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Spreading the gospel of makeup

11 Jul

A friend just told me today that I’ve encouraged her to try makeup, which she never used to wear, and to experiment with fashion choices.

She’s not the first friend to tell me that. I’ve worn makeup since junior high. I never looked like a baby tramp, I’ve just always thought makeup was fun.

Not me. But awesome.

I blame Mom for that. She wears makeup to the grocery store, and I have very vivid memories of pulling myself up on the bathroom counter to watch her put her makeup on. I saw pretty things in the sweep of the eye shadow, the stroke of the eyeliner, the swipe of the mascara. I saw how her tiny, dark eyes popped after she was done, and I wanted to play, too.

By watching her, I learned instinctively how to apply makeup. I was the only girl at slumber parties who provided makeovers that were actually pretty. I took, and take, pride in knowing which colors will compliment your eye color. I’ve often said if I couldn’t write (I’m a features reporter at a newspaper), I’d be a hair dresser/makeup artist. I think it’d be fun.

Do you wear makeup? How’d you get into it? Was it naturally, by watching a parent? Or did you have a friend that one new year’s even who said, “Give me that! THIS is how you do a smokey eye”? (Yes, I’ve said this to a friend. I taught her, and she rocks it now.)

Best of the box: Lip stain

22 Jun

This month’s Birchbox was full of summer essential goodies, which means it was only sort of awesome for this gal: Naturally, the box came with some bronzers — in the form of face wipes, which I found pretty inventive — and I’ve never used a bronzer in my life. I’m relatively tan naturally, and I don’t trust a product to make me look bronzed without looking orange and/or streaky and/or ridiculous. (Never fear, I gave the wipes two two friends who are admittedly pasty white.)

There was definitely one goodie in the Birchbox madness that stood out: Stainiac lip and cheek stain.

Now, I’m not a big blush person. I’m not convinced I don’t look like a clown when I put on blush, especially anything liquid. So at first, Staniac gave me pause.

I watched the how-to video on Birchbox, however, and thought, “I think I can do that.”

And then I did that. And it was good. The stain is water-based, so it’s very easy to blend.

Staniac gives your cheeks a very nice glow without being remotely over-the-top. And my “beauty queen” shade of Staniac made my lips lovely and red. Once the stain sets, it does leave lips a little dry, so I definitely recommend a light lip gloss if that bothers you.

It was my first forray into stains in lieu of lipsticks or glosses, and I approve! (See it in action on the Birchbox blog, where three staffers try it on. I think it looks especially lovely on the first staffer.)

Have you ever used a lip stain? Do you like it? What about liquid blush?

The power of scent

19 Jun

They say that your sense of smell is the sense most closely related to memory. It’s truly incredible how a smell can take you back to a place and time, even more than a great song on the radio. (There are certain colognes I will forever and always association with a boy or two from my past. It’s eerie.)

So last night, I’m perusing a local Victoria’s Secret for some Semi-Annual Sale madness. I picked up some completely unsexy but wildly comfortable undies and then made a beeline for the beauty section, turning into a crazy person as I tried to smell everything.

When I picked up this small body spray called Sheer Love, it was like entering a time warp. The scent is very feminine and floral. It says it’s made of pink lily and cotton (it could have said it’s made of Rice Krispie Treats and garlic, I can never tell!)

This travel-size spray is $4 on the site. I got mine for $2. Score!

The scent transported me back to sixth grade. I was at the mall with two friends, Halina and Katie. We walked into Bath & Body Works, a store I had never stepped foot inside. And immediately my little 12-year-old mind was blown. I had NO IDEA stores existed where you could by nothing but lotions and potions that smell good. Hell, I had no idea that kind of lotion and potion even existed!

For the first time in my life — but not the last — I turned into that crazy person who tries to smell everything. And I came upon a lotion that Bath & Body no longer carries, something with a talc in it. It was insanely soft, and I loved the feel of it on my hands. I only had like $5 on me, so I put it down.

That’s precisely when Katie offered to buy me the lotion. I didn’t know her too well — we were both friends with Halina — and I told her no way, she didn’t have to do that. She picked it up and bought it for me anyway, and I was insanely giddy at my new purchase.

This new body spray has something in it that the talc lotion from 17 years ago had, I’m sure of it.

What scents take you back?

OK, naturally I turned to Google to see if I could figure out what that Bath & Body Works lotion was. It was called liquid talc, and I think the scent was Flowering Herbs. It had to have pink lily in it. I can’t find a photo that’s larger than an inch across.

