Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quest For My Pretty - Thanksgiving Damage Report

Yeah, I know... I skipped a week. Probably THE week I shouldn't have skipped. Well, I didn't really skip it. I did weigh myself last week. But I was up 1.2 lbs (yes, hello 157.2 how not happy I am to see you), and I just really couldn't stand the thought of posting it. And I knew the holiday Thanksgiving damage would have to be done.

Now, I maintain my stance on Thanksgiving: It's not about eating heathy. Most of the food for Thanksgiving isn't that bad for you. It's about PORTION CONTROL.

There's no such thing as PORTION CONTROL when it comes to my mother's Salted Caramel Pie. It tasted like Heaven. Dulce de Leche sprinkled with salt on a graham cracker crust, topped with fresh whipped cream!

Or my mom's Chocolate Pie (which she said originated from the book The Help). It was burned but it tasted like gooey brownie mix in a crispy crust!

And then there's the Tastefully Simple Beer bread I unwisely made in a moment of post-holiday weakness. There's a reason that stuff tastes better when made with Bud Light vs. Sam Adam's Oktoberfest. I used the latter this time. I also maintain that Beer Bread is the only time Bud Light should ever be consumed... but that's another story.

Damage Report: 157.4 lb ( That's +1.4 from my last official reporting, + 0.2 increase over Thanksgiving).

It wasn't going to be pretty. But it's motivation! In a couple of weeks I'll have a new Althea Harper Sittella dress I need to slink myself into, so I had better start paying better attention to my food. I am doing a post Thanksgiving 7 Day Shakeology Challenge. Let's see if I can get myself back under control.

For those of you who want to lose control during the Holiday season: A new challenge will soon emerge. Keep your eyes peeled!

15% off Althea Harper and Sittella through November 30th

Check it out! Just when you thought Black Friday and Cyber Monday were over, something even better comes up!

I just ordered the lovely Mar Vista dress from the Sittella line  which I've had my eye on for a long time. But lo, the lovely Argento dress becomes more affordable at 15% off too! As does the Celie sweater, just in time for the holidays. And if you need a pair of leather hot pants, look no further than the Gloria Short, now below $50.And free shipping to boot!

Shop Althea Harper on Facebook

P.S. Let me know what you get, and tell me how you got the Facebook shop to work. I've been trying for a couple of months. Fortunately, Althea is extremely patient with me.

Just visit the Althea Harper Store on Facebook to take advantage of this amazing deal. At the very least, get your Sittella Scarf for the winter. I have two, and my mother adores hers as well. They go with everything!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sampling aroma M's Geisha Rouge

I first learned of aroma M's perfumes via the lovely Joey (formerly of Pink Sith, and Too Many Eyeshadows blog, now of Beauty, Bacon and Bunnies). She reviewed aroma M's Geisha Blue and I decided that I wanted to purchase samples of the scents to review for myself. Sadly that review no longer exists online - I wish I could reference it. She described it as "better than Ambien" as I recall (a compliment: being a perfume that calmed her enough to sleep soundly).

Image from aroma M's Website
I've had these little samples for a long time now, and I decided to get out Geisha Rouge when I received an anouncement that aroma M was releasing Geisha Amber Rouge.  Well, before I try out the new one I had better try the original. I dug into my little bag of samples immediately.

Geisha Rouge is a very sexy, spicey scent. The notes in it are tonka bean, tobacco and vanilla, combined with cinnamon, star of anise, clove, and sandalwood, according to the website. They wanted it to be sexy and feminine but not floral... and they succeeded.

Upon application, Geisha Rouge is very heavy with the cinnamon. But as the scent dries down this takes a back seat to the rich notes of sandalwood and clove. I can smell the vanilla and tonka bean, but only after trying really hard to do so. I do not catch the anise, but the tobacco scent is sort of laced through the middle of this. To me the cinnamon in this one is just too strong, and comes off smelling a little bit "Renaissance Fair" perfume oil. The solution for me is to temper it with more vanilla, I think.

When I first tried this on, I'll be honest - I was wearing my workout gear (pre-workout... no sweat yet). I instantly thought I needed to be wearing my leather jacket. Something about this smell made me want to wrap myself if leather, put on some awesome smokey eyes, and hit a classy martini joint. It reminded me of college and Grad School - in a good way. Those days when I'd go hang out with my boyfriend (the wrong guy, by the way) and smell his ever-present leather jacket, cinnamon chewing gum and cigarette smoke.

This isn't really a bad association - I had a lot of fun at that time in my life. But this particular scent may not be for me. I suspect if the Amber notes in Geisha Amber Rouge really shine through, I will adore the update.

I should let you know that HOURS later the cinnamon left for the most part and I smelled just deliciously sweet, instead of deliciously sweet and spicy. 

Bottom Line
If you choose to purchase Geisha Rouge, I suggest you try it first by purchasing a sample. The retail for the perfume is $80, for the oil roll on is $55. To me it's a steep price. But the samples are affordable, and you'll get many scents to be able to try before grabbing just one.

In the mean  time I'll let you know if one of these really does catch me where I'll be willing to purchase a full size.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Beauty Spotlight Team - Week of November 27th

The holidays are heating up for the Beauty Spotlight Team. We’re all so busy but it doesn’t stop any of us from bringing our love of beauty to you. Most of us have picked out just one of our many posts from the past two weeks to share with you. We invite you to read these and then take a look through our blogs to see what else we have been excited about. Enjoy!

