Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Best Beauty Buys
Best Beauty Buys Under $60

If T3 blow-dryers and Viva La Juicy are too far out of your budget, here are great alternative investments

In times like these, we don't want to waste our money on a lame product. Enter the editors' guide to fun yet practical (read: affordable) items worth a bit of your hard-earned paycheck.

See products

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Handful of Dust

A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust
by Evelyn Waugh

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
(This review is also posted at

For the uninitiated, Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) was a man. Today, he is probably best known for his novel Brideshead Revisited, due to the popularity of a 1981 TV mini series adaptation.

Evelyn Waugh (from Evelyn Waugh Newsletter)

His novel A Handful of Dust is a comedy of manners, even a farce, for the first four chapters. Tony Last is devoted to his estate Hetton, with its Victorian Gothic monstrosity of a mansion. His shallow wife Brenda has an affair with John Beaver, a cash-strapped momma’s boy. The cuckolded Tony becomes aware of the affair only after the death of their son in a riding accident, when he receives a message from Brenda that she’s going to marry Beaver.

The main conflict is between Tony and his devotion to Hetton (three of the chapters are titled English Gothic) on one hand and Brenda on the other. Aside from being Brenda’s paramour, Beaver’s role is incidental.

Brenda makes demands in their divorce case that would compel Tony to sell Hetton. Tony will not acquiesce to her demands, and goes on an expedition to Brazil. He tells Brenda’s brother that, upon his return to England, he will divorce Brenda without settlements.

A Handful of Dust takes a dramatic turn beginning with Chapter 5, In Search of a City, when Tony leaves England for Brazil. The pace picks up rapidly, and there is menace and doom as Tony makes his way through the jungles of Brazil with his traveling companion Dr. Messinger. The novel ends with startling turns in the fates of Brenda, Tony, and his beloved Hetton.

A Handful of Dust was slow going and didn’t engage me until Chapter 5. There were times I put it aside. I’m glad that I held on to read the surprising ending.

View my book reviews at Goodreads

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nordstrom Holiday 2008 Cosmetics Trend Show

Last Saturday, I attended the Holiday 2008 Cosmetics Trend Show at Nordstrom Tysons Corner outside of Washington, DC. The show began at 8 am. The first person arrived at quarter after 6.

The event was like a pep rally, and Nordstrom Midwest/Capital Beauty Director Julianne De'Chaump was head cheerleader. The show had three scenes, in which representatives from various cosmetics companies showed their latest products. While each of the scenes focused on makeup looks, attention was also given to skin care, bath & body, fragrance, nails, and hair products.

Scene One: Bright Metallic Textures was best exemplified by Bobbi Brown's Shimmer Brick from her Copper Diamond holiday collection:

Bobbi Brown 'Copper Diamond' Shimmer Brick Compact

This compact features shimmering shades of candlelight, gold, copper, beige and sand that would be great for highlighting the browbone, inner corner of the eyes, and top of the cheekbone.

Scene Two: Winter Berry Lips was exemplified by lip colors from MAC's Red She Said collection:

MAC Red She Said Collection

Scene Three: Black, Smoky Eyes was best exemplified by Laura Mercier's Eye Colour Quad in Tuxedo:

Laura Mercier Eye Colour Quad in Tuxedo

This eye shadow quad features both shimmer and matte shades of black and white, just like its namesake. It's from Laura Mercier's Black Tie Collection.

Actually, all these trends are perennials for the winter holiday season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wode by Boudicca now at Lucky Scent

Wode by Boudicca is certainly the most unusual fragrance I've seen: when you spray on the fragrance, it turns blue and then gradually loses all color. I had written that Wode was available only through Barneys (not that I patronize Barneys).

Wode by Boudicca

Barneys is clearly out of my price league, although I did spring for a set of 2 candlesticks that I saw in Domino and absolutely had to have. I wouldn't patronize Barneys if I could afford to shop there, as it has since been bought out by the Istithmar investment firm based in Dubai. Oftentimes, Middle Eastern firms are governed by Sharia, or Islamic, law which requires that 2.5% of earnings be given to charity. Sounds good, but too often Islamic charities are fronts for terrorist activities. I do not shop companies owned by Middle Eastern firms, at least not knowingly, which is why I refuse to patronize Caribou Coffee.

Now there's an alternative to shopping Barneys for Wode by Boudicca: you may now buy it at LuckyScent.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Black Lip Color


Soon after I blogged about Obsessive Compulsive's expanded range of coloured lip balms, including its Tarred lip balm, I discovered the Black Tie Optional lipstick and sheer lip gloss from Poppy King's Lipstick Queen.

