Disappointing Products #1: Benefit They’re Real Liner

Today I’m coming at you with a bit of a disappointing product. While it doesn’t happen all the time, even the most tried and true beauty addicts aren’t safe from picking up a dud every once in a while.

Unfortunately, this one came from one of my favorite make-up brands, which stung even worse. The Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner was promoted as an extension of the oh- so-famous (and fabulous) They’re Real Mascara and promised foolproof application and longevity.

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Now, the longevity part is very true. When I tried this product for the first time, it was applied by a super nice saleslady at my local Benefit counter and looked gorgeous. However, when I tried to remove the liner at the end of the day with my regular routine of Bioderma and a creamy cleanser, it did not budge. While I appreciate good staying power in a product, this Benefit offering hung around a bit too well and I was left with a hefty stack of dirty cotton pads and black flaky bits all over my face (and sheets).

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Also, I didn’t find the rubber nib to glide as  easily over the lids as it did in the make-up artists much more capable hands. The nib dragged and the product itself got stuck due it’s thick consistency, making for a jagged and uneven line and a huge amount of wasted product.

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I think that if you’re a liner pro, you would be able to work with the Push Up Liner just as well as with any other formula. For me however, a felt-tip liquid or even a gel liner and brush combo is much easier to handle and certainly allows for more control. While I think the concept of a gel liner in pen form is pretty cool, I don’t really believe it works out in practice.

So, if you have any suggestions on how to make better use of this liner or recommendations for other liners to check out, feel free to leave them in the comments – I might be converted into rocking bold liner after all!

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Nars Tinted Moisturizer – Good Skin in a Tube

Ealier this year, when I finally managed the treck to a Nars counter, I took the opportunity to get matched for the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. Ever since then, I’ve hardly been able to put this tube of goodness down.

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While I initially thought that the color Alaska would be a good match for me, I found that, actually, the second lightest tone called Finland was perfect for my year-round pasty skin. According to the Nars website, there are 11 shades to choose from, ranging from an almost off-white to a dark mahogany color, so matching shouldn’t be a problem. However, since the coverage of this product is surprisingly high, I suggest to make sure the shade-match is as spot on as possible.

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In terms of finish, the product is wonderfully moisturizing and leaves a dewy sheen on the skin without looking sweaty. Applied with fingers (which I prefer over a brush in this case), it provides a nice, even base that – with a few dabs of concealer – makes for a perfect everyday foundation. The scent of this is also heavenly – creamy with a hint of citrus, it smells super fresh and clean. If you’re sensitive to scents, fear not, this is not one that lingers forever or is extremely overpowering.

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As you can tell from the swatch above, the shade I chose does pull very yellow in tone, but for my perpetually ruddy skin, this is actually a good thing. It evens out flushed patches nicely without looking thick or overly done up.

All in all, this one is definitely a winner and even though I thought that I would primarily using it in the summer, the Nars Tinted Moisturizer has been seeing me through this particularly moody fall very well.

Music Monday #1: La Dispute – Rooms of the House

As the year slowly but surely comes to a close, there have been a few records that have really stood out to me this year. La Dispute’s Rooms of the House has shot straight to the top of my list shortly after its release and has remained a firm favorite of 2014.

I’ve been obsessed with (post-)hardcore since my teenage years, so it is no surprise that over time, I discovered Michigan-bred La Dispute and their unique, hard-hitting sound and brutally honest lyrics. While I have liked enjoyed releases such as their 2011 record Wildlife in passing, there has been something about their latest album that stopped me dead in my tracks.

After copious listening sessions, I think I have pinpointed why this album touches me the way it does.

The album’s concise and super-tight instrumentation grabs you by the throat (though not as hard as earlier releases) and does only let up occasionally, allowing you small gasps of air that punctuate the track list with moodier, slower songs like the renditions of ‘Woman (In Mirror)’ and ‘Woman (Reading), or the closing track ‘Objects in Space’. Spoken word pieces like these highlight Jordan Dryer’s frighteningly accurate observations of everyday life, making ordinary actions and interactions the focus of his lyrics and bringing forward the intricacies of human relationships.

