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Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Best Lip Stains Ever

This category covers the very best lip stains, regardless of price. Feel free to weigh in on your favorites. This list is actually comprised of two separate lists:
1) The Beauty Insider's Picks: My own personal list of the best products in that category, in no particular order
2) The Popular Vote: The results of a poll I did of over 1000 beauty-savvy consumers, in order of popularity.

The Beauty Insider's Picks
1. Smashbox Limitless Lip Stain (“Red #24”): A sponge-tipped applicator makes this foolproof stain easy to apply, and it lasts for hours without feeling dry or crackly. For shine, use the clear gloss at the other end. “Red #24” is a gorgeous crimson that can be layered from natural to dramatic. $22
2. Tony & Tina Herbal Lip Stain (“Inspiring”): Weightless yet indelible, these stains are loaded with vitamins and aloe to soften lips. “Inspiring” is a juicy, natural red—the color you wish you were born with. $16
3. Urban Decay Ink (“Bitten”): A handy marker dispenses natural, transparent matte color that is goofproof and buildable. “Bitten” is a flattering brick red. $17
4. LORAC Sheer Wash (“Sheer Luck”): Love the roll-on applicator, and love the long-lasting sheer stain it dispenses even more. “Sheer Luck” is a universally flattering neutral. $17.50
5. Hard Candy Stain & Shine (“Stop”): This double-ended product features a sheer, durable stain in a mini roll-on on one end, and a shiny gloss on the other. “Stop” is a very wearable, natural red. $15
6. NARS Color Wash (“Pussycat”): More intense than most stains, NARS’ version offers real color, intense and buildable, that also manages to look natural. The cool packaging and rosy smell doesn’t hurt either. “Pussycat” is a gorgeous deep red. $24
7. Vincent Longo Lip & Cheek Gel Stain (“Baby Boo”): This highly-pigmented yet natural-looking product offers sheer, buildable color and is versatile enough to use on lips and cheeks. “Baby Boo” is a beautiful red. $22.50
8. Sephora Lip Marker (“Strawberry”): These ingenious pens really are as easy to use as markers, dispensing sheer, mango-scented washes of color onto lips. “Strawberry” is a natural red. $10
9. Hard Candy Stain for Lips & Cheeks (“Baby”): A sleek little silver tube delivers sheer, waterproof color. “Baby” is a sheer red. $12
10. Philosophy The Supernatural Lip & Cheek Tint (“Super Red”): A convenient sponge-tipped applicator makes application simple, leaving only healthy color behind. “Super Red” is a sheer, natural red. $15

The Popular Vote
1. Benefit Benetint, $26
2. MAC Lipglass Stain in “Hi-Resin Rose”, Discontinued.
3. Vincent Longo Lip Stain in “Cherry”, $21
4. Urban Decay Ink Lip Stain in “Bitten” and “Naked” (tie), $17
5. Clinique Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey”, $13.50
6. LORAC Sheer Luck Travel Sized Sheer Wash, $17.50
7. Sephora Aquatint in “Auburn”, Discontinued. (A representative from Sephora said comparable products include NARS Color Wash, LORAC Sheer Wash, and Benefit Benetint.)
8. Stila Lip Rouge in “Moue”, $26
9. NARS Lip Stain Gloss in “Chandemagor”, $20
10. NARS Color Wash in “Modesty”, $24

Friday, October 26, 2007

Style for Pregnant Moms

1. Again, think outside the box. I’ve made it through almost my entire second pregnancy wearing mostly regular clothing, not maternity. The styles that you can find in stores right now are perfect for pregnant women: leggings, tunics, babydoll and empire dresses. I’ve bought mostly regular clothes that I can wear now and later. Besides being a great moneysaver (maternity clothes are generally more expensive) it means that I have SO much more to choose from and can feel a little more fashionable and normal during pregnancy.
2. The most important maternity items to buy are pants. Depending on the style, you can probably get away with nonmaternity dresses and tops, but a couple of great pairs of pants are an essential. Buy a versatile pair of black pants, a pair of khaki pants, and a great pair of jeans.