As with Obsessive Compulsive's Tarred lip balm, this lip color is not intended to be goth: it's intended to deepen your lip color.

Thanks to jamiem from ThisNext for this discovery!

Aaron de Mey is the new Makeup Artistic Director for Lancôme, after the departure of Gucci Westman for Revlon. Picture below is the limited edition lip color set that he created for Lancôme. It features ‘Le Rouge’ Color Fever lipstick in a balanced red and Piha Black Color Fever Gloss. The Piha Black Color Fever Gloss was inspired by the black volcanic sands of Piha Beach in Aaron de Mey's native New Zealand.

Aaron de Mey for Lancôme

For reviews, see We Try It: Black Lip Gloss from the Beauty Counter blog at

Blushes as Bronzers


Bronzer isn't just for summer; it's great for warming up pallid or drained winter complexions. Sometimes, however, products marketed as bronzers are simply too brown and muddy. Tawny or reddish brown blushes might be a better choice.

Here are four price-friendly blushes that can work as bronzers (note that the shades as portrayed may not be true):

Revlon Powder Blush in Sandalwood Beige 08 (top left) is great for fair to light midtones.

L'Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Blush, Neutral in Sweet Ginger N7-8 (top right) is marketed for deep skintones, but would be right for medium skintones.

Rubiglo in Earth (bottom left) would be great for dark reddish skintones, as would Iman Luxury Blushing Powder in Sable (bottom right).

What are your favorite bronzers and blushes for your skintone?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Funny ... but not surprising

Here's this intriguing snippet from WWD: Droll Dame Edna Creates Mac Color Collection:

There’s a new dame in MAC Cosmetics’ arsenal: the irrepressible Dame Edna Everage, who has created an eponymous limited edition color collection for the company.

“I’m doing this out of love — I’m a giver,” said Dame Edna, the lavender-haired alter ego of Australian comedian Barry Humphries. “The audience’s applause was a little louder when I was wearing MAC on stage, so I was a convert. They didn’t have to coerce me.”

To compose the line, Edna holed up in a conference room with James Gager, senior vice president and creative director of MAC Worldwide, and Jennifer Balbier, senior vice president of product...

Dame Edna (Barry Humphries) channels Christine Keeler members rate foundations
Top-Rated Foundations

One of these 14 crowd pleasers from Revlon, Prescriptives, MAC and more could give your skin a flawless finish -- sans airbrush experts

We've heard complaints about foundation ranging from too heavy and drying to too light and oily, not to mention "too few shades" and "too expensive." So we made a list of the foundations that garnered praise from members.

See reviews

Total Beauty Weekly Web Tour

Total Beauty Web Tour

Viva Woman finds out if there is a limit to layering more skincare products on our face at any one time?

Beauty Anonymous is interested in checking out the MAC Hello Kitty Collection.

Beauty Junkies Unite hopes you win the Benefit 24K Sexy Gold GIVEAWAY!

Trisha over at Makeup Files shows you how to ask for makeup this holiday season.

Fabulous Over Forty is reviewing several 2008 Holiday Collections. See which ones are her favorites this season.

Neon Bible tells you
what bra you need to buy today and reviews the new Heidi Klum collection lipstick from Victoria's Secret

Fashion designer
Vera Wang talks about Look her new perfume-a video clip by Talking Makeup.

Frappelattes gives us a preview of new Essie nail polish colors for Winter 2008!

Beauty Tyrant is hosting her first beauty giveaway this week. She is giving away a Karmin Titanium Hair Straightener Iron for FREE! to one lucky winner all this week.

Makeup Bag visits the Clarins Spa in Neuilly, France

Julie at More than a Pretty Face loves the new formula and colors for Obsessive Compulsive Colour Lip Balms

The Makeup Divas reviews MAC Adoring Carmine 5 Basic Brush Bag.

The Home Spa Goddess shares her obsession with Revlon's Limited Edition Crushed Velvet Lip Creme.

Are you a recessionista? Chat with Beckie and Jamie of Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog great drugstore alternatives?

Suzanne at RN Guide to Skin Care reviews Avon Skin So Soft Age-Defying+ Corrective Neck & Chest Treatment .

The Beauty Blog reviews Wen Hair Care.

Mineral Makeup Reviews discusses Serious Skin Care ProMinerals ProNano Brightening Powder.

Enter to win to a Karmin Titanium Hair Straightener Iron on A Mom in Red High Heels! Contest ends 11-17-08.

Boutique Flair talks about building your beauty with self esteem!

