Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Update on Me

Oooooooh boy. I've been wavering on posting an update like this because I don't do a ton of personal posts and I wasn't sure exactly how things would shape up, but it seems it's time I poke my head up and fill you lovelies in.

For some reason, since the beginning of the year things have been insane. Between my family (my boys and Hubs) and my extended family (siblings and mom), so much has gone on just since Christmas that my head is still reeling. I feel like right now is the tipping point for so many things (things I'm not going to get into great detail about) as well as the transitional period for other things. For example, for those of you that follow me on twitter you may or may not know that I have a younger brother who happens to be special needs. I've been very involved in his education for a long time now (given my background working in this field and of course having grown up as his older sibling) and it's a struggle. It's a struggle for any family that advocates for their special needs family member--trust me. We're currently seeking new placement for him as his current placement has proved to not be what we need for him after 3 years and it's a battle for many reasons. This is taking a lot of time out of my life between meetings I attend alongside my mom in my home state (I drive down for them), phone conversations with my mom discussing upcoming or past meetings, etc. Additionally, we have some medical concerns about one of my sons (my older guy) that we're addressing that will take time to get past one way or the other. Then there's a billion other things on top of "normal" life stuff and work. As a result, Hubs and I are running around like crazy 24/7.

It's sad to say, but my blog has had to take a backseat on many occasions because in the grand scheme of things, family comes first. I want so badly to be able to continue to connect with you all as frequently as possible, but it's just not always possible. Hopefully this won't inspire most of you to stop visiting my blog now and again even though I probably won't be posting daily for a while. I have some upcoming posts I'm pretty excited about that I think you'll enjoy along with a giveaway I'm going to hold on my blog's facebook page, so definitely watch for that!

Hubs and I are still dedicated to continuing to develop and expand Beauty Pop Shop and our nail polish racks as well as his carpentry company--Blockhead Designs. We've gotten such a great response and been so well received from the get-go, which has been amazing!

I guess I'm just having to prioritize a bit more than usual, which is kind of nutty given how crazy my life was before all of this "extra" stuff erupted. I wanted to let you all know so that you don't wonder or feel let down that I'm not quite as active as I have been for the last year. My goal is to eventually get to that place, but life has this crazy way of having a mind of its own. All I can think of right now is the song...

Que sera sera,
Whatever will be, will be,
The future's not ours to see,
Que sera sera,
What will be, will be...

I guess that's where I'm going to stop my rambling for tonight. I've got to get up and get ready early tomorrow to drive down to Mass for another meeting for my brother that is pretty critical. I hope you are all doing well and that 2012 is treating you well! Hopefully I'll "see" you around and maybe connect with you on facebook or twitter.

Night!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Kaia Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths

Hello, lovelies! I know it's been a little while since my last post, but if you follow me on twitter you know I was taking a little break because one of my younger sisters came to stay with us for the week! It's been awesome having her here--and it's a major plus that she loves beauty/makeup as much as I do. ;)

Kaia Naturals was lovely enough to send these facial cleansing cloths to me a little while ago and I've been testing them out since. As you all know, I have extremely sensitive skin and I prefer natural products whenever possible, but I don't think that using natural products should mean settling for lower performance. To me, Kaia Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths are the perfect example of a natural product that is comparable if not better than the typical products on the shelves. I also think it's fun that these were designed in Canada and are produced in the US--yay for collaborations!

This photo was pulled from Kaia Natural's website and does not belong to me. I wanted to give you lovelies a product picture, but as I received sample packaging (which I don't like to take pictures of in most cases as it doesn't accurately portray the full-size version you'd purchase) I thought it would be nice for you guys to see the packaging this comes in.
I used these cleansing cloths over the course of 1.5 weeks on days I wore heavier eye makeup. To me, the mark of an excellent makeup removing cloth is its ability to remove even the heaviest of waterproof/smudgeproof/budgeproof eye makeup! I'm happy to say, not only did these cleanse my face without irritating my sensitive skin, but these were actually able to remove even the toughest waterproof makeup I wore. For those of you that use Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes pencil liners you probably agree that those can take a bit of extra removal to fully clean off. These cloths removed my liner far better than the drugstore makeup removing cloths I've used in the past! My waterproof mascara (I layer 2 on--one for volume, one for length) came off easily as well.

These do have a scent to them that is noticeable but not unpleasant--it reminds me of fruit punch! Again, these facial cleansing cloths did not irritate my overly sensitive skin at all, but I definitely suggest using a facial moisturizer after if you have slightly dry skin like I do after a long, harsh winter.

One last thing I want to point out is the size of these cloths. I'm assuming that the samples I received are identical in size to the ones that come in the full-size packaging. They are a tiny bit smaller than some of the drugstore brands' makeup removing cloths, but I also want to mention that even at a slightly smaller size, I was able to remove all of my eye makeup and cleanse my face with 1 cloth!

Price
These are priced at $17.99 retail here in the US.

Where to Buy
Kaia Naturals offers a list of places you can purchase these in the US on their site HERE. When I purchase these again, I'll probably purchase from either drugstore.com or thenaturalonline.com. I wish these were sold locally!

Final Thoughts
I am absolutely impressed with these cleansing cloths! I love that they're 99% natural, biodegradable, paraben-free, sulfate-free, alcohol-free, and free of synthetic fragrance. But above all, I love how well they work! They're also nice and soft, which is important to me because I hate rubbing my skin in general, but I absolutely cannot stand using something that feels like sandpaper to do it with! Even though their price tag is a bit higher than drugstore makeup removing cloths, my opinion is that they're worth it because of how effective and natural they are. I would rather spend a little more and not bathe my face in chemicals that destroy and irritate my skin. And you know how sensitive my skin is, if I find something that work for me without irritating my face I'm all over it! 

Have you tried Kaia Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths? What did you think?     

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Supporting a Great Cause - This Dog Rescue Organization Needs a Van!

I grew up with an animal-lover for a mom and as a result, I am definitely one myself. Hubs and I have fostered in the past and we're actually currently on the list of fosters for a large rescue, but they never seem to have fosters in our area ironically. Anyway, I first noticed Pooches On The Move several years ago when a friend of ours was looking for a rescue puppy to adopt. I loved that they did runs from other states completely overwhelmed by dogs that needed saving to us up here in New England. We have pretty strict laws up here regarding how many dogs you can own, vaccinations, etc., but in other states similar laws don't exist or they're not able to enforce them to the same degree so kill shelters end up busting at the seams with poor pups on death row--makes me shudder to think about it. I grew up with a rescue dog as a pet and he was the most amazingly intelligent dog I've ever owned--sorry Shadow, we love you unconditionally, but you're a Golden and a little dopey. ;) We've actually been thinking about adopting a second pup now that Shadow's 3 to be his companion ... and mine too of course!