Spend the most money on the jeans, and wear them every day if you want to. You will always look cute and stylish if you picked the right pair.
3. Accessories are a great way to make the most of your maternity wardrobe (or any wardrobe). If you find yourself getting bored with all the black, stretch clothes you are wearing, inject some color with a great pair of shoes or a fabulous cuff bracelet. One word of caution: avoid long necklaces that hit your belly bump. They can look a little ridiculous. Save them for after you have the baby!
4. Try not to spend a lot of money on maternity items you will wear only once or twice. I had to go to a formal ball a couple of months ago, and I really didn’t want to spend $500 on a formal maternity gown. So I looked all over, and ended up finding the perfect dress in the Macy’s juniors department for $30!! It was a long, printed chiffon dress with an empire waist, and it fit me beautifully and was so flattering. I even wore it to a party later.
5. Invest in a couple of great bras to take you through your pregnancy. A nude one and a black one should do just fine. Make sure they are comfortable, supportive and flattering. It is much more flattering to have your breasts up, where they should be, and not blending in with your tummy bump below! : )
6. Unless you are wearing an empire style dress, always tie fabric belts below the bump and not across it. SO much more flattering.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rules of Bargain Shopping

1. Just because it’s inexpensive, doesn’t mean it’s a bargain. It’s only a bargain if you wear it. I recently bought a few inexpensive maternity items at Target, without trying them on, and none of them fit. I almost didn’t bother to take them back because they were so cheap, but when I did, I found out that they purchases totaled nearly $80. Don’t be tempted to buy something just because it’s cheap. But it only if you love it/want it/have to have it.
2. Do Your Due Diligence: Really check an item out before you buy it, to make sure you are getting what you pay for. Make sure the seams are finished well, the fabric feels like it’s good quality and like it will wash well, that it can be washed and not dry-cleaned (otherwise a bargain can get expensive), that the buttons are nice, and the fit is flattering.
3. I have found, when shopping at stores like Target and Old Navy, that it’s best to stick with knits (like t-shirt materials) as opposed to wovens (like a man’s dress shirt, for example). Wovens tend to wash badly and end up being a wrinkled mess, meaning it’s going to take tons of ironing to make that $20 dress look decent. But cotton jerseys and sweaterknits tend to hold up pretty well and look good for longer, with less effort. Also, avoid slinky shiny knits when bargain shopping. These can have a tacky sheen to them and look cheap.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fashion Tips for Moms

