London's Borough Market in Pictures

Sunday, November 10, 2013

For anyone reading this who may be unfamiliar with London's seemingly hundreds of vibrant street markets, Borough Market is just one of them, and it's a food-lover's ultimate fantasy come to life.  Coffee cup-sized portions of hot mulled wine and cider can be purchased and consumed while walking around and taking in the delicious sights and smells that the rest of the market has to offer.  Organic fruits and veggies, homemade cheeses, spice racks brimming with mixtures you've never even dreamt of, sandwiches, macarons, olive stalls, English pies, hamburgers grilled on the spot, and plenty of options for vegetarians as well; there's really nothing this market misses out on.  One of my favorite parts of the market was the section devoted to street-vendor style cuisine, covering the bases from grilled cheese to curries, and all served up fresh from the hands of a chef in each stall.  I picked up a salmon and prawn pie from the PieMinster stall, and recommend seeing what else they have out that day if you're in the mood for a warm, savory pie (the chicken and mushroom one was really calling my name, but they were out of it by the time I got to the front of the line).

So if you're ever in London near the London Bridge area, just south of the river, stop by Borough Market, if only for the smells!  (It's also the area where Bridget Jones lived, and the Globe Pub is smack dab in the middle of the market)! A word of caution, come prepared with some extra cash on hand; you'll be amazed at how quickly you can lose £40 at this place!

P.S. When I was looking back at this post, about to hit publish, I realized that a vast majority of these pictures were just focused on the food that you can find at the market, and that I have literally zero of the market itself (we can see where my interest lies).  But maybe that's for the best!  Now if you ever visit the market, you can form your own opinion?  And if you've been before, pleeease tell me your favorite stall for lunch?  I will be going back as soon as my budget allows!

Also, I hope that last picture didn't weird you out as much as it did me.  We were just sitting eating our pie and burger, when we realized there were two artists putting this creepy food sculpture together just a few yards away from us. I'm sorry if it scared you, but I felt the post just wouldn't be complete without her!

Borough Market website
Full Market hours:
Wed-Thurs: 10am-5pm
Friday: 10am-6pm
Saturday: 8am-5pm

The "Finally Mine" Edit

Thursday, November 7, 2013

As a beauty obsessive (I'm making an educated guess here), I'm sure you're familiar with that elusive product that you just can't seem to find no matter how many drugstores, makeup counters or department stores you stumble into.  The hunt quickly becomes exhausting, and you start to wonder if you just made the product up in your head.  After even longer, you just start laughing when the fifty millionth Boots you've been to still shows no signs of ever stocking that specific shade of the new Rimmel lipstick that I'd been looking for for the better part of a week, goddammit!  There wasn't even a slot for it on the shelves!!  But getting back to the point, a friend of mine and I were out "window" shopping on Oxford Street, when she suggested we look in one more Boots.  And there it was, the last one of its kind, the elusive and endangered "Let's Get Naked", a new shade in Rimmel's new-ish Moisture Renew lipstick range.  For my obsession with this shade, I blame Lily Pebbles, my # 1 enabler of the moment.

After almost a week of searching, I knew it had to be fate, so off I went to the cash register, said goodbye to about 6 pounds, and said hello to my newly acquired lipstick love.  Having never owned one of these lipsticks before Rimmel repackaged and reformulated them, I can't comment on how the new formula compares to the old one, but I can say that it lives up to its name.  Let's Get Naked is one of my most moisturizing lipsticks, and the color, a beautiful nudey peach, goes on almost opaque.  It smells a bit powdery (the same as the old formula, according to the friend mentioned above), and it's not built to last (be prepared to touch up every hour or so), however the color and the finish of the lipstick are so deluxe that these facts can be excused in my opinion.  So all in all, a successful mission!

