August 31, 2010

Nail Ritz Nail Art Kit, plus newest shopping special for

Hello, Beautiful!

I received the 10-Piece Nail Ritz Professional Nail Art Kit in the mail today. I was beyond excited to open it up and test it out. I fell in love right away!

The fine tip of these polish pens are really amazing. You can make really small details on the nails that you would never be able to do with a regular polish brush, or maybe not even with a fine tipped paint brush. It's basically like writting on your nails with a fine tipped Sharpie marker.

The polishes dry pretty quickly, which is a nice feature if you want to layer your colors to make a pretty design. The colors are nice too.

HOWEVER, I'm very disappointed because one of the fine tips already broke!!!! I only used it one time and it's not like I was digging it into my nail. I used it delicately. I think putting the cap back on was when I messed up, and the tip bent down and then broke off. It was on the yellow color. I'm so not happy with that. If the rest of them break that easily this kit will be going back to QVC real fast. I'll continue to test it out and let you know how durable it is. For now, just be careful putting the caps on!

Since I experimented so much on my own nails I won't show you the results just yet. I'll do some designs and then take pics of those to show you (which I might be able to do later this weekend). Plus, my nails got messed up because there was a snake in our backyard and we had to get it out. Yes - a freakin snake! But that's not the first time. We do back the woods and live in the moutains. We've had bears in our backyard, and our backyard is fenced in! They break down the fence!! So yeah, I'll have to take some time to do my nails pretty and then report back with pics.

On another note, we're uploading the newest shopping special for!

Receive a FREE 5-Piece Girly Grab Bag with your $25 or more merchandise purchase!

Details: No coupon code needed. Spend a minimum $25 on merchandise (total taken prior to tax/shipping) and a free 5-Piece Girly Grab Bag will ship with your order. This offer will not show up in the shopping cart but will ship with all eligible orders. This offer IS good in addition to our Everyday Bonuses (which means you'd also receive one Everyday Bonus Item for spending $25). Offer expires September 5, 2010.

Happy Shopping!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

Victoria's Secret Soft Focus Liquid Foundation

Hello, Beautiful!

Another late night post... it seems I have insomnia lately. But that's okay because I get a lot more done. Like tonight, I'll continue organizing my closet. I have a rather large walk-in closet. Within it I keep all my makeup, hair supplies, nail stuff, etc. - plus the usual clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry. I've been working on making it pretty and organized. I can't stand dis-organization, but I'm not a neat freak (and yes, there is a difference). I've been putting off this project for awhile now and it's become a giant mess at this point. It's really bad right now actually. Maybe I'll take before and after pics so you can see the transformation.

Anyways, back to the topic on hand. I picked up the Victoria's Secret Soft Focus Liquid Foundation several months ago. In fact, I think it may have been last November or December. I really can't remember when, but I do know I loved it then and I love it now!

For just $16 you get a really amazing foundation. It gives you a natural dewy finish, with light to medium buildable coverage. I stopped using it because it's not full coverage enough for me, but when my skin is behaving I like to use it because it really is a great foundation.

To me, it's almost a dupe for Make Up For Ever's HD Foundation (which I also own). It's a dupe in the way it applies, the way it looks natural and the way it wears. Although MUFE's HD Foundation is medium to full coverage, so that's why I prefer that over this - but that's the only reason!

Really, you need to try this if you haven't already. It also comes in a great range of shades! You need to go to your local Victoria's Secret to test out the shades for yourself or you can try to match your shade online but they don't give you any shade descriptions - just color choices and shade names.

I have this in Light 40 - which is a little light for me now in the summer, but worked perfectly when I bought this. Here are some pics & swatches for you:

Have you tried this foundation out? If so, what are your thoughts?

If not, click here for a link to check it out on Victoria's Secret's website.

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 30, 2010

WTF Beauty...

Hello, Beautiful!

It's after 1:00am and I just can't sleep. I'm tired, but I have beauty on my mind and felt like I needed to make a blog post. But not just any blog post, I wanted to bring you the first edition of WTF Beauty.

