Friday, August 30, 2013

August Favorites

Despite the plentiful amount of new additions to my stash, there has been a roundup of eight particular products that have me grabbing them daily and induce a little bit of shaky knee syndrome. Looking fab for the last few weeks of summer that we've got left is what they do. I know, I know - it's depressing, and not just because it means that my wakeup call has become scheduled for three hours earlier....

On the topic of that wakeup call, the makeup longevity test is in full throttle, but I've been smoothing on the Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning Primer daily. You know my love for bronzy tinted products (Origins Vitazing started it all), so combine it all into a sun kissed glow, smoothing properties, dreamy makeup application, war paint that remains intact past the eight hour mark, and a lasting tan *swoon*.

Since I'm still able to get away with the bronzing bits for now, my blushers of choice have fit right into the stereotypical summer mold - NARS Luster and the Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera. Having been dug from the depths of my stash, Luster takes on a darker and tan-flattering tone than my typically loved Laura Mercier Peach Whisper. On the other hand, Gerbera makes coral blush fanatics faint. It's more pink than my typical blush loves, but it's still gorgeous and it's dreamy cream formula means an equally amazing application.
My blush application has had an overhaul, and the MAC 129 brush has, luckily, been eeking out a more flattering application. Making my daily slap that much more Lisa Eldridge-esque, it's size is perfect for the apples, but blending seamlessly into the rest of the cheek area and it's natural bristles never pick up too much or too little product.

If we're talking about a new found love, it wouldn't be right to not mention haircare. I'll be the first to admit that I've gone a bit too crazy for the stuff. If I justify that conditioner is a necessity, it makes it that much more suitable that I've added the Bumble and bumble Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner to my stash. Nearly every blogger names it lust-worthy, but what's inside is equally as amazing. Although it's not one for girls looking for extremely moisture-quenched locks, it's lightly moisturizing formula doesn't weigh down the hair and is just gorgeous.
Post wash, I need a bit more of a moisture dose and the Bumble and bumble Quenching Complex offers some leave-in wonder for extra polished locks. In the volume department, Bumble and bumble's Thickening Spray gives my slippery, fine hair more grip and texture...just what I wanted - mission accomplished. I'm going through a Bumble love affair, non?

Mentioned once before as a lovely addition to my weekly pamper session, I've fallen in love with it as a daily pep up - the Korres Shower Gel in Guava. No, I don't just love it because it's ridiculously Greek, but it smells gorgeous, lathers so well, and never leaves my body squeaky. If only they made it in perfume version....

Goodbye, August - month of heat. I'll make way for the sweaters, black denim and layered scarves, but I can't promise I'll be putting down the bronzing bits.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The New Beauty Additions

Yes, I've, most recently documented my LUSH shopping bag contents and regularly do the same for he rest of my beauty purchases, but there is a reason why I show you these things. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a nosey one, but I know I'm not the only one who can't help but utter a 'what?' in distress during a popular monthly favorites video upon name of a product that said-person has never ever mentioned before. Please tell me that I'm not alone... Alas, I'll practice what I preach and give my lovely audience a (unwilling) heads up as to the things I've been purchasing (or a reminder to me about how I have a dwindling savings account). These particular lovely things weren't bought by me, but, don't worry - I'm not that popular of a blogger for PR samples yet... In fact, this month was my birthday...and I feel old. On the up-side, I have these new beauty additions to ring in.

Perfume is not a thing I'd likely spend money on, as my usual morning routine is far too slap and dash to be bothered. Nevertheless, one of my lovely readers - my mom - saw my lusting and purchased the Tocca Liliana Eau de Parfum. The name is fitting, non?
A similar name correspondence is simply unmatched, but consider a phrase containing the words 'Lillian' and 'tanning' an oxymoron. Yes, I don't tan.  I'm rocking my English rose and snow queen look year round. But, don't be surprised when I tell you that the Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning has been added to my stash. The little pot of golden goodness imparts more of a 'healthy glow' than a 'Jersey Shore tango' and smooths and primes for flaw free makeup all day.

On the more scholarly front - a book. But, not just any book - Blog Inc. by Joy Cho. If you haven't been able to tell, this summer, I've overhauled my blog, turned up the blogging schedule, and dished out some more meticulous and thought-out posts. From an expert blogger to a newbie, tell me the secrets, hints, and tips. I shall report back, but don't expect a New York Times worthy review...

On the makeup front, I've gotten far involved with highlighter. Albeit, beauty blogger syndrome has becometh me and I realized that all I've got are peaches, pinks, and glitter balls MAC Soft and Gentle. The RMS Living Luminizer has added a white tinge to my stash and has got no glitter or shimmer in sight - just pure sheen. It's also organic and all that shebang (if you're into that stuff...I'm impartial and also have a love for chemicals) and is gorgeous.
Also, you should know that I have a slight obsession with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light. Well, it's still going strong, but I decided to add another powder of the sorts to my stash - the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder. Call it my Ghostparties-influenced purchase, but I just couldn't resist its addition to my wishlist (and I promise I'm not thirteen). In short, it is different than the Hourglass, but a full review is in the making.

Because I'm quite frugal, I'll save my must-have purchases for other people (By Terry, a prime example). As a morning cleanser, I was using Cetaphil - the derm loved, yet ingredient hectic/confusing product. Well, it's been retired (amen) and has been replaced by the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. This also replaced my Bioderma, so it's pretty much a multi-purpose wonder. This stuff is amazing... that is all for the moment.
And the dregs? The MAC 129 - a Lisa Eldridge approved blush brush that needed a spot in my stash. Finally - I can retire my no-name brand ones. Phew...