  • Joey is in awe of perfumer Mandy Aftel's talent, and nowhere is Mandy's genius more evident than in her Shiso perfume - a fragrance that is simultaneously beautiful and disturbing. Read her review over at Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies!
  • Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is stuffing your stocking with cute gift ideas - check out what she is hoping to get from Santa this year!
  • Marcia from Beauty Info Zone has found a skincare system that’s working beautifully for her. Find out why Somme Institute has hit the spot for her.
  • Modesty Brown attended a MAC Trends workshop and shares the tips she learned as a non-makeup artist. There's also a little look at some of the trends from the the AW11 catwalks.
  • Are your hands suffering the effects of cold weather and dry heat? Then Lipstick Musings has the cure, courtesy of L'Occitane!
  • A monthly "giftbox" subscription for nail polish lovers? Pammy Blogs Beauty checks out Julep Maven and the "Sneak Peek Box".
  • Are you a fragrance lover or looking to finally explore the world scent a little more? Check out this incredible resource on Discovery and Sample Setson Perilously Pale!
  • Styrch at Pretty in Dayton gets back into glitter by admiring some Eye Candy.
  • Cindy from Prime Beauty is a sucker for shiny metallic eyeliners. Check out her newest love from Nars Cosmetics but get out your credit card first!
  • Visionary Beauty shows us two essential liners from the delightful and whimsical Rouge Bunny Rouge!

BeautyBloggers.org Has What YOU Want on Cyber Monday!

For the second year in a row, Beautybloggers.org will be hosting an online auction to benefit Doctors Without Boarders. This year, I am privileged to say that Pretty in Dayton was asked to participate! Yes, there's a small but awesome lot from me as well in there.

Pretty in Dayton "The Eyes Have It" Lot
The Pretty in Dayton Lot
  • MAC Paint Pot Chilled on Ice (oyster-gold)
  • MAC Eye Shadow in Glamoura Castle (blue-grey)
  • MAC mini Glitter in Reflects Antique Gold (blackened, bronzey antique gold)
  • Urban Decay Pigment in Gunmetal (dark smoky grey)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Dime (bright silver) 
  • Ling Skincare Eye and Lip Exfoliator
Retail value: $120
Bid on this Lot

Participants have donated a treasure trove of the best lotions, potions, products, and gadgets. Donated items range from the hottest items from this year’s holiday collections to hard-to-find exclusives and limited edition cult favorites. When the auction ends, winning bidders make their donations directly to Doctors Without Borders, through the site’s secure giving page.

The auction will be live Monday, November 28th through Monday, December 12th.

Go have a look at what's being offered. There's so much great stuff on there. If you can't find something that interests you I'd be shocked. Please shop for the cause, or consider a donation. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Over 50 Polishes Added to Blog Sale

Just letting you know I've made some updates to the Blog Sale. I also made a change. If you order something you can select up to 3 polishes to throw in (a change from my previous policy).

Some of the polish pricing may look a little inconsistent (as with the case of the Zoyas). I did my best to try to stick with the cost of the polish as of when I received it.

As always, Throw ins are polishes that I verified I received for PR purposes. I don't feel right charging for those. It's only fair to give them the way I received them - for free.  And as always, if you do order, please write a review. If you post it on your own blog I will link to it from mine.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Congratulations to @SaraByThe Lake! You win Penhaligon's Scent Library!

SaraByTheLake has won my Penhaligon's Scent Library! She wrote this haiku as part of her entry. I thought I would share it:
LP Number 9:
Sweet, warm cedar fills my nose.
Lovely spicy smell.
Sadly LP Number 9 isn't part of the Scent Library, but I'm sure Sara will find other things inside the library to like.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Some worthy Black Friday Deals...

I know you're absolutely inundated with Black Friday Deals, so I'm not going to do a lot of plus... just mention a few I think are noteworthy:

  • Shabby Apple is offering 25% off with code "BLACKFRIDAY" on nearly everything.
  • Penhaligons is offering £20 off on orders over £100 OR $30  off on orders over $150. For US and Canada residents use CODE: 60578 and KEY: GIFT. For the UK and everywhere else use CODE: 60579 and KEY: XMAS.
  • DKNY is offering an extra 50% OFF Sale items.
  • OCC Cosmetics has some awesome Lip Tar and Loose Color Concentrate bundles on sale.
  • Hanky Panky is offering up to 65% off. Seriously, their thongs really ARE the most comfortable thongs in the world!
  • Ling Skincare - 25% off and free shipping on orders over $100.
  • Meow Cosmetics - 20% off with code "gobble".
Anything catch your eye this Black Friday?

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Sort of A Review: Zoya Gems & Jewels Collection

    Actually, this is far less of a review and more of a Swatch Fest. You see, I have had the polishes for Zoya's Gems & Jewels Holiday Collection for a while now. I wasn't feeling "festive" enough to wear them. Plus, everyone else was posting them all at the same time  - so I waited. The end result was that over the weekend my good friend Kara came over and we busted out the holiday polishes and had a swatch fest....

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Shameless Plug: Help me win! Design Competition for Althea Harper on Stylyt.com

    I don't know why I've been avoiding posting this on my blog. But I'm giving in.