Anyway, I just noticed that Pooches On The Move is currently raising money so that they can buy a Sprinter Van. In the past they've used rentals, but due to mechanical issues they've had to deal with (never good with a load of pups eagerly awaiting new homes) they're trying to raise the money to purchase their own. I think they deserve their own, don't you?

You can support Pooches On The Move's efforts to raise funds to purchase a Sprinter Van through their page on SmartyPig.

You can also read more about what they do and who they are on their site HERE.

Disappointment: BeautyTicket.com 5 for $10 Prestige Sale

You guys know I don't like to post "rant" posts often, but anytime I have a bad experience that I feel is significant or that is connected to a past post I've done suggesting a brand, company, or product in any way I always feel responsible to let you know what my experience has been.

I've been subconsciously putting off this post because I was so disappointed and frustrated by the time I finally received a response from BeautyTicket.com that I wanted to wash my hands of the whole thing. I had mentioned the BeautyTicket.com  sale not too long ago and ended up purchasing 2 of the 5 for $10 Prestige bundles myself. I first became acquainted with BeautyTicket.com after watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, as Taylor Armstrong was brought on as the creative director and received an award due to her participation in the company--this was filmed during the show. The site reminded me of allcosmeticswholesale.com, which I've purchased from before and had a great experience with. I haven't purchased from them since their merge with Suite7Beauty.com, so if you have please share your experience below!

The description for the sale stated that only up to 3 sale bundles could be purchased and that you would receive a random assortment of 5 full-size prestige products, which that may include brands like "MAC, Urban Decay, Bliss, etc." according to their original description. As I'm sure you've gathered, I'm a much bigger fan of higher-end cosmetics in general for several reasons, so this really sparked my interest. I understood they were using those brands as examples of the caliber of products I'd receive.

Here is the link to the 5 for $10 prestige beauty sale page, but in case it goes down here's the description of the sale of which I've taken a screenshot from the site (click it to enlarge)...


I purchased 2 of the bundles and was shocked to find that they shipped within a couple days! Now, that's fast. When the box got here I was beyond excited to see what I'd gotten and dove right in.

Inside the box were 2 bundles like this and a loose product. One bundle held 5 products and the other held 4, with the 5th being the loos product in the box that was probably not included in the goody-bag sized bundles because of its size.

What I Received
In the 2 bundles I purchased, I received the following...

Bundle 1
Bundle 1 (clockwise starting at the top): Martini Mini Cream polish, Milani Glitzy gloss in Endulging (was this a play on words or was Milani having a bad spelling day?), MOR Belladona Body Butter, Jelly Pong Pong lip sorbet in Sugared Pear, Jelly Pong Pong Love Rouge lip/cheek duo

My Thoughts on Bundle 1
When I first opened this package the first thing that stuck out to me was the Milani lip gloss. Milani is by no means considered a prestige brand to my knowledge, in fact it happens to be a very budget-friendly drugstore brand. To me, this shouldn't have been included in something that was advertised as "prestige beauty". The second thing I noticed was that I received 2 Jelly Pong Pong items in this one bundle. While I obviously expected that there could potentially be some overlap, I was hoping it would be between bundles, not within the same bundle. Not a huge deal, but just an observation. Also, I received 2 "mini" products (as described by their brands)--the Nailtini in Cream and MOR body butter. The sale didn't state that items might be mini, so perhaps they didn't realize that it gave the reader (or at least me) the impression that items would be full-size. Lastly, I noticed that the majority of makeup products I received were not really ones I'd liken to Urban Decay, MAC, etc. I understood that we wouldn't necessarily get those brands, but BeautyTicket.com sells Jelly Pong Pong and Nailtini products, so why not mention them as well?

Here are sites for some of the products I received (I couldn't find the lip sorbet on the Jelly Pong Pong site so it may no longer be available):
Jelly Pong Pong
MOR Belladona Body Butter
Nailtini
Milani

Bundle 2
Bundle 2 (clockwise from top): Bourjois Petit Guide de Style, Jelly Pong Pong lip sorbet in Buttercream, Nailtini polish in Velvet Fizz, Jelly Pong Pong Lo-Lip-Pop in Grape Sherbert, Models Prefer cream shadow/mini liner in unknown shade.
 My Thoughts on Bundle 2
Again, I received 2 Jelly Pong Pong and 1 Nailtini product in this bundle, but at least the Nailtini I received this time was full-size (this one was .5 fl oz while the mini above was only .25 fl oz). The Models Prefer cream shadow was probably what surprised me most of everything in this bundle. Not only did it not have a safety seal of any kind, but it was simply placed in an open sleeve. 

My major issue with the Models Prefer cream shadow. The fact that it had no safety seal was an issue, but the fact that to my knowledge Models Prefer hasn't sold products in the US in a while concerns me. Makeup, like just about everything else, expires so is this really safe to use?

Websites for the products above (as you can see on the Models Prefer website mentions the shift to ybf)...
Jelly Pong Pong
Bourjois Paris - couldn't get the US site to load
Nailtini
Models Prefer

BeautyTicket.com's Response to My Concerns
Once I had received my products and found that I had some concerns I immediately emailed the company through their site (February 4). I waited a couple days and did not receive a response so I sent them another message, again through their site. I received no response, so finally on February 8th I tracked down their direct email and messaged them my concerns. This is what I wrote...


To begin, I received a Milani lip gloss, which is absolutely not a prestige product, but rather a cheap drugstore brand. Was this a mistake or did you actually put drugstore products in with the prestige items?

Second, I received mostly products from Jelly Pong Pong, in fact 2-3 of the 5 products I received in both bundles were Jelly Pong Pong. You mentioned that examples of brands that might be included were Urban Decay, MAC, etc. Did anyone receive products from those actual brands or similar brands? All of the brands I received, with the exception of the Models Prefer liquid shadow were UK brands, which would have been fine as I use a great deal of international products, if the brands mentioned didn't give buyers the impression they could expect currently popular, well-known brands.

I received a deluxe-size Martini nail polish. The sale description said 5 full-size prestige cosmetics. Was this an oversight?

