Archive | March, 2012

Hunter Boots

31 Mar

This isn’t technically a beauty product, but it is something I can’t live without here in the rainy, dreary Pacific Northwest.

As I’ve mentioned, I am a dog walker. I spend five days a week out walking in the elements, and here in Seattle. the elements include approximately 10 to 11 months of rain. I have about ten pairs of rain boots – Wellies, galoshes, rubber shoes, what have you. I have tried many different brands. J Crew is slightly too short for my long, narrow, size 11 feet. Sperry Topsiders fit great but offer only basic comfort, which is actually important when you’re walking five or more miles a day. Kamiks are so-so – cute style but not great fit or comfort. I LOVED my Earth shoes for fit, comfort, AND style, until I discovered they were giving me Achilles tendinitis – ouch. I had not invested in a pair of Hunter boots until recently. I knew they were popular, but paying over $100 for a pair of rain boots seemed excessive and silly. Being a shoe whore as well as a product whore, however, I finally broke down and bought a pair of Hunter Tall Glossy Boots in black.

I was a bit put off by the fact that they are very fitted around my average-width calves, thus preventing me from tucking pants into them with any sort of comfort. Leggings work great, but if I want to tuck a pair of yoga pants (which are my typical dog walking attire) into them, it’s a very tight fit. I wore them now and again, but they were not my go-to boots. Until I gave them a chance to shine.

I decided to bring them to New Orleans with me for Mardi Gras, since the forecast was calling for rain. They were a bit cumbersome to pack but seemed like a good idea. And boy were they.

Mardi Gras was awesome. It was a huge, city-wide party, where everyone was drunk but friendly, enjoying themselves but not at anyone else’s expense. I have a very low tolerance for jackassery, assholery, and general dickheadedness, so this was a pleasant surprise for me. The air of brother/sisterhood and good will, however, could not mask (pun intended!) one fact: the streets at Mardi Gras runneth over, and there’s no telling what they’re running over with. Seriously. Muck and liquid fill the gutters. People are spilling drinks everywhere and also, presumably (although I thankfully did not witness this myself) relieving themselves when needed wherever is convenient. I guarantee the soup flowing freely down the streets of the French quarter contained no less that 200 strains of DNA from no fewer than five different sources (hair, blood, urine, puke, etc.) And short of waders, I don’t think anything could have protected me better than my knee-high, fitted rubber Hunter boots. When I got back to my hotel at night, I looked with great satisfaction at the splash marks all over my boots and knew my feet had been protected from whatever diseases lurked in those celebration-filled streets. What’s more, my feet were not sore or burning the way they would have been had I worn a standard pair of rubber boots all day long.

The icing on the cake is that the boots looked totally reasonable and cute with both a fancy dress and with my burlesque-y Mardi Gras costume. They weren’t high fashion, mind you; the only waterproof boots I’ve found that fit that bill were the Earth boots, and I already mentioned my trouble with them. But they did meld form and function well enough to make me feel both cute AND protected, and for that, I say Hip Hip Hooray for Hunter!

Since returning home, I have also bought a pair of Hunter Short Gloss Boots, which I find more usable for day-to-day rainy weather walking.

If you are looking for a pair of galoshes that are reasonably fashionable, highly functional, and quite comfortable, look no further – get yourself a pair of Hunters.

Blithe & Bonny Hand & Body Lotion

30 Mar

So last week/weekend, the huzz and I flew to Palm Springs, CA, to shop, relax, and celebrate my birthday. Two days before we left, I started getting a sore throat and sure enough, by the time we arrived, I was totally sick. With the assistance of Mucinex, Advil, sunny, 80-degree days, and awesome company, I struggled through the days and fancy dinners out. But seriously, I was SICK. I mean it’s been a week and a half and actually, I am STILL sick. Horrible, horrible head and chest congestion, blocked and painful ears, headaches, sore throat, fever, not sleeping. It really kind of ruined my vacation and what’s worse made me feel like a real drag on everyone else’s.

Anyhow, that was a little pity party digression, but it had a point. There is a lot of turn over in the stores in Palm Springs. Last year I went into a store I absolutely loved – in fact, I’d like to open a very similar store in Seattle – called Home101 Apothecary. They carry all sorts of lotions, potions, and the like, and it’s basically product heaven. This year I went in and browsed around, feeling like I was home again, and found just the thing for my sicky self – Blithe & Bonny Eucalyptus Mint Hand & Body Lotion. Amber had already recommended eucalyptus oil to me for my cold, and I didn’t like the smell of the lotion I brought with me, so this seemed like the perfect thing to spoil myself with. And it was! Very soft, moisturizing, and with just the right amount of minty eucalyptus scent, I felt like I was babying myself every time I smoothed it over my body. It leaves just the tiniest tingle behind without being too medicinal or overpowering.

