Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Work It

When I was a pre-teen I used to love, love, love Bath and Body Works. Sun-Ripened Raspberry was my favorite scent, and I had every conceivable product - shower gel, body cream, body splash, all of it. As I got older though, I stopped liking Bath and Body Works. I felt it was unsophistocated and too "common." And after I discovered Sephora, there was no turning back. However, a few weeks ago, I was in a Bath and Body Works looking for Mother's Day gift ideas (my Mom loves the Coconut Lime Verbena scent and any type of pedicure product) and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much the store has changed over the years. They still have many of the same scents they had in the beginning, but they have a much larger array of new, innovative products.

Bath and Body Works now also carries the limited-edition VINYL line of nail polish by Deborah Lippman. I picked up this polish in "This One's On Me," a bright, shiny hot pink that looks very similar to LORAC's Lip Polish in "Amuse," one of my favorite shades e.v.e.r. And, it was only $8.50!

Bath and Body Works also carries a small line of cosmetics that remind me of the FUSION BEAUTY products (only much less expensive and not as preposterous in their claims) I believe the line is called Colorfill, but I could be mistaken. Anywho, I picked up the Extreme Plump Tinted Lip Gloss in Barefoot Pink, a very sheer, beachy, glossy, nude-pink that looks perfect with bronzed skin. As I said, the gloss is similar in scent and sensation to the $38 LipFusion glosses. It doesn't burn like most plumpers, but it does have a tingly, numbing feeling. After repeated use, lips are definitely softer and more lush. As with the Deborah Lippman nail polish, this lip gloss is a steal at only $12.50, and it's also available in clear and a sheer red shade.

Finally, one of my favorite lines carried by the new and improved Bath and Body Works is called True Blue Spa. I admit, this line is sort of a rip-off of the Bliss Spa products because the packaging looks very similar and the names are, like Bliss, quirky and fun. I am a BIG fan of Bliss Spa products, particularly the Lemon and Sage Body Butter. But the True Blue Spa products are more affordable and comparable in quality. They have an interesting new line of summer bronzing products, from gradual self-tanner, shimmering/"tan enhancing" dry oil spray, and SPF 30 sunblock with a healthy dose of bronze shimmer for an instantly improved bikini-body. While I didn't purchase any of these products, I did test them out in store and I think I'll have to go back and check them out again and maybe bring home a few goodies!

I have tried True Blue Spa's foot scrub called Toe the Line, and I really like it. It contains walnut shell powder for extra exfoliation power, tea tree oil to deodorize and disinfect, and peppermint oil and rosemary extract to "refresh and stimulate tired feet." I absolutely love the way this stuff smells, and it works well in conjunction with a good pumice stone to smooth rough, dry feet. It's great to use right before slathering on some Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream for serious softness!

Another fun find was the Liplicious Tasty Lip Color. This gloss is tasty, and it's available in a variety of flavors and colors, from grape soda (a creamy berry shade with a bit of shimmer) to cinnamon red hots (sheer, clear red, also with a bit of shimmer). I picked up "Limeade," a clear, sparky gloss that tastes exactly like a cold sip of limeade. Perfectly refreshing on a hot spring (soon to be summer) day!

(I forgot to mention that Bath and Body Works also carries Dr. Patricia Wexler skincare products, the full line of C.O. Bigelow products, and gorgeous candles from Henri Bendel, too!)

If you need a beauty fix and you don't live near a Sephora or you're a little tight on cash, stop by Bath and Body Works and I promise you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Real + Simple = Perfect

Along with beauty products, I have a real obsession with cleanliness and organization. I make my bed every morning and I clean out my purse every night. All of the papers I've ever written for school are all filed away in an accordian folder sorted by class name and the grade level I was in at the time. I have seperate drawers for my "nice" panties and my "everyday" panties. Each time I use my debit card I immediately deduct the amount in my transaction register. The contacts in my Sidekick III are alphabetically arranged and include physical addresses, e-mail addresses, and birthdays. I am constantly making lists and dividing them into categories: shopping, to do - house work, to do - personal, etc. Before I work on a big school project, I will make sure that every last bit of laundry is clean, folded, and put away and that the fridge is sparkling clean with its contents grouped properly on their designated shelves. I don't know why, but these little menial tasks are so soothing and satisfactory to me. Perhaps its because I can actually see my progress, and I feel as though I am accomplishing something, even if I'm just procrastinating or ignoring the fact that I have a eight page term paper that's a week overdue! I dream of the day that I can own a home (or at least some sort of space) with rooms that look like they came from the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog.