I received a Models Prefer liquid eyeshadow. Models Prefer was a QVC brand prior to their lawsuit against QVC back around 2008. After which they changed over to YBF at that time and started a new range of home shopping network beauty products. Given how old this would have to be in order to be a Models Prefer product, is it customary to send out such outdated and potentially expired products?

Lastly, several of the products I received did not come with a safety seal or packaging of any kind. Is that normal for the products you send out?

This was their response... 
 
Dear DJ Murphy,
We appreciate that not everyone gets exactly what they wanted in our 5 for $10 promotion but we stand behind the offering as a fun way to try new brands and products at ridiculously low prices.  We also suggest you check the accuracy of your information as we believe some of your statements are inaccurate.
Thank you for shopping at BeautyTicket.com we sincerely appreciate your business.
Best Regards
VIP Customer Care
BeautyTicket.com
Your VIP Pass to Beautiful Deals
My Reaction
As you can see, they didn't even address a single one of my questions or concerns. By the time I wrote this email I was pretty aggravated, so getting a response like this did not make me feel any better. Like I said above, I kind of pushed this post off because I couldn't deal with going over it again right then. As far as checking the accuracy of some of my information, I did quite a bit of research regarding the Models Prefer product I received (which is what I'm assuming that statement they made was over). Here's what I found...

The story of what happened to Models Prefer cosmetics - This link includes an explanation with a link to the actual court docket regarding the suit.

Here's a direct link to the court docket for the suit.


Here's the Models Prefer site, which obviously shows it's transitioned to ybf.

Here's a conversation thread back in 2008 about Models Prefer cosmetics being gone and relaunching.

Here's Stacy Schieffelin's profile on HSN's site under ybf beauty.

If they were questioning the accuracy of my statement regarding Milani being a drugstore brand, well first of all that would be silly since we all know it is, but just to prove I'm not nuts here's Milani's "store locator" page on their site. Um, is it safe to say this is a drugstore brand?

Where to buy Milani according to Milani.

Final Thoughts
I thought it was interesting that I received both MOR and Bourjois in my bundles, but nothing similar to MAC, Urban Decay, or Bliss in my opinion. I also still have an issue with a Milani lip gloss being passed as "prestige beauty". To be honest, I was super disappointed with so many different things--the reaction to my honest inquiry being the icing on the cake--that I cannot see myself purchasing from BeautyTicket.com or recommending that anyone else do the same. If they had simply responded cordially to my email and addressed a few of the issues I raised, even if they didn't like what I had to say, I would have felt differently. I am always blown away by poor customer service, especially when it comes to beauty/luxury companies. At the end of the day, I think everyone should absolutely make their own decision based on their experience, research, etc., so I'm not telling you not to purchase from them--that choice is yours. I simply wanted to accurately relay my opinion and my experience for you since I notified you of their sale in a paste blog post.

The opinions stated in this post are completely my own based on my own experience, it is your choice as to whether or not you support this company.

Friday, February 17, 2012

GUD by Burt's Bees - Why I will never use it

I want to preface this by stating that I am a firm believer that everyone should do what is best for them based on their own experience, beliefs, and comfort levels. I also want to mention, for anyone new to my blog, that I am personally a fan of truly natural and organic products/ingredients, so this is the mindset with which I write this post. 

I'm sure you've heard by now that Burt's Bees (which might I add was purchased by Clorox back in 2007) has launched a new brand called "GUD". They're marketing these products as natural and healthy for you. The packaging is attractive and modern, which is one of the reasons I'm guessing Clorox launched this new brand--to bring in a younger, new-to-natural crowd.

Burt's Bees was originally created by 2 individuals right here in New England, in Maine. They used amazing, natural products and even used recycled packaging when possible. Then Clorox purchased them and I started to keep a very watchful eye on the ingredients and new products that were released. I knew it was only a matter of time before red flags started going off and seeing this new brand launch was it for me.

I actually saw these products in-store before I heard about them, ironically. I was in Target and noticed the display. I grabbed a few bottles and immediately looked at the ingredients, but I suspected by the un-eco-friendly looking packaging that my concerns were probably true. After all, I see very few truly natural companies that put plastic on absolutely everything. Sure enough, my concerns proved accurate.

GUD Natural Body Lotion

For example, the lotions are full of natural ingredients (though I'm not sure how they're sourced and since they're not all organic there's a chance they may be grown with chemical help), but one of the first ingredients listed is "fragrance". For anyone well-versed in cosmetic ingredient lingo, this is an umbrella term used to describe chemical components (and it can be many, many different components) used to provide scent to a product. The FDA allows cosmetics companies to use the term "fragrance" so that they aren't forced to reveal their exact perfume formulas. Also, cetearyl glucoside is an emulsifier that can be naturally or synthetically derived, but either way it is processed.

Here are the ingredients for the Floral Cherrynova Natural Body Lotion, taken from the actual site...

Ingredients: water, cetearyl glucoside, fragrance, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), cetyl alcohol, tapioca starch, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glycerin, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, phenoxyethanol, hyssopus officinalis extract*, juglans nigra (black walnut) leaf extract*, melissa officinalis leaf extract*, rosa canina fruit extract*, rubus idaeus (raspberry) leaf extract*, tocopherol, cetearyl alcohol, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, citric acid, glycine soja (soybean) oil, alcohol denat. *Organic.

GUD Natural Shampoo

The shampoos, while SLS-free, do contain Sodium Coco-Sulfate, which is believed by the green community to be almost as strong a detergent as SLS. Also, SLS and Sodium Coco-Sulfate are often processed through a similar process (though both coconut derived), so many people avoid it as well. Also, the shampoos contain fragrance, yet again. You can see the rest of the ingredients for yourself.

Here are the ingredients for the Floral Cherrynova Natural Nourishing Shampoo, taken from the actual site...

Ingredients: water, sodium coco-sulfate, sodium bis-hydroxyethylglycinate coco-glucosides crosspolymer, oryza sativa (rice) extract, fragrance, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, glycerin, betaine, hibiscus sabdariffa flower*, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf extract*, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract*, thymus vulgaris (thyme) leaf extract*, urtica dioica (nettle) leaf extract*, origanum vulgare leaf oil*, thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil*, sodium lauroyl lactylate, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, lauryl lactyl lactate, polyglyceryl-4 caprate, sodium chloride, disodium cocoyl glutamate, potassium sorbate, lactic acid, xanthan gum, sodium polyaspartate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, hydrolyzed jojoba protein, arginine, leuconostoc ferment filtrate, ascorbic acid, citric acid, alcohol denat. *Organic.