Monique at Beauty Girl Musings has used an amazing kit that has given her clearer, fresher looking skin! Find out what it is!

Beauty411 takes a look at MAC's Passions of Red Holiday Collection!

Nur @ I Love Looking Good thinks this holiday is about All that Sparkles. Gorgeous makeup collection from The Body Shop.

Alison of the Advice Sisters has been blogging every day about beauty and gift-ables items for the holidays, but she also blogged this week about the Chocolate Show's Runway Show where all the costumes were at least 40% chocolate!

Beauty Blogging Junkie shares how you can dazzle like Twilight's Edward in the meadow with these highlighters. Get gleamy!

The girls over at Beauty in Real Life have 5 copies of celebrity makeup artist, Carmindy's latest book to giveaway. Click here to get all the info!

Are you a Recessionista? Chat with Jamie and Beckie at Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog about budget-friendly drugstore alternatives.

Glossypink tells you about the little makeup brush with big possibilities!

Indian Girl is bringing you yummy Beauty Secrets from a Food Blogger, in her new weekly feature !

CaliforniaCosmetics gives an in depth review of Purminerals Starter Kit and Brush Set and what's purfect about them!

Hot Beauty Health shows you how to prevent stretchmarks using Mamma Mio Countdown Kit during pregnancy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Condé Nasty

This is a lovely picture of Michelle Obama, as taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue.

Michelle Obama
The same cannot be said about the accompanying article, which trashes other political spouses:

"She's normal," Glanton answered, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "She stands by her man."

Normal. Interesting word. Certainly not one that applies to spouses Bill Clinton or even Elizabeth Edwards, who is battling metastatic breast cancer and lives in a $6 million, 28,200-square-foot house (the Obamas, by contrast, paid $1.65 million for their Georgian Revival home). Nor, frankly, is it a word that would have applied to Teresa Heinz, John Kerry's oddly flinty wife, or Howard Dean's MIA doctor wife. Or Cindy McCain, who once stole painkillers from the charity for which she worked. Or even the arctic Laura Bush, who can barely contain her contempt for the media in her rare public appearances ...

I particularly take exception to how Cindy McCain and Laura Bush are portrayed. Yes, it's true that Cindy McCain stole painkillers from the charity, but she is also a woman who found a Bangladeshi orphan with a cleft palate, obtained surgery for the child, and most of all, made that child her own.

I have never sensed contempt for the media on the part of Laura Bush. Perhaps that's because of my filters. I have contempt for much of the mainstream media, as do many Americans. If Mrs. Bush has contempt for the media, I suspect that's because she stands by her man. Fisking President Bush's decision to go into Iraq is one thing; however, the media has fed into a frenzy, as demonstrated by 1-29-09 bumper stickers, countdown clocks, and the continual jokes about the President's intellectual prowess, which pass for smart party conversation.

Mrs. Bush is a lady. She smoothed over Michelle Obama's comments "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country ..." which antagonized many Americans, including myself.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive Colour Lip Balms

OCC Colour Lip Balms

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics started its lip balms with its Tarred (black) and Feathered (White) shades. These lip balms weren't goth: Tarred darkened lip color and Feathered lightened lip color.

Now OCC has expanded its range to include Latte (deep beige to neutralize reds), Melange (warm neutral), Plum, and Vintage (sheer deep purplish-wine).

OCC has also changed its formula since I first blogged on Tarred and Feathered over two years ago. The original Tarred and Feathered were waxy in consistency; today, all OCC's lip balms are creamy in consistency and formulated with coconut oil, with a touch of peppermint oil. OCC's also changed its packaging. The original Tarred and Feathered were packaged in tins; today, OCC's lip balm collection come in pots.

I loved the original Tarred and Feathered, but I like the new formula even better. I was so smitten with the beautiful new shades that I bought the entire collection.

You may shop for Obsessive Compulsive color lip balms at the OCC website.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Deals and steals content:

New! Discount Deals of the Week

Check out more free samples, beauty product steals and contests from top brands like Clinique. Hurry, they won't last long!

Everyone loves a good bargain, which is why we've rounded up some of the best deals, sample offers and contest opportunities from favorite beauty brands like Estee Lauder, Clinique, Smashbox, Bare Escentuals and more. Take advantage -- they'll only be around for another few weeks!

Shop deals

Other deals include:

Stila - 20% discount and free shipping on any order of $30 or until Dec. 16th. Use coupon code ECYX12 at checkout.

Julie Hewett - Julie Hewett is known for her red lip colors. 20% discount until November 30. Enter code NOV20 at checkout.

