Spring Forward? Or not…

spring weatherIn the Northern Hemisphere, Spring technically begins on March 20th.  In New England,  Spring weather usually begins around the end of April.  Add to this the time change, Spring is a very frustrating for us in the northern climate.  There are several ways I try to counteract the topsy turvy ride that is “Spring” in New England.

It starts out with the first few days of warmth and sunshine (35 degrees of warmth), some time in late March, then wham – here comes the single digits and darker days.  It is now April 3rd and I’m looking out my window at snow squalls and temps in the teens.  At least I know this is a short lived snow and most likely the snow will not stick – too much.

One of my bigger frustrations is how anxious I get to move the winter clothing into noreasterstorage, and get the lighter clothing out of storage.  I appease this with moving the heaviest winter clothing into storage, and appreciating the space I get in my closet and drawers.  The heavy wool sweaters, the turtlenecks and wool pants all get put into space saver bags, then plastic tubs – Yay!  No more turtlenecks for at least six months. This is happiness.

Another way I change things up is with my cosmetics.  Because we still have colder temperatures, I don’t change out cleansers or moisturizers, but I do lighten up the shadows.  I keep the same shade for foundations but start to warm it up with bronzers and warmer blush tones.  I am fortunate to have a neutral skin tone which means I can go more chanel spring 2016cool tone in the Winter, warmer in the Spring and Summer months. This works with the colors in my seasonal wardrobe.  I move the darker shadows into a cosmetic case in a dark space to help keep them from getting corrupted with bactria and daylight.  If you use clean brushes and keep your shadows away from daylight, they will last longer.

Another change, and a very fun change is to go and get spring pedi a mani-pedi and go for the bright colors!  At least on the toes.  Even though I do not get to break out the sandals until May, I enjoy getting that spring time mani-pedi and the bright colors on the toes. It is great to visit with the new polish colors at the salon and it is wonderful to look down at coral sparkles on my toes.

I also change out the seasonal colors on throw pillows in the main room, runners on the tables and other surfaces and bring on the floral and lite scents in the candles.  We use a lot of scented candles in our home, bamboo candlebalsam and cinnamon in the colder months, floral and greener scents in the warmer months.  I love to open the windows as soon as possible so I do not use many candles in the warmer months. The colder temps during our Spring months enable me to burn green and floral scents, bringing the sense of flowers into my home. Bath & Body Works has a lovely selection of candles for every season. Put away Winter, bring on Spring.

The final transition to Spring is to place my order for Rosé wine. Yes, this is one of my favorite activities in March. I get to anticipate the arrival of Rosé wine in April. I try (and yes, this is such a difficult task), to finish up the older (1 or 2 years old) Rosé wine that is left over in the cellar before April to make room for this year’s purchase. I always purchase at least two bottles of Whispering Angel Rosé, and then about 10 bottles of other dry Rosé wine, something of the Pinot Noir whispering-angel-2015variety, Spanish, French or Coastal California in origin. Two of my recent acquisitions are Zum Pinot Noir and Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rosé wine.  Zum is from Germany – who knew?  This is a fun job, searching out Rosé wines to stock my cellar with. I have been purchasing Whispering Angel Rosé wine since 2012, and I’m sorry to say it has almost doubled in price in the last four years. Unfortunately for me, (because of the price) there is no better Rosé wine, in my opinion, on the market. So, I limit myself to two or three bottles per year, can’t cellar a Rosé wine, so no reason to stock up on this. I place an order in March, to be picked up in April. The anticipation of picking up the Rosé wine in April helps get through the colder days in March.

Now that I’ve gotten over the one-hour time change, switched out some of my clothing, lightened up some of my cosmetics, and have placed my Rosé wine order, I’m in a better place to cope with the falling snow that is outside my window, this first week of April.  What do you do to get through the topsy-turvy Spring months?







Foundation is the Bane of my Existence

makeup collection 2I don’t know about you, but I am always on the hunt for a better foundation.  Even when I am “happy” with my current foundation, I am still reading and reviewing and testing the new foundations that come out on the market.  I’ve tried them all; stick, cream, powder, serum and cushion.  I’ve tried BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers and sprays.  What is the best?  What works and what doesn’t work?  Such a difficult question.  One day a BB Cream is best (need the SPF protection), another day a light coverage (going to be outside), for evening, I’ll use a heavier coverage for night time lighting.  Ack!  Stop the madness.