GUD Natural Foaming Hand Wash

Lastly, moving on to the foaming hand wash, this contains fragrance and alcohol denat. (aka denatured alcohol). From what I understand, denatured alcohol is simply alcohol that is not going to be used for consumption so the FDA requires a denaturant to be added to make it taste awful. Alcohol not only dries your skin, but it can easily irritate it. I prefer to avoid it in products I use on my body as much as possible.

Here are the ingredients for the Floral Cherrynova Natural Foaming Hand Wash, taken from the actual site...

Ingredients: water, coco-glucoside, fragrance, polysorbate 20, sodium chloride, glycerin, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract*, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel*, hippophae rhamnoides fruit extract*, silybum marianum extract*, citric acid, potassium sorbate, alcohol denat. *Organic.

Final Thoughts
As you can see, there are several reasons I don't personally feel these should be considered natural products and several reasons why I won't be trying these out. I'm a bit disappointed that so many people seem so entranced by the greenwashing of the marketing for these products, but then again, it's not uncommon to see companies pull this. Again, whether or not you choose to use these products or feel these ingredients are a problem is absolutely your personal choice. I simply want to point out that to me, natural products should actually be natural. As I believe that everyone should make an educated choice for themselves, I wanted to make sure a more natural point of view was voiced since I've seen so many others singing the praises of the natural factor of these products.

The choice is yours ;)   

Happy Friday! - Personal Post

Hey, lovelies, it's Friday! Normally I'd do a Drugstore Friday post, but things have been so busy I haven't had time to properly review any new drugstore products, so I'd rather not throw something up just to fill space. This post is just a quick note to say hi and to let you know a little about what's going on for me right now. It's not makeup related so if you're not interested in my personal life you may want to skip this post haha!

I'm not going to go into too much detail, but with the success we've seen with our nail polish racks, Hubs and I have felt a real renewed energy to really invest in his (technically mine too I suppose) design company--Blockhead Designs. We've been designing and building furniture and custom pieces for almost as long as we've been married, but finding the right niche in an area where woodworking is anything but rare (we have way too much lumber up here in New England) can be hard. Competition is fierce and like with most things, smaller companies can be overlooked for cheaper, mass-marketed products. Hubs isn't quitting his full-time job, but we've been dedicating much of our "free" time to finding new mills to work with (it can take some time to find the right ones, but we've found a couple we love), work on some new designs, play with some new techniques, etc. Obviously the long-term goal is to grow, but in an uncertain economy I'm not jinxing myself by saying anything more on that front!

I have to mention that I'm not a huge Americana-type and I don't tend to want to build pieces expected of us here in Colonial-country. I prefer modern lines and finishes in general, so our designs definitely reflect that most of the time. I also like thick and block-y as well, so I suppose my personal taste and designs tend to be a mix. I mentioned on twitter earlier that my arms and upper body are dying today, which is because I spent over an hour yesterday sanding butcher block Hubs and I have been working on! It has been a long-time goal for both of us to incorporate butcher block into our line of products and designs and we've finally made the move this year to do it--woohoo!

Anyway, that's part of why my posts have been a little bit spaced out. Between driving all over creation looking at mills, wood, etc.; building; designing; trying out different finishes and paints; and researching we've not had a moment to sit still in a while! Add the sickness that we keep getting into the mix and there you have it--complete business ;) I suppose it didn't help that I'd eaten wheat 3 days in a row and ended up with a massive migraine that wouldn't quit. Obviously that had to end!

So there you have it, a little window into my crazy life! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I'd love to hear about any fun or exciting projects you're all working on, too :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sale Alert!: My beloved Sugarpill is having a sale!!!

I am so excited and glad I hopped on Facebook for a moment to take a minute away from work because I just saw that Sugarpill is having a birthday sale February 14 at midnight until February 15 at midnight! If you've been dying to give Sugarpill a try, now is the time as they do not frequently have sales.

I personally have a list of a few things I need to snatch up to add to my Sugarpill collection (Goldilux and Tiara are both on that list). I have all of the pressed shadows, but I definitely need to add to my Chromalust stash! Still dying to hear when the newest shadows come out--can't wait! No word yet as to an exact date, but sometime this year.

In order to get the 20% off for the sale, you must use the promo code at checkout. Also, I'd hope on any of the pressed powders you want super fast as they seem to be selling out fairly quickly lately.

Promo code: CAKE

Expiration: 2/14 at midnight until 2/15 at midnight

According to the announcement some of the orders might not ship until February 20th due to the limited availability of some of the palettes. Also, it looks as though the sale is only on loose shadows and palettes, but since the falsies are so reasonably priced I think that's pretty fair!


You can visit Sugarpill's site at www.Sugarpill.net

Let me know what you get! I love Sugarpill's uber-pigmented shadows, I often use them in my EOTDs ;)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day EOTD: Hollywood Glow

Here is my third Valentine's Day EOTD for you makeup lovers! Today I wanted to do something softer and easier for anyone that prefers less ostentatious looks than the 2 prior ones I posted. I can go either way. I don't mind wearing super bright or dark colors, but I also don't mind wearing a softer look or a neutral eye. Wherever the mood takes me, I follow! I named this look Hollywood Glow because shape-wise I did more of a 1950s/1960s "bedroom eyes" type look--similar to the eye look Marilyn Monroe was famous for sporting. Love her, by the way. I chose colors that complemented my complexion and gave me more natural looking shadows and glow. I wanted this look to be super soft so I really blended everything out, with the exception of the winged liner on top. Personally, I find this type of look to be the most sultry.

For some reason this look photographed a teeny bit lighter than it was in person, but not by much.


In this view from below you can see how deeply colored the crease was, but I made sure to really blend the crease color out and up so that it was a soft, gradual shadow rather than a more defined, march one. From this angle the top of the crease looks more defined that it actually was--as you can see in the pictures above and below.

I love these lashes, it's actually the first time I've used them even though I've had them for a long time! They're Faux Bianca falsies, which have a mix of black and brown lashes. This combination really gives these lashes a soft, natural look so I thought they'd really complement this look--I love them! I also want to point out that I didn't completely line my lower waterline. Because my eyes are so almond shaped and my liner on top was a little heavy, I wanted to make sure I didn't weigh down my eyes so I opened them up by a bit by only lining the outer portion of my lower waterline.

