open thread

O Hai, New Stuffs and New Peoples

It is a New Year. I know this because both my calendar and my pounding headache tell me so. Also I have vague memories of thinking that Ryan Seacrest’s NYE gig must suck. He has to be in a venue full of screaming drunk people, putting on a plastic smile for the camera while tolerating the inane comments of celebrity dimwits for hours on end. Actually, now that you mention it, not so different from American Idol, really, except colder and without the singing.

But it is not yet 9 am on New Year’s Day and already I have made a virtuous start to my New Year’s Resolutions. I kind of fell off the planet in some not-very-pleasant ways last year, and was absent from Teh Blogosphere. Dear readers, I am sorry that I abandoned you. I am currently attempting to climb back onto the planet, which would be much easier if the damn thing would just stop rotating. So each blog post is a small step out of the morass of depression — and the accompanying “more ass” I now possess as a result of said depression. They say that chocolate doesn’t really fix problems, but They Are Sooooo Wrong.

Welcome to a New Year and welcome to New Readers! I am slowly getting to know some other girly-smarty-academic-y bloggers and I will be linking to their blogs soon. If you’ve come over from one of their blogs, pull up a comfy chair and have a sit and a cup of tea. I think you will all enjoy getting to know one another!

— Voxy

photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbguess/4269420290/

Thursday Tossup: Bad Beauty Habits, Sales

Packing this one away for next year’s New Year’s Beauty Resolutions: put things back where you found them.

I have a terrible habit of not doing this. It used to be that it was only with clothes and shoes, and while that led eventually to the formation of not just individual mountains but whole mountain ranges of gently-worn clothing rising up from my bedroom floor, I was able to live with that. I had it under control. I could quit anytime.

Recently, however, I’ve begun doing the same thing with beauty products. Not only is my makeup area an uncharacteristic mess, but I keep putting products in my purse to use for touchups during the day and then not taking them out at night and putting them away. This was brought home to me the other night when, while hanging out at a local pub, I upended my purse and eighteen — EIGHTEEN! — lip products fell out. Not coincidentally, my purse has been feeling awfully heavy lately. (OK, one of those lip items was my Guerlain Rouge G, which by itself weighs like 20 pounds, so that’s gotta be a contributing factor.)

I’m going to try to actually start acting on this resolution now rather than waiting for New Year’s, but I wouldn’t take any bets if I were you.

How about you guys? Any bad beauty habits you’d like to break?

Sales!

Dermadoctor is offering 20% off through 10/6 with code 20SAVER. Some exclusions apply.

b-glowing.com is offering 30% off through 10/31 with code SIMPLE. B-Glowing carries lots of brands that we don’t talk about very much here, mostly just because they’re less easy to get hold of, like Paul & Joe Beauté. If I have any money left at the end of the month I will probably be scooping up an item or two from Paul & Joe.

If you were jonesing for the Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster palette last year but missed it due to rapid sellout (or if you just want a full face of Sephora brand makeup for under $50), it’s back in stock at Sephora.com. I don’t know what the quantities are but if you want it I’d order sooner rather than later. I’m not wild about Sephora brand cosmetics, but if you’re looking to play with different colors or try new things, this is a relatively inexpensive kit considering how much product you get. Plus, there’s a giveaway: “Each 2010 SEPHORA COLLECTION Collector’s Edition Makeup Palette includes a silver ticket that automatically enters you in the SEPHORA COLLECTION Silver Ticket Sweepstakes. Hang on to it and visit Sephora.com on January 1, 2011 to see if you have the winning silver ticket. Whoever has it will receive the Grand Prize, a $1,000 Sephora shopping spree, one-year supply of SEPHORA COLLECTION products, and more.” (See the website for full terms and conditions.)

Also, just as a PSA, Sephora’s Friends & Family sale usually happens in late October/early November, so if you’re thinking of placing an order for something but can live without it for a few more weeks, you might want to wait until the sale. It’s usually 20% off.

Image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/lealea/124029297/

Thursday Toss-Up: Excitement Salad, Q of the Whatever, Sales!

Greek Orzo and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette (1/3 Top View) by Special*Dark.First of all, I cannot believe how much I want the salad pictured to the left right now. I have just spent 20 minutes looking at pictures of salad online, and I have to say that I never thought that looking at pictures of salads would make me hungry. And yet. I think I might try to find myself a nice Greek orzo salad for lunch. (Also, the word “salad” looks weirder the more I type it.)

