Happy Year of the Monkey / 新年快乐! Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t be happier that January is over. Have you ever felt like instead of riding on top the wave of life, you’re getting pummeled by tides? That’s what happened to me in January. While everyone was talking about “starting fresh” and “stepping into 2016 on the right foot,” I was just trying to stay afloat! So, I’ve decided to celebrate Chinese New Year instead – better to start late than never, right? Anyway, all bad analogies aside, here are the five things I most enjoyed last month:
- Red, White & Blue Jacquard Scarf from Zara (on eBay here, similar here): I bought this gorgeous scarf on a complete whim in Zara two summers ago (it’s worth noting that I am completely powerless against a beautiful scarf), and then never wore it. I loved looking at it in my closet, but I never reached for it. That all changed this month when I decided that this scarf went with everything and wore it 10 out of the 31 days in the month. I’m also wearing it as I type this. I’m obsessed.
- Aveda Intensive Hydrating Masque: This mask has been a life saver this month. My skin has turned into a dry, flaky mess in the frigid New York winter, and one application of this a week sincerely helps. Plus, it smells lovely and feels so nice on the skin.
- Urban Decay Naked Skin Powder Foundation: Due to the dry skin issue, liquid foundation has just been awful on my skin – it sits on top, emphasizes dry patches, etc., so instead, I’ve just been swiping on this super smooth powder foundation in the morning. If you’re in the market for a powder foundation, I’d highly recommend this one. I have the shade “Light Neutral,” but there is a wide range to choose from.
- Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara: I’ve written about this mascara before. I love the long, thin wand, and it gives easy, natural length in one coat. What more can you ask for in a mascara?
- theBalm’s Mr. Write Now Eyeliner in Bordeaux: I actually got this in an Ipsy bag, and I wasn’t excited about it at all initially, but I used it the next morning because it was the nearest eyeliner to my hand when I was in a rush in the morning, and wow, did this exceed expectations! Bordeaux is a gorgeous deep brown/purple, and it stays on all day without smudging. Win.
How is everyone this month?
Have you ever had that
first world problem issue where you’re packing for a trip, and your go-to eye look involves three different palettes? You don’t want to bring all three because that’s ridiculous, so you have to settle (or screw it, you just bring all three). Allow me to introduce you to this build-your-own palette from Buxom…
I stopped to swatch these during a recent trip to Sephora, and I can’t tell you how thoroughly impressed I am with the quality of these! Buxom released this build-your-own palette (called the “Eyeshadow Bar“) a little while ago, and I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about these little click-in shadows. They are some of the most pigmented, smoothest, most buttery eyeshadows I’ve ever used. You get a hefty discount if you build the palette all at once, rather than buying single shadows. I had such a hard time choosing – every one of the shades offered here is gorgeous, and I’m pretty sure I swatched 80% of them before picking my six.
I decided to build myself a perfect travel palette, so I picked a mix of warm mattes that make an easy daytime eye (Designer or Die: matte beige, Gimme Gorgeous: matte camel, and Filthy Rich: matte warm brown), as well as three one-wash-wonder shimmers (Gold Status: brass, Mink Magnet: bronze, and Glitz Factor: copper). Sidenote: These are some of the best one-wash shadows I’ve used. They’re so pigmented that they actually look like cream shadows when applied.
The case is sturdy and the shadows snap in securely. Normally, I don’t care about whether a palette has a mirror or not, but in the case that I’m building my perfect travel palette, the big mirror that comes with this one is ideal. This little system is just so handy!
Have y’all tried the Buxom Eyeshadow Bar? What do you think about build-your-own palettes?
I don’t know about you all, but I have had a crazy busy August. Most notably, I got a new job and quit my old one! I couldn’t be more thrilled, but any of you who have gone through this will know: no matter how happy you are about the new job, quitting a job is always extremely stressful. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep this month, so quick and easy was the name of the beauty game for me.
I spent quite a bit of time laying poolside this month – so much so that I actually had to buy new concealer because my old concealer was far too light. I stuck by an old favorite and went with the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard (whereas I’m normally Vanilla). This stuff is awesome. I wore it alone almost every day this month without foundation, so if you splurge on one beauty item, let it be this.
