A free lipstick — and something ‘Pretty Vulgar’ 

It’s been awhile! Sorry for the long time between posts. My husband and I were doing the long distance thing, but he recently took early retirement and joined me in South Carolina. After seven years of essentially living alone, it took a bit of time to adjust to sharing everything — and to get used to his daily schedule, which is very different from mine. Let’s just say I’m a night owl and he’s an early bird. 

Anyway, I thought I’d pop in to give you a few beauty-related updates. First, can we talk about Too Faced Melted Matte Lipstick in It’s Happening? It’s gorgeous, long-wearing and brightening. Even better, if you hurry you can nab a free mini-tube with a Sephora order of $25 and the code “MELTEDLIP.” (Not a fan of bright shades? No worries. As of this morning, there were two more-neutral shades to choose from.) 

Next, let’s discuss a new brand of cosmetics that just joined the Sephora lineup: Pretty Vulgar Cosmetics. It’s a strange name for such pretty, feminine products and packaging. Everything has a bird  or floral theme, including the line’s three eye palettes. 

I’ve tried several Pretty Vulgar items and so far the standouts for me are the mascara, which reminds me of a less clumpy version of Too Faced’s “Better Than Sex,” and the matte lipstick. The packaging of the latter is so beautiful you’ll want to carry it in your purse and whip it out for a public touch up just to show it off.

So far, the only product that hasn’t performed well for me is the felt-tipped eyeliner. Although the packaging, again, is gorgeous — it looks like a golden calligraphy pen — I found the tip too soft for drawing a sharp, precise line. My favorite felt-tip liner remains Pat McGrath’s Dual-Ended Marker. Alas, it was limited edition and I fear it will not come back in stock. 

Until next time! — Ronda 

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Rocking my Rocksbox jewels 

I wanted to share some super items from my monthly Rocksbox. I’m wearing Kendra Scott Alex earrings in the shade burgundy illusion and the Loren Hope Mini Sara Cuff in iridescent. (The rings are my own.)

Haven’t tried Rocksbox yet? I highly recommend it. For $19.99 per month, you can try an unlimited amount of quality jewelry — three pieces at a time. Find something you can’t part with? Buy it at a discounted price. You can try Rocksbox for one month free with my affiliate code, makeupplus50xoxo. Or, just try it. I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, but I discovered that I very much enjoy it.

Check out Rocksbox here: https://www.rocksbox.com/. Be sure to make a wish list. Your stylist will consult it and send you the items you want to try.

We all shine on: Liquid metallic eyeshadows 

Sparkle and glow: Liquid metallic eyeshadows from the Estee Edit and Stila

“Don’t be afraid to let your light shine,” they say. Well, glowing will be a lot easier this spring with the liquid metallic eyeshadows that are popping up like daffodils.

My personal favorites are from the Estee Edit and Stila. Why? Because you have a bit of time to work with them before they set, but once they dry, they’re fixed in place with minimal fallout. Still, the companies offer very different formulas with different effects. Here’s what you should know:

  • If you’re looking for maximum gleam, Stila Cosmetics’ Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow is the choice for you. It’s the shinier, more reflective option and it gives your lids a truly bright, illuminated appearance. The results are gorgeous and, for me at least, the Stila product creates an evening out look as opposed to a daytime casual effect.
  • The Estee Edit’s Fluid Metal Eyeshadow is less in-your-face glittery than the Stila product and, in my opinion, it’s more wearable during the daytime hours. It’s also easier to sheer out — by using a firm eyeshadow brush, you can take the color from intense to muted and even create a gradient or ombré effect. And while Stila sticks closely to tried-and-true metallic shades ranging from silver to a combination of sheer silver, black and gold, the Estee Edit offers more offbeat options such as cobalt, green and blackberry with metallic shifts.

Left: The Estee Edit Fluid Metal EyeShadow in “Don’t Be Afraid” Right: Stila Cosmetics’ Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in “Diamond Dust”

If you’re wondering who can wear these shadows, the answer is women of all ages. As an older woman, I’ve found they work best for me when I use them only on the mobile lid, and sometimes only on a portion of the mobile lid, such as the inner or outer half — especially when I’m using the super-glowing Stila product.

With metallic lipsticks and metallic eyeshadows making their comebacks, spring is your time to shine!