Now onto the second part of this mini edit, the new Top Shop lipstick in "All About Me".  I have never in my life owned a Top Shop lipstick, and have always wanted one for all the hype that they receive on YouTube and blogs alike.  However, I had never seen a shade that I felt I needed.  That is until I saw this guy.  On a separate trip to Top Shop, again with said friend, we of course wandered over to the makeup section and whilst trolling the lipstick stands, my eyes fell on this bright, sheeny fuchsia shade.  Possibly a new release (I got this around 4 weeks ago, I know, bad!) as it had a whole stand to itself, this color has me written all over it.  If you've seen my MAC Lipstick Collection video, then you'll know that bright fuchsia pinks are my bold lip color of choice, and "All About Me" just couldn't escape my clutches.  I walked around the store holding it for a good 15 minutes before I realized that I just had to take the plunge and buy it because otherwise I would regret it.  It's one of those hot pink colors that has a bit of an orange or yellow feel to it almost, but I in my opinion it still qualifies as a fuchsia.  Is it just me, or does it have an air of MAC's Show Orchid about it?  It lasts ages without touching up, isn't drying at all, and doesn't transfer like crazy.  It's one of those lip colors that I never knew I always wanted, and although it's more of an occasional than an everyday lip color, I'm happy to call it mine.  In fact, just writing about it is making me want to go and put it on again!  I can't seem to find it on the Top Shop website anymore, but you may still be able to find it in stores?  Weird.

So do you have any products you've had to literally hunt down?  What are some you're still looking for?

Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Let's Get Naked, £6.49 | Top Shop lipstick in All About Me, £8

Barry M. High Shine Gelly Nail Paints

Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm sure that regarding the Barry M. Gelly Nail Paints (£3.99), that you've all heard the excited proclamations of every. single. British beauty blogger by now, so this post will not really serve to inform, so much as to share in the excited conversation.  And yes, I am VERY late to this little nail party.  So much so that I don't think it can even be considered fashionable at this point (my lateness, that is), but oooOOOhHHH these nail polishes!  <--A phrase I have literally never said.  As you may be able to tell by the picture above, I was smitten immediately.  The shine is HIGH, the coverage is opaque (it took me two coats each), and the finish just looks so damn professional.  My landlady actually asked me if I'd been to the salon for a manicure (no, but I went to Superdrug!).

Greenberry is by far my favorite and is one of those nail colors you just can't stop staring at when you're wearing it. Satsuma is a gorgeous orange-red that just screams summer, and it even comes with the Vivianna stamp of approval, so I'm there.  Now Mango (the bright, light orange) is pretty as well, however I think I may have gotten a dud bottle.  It was just patchy, gloopy and chipped within less than 24 hours.  However, a new friend of mine (who is a nail polish connoisseur, and who may have egged on my purchase just a tiny bit) bought two of the darker colors and got them to look flawless in just one coat.  I was obviously clinging onto summer with my polish choices (where has it gone!?), but it seems like the lighter colors of this range are just a bit trickier to work with, so beware.

To be fair though, nail polish longevity is really something you can't take my word for, as my nails are literally terrible.  They've always been weak, and I've never been able to go chip-free for much more than a day or two with most polishes I try, even with a top coat.  However, the shine on these babies is so high that you will definitely NOT need a topcoat.  So whether you're anti-topcoat, just don't have one, or are simply in the mood for something new, these polishes are basically a must-try.  I'm sure you've all tried these by now, actually, so I'd love to hear any recommendations you have?  (Pro-tip: these are on buy one get one half-off at Boots atm)!

I Went to Primark and LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

If you haven't already heard from my many excited tweets and blabberings on YouTube, I've moved to London!  So of course, being that I'm  a complete and utter beauty dweeb, one of my first stops in the Big Smoke had to be none other than the beauty blogger favorite and Huge House of Bargains itself: PRIMARK!!  I came upon it accidentally when walking around Oxford Street (which is always SO busy!), so I had to poke my head in to see what all the fuss was about.  I kid you not, I wasn't in there for more than about three seconds when I saw something I absolutely loved and "had to have".  (For anyone who's never been to a Primark, I'll try and describe it; to me it seems right around the price point of Forever 21, however the items are not as "on-trend" I don't think, but they feel a lot more well-made).  I tried on the beautiful black and white floral dress, pictured above (which no doubt will feature in a future possible OOTD??), but in my eyes this bag stole the show.

It has quickly become my FAVORITE THING EVARRR, and I think it just looks so much more expensive than it actually is!  I paid £10 for it (equivalent to about $16), and I just know I'm going to get tons of use out of it.  It's pretty spacious, and can easily fit both my DSLR camera and Macbook Air comfortably inside.  My only complaint is that the strap is a bit long, and that the handles are a little too short to fit over my shoulder while wearing a coat (although I do have extremely broad shoulders, so maybe that's it).  But overall, I think it's perfect!  The black quilted pattern, the white stripes, the gold chain strap, UGH IT'S JUST SO BEAUTIFULLL.  Ahem.

