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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
I’ve picked up a few good beauty bits over the past few weeks that I wanted to share (what with the Sephora VIB Sale, and a promotion at work that gave me 40% off all cosmetics). I feel like my April makeup habits were all about the eyes, thanks in no small part to the majority of these purchases!
Those of you with a blogger’s eye will notice the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette palette right there in the center. I actually just received this from Beautylish (would highly recommend this website to any US readers), so it hasn’t seen much use yet, but the palette is worth it for that bottom left shade alone. I also picked up the recently re-released Laura Mercier Artist Palette from their Holiday 2013 collection – I love having a palette of mauve-y/purples! I don’t have any thing like it in my current collection.
From MAC, I picked up my first matte nude lipstick in the form of Viva Glam II, a pink-based, lighter nude that I find to be very flattering. And from the MAC is Beauty collection, I grabbed two Fluid Lines: Our Secret, a red-based medium brown with shimmer, and Brassy, a yellow-gold. I also picked up the MAC 266 Brush small angle brush to use with these, and so far so good.
Last but not least, I grabbed one of the Milani Gel Powder Eyeshadows in Bella Navy at my local Duane Reade, and while I’m not quite sure about the ‘gel’ part of the name, I’ve found it to be an excellent shade to pop in the crease when transitioning an eyeshadow look from day to night, and you don’t have time to do a full smokey eye.
While it would be silly to purchase products solely for their packaging (which, of course, I’ve never done…), there is a time and a place to admire a beautifully packaged bit of makeup. Who doesn’t want her dressing table to look luxurious and well-curated?
I couldn’t write this post without including the obvious: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick. I have shade 13 Pink in Paris, and this gold packaging really is lovely. It isn’t quite my style, so I don’t actually have this sitting out, but it is so intricate and sweet that I couldn’t help but include it.
In the way of sleeker packaging, NARS nailed it with their NARS Audacious Lipsticks (I have the shade Audrey). Between the magnetic closure and the brushed metal case, it is the epitome of pure luxury. The YSL Fusion Ink Foundation packaging has a very similar feel, with the chic frosted glass and the logo gold cap.
And lastly, I had to throw in a piece from MAC’s Alluring Aquatics collection from last summer (still available on Amazon for absurd amounts of money). I have the Extra-Dimension Eyeshadow in Sea Worship, which was LE, but is being added to the permanent collection soon! This is, hands-down, the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s a shiny aqua plastic with little beads on it that give it a very realistic just-drenched-with-water effect. I have to give it to MAC – they always nail it with their summer packaging.
What has been your favorite cosmetics packaging so far?
Inevitably, as the weather gets warmer, I get excited about updating my wardrobe! Since last spring, I switched careers – from a very professional office to a very creative one, so I’ve been having quite a bit of fun experimenting with new outfits at work! I’m a pretty discerning shopper though, and I typically don’t buy anything if I don’t have the instant urge to want to wear it, like, tomorrow.
I’ve added a few spring pieces recently that I’ve been loving, particularly that little Zara Mini City Office bag in a gorgeous muted blue. I actually purchased this on the spot in a Zara store (rather than researching it online) because it was just too cute. I’m still struggling with how to properly downsize from my normal large leather tote, but I love the idea of carrying a smaller bag. I also picked up those little D’Orsay flats from JustFab this season. My current flats assortment is quite pathetic, so an update was far overdue.
Anyone who has every been shopping with me knows how picky I am about blouses, so the fact that I purchased not one, but three new spring tops is just mind blowing. I’m extremely broad shouldered, so finding tops that are flattering on me can be a challenge. (Any busty, broad shouldered ladies in the house? You feel me, I’m sure.) The first find was that James Perse tee in a super-wearable medium blue (similar here). It fits like a dream, and I can see myself dressing that down with white jeans or up with a patterned skirt. That chambray linen peplum is another great spring blue; despite this shirts unending desire to be wrinkled (linen, grr), I kind of love it! The peplum is subtle, and the exposed zip in the back is a nice little detail. Lastly, I picked up that striped wrap top during a 50% off sale at Ann Taylor, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how flattering and easy this is to wear.
What have you been picking up for your spring wardrobe?
I find that I can use a nude-pink muted blush any time of year, with any makeup look, which has obviously caused an unnecessary accumulation of these in my collection. Dark lip, nude lip, no lip products, these always look great and add such a lovely warmth to your face.
The lightest option is the Rimmel Powder Blush in Santa Rose – a lightened, warm rose with a slight shimmer. This blush was all the rage on beauty blogs last year! Rimmel doesn’t sell their blushes in the US, so I tracked this baby down on FeelUnique and ordered it. Totally worth it.
I won’t ramble too much about Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed, since it’s been written about to death in the beauty world, but it’s a stunning nude-pink that lasts ages when applied. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, go ahead. Jump. You won’t regret it. NARS Douceur is also absolutely lovely, and just ever so slightly more plummy than Exposed, but it was discontinued after I took this picture! I’m excited to see what NARS replaces this classic with!
