Claus or something! i also have to say, i saw Kim on Oprah (at left) recently when the girls were on to promote the movie, and she looks stunning for 51 years old- i mean clear skin, no wrinkles, just plain glowing, but from the clips i've seen of the movie, i don't think she looks good at all! i'm guessing it's the too-long hair, my favorite hair on Kim was in Season 3 and 4 when she had that really sharply cut, just-touching-the-shoulders length hair with pale blonde highlights. my all-time favorite moment for Samantha was in Season 4, episode 63 "Change Of A Dress" when she was at Richard's fundraiser and ended up having sex with that J.J. loser in the bathroom. she had really straight, sleek hair and was wearing the most fabulous black and white dress and she looked perfect!

as for Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Davis, i think they both got it right at the London premiere. Kristen looked adorable and as posh and tailored as always in her fitted red dress. i am loving her hair the way it's styled here, she wore it the same way on the episode of Oprah they were on and she also looked absolutely stunning! just as beautiful as ever, actually even more luminous than she did four years ago when the show ended. i love how she embraces her womanly shape, she has a very sexy, 1940's glamour girl thing going on and the way she dresses always accentuates it flawlessly. Cynthia Nixon looked very glam in her low-cut, black satin gown although i am not liking her hair lately, either. when she was on Oprah i swear she looked like she had driven for an hour in a convertible, stepped out of the car and then hairsprayed the whole mess into place! it was very strange! (check it out below) other than that, she was radiant and seemed incredibly happy about her relationship with the woman she has been linked to since the end of SATC. good for Cynthia! i'm excited to see what they wear to the NYC premiere, and in my opinion, shouldn't SATC: The Movie have premiered in NYC first?! i mean the show is all about NYC! just my opinion. the big day is coming tomorrow and i'm hoping to be able to make it to the theatre sometime in the early afternoon to see it, and don't you worry, i will definitely report back with a no-holds-barred review for all my fellow SATC lovers. and to those reading my blog who couldn't care less about SATC? i promise the obsessing is just about over and things will revert to normal, makeup-based information soon.

A Vogue Idea

in keeping with the whole SATC-crazed countdown theme, i wanted to mention the amazing June issue of Vogue with SJP on the cover! although her mouth looks a little wonky, i think it's a beautiful picture, and the article inside is a must-read. if you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy, you can read the full article here, and don't miss out on the pictures and the behind-the-scenes video on the photo shoot! enjoy my fellow SATC maniacs!

SATC: 2 Days to Go!!!

hello all! in honor of the final two day countdown to the premiere of the Sex And The City movie, i'm going to give you my top five favorite looks that Carrie ever wore! this has taken a lot of deliberation because there are so many beautiful outfits throughout the series, but i think i've narrowed them down pretty well. here they are, in no particular order:

#1. from episode 34 "Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl" i adore this outfit that Carrie wears ice skating with her bi-sexual boyfriend Sean (also Rachel's assistant boy-toy 'Tag' on "Friends")! season 3 was the season that i loved the most-- not only do i think that the episodes from that season including the whole Carrie/Big affair were the best of the whole series, but i think SJP never looked more beautiful! her hair was beyond gorgeous, that darker underneath, lighter blonde highlights on top with the loose curls? beautiful! in episode 40 "Easy Come, Easy Go" when Samantha throws the part at her new apartment and Carrie first confesses to her about the Big affair, there is a moment when Carrie is looking out of Samantha's window and i think it is her most beautiful moment of the whole show!

#2. from episode 92 "Splat!" next to the above discussed shot of Carrie in Samantha's window, i think that this might be SJP's second most beautiful look in the whole series! this pale blue Marc Jacobs dress is soooooooo breathtakingly beautiful, and i also love love LOVE her hair here, it's almost the same style as in Season 3 except it's darker and a little more beachy. i also really enjoyed actress Kristen Johnston's cameo as Lexi Featherston, the obnoxious party girl who Carrie catches snorting coke in the bathroom and then sees fall out the window to her untimely death!