Yes, WTF really does stand for what you think it does. If you don't know what WTF stands for, it stands for "What The F*ck". Yup, nothing pretty about that! But hey, that’s the first thing I think of when a beauty product disappoints me. Basically, WTF Beauty is just like a ‘Don't believe the Hype' or 'Beauty Rant' type of post.

Anyhow, in this edition I will address fake cosmetics (one product in particular) and a few tips on how to shop smarter.

I warn you ahead of time, this post will be long. Shall we get started?

A few months back I purchased the Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder in shade Light from an online discount beauty retailer. It was only $29.99, although it didn't include the mini kabuki brush, and I thought to myself 'wow, that's a great deal - it's mine!'. And sure enough as soon as it arrived I had to test it out. I had heard such amazing things about this powder and was expecting to jump for joy over this.

No jumping for joy happened. It did give me a glow, but not right away. I think my oily skin was to thanks for the glow and not the powder. Considered this product talks up how great the “Halo Glow” is I really thought that would happen. Sadly, it just looked really powdery and dry. As it sat on my skin it just got worse as the day went on. It didn't look fresh and natural like Smashbox said it would. I kept thinking that it must be my skin and I'll just have to work with it. Time went on and I continued to work with it, but only having the same less than favorable results.

Then I recently picked up the Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder in shade Medium from that QVC kit I blogged about. I needed a darker shade, since the Light shade made me look really sickly pale. When I got this in the mail I immediately tried it out. Jumping for joy finally happened! It is like night and day from the Light shade to the Medium shade. It was almost like I had a completely different product.

The Medium shade did everything Halo claimed to. It went on beautifully, looked totally natural instead of totally noticeable, it made my skin look hydrated and healthy instead of dry and powdery, and best of all it gave me that Halo glow that I’ve heard so much about.

I then jetted up the stairs, into my closet (which is where my makeup table is set up), pulled out my Halo in Light and started to compare the two side by side. Right away I noticed the sticker on the bottom of the compact was different. They looked similar, and if you didn’t know any better you’d think they were the same. But there were differences – like the symbols being switched to the opposite side. Right there an alarm went off in my head and it was like I could hear someone yelling ‘It’s a fake, it’s a fake’! That’s when I said “WTF!”

Ugh, I was so angry! Who knows what I’ve been putting on my face for the past few months! I feel gross just thinking about it. I know that powder will never touch my face again – ever!

But I guess I should look at both sides of the story and try to piece together a rational explanation. Maybe, just maybe, Smashbox has re-formulated Halo. Okay – that seems silly. If they did it would be listed on their website and talked about in their demo’s on QVC. Plus, the product isn’t that old to need a reformulation so soon. Okay, so then maybe, just maybe, Smashbox changed their stickers and packaging ever so slightly. I mean, that could happen – I could see that happening. Ugh, who am I kidding?? It’s probably a complete fake! I’m 99.9% sure of it!

I'm going to eventually take pictures of the two Halo powders side by side for you to see and compare. Then we can all play 'spot the difference' to find the fakeness.

Another thing that ticks me off is a few months ago I purchased two other Smashbox products from the same retailer. One was a Jet Set Liner in the black shade. I thought at $6.99 this is a deal, esecially since it is $22 retail. Well when I got in the mail I looked at it and didn’t think it was authentic. The jar looked the same, but again, the sticker threw me off. But my original Jet Set Liner’s sticker was so worn that I couldn’t compare the two. The other product is the Photo Finish Primer. The bottle looks a little different, and the performance of the product really is not up to the same standards. Now after the Halo situation I’m questioning those products too. However, I should mention that I’ve purchased other Smashbox and other brands from this same retailer and they’ve been 100% authentic. Either way, I’m hesitant to make another purchase because I don’t know if I’ll get a real item or a fake one.

[NOTE: I purposely did not mention the online retailer’s company name or website address. I don't want to bash anyone on a public blog. However, I do want to protect my readers. If you’re interested in knowing the retailer I purchased these items from you can email me and I will let you know. I won't give you their website address or company name, but I will tell you clues as to who it is. From there you can decide to Google it or not.]