All that to say, I never thought I'd be a bag lady, but you can't underestimate the power of a good bag!  It just pulls everything I'm wearing together so well, and makes me look just a little bit fancier than I actually am.  Something tells me this could be the start of a very dangerous habit....

And of course, now that I'm in the UK, I had to pick up a handful of British-only beauty bits!  Stay tuned for some serious Barry M love...

My MAC Lipstick Collection

Saturday, September 14, 2013

You can always rely on a MAC lipstick to stir some excitement among beauty junkies like us, and I have to say that filming this video was pretty darn exciting.  I used to watch videos like this and dream about the day that I'd have my own extensive collection, and whaddya know, that day is here!  Whilst I may have jumped the gun on a few purchases I probably should have re-thought, on the whole I love my little stash.

Now before we jump into the video, I just wanted to mention something here that I wish someone had told me before I got into makeup, and that is to go slow.  MAC lipsticks aren't cheap, and in order to curate a cohesive collection that you're ultimately very happy with, it's important to physically test the shades and textures on your lips.  You'll get a perfect feel for the lipstick, and you'll also learn which finishes suit you best.   I know this is easier said than done, because it's just so tempting to buy one right then and there, but you'll come away more satisfied when you purchase a lipstick you know you'll love versus one you think you like.  I believe that MAC lipsticks as a whole are definitely worth the investment as the longevity, texture, and color payoff tends to be pretty excellent.

OK, serious business aside, I hope you enjoy seeing the lipsticks I chose for myself, and that you maybe get a better idea of how certain colors actually look on the lips.  MAC lipsticks are pricey, but they make me happy, so I save up for one or two every now and again.  I can't see myself adding too many more to my collection, but I mean they just released like 10 new mattes for Fall, current MAC lipsticks might have a few new friends to talk to in the near future...

A Cheeky Trio: NYX Blushes

Clockwise, from left: NYX blush in Pinched, NYX blush in Dusty Rose, and NYX blush in Summer Peach
L to R: Pinched, Dusty Rose, Summer Peach
A mere year ago, I had but one blush to my name.  It was simply a product I thought I could do without, and was afraid of the fever-cheeks I thought would result from my inexperienced application of said product.  Fast forward to today, and while I still have a very modest few in my collection, blush has become one of my most favorite additions to my everyday face.

NYX blushes in particular are my current favorites for everyday wear.  The color range is pretty impressive (at the moment they have a nice well-rounded 20 shades in their stocks), spanning the spectrum from taupe to natural flush to the hottest of hot pinks.  There's also a good mix of mattes and more shimmery colors, so there's really something for every skin tone and taste level.  They're also super affordable, at just $5 from the NYX website!  (Note: read their shipping policy carefully if you live outside of the US).

The three in my possession are Pinched, a shimmery, golden pink which is a great dupe for NARS Orgasm, Dusty Rose, a matte shade which is a perfect addition to a more natural makeup look, and Summer Peach, the brightest of all three, and a blush that, when applied carefully, offers a naturally flushed looking finish with the tiniest bit of gold shimmer.

I'm happy with every single one of these blushes, and couldn't recommend them more.  The consistency is pretty great; not chalky, but of course not super finely-milled either.  They wear extremely well, and at only $5 a pop, it's easy enough to toss a few in your cart without blinking an eye.  At the moment, I'm struggling to keep Terra Cotta and Taupe from "accidentally" falling into my cart and "accidentally" making their way to my doorstep.  But hey, accidents happen!

August Beauty Favorites

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm not sure why it's taken me almost a week to post this video on my blog, but I'm almost positive it has something to do with my terrible time management skills and over-crowded brain.  Regardless, it's here.  VERY late, but here nonetheless.  Also, as a bit of a disclaimer, I'm pretty sure I have ADD because I literally never finish a thought in this video (editing was a nightmare), but I hope you enjoy it anyway.  My very late, and somewhat scattered August Beauty Favorites.  (Pro tip: click the "YouTube" button for a full list of products mentioned).

The Yearly Bath and Bodyworks Haul

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Without actually meaning to, it seems I've made another trip to Bath and Bodyworks around the same time as I did last year, so hey maybe this becomes a yearly thing?  Who knows.  Anyway, I didn't pick up toooo much, but I wanted to share what I bought just in case you had your eye on a few of the season's newest offerings.