  1. #3. from episode 19 "The Chicken Dance" i was absolutely smitten with Carrie's gauzy pink Donna Karan dress from this episode the moment i laid eyes on it! i was determined then (at age 16) to model my own wedding dress after it, i loved it that much! looking back now, i still really like the dress, but i have to say i thought Carrie's hair looked awful for a lot of this season, very drowned rat-esque. anyways, here is the beautiful poem Carrie wrote for the couple who were married during this episode:
His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was "I do"

#4. from episode 61 "The Good Fight" this adorable Roberto Cavalli outfit appears at the very end of the show, as Carrie leaves her apartment wearing it. when Aidan is moving in with her, they try to clean out her closet, and it's an outfit she decides to throw away to make more room for him. i would never throw this outfit away, and thankfully, neither does Carrie. i think SJP looks striking with her hair pulled back into this clean bun that really showcases the intricate design of the shirt, and the white skirt (slip dress?) also looks flawless.

#5. from episode 84 "Boy, Interrupted" finally last but not least, i love this simple striped Ella Moss dress, i think it's beautifully made and very interesting, and naturally, SJP looks perfect in it! i really also liked her hair at this period in the show, she was growing it out from Season 5's short, chin-length cut, and it was very sleek and simple. i didn't really care for her hair super short, especially when she wore it big and curly, i thought it was disastrous and made her face look even longer and skinnier than it is naturally.

we all know that there are many, many more beautiful outfits Carrie wore and many more that i also loved (and am probably forgetting about at the moment) so tell me what your favorite outfits of hers were! what about her worst moments? ugliest outfit? and don't tell me it was the outfit from Season 1 that she wore to the picnic, that's too easy!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Brow Business

happy memorial day everyone!!! i hope you're all doing something very fun and have enjoyed the 3-day weekend. today i'm going to be discussing one of the most important parts of getting your makeup right, and that's making sure your brows look fierce! i know that a LOT of people don't bother with their brows and that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. for a very long time i didn't define my own brows, and i can't tell you what a HUGE positive difference it made when i learned how to do them correctly. if, like myself, you ever watch QVC, you'll see a lot of before and after pictures of the models with their brows done while they're demo-ing brow products, and i have yet to see a model that didn't look 50 times better in the after picture. not only does defining your brows frame your face and showcase your eyes, but it makes you look more polished and gives your face a noticeable life (especially important for anyone worried about looking a little bit older).

first off on the mission to get gorgeous brows is, of course, making sure they're the right shape and having them correctly groomed. if you've never plucked your brows and they're completely au naturale, i would strongly recommend going and getting them professionally shaped. it will only take a few minutes and cost under $20, and that way you will have a beautiful shape that you can easily maintain at home by plucking away the stray hairs. once you have a flattering shape, it's not hard to keep them up, it's getting the shape in the first place that can be very scary! the picture to the right shows a before and after of a well shaped brow. the lines that are going across the picture show you how to line up where your brow should be, and you can do this easily using a long eyeliner pencil or regular pencil, too. grab a white eyeliner pencil (Wet'n'Wild makes a cheapie one for under a dollar) and make a mark where your brow should be, then you can go back and tweeze away the strays that don't fall into the lines. some commonly made mistakes? plucking too far into the start of the brow, putting your arch in the wrong place, and just plucking too much overall. see this is why it's a good idea to get a professional to help you if you're starting off with brows that resemble Pai Mei from Kill Bill!

once you've gotten a beautiful brow shape, the best way to keep it up is with a pair of quality tweezers. now i must confess, for years and years i thought that it was incredibly foolish to pay more than 99 cents for a pair of cheapie Walgreen's tweezers. i mean, come on, tweezers are tweezers, right?! WRONG. i was SO wrong! and until i got my first pair of Tweezerman Animal Print Slant Tweezers, you couldn't have convinced me otherwise. but the difference is, with a pair of good tweezers, you can grab the teensiest of tiniest brow stubble and you never break the hair off mid-shaft, and they are just so precise and last forever! i highly recommend investing in a pair of Tweezerman tweezers, they have a million different kinds for every different plucker, and they even sharpen them for free anytime you'd like!