Potions and lotions: A solution for winter dullness 

Life-giving elixirs for winter skin

The combination of cooler weather and heating systems running around the clock can play havoc on your skin, even if you’re religious about moisturizing. No matter what type of foundation you wear, it will lose some of its magic when it’s applied over dry, lackluster skin.

Good news: There’s a solution that will give moisture, life and vibrancy to your skin, and at the same time help your makeup glide on more smoothly: concentrated oil-based drops that can be mixed into your foundation or applied directly to your face. When the temperatures start to cool, I use the “mix” method, but now that winter is truly here, I’m going the “directly to skin” route.

The two types of drops I personally favor are:

Remember that these oils are concentrated, so a little goes a long way. I apply two small drops to my cheeks and use my fingers to smooth it into my cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. I then apply my eye makeup to give my skin time to absorb the product before putting on my foundation.

The last step in my makeup-application process is lipstick. Just prior to applying my lipstick, I add a drop directly to my lips and use my fingertips to pat it in. It makes my lips smooth, plump, moist and ready for lipstick. – Ronda

The easy eye look that’s always a hit

I didn’t plan to post this, but I wore this eye look yesterday and was reminded that it always gets rave reviews. It’s also easy and eye-catching but completely wearable, so I thought I’d share it:

The easy eye look that’s always a hit!

Here’s how this look is achieved:

  1. Prime your eyelids with your favorite primer or concealer. Mine is MAC’s Painterly Paint Pot.
  2. Apply a peach-toned cream shadow to your mobile lid. I used Tom Ford’s Golden Peach.
  3.  Press Stila’s Kitten eyeshadow on top of the cream base. Kitten provides a sheen, while the cream base ensures the shimmery shadow has something to stick to.
  4. Use a taupe color in your crease to give your eyes extra depth. I used Treasure by Pacifica. I also lightly ran my brush under my lower lashes.
  5. This is optional, but I lined my upper lid with Pat McGrath’s Dual-Ended Marker.
  6. Line your upper waterline with a dark, waterproof pencil liner and your lower waterline with a white, cream or nude pencil liner.
  7. Curl your lashes and apply mascara.

That’s it! This is a look that goes from day to night. Plus, you can make it more dramatic by winging your liner and adding false lashes for a sexy-sweet look that doesn’t seem like you’re trying too hard. – Ronda

Bronze eyes and bright lips = Full holiday glam 

Bronze eyes and red lips are a classic holiday party look.

It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s time to go full glam. Today, we’re going all out with a look that’s definitely not for everyday wear: Its party time, ladies! This look has special occasion written all over it, and it’s just the thing for a festive Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve celebration. Pour yourself a glass of champagne and let’s get started … But first, my usual provisos:

  1. You don’t have to rush out to buy the exact items I used! Dig through your makeup drawers for similar products that will work just as well without causing penury.
  2. Prep your face. You want a smooth, serene canvas for perfect makeup application. That means clean, exfoliated, moisturized and primed skin.

OK, let’s get glam!

Foundation: Fiona Styles Matte Finish Foundation Concentrate. (This is a foundation I began using last week and have been pleased with. It evens out skin flaws and imperfections and is sold at Ulta. Other foundations I like include Josie Maran Vibrancy, Urban Decay All Nighter and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD.)

Undereye Concealer: Judith August Orange Masking Creme, Maybelline Age Rewind. (The Judith August Orange Masking Cream is peachy/orange and I use it to hide blue circles where my skin is thinner at the inner corners of my eyes. I apply it first and then top it off with the more moisturizing Maybelline Age Rewind.)