    Stylyt.com (beta) is a site that works in conjunction with designers. The lovely Althea Harper is currently running a contest with them. You design a dress, people vote on the dress by pressing the little heart to "Lyke" it. The dress with the most "Lykes" wins. There is only 1 day and 8 hours left in this particular competition... my dress is 5 Lykes out of first place.

    I designed a dress called "Inside Out". I decided to use Althea's Coppola print on the sides of the dress, rather than the center. Many of her dresses have the print in the middle and the sides be solid. I thought this might be visually interesting, and I'm curious to see how it would wear.

    The Catch - The "Lyke" Button is Fickle
    I've been trying to get friends, families, co-workers to vote for my "Inside Out" design and many have come back saying that it looked like they had already voted though they had never been to the site before. Apparently, if you link directly from Facebook or Twitter it can carry with it the ID of the person who tweeted or linked from Stylyt.com to Facebook or Twitter. Talk about a BUG!!!

    So How Do You Vote?
    1. Go to http://www.stylyt.com - I suggest you type it into your browser.
    2. Click on "Sign In". Choose Facebook.
    3. Verify that YOUR name appears in the corner.
    4. Go to "Decide". Select "Althea Harper".
    5.  Find my design "Inside Out".
    6. Click the grey heart and turn it orange. Watch the number go up! 
    Note: If the number doesn't go up but goes down instead, congratulations you've encountered the "Lyke" bug! Just click the heart again, and it will turn orange and register at the number it was before you tried to "Lyke" it. 

    You don't have to vote for my design, but I should would love it if you did. Especially since I'm trying something different with the patterns that I think could be really fun and funky. You better believe if I win I'm going to post a bunch of pictures of me in the dress too just for fun!

    Thank you in advance!

    China Glaze Some Like it Haute and Lorelei's Tiara

    My wonderful contact at China Glaze took my interest in their Eye Candy collection and sent me my wish list of what I'd probably pick for myself if I were buying site unseen. As a result I have two polishes for you today: Some Like it Haute and Lorelei's Tiara

    Some Like it Haute

    China Glaze - Some Like It Haute

    China Glaze - Some Like It Haute

    I had this one picked as my favorite before I got my sample. We all know how much I love gunmetal polishes, right? Some Like it Haute is a a gunmetal glitter at it's base with different size rainbow particles. It's a stunner and I predict will be many people's favorite out of this collection. It's a bit lumpy but we'd expect that with a glitter. But after all "Nobody's perfect". Right? (If you didn't get that go watch the movie - it's awesome).

    Lorelei's Tiara

    China Glaze - Lorelei's Tiara

    China Glaze - Lorelei's Tiara

    Lorelei's Tiara is a dense silver base with blue larger glitter. This one lies a little bit smoother than Some Like it Haute. I'll be honest, when I put both of these on this was not my favorite. But after wearing it for a little while this color really grew on me and I would reach for it again before it's sister. My pinky on this hand stayed perfect for days. I kept staring at it marveling at it. When I realized I was looking at it more than the color on my left hand, I knew that  my favorite had flopped.

    Both polishes were 3 coats to achieve desired opacity. They were applied over Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator and topped with a fresh bottle of Seche Vite. (Yay! I love my Seche Vite!)


    Normally glitters wear very well on me. I think they have some brick and mortar action going on. However, these polishes chipped on me within a day, and then they started coming off in large clumps. I owe this primarily to the amount of coats I used. Incidentally, removal of what was left over that didn't chip off was a pain in the ass and I ended up chiseling off most of it. Not great for my nails.

    Bottom Line
    If you're willing to put up with the removal and you want to risk possible chipping, then I'd say go ahead and purchase these. They are fun and totally holiday appropriate. Of the two, I think you might be happier with Lorelei's Tiara than Some Like it Haute due to wear, but I think the Some Like it Haute is destined to be come a little bit of a cult favorite. Just a hunch there.

    These polishes were furnished to me by PR for review purposes.  I do not sell China Glaze products nor am I affiliated with China Glaze in any way.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    December Fitness Challenges: Get Fit or Stay Fit With Me Through The Holidays

    October 22nd - Done with Insanity
    My Arms AFTER Insanity
     Here is information on a Fitness Challenge I am running in December. There is A LOT of information here, so please take the time to read everything. It will be worth it, I promise!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Gold Canyon Now Does Online Parties! How AWESOME is that?

    Sugar Cookie Candle
    I am a huge believer in scent being an influence of mood. And I believe that just like a personal perfume scent can bring together a look by finalizing that last missing accessory, or by how wearing a certain perfume can make you feel sexy and confident, that home fragrance also has the ability to put you at ease, make you feel special, or make a clean room seem even that much more clean than it actually is. I adore it when my bed sheets are lightly scented with lavender, and when the library in my house smells like the calming scent of baking cookies.

    Back in April, I wrote about my having a Gold Canyon Candle Party at my home  in which I talked about my love of candles, particularly Gold Canyon Candles. And I am happy announce here that Gold Canyon has embraced the digital age.

    My demonstrator, Melissa Keenan, informed me this week that Gold Canyon will now be doing "Online" Parties. This means that you are no longer restricted to having an awkward "Please buy something!" party at your house. You no longer have to purchase items for your friends and relatives that don't live near you but do want to take advantage of your party. And, as a host or hostess, you can advertize to a larger audience and potentially earn a greater reward for booking your party online. I think it's genius and yes, I'm going to take advantage of it!