When I got home, I browsed online for this lotion and found they also sell it at Anthropologie !BUT! you can get it from Home101 (online) for a buck less and help support a great independent store.

Go! Buy! And next time you’re sick, you’ll thank me.

Chantecaille New Classic Palette

29 Mar

One of the items I bought during Frenchy’s Chantecaille day was this palette. At $85, Chantecaille’s New Classic Palette doesn’t come cheap, but surprisingly, I have so far found it worth every penny.

What you see above is: top left, eye shadow base; top right, eye shadow contour; bottom left, eye liner; and bottom right, blush. I find it unusual to purchase a palette where I like every single color, but this palette has succeeded in an area where so many others have failed. The blush is lovely and looks so natural that it doesn’t even look like I’m wearing blush. For a very natural, no-makeup look, I’ll dust a bit of the base only on my lids. For a little more sophisticated look, I’ll use just a hint of the contour. And for a night out, I’ll really play up the contour color and use the eye liner. I almost can’t believe a palette exists that can take me seamlessly from dog walker to dinner at Canlis, but here it is.

That said, I have one gripe, and one tip.

The gripe is that apparently all of Chantecaille’s palettes are limited edition. This one is sold out on their website and presumably won’t be available again, so get it while you can at places like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus (or Frenchy’s in Madison Park). This also means that if you fall in love with any of these colors, when you run out, you’re going to be relegated to combing ebay for a replacement. I really hate when companies do that – don’t get me addicted to something then pull the rug out from under me. Uncool. And I don’t mean you just can’t get this palette again, either; I mean THEY DON’T MAKE THESE COLORS. So annoying.

The tip is that the colors in this palette are in metal pans that are magnetized to the base. This is nice because when you run out you can replace them (with other colors, of course, since the ones in the palette are obnoxiously no longer available), and also nice because you can move them around. I found that when I was using my blush brush on the palette, I was sometimes picking up a little of the eye liner color on the edge of my brush and unwittingly sweeping it onto my cheek before I realized it. I swapped the places of the eye shadow base with the eye liner, however, and that no longer happens. Very convenient!

This palette is fantastic and if you’re looking for the ultimate all-in-one, day-to-night makeup color accessory, this is it.

Simply Mad.

27 Mar

So my girlfriend came to me the other day and told me about this new guy she’s dating.

“He’s extremely handsome,” she started, smiling happily. “Very successful, sharp dresser, intelligent.”

My girlfriend has had bad luck with men in the past, so I was a little dubious, but also excited. “Tell me more,” I pressed.

“Well,” she continued, a bit more hesitantly, “He takes me out to fancy dinners, buys me extravagant gifts – oh, and he’s great in the sack!”

I noticed one key element seemed to be missing. “Is he… nice?”

She paused.

“Is he funny?”

Another pause, and a slightly concerned look.

“Spill it,” I demanded.

“Well…” she paused again. “He’s previously married, and has three kids. He repeatedly and shamelessly cheated on his wife with everyone from co-workers to business associates to long-time acquaintances to total strangers. He even cheated on her when she was pregnant.”

I was dumbfounded.

“He also cheated on women he was cheating with with other women. He’s not particularly nice, he doesn’t have much moral fiber, he lies, he has a very shadowy past he won’t discuss, he doesn’t seem to have any sense of humor, he can be verbally and sometimes physically abusive, he’s self-absorbed, he sometimes neglects his children, and he seems to think, for the most part, that women are below men. Oh! But he did help a very qualified woman at work get ahead! So that was nice!”

I stared, my mouth opening and closing like a fish, no sound escaping.

“Okay, I know that all sounds bad, but he’s very suave! And he really is good in bed!”

Ladies, if this sounds berserk to you, it’s because it is. Wtf is up with the fanatical obsession with Don Draper? On the show, okay, these women don’t know quite what a completely abhorrent human being he is. But you? You know! You have seen him do all these terrible, terrible things! Stop! If this is what you are aspiring to find in a man, you are going to be in for a life of sadness. Don Draper is fascinating, Mad Men is a phenomenal, riveting show, Jon Hamm is really quite attractive. But Don Draper as an ideal?

Make no mistake: I am a jerk.

You can do better.

(Product reviews will return later today or tomorrow – please excuse the commercial interruption.)