All of this to say that one of my favorite magazines is Real Simple, a "lifestyle magazine" that focuses on a chic but simple approach to beauty, fashion, food, fun, family, finances, and more. They also offer tips for organizing and "simplifying" all aspects of daily life, from the clutter on the bathroom vanity to the excess stress that may be weighing you down.

I'm particularly pleased with this month's issue because one of the main articles is about drugstore beauty, a topic that I've blogged about repeatedly. The article features blurbs (from readers) about sixty different budget beauty buys. Some are no-brainers (Q-tips, Vaseline), but there are a few other suggestions that I certainly recommend. Two of my favorites on the list are Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream and SunSilk De-Frizz Conditioner. The former makes feet smooth and pedicure perfect within a few nights of repeated use and the latter really works wonders for curly/wavy hair that can be unmanagable - and I'm all for in-shower styling!

In addition to the the drugstore beauty article, this month's issue also includes an informative sections about eyeliner application, dressy tops, and swimsuits for all figures.

Next time you're at Borders or just the grocery store, check out Real Simple and trust me, you'll be glad you did!

(I couldn't find a pic. of the May cover for this post, but in case you're looking for it in store, it's pink w/ face creams, pearls, and q-tips on the front!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

If It's Good Enough for Oprah...

Awhile back I wrote a lengthy review of some of my favorite drugstore makeup products. As I've stated before, I live in a very non-glamorous area that is majorly lacking in the "shopping" department. Don't get me wrong, I adore my home state and my home town, but oh, how I wish for a local Sephora and/or Nordstrom. Sigh.

Anyway, while running errands and picking up some mundane items like dogfood and papertowels at the lovely Wal-Mart, I strayed into the "health and beauty" aisles, as I always do. Seriously, I cannot leave a Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, CVS, or Target store without purchasing something beauty related, whether it be a few new barettes or some Chapstick. But on this day I was searching for an inexpensive, non-oily body scrub since fake tan season has finally begun. While weighing my options, I noticed some little tubs of shea & cocoa-based body butters by a company called J.R. Watkins Apothecary. The one that immediately jumped out to me was the vanilla scented one. I think that because I grew up in the Bahamas, I have an affinity for any scent that's reminiscent of the islands - specifically vanilla, coconut, and the smell of suntan lotion/oil!

Sadly, the vanilla scented body butter was a bit too heavy for me. I browsed the shelves to see what other scents were offered. There was Lavender, which I DO NOT like. Unless it's the actual lavender flower, I think lavender scented things are a bit skunky smelling. Bleh. There was also a Green Tea/Aloe scented body butter which was nice, but not amazing. Then I saw the little jar labeled "Lemon Creme." I opened the tub, took a sniff, and immediately fell in love. It smells exactly like a lemon flavored sugar wafer. Along with islandy/beachy scented things, I like desserty scented things, too. However, I do think that they can be a bit sickening (and too "tweeny") if not handled properly-but this stuff smells delicious and so summery!

Like most shea and cocoa butters, the texture is thick and rich. I like to put it on after a nice, long bath right before I go to bed so it can really sink in. I wake up feeling soft, supple, and smelling divine (plus it makes my sheets smell good, too!)

I looked up the website just out of curiosity and discovered that this same Lemon Creme body butter was featured in "O" Magazine as one of Oprah's favorite things! Never would I have believed that something that can be purchased at Wal-Mart would be used by the Almighty Oprah!

The best part is that it's only $4.23 for a 4.6 oz. tub! (at least at Wal-Mart...but for some reason it's more expensive online? Weird.) Though it's inexpensive, it certainly isn't cheaply made! So, the next time you're at Wal-Mart, treat yourself to some Lemon Creme Body Butter from J.R. Watkins Apothecary.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Summertime, and the Livin's Easy...

Again, I have to apologize for my lack of posts lately! This semester is finally over, thank goodness, so I should have more free time to dedicate to this little blog before I begin summer classes in July. Sometimes I get discouraged because I don't feel like I have much of a readership and there's no point in writing for an audience that isn't there; however, I am trying to rid myself of those negative feelings so that I can keep up with posting and hopefully increase my popularity. I know how frustrated/impatient I get when I repeatedly check on a blog that hasn't been updated for some time, so sorry to any of you who have been checking the site lately! Within the next few days I should have posts on Sudzz FX Haircare, perfect pedicure products, the Real Simple magazine guide to drugstore beauty, my rediscovery of Bath and Body Works, and one of Oprah's favorite beauty products (it's surprisingly cheap and widely available!) Stay tuned! <3