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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Jenny' and 'Brigitte'...Two Looks, One Post

In creating my Diamonds and Dames series, I have received many requests for long hairstyles of the period. This style, worn by Jennifer Connelly in the film, The Rocketeer, was different in that it featured soft 'bombshell' waves on one side but a smooth tube curl, swept back by a comb or pins, on the other. I re-created it to the bet of my ability, using Hot Rollers as the setting. Initially, I didn't think the style would hold up. But I found that since I prepped my hair with a grooming spray before rolling, it was surprisingly sturdy. Following are products used and step by step instructions, as well as a video of the final tutorial.

Items Needed/Products Used:
-Hot Roller Set (Mine is old and I don't recommend any particular set, as long as the one you use gets nice and hot.)
-HW's Grooming Spray ( I used this in place of my normal heat protectant spray, Tre Semme' Heat Tamer Spray. I think it actually helped with logevity.)
-Grip Tuth Side Comb (I'm using a short one that is under two inches long for this style. You could also use bobby pins here.
-Styling Brush
-High Hold Hair Spray
-Pomade for shine (if desired)
1. Start with clean side parted hair. Roll the hair backward at the front, first prepping with the grooming spray and using a roller pin to secure the roller.
If you have bangs, you might need to use a small barrel curling iron for this part.
2. Roll hair immediately behind the front section using small rollers as well...also rolling back. Roll the rest of the hair in medium sized rollers, aimed downward.
3. Allow rollers to cool completely.
4. Brush thru cooled curled, shaping them with your hands as you do so. Spray into position, when you feel you've got a good style.
5. On the light side of the part, slick back the side and secure with your side comb. Brush the hair behind the comb forward around your hand, forming a sort of tube curl.
6. Spray to finish.

Look Two: Brigitte Bardot Inspired Hair/Makeup

With the popularity of shows like Mad Men, set in the early 1960's, there is a new interest in the 'sex-kitten' look of that decade. Ladies like Sophia Loren, Julie Christie, and Brigitte Bardot made the nude lip and intense cat eye a standard in styling. Also, untamed 'bedhead' hair was a staple of the era. So per request, I decided to throw together a look that was reminiscent of Brigitte's style, with a few of my own touches in there as well.

For the makeup, I opted to keep the 60's very much alive, with super dramatic lashes and a very pronounced cat eye. The look is obviously very authentically inspired but can be toned down for modern or daily use. If you opt to tone it down, try the look w/out the false lashes and using a black shadow instead of a thick cake liner.

Products Used for Face:
-Full Coverage Foundation by Revlon Colorstay
-Senna Cosmetics 'Buff and Brighten' Powder
-Erase Paste Concealer by Benefit in 'Medium'
-Besame' Dual Eyebrow Pencil-Gray
-Sephora Brow Powder in a Dark Brown shade
-'Blanc Type' Shadow by MAC
-Sedona Lace 28 Neutral Palette
-Sigma Makeup Eyeshadows in 'Indian Girl' and 'Brown Sugar'
-Sigma Eyeshadow and Makeup Brushes (love these brushes!)
-Ben Nye Cake Eyeliner in Black
-Gel Liner from Ebay in 'Truffle' (Celia Makeup was the seller
-Senna Cosmetics Eye Liner Pencil in 'Black Velvet'
-Maybelline Falsies Mascara in 'Very Black'
-Cheap Dramatic Lashes from Ebay
-Senna Cosmetics blush in 'Hue'
-Rimmel Lip Liner Pencil in the 'Spice'
-Discontinued Lip Crayon from Mary Kay in 'Tender'
Makeup Steps:
1. Apply your face products first.
2. Create a heavy brow using a brow pencil to outline and a brow powder to fill. Use a shade darker than you typically would.
3. Apply a matte nude shadow over the entire eye, from lid to brow.
4. Use a peach toned shadow in the crease, applying with a blending brush.
5. Apply a dark shimmery bronze shadow to the lid, smoking it upward.
6. Create a very dramatic winged liner in black, from the inner tear duct, all the way to the crease.
7. Meet the outer wing with your brown gel liner, carrying that inward on the lower lash line to the tear duct.
8. Line waterline and tight line with black pencil.
9. Smoke out the lower lash line with a shimmery brown shadow.
10. Apply mascara and false lashes, if desired.
11. Use a light hand to apply a soft peach blush to the cheekbones.
12. Finish by muting the lips with concealer, redefining with a nude lip pencil, and applying your favorite shimmery nude gloss or lipstick.