There are three primary issues with foundation.chanel vit

Skin Type

Your first question should be what type of skin do you have.  Mine runs from very dry in the Winter to almost normal in the Summer.  If you have skin like mine, you want to stay away from most powder foundations, unless it’s July and it’s hot and humid.   My current favorite daytime foundation is Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide.  I use the shade “Linen”.  I prefer this foundation because it looks natural in daylight, provides enough coverage for me to even out my skin LauraMercier_SmoothFinishFlawlessFluide_AllShadesand is not heavy.   I also like Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua.  I use the shade “30 – Beige”.  The reason I prefer the Laura Mercier over the Chanel is because of the shade range.  I feel I have a better shade match with the Laura Mercier.   There are 24 shades with the Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide vs 10 with the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua.

For more coverage I prefer Burberry Sheer Foundation in the shade No. 03 or Tom Ford in the shade 04 Bisque.  Tom Ford is the heaviest of my foundations.

The second question would be – where are you going?  If you’re headed to an office job, going to be under florescent lights all day, your foundation choice would be different from those days that you’re headed to spend the day outside.  Likewise, if you’re going out on a dinner date, intending to spend several hours in a dimly lit room (my favorite chanel with texttype of lighting), then you would choose a different foundation.  Do you need your foundation to last 8-10 hours?  Do you need more spf because you’re going to spend the day outside?  These are the issues that determine what type of foundation you’re going to need.

If I know I’m going to be lucky and get to spend most of the day outside, I always reach for my Shiseido Hydrating BB Cream.  This BB Cream has an spf factor of 35 and will last at least 6-8 hours.  I don’t need a primer with this product and it has enough hydration to last me all day, even in the winter.   My biggest problem is the lack of shade option with this product.  I am laura mercier with textfortunate to be able to use the medium shade.  This BB Cream does blend seamlessly into the skin and will slightly adapt to my skin tone.  It is not too pink and not too yellow.  I prefer this BB Cream over the Smashbox BB Cream because I feel this BB Cream is more hydrating.  I have not tried the new Smashbox BB Water, it may be more hydrating.

So your second question would include how long you need your foundation to last and what type of lighting you’ll be in, as well as whether or not you need to beef-up your spf and hydration.

The final question would be what type of coverage do you want/need.  If it is ‘one-of-those-days’ and we all know what I’m talking about, then opt for medium to full coverage.  This is when I use my Burberry or Tom Ford Foundation.  If you’re skin is looking better, then go for a more sheer coverage such as the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua or the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide will provide.  If you’re feeling extra fortunate, then opt out for a serum foundation such as the Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation.  Serums are quite sheer but really lovely if you do not need a lot of coverage, just enough to even out the skin tone.

All of these questions and all of these decisions to make everyday.  This must be why I have at burberryleast six types of foundation in my rotation.  Of course I’m always on a quest for something new, something better than what I already have.  I try to use up what is in my rotation before I go on another foundation hunt but that can be difficult.

My biggest hurdle for finding the perfect foundation is the lack of cosmetic counters near my home.  As shown in the next photos, some foundations will oxidize.  This makes it nearly impossible for a person to go into a shop and try a foundation and have trust it will not change color in 30-60 minutes.  The photos of the Tom Ford and Burberry Foundations were taken within 30 minutes.  I put one swatch on my arm and then another 30 minutes later and took the picture.  You can see how much the shade changes.  How are you to know what shade you need by simply swatching the sample at your favorite cosmetic counter?  I recommend getting a sample and take it home, try it for at least two or three days (more if possible) before Tom Ford with Textdeciding if you want to invest in this product.  Most cosmetic counters are happy to give a sample of foundation because they would rather you buy the correct shade and not return it.

So…how many foundation products do you currently have in your rotation?  What is your favorite foundation product?

Happy Hunting!

Traveling with Makeup – What a Conundrum

makeup-kitMakeup and skincare is heavy and traveling with it is always a challenge for me.  I am thinking I may not need as much as pictured on the left. I certainly hope not.  But it is not just the makeup;  it is also the skin care, hair care and nail care that adds to the difficulties of packing for traveling on a plane.   One of my favorite things to do when traveling via air  is to ship a large flat rate box to my destination with the smaller, heavier items.  This works well if you’re going to a single destination forMolton-Brown-Travel-Size-Shower-Gel-Set_MBG217_XL at least four days (in case the box does not arrive on time).  By mailing the smaller heavier items ahead of time, you don’t have to schlepp these things around and you don’t have to deal with the 4 oz or less TSA restrictions in case you’re carrying everything onto the plane.  Empty travel containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be found at Amazon, drugstore.com and most local shops such as CVS or Walgreens.  I love to use the empty Molten Brown bottles that are in the travel size.  Bobbi Brown Empties are a lovely set (a little pricey but it comes with a funnel and labels).

bobbi-brown-empties-l-My first plan of attack is to gather up small plastic bottles 4 0unces or less and small jars.  I keep my empties washed and stashed in a small shopping bag with handles hanging on a hook in my bedroom.  When I am planning my travels, I put the shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, eye cream, moisturizer, etc. into these empties.  Then I use First Aid Adhesive Tape and a fine line sharpie and write down on the adhesive tape what is in the container.  I used to think I would not need to label everything – wrong.   You really don’t want to put facial cleanser on as a moisturizer.  This I know from first hand experience.  In order to not waste my products, when I return from a trip, I use these small containers until they are empty, then wash and store for the next trip.  You may need to replace the tape after washing, but more than likely they will have a different product so that point is moot.