    My First Online Gold Canyon Party
    From now until December 15th, you can purchase through my Online Party with my wonderful consultant Melissa Keenan.  Here's how:
    1. Go to Melissa's Site.
    2. Select what you want to purchase.
    3. At check out, enter the code: 5177662  
    4. Respond to this post telling me what you ordered! (I'm just curious).
    Your items will be shipped directly do you from the website and I'll be closing the party on December 15th, that way any holiday gifts purchased will be sent in time to make Christmas at least.

    My Own Personal Incentive
    If you order from my sale, I'll enter you into a random drawing for a 26 oz Heritage Candle of your choice.

    Have fun shopping!

    Note: Only US and Canada currently.

    They Beauty Spotlight Team - Mystery Makeup Bag

     Oh my gosh! It's MY turn!!!

    Mystery Makeup Bag Contents
    My old beat-up MAC makeup bag.

    Any guesses as to what's inside?

    Giveaway: Win Penhaligon's Scent Library

    As you know I discovered a whole new world of fragrance when I was given Penhaligon's Artemisia by a very generous colleague. I've since been exploring their other scents and occasionally posting them here. Penhaligon's has been very gracious with me  -sending me samples when I haven't had access to smelling their creations myself. I was also invited to guest write on Adventures in Scent, Penhaligon's blog.

    So when they had a sale earlier in the year I took the liberty of purchasing TWO Scent Libraries from them: One for myself (because how could I not?) and one to give away to a lucky winner on this blog.

    The Penhaligon's Scent Library includes the following fragrances:
    You know you want it. So do you win?
    1. Visit Penhaligon's Site - Browse their selection of fragrances and products.
    2. Comment on this post with the name of fragrance YOU think would be the most interesting to try (it does not have to be from the Scent Library). 
    3. Leave me a way to contact you - e.g. name at domain dot com
    Get One Extra Entry for each of the following:
    •  In your comment, work the name of the Penhaligon's Scent into a Couplet or a Haiku.
    • Tweet about this contest - make sure you copy me (@styrch) and Penhaligons (@PenhaligonsLTD) and link back to this post.
    • "Like" Penhaligons on Facebook and tell them "Pretty in Dayton" sent you.
    Entries will not be accepted after November 25th at 12:00 PM Eastern. The winner will be chosen at random and will have 24 hours to get back to me. If I can not contact you, or you do not respond, I will move on to another entry.

    Good luck!

    Special thanks to Kara for the picture!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Experience: Teaching Turbo Kick for the First Time

    This past week I got the opportunity to teach my very first Turbo Kick class. As you know, I adore Chalene Johnson. Her videos through Beachbody have helped me lose 50 lbs and keep it off. I've done TurboJam, ChaLEAN Extreme, Turbo Fire so the eventual evolution seemed to be "Teach Turbo Kick".

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Review: Send The Trend - Zoe Metallic Nail Polish Set

    Send the Trend - Zoe Metallic Set

    After trying Lourdes Neutral Palette I was skeptical about Send The Trend offering makeup products. But seriously, polish is a bit different than eyeshadow so I had give it a go. This time I chose which set I wanted the most: The Zoe Metallic Set.

    Note: Since all the polishes in this set are metallics I cannot comment on the cream formula.

    The Colors

    Divya's Denim

    Send the Trend - Divya's Denim

    Send the Trend - Divya's Denim

    This color is a "Superman blue" in metallic form. Seriously, you could paint this right on the Man of Steel and it would match his tights. It's not denim, in my mind. But "denim" as a descriptor to me describes a material rather than a color. You can, after all, have red denim. Regardless, this particular blue is unlike any other blue that I own in it's freshness. It's a good medium blue, where other blues seem to lean lighter or darker, or... well... greener or purpler. My pictures make it look a bit darker than it really is on the nail.

    Naina's Venom 

    Send the Trend - Naina's Venom

    Send the Trend - Naina's Venom

    This is the least unique of the three polishes. She's a dark metallic purple. It's a fine color, fabulous actually. But if you have metallic red-purples you probably have something similar. It is, however, the easiest to wear out of the three polishes.

    Kelsey's Kraze

    Send the Trend - Kelsey's Kraze

    Send the Trend - Kelsey's Kraze

    When I first saw this in pictures I thought it was going to be a taupe or "gilver" foil. I was so excited! When I put it on my nail the color was a lot darker. It's more brown. The finish also isn't foil - it's near-holo. There are holo particles in here but they don't stand out screaming "I'm flashing rainbows!!!" They only appear if the light hits it just so and you're staring.  The finish reminded me, in the end, more of stone - similar to Joe's Fresh Style Gunmetal. But they are not dupes either.

    With the exception of Kelsey's Kraze, all polishes were applied with two coats, using the Send The Trend Base/Top Coat. Kelsey's Kraze I used three coats. The base/top coat performed quite well. I didn't like waiting for my polish to dry, but it sure did hold up! The only draw back, of course, is that if it's not perfectly dry, you might get what Beauty Blogging Junkie would call a "Bedicure".
    Did I mention that none of these colors streaked like we all dread with metallics? That's super good news!