So, my birthday is gone and passed, the candles have been blown, only crumbs of the cake left, and I'm another year older. Ugghhh... I'm just glad that these beauty products are more long-lasting.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Products I've Used Up | Deux

Don't tell me I'm not good to you. I stay up to the dwindling hours of the night morning to write posts, have me, myself, and my camera sort of days, and, above all else, hoard trash. Yup - I said it, but it's all in the name of a beauty blog. I've gone through another period of glaring looks from family as to why I've got a container of empty pots, tubes, and bottles sitting in my bathroom closet. Well, this is why...

I've recently stated my lovvee for the exfoliating toners - a category and craze brought on by the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. Unfortunately, it wasn't a repurchase, as it's pricy threshold and 'pain in the bum' to get ahold of standards means that I've turned to other options. Nevertheless, it is my favorite that I've tried, but which will I amend - my heart or my wallet? To be continued...
On a brighter note, I have returned home with my second bottle of the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleaner, but that's about where the positive outlooks stop. Yes - it's no frills qualities keep my skin in check and don't disrupt any of the other potions that I'm slapping on my face and it's cheap as chips. Nevertheless, a comment leading me to this article about it's eventual, torrential outcome has me adding another morning cleanser to my wishlist and my pocket come payday.
On the topic of hand cream, I'll keep it French. L'occitane's Shea Butter Hand Cream kept my hands in mint condition from bedtime 'til dawn. Nevertheless, my pocket is screaming 'no, no, no!', so another tube shall wait.

*Cries* I've used up my bottle of Bioderma Créaline H20. The pink lidded bottle had my ego float to a new, Lisa Eldridge status, but, alas, the time has come. In short, it made pre-cleansing as easy as '1, 2, 3' and removed messy makeup mistakes in a pinch. Albeit, it's waterproof mascara removing powers have me wanting more, so I'll push the cult French stuff to the bottom of my wishlist and begin the search for a makeup remover that does it all - waterproof included.

What's with men and beauty, eh? First, you find them slapping on mineral oil-based face cream and parting without the body moisturizer slap. *gasp* Then, you find a bottle of the Fresh Sugar Lycee Body Lotion sitting in the depths of their drawers (my dad's, if you're wondering). Aye... Luckily for me, I snatched it up and, a bottle later, am delivering on the results. Perhaps not one for the winter months, but as a summer lotion, it's pretty fantastic. Gorgeous scent? Check! Quick sink-in properties? Check! Moisturizing? Sans mineral oil? Check and check! Ha - *wipes brow*.

Alas, I'm here to deliver on the results of my second bottle of the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. In short, the third one is sitting on my counter as we speak.
My floozy moisturizer has come to the end. Back in January, I couldn't wait until I hit the bottom of the Origins High Potency Night A Mins Oil-Free Moisturizer. But now, that time has come and I can't help but look upon it a bit longingly. It's pretty blemmin' expensive, but this cocoon of salicylic acid, other exfoliating properties, and a dose of moisture can't help but make me wish I hadn't made all those stops at Pinkberry. Would I repurchase? Yes, but my wallet can't deal at the moment and my adventurous side wants to experience something else.

Phew - so I can finally throw away my pile of trash. Can I go shopping, yet, though?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This Week's Most Loved Trio | Deux

Whether it be makeup, skincare, food, or books, I'm a floozy. Albeit, I'm back (again) with my product picks from this week. 
Speaking of the word, it couldn't be more fitting than when applied to the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle. Yup - consider it your angel in disguise. For a solid three months, it sat unloved in my drawers. Don't call me lazy, because I did pick it up here and there, but only for a 'please fall in love' notion. The cycle continued... But, alas, I haven't been able to put it down all week. No joke, no joke! Yes, it may be a bit more 'whoa' than my usual highlighter musings, but paired with the Real Techniques Stippling Brush, NARS Laguna, NARS Luster, a dewy base, and a slick of mascara...ahhhhhh.

What's the deal with beauty bloggers and bedtime? We post shed loads about out starry sky complimented pamper sessions, bath essentials, and haircare, shower, and bedtime routines. Well, count me guilty, especially now as I speak of the beauty blogger cliché - the bedside stash. I love some morning makeup application, but there's nothing I like more than a single lighted, beauty application underneath the sheets. 
A new addition to my bedside ranks this week, classified by a matching heart eyed, dreary minded gaze, is the Soap & Glory Hand Food. A hand cream is essential, non? And I turned to my wanna-be-British brand, Soap & Glory, to feed (literally) my hands.

So, I've put down the Nuxe Rêve de Miel *gasps* and, instead, have been reaching for the Yu Be Moisturizing Skin Creme. Call it my makeshift 'Eight Hour Cream', but the all purpose balm has been brought out of the back of my drawer - initiated by, you guessed it, Vivianna. Unlike the Elizabeth Arden counterpart, it's concocted with a glycerin base rather than the usual petroleum - a plus for us mineral oil-wary gals. As a lip balm, it's pretty gorgeous, as it sinks in rather quickly yet still passes the hydration test. 

Call it the bedside and newly discovered 'most loved trio', but je les aime, nonetheless. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Haircare Trial

Confession - I don't do a lot of beauty shopping at the drugstore. Other girls my age dish their monthly paychecks to the polo-wearing cashier and leave with a flimsy plastic bag - both from the drugstore. Call me high maintenance, but I prefer more high end makeup. Quality beats quantity, and I'd rather have three nice bases (four, as of yesterday) than a drawer full of them. I document my makeup and skincare spending habits regularly, but what about haircare? Alas, as of a month ago, I just wasn't bothered and the bulk of my haircare stash was curated, quickly grabbed shampoo, leave in mist, and the rest of the lot - found right next to the diapers.