For the Hair:

Products/Tools Used:
-Hot Roller Set
-1/2 inch Barrel Curling iron (for bangs/fringe)
-HW's Grooming Spray (to prep the hair)
-Rat Tail Comb (for teasing)
-Styling Brush
-Grip Tuth Side Comb
-Bobby Pins
-High Hold Hair Spray

1. Roll hair back at the crown, using medium sized rollers at the top and large rollers aimed downward on the sides and back.
2. Prep each section with Grooming Spray (or heat protectant) before rolling,to lend more longevity to the style.
3. After releasing rollers (allow them to completely cool), tease the crown thoroughly until you have a good amount of volume. Comb lightly over the teased section to smooth it out.
4. Allow the front to fall forward, parted in the middle, or sweep across the forehead.
5. Continue teasing, shaping, and spraying until you have the desired amount of volume at the crown.
6. To create Brigitte's signature 'half' up do, pull back the crown and sides softly, twist lightly, and place a comb upward into the crown to secure. Allow the sides to fall freely and spray to set. Use bobby pins to add more height, if desired.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Product Reviews: Besame' Souffle Foundation and Benefit Erase Paste

Besame' Souffle Foundation:
I was very excited to try this foundation when I heard that it was available again, in a beautiful tube packaging. You may remember this product from Besame's early days, when it was in a lovely jar. I always wanted to try it and did get a chance to sample a little on the back of my hand at the My Baby Jo booth during Viva Las Vegas one year. It was like a creamy version of the Dream Mousse foundation from Maybelline...silky and easy to blend. The shade I tried at the time was 'True Beige', which was just a tad dark for my just-coming-outta-the-winter skin.

Since I have dry skin and love creamy full coverage foundations (currently I use the Revlon Colorstay liquid for Normal/Dry skin in 'buff' and I love the color, though the texture isnt my absolute favorite), I was excited to see that the foundation was being reformulated and re-released. I immediately asked for samples of the three colors that seemed best suited for my skin tone: 'Yellow Cameo' (yellow based, light beige), 'Bisque' (pink based lightest shade), and 'Medium Beige' (warm light beige for medium/olive skin tones). I tried all three shades at the jawline, which is a great place to test the blendability of different foundation colors. Unfortunately, the 'Bisque' was too light, the 'Yellow Cameo' was too yellow', and the 'Medium Beige' was too dark. Which is a shame, since the formula is fantastic. It glides on smoothly, blends easily, and provided amazing coverage for my dry skin. I love the porcelain quality it lends to my skin, especially when used in conjunction w/ a moisturizer and my favorite primer (by Senna Cosmetics). The product is also scented lightly w/ tea rose oil, which makes me always feel extra girly and feminine...like I should be lounging in my 'boudoir' as I apply it...in silk stockings.

To sum up, although I love Besame' products in general, and this one is no exception in its supreme formulation and performance capabilities, I do feel that the limited color choices will turn off many potential consumers who are used to the options available from other similarly priced brands.

Souffle Foundation is 32.00 at Besame' Cosmetics' website.

Benefit Erase Paste:

Though I feel very fortunate not too have ever suffered much with blemishes on my skin, I have always had dark undereye circles and puffiness. I had severe allergies as a child and though I'm not as sensitive to things now as I was then, my eyes still retain the dark circles. Therefore, a good undereye concealer is a MUST for me. I used to think, as many do, that the lighter the concealer-the better, when it comes to concealing thost blue patches under the eye. But actually, light concealers, though they're excellent for 'waking up' the eye at the tear duct and for highlighting the browbone, are not ideal for concealing blue tones. They actually can accentuate them instead! In color theory, the opposite color of blue on the color wheel is orange. Therefore, a peach toned concealer will be your best bet when it comes to neutralizing undereye circles.

I've been using the Makeup Forever Concealer palette, which comes with both a green and a salmon colored corrector in the palette. Unfortunately, it's a pretty expensive item and I don't use the other colors nearly as much as that one correcting shade. Therefore I did a little research and decided to try the Benefit Erase Paste in 'Medium', which is recognized to have a very marked peach tone to it that is perfect for undereye circles.