Another thing I do is make lists.  When I find a good combination of eye makeup and face makeup listmakeup (FOTD – Face of The Day) I keep a list of it.   You can keep your list on Excel, or a word processing program (Word – in columns) or just write it down on a piece of paper in columns, face, eyes, lips.  It may sound like a bit of work but once you have this list, you can keep it, add to it or change it if you find a better combination.  When you have your list of a good face day,  just toss the products you wrote down into your cosmetic case and you will have all you need.  Now comes the tricky part.  Finding the right size case to carry you precious items around.

medium bagFor a two or three night trip, a small case will work, one that holds at least five brushes and two days of “looks”.   You will need a liquid foundation brush (if you use liquid foundation), a powder brush for bronzer and blush and at least three eye brushes, fluffy, angle and dense.  More nights away will need a bigger case and, unless you’re going to wash your brushes every day, more brushes.  I like cases that keep the eye products and face products in separate compartments, it’s easier to find what I need that way.

Now you’re set with your case, your small containers and your brushes – what makeup do you take?  Of course this depends on where you’re going, and what you’re going to be wearing.  I find it is easier to figure out what makeup to take if I plan my clothing first.   Once my clothing items are decided upon, it is easier to plan what shades of shadows, blushes and lippies I will be needing.  I try to keep the colors either warm or cool which makes it easier to narrow down the choices.   Obviously where you’re going will be a huge factor in what you bring.  If you’re going to be out on the town, you will want more shimmer and sparkle than if you’re headed to a spa lv_clubsretreat.  Activities are important – hiking the Andes, won’t need as much as if you’re clubbing in Las Vegas.  Climate will also be a factor.  Warm, humid  climate means more powder products.  Cold, dry climate means more moisturizing products.  Geography will also play a part in deciding shades.  Sunny California, beachy Florida will want brighter shades on the eyes,  Headed to Boston?  Might want to go with the more reserved neutrals.

That said, for a trip of more than a week, going to a city, planning on several nights out, I would recommend taking three foundations.  One foundation should be a BB or CC Creme with sunscreen and moisturizing properties.  You may not need a face primer with the BB or CC Creme.  Use this for the days you’re in a recreational mode.  If you can find a primer with sunscreen, that is always helpful.  For the foundations,  one should be a serum or sheer style such as Laura Mercier Smooth Finish, Chanel Vitalumière Aqua or Bobbi Brown Serum.  If you’re using a mineralized powder foundation then of course you won’t need these, but I would recommend that you have both sheer and more coverage options.  One foundation should be at least a medium coverage for the evenings to give a more polished look.  Something such as Tom Ford or Bobbi Brown Skin foundations.  If you don’t like liquid foundation, a solid cream foundation such as MAC Full Coverage Foundation, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in stick form or Guerlain Lingerie de Peau.  The new cushion foundations such as Lancome Miracle Cushion or AmorePacific are easy to travel with and provide a medium coverage.  Two concealers, one liquid, one solid, one bronzer and two blushes should get you through a week or so.  I like to take a shimmer highlighter that I can also use on my brow bone.  Add a translucent powder and you should be set for the face.

The eyes require a primer.  Some creme eye shadows such as MAC Patravel-makeup-1interly and Bobbi Brown creme shadows can also be used as a shadow.  A black or dark brown liner and perhaps a color, depending on your style, are necessary.  The right color of brown shadow can be used for your brows and can be used in the crease of the eye.  I also like to take a shimmer shadow for the evenings and a dark shadow for added depth.  If you’re short on space, you can wet most dark shadows and use them as a liner. Gel liners can be used as mascara if you have the MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush.   There is a video on Youtube by Cora (VintageorTacky) showing how to use gel liners as colored mascara.  Here’s the link if you’re interested in watching this.   Vintageortacky Retro Winged Liner & Blue Lashes Makeup Tutorial. Gel liners can also be sheered out and used as a primer for a smokey eye look or a colorful playful eye look.

For the lips, a neutral and pink or coral lip liner, nude and pinky or coral lipstick and medium hued gloss should cover all activities, day and night.  If you love the red lip then by all means bring a red lipstick and liner.  Just make sure it’s matching the clothing you’ve packed.

