Archive | December 2008

N.Y.C. Ultra Moist Lipwear

I love Sephora as much as the next lady, but sometimes a great product is hiding in your local Walmart or drugstore. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the N.Y.C. cosmetic line, with items ranging mostly in the $1 – $5 range. I’ve tried the pressed face powder and love experimenting with the lipstick colors. For $1 or $2, why not see how diva red or an out-there coral looks on my lips?

Recently I bought N.Y.C. Ultra Moist Lipwear in Chiffon (color pictured below):

This lipstick set me back 99 cents, and I adore it! It’s a barely there, slightly shimmery, pale pink that is perfect with dark eyeliner or other dramatic eye make-up, giving my lips a pretty and subtle touch of color but letting my eyes stand out as the main attraction. It has a bit of mod personality and would look great with winged or cat-eye liquid eyeliner.

As a rule, I don’t like lipstick, since most lipsticks feel heavy, waxy, slippery, or in some other way just plain gross, but this lipstick is smooth and light. It leaves my lips soft, like I’m wearing a lip balm.

The N.Y.C. website showcases all of its products, including mineral make-up, and the site includes beauty tips and a Beauty Q&A.

Part of the company’s mission, according to the website, is “to offer women the opportunity to buy more cosmetics more frequently, to try new looks with minimal risk, to get more value for their money and to feel good about treating themselves to cosmetics purchases.”

What’s not to like?


New Year’s Eve Make-Up Tips

I love New Year’s Eve and the sense of a new start, a new beginning, the celebrating, the excitement. If you are heading out to celebrate New Year’s Eve, here are some holiday make-up tips from

1. Play up the eyes or the mouth. Never do a dark, smokey eye and a red lip, unless you are performing burlesque. Choose one or the other. For eyes, consider a smokey gray this year instead of black or brown. If playing up lips, try both lipstick and gloss. First apply liner all over lips, dot lipstick with your finger and follow with a light (not heavy) gloss.

2. Keep nails short and rounded. What’s not hot? Long, fake talons. What’s chic is short nails that are rounded, not squared. Dark colors for nails are still hot for the holidays.

3. Don’t overdue the statement jewelry. Big jewelry pieces are hot, hot, hot, but make sure you wear them correctly. Don’t wear a large necklace, a chunky ring and big earrings. Choose 1-2 statement pieces and keep your other jewelry quiet and subdued. You can do either a strong necklace and tiny earrings and rings OR a statement ring and statement earrings.

4. Color your hair. If you have gray hair or blah hair, get thee to the drugstore or the salon and color your hair. If you’re doing it yourself, stay within a shade or two of your natural color. Covering up gray hairs and roots will add oomph to your holiday look.

5. Go for dewy skin by applying moisturizer under concealer and/or foundation. Add shimmer to eyes, cheeks or chest area, but don’t overdo it with all three. Apply a shimmer moisturizer (Jergens Soft Shimmer Skin Radiance, from drugstores) to legs if you’re going bare.

For some product suggestions, check out‘s article, “New Year’s Eve Make Up Ideas: Sparkle!”

Happy New Year!

e.l.f. Therapeutic Conditioning Lip Balm

e.l.f. is a hit-or-miss brand, cheap enough that it’s worth trying new products without much concern if you end up hating it, and sometimes hitting bullseye with a great, low-price item that really performs.

e.l.f.’s Therapeutic Conditioning Lip Balm is one such product. It promises no miracles, doesn’t try to plump up your lips, doesn’t proclaim to give you color that will last through the end of time. This product, according to the website is “Salvation for parched lips. This innovative lip balm coats lips with natural nutrients and skin soothers to condition even the most sensitive lips. Infused with Shea Butter and Vitamins A & E for long lasting protection.”

Setting me back one dollar, I decided to try Strawberry Creme. It also comes in orange, vanilla, and blackberry creme. There’s no color to the lip balm, and I really can’t discern a strawberry taste or scent, but I love this lip balm anyway.

I’ve mentioned before I’m not a big fan of lipstick. Give me something I can grab from my purse and slick on without fussing with a mirror. This lip balm is smooth and not sticky, and it protects my lips and keeps them soft. Recently I had a very bad cold and my lips were getting chapped, so I started wearing this lip balm even to bed, and it did the trick. No more chapped lips!

The worst thing about many lip balms is the sticky, thick, unpleasant feeling they leave on my lips. Yuck. I like that this lip balm is light but still conditions and softens. And hey, it’s a dollar.

If you plan to order online, be sure to check out these coupon codes first!