1. Think outside the box when shopping, and check out unlikely places like children’s departments (the large sizes will fit a petite woman, and they will be a relative bargain) and juniors stores/departments, particularly for trendy pieces. The prices are unbeatable, and you can buy something cute and trendy without committing to the price tags in the women’s department or a boutique.
2. Know the difference between staples and “disposable” clothing. Staples are the types of things you should spend the bulk of your wardrobe budget on, because you will have them for years and wear them often. These are the staples that belong in every stay-at-home-mom’s wardrobe.
A. A great pair of jeans. Look for a bootcut in a darker wash for maximum versatility and flattery. Spend as much as you can afford on these, because the more expensive ones are really better, and you can wear these every day if you want to.
B. Good quality t-shirts in assorted neutrals and your favorite brights/pastels. Expect to spend at least $20, and as much as you can afford, for a shirt that wears and washes well. It’s worth it. Replace your white tee every year or two.
C. Great pants in black or khaki or both. Again, they should be bootcut and the best that you can afford.
D. A great black dress that you can wear to take the kids to the mall or to go out to dinner. It should be easy: easy to wear, to wash, to feel comfortable in.
Disposable clothing includes trendy items that you may wear for only a season or two. This is the place to look for bargains. Look for them at places like Charlotte Russe, Rave, Styles, and Target. This season, you can update your wardrobe stylishly and inexpensively with a few key items from these stores. Here are a few key trends, and where you can buy them inexpensively.
A. Sweaterdress: These are so cute and comfy so they are perfect for a new mom. British designer Alice Temperley made an amazing black/white one for Target. It’s $50 but looks like $500. Charlotte Russe has a simple gray sweaterdress with boatneck for $21.99.
B. Babydoll dresses or tops: If it flatters your figure, go for a babydoll dress, as long as it’s not too juvenile. Old Navy has a great selection, and I bought a few on sale for $13 each. Otherwise, stick to babydoll tops over jeans or capris. They are very forgiving, figure-wise, and just as fun and trendy.
C. Leggings are so comfy and so cute when worn under tunic and babydoll tops, and anyone can wear them. Just be sure the length of the legging stops at the thin part of your leg for maximum flattery. I’ve seen inexpensive ones in juniors departments everywhere, like a $13 pair on sale at Macy’s.
D. Wide-leg pants are another trend and they are very flattering. Just make sure that they are in proportion to your body. If your petite, they shouldn’t completely swallow you up! Macy’s has a pair by BCX for only $26. These are also great as they can be dressed up or down.
E. Chunky sweaters: Since we are in Florida, I go for sweater vests or sleeveless sweaters designed to be worn over long sleeved shirts, or maybe a cardigan you can throw on if it gets a little nippy. Old Navy has some adorable ones, and so does Target.
For the most part, hold out for good quality shoes and bags. It’s better to have one or two great pairs of shoes a season than to stock up on several cheap pairs that bring down an entire outfit. A great bag and great shoes can elevate a bargain outfit and make it look more stylish and expensive. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. I have found some great shoe and bag bargains, and if it’s something you absolutely adore, go for it.
Accessories are one of the best places to bargain shop. While classic jewelry will last you for seasons, fun, funky trendy jewelry is available everywhere at great prices, and it’s a great way to update your wardrobe and make it more interesting.
Never skimp on a great bra, particularly if you are busty. Buy a few good quality bras in neutral colors, and rinse them out after every other use (baby shampoo works great for this!) and hang them to dry. A bra can improve your entire shape and take years and pounds off of your body. If you are well-endowed, look for Wacoal bras. You can find them at SteinMart for half of their usual $50 price, and they are worth every penny. A friend of mine said that, after wearing a Wacoal bra for the first time, four friends came up to her at church and asked her if she lost weight. Now she won’t wear anything else!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mommy Makeover

Yesterday, I spoke about fashion and beauty to my sister's MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group, and it's amazing how universal our style issues are. One of the items on the agenda was a mommy makeover. The mommy, whose name is Carrie, started out with long straight brown hair, little makeup, and casual clothes. Before the meeting, her hair was given an amazing swingy, shoulder-length cut that brought out her features and instantly upgraded her look. I have her a very simple makeup look, using her own shade of Clinique Superfit foundation, a dusting of Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil, some Nars Blush in Orgasm, MAC Sequin Lipstick (she asked me the name of the shade - I swear this looks on EVERYBODY), a little brown pencil liner and black mascara (Maybelline Great Lash - I wanted a natural look and my Dior Show Blackout Mascara would have been a bit much). The whole makeup job took 5 minutes. Since she's about 23 weeks pregnant, I had a challenge to find an entire maternity outfit for only $30. I went to Target, where I scored a great printed crepe maternity blouse for $5.50 and a pair of tweedy subtly-striped pants for $6, both my Liz Lange and both on clearance. An entire outfit for about $11!! I then "splurged" on a great taupe handbag with faux croc trim for $18, and she looked fabulous!
It was so rewarding to give a hardworking mommy of 3 (almost 4) a makeover, and to give fashion tips to a group of moms all struggling to raise their families without letting themselves go (aren't all mommies in this position?). Over the next few days, I will share some of my tips to this group, which, whether or not you are a mom yourself, are pretty much universal.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Best Longwearing Lipsticks Ever

This category covers the very best longwearing lipsticks, regardless of price. Truly longwearing lipcolors all pretty much follow the same formula: you apply a gluey coat of color, wait for it to dry, and then add comfort and shine with a glossy overcoat. Feel free to weigh in on your favorites. This list is actually comprised of two separate lists:
1) The Beauty Insider's Picks: My own personal list of the best products in that category, in no particular order
2) The Popular Vote: The results of a poll I did of over 1000 beauty-savvy consumers, in order of popularity.

