Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tossed and found

It was a big organizing weekend around my house. My husband bought our condo when he was 200% single with no plans to get into a serious relationship, so while there are some really great things about it, it happens to be small and short on existing storage solutions. A lot of my stuff was still in boxes in the garage until Saturday, when I spent five hours going through and resorting things into non-mouse-chewed boxes to store neatly in all the new utility shelves lining the walls. Post-garage, I followed through on my plan to reorganize my bedroom vanity. And Sunday I whiled away the afternoon culling the bins, baskets and drawers in our bathroom, tossing out expired medications and unused beauty products (last summer's leftover self-tanners, the dregs of the skincare line I fell out of love with, an eye cream that made me weep hot, stinging tears every night).

Along the way I came across a few beloved beauty products I'd completely forgotten I owned (yay!) and decided to throw out a few things that weren't working for me. Here are the tossed and the found:


1.  Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Roman Holiday. Came in a Sephora lip sampler a couple of years ago. Turns out matte pale pink with blue undertones is totally not my look.

2. Cargo Plant Love lipstick in Muir Woods. From the same Sephora sampler. Sort of a frosty mauve, and I just can't get on board with frosted lipstick. Does that look good on anyone in this decade?

3. Palladio Herbal Lip Slix in PLC03, Go Naked. Another pale pink. It just looks unnatural on me. I have a couple of these pencils in other colors, though, and I like them a lot. Lip gloss in a pencil. Weird but kind of great.

4. Ulta Extreme Wear All Day Lip Color in 210. I actually love the color of this one, but I hate the way it wears. It's one of those where you apply the color and then seal it in with a clear gloss, but the color layer kind of balls up and peels away from the inner lip. Looks great at first and then gets gross.


1. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail color in Lightening. I love the brush Sally Hansen uses for Insta-Dri and Complete Salon Manicure polishes. It makes it so easy to get around the base of my nail.

2. A good-sized Sephora pocket mirror big enough to see my whole face. I believe this came with a gift card.

3. A Clinique bag that I LOVE from a gift with purchase like five or six years ago. It's long enough to hold any brush. Seriously. ANY brush.

4. Bliss Snow Wonder High Intensity Hand Cream. Still sealed! I bought a ton of these the year they came out, and then they sold out and I've never seen them since. I thought I was down to my last tube a couple of years ago, and I literally cut the end off and resealed it with Scotch tape until I had squeezed out every last drop. Best smelling, most moisturizing hand cream ever. I like other High Intensity Hand Creams, too, but nothing tops the scent of Snow Wonder.

5. A pair of Tweezerman tweezers that I didn't even know I had.

6. Missoni eau de parfum. I was obsessed with this scent a few years ago but I was still in grad school and didn't have a lot of money to burn. I ended up buying this tiny bottle (I think it's a quarter of an ounce) on eBay. I smelled it when I found it and at first I couldn't recall what I liked so much about it, but since then I've been catching whiffs of it around the house, and now I remember: It's intoxicating.

7. Orly nail lacquer in Dazzle. I'm actually not super excited about this one — I've got plenty of other silver polishes — but surprise nail polish is surprise nail polish. Even if the cap has been chewed on by mice. (Seriously. We had sort of an infestation last winter. It was gross.)

8. Apparently I skipped 8. I guess I can't count on the weekends. So I'll just mention that I also found a very old tube of Benefit Ooh La Lift and a frosty Clinique lip color (Colour Surge Bare Brilliance lipstick in 02, Bronze Star) that had to be thrown out; the Ooh La Lift was old and grainy, and the lipstick was frosty and bronze. Meh.

9. Clinique High Impact Eye Shadow in Sugar Sugar. Best shimmering white shadow EVER.

10. OPI nail color in I Get A Kick Out Of Gold! The bad news: This is the old formula, with toluene and god knows what other horrible toxic chemicals. The good news: This is my holy grail gold shadow, and it was from a holiday Rockettes collection several years ago, and I hadn't seen it in two years and was resigned to having left it somewhere or accidentally thrown it out and never seeing it again. I couldn't wait to see if I still love it as much as I used to:

And I totally do. Love! No brush strokes, no visible nail line, two easy coats. I love it. Although I couldn't resist slapping on a coat of OPI Turquoise Shatter over the top:

Yeah, that's good, too.

11. Benefit Eye Bright. I like this brightening pencil, but wasn't convinced I needed a replacement badly enough to shell out 20 bucks for it. Problem solved!