For brushes, I prefer a brush roll or the plastic brush canister that MAC sells at their pro shops.  The MAC Brush Canister is brilliant.  It can be made as tall or short as you need it.  If you travel brush canwith this you can also keep the clean brushes separate from the used brushes.

One last word of advice on traveling with cosmetics – they can break.  If you’re concerned about that expensive Chanel Highlighter or Tom Ford Foundation, you may want to leave it at home.  If you really want to travel with it, pack the breakable bottles in bubble wrap and put as much foam or bubble wrap as possible into your cosmetic case to keep the products from shifting.  Keeping your lovely cosmetic items from shifting will help to keep breakage down.   You may want to put a piece of scotch tape around the top of any bottles to keep them from opening.  I also put bottles with liquid into their own baggie in case they do open, they won’t damage anything else in my bag.

I’m just about packed and headed out for a flight – where will you be traveling to?

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas…

mothers-day-gifts Mother’s Day is not that far away, just a few weeks.  This year it is May 10th.  Every one of us, at one time in our life, had or has a mother.  If you are fortunate enough to still have yours, then please remember her on this day.  A Mother will teach us everything, except how to live without them.

Most of the women that I know do not want elaborate gifts from their children, they just want to be acknowledged and perhaps appreciated on this day.  Well, they would like to be acknowledged and appreciated every day but that is not being realistic.  Life is not like that.  But it is nice to have one special day where thanks-mom-1your child says “hey – thanks mom!”.

So, how do you convey your feelings of appreciation and thanks?  A card is always nice and thoughtful.  Flowers are good but they are getting very expensive for a week of enjoyment, and, because Mother’s Day is in May, many have flowers easily accessible  – she can go out into her yard and pick them.   I do send my mother flowers – but not on Mother’s Day.  I send my mother flowers when she’s not expecting them and if I know she is having a special event at her home or if she’s just feeling a bit blue.  I usually send flowers in late October or January when they are not growing outside her window.  What I prefer to give my mother for Mother’s Day is something small, something that she would not purchase for herself, and something that will give her enjoyment.

chanel saga  If you know your mother needs a new toaster or blender, then by all means, that’s something   she would need, want and enjoy, but if she doesn’t need a new toaster or blender, give her something that may be a new experience for her such as a gift certificate to a spa or a brow appointment, haircut or mani/pedi.  I know my mother would never purchase a Chanel lipstick for herself.  Not sure why, her budget is more than capable of handling such a purchase, but I know she has never purchased one in her life, which is why I buy one or two every year for her.  She loves the Chanel lippie I get her but when it’s gone, she never gets another one.  Mothers can be odd in this way.

When purchasing a certificate for a spa treatment or mani/pedi or hair appointment, try to add  spain the cost of the tip.  This makes it easier for everyone, especially if your mother is new to something like this.  If you think your mother would be hesitant to use the certificate for a spa treatment, if possible, go with her.  This will make it even more special for her.  I know my mother would never go by herself.  I’m not sure she would want to go even with me which is why I’ve never given her a certificate for a spa treatment.  I have purchased certificates for a mani/pedi at the salon near her house where she has had her nails done.  She loves the certificate, she said it is a a treat to not have to pay, she hands over the certificate and it’s covered.

jo malone lip  One item that is always loved, especially if your mom is a child of the 1950’s – 60’s era is the Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner This Lip conditioner has a taste and fragrance that reminds me of the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz in the Summer.  It is a bit Coppertone-esk.  And it is a really good lip balm.  The cost is $25 and the presentation is amazing.  This is most likely something your mother would not purchase for herself but every time she uses it, she will thank you.

Wine is always a nice gift if your mom drinks wine.  A rosé would be a lovely choice.whispering angel  Why not be an angel and gift the Whispering Angel?  Or, I found a very tasty rosé last Saturday from a winery  in Washington State called Syncline Winery.  The rosé from Syncline Winery is made of 43% Cinsault/ 32% Grenache/ 25% Mourvedre.  It is a crisp, dry rosé. The color is a striking pale pink with aromas and flavors of strawberries and  synclinemelon skin.  Very nice.  If you are gifting wine, try to think outside the box (pun intended) and get something in the varietal that mom likes but from a different winery, something she has not tried before but you know she will like.

Music is another idea.  The gift of music lives on forever.  You’ll need to know if your mother listens to music on a MP3, CD Player or even a cassette or vinyl.  One year I made my mom a mixed CD because she has a CD Player that she listens to in her kitchen/living area.  She’s not a MP3 user (too bad).  It was a fun project and her first mixed CD.  jimmy buffet

Whatever it is that you choose to gift to your mother, she will surely love it.  The act of the connection and the thought you put into the gift is what really counts.

Happy Mother’s Day to all women who are caretakers of others!