now that you have your brows shaped and the tools to keep them looking gorgeous, it's time to define them and fill them in. now don't let the thought of this scare you, i'm definitely not recommending that you paint on Joan Crawford-esque brows, i hate too dark brows and think they make a person look harsh and old, but accentuating your brows subtly can make the most beautiful difference! i flip-flop back and forth between loving pencils and powders with waxes, and i'd recommend them both, just pick the one you feel most comfortable using. and believe me, you don't have to spend a ton of money for a nice brow products, i have found fab ones for under $5 that i love just as much as the ones for $25! one of my favorite brow do-it-all kits is Benefit's Brow Zings, $28 (pictured to the left). it includes a brow powder, wax, two brushes and a pair of mini tweezers to keep in your purse! how cute is that?! it comes in 3 colors, Light, Medium, and Dark. the problem i've found with Brow Zings is that the Light version that i own seems to be on the warmer side, i know when i had my natural hair color of dark dishwater blonde i had to be very careful that my brows didn't come out too reddish looking. now that my hair is dyed dark auburn my Brow Zings is perfect, but i would definitely test this one out first if your have ashy blonde or cool brown hair. it might not work so well for you. if you're trying to save some of your hard-earned money, i would also highly recommend the Sephora Brand Eyebrow Palette, $12 (at right). it's basically a knock-off of Benefit Brow Zings, except it's missing the tiny tweezers. i had this one before Brow Zings and i have to say, i think it's just as good, and given the opportunity i might just buy this one and skip the Brow Zings because it's basically the same exact product for a whole hell of a lot less!

if pencils are more your thing, try out the Chanel Le Crayon Sourcils Precision Brow Definer, $28 (pictured at left). now i know that $28 is insanely expensive for an eyebrow pencil, but there's just something about this one that i can't exactly explain that makes it beyond fabulous! the taupe shade, which i own, would be perfect for anyone with hair ranging from platinum blonde to medium brown to red to gray. it stays on so well thanks to it's long-wearing, vitamin E enriched formula, and comes with a little mascara spoolie on one end so you can pencil in and then blend without searching through your stash for a separate eyebrow brush. the texture of the pencil is kind of on the harder side, but this is a positive thing, because i find that with some of the really soft eyebrow pencils it's easy to overdo it. with the Chanel pencil, you can really get in there and mess around without having to worry about coming out with crazily overdone brows. it also helps if you're a brow beginner since it's easy to use, and the fact that the pencil isn't super soft means that it will last a long, long time. a great cheaper alternative to the Chanel pencil is Prestige's Eyebrow Pencil, $3.45 (at right, available at drugstores). this is actually the very first brow product i tried and thankfully, i happened to pick a great one! the Taupe is a nice, natural color, the formula wears well and the brush on one end works nicely to blend the pencil into your brows for a perfect look.

a few tips i try to follow when doing my brows? use a light touch, you can always add more but it's much harder to take away excess product. but isn't that the golden rule of all makeup application? and when it comes to plucking and filling in your brows, stick with your God-given shape. a fuller, more natural brow not only always looks best but is very "in" right now! just get rid of the strays that grow under your natural browline and keep your arch looking clean. and never, no matter what, shave your eyebrows! i mean not even as a quick touch-up! yuck! step away from the mirror before things get close to that!

any favorite tips for doing eyebrows you'd like to share with me? what are you favorite brow products? let me know in the comments!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


the last time i was at Nordstrom's i happened upon the section of the store where they have Juicy Couture Jewelry! (who knew JC made jewelry?!) i have NEVER seen anything so adorable in my LIFE! they're all so cute and glam that it was impossible to choose a favorite one. i am beyond obsessed with their jewelry now that i own the Pink Cupcake Necklace, and plan to add more of the gorgeous charms to my collection! check them out below!

you can see the outrageous prices of these charms and the rest of the Juicy Couture Jewelry line here, at Nordstrom's website, or in Nordstrom's stores. enjoy! and don't be mad at me for sparking obsessions, i'm just passing along the information...!

