Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Faking a plumper pout with NYX Pump It Up Lip Plumper!

NYX Pump It Up Lip Plumper is one of the newest lip offerings from NYX, one of my favorite “cheap thrills” makeup lines. This lip gloss + plumper is available in five shades (all named after Hollywood starlets), of which I received three:

Angelina - a frosty champagne nude
Scarlett - a sheer red (and let’s be honest - sheer red glosses are the jam!)
Lindsay - a frosty cool baby pink (I could actually picture Lindsay Lohan wearing this! It’s very reminiscent of those cool, pale lip colors she is so fond of.)
(Angelina, Scarlett, and Lindsay)

If you’re at all familiar with DuWop Lip Venom, these glosses give a similar sensation on the lips, so I’m guessing cinnamon oil is the main plumping ingredient in them. So, a warning: if your lips are sensitive, the tingle may feel more like a burn to you. You can even taste a bit of cinnamon in the glosses. I, for one, don’t mind tingling sensations (get your minds out of the gutter, people!), and I liked feeling as if these glosses were working.
The tingle was more evident with the Scarlett gloss than with the Lindsay and Angelina glosses, as was the actual physical plumping effect. I wonder if the amount of shimmer in the latter glosses blocked some of the effect of the cinnamon oil, because not only was the tingle less evident but so was the plumping effect (although the sheer amount of shimmer in these two lends a visual plumping effect). 
Scarlett was my favorite of the three shades since it was both shimmer free and really gave my lips a plush look. Sheer red gloss is such a true makeup essential - it lends the face a sexy, perfectly polished look - and this is a great one. I’ll need another tube once it runs out. Scarlett has become my “go-to” lip color, especially on days when I'm in a rush and can't decide what lip color to wear. Scarlett just goes with everything.
Lindsay and Angelina are more of an “effect” sort of gloss: a bit hard to wear alone on the lips (Lindsay more so for me, because of how cool-toned it is - alone on the lips, it clashes with my skin tone), but they add an element of fun to whatever lip color they’re layered over. I personally like Angelina alone with a really dark smokey eye; I’m just careful to not over apply it. Lindsay has been put to good use over all of the hot and bright pink lipsticks I own, as a way to tone down the color intensity without sacrificing the punchy effect. 
Can I recommend these? Well sure! They’re cheap, effective, and fun. I’m really fond of Scarlett, especially, and I want to try Pamela (which is a shimmer-free pink). Check them out! They retail for $6USD on the NYX website (, and can be found wherever NYX is sold (like Cherry Culture!). 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Staying frizz-free with Sedu Revolution Anti-Frizz Polishing Treatment with Pure Argan Oil

Hi everyone! 

I apologize for not having posted anything in a week. As you recall from my last two posts, I had been gearing up to go out of town to stay with Ilusionisto for a few days. Well, I’ve been bizarrely stuck in a combination of vacation mode (Ilusionisto came back to NYC with me on Monday and stayed until Thursday AM, thus lengthening the fun we were having ) and overdrive mode (my job is relocating and I’m busy with that, plus I am planning a lengthy trip to Florida to see my parents).

So, in short, blogging has taken a backseat to my actual, non-Internet life. 

However, I have plenty to review, so expect lots of fun new things now that I’m back in my normal mode of production. 

So, on to today’s review! 


I packed very lightly for my weekend away. Spending a weekend lazing around with a boy requires very little. However, there are some necessary essentials that I absolutely had to bring. One such essential was my Sedu Revolution Anti-Frizz Polishing Treatment with Pure Argan Oil.

(Picture borrowed from

The Sedu Revolution Anti-Frizz Polishing Treatment is my latest hair discovery, and since I received my bottle over three weeks ago, I haven’t used any other styling products in my hair save for my normal leave-in conditioner.

Think about that statement for a second: it’s the only hair styler I’ve been using for three weeks. Have you all seen my hair before?! It is notorious: thick, curly, and extremely prone to frizz. 

(Oh hai, I was at work when I took this!)