12. Minted Rosebud Salve. Also still sealed! Single greatest lip balm ever. I actually have quite a few of these, but you can never have too many.

Lesson: It pays to clean house. That's well over $100 worth of beauty favorites I unearthed in the course of cleaning out my garage and bathroom. Wonder what I'll dig up when I organize the bedroom closet...

Friday, August 5, 2011

In a rut

It's rainy August pre-fall here in Southcentral Alaska -- that's right, our summer starts to melt into autumn while the rest of the world is still lounging by the pool. Oh, we'll probably get some warm, sunny weather again, but right now it feels like we've begun the slow descent into winter.

It dawned on me as I drove to work this morning in the gray drizzle that my makeup lately has been as bleak as the sky outside. I've been going back to the same reliable natural smokey eye day after day, and I didn't realize it until today. I came up with some hypotheses about why I've been in such a rut:

  • The weather, obviously. Blah.
  • Convenience. The Too Faced Romantic Eye palette was a lifesaver during my wedding week and on the honeymoon, but it's way too easy to reach for it every morning now and slap on that same easy eye look, especially since...
  • ...I never really finished unpacking from the honeymoon, and stuff is sort of spread out all over the house. Sometime before the wedding I moved the chair from my vanity to the living room and let stuff pile up on my makeup table. And that one palette is just so handy, right there on the bathroom sink! "Use me!" it says. "You know what you're getting! I'm so easy!"
  • I left my journalism job in late spring and have been spending the last few months doing some legal writing projects, which means I work in an upscale law office and actually have to put some thought into my entire outfit. When I was just going to the newsroom every day, I could throw on jeans and whatever sweater and then put a lot of energy and creativity into my makeup. Now it takes me three times as long to figure out an outfit in the morning, which leaves less time and energy to put into my face.
Apparently my environment affects my appearance more than I knew! This weekend I'm going to have to rectify some of these circumstances, beginning with getting unpacked and reorganized. I'm glad I made this realization on a Friday -- when I have to turn over a new leaf, I always like to do it starting fresh in a new week. It just seems tidier that way.


This might help...

I placed the order and the second the confirmation e-mail dropped into my inbox, the sun came out. I KID YOU NOT. It's a pre-fall beauty miracle!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bridal eye buy

I got married last month, which is the primary reason there hasn't been a post to Below Freezing Beauty in... oh... six months? It turns out that when you're planning a wedding, you don't have as much time for your fun makeup blog as you might like. Mostly because you have to spend a lot of time making invitations and planning decorations and tracking down RSVPs.

You also get a lot of presents! Whee! A lot of them are china and blenders, but some people get you things just because, and one of the "just because" gifts I received about a week before the wedding was the Too Faced Romantic Eye palette. And let me tell you: This baby saved my life. Or at least made my life significantly easier in the hectic days before my wedding. We're talking about a week during which all of my relatives, and all of my husband's relatives, descended into our parents' lives, which made our parents strung out, which made us a little stressed out; we discovered things like, oh, our coordinators had let us seat our guests 10 to a table at five-foot rounds, which is way too crowded, and we had to re-seat everyone (all 175 of them) three days before the wedding; and we still had a half-dozen DIY projects to finish. Oh, and we were supposed to be relaxing and enjoying ourselves.
In the middle of all the craziness, the fact that I could get up in the morning and not have to think about my eye makeup because this palette laid it all out for me was worth more than the price tag on the Romantic Eye palette ($36, in case you're wondering) would have been even if I'd had to pay for it myself. And I mean I literally did not have to think about it at all. Usually I wouldn't pay too much attention to the little instructional cards that came with this palette, but believe me when I tell you that during the week before my wedding, I could not accomplish basic tasks like spelling my own name. (Seriously. I spelled my name wrong on our marriage commissioner application.) So every morning I'd get out this palette and one Stila eye shadow brush (this one) and follow my little instructional card. Perfect shadow every day, and I didn't even have to worry about spelling my name. After the wedding, I tossed this in my bag with a couple of other palettes to take on the honeymoon... and this was still the only one I used. For two weeks. (Although I will say I haven't done much with the bottom row... I have cool, pink-toned skin, so I stuck to the top six. Kiss the Bride and I Do might be my two new favorite neutrals.)

Too Faced Romantic Eye Palette
Bottom Line: The single most useful bridal shower gift I received. Hands down.
Price: $$$
Tip: Throw it in your suitcase with a couple of good shadow brushes and a bottle of Liquif-Eye, and you've got all the eye color you need for your honeymoon.