Lips: Maybelline's Color Elixir by Color Sensational in "Radiant Bloom" (LE) (Spring 2014 Dare to Go Nude)

Hi everyone! I wasn't sure what post I wanted to write today, but after some thought I decided to test out a new product I picked up this week. I don't like writing reviews on products I try for the first time the same day - mostly because I can't discuss how long they last or how well they perform. This time around, though, I realized a thorough review wasn't necessarily required. Or possible, really.

Maybelline's limited edition spring 2014 collection, Dare to Go Nude, is starting to pop up in the drugstores. What I mainly wanted from this collection was one of the Color Tattoo eye shadows, and I was thrilled to find all of the colors intact at my local Duane Reade. What I didn't expect to pick up, though, was one of their limited edition Color Elixirs in "Radiant Bloom."

Color Elixir by Color Sensational is a new-for-2014 addition to the permanent Maybelline line, and one that I didn't plan to try. I used to be all about lip gloss, but lipstick is my new thing. And I rarely, if ever, find myself purchasing a lip gloss, regardless of how new or exciting it will be. Why? Because I simply won't use it enough.

But when I saw "Radiant Bloom," the only thing that could happen to make me buy a lip gloss was exactly what happened: I saw a color so gorgeous and so up-my-alley that I decided I'd wear it just for that. I've been hearing good things about the Color Elixirs lately anyway, so it couldn't hurt to have one, right?



Empties #1: Skincare Staples

LEFT: Lypsyl's Intense Protection LypMoisturizer
RIGHT: Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream

Hi! Today was finally warm (40's) and semi-sunny but...because of all the ice that's accumulated the past month and a half, the landscape has still been a nuisance with deep puddles everywhere. And ever since I got back from California, my disgust for NYC has only gotten worse, but oh well. Onto the content of today's post!

If you've read some of my other beauty/The Ice Block posts, you may have heard me rant about my skin many, many times before. Over the past 2 years, my skin's sensitivity has gone to a whole new level. It started with heavily chapped, peeling lips, turned into two incidents of a full-face rash, with skin peeling around my eyes, cheeks, chin, and mouth area, and finished with random incidents of dry/itchy/flaky areas specifically near my chin and between my nose and upper lip, as well as random hormonal breakouts (oh the joys of having oily skin THAT STILL FLAKES!) and incidents of hives that turn into dry patches.

In short, my skin has been a war zone. While I still, to this day, have yet to pinpoint the exact cause (except hives, which are always food-related for me), I've managed to find two products that have helped me put up a winning fight against whatever that cause is: Lypsyl's Intense Protection LypMoisturizer and Vivite's Replenish Hydrating Cream.

This is my first "Empties" post and I guess you can call it a combined review of two or more products that I've clearly developed an opinion on. After all, I've used them up completely.


Sarah Addison Allen: Lost Lake

One of the seven limited edition postcards.

Hi! Here is another product I preordered at the end of 2013 for a 2014 release date.

...It seems weird calling a book a "product."

Anyway, when I heard that Sarah Addison Allen, an author I just discovered last year (you can see my review of the only other book I've read of hers here) but whose style I've fallen in love with, was finally having her fifth novel published, I couldn't wait for January 21, 2014 to roll around. My boyfriend preordered it for me as a gift, and I received shortly before my trip to California. As such, it was the book I took with me for my flight.

After reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and the backs of the other few books Allen has published, I knew Lost Lake was the book I wanted to read on my trip to and from California. I knew I'd be sad and restless, and I knew that her books are ones with refreshing, warm, and comforting stories spread across the pages. I wanted to bring a book whose story would distract me from the emotions I would feel - a book that would pull me into another life.