It usually takes at least three products (outside of my leave-in conditioner) to calm the wild beast! However, Sedu Revolution Anti-Frizz Polishing Treatment has taken the hassle out of my morning routine by eliminating the need for multiple products. 

So, let’s discuss the product, shall we?

It claims to instantly absorb into hair while protecting against heat to eliminate frizz, improve the health of the hair, and make the hair lovely and shiny. Did it do all of that?

√ Well, I don’t use heat on my hair so I can’t testify to that. 

√ Was my hair shiny? Oh yes - I’ll chalk that up to all of the silicones in the product. This brings me to the claim of “hair health”. Well, this product does contain argan oil and avocado oil. However, it’s also chock-full of ‘cones. So yes, this made my hair soft and shiny, but how much of that is due to the argan oil is something I can’t answer. I can tell you that I have had less breakage in the past three weeks since using this product. My hair is indeed softer. My hair is definitely shinier. My scalp and hair lacks the build-up I normally experience when using a ‘cone heavy hair styler. 

√ Oh, and a packaging note: I love that the container is plastic rather than glass (no breaking while traveling!) and I love the pump applicator. It’s impossible to waste product. Win!

I received a 1.0 Fl. Oz bottle of the Sedu Revolution Anti-Frizz Polishing Treatment. This retails for $16USD. I have been using a nickel-sized amount on my shoulder-blade length, super thick, super curly hair every single day since I received the product. This is how much I have left:

(My Macbook Pro and Gmail account say hai!)

It may seem like I’ve used a lot of the bottle, but I expect this to last me another month to two months. Considering how quickly I go through hair stylers (I can finish an economy-sized bottle of hair gel in under a month!) , I’m amazed at how long this bottle will last me. Also take into consideration that I use more of it than recommended - people with less crazy hair will need less - a pump or two, no more; I use four pumps.

So, can I recommend this? Oh yes! This is a total routine changer for me, and when I run out, I will be buying a bottle.

If you’re interested in purchasing the Sedu Revolution Anti-Frizz Polishing Treatment, check out the Sedu Beauty website!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sorry for being MIA today!

I have no post for you all because I'm currently out of town on a bit of a mini-vacation, hiding out with Illusionisto. In between eating cookies and DVD watching, I'm forcing him to help me with some upcoming fragrance reviews, so that should be fun. I'm hoping to have something up this weekend, since I have just so much to write about.

In the meantime, everyone should go read Carrie's interview with Aftelier Perfume's Mandy Aftel; it's on Carrie's absolutely wonderful blog, Eyeliner on a Cat.

I hope everyone had a lovely Friday - I know I did!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some fun stash pics! (or, this is what happens when Joey can't sleep at 3:00am!)

I’m actually on a mini-vacation from work for the next couple of days, and tomorrow morning I leave to go spend the weekend with Ilusionisto at his place (he doesn’t live in NYC).  My only plan is to spend as much time cooking and dabbing perfume on him as possible. I’m excited! 
Anyway, I decided to start packing last night, and took the opportunity as a chance to organize some of my Sterilite drawers. I thought it’d be fun to show you some face makeup porn: base products, blushes, and highlighters of all textures! I hope you enjoy! 
(An aside: If you want product info like a color’s name, or if you see something I didn’t quite talk about, let me know!)
(A second aside: When Ilusionisto visits me, all he brings is underwear and a laptop. Oh, and a second shirt. I hate men sometimes: it’s so much easier for them!)
Here is my neatly organized bin of primers, foundations, concealers, loose powders, pressed powders, and liquid highlighters (this picture is missing whatever I packed with me). As you can tell, I’m really into BB creams. Note the Guerlain Meteorites, the CoverFX powder foundation (I also have the cream version), and my beloved NARS Illuminators in Super Orgasm and Copacabana. I use these every day. I really need to pick up Laguna! 

Here are all of my MAC blushes: my HG powder blush is MAC Afterdusk (why was this limited edition?!), and I’m also really quite fond of Dainty Mineralized Blush, which was a gift from Shannon of Lipstick Musings.