Undereye Powder: Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. (Powder can be aging on older skin. I only use powder to set my concealer — and I use a light hand. The Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder adds extra lightness to the undereye area and isn’t drying.)
Eyes:

  1. I mixed Pat McGrath Labs’ Bronze Pigment with Mehron Mixing Liquid and applied two coats on the mobile lid up to the crease. The pigment and mixing liquid are sold at Sephora as part of a set. Other options include silver and gold, and they’re gorgeous!
  2. I applied a medium brown matte shadow to my crease as a transition shade. I used the medium brown from Tarte’s Poppy Picnic Palette, but any medium brown will do.
  3. Next, I used Benefit High Brow to highlight my brow bone. Any light-colored shadow will do, but just use a touch — a little goes a long way — and make sure not to use a metallic shadow.
  4. I used Dior black kohl liner in my upper and lower waterlines. Again, any long-wearing liner will suffice.
  5. No eyeliner today, but I did apply false lashes — Red Cherry Wispies. DO NOT wait until the night of a big event to apply false lashes for the first time. It takes a bit of practice. If you’ve never applied them, opt instead for extra coats of your favorite mascara. I swear by a combination of two Benefit mascaras. After curling my lashes, I first apply Roller Lash and then finish with They’re Real

Blush: Milani Baked Powder Blush in Bella Rosa.

Lipstick: I’m wearing on of my favorite  reds, MAC Red, but go with a red that suits your particular skin tone. If you have thin lips, you might want to choose a pretty rose or nude shade, as very dark or bright shades can make lips look thinner.

Bronzer: Laura Geller Moroccan Bronze, but skip this step if your cheeks have started to hollow naturally. I am older, but still have full cheeks.
Highlight: ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Monster
That’s it! You’re ready join in the holiday fun, knowing you look your glowing best. Here’s a toast to 2017!

Confessions of a sunglasses junkie

Looking for a quick way to jazz up an outfit? Reach for a great pair for of sunglasses!

I have to confess that I’m somewhat of a sunglasses addict. I have pairs stashed in drawers and nooks throughout my house and car. And we’re not talking ZZ Top “Cheap Sunglasses.” I get the good stuff, and I usually persuade my dear husband to add to my collection on special occasions. I prefer sunglasses to rings and other baubles and consider them “jewelry for the face.”

When did my sunglasses habit begin? At Myrtle Beach, circa 1992. We took a family trip to the shore and the combination of light-sensitive eyes, contact lenses and inexpensive, non-polarized shades led to months of pain. You’ve heard the term “snow blind?” Well, I was “sand blind.” Somehow the sun’s reflection off the sand burned my eyes. It hurt just to keep my eyes open in the weakest of light for months on end. I was under a doctor’s care and on steroids and all sorts of other medication until my vision normalized. Since then, it’s been all sunglasses, all the time. (Side benefit: My dermatologist says my dedication to tinted eyewear cuts down on wrinkles, as it reduces squinting. She advises women never to go into the sun — even if it’s just to check the mailbox — without sunglasses.)

Right now, I’m contemplating what pair of sunglasses will be on my list for Santa. In the meantime, I’m enjoying my most recent scores: a jazzy, Hollywood-glam pair of Kate Spades that I picked up while post-Thanksgiving outlet shopping with my mom and sister and an ultra-elegant Versace pair that is a souvenir from a girls’ trip — coincidentally to Myrtle Beach — with college friends. In fact, here’s a photo of three of us modeling our finds. That’s Jeannean on the left in Versaces, me in the center, and Jill in Michael Kors.

Gee, your skin smells delicious

When my son was little, he once told me I always smelled like a delicious dessert. I was delighted, given that his pronouncements weren’t always so flattering. (He also once said I was built like a T-Rex, with a big body and short arms.) But I digress …

I’m not an avid Bath & Body Works customer until November rolls around. That’s because while I’m not an aficionado of their summer scents, I’m an avid fan of the holiday sugar scrubs and of Vanilla Bean Noel in particular.

A couple of weeks ago, the scrubs were on a buy three, get two free special.  After an initial panic ( the salesperson incorrectly told me there were no VBNs to be had), I purchased three and completed my five-scrub haul with a Winter Candy Apple and a Twisted Peppermint. Speaking of twisted, there’s a new twist on the Bath & Body Works scrubs: the addition of skin-softening shea oil. That’s a welcome change, but there’s another difference I’m less fond of, and that’s a change in my beloved Vanilla Bean Noel’s appearance. Last year, it was snowy white with a pretty glitter effect. This year, it’s brown. It still smells nice, though.

While I was at B&BW, I naturally had to pick up a few other items. One was C.O. Bigelow’s Lemon Cream Body Wash, a longtime favorite, and another was an owl-shaped fragrance-melt warmer to replace a warmer broken in a move awhile back. Of course, a fragrance warmer requires fragrances, so in the lead up to Christmas our home will smell like Marshmallow Fireside, Sparkling Icicles, Champagne Toast, Merry Cookie and, of course, Vanilla Bean Noel.