Elke notes that tarte is offering a free cheek stain in Blissful (sheer soft warm pink) with any purchase of a tarte complexion product. Shop tarte and enter code BLISS. This special ends November 14, 2008 at 11:59pm EST.

Beauty411 notes that Lancome is having a Friends & Family Event through November 12th. Shop Lancome and enter code HOLIDAYJOY to receive 20% off of your purchases.

And (shameless plug) promotions being run through More than a pretty face:

Spell Cosmetics - 20% off through Wednesday, November 26. Also giveaway of customized "I'm a Spell Girl" set.

Vosges Haut-Chocolat - 10% through November 30.

Cult of Personality

Yesterday, I had planned to do a post-mortem on Tuesday's Presidential election. I was incredulous that so many American voters were sucked into a cult or personality.

Which made me recall this song:

Still from video Cult of Personality
by Living Color

Cult of personality
Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
Ive been everything you want to be
Im the cult of personality
Like mussolini and kennedy
Im the cult of personality
Cult of personality
Cult of personality

Neon lights, a nobel prize
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You dont have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
Im the smiling face on your t.v.
Im the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me ...

More lyrics

When I went to the YouTube video for Cult of Personality, I saw that there were plenty others for whom the recently concluded Presidential election made them recall this song.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Which books should all men read?

That was the question that two guys asked me after I published my article Which books should all women read?

The Dangerous Book for Boys

I'm not able to make a list of books that men should read, but here are the first items from the list of books that all men should have read as boys, from The Dangerous Book for Boys:

* Books by Roald Dahl
* Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne
* The Willard Price series
* Famous Five series and Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton
* Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs

Do you have others to recommend?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Specials and a giveaway from Spell Cosmetics

More than a pretty face is pleased to present an offer for 20% off all purchases from Spell Cosmetics. To take advantage of this offer, use the coupon code stylepage.

I'm a Spell Girl Kit

In addition, the lovely Gemma of Spell Cosmetics has set up a giveaway of its I'm a Spell Girl kit. The I'm a Spell Girl Kit contains the following: Spell (Harmony) mineral foundation, one lipstick, one mineral Blush, three mineral eyeshadows, one mineral Eyeliner, one Spell Wet n Set eye shadow sealer, one Lip Gloss, and one "Spell Girls" membership card for 25% off all future orders. The best part is that you can choose your own colors!

The 20% discount and giveaway end on Wednesday, November 26, 2008.

I'm now ThisNext's Beauty Expert Maven

The Style Page > Beauty booty

Well, knock me over with a feather. ThisNext, the social shopping website, has not only named me a Maven for 2008, but it's also named me its Beauty Expert Maven.

So how does an Expert Maven differ from an ordinarily Maven? This Next says this about Expert Mavens:

"They’re the crème de la Maven crème, ThisNext's most visible specialists in a product field. You can see what they're recommending on our Community page."

See more of my Beauty booty list at ThisNext.

Five Great Uses for Your Average Washcloth

Pursuant to my post Quick Fixes, which featured content supplied by Total Beauty, comes this article from Julyne Derrick of 5 Great Uses for Your Average Washcloth.

Formerly, Paula Begoun opposed the use of mechanical exfoliants such as washclothes, as these could create micro-tears in the skin. Paula has changed her position, given the prevalence of long-wearing, non-budging makeup. For the same reason, she now advocates using eye makeup remover.

As for myself, I don't use an "average" washcloth: instead, I use the Wonder Cloth, which I purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond. Lately, I've been using the Klorane Soothing Eye Make-Up Remover with Cornflower Extract lotion to remove eye makeup, and I'm pleased with how it removes eye makeup.

Thoughts for Election Eve

My passions during this election seasons have run high. I've had nights that I've been so riled that I've taken a tablet to fall asleep.

There are some positions taken by Barack Obama that I like, and there are positions taken by John McCain that I don't like. I know who McCain who is. I don't believe that Obama is who he says he is, when, in his commercials, he talks about faith, patriotism, and his mother's teaching him what it meant to be an American. Not many believing Christians would recognize the theology espoused by Rev. Wright, Obama's spiritual mentor for 20 years. Obama's mother didn't appear to have much attachment to the USA: instead, she married two non-citizens and gallivanted around the world, leaving him in the care of her mother. Also, I'm creeped out by the cult of personality surrounding Obama.

I'll be voting for McCain tomorrow. I do have misgivings, beyond his his stance on some issues. I'm worried that his health might not hold out over the next four years. He's run a lackluster campaign: I'm reminded of Bob Dole's 1996 Presidential campaign, when it appeared that he became the GOP's nominee solely for being a party elder. Neither has McCain represented himself well.