I’m still here!

5 Jun

Hello, happy blog readers. This week is what I like to refer to as hell: I’m moving Saturday, in with the beau, and I’m in Total Packing Frenzy. How on earth does a one bedroom apartment gather so much shit? It’s a questions physicists should ponder.

So the motivation — or, ya know, time — to get posting isn’t really there. So consider this a list of things to come. (Or … Jac’s bloggy to-do list, kept in a place where she’s not likely to lose it):

* This past weekend, the beau and I went to Nashville, Tenn., with some friends. Awesome, awesome spot for bars, live music and shopping. I have two fabbo jewelry purchases to share, as well this maxi dress you get to see now. We stopped at this massive indoor outlet mall, which included a NY & Company. When I put this dress on, it just made me feel pretty. And it was half off. And those two things equals the bestest thing ever. My friend Sara said I looked like Princess Jasmine in it. Aw, shucks.

* I haz bridesmaids! I’m totally psyched about how I managed to ask them. Etsy helped.

* I haz a real studio! I took a picture of my former “studio” after I’d been packing it up for five minutes. The before and after pictures will make you weep.

* The coolest ring ever. I bought it. It’s mine. It was only $12. Pics to come.

What do you think of colored eyeliner?

29 May

When I was in eighth grade, I had a crush on a boy named Ryan. Eventually, he learned I had a crush on him and asked me out. (I’m not sure what your junior high “relationships” were like, but mine involved a boy saying “Will you go out with me?” and, if you accept, you were “together.” Which meant you’d sometimes talk on the phone after school, and you’d sit next to each other in classes you shared or at school events.)

So I’m “dating” this boy, Ryan, and one day, he tells me, “Your eyeliner makes you look dead.”

It was green, and I loved it. But I stopped wearing it on that day, for obvious reasons. I did not want to look dead. (Nor did I want to “date” someone who would say that to  me, so I shortly after called it kaputs. Ryan and Jaclyn, we hardly knew ye.)

I didn’t touch a colored liner for ages. Then, a few years ago, I found a Rimmel eyeliner in, yes, green. I remembered Ryan, and then I remembered how much I loved the stuff, and I bought it.

I still mainly stick with black liner, but occasionally, I still like to switch it up. A friend recently gave me a waterproof magenta liner — also Rimmel — she didn’t like called Purple Shock. I wasn’t sure how the Exaggerate liner (excuse me, definer) would work with my nearly-black eyes and lashes, but I have to say: I sort of dig it. It’s definitely a much softer look than rimming my eyes in black, but it still somehow gives that appearance of volume along the top lash line.

I’m not a fan of waterproof makeup as a rule, but this stuff comes off easily. I haven’t used the smudger on the end yet, though — I’ve always preferred a nice, clean line.

Do you ever wear colored liners? Which colors and brands are your favorite? This crayon liner is good, but I much prefer straight up pencils.

Do we like makeup reviews? Also: Zoya

3 May

As you may have noticed, I’ve been trying to do some more makeup reviews on here. I love reading about new products, and I’m definitely a makeup and beauty product girl. Do we like reading posts like this??

(Note: This image below is a poll. I tried a different style poll than I normally use, and I don’t like how busy it is. I’ve tried changing it like three times, but in my “preview,” it looks the same. So don’t be fooled into thinking that’s just an image. It’s a poll for you, I swear!) (Unless this is just a white poll box on your screen. Then disregard this entire note. Thank you, the Mgmt.)

And while we’re talking reviews, I need to gush about a new nail polish I’ve tried. I got my first bottle of Zoya polish in my most recent Birchbox (yes, I’m obsessed with this program, I need a BA meeting … Like AA … but for Birchbox … ugh, nevermind) and was quite excited. I’ve seen this brand all over the interwebs (but strangely never in a store) and have always dug the pretty colors and matte finish.

My bottle is called Bevin (a Google “define” references Ernest Bevin, “foreign secretary of Britain 1945–51. He helped to establish NATO in 1949.” No idea what else a “bevin” couldbe …), and it’s a pretty, muted greenish blue. The literature on the polish — part of Zoya’s True Spring collection — points out how long-lasting Zoya is, and this made me roll my eyes. Yes, top coats (ahem, Sally Hansen as the best, ahem) make a manicure last longer, but polish lasting days on its own? Just doesn’t happen.

Well, I did my nails on Monday. I took these photos for Jac & Elsie last night. And my sans-top-coat manicure is still perfect.