Tan Faker

happy Thursday readers! today i am going to be telling you about a fabulous bronzer i have discovered for faking the PERFECT sun-kissed glow, and the best brush to use with it. read on if you're ready to kick that ghostly pallor to the curb!

unfortunately for me, summer has arrived, and with summer comes the yearning for tanned skin. i especially crave the look of a tan because for my super pale self, nothing works better for hiding my dark circles, making me look healthy instead of anemic, and slimming down everything a pinch! it was extremely difficult, but 2 years ago i quit tanning for good and have stuck to it with amazing dedication. ever since i gave up the beds, i've been trying out self-tanners and bronzers and anything i could get my hands on to replicate a natural looking tan, and to tell you the truth, i haven't had that much luck. you know the trouble with bronzers, they're either too orange, too yellow, too muddy brown, too shimmery, too matte and dusty, etc etc etc. but this all changed when i tested out Benefit's HOOLA, $28! this bronzing powder is the most perfect natural tan color i have ever seen! i'm telling you, when i dusted this on my face, i was stunned by how completely genuine it looked! it made my skin look exactly the same way as a few hours in the sun would, not 'brown' per say but just warmed and so naturally tan looking! since it's completely matte, there are no tell-tale shimmers to give away the fact that you're wearing bronzer, and although i do love me some shimmer, i find this perfect because you can always add some sparkle if you'd like, or not if you want to look completely natural. i have to admit, i was hesitant to spend almost $30 on a bronzer, but it was well worth the cost. HOOLA comes in a cardboard box that is loaded with product, and the powder itself is super finely milled so you only need to tap your brush lightly onto it's surface to pick up enough bronzer to do your whole face. even if you used HOOLA everyday from now until September, you'd have boatloads left, and i'd say it will last me atleast a few years. so yes, $30 is a lot, but it will last and the quality is top of the heap!

now, when i first bought HOOLA, i tried using all the makeup brushes i had in my arsenal to get a perfect application and just couldn't manage to get it right (and as for the brush that comes with HOOLA? cute, but don't even think about actually using it, it won't work well enough for a precise application). even my trusty MAC 187 brush wasn't giving me the subtle wash of color i needed, so i went on a quest to find a brush that would get the job done. enter Posh's Purse Powder Brush, $16, which i have fallen head-over-heels in love with! if you've read my blog for a while now, you know i'm very faithful to MAC brushes, but this Posh brush is about 100 times softer and better than any MAC brush i've ever owned. i know, i know, i can hardly believe i'm saying it myself! the bristles are so thick and soooo soft, and the way they're cut and tapered is just phenomenal for dusting on and blending powders (and especially bronzer). using my Posh Purse Powder Brush, i was able to apply a very light layer of bronzer all over my whole face and then add a bit more to my cheeks, nose, and chin, blending it all together to create a seamless looking, natural, perfect tan! i know that Posh brushes aren't by any means inexpensive, but like i've said before, brushes are crucial to getting your best possible makeup application and are something that should be splurged on. i'm all for saving money where you can, but your tools are not a place to scrimp.

not only does this HOOLA + Posh Purse Powder brush combo work perfectly on your face, but i also successfully bronzed my neck, shoulders, and chest with it! i'm sure you could also do your legs, too, if you wanted. i give both these products my highest Pretty Kitty rating and hope you'll try them out, soon!

Posh Cosmetics brushes can be found at Fred Meyer grocery stores, Bed Bath 'N' Beyond, and their website. Benefit HOOLA can be found at Sephora and their website, as well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Battle of the Balms!

so i'm sure you guys know that there are people SO addicted to their lip balm that if they had it taken away, they'd be in desperate need of a 12 Step program, right? i remember in high school my friend Jill would sometimes sleep in her dark brownish-red shimmery L'oreal lipstick when she couldn't locate her favorite balm just so her lips wouldn't feel dry! i'm something of a balm lover myself, but haven't gone quite that far yet, although i'm guilty of always buying tons of different tubes and trying to find my favorite, can't-live-without-it version. recently, i've found not one but two great ones to chatter about! here goes!