In lieu of foundation, I’ve just been applying a little bronzer and a little highlighter to my cheeks. I received this POPbeauty Bronzer in an Ipsy bag a few months ago, and when paired with a big fluffy brush like the Real Techniques Blush Brush, it gives the perfect glow – not too grey and not too orange. My highlighter of choice these days has been the Jouer’s Highlighter in Tiare, a perfect gold for my warm skin with a tan. I love that it is a pat-it-on-and-go type product.
For the eyes, if I’ve been putting anything on at all, it has been the Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 05 Rosy Brown. A Kiko shop just popped up near where I live, and I picked this little bargain up on a whim. It’s super blendable and multidimensional – it looks like you spent hours on your makeup when you actually spent seconds.
So there you have it for August! What have you been loving this month?
Am I the only one who feels like I only do face masks in the fall & winter? No? Cozying up on the couch with tea, and a luxurious clay-based, exfoliating, or super-moisturizing face mask feels like a mid-January evening, rather than activity for the sweltering heat of a New York City summer. That being said, while my skin may not be peeling from the winter chill, it still needs some love in the heat!
I’ve been using this little duo over the past few months, and they are just so pleasant in the heat. I’ve liked the Perricone MD Chloro Plasma mask for detoxing my skin after a few days of hard workouts or spending a lot of time outside. Sweat can clog pores, and this green wonder-mask helps prevent any issues from this! It’s clay based, but it feels much lighter than any of the charcoal-based ones I tend to reach for in the winter. It goes on light green, and activates to a darker green, and I just love it.
The real star, though, is the Fresh Rose Face Mask. I don’t love floral-scented things, so I have resisted joining the rose-product party that has started over the past year, but this may just render my conversion. It is a lightweight gel that you can apply almost like moisturizer. It has a slight rose scent, and a refreshing cooling-effect on the skin, making it feel clean and balanced afterward.
Neither one is particularly exfoliating, but since I do have a little bit of a summer tan, I haven’t wanted to over-exfoliate anyway. I do love them though and would highly recommend them to all skin types!
Do you use face masks in the summer months?
So, I just got back from vacation with my family. I was absolutely not ready to get back to work after a week on an island (who ever is?), but somehow a little polish on my nails makes me feel a little more put together and a little more ready for Monday! Despite using sunscreen every day, I did still manage to get a little color on the beach. I spent quite a bit of time in a beach chair, drink in hand – not a bad way to spend a week!
Some nail polishes just look better with a tan. Essie’sGrenadine is one of them. It walks the line between bright red and neon coral, and just looks stunning on nails in the summer. If you can’t find Grenadine, Fifth Avenue Red is very similar. By way of nudes, Topless & Barefoot is one of my favorites. It has just the right balance of pink and brown for my skin tone, and it is totally opaque. I know, Blanc is a typical pick, but there’s nothing more fitting for summer than crisp white. It’s a little unexpected, but still office appropriate, which I like! The only downside to white nail polish in general is its propensity to show chips, so I tend to use this for a one or two day occasion and then take it off.
The formula on all of these definitely lives up to Essie’s standard – two coats for opacity – with the exception of Blanc, which may require three if you want super-true white.
What do y’all reach for in the summer?
I have spent the better part of three years on the hunt for the best way to cover undereye circles, as I have unfortunately dark ones. I’ve tried 20+ different concealers, and I can finally say that I think I’ve found the perfect routine. The secret: a peachy corrector to counteract the purple tones, and a few thin layers rather than caking it on. You can see my undereye circles without makeup in the top left picture above. These photos are unedited so you can see the actual results, although you’ll have to pardon the lighting changes – darn cloudy weather.
Step 1: Put on your foundation. I used a beautyblender sponge to apply Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in the shade 150 Buff. This is my favorite drugstore foundation, and I like that it is pretty liquid-y – great for buffing out evenly. The top right picture is foundation only.
Step 2: Pat a peach/pink based corrector under your eye gently, using your ring finger. I love the Bobbi Brown Corrector in the shade Light Peach. Peach counteracts the purple in my skin. If you have cooler skin and bluer undereye circles, you may want to use one with a slightly less orange base – Bobbi Brown offers these in a range of “Bisque” shades for that as well.
Step 3: Set everything with a translucent powder. Since the corrector is pretty thick, it’s important to set it to ensure that you don’t have a creasing issue later in the day. I used the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder, but any will work. You can see the result of just the foundation and the corrector in the bottom left picture.