Home Recipes for Spa Treatments

Want to try your hand at making some spa treatments at home? I found this website,, with an extensive Home Spa section full of recipes for everything from a Chocolate Facial Mask to Kiwi Astringent for Oily Skin. (Hey, the kiwi astringent includes vodka as an ingredient. What’s not to love?)

The spa treatments aren’t just for the ladies, though. Try making your own Peppermint After Shave from peppermint tea bags.

I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but if you do, leave a comment and let us know how it turned out! I’d love to cook up some Cranberry Honey Lip Gloss and Rosemary Honey Olive Oil Hair Conditioner.

In the meantime, here’s that recipe for the Chocolate Facial Mask (it’s got to be better than the Miracle Whip facial I actually tried!):

Chocolate Facial Mask

This decadent mask is actually an excellent moisturizer — it leaves your skin baby soft. Recommended for normal skin.
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. cottage cheese
¼ cup honey
3 tsp. oatmeal
Mix all ingredients together (a bullet blender is ideal) and smooth onto face. Relax for ten 10 minutes, then wash off with warm water.

*Spa photo courtesy of Grand Hyatt Melbourne*

Make-Up Tips: When You’re Sick!

If you’ve caught the latest flu bug trotting around like I have, then you already know the challenge of applying make-up or appearing semi-human when your skin is super-oily, your nose is red and chapped, and your eyes are watery and painful!

Toya Smith Marshall offers these sick-day beauty tips on The Beauty Ideal:

“I’ve seen that, lots of times, women try to cover up their “sick face.” Honey, give it a rest – you can’t cover up the fact that you’re sick … you just can’t. When you’re sick, trust me … less is more.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! This time of year, our skin tends to get dry, anyway. But if you’re blowing your nose constantly, that area is going to get reddened and dry and flaky. Make sure to add extra moisturizer in any dry areas. Use a thicker moisturizer than you use on the rest of your face. It’s okay to use a bit of eye cream, which tends to be a heavier cream, or even a bit of Vaseline, around your nose.

2. It’s probably not best to use powder foundation. Using powder will only exacerbate any dryness or flakiness. If you do want to use powder, only dust it on places that aren’t dried out – dust a little on your forehead and cheeks, to keep down shine. If you do want to use foundation, try a more moisturizing formulation, like a stick or liquid foundation and only put it where you need it.

3. Concealer is your friend. Use it under your eyes, to counter any darkness that may result from those sleepless nights spent coughing and sneezing. Also, apply it around your nose, to counter the redness. Stick concealer is good, because it’s portable so you can reapply during the day and because it tends to be a bit heavier. When applying it to your dry, red nose, make sure to rub in a bit of moisturizer first, so you aren’t calling attention to any dryness.

4. Blush! You have to use blush. If you have dry skin, use a creamy formulation or use powder, if you have normal or oily skin. Blush will instantly brighten your face.

What’s Your Signature Make-Up Look?

Your Makeup Look Is:
Dramatic Eyes with Naked Lips
You rock an edgy, modern look with feminine grace!

True enough! Eye make-up is by far my favorite type of make-up, and I am a sucker for black eyeliner and volumizing mascara. I’ve never been a fan of lipstick, so clear or tinted balm or gloss is almost always what I wear, no matter how many lipsticks I own!


While hunting for the hockey game last night on TV, my boyfriend Gary and I gave up and got sucked into watching a show about face transplants instead. I was mesmerized with the concept of actually having someone else’s face instead of your own, and all the psychological adjustments to that reflection in the mirror.

This man (pictured above) had been attacked by a bear, leaving an entire side of his face destroyed. He was given the nose, lip, skin, muscle, and even bone of the donor (source: Discover magazine). I couldn’t find a picture of his face before the surgery, and likely you wouldn’t want to see it; they showed it on the show last night, and his face still looked raw and twisted even years after the attack.

It made me think of how much all of us complain about minor things, a wrinkle here, a gray hair there, moaning about our eyebrows or oily skin or a pimple, when people like this man are grateful simply to have a recognizable face. On the show, when he saw his face for the first time after the surgery, he sat with the mirror in one hand and kept touching the new side of his face with the other, the side of his face that had been twisted and mangled for years after the bear attack. He said it was “like a dream”.

It was hard not to sit humbly and realize that my gripes and complaints are absolutely nothing compared to what some other people have to endure, and next time I’m fussing about my hair sticking up or a faint line under my eyes, I hope I remember what this man went through to repair his face, and I will gratefully accept that I have it pretty good, actually.