Here are some tips to help you all shop smarter:

1. Beware brand new products at unbelievable prices!
This one is tricky but I wanted to start here. Since I own and operate my own discount website, which carries cosmetics, I know a little about the discount beauty business. It's perfectly normal and common to see items at discount beauty retailers that are still in other stores at regular price. I've sold, and still sell, many items that you can see on store shelves at Wal-Mart and Target for full price.

However, it's not all that common to see brand new, just on the market beauty items at discount beauty retailers. Items that are limited edition, new collections, or a breakthrough new product, are generally items that won’t show up at discount beauty stores for awhile. For example, the retailer I talked about above had posted items from the Smashbox Heartbreaker's collection (they had a shadow palette and roller ball gloss), and that collection had just hit stores a week or so before. I thought "wow, who are their sources? I want that kind of availability". But the truth is their sources are probably not authentic, not even close to it.

It's incredibly easy to re-create popular high-end beauty brands. Companies overseas (mostly in China) can have a product re-created - packaging and all - and out to you in less than a week. It's crazy! Smashbox, NARS, and MAC are some of the most popular and commonly re-made fakes.

And remember to ask yourself why those products are so deeply discounted. Being in this industry I understand why most of the products are discounted. Discount beauty stores deal with store overstocks, manufacture overstocks, manufacture packing changes/formula changes, store closings, and discontinued products. So for example, if Smashbox wants to change their packaging, or re-formulate a product, they'll want to clear out all the original packaging or formulation to make room for the new changes.

2. Educate yourself with what the fakes look like and what the real deal looks like too!
One of the easiest fakes to spot are the NARS blushes - not just on eBay, but other discount beauty retailers too. You'll see a NARS blush with the word "NARS" imprinted into the blush. NARS never has, and probably never will, do that to their blush. That's an obvious fake! But not all fake NARS blush has that obvious imprint. But that's where educating yourself on what the real deal looks like is important. Go to the brands website and check it out. Then re-visit the product you're looking at. Compare and decide from there.

3. Beware sellers who use stock photos!
A stock photo is a photo the brand/manufacture has taken of that product. That image can be used at authorized online retailers worldwide. This can be tricky too, because a lot of retailers use stock photos - even eBay sellers (and not always with authorized use).

If a seller uses stock photos of certain products, but photos they’ve taken themselves of other products, that’s usually a huge red flag. They don't want you to see what the actual product you'll receive will look like because then you might know they have fakes. The pretty, perfect (and almost always photoshoped) stock photo is what lures buyers in.

Look for sellers that have taken the pictures of the products themselves. It's okay if they include a manufacture picture or two (such as a swatch) but you want to see exactly what you're buying.

But again, it can be tricky! I've seen an online retailer selling NARS blushes - with the 'NARS' imprinted in the blush – with nicely taken photos (taken by them) and photoshoped them pretty professionally. To an uneducated buyer the photos look like they could be stock photos from NARS. And to some, pretty professional pictures usually mean pretty, professional products.

So you see, there are many reasons we don't sell as many high-end/luxury brands at as we would like to. It's extremely difficult to find authentic products and authentic dealers. It's a risk we as a small business can't afford to take, and we certainly don't want to sell anyone a fake product! We're lucky to have found an authentic Smashbox dealer, and from time to time we do get in some other authentic high-end brands - but it’s not all that often and we’re working on changing that.

I will write a more in-depth article about spotting fakes (and I'll do one for each brand that is commonly reproduced as fakes). But ladies, please beware and shop smart!

I think it's finally time for bed (it's nearly 3am now!), and I'm worn out from a full day of swatches, and then an evening out at Chuck E. Cheese with family. Won my son over 2,000 tickets - go me (and my husband)!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 28, 2010

Another QVC Haul

Hello, Beautiful!

Damn... QVC has drained my wallet again! Beginning last night at 10pm, and through the end of the day today, it's all beauty - all day! My husband cringed when he heard, knowing it would be near impossible for me to not buy something. Of course I did buy something... a few things acutally.