Anyway, I was looking for pictures to go with the idea of “excitement salad” because O! All sorts of exciting things are going on in Voxyville. I am in the middle of testing some new skincare products that I think are going to have great results and which I will certainly share with you; a new gadget is about to arrive at my house that I can’t wait to test-drive (IT IS FROM A SKINCARE COMPANY IN CASE YOU WERE THINKING SOMETHING ELSE); I have both drugstore and high-end products to review; and I’ve recovered from the spring semester enough that the fall cosmetic lines are actually starting to interest me. I’m also working on the spa post that Baz asked about, which is just feeding my spa craving, and I’m starting to think about packing makeup for travel, since I have some coming up in the next few months.

In other news, my Bobbi Brown lipshine remains lost. I am considering putting posters up in the neighborhood, or appearing on TV to make an emotional appeal to whatever agency is holding it hostage.

From the Annoying Department of Annoyances, I’m miffed that I cannot find the Milani summer limited edition Liquid Metal collection of nail polishes at any of my local CVS stores (they are supposed to be available exclusively through CVS through July). And when I say “any,” I mean the ten that I’ve tried. Ten stores! What gives? Anyone got ’em?

And, to end this salad on a happy note, these are recently reviewed products that I’m still squeeing over every time I use them:

• the Beautyblender
• Too Faced Lip Insurance
• Tarte EmphasEYES brow pencil

Q of the Whatever (because let’s be honest, sometimes it’s a week, sometimes it’s a month; consistency was never my strong suit): I’ve been thinking about lippies a lot lately. I bought a beautiful Laura Mercier lipstick for spring in a vibrant pink color (Hydrangea; I’ll review as soon as I’ve taken a lip photo) and dang it, I seem to have a really hard time wearing it. I can’t help gravitating towards MLBB (My Lips But Better) shades. My lipstick range starts out with MLBB, extends about three shades darker and a few notches over towards coral, and includes a few outlying red data points. But I want to break out of my shell and rock this bright pink lipstick.

So the Q of the Whatever is this: are you a brave and experimental lipstick/gloss wearer, or do you find yourself constantly veering towards the same shades?

I might have to tone down the Hydrangea a bit with lip pencil, but I am determined to Make It Work in true Tim Gunn style.

Sales!

SkinStore is having another 20% off sale sitewide (with the usual few exclusions) through 7/6 with code SUM20.

Jurlique is having a F&F sale: 25% off through 6/27 with code SUMMER25.

Stila is offering the first in a series of travel palettes (each with four eyeshadows and a convertible color pan) for a mere $10, and you can get free shipping at Stila if you use the code REFILL.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/allthingschill/17590269/

Thursday Tossup: Where is the “Dislike” Button? and, Sales

Doesn’t this just make you proud to be a modern woman? You would think that someone who’s been through what Rihanna has would be more thoughtful about presenting Woman As Sex Toy Inviting Domination. Why yes, of course I take you seriously as an artist when you make these kinds of choices. [/sarcasm]

Sales!

BareEscentuals (makers of BareMinerals) is having a F&F sale — through Sunday 6/20 you get 20% off with code SHARE.

The NARS discount should still be good: 18% off with code 60911020, through 6/24 (theoretically).

Bath & Body Works is having their semi-annual sale, and some of the deals are pretty darned good. I shopped the sale in-store this morning and picked up some skincare products from C.O. Bigelow that I’ll be reviewing shortly. No sale code, but prices are reduced on-site and in stores.

HauteLook has Dermelect Cosmeceuticals on Friday 6/18 and Kevyn Aucoin cosmetics on Monday 6/21. All sales begin at 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific.

BeautyStory has Lierac and Pixi Beauty going on now, and Skin Nutrition starting Friday 6/18 at 10 am Eastern. This site seems to have had some problems getting off the ground, so we’ll see what happens to it.

Photo: Getty Images

Thursday [Tossup?]: A Whole New Cringeworthy Meaning to “Going Dutch;” Sales

I keep calling these Thursday threads “Open-Thread Thursdays,” and then they keep on not being open threads. So I suppose I should give them a new name. Since they’re the counterpart to “Monday Mix,” maybe I could call them “Thursday Tossup.” Unless you have a better suggestion. Tidbits? Tapas? Trivialities?

Anyway. Time for today’s shockingly cringeworthy news. From the UK Daily Mail:

Unemployed women given £1,000 makeovers to help them find a solvent husband

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 3:25 PM on 10th June 2010

Women on the dole are being offered a £1,150 fashion and beauty makeover and membership to a dating agency to help them find a wealthy husband.