    I only wore Divya's Denim and Naina's Venom for 3 days.  But in those three days I hardly had any chips beyond normal tip wear. Kelsey's Kraze I wore for 5 days before I started to see larger chips, and those were because my nail had started to fail. Great performance!

    Bottle size comparison
    Bottle Size Comparison: Color Club, Zoya, STT, Essie
    I have the feeling these come in a tin just to make sure they arrive intact. But the tin is superfluous. I don't really know what I'll do with it. The bottles of polish are smaller that similarly shaped bottles. Since the Send the Trend bottles do not mention how many fl/oz they contain I can only assume that they whole less product than other polish brands we know and love.

    1 Credit or $29.95. That's about $7.48 per bottle in this set (including top coat, excluding tin). That put's the price on par with many other brands out there. You probably get less polish, but the quality in this set was much higher than I expected (and higher than I've paid for some other brands *coughChanelcough*.

    Bottom Line
    I would definitely recommend the Zoe Metallic Nail Polish Set from Send the Trend. If you play your cards right you may be able to wait for a coupon toward the end of the month and get them for cheaper in order to justify the smaller bottles.

    You can browse My Style page on Send the Trend and purchase Zoe Metallic Nail Polish Set.

    Quest for My Pretty - Weekly Weight Loss Report

    I won't say my eating is back on track, because that's a lie. I've rediscovered Ice Cream. That means I need to re-forget it exists. But I don't want to focus on that. What I do want to focus on was that yesterday was my first time teaching Turbo Kick!!!

    I think I could write a lot about teaching my first class, that I should devote that to it's own post. So let me just say that I practiced my butt off before (for the last three weeks) and I had a ton of fun yesterday. In the end I only had two friends with me, but that's just fine. I'm still learning!

    Weight: 156.0 lbs (-1.2 lbs)

    Not too bad. I hope that trend continues. I guess I have to keep practicing, keep sweating, and try to refocus my food.

    Until next week, my friends, please consider joining me on my December Beachbody Challenge. I have a note on my Facebook page about it. I hope you'll consider joining me on my Quest for My Pretty.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    The Beauty Spotlight Team: Week of November 13th

    (Yes I'm late in posting this)

    The Beauty Spotlight Team always has excitement in store for you. Whether you are in the mood for fragrance, lipsticks, eye products or giveaways there’s something for you. If you want to put in your opinion about Limited Editions (and we all have strong opinions about that!) or learn about Google + we can provide that too. Have fun reading this week’s links.

    • Joey over at Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies can't believe that she's in love with a celebrity fragrance. Regardless of the name behind the fragrance, there is just no denying how delicious Boyfriend by Kate Walsh smells!
    • There’s a lot of sassiness going on at Beauty Info Zone. TheBalm Shady Lady Volume 3 has invaded Marcia’s life and she’s inviting others to play too. Come see what these ladies are up to now.
    • She may not be a Metal Queen - but Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is embracing the metallic makeup trend! Check out her swatches and see if you might like to go metallic too!
    • At Everyday Beauty, Zuzu's Petals found the perfect juicy fall red lip gloss in NARS Bad Education.
    • Over at Lipstick Musings, Shannon is the victim of a happy mistake when she discovers Dior 5 Couleurs Eye Shadow in Rosy Nude. Stop by to see why she was so pleased to get the wrong item!
    • London Makeup Girl is having a rant about Limited Editions that have a shorter life than a Mayfly. Do you agree with her? Read her post (and some interesting comments) here: Limited Editions and other foolishness.
    • Modesty Brown shares her current staples, including swatches of Rouge Bunny Rouge sheer lipstick in Murmurings and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur.
    • Are you an early adopter? If so, you’ll love that My Beauty Bunny has compiled a list of beauty bloggers to follow on Google+!
    • Find out what eyeliner that Paula, from Older Girl Beauty likes so much that she wears it most days of the week.
    • Is the cold weather making you dry? Well, be sure to enter Pammy Blogs Beauty's Carmex Healing Skincare Giveaway!!!
    • Check out Perilously Pale for a chance to win skincare from
      Yonka Paris!
    • At Pretty in Dayton Styrch is introduced to a body whip that could very well be her Holy Grail body moisturizer.
    • Tarte gives more than just Lip Service to their limited edition LipSurgence Collection. One for you and two for Prime Beauty!!
    • The time-honoured holiday parings of red and gold shades is captured with Les Scintillances de Chanel, Visionary beauty checks out the eye shadows on offer; classics with a twist

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Surprise! You've Got Hives! A Beauty Blogger's Nightmare.

    Note: The following post is meant to be more of an experience post rather than advice. Please contact your doctor if you encounter a similar issue.

    On Thursday October 20th, I went to sleep slightly agitated. I had a couple of very itch spots that looked like bug bites around my waist band area. I thought perhaps my new Victoria's Secret jeans (which I had washed twice) were irritating me. I moisturized myself and did my best to sleep. The next morning I awoke to giant welts all over my body. They were ugly, horrifying, itchy lumps of redness and I had no idea what to do.  Sure I've had little ones before, caused by dryness, irritation from an allergy, too much kitty cuddling... but I've never had a full blown attack like this!