The Beauty Insider's Picks
1. Laura Geller Lip Stay Long Lasting Lip Color & Lipgloss Duo (“Pucker”): This line, available on QVC, features a color coat on one end which dries to a matte finish, and a gloss coat on the other end. The texture is a bit creamier, less drying than some other longwearing formulas. “Pucker” is a soft pretty mauve. $19.50
2. Max Factor Lipfinity Everlites (“Tickled”): Lipfinity was revolutionary, but it still made lips feel dry and cakey. Everlites is a lighter, kinder, sheerer version which feels comfortable and virtually weightless on lips, without sacrificing too much staying power. “Tickled” is a neutral beiged-down pink. $11 (approx.)
3. Cover Girl Outlast Smoothwear (“Cabernet Satin”): Virtually identical to Max Factor Lipfinity Everlites (they have the same parent company), so choose based on color and price. Smoothwear has a bolder, broader array of colors. Like Everlites, this feels like a regular lipstick but wears for hours and hours. “Cabernet Satin” is a deep, glamorous, night-on-the-town red. $9 (approx.)
4. Lip Ink Pro Series Classic Lip Color (“Mocha”): Lip Ink is aptly named—it really is indelible. The cost for such long wear is a relatively lengthy application process and a dry, papery finish that is easily rectified with a good gloss. Stick with the Pro Series in the Classic colors for the broadest, most wearable color selection and truly amazing wearability. “Mocha” is an everyday neutral beige. $16.50
5. Smashbox Limitless Lip Cream (“Infrared”): Really remarkable, Smashbox Limitless Lip Cream leaves lips classically gorgeous, velvety matte (but never dry), and intensely colored. It has a luxurious light texture, plus long wear. One caveat: be sure to close the tube tightly, or the product will dry out. “Infrared” is a shortcut to old-movie-star lips. $18
6. Stila Twinset Demi Crème & Shine (“Demi Garnet”): This is the high-end answer to the other dual-ended longwearing products on the market, and this is one time where a higher price gets you a better product. One end features a creamy matte lipstick, while the other features a matching (not clear) gloss. This is not the type of product you paint on and let dry; it’s more of a traditional matte lipstick with pretty impressive longevity. “Demi Garnet” is a deep, jewel red that offers instant glamour. $20
7. Dior Diorific Long Wearing True Color Lipstick: (“Roulette Red”): This is the longwearing lipstick for women who hate longwearing lipstick. The texture is superb— satiny smooth, creamy, and lightweight—and it lasts for hours. It’s the perfect balance between comfort and wear. The packaging is drop-dead glamorous, the scent is subtly rosy, and the color selection is, well, Diorific. “Roulette Red” may be the perfect true, classic red. $23
8. MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolour (“For Keeps”): When applied carefully (slowly, in one thin coat), MAC Pro Longwear looks fabulous, and stays that way for what seems like days. The gloss on the other end prevents that dreaded dry, cakey feeling. As always with MAC, the colors are fabulous and the product delivers what it promises: amazing longevity. "Stuck on You" is a versatile warm russet shade, and "Legendary" is a glamorous shimmery beige.
9. Chanel Hydrabase (“Captif”): Hydrabase smells rather intensely of roses (sheerer colors have less fragrance than the bolder shades), but if that’s your thing, and it is mine, this luxurious lipstick is worth a try. I love the satiny finish and the comfortable, longer-than-average wear. “Captif” is a soft, wearable neutral pink. $23
10. Lancome Juicy Wear Ultra Lasting Full Color and Shine Duo (“Candy Apple”)/L’Oreal Endless Kissable Lipcolour (“Raisin Berry #720”): These tie because, in my opinion, they are virtually identical. The only real difference is in the price, the color selection, and the fact that Lancome’s version comes with a glossy topcoat. Lancome’s “Candy Apple” is a megawatt, showstopping red. “Raisin Berry” is a soft reddish brown with subtle silver sparkle. $25 (Lancome) and $7.99 (L’Oreal; approx.)