<snip>

Under the scheme, the women will be given instructions on how to present themselves socially and offered a place on an exclusive matchmaking website called Mens & Relatie (People and Relationships).

They will have professional photographs of their new image to boost their dating profile.

The scheme is being offered by three councils in Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands.

They estimate that if 70 women find a solvent husband, the council can save £330,000 on welfare payments.

They also believe that finding love will help get the unemployed off state benefits by improving their confidence and ambitions.

So far, just one candidate has signed up for the voluntary scheme, which is aimed at women but open to men as well.

Managing director of dating website Mens & Relatie, Radboud Visser, said that people in relationships have ‘better health, more happiness, make more money and live longer lives’.

He told The Times that the councils would spend 650 euros registering an unemployed woman on their site – the average they pay them in jobseekers allowance each month.

Seriously, this is appalling. APPALLING. Women who lose their jobs are being given governmental financial assistance (to the tune of ~$1,700) not to find a new job or to learn professional skills, but to make ’em purty so’s they can find a wealthy husband. Can you please tell me what century we’re living in?

Oh, and this apparently isn’t the first wacky idea they’ve had. The same article quoted above also tells us:

In 2008, jobless Dutch in Maastricht were given a 10-week course of ‘regression therapy’ at a cost of £720 in the hope that coming to terms with their past lives would help them find a job.

Right.

Sales!

Stila is having an F&F sale; 20% off through 6/14 (and free shipping with orders over $25) with code LOYALFAN.

Korres is also having an F&F sale; 25% off through 6/16 with code FRIENDSANDFAMILY. Free shipping over $35.

If your tastes run to things you can only get at department stores, Lord & Taylor is having 10% off through 6/13 with code FRIENDS. (It’s part of a larger sale; most other things are 25% off but beauty and fragrance are only 10%.) But if you lean towards department store glam, you’re probably better off waiting for Nordstrom’s upcoming anniversary sale, which will have lots of special exclusive sets and other things you might want to pick up.

Image via the NY Times online at http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/there-she-is-from-a-trailblazing-beauty-pageant/

Open-Thread Thursday: Really, Chanel? Really? — Q of the W (bronzers!) — Sales

Finally! I can FINALLY upgrade to the kind of cotton pads that my extraordinarily special skin-care routine demands. All of these years I’ve been suffering with mere 100% cotton balls from Target or <shudder> CVS. But now I can finally treat myself to the quality products I deserve! Behold: Chanel Le Coton Cotton Pads, complete with the Chanel logo. (Let me tell you, if you have ever tried to stamp the Chanel logo on a cotton ball, well … let’s just say it’s harder than it looks.)

For a mere $20, you too can finally bring this aspect of your regimen up to snuff so that no one who visits your house and snoops through your bathroom will be dismayed by your lowbrow choice of cotton balls. That $20 bill gets you 100 — count ’em, 100! — cotton pads with the Chanel logo. Of course, $20 at, say, Walmart would get you about 2000 cotton balls, but really, it makes such a difference when you wipe your face with something with the Chanel logo on it. Those leftover bits of dirt and makeup are just shamed into leaving your face, and good riddance to them, sez I. I’m hoping for Chanel toilet tissue next. What? A girl can dream.

::eyeroll::

Q of the W

Hey, remember the Q of the W? This W’s Q of the W comes to us from Indianalitchick, who is wondering about bronzers. (‘Tis the season, after all!) She writes:

“Can we talk about bronzers? I have oily skin that is light-neutral and have been using a matte powder, but it seems too muddy. However, one with shimmer seems like it would make my skin look more shiny. Any suggestions?”

Here’s my take, but I absolutely encourage suggestions from other people.

As a fair-skinned girl, I have always had a big problem with bronzers. They always made me look dirty, or orange, or both. However, I recently found a bronzer that does none of these things, which I thought was pretty astonishing. That bronzer was Tarte Park Ave Princess, which I received as part of a Beauty-Insider package from Sephora. So that one is definitely on my “could actually use” list. I’ve also heard good things about Clinique’s Almost Bronzer, but haven’t tried it personally.

Some things that are not marketed as bronzers can be used as bronzers, too. For example: I have two Tarte mini cheek stains that work better as bronzers than blush for me: Exclusive and Delighted. Neither one is sold in stores, but both are available on eBay for not too much money.

Finally, I have to pimp one of my all-time favorite products: Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronze Concentrate, which you add to your moisturizer to give an all-over bronzy glow. I love this stuff.