The first thing I noticed is that the jar is a bit deep. If you have nails, you can forget getting the product on a fingertip, for application. But it does come with a little spatula for scooping...and believe me, you don't need much. A scoop about the size of a grain of rice is enough for both eyes. The consistency is very gel-like, which I prefer to the MUF product, which seemed a bit too cakey at times. I haven't noticed that it settles into fine lines at all and it's extraordinarily easy to blend. When set w/ a powder, it stays blissfully 'put' and the color, though a bit lighter than the MUF corrector, is just fine. I'm not certain how this will work on other blemishes, considering the color, but I do think the coverage quality is exceptional and due to the amount of product you get, worth every penny of the 26.00 price tag. However, if you search this product on Ebay, you can undoubtedly get it for less than 20.00, which makes it even more of a steal!

Benefit Erase Paste is available at Benefit Cosmetics's Website for 26.00. But I recommend Ebay! ;-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Movie Review: You Can't take It With You (1938)

While it might not be exactly true that just everything Frank Capra touched turned to gold, I do believe that he came closer than any other director. The man turned out film after film that can rightly be grouped with the top achievements of American cinema. This one, 1938's galloping romp 'You Can't Take It With You' (based on the 1936 play), is easily my favorite Capra Creation.

The message behind the story is actually in the title: Regardless of how hard you work or how much money you have, failing to live life to its fullest does not result in happiness. The important things in life, family love and human accomplishment, are stressed repeatedly in a light-hearted and charming manner that won't easily be forgotten. For this reason, I like to watch it yearly and to make something of an event out of the occasion. It's an 'anti-depressant' of the greatest kind.

The warmly involving story involves two families: The Kirbys and the Sycamores. While the Sycamores are free spirited and endlessly bent on cheerful (albeit simple) living, the Kirbys are a wealthy straight-laced clan in the banking business. Though the two families couldn't be more different, they become linked irrevocably when Alice Sycamore and young Tony Kirby fall in love and hope to get married. The relationship has been kept quiet, with Alice (Jean Arthur) working as Tony's (James Stewart) secretary in his father's office. But as feelings grow intense and Tony's desire to marry Alice becomes more evident, the couple decides that their parents should finally meet for dinner. However, there is more to the link between the families than either of these young folks know. Kirby's company has been attempting to buy out the property of patriarch Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), where he lives w/ the entire Sycamore family, for some time and Vanderhof has flatly refused. The meeting between the families results in some hilarity, some heartbreak, and plenty of fabulous moments that will make you feel that you too should do 'just exactly what you like', even if that means wieners and sauerkraut for dinner or dancing clumsily around the living room.

The acting in this movie is faultless, mainly due to that fail safe casting. Many of these faces have been seen in other Frank Capra movies, and yet they never seem to have difficulty sliding into their respective roles and making an impact in each one. Standout in this movie are Lionel Barrymore as the happy-go-lucky Martin Vanderhof and James Stewart, in one of his first leading roles. The first scene he and Arthur have together is just a cozy perfect example of romance at its best. You can also really feel the sense of loyalty he feels for his domineering father, in spite of their lack of relationship. 'Character Actor Extraordinaire', Edward Arnold, is likewise impressive as Anthony P Kirby, young Tony's father, and makes just as great an impression as he does in 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington', even in this more faceted role. Other great supporting performances come from Spring Byington, an intentionally awkward Ann Miller, and Dub Taylor who all play different yet equally kooky branches of the Sycamore 'tree'.

There isn't a single scene that I feel belonged on the cutting-room floor or a single piece of dialogue that doesn't seem to have some type of profound point behind it. So few movies can make you laugh one minute, cry the next, and never lose that sense of innocent wonder inherent in all of us. Watch it...soon.

My rating: 10/10

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Offer From Lulu's.Com

Far be it from me to deny my readers a dandy discount! Lulu's Online sent me a message asking if I'd like to offer my readers a special code that would guarantee them a site wide discount of 15% between now and December 12th. After perusing their website, I definitely think there are some interesting items to consider. Most of the clothing options are a bit 'young' for me personally, but I am very impressed by the range of their shoes and accessories.

Discount code is FREEMONT and is case sensitive. This offer is good for the US and Canada, only one use per customer please.