up first (and in actual LIFE SIZE!) is C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries Mentha Lip Balm Stick with SPF 15. i bought mine at Bath and Body Works for $7 which i think is kind of expensive for a lip balm...unless it's one i love THIS much! i know everyone's been going insane for the squeeze-tube, gloss-like versions of the C.O. Bigelow lip balms but i had tried them and while they were nice, they weren't anything i was going to buy again. the problem with them, in my opinion, is that they give the look of a lip gloss...great, right? well no, not great, because they last on your lips for a grand total of 3 minutes, tops, and they're gone! since they're more like a gloss than a balm, they also don't leave your lips very moisturized. if i want shine i much prefer going the MAC route where atleast i know my super-glue gloss is staying on for good! not the case with the stick version pictured here, although it says on the tube "No Shine Formula", it does give your lips a very pretty subtle shine that doesn't interfere with the balm's moisturizing capabilities. if you're looking for a completely matte look from your balm, this isn't the one for you. but i happen to love the slight shine this one gives, coupled with it's nice, minty flavor and subtle sweet taste (and i HATE super sweet tasting balms, believe me, for all you taste-haters, this one's ok). it stays on for a good amount of time, leaves my lips soft, and the best part! i almost forgot! applying this balm is heavenly because it glides onto your lips soooooo super softly and smoothly. it's incredibly addicting! if you ever try it you'll see what i mean. and i hope you do!

next up is a balm that's waiting for you right at your neighborhood drugstore (can't you hear it calling "come buy me! come buy me!"?). Neutrogena's Lip Moisturizer is one i have been meaning to try for quite a while now but only recently got around to, and i'm kicking myself for waiting so long! i had been a faithful Carmex user since i was 14 (not kidding, either) when i first discovered the pleasures of the original pot version, which i used nightly until about a month ago. a few years ago i had also started using the stick versions. Carmex is ok, i'm not going to trash talk something that i relied on for so many years, but i've found that for overnight use Aquaphor works just as well without Carmex's thick stickiness and for daytime use, just about anything works as well without the 3-inch layer of wax that the stick version leaves you tasting. but i digress, Neutrogena's Lip Moisturizer is the real deal, my friends. it applies in a nice, thin layer with absolutely NO waxy feeling at all! this is a huge plus for me since i've woken up from my Carmex haze. it instantly leaves your lips feeling softer and somehow taken care of. it also has a PABA-free SPF 15 included to keep those lips safe from the sun (and we know how important this is, right readers? your lips are the thinnest skin on your body and therefore need extra TLC!). this one leaves you with a more matte finish, but there is still some slip to your lips when you're wearing it. i think a touch of this would be perfect for wearing underneath lipsticks and glosses when your lips weren't in prime condition. check this one out if you're looking for a little pick-me-up while waiting to get a prescription filled, it's only about $2.99 at Walgreen's!

so what are your favorite balms, readers? are there any out there that you feel don't get enough love? let's hear about them in the comments!

the Mild side

hello long lost readers! are any of you still checking in after my 6 day absence?! i hope so! it's been ungodly hot here in Kitty Land and i've been insanely busy, but i'm back to report on my newest fixations!

when it comes to face washing, i'm part of the crowd who believes it's insane to spend huge amounts of money on a cleanser packed with antioxidants and peptides and other magic potions because it's only on your skin for a very short amount of time before you rinse it (and your hard-earned cash) down the drain. when you aren't a millionaire and you have to pick and choose what to splurge on, i'd much rather spend a lot on a moisturizer or serum that's going to have long-term contact with my skin. case in point, my favorite way to wash my face for a few years now has been using cleansing cloths. i see-saw back and forth between Dove, the generic Target brand, and Oil of Olay as my favorite brand, but these cloths are wonderful! they're not the pre-moistened ones that you might be thinking of, but the dry ones that are impregnated with soap so you just add a little water and then you have lather that washes, exfoliates, and supposedly tones your face. i don't know about the toning, but these cloths take every speck of my makeup off and always exfoliate my skin the perfect amount. i highly recommend these for the budget conscious person who wants the most from their cleanser.