    Here is a wrist shot of what was all over my body (Warning, it's not fun):

    Thankfully my face was spared. But like any beauty blogger with an anxiety disorder would do, I panicked. Just in case this ever happens to you, I want to make sure you don't panic too  - it doesn't help anything if you do. The more you panic, the worse the hives can get!

    So I did what any irrational, hypochondriac would do: I called my doctors. Multiple.

    By 8 am I had a call into my dermatologist AND my allergist. It was a race as to who could see me first. My allergist won out, but just barely. They got me in by 10 am and by 11 am I was on the road to recovery. While they couldn't tell me exactly what caused the problem I did learn some things from them:
    • What I had going on was most certainly an allergic reaction. 
    • Hives are not caused by stress, though stress can make them much worse. 
    • They usually go away on their own after a few days (not in all cases). 
    • They tend to show up the most where you have pressure. (I sit on my butt all day so my legs and rear got the worst of my attack). 
    Here is what I did to treat my Hives:

    The Medical Stuff
    Certainly, this needs to be tailored to you with your doctor. But I'll tell you what my doctor recommended to me to try to calm the allergic reaction.

    • Yee Ole Shot In The Butt - Yup, I got a steroid shot in the rear. The steroid is meant to take down the swelling. This is the only doctor-administrated/prescription treatment I received. Everything else was OTC.
    • Take Zyrtec in the evening, Claritin in the morning - I had been taking Zyrtec in the morning. It's my allergy medicine of choice. I didn't know you could double up. Don't do it unless you talk to your doctor. But obviously, the Claritin will keep you up while the Zyrtec can cause drowsiness.
    • Take Your Heart Burn Meds - Zantac specifically. An off label use apparently is a histamine blocker. It works differently from regular antihistamines, blocking H2 receptors particularly in the stomach (seriously, look it up - do a Google search). It's not an antihistamine, but it does affect histamine in the body in another way. Hurray for off-label uses! I took mine twice a day.
    • Benedryl to the rescue! - Hands down I think this is the best "quick relief" stuff ever. It'll make you drowsy, but the itching itself stopped whenever I took some tablets. For the first day I was taking this every 4 hours like clockwork. 
    • Steroids Creams - A simple 1% cortisone cream can help relieve the itching. I spot treated my worst areas. 
    Taking Care of Your Skin -The Non-Medical Stuff
    While you're waiting for your immune system to stop freaking out, you still have to manage what's going on. In other words, you need to make yourself comfortable.
    • Pamper your skin with breakfast foods - Ok, not really, but Colloidal Oatmeal is awesome at soothing the skin. Aveeno's Soothing Bath Treatment was recommended by my doctor. You start running your hot water in your tub and pour a packet in while the water is running. It feels AWESOME!!! I don't like to take baths but I'll make an acceptation for this. Note that you will probably need to clean your tub of clumps of oatmeal when you're done. 
    • Ditch the Scented Body Washes - Sometimes these can just aggravate your skin further when it's already freaking out. I chose Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash. It doesn't smell great but it is super moisturizing. I'm still using it to keep my skin hydrated even after the skin-freak-out ended. 
    • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!! - While you're ingesting a lot of antihistamines, everything's going to dry out. So drink your water and liberally apply moisturizer. Plus this might help a bit with itching of the hives. I set aside my luxurious treatments and went for another Aveeno product, Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion. I didn't like the smell, and I don't think it was more soothing than the bath, but it did help.
    • The Rubbing Alcohol Spot Treatment - My mother suggested this to me. She used to dab it on hives my father would get. Believe it or not, this did help a bit, though I don't know that there's any scientific proof that it works. It's like Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (or WD40 for my grandfather). It fixes everything! 
    Once dosed and pampered I slept my way through the weekend. Benedryl and a shot in the butt will do that to you regardless, but I was clearly exhausted too. By Sunday, my skin was back to it's normal self. My legs had scars from where I had unconsciously been scratching. Those will take time to heal - your legs, I am told by my dermatologist, heal more slowly than anywhere else. But everywhere else looked just as good (if not better) than before the major freak out.

    I sincerely hope you never have to go through something like this. But if you do, my strong suggestion is to talk with your Doctor first and then indulge in some Aveeno baths. Hopefully, like me, you'll be better in a matter of days.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    My Thoughts: Althea Harper Spring 2011 (FINALLY)

    It's been a couple of moons since I sat in this very chair at home and stared at my computer monitor for several hours watching the Althea Harper Spring 2012 runway on her website via Watchittoo. I had a horrible connection, as usual with Time Warner Cable, but I grabbed a few screen shots for you and eagerly posted them. Not a day had gone by, I was already emailing Althea Harper's assistant Ashlie Cormier about who I could contact about the makeup job and if I could get my hands on some "good" pictures. Ashlie, she has an incredible ability not to forget the "little guy" (aka me at my computer desk), emailed me images so that I could write a proper blog post. I've been sitting on those images a bit longer than I intended. And indeed, I also have the makeup breakdown for you too! Fun all around!

    Let's start with the paint!

    If you remember back to September, the models for the Althea Harper show sported awesome beach inspired hair. Those of us watching Watchittoo were treated to some demonstrations on how to get the looks by Big Sexy Hair. Obsessive Compuslive Cosmetics (OCC) played with this look using very bronzy neutral shades.