First, I purchased the Bare Minerals Makeup Revolution 6-Piece Collection in Medium Beige - which is $39.50 on QVC.

I actually ordered this back on August 22. I'm a little irritated that it hasn't even shipped yet (especially since it said it would be here on August 27). I haven't been a fan of Bare Escentuals in the past, I'm a liquid foundation lover, but I thought I'd give it another try. If anything, it might work for those mornings I take my son to school and I'm rushing. We'll see if I still prefer liquid foundation after I try this kit out for a little.

The kit itself includes their foundation (I selected the Medium Beige shade), Bisque (which is their concealer and I have zero faith in it - I just don't see how a powder concealer can mask my flaws.), Mineral Veil, a mini Sugar Cookie Natural Lip Gloss, and two brushes.

The next purchase I picked up yesterday and I'm super excited to receive and test out! It's one of the most unique nail art products I've seen. It's the 10-Piece Nail Ritz Professional Nail Art Kit - which costs $22.32 at QVC. I picked this up in Matte - which includes all your basic shades to get you started. They also have this kit in jewel tones and in shimmer tones - but they were sold out. Even if they weren't sold out I think I still would have chosen the matte set.

This set is really amazing because of the fine point application tip to give you precision control over doing nail art. You can almost barely see it in the photo below:
It also has a regular nail polish brush too so you can paint your nails like normal if you wanted to (although that is not why I purchased this kit and not how I intend to use it). I don't normally do nail art on my nails, but I used to way back in the day when I did "professional nails". No, I wasn't a professional working in a salon. I was around 10 years old when I started doing nails and by the time I was 12/13 I was doing acrylic nails on myself and friends. That's when I started "Krystal's Pro Nails" (yes, I spelled my name with a 'K' back then because I thought it was cooler than a 'C'). That eventually lead to learning how to apply fiberglass wrap nails and gel nails too - which lead to me charging people for my service. I was as good, if not better, than any real salon worker. Back then I didn't have a fancy system for nail art like the one I ordered from QVC. I had to use thin tipped paint brushes. So as a nail lover at heart, I'm excited to play around with this. It has shipped, so I should have it next week and will be able to do a full review soon!

Then today I picked up two Mally Beauty products. I only have one Mally product (which is a double ended eyeliner that I picked up during the QVC Super Saturday Sale for $7.99). Her products always seem so amazing on TV, her energy gets you excited over the products, and the models always look beautiful. But for the longest time I held off on purchasing her products because they get such mixed reviews. But what I've come to find is a lot of QVC shoppers don't know a whole lot about makeup, or how to apply it (of course not all QVC revievers are makeup challanged, but there are reviews that clearly state they can't use the product, or state how they are using it and it's completely wrong). Because of that there are a lot of bad reviews on otherwise amazing products. So I dove head first, ignored all reviews, and picked up two items:
The first item is Mally's Ultimate Performance Full Coverage Foundation - $36.48. I picked the Medium shade. The thing that sold me on this foundation is one of the models had massive amounts of hyperpigmentation - either that or sun damange or just something that left her face with lots of flaws and after they applied the foundation her face looked absolutely flawless! Since my skin is awful too, I thought this may be a great product. I hope it works just as good as I'm picturing in my mind!

The second item is Mally's Poreless Perfection Skin Finisher & Brush - $40.92. This is supposed to be better than traslucent powder. I don't even know why I got this. It was an impulse buy I guess. If I hate it I'll just send it back to QVC, but I will try it out and hope for the best!

And finally, the last item I ordered was the Smashbox Finishing Touches 3-Piece Collection - $29.16.

The kit includes a Brow Tech To Go (I got Brunette), Soft Focus powder eyeliner in Gunmetal (which is a new product), and a Lip Enhancing Gloss in Allure (named after the magazine). I needed more Brow Tech, and I thought the to-go version would be perfect. That alone sells for around $24, so for just a few bucks more I got their brand new powder eyeliner and a beautiful gloss!

Once I receive all these great items in the mail I will report back with reviews and swatches!