I’m a believer.

New favorite mascara

2 May

Typically when it’s time to update my mascara, I go shopping in my mom’s makeup bag. The woman is a bargain shopper like no other, and when she sees certain things on sale or clearance, she buys them. I swear she perpetually has like three packages of mascara in her makeup bag, all with that little orange Target clearance sticker.

The last time I was home, I forgot to have this “shopping” experience, and my mascara has been wearing thin as of late. My modus operandi for the last 29 years (I really think I felt this way as an infant, too) has been, “Bargain shop, bargain shop!!” I’ve always been one to hit up Kohl’s or the mall when I’m bored. When I’d buy things, I’d never spend a lot, but I bought a lot.

Now, you know from previous blog posts that I’m currently on a “I understand why this beauty product is so dang expensive” kick.  Since I’ve opened Jac & Elsie, I don’t shop when I’m bored — I make jewelry. This has led to a shocking amout of money not  spent at department stores.

So I don’t feel badly that I’m choosing to spend more on products that are better. And I’m really thrilled with my new fancy pants mascara.

I hit up Sephora for the first time ever over the weekend, and I found a sales girl and instructed, “I need mascara. I like length. I don’t like volume. I don’t like waterproof.” (I always find voluminous formulas look clumpy, and waterproof mascara isn’t good for your lashes.)

She pulled out a box of They’re Real! Mascara, by Benefit Cosmetics. “It’s our best-selling one,” she said. “We never can keep it in. This is the last one we have.”

Yeeeeah, like I could say no to that.

The mascara doesn’t clump. It makes my lashes super long. And, somehow, it even curls them. What is this magic???

Do you have a fav mascara? This is one thing I’m hugely not brand loyal about. I don’t think I’ve ever used the same stuff twice.

Why does my face think it belongs to a princess?

24 Apr

I often joke that I have had acne since I was a fetus. In truth, I’ve had it since the second or third grade. No child that young needs zits, but I assured myself it would get better once I reached adulthood.


While my face is the clearest it’s been, oh, ever, it’s not because I’ve grown out of acne; it’s because I’m tried a million and one products and am finally finding ones that work for me.

The biggest surprise was that all that prescription crap I tried in high school — the acid creams I had to store in the refrigerator that burn my face so much, I’d tear up; the ointments my mom had to rub on my backne and bleached every single pair of pajamas I owned; the pads that smelled like I was rubbing nail polish remover all over my forehead and nose — was crap. It’s not the oft-touted salisylic acid that works for me. Yes, benzoyl peroxide works better, but not as well as it should.

No, no. It’s the natural stuff this face wants. It wants toner with witch hazel and face scrubs with brown sugar and very, very, very sensitive products that cost way too much.

Considering how much crap I’ve tried over the years, I feel the need to share some of the greatest products ever. (And thanks to Birchbox for helping me discover three of the four.) In no particular order …

1) C. Booth’s Tea Tree Therapeutic Toner

I bought this on a whim nearly a year ago. I knew I wanted to try to incorporate a toner into my routine, and I was happy with it from the start. I love the minty smell and how it always feel cool upon my face.

Then on a weekend trip to my parents’, I forgot to bring my facewash. I only had my toner, so I used only it for the weekend. By Monday, my face was as clear as I’ve ever seen it. The time off from face washes actually made it clearer.

Now don’t think I’m one of those who over-washes and so over-dries her face. I wash in the morning and at night, and that’s it. But after a week of not using facewash at all, my skin looked great.

The problem was when the errant pimple — or, egads, period time — came up, I’d need something more than toner. Enter …

2) Befine Exfoliating Cleanser

Samples of this face wash were in my most recent Birchbox. I was doubtful at first, as I find most scrubs to be too harsh for my face. Upon rubbing my hands together for that first face wash, I wrinkled my nose. This stuff did not  smell good.

But when I washed my face, it lathered spectacularly well. The rough scrub dissolved after a few seconds, and when I rinsed the cleanser off my face, I was left with incredibly soft skin.

The foul smell, I have to say, is just a Jaclyn Thing. I hate the smell of almond in things, but it’s a common ingredient in any soap. Befine is a mixture of brown sugar, almond and ginger root … and it’s fantastic.

Naturally, a tiny bottle of this stuff will run $25, which is about three times what I normally spend on face washes. When these are the results, however? Bring it on.

3) Peter Thomas Roth Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel

Birchbox’s claim for this face cream made me roll my eyes. You’re gonna absorb oil, are you? Just like that? Sure thing, Captain. After that, let’s find a rainbow’s end and become rich, shall we?