First off, having just received a paycheck and feeling quite a bit heavier in the wallet than usual, I decided to treat myself to a nice big three-wick candle (you know how it is).  This was actually the first of their large candles that I'd actually bought for myself, and after smelling probably every single one three times, I finally decided on their Pumpkin Caramel Latte.  At first it seemed like a pretty decent candle, and the scent throw is pretty amazing, lit or not, but after burning it for the first time, I soon realized that sweet candles aren't really my thing.  In fact, the more I sniff it, the more it reminds me of pancake syrup (just no).  If I could do it over again, my first choice would be their Sandalwood Citrus candle.  Quite a manly scent, but it's refreshing and definitely a bit more my speed.

They also had a 5 for $5 deal going on their pocket antibacterial hand gels, and since I will be living in a city quite soon, I figured I'd better throw a few in my cart.  Of the five I purchased, I'd say Aqua Blossom and Island Margarita are my two favorites.  The best way I can describe Aqua Blossom is to say that it smells like fresh, clean water (if you haven't yet realized, I'm pretty crap at describing scents).  Island Margarita is limey, and smells just like its namesake. The rest were bought in large part due to their names and labels.  Jack O' Pumpkin ends up making your hands smell like baked goods (blech), Pumpkin Caramel Latte, again, smells like pancake syrup, and Dancing Waters is along the same lines as Aqua Blossom in the clean scent department, but I find it almost too strong and is altogether pretty skippable.

Not sure why my Bath and Bodyworks hauls always end up being so meh?  It's probably because I'm the kind of person who walks around the store browsing for ages, and then starts to feel awkward and pressured so I wind up picking up the thing closest to me, buying it, and fleeing the store.  Does that happen to anyone else, or is that just me?  Well anyway, anything I bought look interesting to you?  Do you plan on taking advantage of any of the current BBW sales? Tell me your favorite scents, I'd love to know what to check out on my next visit (whenever that may be).

Pumpkin Caramel Latte 3-wick candle, $20 | Aqua Blossom pocketbac, $1 | Island Margarita pocketbac, $1 | Jack O' Pumpkin pocketbac, $1 | Pumpkin Caramel Latte pocketbac, $1 | Dancing Waters pocketbac, $1 (all pocket bacs normally $1.75)

NYX Butter Glosses

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's been a while since I've done a true product rave on my blog, so I thought it was about time that I put my blogger hat back on and introduced you to the new loves in my life.  I'm pretty sure it will come as no surprise (especially if you've been watching my latest videos on youtube) that I have not been able to stop wearing my NYX Butter Glosses lately.  I had initially heard of them through Shaaanxo on youtube and so, having had some luck with NYX products in the past, I decided to test out a few at my local ULTA.

I happen to think that NYX products are extremely well-made and modestly long lasting, so it should also be no surprise that I left with two glosses in my basket (plus a beautiful new blush; review to come!) and a few less bucks to my name.  Now permanently nestled in my makeup bag are Apple Strudel, a light pink-lemonade type of color, and Cherry Cheesecake which is more of an pinky coral.  Both are equally as wearable, but I do find that Apple Strudel complements my makeup on more occasions.  They're both beautiful on their own, but I find that they also look stunning over nude or light pink lipsticks, and have also been wearing them on top of my MAC Hue lipstick on occasion.

In terms of application, both go on very smoothly ("like BUTT-AH!"), and are hardly sticky.  The applicator offers a generous amount of product which, depending on the size of your lips, you may need to smush around a bit with your finger.  The longevity is pretty meh, but you'll have glossy lips for at least a good hour.  If you're talking, eating or drinking, you can cut that down to about 45 minutes.  All in all, for a five dollar lipgloss, these really cannot be beat. I have no gripes with reapplying every hour or so because each tube offers 8mL of product and for the price, I can get three very different shades for the cost of one MAC lipgloss.  Pretty solid deal, if you ask me.

On top of it all, I think they may have trickled their way into some Targets, so they're becoming even more accessible. Plus, they also smell amazing, like cherry pastries and they're cruelty free so we're keeping the bunnies happy!  WHOOP.  And because I'm a beauty junkie and possibly a lipgloss hoarder, I've set my sights on a few other colors as well (Maple Blondie will be mine).  Have you tried these yet? What colors would you like to try or do you own?  Any other NYX products I should try?