So, tell me, did you buy anything on QVC today during their amazing all-day beauty event? If so, what did you pick up? What item did you not pick up but wish you did?

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 26, 2010

Makeup Blog Sale Coming Soon!

Hello, Beautiful!

I have a lot of makeup that I don't use - most of which have only been swatch tested. When creating the Valentine Beauty Closet (which is also coming soon) I collected a lot of makeup. Most of which I got in for and saved shades to use as swatch testers. I don't want to hang on to all these pieces of makeup so it's time to sell them.

It's going to take some time to get the list together, but I wanted to give you all a heads up at the sale that is coming. I'll list the items on this blog for about a week before I add them to the website under our new "Swatch Tested" category.

There are hundreds of items that will be in this sale - some of which will go for as little as $0.25 per piece. Each item will either be swatch tested or flawed in some way. There are no new items in this sale. No additional discounts can apply on these items, but I promise they are at rock bottom prices. For example: We currently sell L'Oreal's Colour Riche Lipsticks on our website for $2.49 each. The ones we have that have been swatch tested will sell for $1.00 each.

Brands that will be in the sale:
  • L'Oreal
  • Milani
  • Lumene
  • Maybelline
  • Revlon
  • CoverGirl
  • Mary-Kate And Ashley
  • Rimmel
  • Sally Hansen
  • Styli-Style
  • NYX
  • Smashbox
  • Philosophy Beauty
  • Korres
  • YSL
  • Sephora Brand
  • e.l.f. Cosmetics
  • And so many more!

So stayed tuned!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 25, 2010

Smashbox The Quick Fix 8-Piece Color Collection from QVC

Hello, Beautiful!

As promised, here are the swatches and quick reviews of the items from the Smashbox The Quick Fix 8-Piece Color Collection, which is sold exclusivly on QVC.

Don't forget about the exclusive blog bonus offer (click here to view it)!

I thought I'd have this kit on Tuesday but my package got re-routed, which delayed it by a day. That was disappointing, but you know what's not disappointing? This kit! I couldn't be happier with the items!

Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder - Shade: Medium

The medium shade is actually a little dark for me - although I know by looking at the photos below you would think it is a perfect match. My arms/hands are darker than my face. I have the light shade, and since that's too light for me at the moment I figured one shade up would work. It does work to a point, but once my tan goes away this shade is going to look too dark on me. Until then it will get good use and I'll save it for next summer.

The Quick Fix Eye Shadow Palette #1

This palette contains five shades - three of which I really like and will get the most use. The two darkest shades (navy and burgundy merlot) are matte shades. The first two shades are shimmery and the last peach shade is satin. The pigmentation is good on all these shadows - which is nice since Smashbox palettes don't always have good pigmentation across all shades.

Creamy Lip Color in Pink Fig

This lip crayon is really smooth and creamy. It glides on easily and looks beautiful on its own. But with the gloss on top it really stands out beautifully. For some reason it swatched darker on the white paper than it did on my hand. But I included that pic anyway.

Lip Enhancing Gloss in Sweet

This is a shimmery pink with flecks of gold. It's a sheer color gloss, which is nice for layering on top of the Creamy Lip Color crayon (which is shown in the photos above).

Satin Blush & Loose Shimmer Duo in Candlelit Pink

I like this blush - it does feel like satin and looks soft and flattering on the cheeks. The shimmer is pretty. It looks pink in the container but blends out to look gold with pink. It's a very pretty highlight shade.

Waterproof Shadow Liner in Graphite

I like this shade a lot, but then again I'm a big fan of gray and black shades. This is a great product to give you a soft smokey look. Glides on easily, looks great on, and lasts all day!

Well there you have it - swatches from the kit! I hope this was helpful!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 23, 2010

I love home shopping networks...

Hello, Beautiful!

Lately I've been addicted to QVC and HSN. I'm a sucker for home shopping networks. I love seeing the live demo of beauty products, but I'd be lying if I said that's why I tune in. I tune in because it can be entertaining to watch.