The Popular Vote
1. Cover Girl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor in “Berry Pearl” and “Plum Pearl” (tie), $9.50 (approx.)
2. Max Factor Lipfinity in “Delicious” and “Innocent” (tie), $11 (approx.)
3. Revlon ColorStay LipColor in “Dusk” and “Brandy”, $8.50 (approx.)
4. L’Oreal Endless Comfortable 8-Hour Lipcolor in “Naked Ambition” and “In the Buff” (tie), $7 (approx.)
5. MAC Matte Lipstick in “Russian Red”, $14
6. NARS Lipstick in “Pigalle,” “Red Lizard,” and “Dolce Vita” (tie), $22
7. Chanel Hydrabase in any color, $23
8. Maybelline Forever Lipcolor in “Cocoa” and “Flame” (tie), $7 (approx.)
9. Stila Twinset Demi Creme in “Demi Claret”, $20
10. Dior Diorific Long Wearing True Color Lipstick in “Jazzy Brown”, $23

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Good Hair Day

Today I stumbled out of bed, put on a cute dress, and headed out the door with Lola. Yesterday, I also stumbled out of bed, put on a cute dress, and headed out the door with Lola. But yesterday, I looked strung out, exhausted, and frazzled. Today, I looked cool and composed and pretty good, actually. The difference? It's the hair. Amazing what a little frizz can do to your look, your mood, and subsequently your entire day. When I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror, my hair looked great. It was shiny and frizzy and the curls were well defined. All because I took 15 minutes last night to wash it (a process that used to take me at least half an hour!). This boosted my confidence, motivating me to put on some makeup and a really cute outfit. I even wore a necklace! Yesterday, I tried to hide my frizzy hair in a perky ponytail, which ended up loosening over the day until it hung pathetically down my back. One look in the mirror made me want to run, so I skipped the makeup and headed to my mom's house looking and feeling like a frumpy hausfrau.

Sometimes it's the littlest things that can change how we feel about ourselves, and how we approach the whole day: good hair, a pedicure so you can slip into some cute open toe shoes, a great accessory. There's no reason for even the busiest mom to not give herself the gift of five minutes to prepare herself for the day. When you have a positive outlook on the day, it benefits everyone, especially your kids!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Best Liquid Lipsticks Ever

This category covers the very best liquid lipsticks, regardless of price. My definition of a liquid lipstick is one that is usually applied with a sponge-tip or brush applicator, and has the color of a lipstick in a liquid form, not sheer like a gloss. Feel free to weigh in on your favorites. This list is actually comprised of two separate lists:1) The Beauty Insider's Picks: My own personal list of the best products in that category, in no particular order2) The Popular Vote: The results of a poll I did of over 1000 beauty-savvy consumers, in order of popularity.