Here are my favorite cheap blushes: the Sephora powder blushes in Bronze Sensation (L) and Meringue Jalouse (R). Everyone needs Meringue Jalouse - even Diva Debbi agrees

Here are my Becca cream blushes: Frangipani (at the top) is my favorite.

How cute are these mini Clinique powder blushes?!

Ah, my beloved Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges! Of the four I have, Velvet Plum is my favorite (bottom of picture).

My NARS blushes! That pan of Nico (top left) is probably my fourth one? I use Nico for everything imaginable. I wish NARS would come out with more cream blushes, as I actually prefer them over the powder blushes.

And here’s my organized blush drawer! This is missing my Paul and Joe Beaute blushes (those are separated), and my Wet ‘n Wild Naive, which is somewhere in a makeup bag. Knowing me, there are a few more blushes missing as well that I haven’t quite noticed are gone.

Now, onto my highlighters (powder and cream) and bronzers!
This is one of my most prized possessions: my Ben Nye Fantasy Fireworks Wheel. It was a present from my college boyfriend, and it is so much fun to use as both cream shadows and as highlighters.

Remember Wet ‘n Wild Acapulco Glow?! I do. I also had the other famous highlighter, All Over Shimmer, but I sent it to someone who it was more flattering on.

If you can guess what this highlighter is, then you are a real addict.

The old-school Milani Glimmer and Shimmer Stripes!!!

My beloved Becca Pressed Shimmer Powders - I believe the top one is Odette and the bottom one is Athena.

For Awkward Chic, the Bourjois Chocolate Bronzer.

Edward Bess All-Over Seduction in Afterglow, aka “10 Hours of Sleep in a Pan”.

My drawer, all nicely organized! After I finished with it, I realized that a couple of my powder highlighters are in the base makeup drawer, oops.

Finally, here’s what I packed for base makeup, blush, highlight, and lip color! My eyeshadows will be somewhere else because I have some that I need to swatch and review, so I’ll be packing those later! I hope you enjoyed this!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hump Day Food + Drink Porn!

I’m admittedly a bit swamped right now, so today we’re going to take a break from perfume and makeup for some awesome NYC food and drink pictures!
My main goal is to really make you jealous of my life, maybe. 
This past weekend was a seriously gluttonous one for me. I spent last Thursday with my childhood best friend @ThatsWatVSaid at Dinosaur BBQ. If you haven’t heard about Dinosaur BBQ, you’re missing out. Afterwards, we had dessert at Ben and Jerry's
(The garlic chipotle wings traumatized V.)

(BLT with fried green tomatoes + mac  and cheese)

(My Cuban sandwich with french fries)

(My Dutzi clutch, my Lemonade Sorbet, V's Half-Baked Fro-Yo)
Friday afternoon I spent with my good friend from college, @Roxie_Hartless. We spent our day on NYU’s campus, reminiscing and stuffing our faces at Silver Spurs, a burger joint famous for their massive, massive burgers. 

(Ms. R and her huge burger with waffle fries)

(My Cajun-seasoned fries with chili, mozzarella, and monterrey jack cheeses)
The rest of the weekend, I spent with Ilusionisto. When he’s in town, we go hard - and is there nothing better than watching a cute boy eat? I think not.  Saturday night was spent at Fatty Crab’s Upper West Side location. We ate so quickly that I couldn’t snap any food pictures, but I managed to get a picture of my cocktail for Lexi: this is a 36 Chambers (Silver Tequila, Yuzu Juice, Clover Honey Syrup, and Creme de Violette), and good lord, was it delicious - and strong!

(This drink is not for the faint of heart, and neither is the boy.)