What I used:
  • Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer (patted over lid and below eye)
  • Make Up For Ever #152 shadow (patted over lid; blended into inner corner and below eye; swept just below arch of brow)
  • Fresh shadow in Mission Fig (blended heavily into crease, then softly blended up towards brow)
  • Make Up For Ever #126 (blended into edge of Mission Fig towards and pulled up towards brow)
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes liner 0L (tightlined upper waterline and tightlined outer portion of lower waterline)
  • Sugarpill Bulletproof pressed shadow (lined upper lashline and winged out the outer corner)
  • Boots Botanics Exceptional Definition mascara (I'm really digging this mascara lately! I wish it came in waterproof as well, that would be amazing)
  • Faux lashes in Bianca (fixed to eye using Duo lash glue)
I want to point out that I've owned the Fresh eye shadow I used above for 3 or 4 years and I haven't seen Fresh shadows for sale in a long time. I looked on Fresh's site and I didn't see any shadows, but I saw their bronzing and illuminating face palettes and I think I may be in love! I need to try them! I have a Fresh makeup brush that I love as well that I don't see available anywhere, I wish they'd bring those back.

Complementary Product Suggestions

Lips
Revlon Colorburst Lip Gloss in Strawberry 
I previously reviewed this in one of my Drugstore Friday posts (see original review HERE). I wanted to use something kind of bright with a hint of sparkle, so I pulled out this lip gloss. With a soft look like this, I wanted a pop of color a bit on the sophisticated side, but not super overpowering. I think that if you wanted to do a deeper or brighter red lip it would look fine as well! I purchased this lip gloss a while back, but I'm fairly sure this color is still available. These glosses retail for around $7.49 each, but every time I've gone into the drugstore lately Revlon has been on sale so you may be able to get it for less! When I originally purchased mine I got 2 for BOGO 50% off.


Face
Too Faced Sun Bunny Bronzer
This is one of my favorite bronzers when I want to use something with some shimmer. I like that it has the 2 colors, though I usually swirl the 2 together. I think for someone with a fairer complexion the 2 colors could be great as you'd be able to pick and choose how deep you wanted your bronzer and you could adjust it as the spring/summer went on. I wanted to give myself a little bit of a glow to complement this eye look--let's face it, it's February in the Northeast so I'm as light as I get--so I grabbed for this and dusted it gently on. I have used the darker color for contouring in the past, but I find that it's a tad more shimmery than I like my contour color to be. If you don't mind a bit of shimmer in your contour then this is definitely a great option. I've been dying to try Too Faced's Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder because it looks like it's exactly what I like for contouring--matte and just the right shade of brown. If I get my hands on it I'll do a comparison post between that one and this one. Sun Bunny is available on Too Faced's site and retails for $29. I'm not sure why mine has a black compact and the one on the site is a bronze color, but perhaps it's because I got it in a Too Faced set? Either way, it's the same as the one on the site minus the packaging.







   What do you think of this look? Would you wear it?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston - A major influence and icon has died

I just got a call from my mom, who knows how much I've loved Whitney Houston since I was a little girl, who told me about Whitney's passing. I remember bouncing around to her songs, listening on my cassette player back in the day. I loved her Greatest Hits compilation cd that was released back in 2000. I can't even begin to express how sad the turn her life took has made me, but it's even more sad that it never turned back around before she passed at the young age of 48. The timing of her death is incredibly sad given that it's Grammy night and she was no stranger to the Grammy's. I hope her daughter is handling all of this okay and that she can learn from her mom's mistakes.... sigh.

Good-bye, Whitney. You were an amazing talent and you will be missed.

Whitney Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)

Though this isn't my ultimate favorite song of hers, it is absolutely one of her most memorable and strangely a bit appropriate. So sad... :(


Valentine's Day EOTD: Silver Smoke

Here's my next look in my Valentine's Day mini-series of look posts! Check back between now and V-Day for more looks. I wanted to do something smoky and dark, but a bit glamorous. I chose to use partial falsies that accentuated the almond shape of my eye. Partials like this will give your eyes a more narrow appearance, so you should avoid them if you don't want to narrow your eyes a bit. I often like to wide my eyes so I use nice long, wispy ones like Chloe or Colette by Faux or Red Cherry #13 or #213. On the other hand, I know lots of people that prefer partial falsies because they find them easier to apply than full falsies. I don't have a problem wearing either kind, so I typically choose styles that suit the look I'm going for regardless of their type.





What I used:
  • MAC Paint Pot in Soft Ochre (patted all over lid from lashes to brow)
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes liner in 0L (tightlined upper waterline)
  • Wet N Wild lid color from Don't Steal My Thunder trio (patted over lid and blended into inner corner)
  • Wet N Wild crease color from Don't Steal My Thunder trio (blended into crease and outer corner; blended under eye)
  • Make Up For Ever 126 shadow (blended into outer edge of crease color and pulled up to brow)
  • Make Up For Ever 152 shadow (blended right below arch of brow
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in 3 (patted over center of lid; patted over inner corner; patted over inner portion of area below lower lashline)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Dime (tightlined lower waterline)
  • Boots No7 Exceptional Definition mascara
  • Sephora partial falsies in Flutter (fixed to eye using Duo lash glue)
Wet N Wild Don't Steam My Thunder Trio
I wanted to highlight this trio because I haven't done a review on it, but used it heavily in this look! I love this trio and the moment I saw it I knew it had to be mine--I love silver and black on eyes. This trio includes a silver, almost-black gray with tiny flecks, and brilliant white. The payoff is surprisingly good! I do want to point out that at first glance the crease color may look black, but it is really just an ultra-dark gray with flecks. I'm not sure if it was meant to be black, but either way it's a great smoky color to work with. I'm continually surprised by these Wet N Wild trios. They're really pretty great, especially for the amazing price of $2.99 retail.


Great palette, right? I know the crease looks black here, but it's really just a super dark gray with flecks.


Complementary Product Suggestions
Personally, when I wear a dark, smoky eye I like to either wear a nude lip or a colorful lip. Where this has so much silver in it and has more of a gray than black smokiness, I thought a nice colorful lip would be best! Also, I wanted to give my face a nice healthy glow so I used one of my favorite highlighters.