For example, McCain could have hit Obama harder concerning Obama's opting out of public campaign financing. The pernicious role of money in campaigning has long been a big issue of the Democratic Party. McCain partnered with Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to sponsor the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 to do something about campaign financing: in this way, he bucked his party and could solidly portray himself as a "maverick."

Here's what Victor Davis Hansen wrote in the conservative National Review about public campaign financing:

"For years an axiom of the liberal establishment was the need for public campaign financing — and the corrosive role of private money in poisoning the election process. The most prominent Republican who crossed party lines to ensure the passage of national public campaign financing was John McCain — a maverick stance that cost him dearly among conservatives who resented bitterly federal interference in political expression. ...

For all practical purposes, public financing of the presidential general election is now dead. No Republican will ever agree to it again. No Democrat can ever again dare to defend a system destroyed by Obama. All future worries about the dangers of big money and big politics will fall on deaf ears.

Surely, there will come a time when the Democratic Party, whether for ethical or practical reasons, will sorely regret dismantling the very safeguards that for over three decades it had insisted were critical for the survival of the republic."

NOTE I'm conflicted when I identify a source as "liberal" or "conservative." On one hand, I use these terms for truth-in-labeling; on the other hand, the "L" word or "C" word is an instant turnoff for people of the opposite persuasion, who won't bother to read a source and consider the points.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Christopher Drummond Beauty

Veludo Velvet Foundation

Makeup artist Christopher Drummond began his eponymous line with SAÚDE PELE Radiance Booster. SAÚDE PELE (which means "Healthy Skin" in Portuguese) is a soft gold loose powder which can be used to highlight the cheekbones, brighten the inner corners of the eyes (my favorite use), or as an all-over luminizer. Christopher is a purist when it comes to cosmetics, and he formulated SAÚDE PELE with only organic and vegan ingredients.

Christopher has brought that same ethos to his new products Veludo Velvet Foundation and Finale Finishing Powder. He has also introduced a cream concealer. Veludo Velvet Foundation is a loose powder makeup that comes in six skintone true shades, from Luz/Light (lightest) to Marron/Brown (deepest). It is infused with botanicals such as açai and green tea. Finale Finishing Powder comes in two shades: Neutro/Neutral and Amarelo/Yellow. Christopher recommends Neutro/Neutral for Caucasian skin and Amarelo/Yellow for ethnic skin tones, but I see no reason why Caucasian skin shouldn't use Amarelo/Yellow.

Before writing this review, I tested Veludo/Velvet Foundation in Justo/Fair and Finale Finishing Powder in Neutro/Neutral for a week. I used the kabuki brush from the Bare Escentuals Get Started kit to apply the Veludo Velvet Foundation and the powder brush from the same kit to apply Finale Finishing Powder. I cleaned the brushes thoroughly beforehand to make sure that the shades were true. Here are a few things I've learned to make loose powder makeup work:

- Prepped skin is a must! Apply a moisturizer or primer before applying loose powder.

- Powder makeup is usually not enough to cover redness, despite what you see in those fake before-and-afters from Bare Escentuals. I use liquid or cream makup to cover redness on the cheekbone.

- If you use cream or gel blush, apply these before you apply loose powder makeup. Flawless even toned bare skin is a must! Otherwise, apply a pressed or loose powder blush after you apply loose powder makeup. Given the redness in my skin, I use powder blush to take advantage of the light-diffusing characteristics of loose powder foundation.

SAÚDE PELE, Veludo Velvet Foundation, and Finale Finishing Powder are great for a sheer, soft-focused look. I also recommend these products to those who find ingredients such as parabens and bismuth oxychloride (which is used in Bare Escentuals) problematic and want organic and vegan ingredients. Christopher's products, as a rule, do not contain these ingredients.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Fresh Truffles Infused with Exotic Flavors

I am pleased to present this offer from Vosges Haut-Chocolat for 10% off all purchases from its website.

Vosges Chocolate is known for its exotic flavors. It started the craze for chocolates flavored with chilies, salt, and other unusual ingredients. I'm craving the truffles from its Aztec collection, the truffles coated with paprika from its traditional collection, and the Red Fire Skull with ancho and chipotle chillies, Ceylon cinnamon, and dark chocolate.

To take advantage of this discount, go to Vosges's website, At checkout, enter promotion code 2810WB1. This promotion runs from November 1, 2008 to November 30, 2008.

Need I say more?