The Beauty Insider's Picks
1. Vincent Longo Liquid Lipstick (“Saturn Silk”): This silky-smooth formla veils lightweight, but delivers intense color and shine. “Saturn Silk” is a brilliant, glamorous berry red. $23
2. MAC Lacquer (“Ignite”) and Lac Lustre (“Coy”): MAC has two liquid lipsticks: Lacquer is a patently shiny, intensely colored formula, while Lac Lustre is velvety, semi-matte, and long-lasting. Both are amazing. “Ignite” is a dramatic brick red that flies off the shelves, while “Coy” is a pretty, feminine pink. $16 each
3. Lancome Lip Dimension Lasting Liquid Lip-Shaping Colour (“Rouge Bombe”): This moisturizing liquid lip color offers precision with a patented applicator, and reflective pigments to plump up lips. “Rouge Bombe” provides a burst of intense, cherry red color. $20
4. L’Oreal Glass Shine (“Chrome Red”): This slim silver squeeze tube can get a bit messy, but the payoff is worth it. Intense color, high shine, great light flavor and a virtually weightless formula. “Chrome Red” is aptly named, as it’s a bold and reflective red. $8.25
5. Paula Dorf Lipsicle (“Renoir”): I love the luxurious, velvety rich formula and subtle shine of Paula Dorf’s Lipsicles. The applicator makes it easy, and the formula really lasts. “Renoir” is a one of my favorite reds. $18
6. Passport Cosmetics Takeaway Anti Gloss (“Sortie”): This creamy, opaque formula hydrates and stays put. The yummy, kiwi green tea scent and demi-matte finish make it unique. “Sortie” is a brilliant, orange-based red. $12
7. New York Color Liquid Lipstick (“Christine”): This new product looks a lot like Stila Lip Glaze, but at less than $4, it’s a real steal. The handy paint-on brush delivers almost semi-sheer color and high shine. “Christine” is a gold-flecked coral. $3.99
8. Revlon Lip Glide Sheer Color Gloss (“Glistening Sand”): The color tip pen offers easy to apply, twist-up color. The full color and glossy shine do more than just look good—they hydrate lips with vitamins C and E. “Glistening Sand” is a flattering pale neutral beige. $8.99 (approx.)
9. Clinique Glosswear for Lips Cream Shines (“Angel Pink”): Full color, dramatic shine, and easy application make this a perennial favorite. This goes on as easily as a gloss, but with a lot more oomph. “Angel Pink” is a girlie pale pink. $13.50
10. Makeup For Ever Liquid Lip Color: This silky-light gel brushes one easily with the built-in brush, leaving durable shine and color behind. “Raspberry” is a skinbrightening fruity shade. $18

The Popular Vote
1. MAC Lacquer in “Varneesh”, $16
2. Clinique Liquid Lipstick in “Raspberry Sorbet”. Discontinued.
3. Avon “Glazewear”, $6
4. Chanel Glossimer in “Spark”, $24.50
5. Origins Liquid Lip Color in “Pink Dawn” and “Caramel Candy” (tie), $12
6. L’Oreal Rouge Pulp in “Blushing”, $8 (approx.)
7. Stila Lip Polish in “Sheen”, $24
8. Maybelline Wet Shine Diamonds, $6 (approx.)
9. Stila Twinset Demi Creme in “Demi Claret”, $20
10. MAC Lipglass, $13.50, Too Faced Juicy Jewels in “Diamond Drenched”, $21.50, and Urban Decay Lip Gunk in “Gash”, $13 (tie)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Changes...

Today, I made a startling observation. Even though everyone says I look like I have a soap opera pregnancy (in other words, it looks like I have a fake big belly and nothing else, since the rest of my body doesn't appear to change) I've actually noticed quite a few changes now that I am 30 weeks along. Some are welcome, and some, of course, are not.
1. The Boobs: Okay, they're huge. On a 5'2", formerly 93 pound woman, they make even more of an impact. Even my sister, who has always been the well-endowed one, noticed them a couple of days ago. I said they were DDs. She said they looked bigger. None of my bras fit. My cups runneth over, so to speak. Which can be really embarassing. But mostly, I am thrilled. Too bad I can't keep them!
2. The Thighs: My thighs have always been scrawny-skinny. Now, they are just skinny. They are also softer and a little more jiggly. And they meet in the middle (at the very top) for the first time ever. While I don't mind a little extra padding (it's nice to actually have a feminine shape to my thighs!) I could do without the wobble factor.
3. The Butt: I finally have one. Prior to pregnancy, my butt was a barely noticeable bump. Now it even jiggles a little when I bounce up and down. This is really a revelation. I've always wanted a bigger butt... Hopefully, it will stick around.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hot Mamas