I love the bloopers that can happen (although those are pretty rare, but they're great when they happen). I love watching the hosts get so excited over the most simple items, and hearing them talk in awe at every product. But I shamelessly look forward to the insane callers. Sure, there are plenty of normal callers, but there are some pretty bat-sh*t crazy people out there. They'll tell you their life story, their cat's name, and ask the host to say hello to their cat (who is, of course watching right along with them in their animal sized Snuggie).

Yes, I have way better things to do, but when I'm stuck on the computer working I like to have the TV on. QVC and HSN have been my entertainment of choice lately. I usually only watch during any beauty related presentation.

QVC in particular has caused a dent in my budget lately. There were items I needed to buy (like my DDF facial cleanser), items I semi-needed/wanted (like the St. Tropez Tanning Mousse I wanted to use before a wedding I had to go to), and then there are the items I didn't need but just had to try out.

I already blogged about the Laura Geller concealer - which I'm still very much in love with and still very much recommend. Now I am going to blog about my latest QVC purchase. I really should have waited and posted this blog post tomorrow (Tuesday) because that's when the kit will likely arrive at my house and I can show swatches, but I'll just update this post or make a new post when I do make swatches.

Did you tune into QVC on Friday when they had Smashbox on? They had a beautiful kit, which was priced just under $70 as their "Today's Special Value" (it's now priced at $76.38 and they're sold out of 'Fair' and 'Light').

The value of the kit is a really good one. The Halo powder alone retails for $59 by itself, and I was in the market to buy a new Halo in the Medium shade (I have it in the Light shade - which no longer works for my skintone). I like using Halo combined with concealer for a quick and easy morning routine on the days I take my son to school. He'll be in kindergarten (I can't believe I can even say that; the years go by too quickly), and I'll be driving him to school most of the time. I don't have great skin, so I can't leave the house without makeup on (well, I can, but I don't want to). So I will likely be using the Halo a lot (but I may try using Bare Escentuals in the morning).

So let's talk about everything included in the kit (and a photo below from QVC):

  • Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder (I chose the Medium shade)
  • Quick Fix Eye Shadow Palette #1 - which includes five shades (champagne, navy, shimmering purple taupe, merlot, and shimmering peach nude)
  • Creamy Lip Crayon in Pink Fig (a brown-pink)
  • Lip Enhancing Gloss in Sweet (a sparkling pink champagne)
  • Waterproof Shadow Liner in Graphite (a metallic gray)
  • Cheek Duo, which includes a Satin Blush and Loose Powder in Candle-Lit Pink
  • Plus you receive a Baby Buki Brush (to use with Halo) and a #30 Shadow Liner Brush (to use the Waterproof Shadow Liner or the powder shadows)

I love buying Smashbox kits from QVC because they often have colors and products that are exclusive to QVC for a period of time. In this kit the shadow palette, lip crayon, lip gloss shade, and shadow liner shade are exclusive to QVC until March 2011. The shadow palette and creamy lip crayon are world-wide launches.

The shadow palette has some pretty shades, but I think only three of them will get a lot of use. The navy shade I'll likely use as a liner, or when doing a blue smoky eye. But the merlot color (that matte looking burgundy) is a shade I won't put near my eye. I know what looks good on me and that color does not. Seven years ago I had my wedding makeup trial at MAC and the lady went by a color chart. The color chart apparently told her that using a burgundy shadow on both top and bottom lids would look great as a wedding day look. It made me look like I was on drugs and was the least flattering thing possible. Just because my wedding was in February, and my colors were red, black and white, doesn't mean I want red shades on my face! It was so bizzare and she was so stuck on that shade. She tried so hard to get me to buy it, even after telling her no at least a dozen times. The rest of the makeup she did was awful too. I ended up picking my own shades out for my wedding and refused to buy anything she put on my face. It was that bad. I've had better MAC experiences, but that was by far the worst!

Anyways, back to the Smashbox Kit...

The blush looks really pretty and very wearable. I go through phases where I won't leave the house without blush and then I go through phases where I wouldn't think of putting blush on. It all depends on my skin. If I'm having a lot of breakouts on my cheeks I will avoid blush. And at this very moment my skin is having issues, but I will be trying this blush out anyway! The little highlighter color that comes in the bottom of the blush compact looks very pretty. I hope it looks as pretty in person.