The ephiphany? A cut at the Bumble and Bumble salon - an occurrence that I wish I had documented more to note into 'Parisian To Be'. Nevertheless, it just didn't feel right to lather, smooth, spritz, and slap on drugstore haircare when I've got a cut this good. Cue 'The Haircare Trial' (otherwise known as where my paycheck went this month).

Let's start with the staples - shampoo and conditioner. My daily rinse is hosted courtesy of the LUSH Squeaky Green Shampoo Bar and the Bumble and bumble Surf Crème Rinse Conditioner. It's still early days with the 'Surf' offering, but the LUSH Shampoo Bar has upped the anty in my shampooing routine. Although I find it a bit fiddly on the application front, I was more than astonished as to it's lathering ability - especially for a bar - and its shine inducing qualities.

You know the deal with me and the 'Sunday night pamper sessions'? And I've said the phrase far too many times... The Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo is now a suitable accompaniment to my stash. When you play the helmet game with a bottle of hairspray everyday, you've got to have a clarifying, detox shampoo - ballerina alert.

Since my haircare newbie-ness stands without coaching, I used basic beauty blogger logic - if you apply additional products after you wash your face in your skincare routine, then why shouldn't you do the same for your hair? As recommended by the lovely hair-washing, Bumble and Bumble lad, I've been loading in the Bumble and bumble Quenching Complex - a leave-in, daily treatment that quenches overworked locks. Like the rest of the lot in this post, it's still too soon to reap the benefits, but the complex manages to make my air-dried hair that little bit more polished. The Dove Nourishing Oil Care Detangler is the budget hair moisturizer of the bunch, which, like the name suggests, detangles knotty locks and adds a hint of nourishment.

For the rest of the styling, some fit in the line up post-shower and others post-dry. My recent favorite? - the Bumble and bumble Thickening Hairspray. Stolen from my mom's drawers (quelle surprise), I've been loving spritzing some through the roots and lengths after my evening wash. When the alarm sounds, my follicles have some extra oomph and look, surprisingly, voluminous. The bottle that I'll always and forever have in my stash is the Bumble and bumble Surf Spray - it's the reason why I dished out the cash on the Surf Conditioner. Beach locks will be mine with a spritz, spritz, spritz.

So if there's anything you've learned from this lock-caring trial, it should be that I'm going through a minor obsession with Bumble and Bumble and that I will have no need to replenish my haircare stocks anytime in the near future, but it only begins when I get my hands on the rest of the Bumble and Bumble range...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Cystic Spot Busting Duo

We all hate spots, and the fact that everyone gets them doesn't make it any better. Dating back to my original spot sprouting days, they were an uncontrollable, 'wait it out', problem that only got better with time. Alas, I've now got a stash of products (too many, by my mom's standards) that combat any pesky pimples. I just couldn't help myself but to lend a few to my brother when his first situation popped up.

If you've read my recent skincare slap post, you'll know that the occurrence of me getting a spot these days is pretty rare. Nevertheless, I did. Before you click the exit button or throw all caution to the wind, I'll explain that this wasn't your normal old spot, but brought on by a pesky, skincare sample of the Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil. Yes - Origins! I'm trying to forget about the fact myself. Albeit, the day after my sample experience, I could feel the massive bump. This was a cystic spot.
Excuse the grotesque image now floating in your head, but, within three days time, it was on it's way out.

Call me compulsive, but as soon as I felt the thing rising to the surface, I dashed out to purchase the Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. Made especially for under the skin spots of the kind, its application as the last step of my skincare routine meant that the spot never got worse. Although the instructions demand every other day application, I applied nightly for three days and there was no increase in wrecked havock and my skin held up with no probelm. After the first application, the spot looked the same - no redness, just a bump, but some slight pain had settled in. On the second day, the pain had increased, but there was no redness to show and the size had gone down. On the third day...

A combined concoction of the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask (you know how much je l'adore) and a top-up of the Buffering Lotion and, come morning, voila - it was gone.

Talk about magic, eh? Luckily, neither of the products were too harsh on their own, so the rest of my skin and the area around the volcanic eruption stayed clear as could be. At least I now know what to grab when NASA spots a crater from the moon again. Yup - it's the spot on my face.

Healthy Eating

Beauty is rather general. Yes, my minimal makeup tastes may largely differ from the red-lipped gal next to me, but there is a limit to how much of yourself you show. Nutrition, on the other hand, is completely different. Rather than writing 'Fifty Random Facts About Me' or dishing on some other boring topic, I thought that I'd talk about eating. Duh, duh, duh...

I'd like to start out by saying that I'm NO nutritionist, dietician, or any qualified specialist, I'm just an everyday gal who has decided to share my philosophy on 'Healthy Eating' *gulp*.
Also, being the skincare obsessive that I am, I think it's silly when people say that your skin isn't a reflection of what you eat or put into your system. Yes, it differs from person to person, but have you ever seen a starving child in Africa with spots? I think not. For me, milk, in particular breaks me out like nobody's business. Albeit, yogurt doesn't affect me in the slightest and the effects of ice cream are very minimal, but, again, not nearly as bad as milk. This being the case, I've cut milk out of my diet and replaced it with almond milk (which you will see, I'm rather obsessed with). Does this make this post somewhat beauty related?