Motherhood is not generally viewed as a sexy time in a woman's life. Sleep deprivation, spit up and simple lack of time all combine to make feeling glamourous a real challenge. So when a mommy, or mommy to be, is recognized for her sex appeal, it can't help but feel good. A few weeks ago I was at a big party at a local hotel with my husband when I noticed a good looking man checking me out. Every time I looked in his direction, he seemed to be staring at me. And then he winked! I was so shocked. I couldn't imagine what a seemingly single man would see in an attached, obviously pregnant woman. What could be less sexy than a woman carrying someone else's baby? But many women have shared similar stories with me. Men seem most attracted to them when they are pregnant!
But my sister's story is the funniest of them all. The other day, a very young man in his early 20s was obviously checking her out at the gas station. She stepped out of the car on one side and let her 4 year old little girl out, and then went to the other side to let her 2 year old daughter out. Then she leaned into the car to pick up her one year old baby girl from the center car seat. By the time she had unloaded all three of her little girls from the car, the guy was no longer looking. She said she felt like Mary Poppins, pulling all of these surprises out of the car! So maybe pregnancy is sexy to some guys, but it seems most of them draw the line somewhere!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Beauty Blind Spots

I've written about this topic before, but lately I've been fascinated by my inability to see myself objectively. Now, I know that no one really sees themselves objectively, and it's almost impossible, but sometimes we really don't see the whole picture when we look in the mirror. For example, I am so obsessed by, and have been for a number of years, the tiny lines forming around my eyes, but I've completely ignored the nasolabial lines that have been forming. I was obsessed with hyperpigmentation on my face, until an esthetician at my dermatologist's office pointed out, as kindly as possible, that dullness is my real problem. (And that I would have to wait until after my pregnancy to address it...). And I'll never forget, several years ago, while shopping for a ski trip, when the saleslady told me that I had a short torso. I have always been self-conscious about my less-than-flat belly, and it never occurred to me that a short torso might be an even bigger problem. Sigh... But then who really wants to see themselves exactly as they are? We all need to see ourselves a little more kindly, with rose-colored glasses, and remember that even if we do miss a few faults, we are still harder than ourselves than anyone else could possibly be.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The "Boob Job" Bra

A couple of blogs ago, I discussed the possibilty of getting breast implants after I stop breastfeeding my next baby. I thought I had researched the surgery well and knew all of the repurcussions, but there is one that never occurred to me. Lingerie.
I LOVE lingerie. I've always prided myself on wearing beautiful underwear, lacy bras and feminine nightgowns. But I never thought about how my lingerie needs would change after a boob job. Apparently, it's hard to find pretty bras for your new rounder breasts. Regular bras don't fit properly. Who knew?
That's why Le Mystere has come out with the No. 9 Collection, a line of bras specifically for women who've had breast implants. They were designed with the help of a plastic surgeon, which is really genius, since no one knows the needs of a breast implant patient better than a doctor. The line features strapless bras, three-quarter cup bras and even a seamless bra with lace trim, and they all come with matching bottoms. They range from $66-79, and they're gorgeous. Oh, and you can get them at figleaves.com.
Problem solved. And now that more lingerie shopping is on the horizon, I really can't wait to get my implants!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Best Lipsticks Ever

This category covers the very best lipsticks, regardless of price. Feel free to weigh in on your favorites. This list is actually comprised of two separate lists:
1) The Beauty Insider's Picks: My own personal list of the best products in that category, in no particular order
2) The Popular Vote: The results of a poll I did of over 1000 beauty-savvy consumers, in order of popularity

The Popular Vote
1. MAC Frost Lipstick in “O”, $14
2. Clinique Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey”, $13.50
3. NARS Sheer Lipstick in “Dolce Vita”, $22
4. Chanel Infrarouge Whisperlight Lipstick in “Nude”, $23
5-6. Stila Lip Color in “Luce”, $16.50 and Urban Decay Lipstick in “Gash”, $12 (tie)
7. Bobbi Brown Lip Color in “Raisin”, $19
8. Revlon Moisturous Lipcolor SPF 17 in “Cocoa Mist”, $7 (approx.)
9. L’Oreal Shine Delice in “Gingerbread”, Discontinued.
10. LORAC Lipstick in “Winona”, $17.50