Allen's work thus far has managed to do just that, and I'm happy to share my thoughts on this new novel with you. Since it's more often than not inevitable for book reviews to be scarce in pictures, I'm also happy to say that upon the preorder availability of Lost Lake, Allen's website sent out an email that mentioned a neat bonus for those who did choose to preorder the novel: the submission of a preorder receipt and some basic information gave readers a chance to receive a set of limited edition postcards (such as the one above) with artwork from the novel. Please enjoy the pictures of these postcards throughout my review!


Face: Milani's Coming Up Roses Powder Blush in "Flora Passion" (LE)

Of all makeup products, I think the category I have the least experience with is 'face.' Even though my eye makeup skills are fairly mediocre, I at least have an idea of how everything is supposed to be. When it comes to face makeup, my knowledge stops at BB cream - mostly because handling my skin is like walking on thin ice.

But lately I've been branching out in terms of face makeup, and aside from finally figuring out the method of application that works best for BB creams/foundations, I've also finally started playing with blush. The first blush I used - which is what I call my 'comfort zone' blush - is a baked blush from the drugstore brand Milani. For today, though, I'll be reviewing a different blush from one of their limited edition collections: the Coming Up Roses Powder Blush, in the color "Flora Passion." This collection was actually released last year, but it seems appropriate to review the product now because these blushes will be available again for the upcoming spring.

::UPDATE: Nouveau Cheap recently posted information about this year's collection here. All four colors are brand new. "Flora Passion" is not being released again, however the actual Coming Up Roses Powder Blush product is being released, in 4 new colors.::

I'll be reviewing my Milani baked blush eventually, but for now I thought it'd be best to get this review up for those that missed the collection or are hearing about it for the first time and are curious about the product color/texture/performance.


Lips: MAC's Lipstick in "Hug Me" (Lustre)

Hello! Second post of the day, wee! I have pictures for a lot of posts, actually, since I've been gone for a while. Anyway, here is a post on another MAC lipstick. Hurray (I guess?) for falling into the majority for once and enjoying MAC lipsticks the most. They've grown on me as I've tried colors across their board of available finishes. Today I'm reviewing "Hug Me," one of their lustre finishes.

Up to this point, the cremesheen finish has been my favorite of MAC lipstick finishes - you can see my very first MAC review here. "Hug Me" isn't the first lustre I've bought (it's the second, if you want to be precise), but it is the lustre that made me give lustre finishes a second look. And now, after trying more lustres from a recent color collection, I think it's a finish that ties for favorite. I'm extremely excited to review the lipsticks from the new collection, but I wanted to write a review for the lustre finish in general first, using a color from the permanent line.

While "Hug Me" isn't the most interesting color - nor is it my favorite by any means - it is my go-to, most used lip color, as you will see in just a bit.

Sakamoto Maaya: Be mine!/SAVED (LE) + External Bonus (02/05/14)

Last Wednesday, February 5, 2014, Sakamoto Maaya released her newest single(s), yay! Not surprisingly, I preordered my limited edition copy back in, oh I don't know, December or so, and I finally picked it up from the post office this past Saturday. I had it shipped to California, since I was there during the release and didn't want to wait 'til I got home to open it, haha.

You might be wondering why I say newest "single(s)," and I'll clarify that now: technically speaking, Sakamoto released two singles last Wednesday. But, when it boils down to it, the only difference between the singles is the official single title - Be mine!/SAVED for one, and SAVED/Be mine! for the other - the arrangement of the tracks, and the anime artwork sleeves. Otherwise they're identical, down to the limited edition extras.

You do not need to own both, content-wise. The only reason to order both is to own both sets of anime artwork, as the two main tracks are from different anime. But that is wasteful in my opinion, hence why I only purchased one.

The differences could have been slightly more interesting, but whatever. I can only see one logical point as to why this decision was made - and I'll get into that briefly later - but, besides that, I'll never understand the marketing behind it.

Anyway, so the copy I decided to pick up was Be mine!/SAVED, purely because "Be mine!" is the opening song for an anime and "SAVED" is the closing song for another anime. It chronologically fit.