Sunday evening, Ilusionisto and I went to Dinosaur BBQ (I know, BBQ twice in one weekend?!), and um...well, it was pretty terrible/terribly awesome. Don’t ever drink a ton of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, because in your drunken haze you will think that you’re capable of eating pretty much the entire menu at Dinosaur. EEK! 
(The infamous garlic chipotle wings + a ton of Dogfish 90 Minute IPA)

(My ever-present Cuban with mashed sweet potatoes and mac and cheese)

(His Churrasco Chicken club with mashed sweet potatoes and mac and cheese)

(See the look on his face? HA! That's the look of contentment mixed with disgust.)
So, what debauchery have you all been up to lately? Bonus points if your debauchery is food + drink related!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NARS Grand Palais Eyeshadow Duo

For once, I am the last person in the world to review a NARS eyeshadow duo. What’s going on with me?!

My love for NARS is boundless and well-known - last year I actually swatched my NARS eyeshadow duos and eyeshadow singles for this blog, and on Pink Sith I did a multitude of glowing NARS reviews. I guess I’ve been so fragrance-focused that I have generally forgotten about makeup! Eek!

Well, I bought the Grand Palais duo a few weeks back from the NARS Boutique on 413 Bleecker Street (aka “Joey’s Heaven on Earth”), and it’s been getting quite a bit of use lately. Grand Palais is, in my humble opinion, the piece de resistance in NARS’ Fall 2011 collection. The colors are lovely and entirely wearable. 

Oh, and...THERE IS A TAUPE. Yes, taupe! We can all predict where this review is going. The short of it: buy this duo, trust me.

Grand Palais consists of a beautiful, softly shimmering mauve taupe and a matte dusty rose. 

I know that many of you probably are thinking “Joey, I’m not wearing that reddish color on my eyes.” Well then, here’s a swatch of the taupe layered over the rose: a lovely and wearable  shimmering rosewood color.

Anyone could wear this. 

Oh, and of course, you can wear the dusty rose color as a blush. I’m fond of wearing some NARS eyeshadows as blushes (Grenadines and Sophia come to mind, as does Nepal). 

Still, do try the matte rose shade on the eyes. It makes for a lovely, warm crease shade: entirely natural-looking if done with a light hand, and it creates a wonderful depth to the eye. Just avoid using it near the lash line if you’re prone to that rabbit eye effect. 

What I love best about this duo - aside from the obvious “Oh it’s NARS and there’s a taupe” - is that it is a perfect, everyday sort of pairing. The colors emphasize the eyes without being loud, and the colors are light and neutral enough to not need major application work. This is a ‘swipe and go’ sort of duo. I just pat the taupe on my lids, apply the matte rose to my crease with a fluffy brush, put on some eyeliner and mascara, and I’m done. I look polished and pretty without fuss. 

NARS Grand Palais retails for $33USD, and is well worth it. It’s a small price to pay for a combination of shades I’ll be returning to day after day. The NARS website is currently offering complimentary two-day shipping, and there’s probably a good NARS code floating around somewhere! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Aftelier Perfume's Haute Claire

(picture from the Aftelier website!)