Lip
Boots Botanics Lipcolour in Rose
This product was recently sent to me by Boots Beauty and I have to say, yet again Boots has impressed me with the texture of their lipsticks! While I don't mind thicker lipsticks, there's something so nice about a light, super creamy, moisturizing lipstick--especially as it gets warmer out. This lip color was so creamy it almost melted into my lip brush, yet it was definitely pigmented! I find that with these super creamy, lightweight lipsticks I have to apply from the tube, otherwise I don't get as much coverage as I want using a brush since a brush tends to apply lipstick in nice thin coats. As you know, I'm partial by far to using a lip brush over using lippies right from the tube, so when I suggest using the tube it really is because it's how I get the best performance, not because I dislike lip brushes. ;)

This really reminded me texture-wise of the Boots No7 Poppy King lipsticks I had the pleasure of reviewing last year--love them! This lipstick is part of Boots' Botanics line and while it includes some great natural ingredients, it also contains synthetic ingredients, dyes, and parabens as a preservative, so it probably isn't what you're looking for if you want a completely natural lipstick. If you don't object to any of these ingredients then I definitely recommend it between the amazing texture and price ($7.99 retail).

Rose is actually a nice berry color on your lips.
    
Such a pretty color and definitely a great choice if you want color, but aren't completely comfortable with super bright shades! This picture makes the color look a tad more subtle than it is in person, though it's definitely not super bright. Keep in mind, if you're new to my blog, I barely have pigment to my lips naturally so this may look a tad darker if you have super pigmented lips.

 
Cheeks
Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten in Como/Portofino
I have had this for a long time and I love it! It is a bit on the noticeably shimmery side even for a highlighter once applied, but I don't think it makes it look cheap or gaudy at all. I know that the point of highlighters is to reflect light, but I have highlighters that have a more subtle glow rather than sparkle so I wanted to point this out. This particular color combination works very well on my olive skin and it blends well.

   
It's about this shimmery on your face and at times you can see super tiny shimmery particles, but it's not chunky by any means. It's very blendable.



Would you wear this look?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Drugstore Friday: Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick 12 Swatch






Happy Drugstore Friday, makeup lovers! I wanted to save this review for right before Valentine's Day since I think it's a perfect Valentine's Day shade. ;) Also, before I forget I wanted to give you a heads up and let you know I'll be doing a couple of Valentine's Day eye looks in the next couple days so watch for those!



Rimmel London Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick #12
I purchased this lipstick over a month ago, but the second I saw it I knew I'd fallen in love. This lipstick is part of a limited edition collection that was released by Rimmel London in collaboration with Kate Moss as part of Rimmel's 2011 Winter Collection. The collection, which included 7 colors from what I've seen, was a mixture of pretty lipstick shades including pinks, reds, corals, and even a purple. The moment I saw the range of colors #12 stuck out to me. I love coral lipsticks and I love collection super bright, unique shades. I think coral lipsticks are super flattering on most people and I find they definitely work with my olive complexion.

Color description
#12 is a vibrant coral. This is a very bright shade and probably wouldn't appeal to those that are a bit color-shy.



Application/Texture
This lipstick goes on super smooth and is very pigmented. I was actually surprised by how lightweight it felt on my lips, despite its vibrancy. One thing I did notice was that it initially went on pretty glossy, but as soon as it sets it becomes more of a semi-matte, which I actually like. I prefer not to talk about wear as I find that most lip products do not last very long on me for some reason--I think it's my lips, they're like teflon for lip products after an hour!

Rimmel Kate #12 - This color was just as bright on my lips as it was in the tube! It skews a teeny bit more orange in this picture than in person, but not by much. This is definitely a coral, but a red-coral. It's fabulous! Also, this looks pretty glossy in the picture, but it's definitely semi-matte in person.
    
Price
These lipsticks were priced at $5.49 at Walgreens, however, I haven't seen a single other store with them since I purchased this one about a month ago.

Final Thoughts
I am super impressed with this color and I think the consistency and wear was great as well, especially for a drugstore brand. If I ever find another store that happens to have a few other shades left I'd definitely try out a few other shades and I'd definitely buy a back up of this shade, too!  Definitely worth trying if you can find it if you like bright colors--which you know I do. ;)

What do you think? Would you wear this red-coral shade?     

Valentine's Day EOTD: Golden Plum

As promised, I'm going to post a few Valentine's Day looks for you guys just to give you some ideas for your romantic night out! Even if you don't have a significant other, that's no reason to stay in. There was one Valentine's Day I spent completely single and I made it my mission to enjoy myself anyway--I had so much fun!

Here's the first look--Golden Plum.





What I used:
  • Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer (patted over lid and under eye)
  • Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy (patted over upper lid to crease)
  • B.Koi Gilded loose shadow (patted over lid to crease and blended into inner corner)
  • Sugarpill Poison Plum shadow (blended heavily into crease then pulled up towards brow; swept from outer corner under eye)
  • Make Up For Ever shadow 126 (blended into outer edge of Poison Plum and pulled up to brow)
  • Make Up For Ever shadow 152 (blended just below arch of brow)
  • Make Up For Ever Aquq Eyes liner 0L (tightlined upper waterline)
  • Stila Smudge Stick in Koi (tightlined lower waterline)
  • Boots No7 Exceptional Definition mascara
  • Faux lash in Chloe (attached with Duo lash glue)
 Boots No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara
 I wanted to highlight the mascara I used as it's the first time I've ever tried it. This mascara has a crazy wand with three different types of bristles! One side of the brush gives you volume (and really got even my teeniest lashes), one side gave me some length, and the long bristles on the end made getting the outer corner a bit easier. I love the wand on this mascara, it really did a great job on my super pathetic lashes. The formula was a tad thicker than I usually like and had a teeny bit of clumping after I used all 3 different parts of the wand, but the fact that it could reach even the tiniest, thinnest lashes on my eyes really impressed me. Definitely give this a try! You can grab it at Target for around $7.99 retail.


See the 3 different shape/size bristles? I thought this was so cool when I first opened up this mascara!


How to complement this eye look:
I'm going to try to occasionally suggest other products that you could wear on the rest of your face to complement the EOTDs I post. That could be helpful, right? Here are my suggestions for other possible products you could wear to complement this look on Valentine's Day...

Face
Boots No7 High Lights Illuminating Lotion
I was able to give this a try and ended up using this just as a highlighter with this eye look today. I was blown away by how similar it is to Benefit Cosmetics High Beam--and for much less! While this is definitely better for lighter complexions than mine (I tend to need golden rather than pearl highlighter colors--Benefit Moon Beam is a favorite of mine and I'm dying to try Benefit Sun Beam), this provides a gorgeous finish. Again, not something I thing suits my specific complexion entirely, but it did give me a nice pearly glisten. I wonder if there is a golden version of this, I'm going to have to look and find out! Also, I'd like to note that this didn't cause my skin to freak out (you know how sensitive my skin is), but I did only apply it in the traditional highlight-areas, not all over my entire face. I'm very impressed with this overall and it's definitely great for Spring to give you a nice dewy look! This is also available at Target and retails for around $12.99 for 1 full oz!    