    Makeup artist Katie Pellegrino gave me the low down on how to get this look:
    • OCC Tint (tinted moisturizer)
    • OCC Skin Airbrush Foundation in Pris for added shimmer and highlight on the temples/cheekbones, with Jojoba Oil airbrushed on top for added dewiness!
    • OCC Loose Colour Concentrate in Cruising, Twirl, and Humm mixed in with the OCC Primer (mixing the Loose Colours with the Primer, creates an amazingly long wearing, luminous cream shadow!)
    • Black Iron Oxide Pure Pigment was also mixed with the Primer to create the graphic Eye liner on the outter corners of the model's eyes. 
    • OCC Lip Tar in Tone to block out lip color, leaving a dramatically muted lip. 
    We also used the prototypes for the new concealers that we are working on, we have yet to decide on a name, but they will hopefully be launching by the year's end (fingers crossed)!!!"
    I'm really digging the face and the cheeks in particular, on the model pictured above. The eyes are a little heavy bronze for me, but I think with the right combo it could be softened for a great look. You can see - the color really brings out the eyes.

    My chief concern is the lips. Despite the muted color, sometimes the lip stood out too much, almost looking like it had blistered. Check out the shot to the left of models (sporting show sponsor Claro's IPL device). See what I mean? I think it works really well on the fairer girl to the left. Not so much for the other two.

    Now that I've got "makeup" out of my system, lets move onto the chief reason for writing this post:

    (Before you ask, no... I do not know the names of the garments, nor do I have the price points).

    Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

    Do you remember the design competition that Althea Harper hosted for this fashion show? I sent in a few pathetic sketches myself, so I wanted to know which look was the winning look. Ashlie gifted me with the information. Here's the winner:

    Believe it or not, the winner was a Sophomore from Cincinnati. The bra top and skirt were what was contributed, according to Ashlie. Awesome! I don't know the designer's name but I'm really curious about that black skirt - you see, I don't have one that fits currently.

    The Star of the Show

    I don't exactly remember where I heard/read this but I do believe this piece pictured here was Althea's favorite. It was featured on the promo pictures for her show (a gorgeous polished blonde wearing it) and it was easy to see how one could become captivated by it. The LBD gets an unusual treatment here with the straps and the white off-shoulder sleeves. It looks amazing, but I wonder how comfortable and practical it would be with the way the arms are done. Can you hail a cab in this?

    There's an all black version of it too with a longer hem.

    I like the contrasting sleeves more than the all black version, but I think it would have been too much with slit detail on the skirt here (which I like very much). This dress may not be as fun as her shorter sister, but it's still very cute.

    My Favorite Pieces
    Although the aforementioned LBD was indeed one of my favorite items in the show, I did have a few picks of my own of course.

    I really like this one above because the top is very interesting. The skirt is somewhat plain, but that's ok. I think the two go together very nicely. It's not like anything I own but I could see myself trying to wear this outfit.

    I think I'm responding to the print on this. I also love Althea's sheath style dresses quite a bit. I like that the dress is simple, allowing the print to show through. I'm just not sure how it differs from this look also presented:

    Different print? From the picture I can't tell if it's a different design structure. I'm getting confused by the different model's body types.

    Here's it's sister in White:

    This looks super sexy and fun! But wait... there's more. The back of this dress is super awesome!

    Ta da!  It's a little bit lingerie and a whole lot of sexy. If you have great shoulder bones definitely check this one out! As much as I love it, I'll probably have to let my fantasy of owning it go - yes, I have the dreaded "back fat" that will not look so hot in this dress. Also I think I'll need a couple more rounds of Leandro's Brazil Butt Lift before trying something like this out.

    Here's another variation...

    When I saw this dress looking through the images I realized it's sort of the same one that I featured above, just with contrasting straps.

    Moving on...

    Being completely honest, I don't know what this is because of the exposure. But I like it!  I think it's sort of the "tumble out of bed in the boyfriend's button down" look, but in a chic way. I don't know how it's both messy and polished at the same time - I wish I could achieve this on a daily basis. I suspect I'll have my eye the top layer when the actual lookbook photos come out.

    Speaking of shirt dresses, here's another one:

    How gorgeous is this print? I think it's quite becoming on the model. And I love the flowy nature of this dress. It looks so easy... But I sort of wish it had short arms, or at least arms that weren't gathered. But there's an effortless appeal here, and the print is definitely working in Althea's favor.

    Oh look! The dress has a sister! And the sister dress DOES have short arms (or no arms as the case may be):

    What do I see along that neckline? I think I've spotted grommets! I hope that means this one can lace up a bit! Bonus points on the interesting hemline. I may have difficulty deciding which dress (this or the previous) I like better between the two.

    So far, what you've seen seems to be missing the standard "cut outs" and mesh we usually see from Althea Harper. But guess what? There ARE cut-outs! They're just used in a little more traditional manner (which we've seen from her before as well as other designers lately):

    Spenser Hastings eat your heart out! Yes I could totally see my favorite shoulder cut-out top wearing Pretty Little Liar in this outfit above. Fun!

    And for the tall, thin, and leggy...

    I can definitely picture my girl Ginger wearing this. You don't know her, but she's the aforementioned tall, leggy, thin type. I hope she's reading this blog and takes note. Think Seattle weather can deal with a strapless in the summer? I do.