The lip pencil looks like a nice wearable shade on its own, but looks really pretty with the gloss on top. I hope I fall in love with the colors when I see them.

The Waterproof Shadow Liner is a product I've wanted to try from Smashbox for awhile now. I've heard great things about it. The color included in this kit is really pretty. I love grays and blacks for my eyes. I use them very often (I use gray a lot), so I look forward to trying it out!

All in all I'm very excited to get this kit. I hope it shows up at my doorstep tomorrow! I will post swatches and maybe even a photo of me wearing the full kit.

If you also ordered this kit I'd be interested in hearing your review after you get it and try it all out!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 14, 2010

August 2010 Favorites & Not-So-Favorites

Hello, Beautiful!

This post is all about the items I'm loving right now. Not all makeup items, and some technically not items at all, but all favorites for August!

NARS Chihuahua Lip Gloss
This is one of my favorite shades of gloss! I rarely get through an entire tube of lip gloss before getting bored of the shade and moving on. Even if I really love a shade and get near the end I'll still rarely re-purchase the same gloss twice. BUT, I'm super close to cleaning out the tube on this beautiful gloss and I don't think I'll be able to move on from this shade. It just works so well for me - it's a great subtle pink with no shimmer. It goes great with just about all makeup looks (from natural to smokey). So yes, my sweet kind husband, I will need another $24 to re-purchase this gloss :)

My Skin Care
I made a post a little bit ago about my current skin care routine. I'm still sticking to it, although I switched up my moisturizer and added another product to my routine. I do have to say, I feel awful because this past week and a half I've been so busy (I was rarely home) and I haven't put in the energy to clean my face the way I need to. I even went to bed on more than one night with my makeup on. It felt gross and heavy. Now that life is calming down again, I can get back into the skincare routine as normal and not skip on anything. After going from that great skin feeling back to gross un-cared for skin, I will NOT let that happen for this long ever again. Gross! I NEED my skin care!

China Glaze Nail Polish in Strawberry Fields
This is a sparkly pink shade, which changes slightly in different lighting. Sometimes it looks like a beautiful bright sparkly pink. Othertimes it has a hint of red and you can see the great gold sparkle in the polish. No matter what lighting you may be in while wearing this shade, it looks pretty and is a great summer shade. I'm rocking it on my toe nails at the moment.

Red Bull
I'm not a coffee drinker (can't stand the taste - but love the smell), so Red Bull is my caffeine of choice. I'm a bit obsessed with Red Bull. At any given time it's in my fridge. I used to buy it by the case at the distributor back when my son was a newborn, but now I can get by on the cases they sell at grocery stores.

I've seen a lot of my family lately. I had to go to a friends wedding at the beginning of August (out of state). Then once a year I take my brother's three kids down to visit me (they live in a different state). That was this past week - which is why I've barely been home. My grandmom is now visiting me for the next week. Basically, all of August has been family. Being that we don't see them much else throughout the year (except maybe at holidays), it's nice to have that much time with them.... although it's always nice to see them leave (so I can miss them, of course).

And with every list of favorites usually comes a few dislikes. These are my dislikes at the moment:

* Nobody seemed to play the movie "Friday the 13th" yesterday - which was Friday August 13. You can almost always find that movie playing on that day, but nope, not this time. It was the perfect weather here too - gloomy, raining and grim. We ended up watching two other scary movies anyway. I am a huge horror movie fan!

* Driving!! I have been driving so much over the past week taking my nephew and nieces to various places - plus back to their home (in another state). My husband did do a lot of driving too, but I'm done with driving for awhile. I want to put my feet up and not move for awhile.