1 Year Blogger-versary!

Friday, September 6, 2013

I never thought I'd be making a post like this, but I cannot say how happy I am to be doing so!  It's a known fact that I go through phases, but it seems my blogging "phase" has turned into quite the habit.  I never in a million years thought that anyone would read my little words whilst typing up my first blog post exactly one year ago, but in the past year my readership has grown well beyond what I had ever expected.  I cannot say how thankful I am to those of you who read my posts and leave beautiful and positive comments.  It's through the comments that I've even connected with some of you and created little online relationships in which we write on each others' blogs (which I love!).

In honor of my little blog's first official birthday, I thought I'd share a link list of some of my personal favorite and more popular blog posts, just in case you're new here (or want to catch up!).
1. My first ever blog post (I'm choosing not to count my introduction post) about hand wipes, of all things.  My how my blog's vision has changed!  (Also please feel free to ignore my creepy faux-British honorifics..)

2. One of my more popular posts, on Aveda's Nourishmint lipstick in Cana.  A striking and extremely long-wearing choice for a red lip.

3. Another popular post of mine, on MAC's Mocha blush.  Perfect for an everyday matte flush!

4. A popular post from earlier this year that reminds me to do more posts like this.  Thinking outside the box by using lipstick as cream blush!

5. And now for a few of my personal favorites!  I loved writing up this post about the care and keeping of my curly hair.  It's a blog post that I would love to turn into a video one day soon!

6. And finally, probably one of my least popular posts I've ever written, but I put a ton of time into the writing for this one, so I wound up absolutely loving my post about Origins Never a Dull Moment face scrub.  Makes me want to do face masks now!

So whether or not you've been with me since the beginning, or you're just joining me now, I want to thank you for supporting The Non Brit.  I wouldn't be a blogger without a you!  You guys are great, I love you, and I hope you stick with me during my transition into my new life in London.  More posts to come after the dust settles...

If you're a lurker and would like to be notified whenever I begin blogging normally again, please feel free and follow by email, or subscribe to The Non Brit on Bloglovin'.  Hey, I'm even on Youtube now!

So after all of that, I'm off to eat some cake.  Back soon!

Get Ready With Me: Everyday Neutral Makeup

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In which I try out a few new products, discuss my childhood, and just generally talk A LOT.  Also, Youtube's letting me upload custom thumbnails now for some reason, and I ain't complainin!  If you've ever wanted to see how I do my makeup on an everyday basis, then today's your lucky day.  Press that big "play" button up there, settle in, and select to watch on Youtube for all the products used.  Hope you enjoy at least somewhat!

L'Occitane Lavande Foaming Bath

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

If you read my last blog post (here) then you'll know I've had little to no time to relax this past month. Life got busy, and I tried my best to keep up, but as the saying goes, "life happens on life's terms."  Luckily, I've been given a nice reprieve this week and have found myself with some serious downtime on my hands, so I decided to do something I haven't done in over four weeks: take a bath.  Now this is not to say that I haven't bathed!  I just haven't had the time nor the inclination to fill up the tub and soak, but now that my plate is empty, I've invested in a luxurious little bath product that has made my me-time even more calming.

I am still somewhat new to L'Occitane products, but if the rest of their range is made anywhere near as well as their Lavande Foaming Bath soak, then this will not be the last product of their's that I buy!  The scent is so authentic, and even the brushed aluminum bottle (which is supposedly a throwback to old-school fragrance essence containers) is visually striking.  To use, you simply tip the (very generously sized) bottle into warm running bath-water for a few seconds, and then settle in for some serious suds. The lavender scent is so strong and soothing, that I couldn't help but picture a French meadow starting just outside the bathroom window.  But alas, still in New Jersey.

Post-soak my skin was left lightly-scented and only slightly softer than it had been before.  However, despite the somewhat "eh" skin benefits, the calmer breathing and dreamy mindset that I stepped out of the tub with make it all worthwhile.  With a $34 price tag, this is definitely a once-in-a-while, only when I'm really really stressed kind of bath product, but at 16.9 oz per bottle, I'm sure it will see me through many months of stress ahead.  I was told this also comes in a Verbena scent which I'd love to try as well someday.

What are some of your favorite ways to unwind?