If fragonerds could have their own church, I am pretty sure that Nathan Branch would be one of the first people nominated for sainthood. 
Nathan is wholly responsible for this review (and he’s responsible for many future reviews). He is also responsible for my irrational late-night food cravings - here’s an example of why. Good lord, those brownies...
Nathan’s eponymous blog was the breeding ground for today’s featured fragrance, Haute Claire. I highly, highly recommend that you go and read the series of blog posts that acted as the catalyst for the creation of this scent; the conversations between Mandy Aftel and Liz Zorn (who are quite possibly two of the most genius perfumers around) are both enthralling and illuminating to read. The Mandy & Liz edition of “Letters to a Fellow Perfumer”, plus my desire to expand my knowledge of natural perfumery, lead me to enter a draw on Nathan’s website for a bottle of Haute Claire. Oh, and of course, Nathan’s review didn’t help out my desire to try the fragrance one bit. Nathan can write about anything and make me want it, really.
Well, lucky me: I won the draw! I squealed and cried and danced all around my bedroom, and sent poor Nathan a deluge of my trademark hysterical tweets and emails. Tolerance is clearly another one of his talents, aside from his writing skills.
A few days later, a truly lovely and incredibly generous package from Mandy Aftel arrived and sat patiently in my kitchen for my return home. 
I must thank Mandy and Nathan, once again, for their unbelievable generosity. The two of you brought many days’ worth of much-needed, goofy grins to my face. I’ll be bringing reviews of the rest of the goodies Mandy included in my package at a later time. 
Today, I am all about Haute Claire.
As soon as I opened the gorgeously packaged box (Mandy, purple + orange packaging? YES!), I knew I was in for a treat. 
I could already smell the perfume, and it was stunning. Unlike anything I had ever smelled, actually. The first spritz was memorable, and the fragrance truly unique: so much so, that I wanted to wait to do my review until I felt comfortable explaining it. This took a few days of wearing it constantly and sticking my wrist out for anyone within wrist-sticking distance. 
Nathan suggested the name of Haute Claire to Mandy; it’s a play on the Hauteclere, Olivier’s sword from “The Song of Roland”. There’s no need to explain French literature to you, but know that the name means “High and clear” - a perfect description for the play of galbanum and ylang ylang that is so remarkable in this fragrance.
Mandy and Liz chose these two notes due to their reluctance to work with them: the galbanum was Mandy’s suggestion, and ylang ylang was Liz’s. Immediately, you’re left to wonder how the hell these two notes are supposed to co-exist. If you’re at all familiar with galbanum, you know that it’s an incredibly green smell. To me, galbanum smells almost piney and bracing. Smelling it is like sticking your head in a cold basket full of every green plant and veggie you can imagine. The lush sweetness of ylang ylang is almost dessert-like and a tad citrusy: a custard with orange zest, if you will. I think what initially made me enter Nathan’s draw was that I really had to know how these two smelled together.
They smell, well, incredible together. Truly, Mandy has done something innovative here. 
I struggled for so long to think of the perfect way to describe what Haute Claire smells like to me. I feel as if every perfume blogger who's reviewed it has smelled something different (see Nathan’s, Carrie’s, Victoria’s, and Gaia’s thoughts). Of course, this is a testament to Mandy’s skills: she has created a piece of real art with Haute Claire, a fragrance that becomes uniquely that of its wearer, who experiences the lushness of the scent but with his or her own twist. 
It took me writing an email to Nathan to finally pinpoint what exactly what Haute Claire smelled like. I am excerpting my email here (there’s no point in trying to re-write something done so well the first time around!):
Haute Claire is unlike any fragrance I have ever smelled. My parents live in Florida, and my mother tends to a garden of various tropical flowers growing in our front and backyards. When it rains - as it often does - the air becomes imbued with this heavy, humid smell of crisp grass and the flowers. Haute Claire smells exactly like that garden. It's dizzying and sensuous, but in an unexpected way - grassy smells aren't what I would typically consider sexy, but there's a languid sensuality that the ylang ylang and honeysuckle lend to the galbanum that I find irresistible.
Haute Claire is comprised of the following notes: (top) galbanum, Mexican lime, wild sweet orange, ylang ylang co2; (middle) honeysuckle absolute, ylang ylang extra, clary sage; (base) vetiver, ethyl phenyl acetate, and vanilla absolute. The initial spray is galbanum, whose iciness is cut down by the lime, swirling together with the ylang ylang and honeysuckle. Divine, luscious, sexy but decidedly unisex. As the fragrance transitions into its drydown, the clary sage, vetiver, and vanilla give Haute Claire a warmer, earthier feel. Gaia brilliantly pinpointed the cocoa butter-esque warmth of Haute Claire, and mentioned that she experienced a case of “phantom note”: she smelled chocolate. I can definitely see where she’s coming from. On me, I smell an almost animalic vanilla pudding. 
There is not a moment where Haute Claire does not surprise or seduce. It must be tried to be understood, and if not understood (I myself still don’t think I can properly explain this fragrance!), then appreciated and desired.

Haute Claire EdP retails for $150USD for a 30mL bottle - or $6USD for a .25mL sample, - and is available through the Aftelier Perfumes website.