Monday, January 30, 2012

NARS Spring 2012: Gaiety, Lhasa and Paramaribo applied and ... Jury Duty!

Hi everyone! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to post these swatches but I was summoned for jury duty, had a busy week at work, and my laptop literally fell apart at the hinges. Better late than never, right? 

Here are a few photos of where I spent some time earlier this week--on the second floor of the historic Miami-Dade County Courthouse. I was reminded that, while we haven't had the military draft since 1973, jury duty service is the one remaining civic service that all U.S. citizens must fulfill, or run the risk of anything from no consequences, to being hit with hefty fines, to being held in contempt of court, or even jail time! 

Built in 1925, the Miami-Dade Courthouse has 28 floors and at the time was the tallest building in Miami and in Florida! Hard to believe, right? Less than halfway through construction it was discovered that the structure was sinking into Miami's spongy ground so cement supports were installed, which are there to this day, taking up much of the space in the basement file room. Until 1961, the top nine floors served as prison cells as they were considered "escape-proof" due to the height, although in 1934 a prisoner managed to break free from the 21st floor and descended to freedom with a fire hose! 

Things in Miami have certainly changed a lot since those early days--perhaps not for the better, but that's a whole other story!...  

Note large American flag and giant painting of our founding forefathers prominently displayed, provoking feelings of pride and patriotism in prospective jurors who may be slightly grumpy, half asleep, under-caffeinated, or otherwise reluctant to be there after waking before sunrise and navigating the hostile streets of downtown Miami, locating an empty parking space and making it to the courthouse before 8:00am... it's your civic duty!

Miami-Dade County Courthouse - source: Wikipedia Commons

I hope you haven't dozed off after that short history lesson. You may even be thinking: "What the heck does all this have to do with makeup?" And the answer would be...well...nothing! Except I did wear makeup to the courthouse that day!

Now, for the real subject of today's post: swatches of my picks from the NARS Spring 2012 collection! 

in sunlight

in sunlight
in indoor low light

in flash lighting

Lhasa eye shadow single

Lhasa is not your typical silvery-brown taupe, but it can still be considered part of the taupe family. It's a murky, grayish-silvery-lavender-taupe that reminds me of the color of the sky right before a thunderstorm. I wore it today with violet liner, which caused it to pull more purple-toned in the photos below. But if purple is not your thing, fear not, as Lhasa is quite an adaptable shade and will appear to be more of a neutral taupe if paired with a black or brown liner. I have to say I'm not lovin' this color with my skin tone -- I'm kind of naturally pallid with dark shadows around my eyes, and shades like this tend to emphasize those qualities. Nevertheless, it's a lovely shadow and the texture and pigmentation is great. No complaints!

The lighting is a little weird in these photos, as I had to take photos indoors due to rain clouds!

Not nearly as angry in real life as I look here ;-)

Paramaribo eye shadow duo

Miss Kitty snuck into this shot. Her eyes are a great match for Paramaribo!

I am in love with this duo! I am partial to golds, and I think these two will become new favorites. These shades complement each other so well and the texture and pigmentation of both are outstanding. On the left is a green-tinged golden sunflower shade and on the right is a slightly darker antique golden-brown. In the simple look below I used the lighter shade on my lid, with the darker shade in the crease, and used a black liquid liner and went over it with a brown pencil to soften the line.

Gaiety blush

Gaiety is a gorgeous blue-based bubblegum pink. At first glance it reminds me a bit of NARS Angelika or Desire, but I don't have those handy to compare. I also thought it might be like a more vibrant version of MAC's Well Dressed. Gaiety is the type of shade that I think would work equally well on warm and cool skin tones. Normally I am drawn to warm shades like peach and coral, but cooler pinks like this are really excellent at brightening the complexion. Time permitting, I'd like to do some comparisons, but I'm sure there are plenty available on the web by now! In the photos below I applied Gaiety  fairly heavily so you could actually see the color. In real life I would go a little bit lighter for a more natural look. 

Lipstick is Laura Mercier's Coral and the Paramaribo duo is on eyes. (I probably wouldn't choose to wear this blush with this eye look, but just did so for swatching purposes.)

Close up view of Gaiety

In case you missed it, visit my earlier post to see more photos and swatches of the nail shade Diamond Life

What are your thoughts on these? Do you have any favorite items from the NARS Spring collection? 

~ Thanks for visiting ~

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My picks from the NARS Spring 2012 collection

Just wanted to quickly share the four items I chose from the NARS Spring collection. I just posted swatches of the nail shade, Diamond Life here. More photos and swatches of the other items below coming soon!