Sol de Janeiro adds to its sweet-smelling success

If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know I have a serious crush on Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. Hands down, it’s the best moisturizer I’ve ever used and the best smelling too. The company describes the scent as pistachio-based and that may be true, but it’s also tropical and sexy and simply to die for. Even better, it makes your skin soft, silky, supple and touchable.

Awhile back, the company added its Samba Foot Fetish Cream to the product lineup. I was disappointed that it didn’t feature my beloved Bum Bum Cream’s to-die-for scent, but it’s still a great product and the adorable surfboard-style buffer it’s packaged with is a winner.

Fast forward to Sol de Janeiro’s latest launch: Brazilian 4-Play Moisturizing Shower Cream Gel. I’m a “smells good” kind of gal, as my son James described me when he was younger. I’m not interested in generic, run-of-the-mill soap or shower gels. Give me something that leaves my skin clean and moisturized, but leaves both me and my bathroom smelling like a garden of earthly delights.

I’m happy to report that 4-Play is a winner all the way around: Rich lather? Check. Moisturized skin? Check. Great scent? Check, check, check. It smells just like Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. Call me a  velvety-skinned, deliciously scented happy camper.

Note to the team at Sol de Janeiro: I just placed an order for your Rainforest Relief lotion, but I need more, more, more! How about adding other products with your signature scent to the lineup? Bath oil beads? Moisturizing bath bombs? A facial moisturizer? Hair care products? Seriously, it’s the best. 

My ‘Misfit’ love 

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My Misfit Shine 2 Activity Tracker

This blog isn’t about a misfit romance — although I’ve had plenty of those in my life. Nope, it’s a about a different kind of love: my affection for my Misfit Shine 2 activity tracker.

Here’s a confession: I hate exercise. I took three hours of ballet and tap daily when I was in my teens. That kept me slim and trim, no matter what I ate. Although it was exercise, it felt more like fun. After I started college, I avoided anything that would make me hot and sweaty (well, anything exercise-related, anyway). You can guess what happened. The pounds began to pile up. And up. And up.

Of course, I’d go on periodic diets, some more successful than others. But, inevitably, the diet would end and I’d go back to eating normally and … you know the story.

In February of this year,  I decided enough was enough. What I needed was a lifestyle change, as opposed to a diet. I could feel my resolution building. I know you’re going to ask what diet I’m on, so I’ll tell you. It’s simple: poached eggs or a fruit smoothie for breakfast; fruit with cottage cheese or a salad for lunch; and a small portion of salmon, chicken or steak for dinner with veggies on the side. I’m an ice cream fiend, so I replaced my nightly bowl of Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate with orange, pineapple or mixed tropical sherbet. Sometimes I’ll eat string cheese for a snack, or perhaps some low-cal popcorn.

Anyway, the pounds started to fall off … 10 … 20 … 30. I purchased a treadmill and began walking every day. I currently do three to five miles. By some standards, that’s nothing. For me, it’s a big deal.

My latest gadget is my Misfit Shine 2 activity tracker. It’s a slim, rose-gold disc that looks like a watch. I wear it on my arm during the day and attached to my shoe when I’m on my treadmill. That’s because I usually walk with my hands on the treadmill bars, and because my arms aren’t swinging with each step, the Misfit can’t track my activity.

In addition to counting my steps, my Misfit Shine tells time, monitors my sleep, vibrates when I get a phone call or text message, and tracks my daily goals. A series of small lights at the edge of the dial provides me with all the info I need. Of course, a well-thought-out app also helps. I use my Misfit in conjunction with the Misfit app as well as the Lose It app, which I use to record my food consumption.

Another thing I like about my Misfit? It’s more elegant than many other types of wearable trackers. Mine is currently on my wrist in the black rubberized band that comes standard, but Swarovski makes pretty accessories. I’ve asked my husband for the gray-suede, crystal-studded slake band for my upcoming birthday. That way, I can switch out the rubber version for something more feminine.

In the meantime, I’m sticking to my lifestyle change. I’ve lost a total of 40 pounds and hope to lose 30 more by the holidays!