Okay, now onto the topic of food. I don't eat this way because I want to lose weight  (amen!), but I'm definitely interested in being in the best shape I can be. I've mentioned it a few times, but I am a ballet dancer. Ballet, or dance in general, is rather different because, you can deny it all you want, but we. are. athletes. We demand a lot out of our bodies, but they also have to be aesthetically pleasing. Again, I'm not interested in losing weight, but rather feeding my body with optimum nutrition so that my insides won't hit any bumps in the road. I usually have a three hours worth of classes six days per week (at least), but if I don't then I do other exercise (Blogilates all the way. Cassey will KILL YOU). Nevertheless, I always take one day off a week. Your body needs it to recover.

I try to stick to a few guidelines - 90% healthy, 10% not and eat things from the earth.

Breakfast is my favoorritee meal of the day. I'll eat loads of things including eggs, quinoa, yogurt, etc. I used to eat a lot of cereal, even the good sorts, but they just don't keep me going as much as the other things listed above do. Recently, I've been loving this Apple Cinnamon Pancake recipe from Blogilates. It's not as quick as throwing some cereal in a bowl, but it's so filling and keeps me going for a really long time. It's this simple: one whole egg, one egg white, 1/8 cup of oats, 1/2 scoop of protein powder, 1/4 of chopped apple, and cinnamon. Whip it together in a bowl, and cook in a skillet until heated and it's done all the way through. IT'S DELICIOUS! I like to top it with a little drizzle of honey and (sometimes) some peanut butter. I know, I know - it's quite a contradictory statement for me to say to eat things from the earth then turn around and use protein powder, but I find that I really need the extra protein and I want other ways to get protein rather than relying on meat all the time.

For lunch, it really depends on the day. Normally, it's a salad of some sorts with loads of chicken or turkey (protein, protein, protein!) Add loads of veggies and stay away from 'bad' salad dressings. You know what they are...just stay away. The picture above is a picture of my lunch from a few days ago - spinach, cooked chicken breast (just cooked with a little salt and pepper. I got the flavor from the dressing in the salad), spinach, and some balsamic and lemon juice with some tomato. Done! It was delicious! It really depends on what's in the house but, for instance, today, I had some chicken (cooked the same way), some raw green beans, spinach, and pesto. Yummm...

Alas, we have snacks. Even if you eat smaller meals, it's really important to have snacks to keep your metabolism going. Nuts (almonds are my favorites), greek yogurt (the protein is key), fruit (loads of the stuff - it's from the earth, remember?), bars (Larabar, Luna, and Kind bars are my favorites) and things of that sort. If I wake up early, then I'll have a snack sometime between breakfast and lunch, and I always have a snack between lunch and dinner. Sometimes, since I go to ballet class at 4:30, my snack will be bigger than my lunch...it just depends. Also, I haven't talked much about bread, but bread is okay...just don't go crazy. Ezekiel bread is amazing, as it has zero sugar, just high quality energy. If you really want the good stuff (you know the bread I'm talking about), just remember - 10%.

Dinner is somewhat along the lines of lunch, to keep it simple. But concerning desserts (yes, the part you've all been waiting for), I have a massive sweet tooth. I don't make a separate meal for dessert, but sometimes incorporate them into my snacks. If I'm up really late doing homework and get hungry between dinner and going to sleep, then I'll have dessert/snack here. Just consult Blogilates for my favorites - they're all good.

Yes - a chatty and somewhat personal post for you all. In short, eat well and eat when you're hungry.As long you're feeding your body with good things, you're body will tell you when you need more - just don't mistake it for being thirsty. Drink shedloads of water. And add lemon - it's delicious. I wouldn't count calories unless you really, really need to. It's just an unhealthy obsession. Also, I hope you've learned that Cassey rules the world!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them and tell me what you think - you know how to contact me. Would you like to see more of these posts?
Bon appetite!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Eye Makeup Picks From An Eye Minimalist

If you haven't noticed, posts concerning eye makeup come far and few between on Parisian To Be. If you're looking for a wicked smoky eye tutorial, ridiculously amazing shadow pencil, or tips on how to grab the ropes on eye liner, you're looking at the wrong blogger. Although it may look fab on other people, eye makeup just isn't my thing. Nevertheless, I like to think that I make up for it with my mad cheek and base skills. Well, I've made efforts to venture into the world of eye makeup and here's the start - some eye makeup picks from a known eye minimalist.

I've got a few eyeliners hanging around in my stocks (namely 'nude' shades), but, in a Vivianna-like fashion, I picked up the pencil and got to drawing. As of late, I've been smudging the Rimmel ScandalEyes Liner in Brown along the top half of my upper lash line for a touch of added definition. Yes, it's subtle, but it's also eye catching in the simplest of ways. Just for the record, if I could get away with it, I'd be gliding liners upon my lids in an Indian kohl-esque fashion. I wish, I wish...

Mascara is a staple in my routine, as even when I'm rocking the rosehip seed oil face, a coating of mascara always gets me looking more put together. For the waterproof choice, I've been enjoying the L'oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara Waterproof - a natural, die-hard water-resistant formula that adds a hint of definition to the lashes. Perfect for no-makeup or minimal days when you don't want anyone to know you're wearing mascara but you.

My favorite and my most slicked on choice is the Lancome Hypnose Mascara. Since I like to think that I'm classy, I've sticked with the classic - no added 'star', 'drama', or 'custom volume' (whatever that does) title. Adding the perfect dose of volume and length to my lashes, it's far from clumpy and never spider evoking (if you know what I mean). Yes, it's prone to a smudge here and there, but as long as your not caught in the rain or encounter a tear-inducing film, all should be fine.