Lips
Stila Lip Glaze in Grapefruit
I think this would look nice with a pink lip that's a bit more on the subtle side, since the eye look is pretty vibrant in person.

  
What do you think? Would you wear this look?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Crown Brush Italian Badger Travel Set

I did a "First Impression" video on the Crown Brush Italian Badger Travel Set not too long ago, which you can see HERE. I spent a week afterwards using these brushes exclusively to give them a fair chance so that I could give you my honest opinion on how they performed. I'm going to use a rating system of 1-5 with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst to make it easier. Here's what I think of each brush...

Powder Dome Brush


Performance
This brush is moderately soft, but a tad denser than my favorite powder brushes. It worked fairly well with pressed powders, but was a bit too stiff and dense for loose powders in my opinion.

Shedding
As I mentioned in my video, these brushes all shed from the moment I took them out of their protective sleeves. This was definitely one of the heavier shedders in the bunch, though it seems to have slowed after a week of use.

Rating
I give this a 3 out of 5 overall. Had it worked better with loose powders and not shed as much I probably would have given it a 5, but those 2 things were pretty major to me.

Tapered Blush Brush


Performance
Keep in mind, this brush isn't angled, but tapered. The ferrule is actually pinched making the brush head a bit more flat in shape and the bristles are definitely a bit tapered. This is the softest of the brushes and while it's fairly dense, it is less dense than the Powder Dome brush. I thought this worked pretty well and this is actually my overall favorite in the bunch.

Shedding
Unfortunately, this was the heaviest shedding brush in the set. It began shedding as soon as I removed the protective sleeve and it is still shedding over a week later--not as heavily now, but definitely still shedding.

Rating 
Because this brush is still shedding I am giving it a 4 out of 5. Had it stopped shedding shortly after I pulled it out I probably would have given it a 4.5, but since it works very well for me I still gave it a high rating.

Eye Shadow Brush


Performance
This brush is definitely not as soft as the larger face brushes and unfortunately I didn't like it much because I am very particular about my lids. Also, because the bristles are a bit stiff, this wouldn't be my pick for picking up loose shadows. It applied pressed shadows moderately well, but again, it is not a soft brush on your lids. Also, not all over the bristles are uniform, there are a few that are a bit longer than the rest.

Shedding
Like the other eye brushes, this did not shed much in comparison to the face brushes, but it did initially shed. It stopped within the first couple uses.

Rating
I am giving this brush a 1 out of 5 simply because I don't feel that eye brushes should ever be scratchy on the delicate skin of your lids! I would never use a brush this scratch on my own eyes.

Round Contour Brush


Performance
Initially this was my favorite brush, but as I used it throughout the week I found it a bit scratchier than I'd prefer. The bristles, like the shadow brush, are dense, fairly stiff, and definitely scratchy. Because of its shape it applied shadow fairly precisely, but it was unpleasant to blend with because of its scratchiness.

Shedding
This didn't shed much after I first took it out of the protective sleeve.

Rating 
I give this brush a 2 out of 5. If it were softer it would be a fabulous brush, but who wants to blending with a brush that feels like fine grit sandpaper on your lids?

Angled Liner Brush


Performance
This is a decent travel-sized angled liner. Angled liners tend to be my favorite types of liners and I have no major complaints about this brush. It is stiff, but that's exactly what I would expect from a liner brush that applies liner precisely.

Shedding
This initially shed a hair or two, but stopped after that and hasn't shed since.

Rating 
I give this brush 4 out of 5. The brush itself works well, but for some reason the handle on this was shorter than the rest, which made it slightly awkward, though not too bad.

Oval Lip Brush

Apparently this brush rolled slightly while I was taking its picture and I didn't notice until editing--sorry for the side view of the brush head! If you'd like to see what it looks like you can see it in my First Impression video--link above.

Performance
This is tied for my least-favorite brush in this set. It is super stiff and has barely any flex. It is also not as silky-soft as my favorite lip brushes. I also want to mention in case you're new to my blog that I prefer lip brushes over applying from the tube 100%, so I use a lip brush regularly. This did not evenly apply lipstick and only applied gel lipstick/lip gloss evenly if I used it as a paddle.

Shedding
This shed 1 or 2 hairs when I first took the protective sleeve off, but didn't shed after.

Rating 
I give this brush a 1 out of 5 because I think it's an awful lip brush. If you like super stiff lip brushes, this is for you.

Spoolie


Performance
I am extremely particular about my mascara and the spoolie on the mascara wand certainly plays a part in that. I mentioned that I was a bit skeptical in my First Impression video, so I wasn't surprised to find that this spoolie simply didn't work for me. I have extremely thin, short lashes (so pathetically sad) and this spoolie was just too large for me to use. This may work well for someone with lashes like one of my younger sisters--sky-high lashes I'm so envious of!

Shedding
There was no shedding with this spoolie. ;)

Rating 
I honestly can't rate this, simply because it didn't work for me. For someone with short lashes this is a 1 out of 5 because it's too large, but for someone with larger lashes this may work well. The shape is pretty standard, so there's nothing particularly special about it, but that isn't to say it wouldn't work well for someone else.

Price
This travel set sells for $23.99 on Crown Brush's site.

Where to Buy
You can purchase this directly from Crown Brush at www.crownbrush.com

Final Thoughts
I had heard such positive things about the Italian Badger brushes being the crown jewels of the Crown Brush brushes, so I was definitely a bit disappointed to find how little I liked this particular set. Keep in mind, I am incredibly picky when it comes to makeup brushes--I invest in my brushes and only purchase what I feel are the best--and I tend to prefer natural hair brushes. Perhaps the full-size brushes are different, though they would have to have entirely different bristles for me to like them. Overall, I found that these shed too much and were too scratchy. The Tapered Blush brush and Angled Liner brush were definitely the standouts in this group, the rest I would not recommend. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this travel set. Perhaps the Syntho travel set version is softer and better, but I've never tried it so I can't say.

Have you given Crown Brush a try? What did you think?

Sale Alert!: Betsey Johnson VDay Sale!