Birthday Contest Weiners!

27 Mar

I mean winners!

Sorry I didn’t get around to posting this yesterday, I have been sick for a week!

Using a fun, free random name selector, I have determined the winners as follows…

Second runner up!
For the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth, the winner is – Danielle!

First runner up!
For the Voluspa candle in French Bourbon Vanille, the winner is – Michele!

Grand Prize!
For the Tarte be good to your mother (earth) FULL size 24.7 natural lip sheers and reusable natural cotton tote set, the winner is – Keridwyn!

Congrats, winners! I will be contacting you for your shipping addresses. Thanks for entering, everyone, and be sure to keep an eye out for the next contest in April!

A quick lip tip from Palm Springs!

24 Mar

I’m in Palm Springs for the weekend before my birthday, which partially explains the dearth of blog postings lately. I’m posting from my iPad, so am without all the tools available on my laptop, but wanted to type up a quick entry that I think you’ll enjoy!

My lovely friend Amber (whose blog I’ll link to when I return home) was talking about using sugar as an exfoliant before self-tanning, which I thought was a neat idea. Later that same evening, I applied one of my favorite darker lip colors – Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Stick in Shanghai – and noticed it was slightly patchy in some spots. Anyone who uses dark lip colors knows this is a sure sign that there are some invisible-without-dark-lipstick rough spots on your pucker. I quickly removed the lipstick and – thanks to Miss Amber – immediately devised a solution.

Our friend Chris had bought sugar cubes with which to make in-room mojitos, and a box of them was sitting by the buffet in our room. I grabbed one and, leaning over the sink, quickly used it to (gently) scour my lips. Thirty seconds and a few licks later, I reapplied the lipstick to smooth, flawless lips! Voila, instant natural exfoliation in your hotel room – I bet you can snack a sugar cube or sugar packet at almost any hotel in the universe, so maybe you’ll have the chance to put this neat trick into action one day yourself.

Back on Monday!

Three Cheers for Suki Skincare!

18 Mar

Suki Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion

As I believe I have mentioned before, I am not a big fan of cleansers that leave a residue-feeling on my face after washing. I wash my face because I want it to feel squeaky clean, and I moisturize it afterward to restore it. I don’t need my face wash to leave anything on my skin. I was therefore understandably a bit reluctant to try anything called “cleansing lotion,” but I’m a good sport and I love natural skincare, so I thought, one day won’t kill me.

I first sniffed it – may seem weird, but I am super scent-oriented and anything too perfumey totally puts me off. In the bottle, it smelled like lemon meringue, which was a huge plus for me. During use, however, it has a strong, distinct herbal smell that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s almost a medicinal smell, but (to me) that’s not a bad thing. I would much prefer a medicinal/herbal/antiseptic smell caused by some natural ingredient than a strong fake odor caused by a chemical fragrance (I’m looking at you, Lancôme).

The bad news: It definitely leaves a noticeable residue. My skin does NOT feel “squeaky clean” in the way I like and am used to. But wait, don’t stop reading yet.

The good news: My skin has never looked better. I am soft, dewy, and hydrated. My friend Somer told me today that I look like I’m glowing! All these years, estheticians have recommended cream face washes to me because I am prone to dry skin and take uber hot showers, and I have tried many different ones only to give up because I don’t like that residue feeling. But if there’s a natural cleanser that smells okay AND is going to make my skin look like a million bucks – well, I guess I better get over my residue issue.

I’ve been using this cleanser for almost a week now, and haven’t experienced any clogged pores or breakouts. And when you see the ingredient list, it’s small wonder why – this is a super natural product. The top ingredient is rose water!

I will definitely keep using Suki Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion, and probably investigate the rest of their line as well. C’est magnifique!

Suki Pure Facial Moisture – Nourishing

In conjunction with the Suki Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion, I also started using Suki Pure Facial Moisture – Nourishing. It comes in a little glass bottle with a dropper applicator. There’s not much I can say about it that I didn’t already say when reviewing the cleanser – it’s “100% natural & free of any synthetic ingredients, parabens, lake, fd & c or coal tar colors, preservatives, genetically modified organisms, & nano-particles” per their website, as are all of their products. It smells similar to the cleanser – an herbal, slightly medicinal smell that I don’t mind at all, and that doesn’t linger. It’s an oil – its first ingredient is jojoba seed oil – but it’s light and soft on my skin, and doesn’t leave me feeling “coated.” And as I said with regard to the cleanser, my skin looks radiant. I am absolutely delighted to discover a new, natural skincare line that I really like. Nicely done, Suki!