Alas, I've been bitten by the beauty blogger bug and have been experimenting with eye makeup *pats on back*. I won't get out the champagne until I've mastered the smoky eye...see you in twenty years time.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Summer Skincare Routine

As soon as I mentioned the spot-free, (dare I say) perfect skin that has become pretty ritual among my face at 'Parisian To Be' headquarters, the whole of the streaming comments included two mentionable words - 'updated' and 'routine'. Alas, I got to scribbling my daily skincare slaps (and have a whole page in my journal dedicated to it) and added it to the pages of my planner. Well, the day has come, and, not only am I delivering yet another skincare routine, but it also has been the daily jams during these hot, fro-yo filled months - 'The Summer Skincare Routine'.

You know the whole morning theme - blurry eyed to bushy tailed. As for cleansing, not much has changed, but I'm sensing a replacement. I'm now onto my second bottle of the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, but a link-containing comment in my pharmacy purchases post suggesting the near detrimental effects of the super simple cleanser and I'm off doing the research. I'll keep you posted on this one. As for the rest, the REN Clarifying Toning Lotion (my Clarins replacement. Bottom line, exfoliating toners are da' bomb) on a cotton pad gets the skin ready for the Origins Dr. Weil Mega Bright Serum - something which I'm not so sold on the outcome, but I've had it hanging around in the stocks and it needed some love. Then, my usual AM moisturizer - Origins Vitazing *cue angels* and a layer of the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 55 Dry-Touch Sunblock...because you can never be too protected.

As for my evening routine, not much has changed here either (I know - what a boring post), but I have come to a conclusion - I was using faarrr too much exfoliation on my skin. So, I've simplified my lot, rid of the dermatologist recommended exfoliator (sayonara!) and....well, I'll let you guess how my skin responds to it. So that I don't bore you with the usual introduction, I'll keep it simple - remove makeup with Bioderma Créaline H20 and cleanse with the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. For Bioderma, on a cotton pad and I call it quits, but the Clay Cleanser's application is a bit more complicated. I apply slightly less than a pump to my dry face, leave on for about a five 'er (most usually while I brush my teeth), then massage with a damp hands, then rinse with warm water. Simples. After the towel has been set down, I apply the REN Toner again (I really love this stuff), then two drops of Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (one for my forehead and nose, one for my cheeks and chin. And I haven't tried the reformulated version...yet), a blob of the Origins Make A Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Treatment all over, let it dry slightly, then apply a pump of the Aura Cacia Rosehip Seed Oil. I wanted to purchase the Trilogy one, but it's a pain in the a** to get over here in the US, so I just picked this one up at my local health-food store.

Now, I know what you're thinking - that's it? Well, pretty much. Twice a week, I apply a clay mask (Aesop Parsley Seed, Origins Clear Improvements, or Eve Lom Rescue). Yes, I need all of them, and yes, you can check out their differing qualities here. As for eye cream, I'm still on my Lierac Diopti Calm Anti-Fatique Eye Balm and Mask thing-y, but, chances are, I can't be bothered to apply it day and night - so I just slap it on when I want.

So, that's it - my ridiculously more simple, edited, skincare routine. Luckily, I think I've found the star at the end of the tunnel as far as skincare goes....but what will I do with my full fledged, foundation wardrobe?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Clay Mask Comparison

Beauty bloggers alike know that one is never enough. We cringe at the thought of one blush - how could we possible survive without or stash of pinks, peaches, apricots, plums, shimmers, and mattes. Likewise, we can't just have one face mask. Call us high maintenance, but it's all in the name of a beauty blog. Being as picky as we are, they all differ, of course, as well. This trio of clay masks may seem similar in description,  but if they were, then there wouldn't be the 'Clay Mask Comparision'.

The Eve Lom Rescue Mask, the priciest of the bunch, is composed of kaolin clay, camphor, and honey to produce a detoxifying, yet not too drying product. With the appearance of typical clay, it's like a souped up version of the ninety-nine cent one you picked up from the grocery store as a kid. I'd say this one will be suitable for sensitive skins, but will still probably result in a little bit of irritation.

Sensitive, stubborn, and normal skinned gals alike, look no further than the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask. My favorite out of the bunch, although the most gentle, it's detox properties just don't compare to the others. It goes on looking pretty undetectable (minus a bit of sheen here and there), but dries to look like clay (quelle surprise). On the contrary to other masks of its genre, it's not the least bit drying and, upon removal, your skin will look so much better. For reference, I've got no idea what 'parsley seed' is.

The last on the list, yet the first purchased, is the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask. It's the most 'budget' option on the list, or as budget as it's going to get with my high-end beauty musings. Is it effective? Oh yes, with active charcoal to absorb one hundred to two hundred times its weight in impurities and white china clay, I'd say this is the best option for troublesome skin, but definitely not a good one for sensitive skins. In fact, it's so effective that you may wake up with a few extra spots from the deep down, extracting properties. Although it may be the most effective, as someone with dehydrated skin, it may be a bit too drying for my liking.

For reference, you'll know where I'll be every Wednesday and Friday night. Care to join?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Products and Tips For Acne Prone Skin

Acne spots stink... As a still acne prone, 'teenage skinned' gal, I can check the whole skin condition off my list of natural, life experiences and move on. Oh - if only it was that easy. For some, the answer is easy - go to a dermatologist. Well, I did just that, except my experience was less than a good one. As soon as I started to get obsessed with skincare and researched the things the so-called-derm was telling me to put on my skin...let's just say that they went in the trash. Although they cost me nah-dah, I turned to the more expensive higher quality options that have given me the ridiculously high quality skin I'm rocking now - spot free.