Step 4: Apply a brightening concealer under the eye and in the corner of the eye socket. Getting that inside corner is the most important part! Nothing brightens up the face like lightening that corner of the eye and nose. I like to buff the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in beneath my eye with a small, sort of fluffy concealer/highlight brush like the MUFE #144. It just lightens everything up, and it covers up any of the corrector that looks unusually orange on my skin. I usually set this part separately with translucent powder as well.
You can see the final result in the bottom right picture. Pretty good, right? What do you guys use for concealing undereye circles? I’m always up for new suggestions!
I have to say that May has been a little bit of a boring month, and ultimately, all that I can remember doing this entire month is working! What a drag. An uninspired life is just not conducive to creativity, so I’m aiming to be a create a little of my own inspiration coming up in June.
I’m all over the board this month with products I haven’t been able to put down – a little hair, a little makeup, a little skin care – but I think the skincare product was my overall favorite this month. GlamGlow SuperMud is everything that everyone makes it out to be; a little harsh, but super effective. My skin just would not quit early in May, and two uses of this mask cleared everything right up. I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this regularly, but it is a great thing to have in your arsenal for those days that are just out of control.
As the weather gets warmer and more humid here in New York, my hair gets bigger and bigger. I got this One ‘n Only Cream-to-Serum Styler in an Allure Beauty Box last year, and I hadn’t even tried it until now. I just run it through my hair before I blow it dry, and I find that it’s fantastic at managing frizz without making your hair feel extremely full of product. I also picked up those adorable H&M Gold Bobby Pins at H&M this month, and I haven’t been able to stop using them. Nothing says “luxe” like unnecessarily cute hair pins.
Last but not least, I couldn’t pick five favorite products without including a few makeup bits. This Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 is my new go-to for foundation. While it does need a little help in the smaller parts of the face, I think it is worth it for how flawless the finish is when you use it. And this cream/powder duo from Tom Ford is so stunning. I have the shade “Naked Bronze,” which includes a glittery gold overlay and a rich bronze cream shadow. I’ve yet to wear this without receiving compliments and questions about what I put on my eyes.
So there you have it! What were your favorites in May?
Oh hey, y’all. As you can see, M is for Melissa got a little makeover, in the form of a new name and an updated layout. I needed a little blogging refresh, and I was just never in love with or proud of the old name. I felt that it was slightly juvenile and not open-ended enough for where I want to take this blog. I picked this name for a few reasons: a) because I like the way it sounds, b) because it leaves the purpose open ended, c) because I was able to reconcile all social media handles (no body has time to remember which handles had an underscore and which didn’t!) and d) because it means a lot to me. They were the first cross streets I lived on when I moved to the crazy city I call home.
Although beauty will always be my bread & butter, I’m looking forward to expanding a little more into lifestyle, as I love to cook, and I think I would enjoy writing about life in the Big Apple. More imporantly, I hope it helps me interact with more readers and more bloggers from around the world.
If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me @HanoverAndPearl or email me at email@example.com.
M is for Melissa is getting a face lift & a new name! I’ve never been in love with this particular name, so this entire website is moving to Hanover & Pearl! I’ll have more background on why I made the switch and what the name means to me once I’ve flipped everything over. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything at all; it will just be an automatic updated, but I wanted to let everyone know. x
You know how some makeup just feels seasonal? Like an oxblood lip for winter, or an orange blush for summer? It is always around this time of year that I pull this rose-gold baby out of the drawer and start getting some use out of her. The apricot-y, peach tones in the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette always scream spring to me.
The formula is obviously fantastic – the swatches above are just one swipe each. Every shade is super pigmented and blends out easily. I get a lot of use out of Dust, that fifth from the right shimmery pink-copper shade, as it is not easily duped in my collection. I also like Mugshot (shimmery taupe, third from right), and Blackheart (all the way to the right) is my favorite eyeshadow to use wet on an angled brush as an eyeliner, as the glitter in this deep plum looks stellar on the eyes. Plus, the packaging is gorgeous, sturdy, and it comes with a big mirror, making it an all-around high-quality palette.
That being said, this is one of my least used palettes. When I reach for mauves and purples, I use the Laura Mercier Artist Palette much more often. I find that I have to put quite a bit of thought into the rest of my makeup in order to keep these pink shades leaning toward super-flattering-new-neutral rather than go-home-you-have-pneumonia. I think this palette is a must-have if you have green eyes because you can’t find a better range of shades to make green eyes pop, but if you have warm/golden/olive undertones, it can be a bit challenging to work with.
Do you have the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette? What do you think?