anyways, back to my point, lately i had been getting restless from using the same cleanser for years and started looking around for something new...since i have been trying to be extra gentle with my face after my Philosophy Hope In A Jar ordeal, i wanted something mild...enter Clinique's Liquid Face Soap Mild, which i am in LOVE with! i first got my hands on a tiny, GWP size tube to try it out before buying a regular size, which i highly recommend you do also if interested. i'm sure a Clinique counter person would be happy to give you one for free and if not, try Ebay (as always!). this soap is clear, lathers nicely, rinses completely clean, doesn't dry out your skin or strip it but completely removes every trace of makeup, even mascara. also, it will hardly dent your wallet since you're getting 6.7 ounces for $14.50, which should last months and months since you only need a tiny bit for each washing. here's how i use it: i first splash some warm water on my face to moisten it, then take a little bit of the liquid soap and lather it up about halfway in my hands, then massage my face with it for a minute or so. i swear my skin has been looking better since i've been using it, and this doesn't surprise me because i used the Clinique 3-Step System in high school and had gorgeous skin!

now i've been using the Mild version of this soap in the hopes of babying my skin, but if Mild doesn't do it for you, it also comes in an Oily skin version and an Extra Mild version, also. i can't imagine needing the Extra Mild since the Mild is so wonderful, but everyone skin is different and some people have very sensitive faces! if you didn't already know, everything Clinique sells is fragrance-free and allergy tested, which i adore because i really do NOT need my makeup to have a fruity smell. i mean, i know tons of people adore fragranced products, but i definitely don't need anything perfumed on my face. agreed?

if you're interested in the Liquid Facial Soap, stop by your local Clinique counter or head to their website. and make sure you let me know which Clinique products you swear by, too!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

still here!

hey readers! sorry about the absence, been very busy, new posts coming later today!!! check back in soon! :D

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Juicy Booty WINS!

ok so, i am OBSESSED with America's Next Top Model, i've watched it religiously since the second season and i can't stop myself! even though i despise Tyra i can't get enough of the girls, and the makeup (shocker!), and the photo shoots, and the drama. it is such a guilty pleasure and i adore it, and i was so thrilled that Whitney ended up winning! finally the world and the media and especially the modeling industry (even though ANTM is not the real modeling industry by any means) is accepting and celebrating normal sized women. i am so sick and tired of every tv show, movie, magazine, and commercial showing impossibly thin women that only make all the normal women feel bad about themselves for not being part of the 2% of the population who are a natural size 2. so bravo, ANTM! although i have to admit, i had Anya pegged as the winner from the 4th episode on, and i think she is a much better model photo-wise, and the judges seemed to think so i'm wondering if there was more to picking Whitney than meets the eye?

do you think ANTM picked Whitney just to make a statement or do you really think Whitney was the better model? tell me what you think in the comments!

not your average 'Jo'

hello, all! today i'm going to be talking about a new product that i've been testing out for about a week now with pretty stellar results. it's one of those amazing multi-purpose products and we all know how i love those, so i thought i would share it with you guys so you could possibly benefit from it, too. read on!

Jojoba Oil (pronounced "Ho-Ho-Ba") is actually a liquid wax produced in the seeds of the Jojoba plant, a shrub that grows naturally in Arizona, California, and Mexico. the fascinating thing that sets Jojoba Oil apart from other oils is that it's chemical make-up is extremely similar to human sebum, the oil that our skin produces. because it's so close in consistency to our own skin's oils, when Jojoba Oil is applied topically it actually tricks our skin into thinking it's already produced sufficient oil and so it stops the skin from releasing more, thereby drastically reducing the problem many people have with overly oily skin! i know it seems contradictory to add more oil to oily skin but it works wonders. Jojoba Oil is also an excellent moisturizer because it prevents the skin from losing water while allowing the skin to breathe, unlike petroleum jelly or other barriers that lock in moisture. although it's an oil, when massaged into the skin it quickly absorbs and doesn't feel greasy or uncomfortable at all, something i was hesitant to believe until i saw it with my own eyes!