Life Update: A Visa, A Plan, and a Visit to Storm King

Sunday, August 25, 2013

To state the obvious, it's been very quiet on my blog recently; darn near silent.  Blogging has had to take a back seat this month to make way for more official business.  But all is well!  To make a long story short, in exactly three weeks time I will no longer call the United States my home.  You may already know this if you've read some of my more recent blog posts, but in case this is news, I will be moving to London for exactly one year to study the Anthropology of Food as a postgraduate.  I'm not 100% sure what I want to write my dissertation about yet, but I know I want to incorporate blogging into it somehow.

This is all to say that I've spent August preparing for my trip.  I've been setting up budgets, searching for housing (I've found a temporary place to stay, hurrah!!), and applying for my visa, not to mention figuring out my course load and ordering my books all while working five days a week.  On top of it all, the reading list for my course is quite comprehensive, so I've also been trying to stick to a reading schedule.  If you couldn't tell yet, I haven't really had too many spare moments recently, and even when I have had time to relax, I've spent it talking to my sister or parents, or just unwinding watching youtube videos.  But blogging is my happy place, and it was only a matter of time until I resumed because I can't not blog now, I just love it so much.  Amidst all of the stress and anxiety lately, sitting down and writing my thoughts out here has been very calming and therapeutic.  I missed this.

So now I'm approaching the final countdown to London and am silently freaking out every day, but in the end I know I'm going to have such a good time living and learning in the Big Smoke.  I can't wait to start my new life!  My blogging will resume to normal now (I have tons of pictures and new products to share!) as I have an easy few weeks ahead, and I'd like to think I'll be able to keep up with my blog once the school year starts (which for me is October 1st).  Anywho, I hope you enjoy the pictures from our visit to Storm King recently.  My aunt, my sister and I took a day trip to the sculpture park in New York and enjoyed every minute of our traipsing.  Amazing, larger-than-life sculptures surrounded by upstate New York greenery makes for a pretty magical time.  If you're in the area, and love a good sculpture, Storm King is a Don't Miss!  In any case, I'm happy to be back.  As cheesy as it sounds, blogging centers me.

Side note: You may also be able to tell that The Non Brit has had a bit of a makeover!  In anticipation of my blog's first birthday (how), I gave it a new look and am planning to re-dedicate myself to it once more.  The lovely Lara designed and installed my new layout, and if you're in the market for a new blog theme, I couldn't recommend her more.  She's the queen of clean layouts, and she installs and tailors the layout especially for you.  You can find her designs in her Etsy shop here.

Hope you're all well, and thanks for hanging in with me if you've been lurking around!

Estee Lauder Pure Color EyeShadow Duo in Raisins

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I've been a bad blogger recently.  Very bad.  I stopped reading other people's blogs, haven't updated my own in about three weeks, and all but vanished from the internet entirely.  Now, I'd say I'm sorry, but what good is an apology once the damage is done?  I'm actually in the midst of a tricky time (my parents are moving away from me, and I'm applying for an international student visa all while trying to wrap my head around this whole hectic situation), so I literally have not been thinking about beauty.  I still wear makeup everyday for work, but that's really the extent of it.  A house full of moving boxes just seems to suck the blogger right out of me.

But now that the UHaul van is almost completely packed in and my visa application fee has been paid, I've finally got a moment to myself to write about my thoughts on a very recent (and BEAUTIFUL) acquisition of mine.  It was exactly two weeks ago now that I finally got my hands on the Estee Lauder Raisins eyeshadow duo.

I had first seen it used in a video by Zoella on youtube, and my jaw literally dropped.  I'm a huge sucker for a product demo, and buy most of my products after having seen them used in youtube tutorials, and because I've actually seen what the products can do in a live setting, I usually have a ton of luck with the makeup I purchase.  Estee Lauder's Pure Color EyeShadow Duo in Raisins was absolutely no exception (oof, what a mouthful).

The pigmentation is rich, the color payoff is intense, and the shadows themselves are crazy smooth and blendable.  The gold packaging is very expensive looking, comes with a huge mirror, and is much lighter-feeling than it appears.  As an added bonus the duo even pops out of its case if you wanted to add it to a larger palette!  Of the two shadows in the duo, the lighter, champagney color in the palette actually reminds me a lot of Naked Lunch by MAC, although it's a slightly less golden version.  And funny enough, the dark burgundy shadow that accompanies it looks quite a lot like MAC's Sketch eyeshadow, although I've always found Sketch very hard to work with as it just doesn't blend well for me.  The two make for an absolutely stunning shadow combination on the eyes, and I find that the purple tones in the darker shade really help my green eyes to stand out, especially when paired with the frostiness of the lighter shade.  I've been wearing them over top of Estee Lauder's Pure Color Stay-on Shadow Paint in Halo, and they have worn impeccably all day without a single crease.