    Here's one that almost wasn't one of my favorites, but it's grown on me. Also it reminds me of something fun...

    Do you also see a modern day Princess Leia? Seriously, picture her with the hair!  I'm not into the hem length. I should be - It's more my age. But I want to see a little more knee. On the right girl this white, shoulder-less number could be gorgeous! "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope!"

    And the stuff I'm not so sure about...

    Maybe it's the black... there's just so much of it! I don't like long skirts usually anyway. It's a little hippy, which is fine, but I'd like to see it styled up differently before I make up my mind about it. Maybe a fun necklace or a colorful scarf, some fancy boots... wait I'm thinking fall. This is spring!  Hmmm. either way, it just doesn't seem to go with the other pieces that much.

    Pants, and a top...

    I'm all for separates and options but I don't like the length on these pants.  I wish they went down just a little father. I also don't like the tapered leg with the roomy hips.

    Here's the same look in black:

    I actually think I like this better than the white look. Maybe it's the lighting and the color, but this looks like it has more structure while still being easy-going. But I'm just not sure.

    Another pants attempt...

    I think this is the longer sleeve cousin, and I definitely don't like it. It could be how the model's styled. In this case I don't think the beach braid is helping the look.

    Back to dresses...

    This dress could be really nice and I think for many people it will be. I might have to see the 360 view of it.  I'm skeptical about the calf-length hemline. I like the tighter skirts Althea has done with this length much better than this flowy one. This reminds me of an ABS dress I had (which now belongs to my friend Teresa) and it never quite fit me correctly. Perhaps I'd have a different opinion  if it were styled with a different shoe too.

    I just don't find this black dress very fun at all. Add to it that the model looks like she doesn't like what she's wearing and I'm not ready to buy it. I think I want to see the stills from the look book pictures before making my mind up. But this sort of looks like it belongs in a different collection to me.

    Overall Opinion

    On the whole, I think these are very accessible looks, and definitely fit with Althea's sexy confidence we've all come to expect from her. It seems a little more upscale than Spring 2011, but I think a large part of that has to do with the black and white, the relative lack of mesh and funky placed cut outs. I sort of miss those funky placed cut outs and mesh, but this collection feels a little more wearable because of their absence.

    I'm a fan girl. I'm not unbiased when it comes to Althea Harper. She dipped into chocolate fondue at my house, for crying out loud!  So yeah, I admit it. But I am picky when it comes to selecting what I want to own of hers because usually I could buy several dresses for the price of one of hers. But I choose to continue to support her because she's awesome! My goal is to own at least one thing from every collection of hers. Which will it be this time? And yes, I still have to make my purchase for Fall.

    Anything catch your eye in Althea Harper Spring 2012? Tell me below!

    Please check out Althea Harper's new Website, and visit the Althea Harper Shop on Facebook.
    Katie Pellegrino's website
    Peace, Love, Happiness, and Fashion - The blog of Ashlie Cormier.

    All images provided by Althea Harper via Ashlie Cormier. All opinions are my own.
    Special thanks to Katie Pellegrino for the makeup breakdown!

    Deborah Lippmann - Dark Side of the Moon

    Why am I reviewing this polish now when it's been out for so long and it has many MANY man duplicates?

    Deborah Lippmann - Dark Side of the Moon

    Deborah Lippmann - Dark Side of the Moon

    The answer to that is simple: Blind, stupid, dumb, love and a broken heart.

    I've always wanted this polish as part of my Lippmann collection. It's not very original (anymore), but I've always felt it was core to Ms. Lippmann's collection. Also, it's a "classic", one that I think nearly every polish fan should have. And yet I resisted purchasing it for so long because it's silly name reminded me of someone special I should have disregarded my feelings for long ago.

    I realized in the last year or so that I am officially "over it" as much as I ever can be. Therefore I can buy this polish, remember that person should the memories come up, and not be upset by how events transpired. Healthy... certainly more so than in the past. Regardless,  I have the polish in my collection now - somehow that's a little bit of a closure for me.

    Deep aubergine creme. On the nail it can almost look black. You've seen it before.

    Two coats, no problems.

    As with any of Debrorah Lippmann's "Classic" polishes, you know you'll get good wear.

    Bottom Line
    You don't need this polish, as it has dupes. But I needed it. I really needed it.

    I wonder if Ms. Lippmann ever considers that she could stop someone from purchasing a polish because of an association with the name?

    I purchased Dark Side of the Moon from Deborah Lippmann's site for $16.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Zoya Sloane - "Arkham Harley's" polish of Choice

    Remember this picture?

    Halloween 2011

    Well you probably don't because I don't think I showed it to too many people. If you did see it, were you curious what polish I chose to wear as Arkham Harley? Truly it was a difficult decision.

    Zoya Sloane

    Zoya Sloane

    Do I go red? Do I go purple? Maybe black? And suddenly it came to me - Zoya Sloane!

    Shimmery deep dark wine color. It's right between red and purple depending on which color you're comparing it to. The vampy darkness of it makes it a great alternative to a traditional red or a cold black.

    Two coats on top of the usual Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator, but I covered it with an OPI fast drying top coat.

    I had to apply it twice over Halloween weekend. I don't think the OPI top coat holds up to my love for Seche Vite.

    Bottom Line
    Zoya quality of course, so the real question is this: Do you like the color? If you do, get it!