These observations are off-set by the extraordinary event of a bridge collapsing, a motif that comes up again and again and marks the topic of the more frantic, hard hitting and eerie songs like ’35’ or ‘Hudsonville, MI 1956’. Other songs like ‘First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice’ and ‘For Mayor in Splitsville’ intersperse seemingly autobiographical snippets that provide the connection between commonplace occurrences and the catastrophic accident through Dryer’s ruminations on smaller but similarly striking events.

What makes this album so special to me is the accuracy with which ordinary lives are presented in the face of an extraordinary event. Along with the discernably post-hardcore aesthetic the band provides, this record manages to convey a feeling of urgency, panic, and reflection that resonates with the observant listener and – at best – stays with them much longer than eleven songs.

Recently #2

For no apparent reason, the last few weeks have been a bit of a toughie. I haven’t really been feeling up to snuff physically (and mentally), so my already substantial workload seemed insurmountable and left me feeling a bit worse for wear.

In an effort to turn things around, I started this week with a concise to do-list that helped me gain some perspective, which, combined with a visit from a dear friend, did the trick and made me feel myself again.

 

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Seeing as I was in desperate need of some TLC, I treated myself to some nice pieces of home ware, like this cute little box and the beautiful (and signed!) John Green print from DFTBA Records.

 

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Fall has been in full swing, so it was only right to dig up my favorite autumnal record of all times – Brand New’s Deja Entendu. I don’t know why, but this album always gives me visions of stately New England college campuses and walking through crisp and crunchy fall leaves. Having been first released in 2003, it also reminds me of my teenage years and how stoked I was to find music that meant so much to me during my formative years (as it still does).

 

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Finally, fall seems to be birthday season, so I have been sneaking leftovers to my place like there’s no tomorrow. This was a particularly yummy slice of my auntie’s cheesecake, which was devoured on a dreary monday night.

 

To see more of what I have been up to, you can also follow me on Instagram.

 

Fall Edit: Diptyque Orange Chai

Fall is well on it’s way and much like everyone else, I am trying to make my home super comfortable and cozy with warm colors, heavy knits and – of course – candles.

I must have felt very splurge-y last winter when I picked up this dinky little Diptyque offerning called Orange Chai. I have always been attracted by their clean branding and sophisticated scents, but Diptyque’s prices really do make a student’s wallet weep. So I opted for the smaller version of this fall/winter candle and what can I say? It has been love ever since.

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The scent is super warm and spicy, blending citrusy flavors with more earthy, festive tones. The nice thing about this candle is that it really fills a room quickly with its scent, so you don’t have to burn it forever to get an effect (especially if you are as sensitive to smells as good old migraine-prone me…). And obviously, the jar itself is a looker, straying from the usual black and white design of the candles and offering a very cute and fall-appropriate pop of color.

I am not sure on whether this is still available (I’ve checked the official Diptyque site, which says no, but I’ve seen it in several department stores’ online shops) but I had to give a shoutout to this cold month-staple.

New In: Kiehl’s Micro-Blur

Last weekend, I mooched around the beauty hall of a nearby city, ready to reward myself for a successfully taken test earlier in the day. My eyes landed on the Kiehl’s counter and since I’ve had good luck with their products in the past, I decided to try out something new from them.

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My money went towards the Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, which is marketed as a treatment/primer-hybrid. Since I have dispensed the last drops of my Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer weeks ago (and the hefty price tag and inconvenient packaging have kept me from repurchasing), I was in need of a new primer to keep my slightly oily t-zone in check and the promises of better skin with frequent use lured me in completely.

I have applied the product today for the first time (under the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer – I’ll save the rave on this for another day) and though I cannot comment on the skincare properties, I does look and feel very nice. The product, which dispenses as a caramel-colored cream, goes onto the skin with a slight silicone-y feel that offers a natural but matte and smooth canvas for foundation. There is no change in color, so I am not sure what the tint is about, but it seems to even out the tone of the skin somewhat.

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I kept my routine the same except for this and after 7 hours of wear, the make-up on the middle of my face (where it fades the quickest) does appear to be holding up more nicely than usual. So while it is not the primary claim of the product to mattify the skin and add longevity to your make-up, I would totally vouch for that effect. So far, I am impressed.

And even if there’s no visible improvement to my skin’s texture or appearance with this product, I think I’ll be quite happy keeping this in my make-up stash instead of my skincare shelf.