All in all, it's a beautiful and very classic duo that I'm sure would suit every skin tone, pale to dark.  It has all but replaced my other eyeshadow palettes since I've bought it two weeks ago, and even though I've worn it exclusively to work, you could very easily build up the color to make for a more dramatic and smokey evening look.  I would have never thought a smokey eye possible with just two eyeshadows, but the paler shade doubles as a lid color and brow bone highlight, while the darker shade is easily blended out to create a soft and smokey crease.  Simples.

I literally can't fault this product; I can't see myself putting it down in the near future!  I only wish it weren't so hard to get your hands on because I will definitely be repurchasing it when I finish my current one up (which will be sometime later this year at the rate I'm going!), but I literally got the last one they had at the counter that I bought it from (and the saleswoman had to really hunt for it).  It seems to be all sold out online as well, so your best bet on finding it is to try and nail it down at a counter.  In short, this is one product where I can definitively say, 'Hype well-deserved.'

What do you think of the Estee Lauder eyeshadows?  This being my first more high-end eye palette I've ever owned, I'm over the moon with its good qualities!  Any hyped products that you've been really loving recently?  Or not? ;)

Estee Lauder Pure Color EyeShadow Duo in Raisins, $32 | Estee Lauder Pure Color Stay-On Shadow Paint in Halo, $24

Recent Skin Care Buys

Saturday, July 6, 2013

If you have been reading my blog for any time at all, then you'll probably have noticed by now that I have a slight addiction to buying Origins skin care products.  If you haven't, then I'm afraid I have some facts to face.  I have been riding the Origins wave for a few months now, and can attest to the fact that I am hooked, well and truly.  Their packaging is bright and cheerful, their prices are fair, and their products really work!  I wish I could say that I haven't spent hours combing their site for potential new additions to my skin care routine, but alas... On one of these such visits, their home screen greeted me with an offer that was just too good to pass up: a completely free full-size GinZing eye cream when you bought any two skin care items.  Not only did my wish list have at least three Origins products on it at the time, but the eye cream was one of them, so I wasted no time at all in getting down to my nearest Origins counter and selecting my two favorites.  True I left the counter with a slightly lighter wallet, but it was mostly birthday money that I'd spent so it doesn't really count, right?

Origins Zero Oil cleanser was one of the skin care items I purchased in order to receive my beloved eye cream, and I've been using it almost every day as my morning cleanser for just about two months now.  I really can't fault it!  I'd say it works best for people with combination/oily skin, and possibly for acne-prone complexions as well.  It smells fresh, works quickly to remove any excess oils you may have from the night before, and leaves your skin clean but not overly tight.  This also works well in the evenings as my sole cleanser if I've had a light or no-makeup day.

Their Never a Dull Moment cleanser is a more recent acquisition of mine (the other skin care product from the eye cream promotion will make a blog appearance sometime soon!), and is a great complement to the rest of my routine.  While it's not a cleanser I use every day, I find it's great maybe two or three times a week in place of my Zero Oil when my skin is feeling a bit on the drab side.  Listing extracts of crushed papaya among its ingredients, the tropical fruit juices within the cleanser are meant to lightly slough away the outer layer of skin, leaving the healthier skin underneath to show through more brightly.  It is essentially a more everyday and gentler version of the Origins face polisher of the same name (reviewed here).

And finally, the star of this post: my  GinZing eye cream*!  After nightly use for almost two months, I think enough time has passed for me to declare my love.  Although the cream itself is a bit goopy (note the mess in the above photo), it absorbs into the eye area with minimal rubbing and patting, and has left me looking more alert and alive.  I'm even using less of my under eye corrector now when I do my makeup!  With literally zero drawbacks, I don't think I'll ever stop singing this eye cream's praises.

What are some of your more recent skin care purchases?  Are you as Origins obsessed as I am? ;)

Origins Zero Oil cleanser $20 | Origins Never a Dull Moment cleanser $20 | Origins GinZing eye cream*, regularly $30
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