what i've been doing at night is applying Jojoba Oil after i've washed and blotted my skin dry. i dispense 2 drops of Jojoba Oil into my palm and then dip my fingertips into it, dotting it on my skin and massaging in gently. the key to getting good absorption is using the right amount, and 2 drops is more than enough to cover my face, even leaving me with a bit to rub into my elbows. if you used too much i think you might be left with a greasy feel and that wouldn't be good, so go easy on it and start off with one drop, adding more if needed. after i give it a few moments to settle i pat on a tiny bit of moisturizer (i'm currently using Ojon's Tawaka Ancient Tribal Rejuvenating Cream) and i'm done. when i wake up in the morning, my skin is exceptionally soft and calm. the persistent redness that i've had ever since the Hope In A Jar debacle seems to be getting better, which makes me deliriously happy! i've had no breakouts or clogged pores, and actually on the contrary, the tiny pores on and around my nose that i'm constantly battling with have been clear as can be. i'm sure this is because blackheads are just oxidized sebum and since my skin isn't producing excess oil, there is no sebum around to be caught in the pores. and that's A-OK with me!

using Jojoba Oil as a skin moisturizer is just one of it's many, many uses. it's wonderful when used on the hair and specifically the scalp, since Jojoba Oil loosens and dissolves the hardened sebum that can clog and eventually kill hair follicles. on the hair, Jojoba Oil removes product build-up and penetrates deep into the shaft, strengthening and hydrating the strands while also majorly increasing shine and your natural hair color. used as a deep-conditioning treatment, Jojoba oil will leave your hair soft, strong and shiny and your scalp deeply cleansed! here are just a few more of the things Jojoba Oil can do for you:
  • fights wrinkles with it's high tocopherol levels that act as an antioxidant
  • helps the skin to heal
  • provides relief from psoriasis and eczema
  • moisturizes without blocking or affecting pores and hair follicles
  • removes makeup
  • treats dandruff
  • can be used to shave with
ok, if you're not convinced by now that this is a product everyone should have in their bathroom, you must be unreachable! this is an oil that packs a lot of punch for it's price and can be used in so many ways! the brand i purchased is Desert Essence (pictured above) and it's a very popular distributor of Jojoba Oil, i would recommend seeking this particular version out. i found mine at Fred Meyer, and i know they also carry it at natural grocery stores like Whole Foods and New Seasons. if all else fails you can order it online from Desert Essence's website.

do you use Jojoba Oil? if so, what are your favorite uses? let me know in the comments!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dr. Bronner's Miracle Soap!

have you ever heard of Dr. Emanuel Bronner? in 1948 he started a soap-making company called Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and it's been gaining popularity ever since. recently celebrating their 60th anniversary, Dr. Bronner's soaps are more popular than ever, and that's probably because in today's ecologically conscious world consumers appreciate natural, organic products more and more. so what's so special about these soaps? i'd be happy to tell you!

made with Certified Fair Trade and organic oils, these vegetable based soaps are completely biodegradable and free of synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives. they come in liquid or bar form, in nine different formulations, and have over 18 different uses! here are just a few of the things you can use Dr. Bronner's soaps for:
  • body, hair, and hand washing
  • laundering clothing
  • light cleaning
  • toothbrushing and mouthwashing (!!!!)
  • washing makeup brushes
  • cleaning toilet bowls
  • shaving
so, as you can imagine, after reading the many wonderful reviews on Make Up Alley, i became fixated with trying out one of these soaps! i settled on the Peppermint formulation because i'm a sucker for anything tingly, and it did not disappoint. i would recommend getting a big sponge to use with the liquid soap because i found a regular shower puff didn't work up a good enough lather for my liking. washing with the soap left me clean as can be with a very refreshing minty tingle, which would be amazing on a hot summer day when you're desperate to cool off. a word of caution when using as a body wash: avoid your lady parts! many of the reviewers on MUA had unfortunate incidents where they got a little too tingly, haha! i would avoid using this as a shampoo on a regular basis because i'm sure it has the potential to really strip and dry out your hair, but maybe once in a while it would work well as a clarifying rinse if diluted properly. it even provides interesting (if somewhat crazy) reading material while you're bathing! the label on the packaging (which is made with 100% post-consumer recycled cylinder bottles and paper labels) is filled with rantings and ravings of Dr. Bronner himself. this is a great product to keep in your shower, and is popular with men, also. it would be perfect to take along when camping or traveling since it would save the space of several other products. i'm looking forward to trying out the other formulations now, too!