If you're rocking the whole 'oil slick' thing, it can be tempting to reach for those Clean and Clear tubes and impart that tight feeling upon your skin. No, no, no, my love... Instead, reach for the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser - an über acne fighting, spot busting, skin SWAT team pick. With French clay to deep clean pores, zinc gluconate to reduce sebum (I know, it's like a different language - oil) production, lactic acid for mild exfoliation, mayblossom to tone pores, and manuka extract to sooth and nourish, with first use, you'll already notice a difference.

Another necessity in your acne fighting routine? An exfoliating toner. Here, the REN Clarifying Toning Lotion is pictured (I do love REN skincare), but I've also tried the Clarins one and they're both very similar, so any exfoliating option will do. The purpose? Not only do exfoliating toners rid the top layer of skin and unclog pores, but they also increase cell turnover to help with scars and will also help blemishes heal more quickly. Most exfoliation toners contain acids (lactic, salycilic, glycolic, citric, tartaric, etc.) which raise the skin's pH levels. Translation? You want your skin to be more acidic to kill acne fighting bacteria and to keep it healthier overall.

Alas, we're onto the last two categories - treatments and moisturizers. Something I'd HIGHLY (italics just wouldn't do it here) for all skins is Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. It doesn't work for everyone, but I've never heard of it breaking anyone out, so go grab yourself a sample. I'm not sure what's in here, but it helped my spots, scars, and general skin condition. It's ridiculously amazing stuff! With my experience in acne, the spots were a sign that my skin was unhappy. For me, that meant that my skin was incredibly thirsty. The Origins Make A Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Treatment hydrated my skin and, because of this, ended up helping with spots and scars, as well. I think that this product, in particular, can be a bit of a hit or miss, so, as always, pick yourself up a sample. As for moisturizers, I have one general rule - make sure they don't have mineral oil (paraffin liquidium). Don't listen to the sales assistant, use your own eyes and read the ingredients, babe.

So, I've debriefed the world's largest skin condition - acne. Ughhh, I hate that word. As usual, I'm not an expert, but count this as a diary of things that have helped my skin. Need recommendations? Have questions? Just leave them in the comments, shoot me an email, or ask via Twitter (@ParisianToBe) and I'll respond in no time! Avoir!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This Week's Most Loved Trio | Un

Let's be honest - there are a lot of products that come through Parisian To Be headquarters. Some are grabbed enough to be featured in the very-ravey monthly favorites and others melt away into the depths of my drawer for special occasions. Say you're recovering from a weekend in Paris with a compliment of far too many croissants and café au laits (I wish...). You'll need a detox mask to sort your skin out for the week, but after three applications and a lot of money down the drain on a detox juice cleanse, you're skin is looking far better and the need for the mask is gone. You get the point. Well, I've decided to introduce a new series - 'This Week's Most Loved Trio'. A three musketeers-esque roundup of products that. like the title suggests, have been reached for again and again in the past week. 

After my recent appointment at the Bumble and bumble salon, I parted with a ridiculously amazing cut, a glamorous blowout, and a list of recommended products. The most eye darting? The Bumble and bumble Quenching Complex - a gel that, when applied to damp or dry hair, imparts a more healthy appearance. Plus, it smells fantastic (quelle surprise). 

Since my limbs only see about fifteen minutes of sun daily (not that I'm counting or anything), I've been relying on my much loved NARS Laguna bronzer and NARS Luster. Shock horror - something other than Laura Mercier Peach Whisper, but it's apricot, slightly more orange and red shade means it's made to produce a tanned complexion. 

As per usual, I've been slapping on a clay mask twice weekly (to my brother's disgrace and evoked fear) and the Eve Lom Rescue Mask has been my pick of choice. It may look like the typical clay mask that you applied as a kid, but this is Eve Lom we're talking about! Souped up with sweet almond meal, camphor to aid in decongesting (and the prominent scent), and honey to condition and soften skin, it adds a touch of 'beauty editor fashion' to my evenings and performs well, too.

Until next time, these are the most swept, spread with a foundation brush, scrunched, and smoothed favorites from my stash. We'll see how I feel next week... 

Friday, August 9, 2013

The LUSH Haul

 I commonly open posts with the phrase, but I've said it once a few times and I'll say it again - you always want what you don't have. Previously, it was Space NK and other Brit shops (if we're going back really far, it was the Barbie Dream House. I digress...) Alas, I publicly stated my desire for LUSH with a whole post dedicated to the stuff. Well, I've returned - and I'm happy to say that I'm not bankrupt. 

Although it may be hard to believe, I'm a saver. As a young un', purchasing something as petite as a couch for my doll house had me mumbling 'ummm' and 'I don't know if I want to', yet I was promptly saved by my dad's rescue - or should I say his wallet. How does this apply to LUSH? Well, the same properties apply, somewhat. I decided to go for things that were as LUSH to LUSH as apple pie is to America. Namely, they're solid shampoo bars. Although the Squeaky Green Shampoo Bar looks suspiciously green, non-lathering, and not particularly long lasting, you can check them all off. It lathers ridiculously well in the shower with a few swipes here and there and, as told by the sales assistant,  it lasts for ninety washes, as well. Eh - probably not with my heavy handed-ness.
As for the other popular kids, I returned with a plethora of bath bombs in tow. Naming the elephant in the photo, the Ickle Baby Bot sure turns heads. Yes, I did partly grasp it due to it's amusing, adorable like physique, but also because of it's promises. It doesn't do the laundry or clean your room (which would be nice), but, instead, contains a lavender and chamomile, sleep-inducing scent. Knowing me and my insomnia-esque habits, it's not too surprising that I was drawn to the thing. Next, addressing the nearly invisible bath bomb, Butterball, had me attached at first glance smell. Being one of LUSH's best-sellers, one inhale and I knew - vanilla scented with chunks of cocoa butter, I can't wait to throw it in the tub in the dead of winter. But can I wait that long...