NARS Diamond Life

Today I have for you the polish Diamond Life from NARS' spring 2012 collection. Diamond Life is a foil-like, metallic grape/violet shade. I love all things purple so this was a must for me. The color is beautiful, but I found the formula to be a bit difficult to work with. It took a longer than average time to dry and I actually ended up making a mess of my fingers (my own fault!). But I think I have the hang of it now and should do a better job next time. The key to applying this polish is to make sure you have enough polish on the brush and then work very quickly to cover the entire nail in as few strokes as possible. When I would apply more polish in an attempt to even out an area that was still wet, the polish would just get gloopy. On the plus side, since the formula is so thick and opaque you only need one coat for full coverage. I will try to do some color comparisons in the future. Offhand, I cannot think of any identical shades in my collection although I do have some in the same color family. 

I broke a nail and trimmed the rest down to match, so apologies for the state of my nails -- it is at times like these I wish I had a hand model to photograph! Perhaps I will enlist a friend to be a guest model sometime!

Here is a look at Diamond Life in the shade. I like the look of the sunlight coming through behind the leaves--sort of wish my hand wasn't there ruining the picture, lol!

I love the little ladybug with its cheery, polka-dotted shell. When this one flew past, at first I thought it was a bee, as they are ubiquitous in my backyard and I like to keep at a respectable distance from them -- but a ladybug is a far rarer and happy sight! 

So, what do you think? Will you be sporting Diamond Life this spring?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Guerlain Spring 2012: Cruel Gardenia

Hi everyone! Hope you are having a great weekend. I spotted the Guerlain Spring 2012 collection at Saks and Nordstrom today and thought I'd share a few product photos. Unfortunately, the colors aren't exactly true-to-life due to poor lighting. I hope they are helpful nevertheless, but please do check these items out in person if you have the opportunity! The sales associate was especially enamored with the new Noir G de Guerlain mascara. The packaging is similar to that of the Rouge G lipsticks and it is refillable, which is a nice feature. The four new limited edition Rouge G lipstick shades are pretty pinks and peachy shades, all with a sheer, glossy formula. They are: 72 Rose Innocent, 73 Rose Ensoleille, 74 Rose Piquant and 75 Rose Barbare. I did not try the Meteorites Perles, but it does look intriguing! 

Again, the colors seem to be a bit off here. This palette is more subdued in person from what I can recall! 

I would have gladly taken home everything in this collection but, alas, my budget will not allow it so I purchased just one item: the stunning Météorites Cruel Gardenia Illuminating Iridescent Powder. After viewing a recent YouTube video from the lovely Makeup Never Sleeps which featured this item, I was convinced that it is different enough from Laura Mercier's Rose Rendezvous illuminator to justify purchase. As you'll see in the photos and swatches below it is significantly lighter and more cool-toned.  

Ah, behold the splendor that is.... Cruel Gardenia!
By the way, did you know that Guerlain also has a perfume by the same name, launched in 2008? 


Below is Cruel Gardenia compared to a handful of other highlighters. Dior's Rose Diamond is a long-time favorite of mine, and I just acquired MAC's re-released Mineral Skin Finishes in Blonde and Redhead (love both of these so far). I donated a Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous palette to the auction over the holidays and was fortunate enough to obtain a back-up to keep for myself before it became sold out. 

When I first saw the promo photos for Guerlain's spring collection I was surprised at the similarity of the design of Cruel Gardenia to that of Laura Mercier's palette. As you can see below, the flowers, while not identical, are incredibly alike! Of course, I love flowers and these are both so beautiful. Cruel Gardenia contains quite a bit of product (9 g.) and I foresee it lasting a very long time. The powder has a smooth texture with no fallout. It is a light, neutral to cool-toned iridescent pink, whereas Rose Rendezvous is a warm rose-gold. 

Cruel Gardenia is similar to the pink shade that results when you mix together all of the colors in Dior's Rose Diamond highlighter, however, it has more of a shimmery finish and is a bit warmer in tone. If you already own Rose Diamond I would say this may not be worth purchasing unless, like me, you are unable to resist the lovely design and packaging. 


I took these photos in my backyard earlier today. Although this is actually a little weed-flower, I thought it was very photogenic! The weather was perfect today, in the 60's and sunny--not too hot and not too cool! If only it could be like this year-round...sigh. 

As I was taking shots of Cruel Gardenia a flock of wild parrots flew overhead. Too bad my camera was not quick enough to capture the entire group! I'm not sure of the breed, but these cute little green-feathered guys are frequent visitors and always a welcome sight. 

One last look -- they sure are gorgeous!