The Beauty Insider's Picks
1. MAC Frost Lipstick (“Sequin”): Weightless, creamy, with a great texture—the most subtle frost on the market. “Sequin” is a subtly shimmery pink-beige that miraculously makes lips look fuller. $14
2. MAC Matte Lipstick (“Viva Glam”): Classic, old-movie glamour with a very wearable, comfortable texture that lasts all day. The original “Viva Glam” creates my favorite version of the bombshell-red lip. $14
3. Nina Ricci Sheer Effect Lipwear (“Viole de Prune #11”): Sheer and moisturizing without being too shiny or greasy. Though I prefer the former glam pink and gold packaging, it is still rose-scented and luxurious. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Europe or on the internet. “Viole de Prune” is a yummy berry color. $28
4. NARS Lipstick (“Pigalle”): Velvety, moist, yet surprisingly long-lasting. “Pigalle” is a neutral that’s versatile enough to go from natural to seductive. $22
5. Chanel Infrarouge (“Malibu”): Luxurious—light in weight, rich in color. “Malibu” is a neutral metallic that’s glamorous enough for an evening out. $23.50
6. Dior Addict Colorplay Lipstick (“Infra-Rose”): Shiny and showstopping—movie-star lips in a tube. “Infra-Rose” is a vibrant, best-selling pink that perks up any complexion. $23
7. Vincent Longo Gel-X Lipstick (“Rush”): The smooth, intense color and incredible texture of this lipstick are addictive. The high gloss, high impact shine lasts for hours, while emollients keep lips hydrated. “Rush” is a glamorous garnet red. $23
8. Giorgio Armani Matte Silk Lipstick (“No. 9”): The perfect matte: looks rich, feels creamy, lasts long. Smooth texture—never dry or cakey. “No. 9” is a gorgeous brownish-red. $22.50
9. Laura Mercier Lip Colour (“Flirt”): Very moisturizing and comfortable to wear. “Flirt” is an unboring neutral with a hint of brick. $19
10. Bourjois Pour La Vie Lipstick (“Cannelle Rosee”): These lipsticks remind me of the Nina Ricci lipsticks, at half the price. With regular use, they really seem to make lips feel better, and they have a yummy rosy scent. “Cannelle Rosee” is a flattering pinkish-beige. $14

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Breast Enhancement after Breastfeeding

I was never really dissatisfied with my breasts, but I've never been thrilled with them either. They have always been a small 32C, which is fine considering my petite frame, but I always wished they had a bit more oomph. So I tried push up bras and nasty-smelling herbal supplements and bust-enhancing creams. Sadly, it's true what they say that you don't know what you've got until it's gone. Now, I'd be thrilled to have my mediocre 32C's back.
During my first pregnancy, my breasts ballooned to a D-cup, and I was thrilled. This lasted during breastfeeding, and again, I was thrilled. I took full advantage of them, wearing v-neck tops and wrap dresses. Then, I stopped breastfeeding, and watched my pride disappear along with my cleavage. Suddenly, instead of voluptuous breasts I had two sad, sagging things I didn't recognize. Fortunately, this dismal period was short-lived, as I got pregnant again very quickly. Now, I'm in my third trimester and once again enjoying ample cleavage, but I am painfully aware that they are completely on loan. They are not mine to keep. So, for the first time in my life, I'm considering getting breast enhancement surgery after I am done breastfeeding my second baby. Not just considering it. More like planning for it. I am too young to give up on my body, and the shriveled breasts I sported after breastfeeding made me depressed. A "boob job" is such a big deal, both recovery-wise and in everything that it implies. Still, I'm prepared to take the plunge if it restores a little of my body confidence.
Are you considering a plastic surgery procedure for the first time? What changed your mind? I'd love to know...

P.S. My apologies for the irregularity of my blog postings the last couple of weeks. I had technical difficulties while away on vacation, but I'm back and will be blogging regularly again!
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