Before I run off for the day I wanted to share Betsey Johnson's sale with you guys! First of all, I love Betsey Johnson--so funky and cute! I have a pair of Betsey Johnson shoes Hubs got for me last year that I adore and I'd love to have a few more pairs, some accessories, etc. I may have to take advantage of the VDay sale going on now! According to the email I received you can take an extra 50% off the sale clothing and up to 50% off the jewelry. Can't complain about that! Ooooh great for anyone looking to purchase gifts for VDay for a Betsey Jonson fan--hint, hint Hubs. ;)

To my knowledge you don't have to use a promo code, it looks as though the discounts have already been taken off on the site.

Expiration: I'm not sure when it ends, but I'd assume possibly by Valentine's Day.

Happy shopping lovelies! I've got a busy day, but I'm going to try to shop from my phone ;)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cheaper Shipping Rates = My medium & large polish racks coming soon!

I am so excited, I had to share this with all of you! I'm sure by now you've seen the nail polish rack that I designed and Hubs (who happens to be a carpenter and with whom I've designed a built a number of different furniture pieces with over the years) built. The reason I initially posted the smaller polish rack was largely due to the fact that its size is compact, making it easy to fit into most spaces, and because shipping was reasonable. I don't know if you've ever tried to ship a package over 12in in length or width, but it is AWFUL!

Ironically, I've designed several other sizes, but didn't like the shipping rates we received from all of the shippers we looked into. Well, we finally found a way to ship our medium nail polish rack (36 large bottles like - 40 small bottles like Zoya, as well as an insane number of OCC or Butter London slim bottles placed front-to-back) and large polish rack (45 large bottles - 50 small bottles) for somewhat reasonable rates completely assembled! And since we don't' mark up shipping, what we pay to ship is what you pay to ship--I personally hate paying shipping and I hate it even more when companies mark up their shipping!

Anyway, I'm planning to take pictures, edit them and get the medium and large polish racks up on our Etsy shop by the end of the week--yay! We've gotten quite a few requests for these sizes so I'm so thankful to finally be able to offer them. :) Though they won't be officially listed on Etsy until the end of the week, if you want to take advantage of our current sale we are doing custom orders. Just email me at letschat@makeupchicliterarygeek.com and let me know which size you want and whether you want black or white. We offer custom colors for an addition fee, so feel free to contact me for more info on that.

The medium polish rack (36-40 bottles of polish) sells for $32 and shipping on it is $14, which includes insurance. The dimensions are roughly 20.5" tall x 13" wide x 2.5" deep

The large polish rack (45-50 bottles of polish) sells for $40 and shipping on it is $14.50, which includes insurance. The dimensions are roughly  25.5" tall x 13" wide x 2.5" deep

If you haven't seen our petite polish, which is currently listed on Etsy, here it is! All of our polish racks are handcrafted using solid wood with teeny bumpers on the back to prevent scuffing as much as possible against your wall--since they're floating racks. ;)


And of course I have to shamelessly plug the fact that we're having a sale for Valentine's Day right now! Get 14% off by using promo code "LOVE14" at checkout in our Etsy shop HERE. If you custom order a medium or large rack before they're up on Etsy I will of course honor the 14% off if you mention the promo code in your email! ;)

Thanks again for all of your support, guys! I love and use my polish racks to store my personal polish collection, so I'm super excited to be able to share them with other polish-lovers looking for chic nail polish storage alternatives.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Spotlight: I'm in Handbag-Love with Retrofied

I occasionally lose myself in Etsy, looking up random search terms to find new and exciting sellers--I love the creativity of small business/individuals! I recently came across Retrofied, an amazing handmade handbag shop on Etsy that is beyond unique. For starters, the designs are original--love that. And as if that wasn't amazing enough, a great deal of the fabric designs are Retrofied originals!!!

I love, love, love handbags of all sorts--big, small, cute, chic, etc. Retrofied, whose slogan is "Retro bags for a modern world", has caught my eye and left me pouring through their pictures for far longer than I'd like to admit! ;) The bags vary from small to large and come in a variety of designs such as hobos, weekender bags, messenger bags, and more. I contacted Retrofied to see if I could snag a few pictures to share with you all so you can see what I'm talking about. I want to point out that even though these are handmade, they are far from crafty-looking! They have beautiful lines, are absolutely finished in appearance, and have professional looking hardware. Obviously I grabbed a few shots of some of my favorites, but I highly suggest heading over there to see what else Retrofied offers!

Road Trip Bag - This is one of the first bags that made me pause and stare. Something about the cool gray tones and slouchy, yet polished design did it for me! This bag is reversible to boot. It's large in size, which is perfect if you like to bring everything you own plus a back up with you like I do! Then again, you can also use this for a day or overnight trip, too.

Gathered Messenger Bag - I think this is a very cute, feminine take on a messenger bag. I know my sister would die over this bag and even though I'm not really a messenger bag type, this bag caught my eye. This has 3 pockets and a key fob--yay for organization. That robin's egg blue fabric is so gorgeous!

Dragonfly Clutch - I am in love with this clutch! There's something about it that's so feminine and casual, but pretty at the same time. I love that it has a detachable wristlet, too. Don't you love this?!

Price
From what I can see, prices range from $30 for laptop sleeves to just over $100 for the Weekend Duffle. Keep in mind, these are unique from start to finish--original designs, handmade, with unique-to-the-shop fabrics.

Where to Buy
For those of us that don't live in the Savannah, Georgia area, you can purchase these bags on Retrofied's Etsy shop HERE  

Final Thoughts
I am in handbag-love with Retrofied! Years ago, I worked as a copywriter for a company that sought out and sold super unique handbags that weren't really mass produced or even widely known. The majority of these bags came from Europe, South America, etc. While I've always had a serious love for handbags, this job opened my world up to a whole new breed of handbags--the kind that never touch an assembly line of any kind and that are born from start to finish in the mind of one person, never inspired by marketing or trends, but simply sheer love of the craft. Retrofied embodies this same type of originality to me. Plus, who doesn't love to support small businesses, which are more eco-friendly to begin with! I think these bags would be fabulous additions to any wardrobe this Spring/Summer and can't wait to see what else Retrofied puts out in the future. I believe Retrofied does custom orders as well, so if you see a design and a fabric you like separately, you may be able to request a custom bag!

What do you think? Would you purchase one of these bags? 

These pictures are the property of Retrofied and were posted with permission on my blog. All opinions are my own.