As warned by my mother, although luxurious, bubble baths are less than beneficial for the skin. The foaming agent wrecks havock in skincare and dries out skin. Alas, how LUSH manages to cram so many bubbles into a natural bar is beyond me, but I knew I had to snag one of their bubble bars. Amandopondo, a lemon and rose scented bar, aims to clear consciences (which I'm not sure how hard it could be in a soak full of bubbles). Regardless, I'm going to have to break the thing in half to make that tad bit more long lasting.

So there - I've checked another shop off my bucket list, and, at my wallet's happiness, I'll have a break for a while. If only landing on the moon was that easy to cross off...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The On The Fence Edit

With a constant overflow of must-have lists, product heavy videos, and ridiculosuly well written posts (Anna, I'm looking at you), my wishlist is ever growing and my bank balance is ever decreasing. Most of my purchases are fantastique and others fall short - otherwise thrown into my mom's makeup bag. Then, we have the special bunch - not exactly great, yet not too shabby, my mind bounces from left to right. Alas, we have 'The On The Fence Edit', showcasing a bounty of products, that, like the name suggests, I sit on the fence about. Let's just hope I don't fall and break my head...

First, we have the makeup products. You know how particular I am with my makeup. Some much raved about products will never land a spot on my wishlist - Laura Mercier Silk Crème (too high coverage), MAC 'Black Tie' Eyeshadow (let's be honest - I'll never wear a smoky eye), and Tom Ford 'Black Orchid' (you couldn't pay me enough). In laymen's terms, more than a bountiful amount of 'too full on' eyeshadows and iffy lip shades get thrown to my mom. MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle has been nearly handed over a few times, but I just couldn't do it. Although a swatch imparts a more-than-glittery like sheen to the skin, something about it is just too gorgeous to give away.

The Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Granite has been a firm addition to my makeup stocks, filing the brow product gap. Although it adds a touch of definition, fills in those pesky gaps, and keeps my brows in place, I find that the results can be a bit too full-on for my liking. Plus, heavy-handed gals, beware, as a slap and dash situation can lead to defined, unwanted hairs. As for makeup application, you know I'm a slave to my killer Real Techniques trio (Stippling, Buffing, and Contour...enough said), but I was quite excited when my mom gave me a package with a pink, raindrop sized, sponge to try out on my face. The Beautyblender, although is quite refreshing - as you're supposed to use it damp - I much prefer the effects of my Buffing Brush for some quick application.

To state the obvious, I'm picky with my skincare. Nevertheless, it wasn't until just under two months ago that I realized my apparent need for the Clarisonic in my everyday skincare routine was void. Yup - I said it. It turns out, the electric toothbrush for the face and a combination of too much exfoliation was wrecking havock on my skin. And I haven't touched it since... As for creams, liquids, lotions, and clays, the Lierac Diopti Calm Anti-Fatique Eye Balm is the only one that has me scratching my head. If it's been a really late night, then, come morning, chances are my eyes are pretty hot, puffy, and swollen. In this case, yes - I do think it does something, yet not enough. In reality, these days come far and few between and my little homebody self checks in no later than ten thirty on most nights.

All in all, there are some big *cue naughty words* favorites in my stash, but I'm saving these for my end-of-year favorites. In the mean time, I'll stick to talking about the ones that may or may not have me falling into the shark tank. Save me...

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Everyday Summer Makeup

For a beauty lover, summer makeup is just as heart attack inducing as a room full of ice cream is for a young lad. Why, you ask? Well, our ages have busted through the double digits and our waistlines show every pint gallon of Ben & Jerry's that we consume. Alas, I've shifted away from the frozen foods aisle in the grocery store (well, I try) and hope that the hefty amount of beauty purchases distract me from the frozen dessert ads. Some products go unloved, yet others show massive dents where I've brushed, smoothed, coated, or slapped on the contents day in and day out. For the past five or so weeks, my daily makeup has been as ever changing as my brother and his love of vegetables - nonexistent. I don't throw everything on my face everyday (no makeup days come as often as ninety plus degree weather) but this is the full faced summer makeup routine. I advise you to go get some ice cream...

For base, I normally flit between all three of my tinted moisturizers (they're all different - I promise), but I've had a hard time putting down the master base known as the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream. Applied with fingers, it's dewy in all the right places and slightly matte on the others, it stays fresh looking for hours and you never get that 'sunken in my pores' look. The Real Techniques Contour Brush and the Origins Plantscription Anti Aging Concealer, mixed with a concoction of patting, stippling, and brushing motions mends concealer to skin seamlessly to cover blemishes, scars, redness, and under eye bags (and we both know there are loads of these).

You know how much I looovvee powder *note sarcasm*, but the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light reaps all the benefits of a dusting, yet rids of the woes. Even when heavily applied, as I'm pretty heavy handed, it never looks cakey and, in fact, looks better as it blurs imperfections. As an ode to a favorite, the NARS Laguna Bronzer gets brushed as a contour and upon the high points of my face to fake the fact that I'm as pasty as medicinal gauze. To keep it simple - I haven't gone a day without wearing this since I got it. Simples.

There's rarely a day that I go without a blush on my face and I've currently got three on rotation. The Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera is my most recent cheek jam, but TheBalm's Stainiac in Beauty Queen and Laura Mercier Peach Whisper (obviously) also reign supreme on the charts. As of late, I've also dug out an old favorite - the Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme in Rose Gold. In one word, it's gorgeous, and, just like the blusher, there has rarely been a day since it's skipped an appearance on my face.