The most nude of the lot is the Hourglass Ambient Blush in Mood Exposure, a muted, browned mauve, which I have as a part of their blush palette. This is extremely long wearing, and I love the nice radiance it gives when applied. By way of cream options, the Stila Convertible Color in Peony is a slightly dirty warm pink that looks awesome when stippled onto the cheekbones. Bonus: it’s also a great MLBB lip color!
I feel like this post needs very little introduction – some products are just downright intimidating! But, these 5 have turned out amazingly for me, even though I almost didn’t buy any of these because they look so intense at first glance!
Too Shimmery: The first one didn’t photograph too frighteningly, but theBalm’s Mary Lou-Manizer is mighty shimmery in the pan. In fact, it may be mistaken for a pressed glitter compact, but once applied, this sheers out to a gorgeous champagne glow. I’ve yet to find a highlighter quite as natural looking on a variety of skin tones as this one. I’m always wary of glitter on the lips as well, and the NARS Lip Gloss in Orgasm is packed with shimmer. In fact, this one is hideous when applied opaquely (think Malibu Barbie and high heels at the pool); however, when patted on subtly, it adds a gorgeous, subtly nude sheen to any lipstick (or just to your lips!)
Too Orange: The Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Peach can also be a bit bizarre-looking in the pan, as it has a very orange undertone, but it cancels out the purple in under-eye circles better than anything I’ve tried. Once you layer it with a little bit of powder, you can’t possibly tell that it is a few shades darker and warmer than my skin. The NYX Powder Blush in Cinnamon is another little orange wonder. This one is neon in the pan, but when applied, it sort of serves as a blush/bronzer combo, warming up the face without being too loud.
Too Dark: I actually just picked up the Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Cola Pop when it was released a few weeks ago, simply because the color was so intriguing! A burgundy blush? Who buys that? Me, obviously. When applied with a fluffy brush, this blush is a gorgeous, muted, plum – I don’t think I will be using it much in the summer, but I can see myself reaching for it every day next fall and winter!
Have you ever purchased anything that was a bit intimidating in the pan?
So sorry for the late monthly favorites – things have been pretty busy this month, what with my brand launching at work. Although, it was still bitterly cold in New York for most of March, so I spent quite a few nights in with my cat and Netflix. (No shame, and really no excuse haha)
Given how freezing the weather is, Indeed Lab’s Hydraluron Moisture Serum was an obvious skincare favorite. It itself is not hydrating, but it really harnesses the moisturizing properties of any face lotion. I have been relying on it to keep my skin happy this month! Along the same weather lines, I’ve been relying on my Malin & Goetz Mojito Lip Balm instead of lipstick. I’ve nearly used it up already. If I do reach for a lipstick, it’s been the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, a pinky-red that is a rumored Taylor Swift favorite. It’s super matte, but the formula on this is so forgiving and comfortable.
By way of makeup, I discovered the Kevin Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer this month, which I’ve been mixing with my daily lotion to create a great little tinted moisturizer. I have the shade Sx04, which is the right shade, but slightly too yellow for my skintone. It doesn’t bother me too much though, and it makes for a great concealer for my under eye area. How can it be my favorite when it looks entirely new in the photo? Because you need so little product that I can use it over 10 times in a month and still have 99% of the product left. It’s amazing. NARS Blush in Douceur has been a staple of mine all winter as well. It’s a plummy-brown, and it warms up the face in a subtle way (unlike, say, a bronzer). This blush has been discontinued for God-only-knows why, but there are a couple of good dupes for NARS Doucer: try MAC’s Blushbaby, Tarte’s Exposed, Tarina Tarantino’s Neapolitan Lane, or Burberry’s Earthy.
I have one non-beauty favorite this month, and it’s that cute little gold cat case I got for my iPhone! I think it is so cute and unique – I love this bee one too.
Trust me when I say that I’m no Kim Kardashian (or rather, I’m no Mario Dedivanovic – her makeup artist), but I don’t hate the contouring trend circulating lately. I have a few cream contour products, but for a quick, everyday high-cheekbone, I tend to reach for a nice powder contour!
The Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium ($44) was my first foray into the contouring world, and I’ll tell you what; it was a good one! This taupe powder leans grey, which is great for my olive skin. It is extremely pigmented, so it takes some getting used to in order to get the right amount, but it is a spectacular powder. TheBalm’s Bahama Mama Bronzer is a great alternative for the Kevyn Aucoin at a slightly more friendly price point ($20, and you can often find it on sale at Hautelook, etc.). It is slightly less pigmented, so it allows a little more room for mistakes, and it doubles as a very flattering matte eyeshadow.
The Anastasia Contour Kit is an animal all of its own. It has sold out like crazy all over the states, probably because of its versatility! I have the “light to medium” version, and it contains 6 shades, ranging from a shimmery highlighter to a deep bronzer. I really enjoy using the two matte highlighting colors on the top left, but in general, this palette runs a little too orange for me. That being said, the formula is unreal, and it is basically fool proof! I would definitely recommend this little kit to nearly anyone.