Sales!

Er… it’s another tumbleweed week in the Sale department. Oh, wait, this one just came in: if you’re a L’Occitane fan, then you might want to take advantage of their F&F sale which starts today and goes through 6/6. 25% off with checkout code FNF25.

Of some interest is the recent announcement that Editors’ Closet (a site similar to HauteLook or Gilt) will be launching a whole separate division for flash sales of cosmetics, skincare, and spa services. This new division is called Beauty Story and is set to launch on Monday, 6/7.

Image via Chanel.

Open-Thread Thursday: I Fought The Lemming And The Lemming Won; also, Sales

I love you by benleto.So I had these drugstore.com dollars that were just sitting around, about to expire, and it would have been a waste not to use them, right? And once I was on the site, it would be a waste not to buy enough to get free shipping, right? Especially since most of what was already in my shopping cart was basic, staple stuff (contact lens solution, facial cleanser, etc.), not foolish cosmetic frippery. I was being a responsible shopper and minding my low-buy! So really, paying for shipping would have been absurd when for about the same price I could have thrown a little something else useful and practical in my cart and ended up with shipping for free. The bottom line stays the same, but I get more product for the money, right?

Right?

I knew you would agree with me. That’s why I love you.

So since we have all agreed that it was a good idea, we hardly even need to mention that the thing I threw into my shopping cart to tip it over the free shipping point was the Neutrogena Liquid Sunblock I mentioned I was lemming last week. We can just gloss right over that part. (Unless, that is, it turns out to be TEH AWESOME and I need to squee about it.)

And now, let me quickly distract you with…

Sales!

Late into my box: Rock & Republic is having a F&F sale — 30% off — but it ends today, 5/6. (Sorry, ladies; I only just got word of this one.) Code: FF30.

Gilt (like HauteLook) has DDF Skincare on sale today starting at noon Eastern time.

Speaking of HauteLook, they have POP Beauty starting today and Moy Skincare starting tomorrow 5/7.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benleto/ / CC BY 2.0

Open-Thread Thursday: A is for Awesome Amity, Q of the W, and Sales!

My friend Amity has earned some majorly awesome karma, so if all of you voxalicious vixens would send a nice thought her way, that would be faboo. Amity and I take a class together, and she recently returned from a family trip in which her mother-in-law (send some good karma for her too) gifted her with a bunch of Clinique makeup she no longer used or wanted. Amity, out of the goodness of her lovely heart, passed along the items she was unable to use to the rest of us in the class, and so I ended up with a slew of lovely Clinique items for future reviews! Since my collection is currently low on Clinique (and since I am also on a low-buy), this works out really well. So, a hearty three cheers for Amity and her mother-in-law!

P.S. — Amity would like to buy a duck, so if you have one for sale, please get in touch.

This leads to this week’s Q of the W, which is: What’s the nicest makeup item(s) you’ve ever been gifted?

In other news…

Sales!

Sephora BI 15% off sale and Urban Decay F&F 30% off sale are still on through 4/19. Codes BI15 and 1SFNF respectively. Tarte‘s 20% off F&F sale is still on through the 30th; code TARTE44.

Here’s a new one: NARS is offering 18% (?) off orders of $50 or more through 4/30 with code 04101822. Shipping will be free, since it’s over $50.

Open-Thread Thursday: MUFE HD Blush vs. Voxy’s Low-Buy; also, Sales

funny pictures of cats with captions<– The real question, of course, is: who on God’s green earth came up with a salad costume for a cat? Or, if it’s not a salad (and frankly I have my doubts), then what the heck is it?

Anyway, the photo is relevant because I have this exorbitantly expensive vet bill I’m going to have to pay, which has put a serious kink in the otherwise uninterrupted flow of discretionary income to Sephora. Oh, let’s be honest — it’s going to shut it down entirely for a period of time.

After the current sale, that is. (Ahem.)

Faced with this imminent low-buy, I stopped into Sephora today just to swatch some of the new colors of the much-anticipated and highly-lemminged MUFE HD blush, which have been available online for awhile but which have only come into stores in the last week or two. I am only going to buy one (see above, in re: low-buy), so I really wanted to make sure I knew what the colors were like. So I thought I would post my swatch photo for you just in case some of you are also considering them.