what's your favorite Dr. Bronner soap? do you know of any multi-use products as fabulous as this one? let me know in the comments!

you can find Dr. Bronner's products at their online store, health food markets, Walgreen's, and some grocery stores.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

K P'd Off!

have you ever heard of an annoying condition called Keratosis Pilaris? there's a good chance you haven't, even if you suffer from it yourself. Keratosis Pilaris, or KP, is a genetic follicular condition that affects about 40-50% of adults and is more common in women than it is in men (lucky us!). you might have heard of it referred to as 'chicken skin' because of it's bumpy appearance. it almost looks like goosebumps that don't go away, and is sometimes red and inflamed looking. it's most commonly found on the backs of your upper arms, although it can also pop up on the lower arms, legs, buttocks, and face. the only place it can't appear is on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet. so why does this annoying condition plague so many of us? here's what Wikipedia says...
  • Keratosis pilaris occurs as excess keratin, a natural protein in the skin, accumulates within the hair follicles forming hard plugs (process known as hyperkeratinization ). Bearing only cosmetic consequence, the condition most often appears as a proliferation of tiny hard bumps that are seldom sore or itchy. Though people with keratosis pilaris experience this condition year round, it’s during the colder months when moisture levels in the air are lower that the problem can become exacerbated and the "goose bumps" are apt to look and feel more pronounced in color and texture.
  • Many KP bumps contain an ingrown hair that has coiled. This is a result of the keratinized skin "capping off" the hair follicle, preventing the hair from exiting. Instead, the hair grows inside the follicle, often encapsulated, and can be removed, much like an ingrown hair, though removal can lead to scarring.
vomitous, right?! well i happen to fall into the group of adults who got blessed with this lovely affliction, and since i had never really known what it was while growing up, i decided to post about it and help the people who are also in the dark. luckily, i only have a very mild bit of KP on my upper arms, but i know how much i hate it and how bothersome it can be. until recently, i was using Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA and it was working wonderfully to keep my skin clear and smooth, but when i went to reorder the other day, i was met with an 'out of stock' sign and a notice telling me it wouldn't be available again until Winter of 2008! eeeeeek!!! triple eeeeeeek! wouldn't you know they would be out of it right when summer is beginning and it's time to wear tank tops and t-shirts and such! i'm still floundering for a new product to take it's place, but i wanted to give some advice on what i've found works best to keep it at bay.

Beta Hydroxy Acids work by getting inside your pores and exfoliating any blockage from the inside out, so they are perfect for dealing with KP bumps. salicylic acid in particular has helped me, and can be found in many acne medications. problem is, the pH balance of whatever product you're going to use has to be low enough to properly exfoliate, and not all of them are. i look for a pH balance of around 3, which will exfoliate both the skin's surface and the inside of the pores. other ingredients that are said to help KP are alpha hydroxy acids, urea, and lactic acids. here are some products that i've used, read about, and/or plan to try, all of which should help you if you are having KP issues.
  • Paula's Choice Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA (
  • AmLactin 12% Lotion (available at drugstores)
  • Glytone Keratosis Pilaris Kit: Retexturize Exfoliating Body Wash & Lotion (
  • Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub & Body Wash(available at drugstores)
  • DERMAdoctor KP Duty Dermatologist Moisturizing Therapy For Dry Skin (
for other treatment ideas, check here. i've been using the Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub and having pretty good luck with it, i like it a lot so far. what i do is wash myself with whatever soap or bodywash i'm using at the time in the shower, then after that i take some of the scrub and apply it to my upper and lower arms and massage it in, letting it sit for awhile before rinsing. not only is it good for KP, but it also works well if you're having below the neck breakouts and i like to also use it for exfoliating my legs before i self tan. after using the scrub in the shower, it's a good idea to apply a lotion containing some of the above listed ingredients nightly to keep your pores clear. i would recommend doing this EVERY SINGLE NIGHT without fail to see the best results. i'll be ordering and reviewing the Glytone Retexturize Body Lotion soon, so stay tuned!

for more information on Keratosis Pilaris, you can visit these websites: KP Help, Mayo Clinic KP, Medline Plus, and many more on Google.