We're finally onto eyes and brows, ladies and gents. Normally, a layer of Lancome Hypnose Mascara is as good as it gets, but there are days when I take two extra steps in my routine. Occasionally, I'll swipe a bit of the Rimmel ScandalEyes Liner in Brown on the outer half of my lash line and smudge for a tad bit of extra definition - plus it's got some gold shimmer in *faints*. The more common of the two is a swipe of Anastasia's Tinted Brow Gel in Granite through the brows. The lazy girl brow product, it holds, defines, and adds a hint of volume to the sparse brow situation.

So, here lands the everyday summer makeup featuring the usual pinks, bronze, and lashy looks. It may not look that different from my usual war paint, but it features some firm favorites which have my mom saying, 'your skin looks really good', and, of course, occupies me for long enough to slash the ice cream cravings. Wait...here they come again.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Ultimate Pamper

I love New York City, and I'm sure you all know it by now. The busied streets, constant commotion, plethora of shops (and you know I hit those up), range of personalities and cultures, and general characteristics makes the 'city that never sleeps' ever lust-worthy in my mind. Over the course of my five week stay, my body was pretty beaten to a pulp from all the constant dancing, blisters, and pounding sidewalks and there is just one thing that I couldn't wait to do for when I got home - give myself the ultimate pamper.

Hair, bath, body, skin, and nails - everything from your follicles to your toes will be feeling more than primed by the time the lights go out that night. To start, I run myself a bath. This time, I threw in the LUSH Bubble Bar in Amandopondo because what's more lush than a tub full of bubbles and a rose and lemon scent? That's what I thought. After I've refilled the tub once three times and have mowed through my YouTube subscription feed, it's time to get to work washing my body. This time, I went for the Soap & Glory Clean on Me Creamy Clarifying Body Wash, which is only suitable considering it fits the retro mood as I pretend to be as Marilyn Monroe in my tub full of suds. Then, I buff up with a homemade body scrub of sugar, olive oil, and lemongrass oil and follow with shaving and all that shebang.

After my shriveled fingers and toes are dragged out of their warm abyss of water, I throw on my pajamas (still one of my favorite parts of the day) and get cracking on my hair. Because I'm high maintenance (the same words I used to describe my two fourty nine pound duffles for my stay), I wash my hair over the side of the tub using samples of the Bumble and bumble Surf Foam Wash and Creme Rinse Conditioner. Now that my hair is dried, I'm able to say that they're pretty awesome, but I want to have another go with them before I take the fifty dollar plunge. Then, I slapped on my recent purchase - the Bumble and bumble Quenching Complex - a potent, leave-in-conditioner sort of product that, like the name suggests, gives moisture to thirsty locks.

Alas, we're onto my favorite part - skincare. I follow my usual routine with a cleanse using the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser, tone with the REN Clarifying Toning Lotion, apply Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, Origins Make A Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Treatment, and, lastly, the Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Oil Free Moisturizer. Rather than being REN and Origins heavy, I also throw on a clay mask - the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask. Of course, I apply it right after cleansing with an old foundation brush, leave on for about twenty minutes (longer than directed...whoops), then remove and carry on with the rest of my routine. In short, I looovvveee this mask.

We're nearly at the dregs of the ultimate pampering routine, but all we've got left is nails. After pushing back cuticles, clipping, filing, removing gunk and all that jazz (notable mention to the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover Maximum Strength for making the job über easy), I get started with color. It's as simple as one, two, three - OPI Nail Envy, two coats of OPI Nail Colour in Samoan Sand, and a finishing layer of Seche Vite Top Coat.

By now, I've probably gotten through a far too scary episode of 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit' (i.e. where I spend all of my time) and am probably pretty sleepy. At least I'm feeling clean, relaxed and ready to catch some zzz's. Oh - and don't forget the sleep inducing pillow spray. *Lights out*

Friday, August 2, 2013

OPI Samoan Sand | Review

'How about another color?' - these are the instructive words from my one and only grandmother (yup, this one), aimed at me on a recent shopping session. When you have one shopaholic, generous lad like her, the constant flow of neutral black, white, fifty shades of grey, nude, and soft pink items upon her receipts are countless - not to mention the beauty products, as well.
Regardless, I'm a neutral lover inside and out (minus that when it applies to food). It's not out of hopes to be 'boring', hidden in society, or any other reasons as stated on 'What Not to Wear'. Let's be honest, how many neon pink, bumble bee yellow, or sunshine orange shades do you see upon the French runways? I can't vouch for all of them, but if Chloė (my favorite, lust-worthy brand) doesn't do it, neither will I.

The OPI Nail Colour in Samoan Sand has been getting some wear time upon my nails beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup since its purchase in early July. The shade - a taupe with a hint of peach and pink shot through to make it that little bit more au naturel. For a beauty lover, like myself, it imparts a chic, 'my nails but better' manicure. To my dad, he questions whether I've actually got nail polish on - score! Like any OPI nail polish, the brush is oh so suitable for a quick slap and dash application. In fact, I like these brushes so much more than that on an Essie (but the white lidded shades are far superior - shhh). The lasting power is pretty darn good as well - I'd say about four to five days before you compulsive filles (*translation* girls) will need a touch up, but since it's nude, you could definitely squeak out a few more days. It's slightly sheer, but not as sheer as my other chic shade. One coat doesn't do it for me, but two or three is magnifique.

So, I take that I've achieved a chic, Chloė inspired, French-esque manicure that is just as gorgeous as this handbag....just save yourself some cash and go for the nail color.
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