Those of you who are turned off by naughty product names are probably not going to like a few of the names of some of the shades in the collection. Below, from left to right, I swatched the five shades I thought would suit my skin best, and they are: #2-Caught in the Act, #5-Nip Slip, #6-Quickie, #8-PDA, and #14-Star Struck. These were photographed in natural light (outdoors, cloudy day, about 5 pm), and the colors in the photo are true to how they actually looked. If you look at the edges of some of the swatches you can see that it will be possible to apply it sheerly and blend it out to a natural blush, but it will take some practice. They are highly pigmented and they dry very quickly.

L-R: Caught in the Act, Nip Slip, Quickie, PDA, Star Struck

Caught in the Act is just a bit bright for me, and slightly too cool, and Quickie and PDA were a little heavy. It came down to Nip Slip and Star Struck for me, and I’m going to have to go with Nip Slip, which seems to be the most wearable shade. I’ll review it when I get it; I have a feeling there will be a learning curve for this product. If you order it, just so you know: the bottle is tiny. TINY. Probably slightly smaller than a lipstick. However, you use so little that it will last a long, long, long time. The blushes also have pretty good staying power, as I was unable to wash the swatches off my arm using regular soap. Eventually my cleanser took them off, but dang! they stuck around.

Sales!

The Urban Decay F&F sale is going on through 4/19: 30% off sitewide with code 1SFNF.

Today, Sephora VIBs get early access to the 15% off sale that starts for the regular BIs on Monday. Code: VIBMADNESS.

HauteLook has Pixi Beauty today starting at 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific.

And by the way: I keep forgetting to mention these, but if you’re going to be shopping online, you will probably want to do it through sites like Ebates or Bing, which give you cash back. The amount varies from site to site and from time to time; right now, Ebates is offering 4% cash back at Sephora but Bing is offering 10%! (Disadvantage: it takes much longer to actually get your cash back from Bing than it does from Ebates, but it might be worth it.)

Photo: http://icanhascheezburger.com/2009/06/22/funny-pictures-salads-no-go-to-vets/

Open-Thread Thursday: Shu Says Seeya; Q of the W; HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SALES

If you’re a fan of the Shu Uemura line of products, you might want to go out and buy extra eyelash curlers and cleansing oil now, because the brand has announced it will be leaving department stores and closing its US boutiques by the end of the year. Evidently their US sales have not been as good as hoped for, and the parent company (L’Oreal) has decided to concentrate on its brick-and-mortar stores in Asia, where the brand is much more popular. You will still be able to buy Shu Uemura products online at shuuemura.com, but they will start disappearing from stores shortly. Cult favorites from the line include the previously mentioned eyelash curler (shown in the photo at left, and long held to be an industry gold standard) and their line of cleansing oils. If you are a Shu fan and have other products you think people who are curious about the line should pick up now while they still can, please post them in the comments! There may be sales… who knows?

Q of the W:

This little video has been getting some serious attention in some online makeup communities, because apparently the girl who appears in the video, and who owns the stash in question, is TEN YEARS OLD.

According to other videos, her mother doesn’t let her leave the house with makeup on. It’s an in-the-house-only thing … but it seems to me to be far removed from the kind of “playing dress-up” makeup that I remember. This is serious stuff.

So the Q of the W is as follows. It’s a multi-parter — think of it as an essay question. Please put all of your answers in the blue books and make sure the TA checks off your name when you hand in your exam.

Is it appropriate for a girl this age to be experimenting with this kind of makeup? Does the fact that her mother doesn’t let her wear it outside the house make a difference? At what age did you start playing with makeup in a way that was clearly not “playing dress-up”? Did your parents approve? Did they know?

And now…

SALES SALES SALES SALES SALES!!!!

Obviously I am all a-quiver with excitement, because ULTA and Sephora are both about to have sizable storewide sales!!!

ULTA‘s twice-yearly 20%-off-everything-in-the-store coupons have just gone out. The sale begins Saturday, 4/3, and goes through Saturday, April 10. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an online version of the coupon, so you have to shop in-store (if I find out otherwise, I will certainly update.) The only announced exclusions are Dermalogica and clearance merchandise. There may be other in-store exclusions (quoth the coupon), but the important thing is that these are the Magic Coupons that also include their prestige/high-end brands, which are excluded from all of their other coupons. I see some more Stila Convertible Colors in my very, very near future.

Sephora will be having a 15% off sale for Beauty Insiders (PSA: JOIN) starting Monday, 4/12. I’m sure there will be things that are excluded, but in general it is a storewide/sitewide sale. For online orders, use checkout code BI15. Anything I can’t get at ULTA, I’m getting at Sephora.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ookikioo/ / CC BY 2.0