Um … I was wrong.  Peter Thomas Roth, please forgive me for I know not what I say.

This anti-shine gel is, at the risk of sounding like an ass, The Bomb. Whenever I get home from work, my face looks as though I have dipped it in a bit of olive oil. That means, if I want to keep my face on for whatever after-work plans I have, I need to wash my face (which does not need to happen a third time a day) and then reapply my makeup.

This stuff, however, I apply right over my makeup. And by the time I’m finished rubbing it in, my face is perfectly matte. No more oil slicks, no more “Oh, I can see my face in your face!” reflective tricks.

Naturally, my princess face is cool with this. The rest of me is not so cool with this, as a full size bottle is friggin’ $35.  The good thing is that I’m still using the sample I received from Birchbo  last month, and it’s only 1/4 ounce. The full size? A whopping, enormous, gimundo … 1 ounce. ((facepalm))

But it’s soooo good. I have some points stored up, so it may need to be a splurge.

4) Benta Berry G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream

I think I’ve shared the Benta Berry love on here before, but it bears repeating. It’s really dang tough to find a moisturizer for an oily, sensitive face. Sure I can get dried out, but too much of a wrong thing — or even just a little bit of a wrong thing — can send me spiraling back to the days of falling asleep on my World History notes to wake up and find a disgusting forehead smear on my spiral notebook paper.

Alas, Benta Berry is light, it goes on smooth, it leaves my face soft and it has such a delightful fragrance. I forked over the $22 for a full-size of this bad boy, and I haven’t regretted it once.

In short, my face likes you if you’re a) natural and/or b) expensive.


What are your favorite facial regiment products?

Let’s talk about swimsuits

21 Apr

I don’t know a soul who likes to buy swimsuits. Shopping for them usually leaves women feeling fat and ugly.

This makes me sad, as when I see a swimsuit, I see the promise of summer and sunshine. Yes, they show off my belly chub and flat out fat thighs, but dammit, I’m a woman who likes to eat.  I do eat in moderation, but if the price for that piece of tiramisu is these thunder thighs? Then dammit, bring on the cocoa powder.

Anywho, I had no intention of purchasing a new swimsuit this year. I have three that fit me from over the years. They are in various states of wear, but all of them are acceptable to don in public.

Then a friend forwarded me this e-mail from Land’s End showing me that it has this 30 percent off sale going on through the weekend. It includes clearance, and I managed to put myself together a bathing suit for $16.04. That’s with shippingTo top it off, she swears the brand of swimsuits are extra well-made.

Naturally, I have to share: Go to Land’s End. Feel good, for once, about buying swim suits, because you can make it happen for less than $20.

I went with this top half (I’m having issues with the pics) and these bottoms. They’re both in “deep sea,” which probably isn’t the most exciting color, but it was the one that allowed me to put together a suit in my size that matched. I do love that yellow, but I totally already have a yellow-polka-dot bikini. It makes me happy.

So! Go forth. Buy swimwear. Spent little.

Read it!!

31 Mar

I haven’t done a compilation of Must Read blog posts in a while, but I found two such fabulous ones (the first two) yesterday that I had to bring it back, and I had no trouble at all finding more to flesh the post out.

  • The lighter side of depressionHyperbole and a Half is consistently one of the funniest blogs, oh, ever. (If you’re unfamiliar with it, set aside a a day and read EVERYTHING. Or at least the posts highlighted along the right-hand side of the blog.) But it’s so rarely updated anymore that I find myself reading past posts as if they’re new. Well, this one from October was new to me yesterday, and I found myself amazed at how deftly it addressed the topic of depression. Even with the hilarious Paintbrush cartoons, the post is poignant.
  • I covet this dress — AHHHH, look at Jessica’s new dress! Sometimes What I Wore will delve into outfits I’d never try (and I’d try a lot), but this dress? Oh my goodness, I can’t take its fabulousness. (Check out the dress on the model in the store. It’s kind of remarkable how much better it looks on Jessica than on the model.)
  • I did this to my nails last week — I’m not sure that this really qualifies as a blog post, but whatever. This Birchbox tutorial is awesome, and I totally did this to my nails last night. They are a pale pink/white (no where near as WHITE white as the presenter’s) with dots of neon watermelon pink, bright kelly green and dark gray. I like! (And if you still don’t get Birchbox, GET IT. For $10 a month, you get all kinds of amazing samples catered just to you.)

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