* Leg Pain! I have chronic leg pain (left leg - back of thigh/side of thigh and butt) from an injury that happened over 2 years ago. Since then, it's been a constant battle. Everyday it's stretching my leg, using my TENS machine (electrode thing), putting on BioFreeze, taking meds, hoping it can get better, etc. etc. It's been extra painful lately and I'm really tired of it! Some days it's so bad I can't sit without flaring my leg pain, standing doesn't help, walking can make it worse, and the pain makes concentrating on anything impossible. I'm tired of complaining to my husband about this pain, so for once I will vent it out here and spare him the usual speach asking him to chop my leg off because it hurts so bad.

Well that's all for now! Have a great weekend and don't forget to shop while we have all those great items on sale (as listed in the blog post below).

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 9, 2010

Laura Geller, you've finally got me!

Hello, Beautiful!

I've tried many beauty brands over the years - from low-end, to drugstore brand, to luxury brands. I know what I like, I know what works for me. Laura Geller never worked for me. Yet for some reason I would continue to try her products because they seem so promising. But sadly, few deliver and for the longest time I had sworn off Laura Geller.

That is until my most recent Laura Geller purchase - well, more like a Laura Geller haul!

I picked up several items, most of which did not impress me, but there was one item in particular that I am going ga-ga over! It's her Real Deal Concealer!
It's no secret that I need full coverage when it comes to concealer - but really, who doesn't? That's why you're using a concealer! There are so many full coverage concealers that lie. They say they're full coverage but they're not. They say they're long lasting, but they're not. This concealer does not lie!

First, let me say that I have a VERY small tube of this. I got this in a kit, so it's not full sized. It looks like a sample size you would get free with a purchase. I was scared and worried that maybe I over paid for the product, but I didn't want to commit to the full sized tube until I tried it - plus, I got a few other Laura Geller products in the kit to try as well.

While the tube was small, I think it's going to last a very long time. This truly is a concealer where a little amount will do your entire face - yes, you're entire face!!!!!! I have so many acne scars to cover (to the point where it looks like a bunch of big freckles) and this does the trick beautifully. I was truly amazed at how little you need to make it work. Seriously, just a small amount of product!! I wish I took pics of how little you need, and I eventually will (to publish on the Valentine Beauty Closet).

If you haven't tried this product and are on the hunt for a great concealer, this is one I highly recommend. I may even recommend this over my original favorite (Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer) - and I never thought I would recommend anything over that!

The only downfall is the shade selection. With the Make Up For Ever concealer you have like 13 shades (I forget how many - but there are many). I believe this only comes in Fair, Light, Medium, and Deep. It keeps it simple, but it may not work for all skin types. I picked this up in Medium and it's a tad light for a medium shade, but still works great!

Swatches, tutorial, and more on this concealer to follow on the Valentine Beauty Closet (coming soon to

Have you tried this concealer? If so, what are your thoughts?

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs

August 4, 2010

Want an inexpensive face mask that gives you super soft skin?

Hello, Beautiful!

Today I want to talk about an inexpensive way to get super soft skin using a non-skincare product.

What is this non-skincare product that gives you super soft skin? It's Milk of Magnesia!

You don't need to buy a brand name (like shown above). I bought a bottle of Assured Milk of Magnesia for $1 at the dollar store.

You may be asking "what is Milk of Magnesia?". It's a laxative and antacid. Yeah... not something you instantly think of using when thinking about soft skin.

Here's how you use it:

Use a cotton ball and apply the Milk of Magnesia all over your face, just like you're applying a facial mask. You don't need to apply a lot and it will look clear (maybe a little white) on your face when you first apply it.

Then, leave it on about 10 minutes (you can leave it on for up to 20 minutes - which is what I try to do).

As the Milk of Magnesia dries it will turn white and your face will feel tighter.

TIP: After you apply this mask sit back and relax until you're ready to take it off. Don't talk, don't move - especially once it begins to dry. It will flake off if you talk and that can make a big mess - and it tastes awful if you get it in your mouth!

Once your 10 minutes is up (or 20 minutes), wash it off with warm water. As you wash it off, your face will instantly feel like velvety, silky soft! Pat your face dry and enjoy the results! Of course you should follow up with your facial moisturizer, but your face will be so soft after using this product just once!

Give it a try and let me know your results!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs