Happy Thursday everyone! I’m back and have a review of the NARS Pop Goes the Easel collection today. This is currently a Nordstrom Exclusive collection with new shades for lips and cheeks consisting of:
- Three new Powder Blushes ($30 each) in Misconduct, Peep Show and Threesome
- Four new Velvet Lip Glides ($26 to $28 each) in Bait, Suck, Impossible Red and Disruptor (not sure why one shade is listed at a higher price online)
- Three Sheer Pop Multiples ($39 each) in Motu Tane, Cote Basque and Navagio Beach
I ordered two of the lip products and all three multiples to test out. I’ll say up front I love the Sheer Pop Multiples, the Velvet Lip Glide colors are nice but not must-haves in my opinion.
Up first are the Velvet Lip Glides. I picked the lightest color options in Bait and Suck since I don’t really wear a lot of orange or reds unless they’re sheer. (By the way I’m obsessed with the new Tom Ford Lip Balms, the colors are perfect for spring to summer and I love the formula.) Bait is a bright cool-toned pink that has a bit of a streaky finish with one swipe but it can be smoothed out with a finger or brush. Suck is a medium peachy nude, it’s like if you mixed Playpen and Unlaced (both of which were reviewed here and I didn’t really like color-wise). I do like this color, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit on the boring side. If you want a good neutral nude, the Tom Ford Revolve Around Me, Lips and Boys Bradley or Edward Bess Pure Impulse are much better although they are lipsticks versus the velvet lip formula.
Next are the Sheer Pop Multiples which appear to be a new formula. These have a more weightless formula that isn’t quite as dewy as the regular version. These have a soft shimmer finish and considering how sheer they swatched on the hand and arms I was surprised that the color payoff on the face is really good. Navagio Beach is a sheer champagne gold, Motu Tane is a light pink with impressive pigment, Cote Basque is a coral with tiny gold flecks of shimmer. They dry to a powdery finish although they stay creamy long enough that you can easily blend on the cheeks and layer depending on how much color you want. I would say the finish can definitely be sheered out for a sheer wash of color, but you can still build to medium coverage. I like these better than the regular multiples. They layer well over foundation and powder without looking cakey or dragging your base off the face.
A quick comparison of the Navagio Beach Multiple to the Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (Sephora exclusive). The palette is to die for gorgeous and I’ll review it soon. If you’re one who want a sheerer glow of shimmer go with the multiple. If you want more pigment go with the palette. Are they different enough to justify both? I think the formulas are different enough to justify both but I’ll have to do a bit more testing with both on the face at the same time to tell you. I’ll be sure to address this when I review the palette. At the moment I’m more inclined to say I like the palette more – but that’s mainly because I like the darkest shade A LOT.
I’m trying something a bit different with face looks of the products. If you prefer the up close lip swatches let me know and I’ll resume that style in future posts. In both posts I’m wearing the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation in Bisque with Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2.
Overall love the Multiples. I like the Velvet Lip Glide colors but don’t think they are must-haves. Bound is still my favorite out of the bunch, but if you found the nudes in the original launch off, I think many will find the color Suck more wearable.
You can find the NARS Pop Goes the Easel collection exclusively at Nordstrom. Have you checked out the colors yet? If you saw the powder blushes in person let me know what you thought!
P.S. My site has been migrated to a new host! If you have any issues with viewing the posts on your desktop or mobile device please shoot me an e-mail and let me know what device you use and also what browser you use (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc.) – thanks!
Hello from sunny Florida! Just wanted to give you a quick update as I’ve been MIA and haven’t posted in a while. We drove over 2,000 miles from the west coast to the east coast in a moving truck and a trailer to tow our car. Since we have 3 furry pets to transport we decided to move everything ourselves, as we’d have to drive anyways. Our pets aren’t the type that would do well in an airplane. We made the trip in 5 days and only had one incident. On the highway in Las Cruces New Mexico one of the wheel bearings on the trailer broke. Luckily we didn’t get into any accidents and were able to get it replaced at a nearby repair shop. This put us back about 4 hours but our pets were so well behaved the entire trip it was a smooth move. We did come across high winds and some rough roads along the way which was pretty scary – driving across country in a moving truck isn’t something either of us plan to do again. Main places we stopped for the nights included Tucson, Arizona, El Paso, Texas, Houston, Texas, Pensacola, Florida and finally arrived in Tampa on Day 5.
I have a quick sneak peek at Tom Ford Soleil above. I was able to attend a preview event at Violet Grey the morning before I moved and everything is just beyond gorgeous. The pieces just launched online at Sephora and Tom Ford and should arrive at counters in the next week or so. Shown above is a new Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflect Gilt, a new Sheer Cheek Duo in Paradise Lust, and Clutch-Sized Lip Balms.
In addition there is a new bronzer formula that is for the Large Size bronzers only. It has an embossed texture and soft luminous glow. Small bronzer formulas are the same. I just ordered two of the new Cream and Powder Eye Colors in Sun Worship and Young Adonis and am waiting for those to arrive in the mail so I can photograph everything together before I start swatching. Review to follow soon!
Also a quick note that I’ve been experiencing some issues with my host/server so you may have had trouble accessing my site over the past week. I’m working with a developer to move everything to a new host which will take a few days so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see new posts over the next week.
Just wanted to let you know all is well here! We arrived in Florida safe and sound. We’re unpacking and settling in. Fur kids are adjusting quickly and love the sunshine. Thanks to everyone who sent warm wishes via Tweets and Instagram Messages via @beautylookbook. I can’t wait to get back to blogging, I have some exciting launches I can’t wait to share with you. Also I finally splurged on my dream scent Creed Virgin Island Water and with this 80+ degree weather I’m experiencing in Tampa it’s just perfect. In the meantime follow me on Instagram – I’ll be posting things as time allows 🙂
Currently catching up on e-mails and messages!
Today I’m taking you inside our loft with a peek at our living space. Over the past couple of years so many of you have asked for a home tour. I’ve shown snippets here and there but as a rather private person I’ve been a bit hesitant to share our home, but today I’m finally giving you a look into our loft. This post is bittersweet for me because as this post is being published we’ve actually packed everything up inside a moving truck and are on the road as we are relocating to Tampa, Florida! If you remember our Florida trip over the holiday this was a trip to explore the area and see if we could actually live there. I’ve lived in California for pretty much my entire life but both my husband and I felt like we were ready for a change of scenery and so decided to embark on a new adventure. There were a number of reasons we picked Florida, but the main reasons were weather and pet-related. We both like warm weather (I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen snow!) and the warm Florida climate seemed like the perfect place to transition to. Also because we have two dogs and a cat we ruled out cities for the time being. Our dogs need a nearby park or a backyard to run around in. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I can’t help but feel excited, sad, thrilled, apprehensive, and happy all at the same time. California has been home and I’ve never lived in another place since I was seven (aside from a couple months of travel) so leaving kinda breaks my heart. However we aren’t really saying goodbye. Who knows what will happen in the future, we may return or might find we fall in love with another city. Right now we’re saying yes to new adventures.
Enough rambling, onto our home tour. When we moved into this loft we were looking for a small-to-medium yet modern looking space. The floor to ceiling windows were just to die for beautiful and we fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. The concrete building was so different from our beach house that we had lived in previously for almost a decade. Out of all the places I’ve lived this has definitely been one of the most unique and memorable. I wanted to document bits here and there for memories and thought I’d share it with you too.
I have an empty space photo to show, this is what it looks like right before we moved out, empty just like it did when we moved in. Since it’s a loft it’s primarily an open space although the kitchen area is lined up on a dividing wall to separate the bedroom/office area.
How we furnished the living room below. Since lofts tend to be small, all space had to be used or multi-purpose. The living area also has a work out section with a treadmill and a marble desk that doubles as a dining area and work space. By the time I took these photos we had already started packing up some of our things but this is pretty much what it looked like while we lived here. I’ll list our furniture at the bottom by room.
Our loft is basically one big open space however we did have a partial dividing wall to separate an area for the bedroom and a corner by the window that I could use as my blog/work/storage area. The bedroom area was large enough for a king size bed and Ikea closet units with plenty of room for dressers and a side chair (not shown).
My work corner and a peek at how I organize my beauty products. Organization has always been a challenge. As a beauty blogger I go through quite a bit of product for testing and also for use. Being able to find things is essential especially for referencing items for comparisons or just know where something is when I want to use it. The organization system has always been evolving. I’ll do a separate post on organization for beauty. For now here’s a look at the different items I’ve tried. My husband had begged me for months to invest in a good tall cabinet or tall drawer unit. I was reluctant to install a closet system anywhere because for beauty products I either needed shallow drawers to be able to see things laid out versus stacked. Or I needed something clear to be able to see things easily.
Since I don’t use products from a single brand, bur rather many and also since makeup and skincare comes in a shapes, sizes, heights, widths etc. finding something to store a wide range of items has been challenging. I started with Muji acrylic drawers which I find great for lipstick, glosses, small compacts, but it requires you to lay things flat. Also sizes are limited. It took me over a year of research to decide what other acrylic units to invest in. Many are expensive and the biggest deterrent for me was the time it took to make and ship the units. Some said it would take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks as each one was custom made. I lack patience when it comes to shipping so I didn’t order one until I found two options that would ship immediately. GLAMboxes launched on QVC with inexpensive quick shipping so I ordered the GLAMboxes GLAMpetite with a Partial Lid ($199). Another one I found with good reviews is the Original Beauty Box and they did not have a long wait time for shipping so I also ordered the Deluxe Beauty Box ($159) to compare. Both are well made and the drawers slide easily and smoothly which was really important for me. I haven’t seen a wide range of acrylic units so I can’t report on quality comparisons to other brands, but both are functional, well made, sturdy and work well. Since the Original Beauty Box has drawers that are taller it worked better for me. Although it can get heavy if you stack items – I haven’t had any issues opening the drawers with what I put inside though. I liked the Original Beauty Box so much I ordered two more.
Other storage units include Ikea Alex Drawers (I like the wider ones). Inside I use Container Store plastic bins and lipstick dividers to store and organize products. They aren’t completely filled with plastic bins as I find some items are ok free floating.
To organize new products to be tested or swatched I started using clear plastic shoe boxes from the Container Store. The ones I bought were relatively cheap in price and look and feel cheap, but they are functional and fit my bookshelves perfectly so right now they work.
Below, left to right: GLAMboxes GLAMpetite with a Partial Lid, Muji Acrylic Stand, Ikea Alex Drawer with Container Store plastic dividers
I’ve tried to list everything by room for those curious about where we bought our home furnishings. It took us at least six months to fully furnish the place as we found it challenging to find what we wanted that would ship within a reasonable time. It had been a few years since we did major furniture shopping so we did not realize that buying furniture would require sometimes several months for delivery time. If there’s anything I missed let me know – I will be traveling cross country this week but will get back to you as soon as we’ve had a chance to settle in.
- Rochelle Couch from Crate and Barrel
- Rochelle Side Chairs from Crate and Barrel
- Wooden coffee table from Crate and Barrel, discontinued old style, current version here
- Tulip round side tables (one marble, one black wood) from Rove Concepts
- Side rectangular glass tables from Crate and Barrel
- Large floor lamp from CB2
- Black leather chairs from IFN Modern
- Blue rug from Crate and Barrel
- Large metal tray from Pottery Barn (old style)
- Walnut shelves and console from Modani (older styles)
- Treadmill from Nordic Track (last year’s model, current one is the 1750 here)
- Yoga mat by Manduka (old style, but it’s the PRO version)
- White shelves and cabinet units from Restoration Hardware
- Hydro Cotton towels from Pottery Barn
- Light sensor mirror by Simple Human
- Glass canisters from Crate and Barrel
- Bed from Crate and Barrel, Tate Style
- Bedding from a mix of West Elm (braided quilt and mini stripe coverlets) and Pottery Barn (old style)
- Closet solutions and shoe storage from Ikea
- Night stand tables from Crate and Barrel (Osborn style, discontinued)
My Office Space
- Walnut bookshelves and desk from Crate and Barrel, Anderson Style (discontinued), almost identical desk version here
- White Alex drawers from Ikea
- Bose Soundlink Color in Black (old style, current model is the Soundlink Color Bluetooth Speaker II)
- Makeup organizers from Muji, GLAMboxes and Original Beauty Box (I will do a separate review on these detailing why I ordered what I did and what I ended up liking or disliking about each style)
- Clear containers in drawers from the Container Store
- Desk lamp from Design Within Reach
- White leather desk chair from Amazon.com
- Wood desk chair from Pottery Barn
- Walnut drawer unit from Wayfair
- Sheepskin rug from Pottery Barn
I hope you enjoyed this home tour even though by now we have moved on. There were some areas such as our closet, kitchen details and bathroom areas which I didn’t photograph but hope this gives you a glimpse into how we decorated and styled our home. My husband and I have similar but different tastes. He loves more color and fun accents while I would be thrilled to have an entire monochrome house with neutrals. I think we found a good balance with this one. For our next home the space we will have is going to be 2x the size of our loft so there will be a lot of space to fill and decorate.
Many of you have asked how we keep the loft clean with three fluffy pets, all of which have white fur and shed a lot. My husband is the organized and clean one so he did a lot of research on vacuums and pet grooming. We have used an iRobot Roomba for the past 10 years. They get regular use on a daily basis so we’ve gone through 3. We always bought the cheapest option which runs around $400. For Christmas Andrew decided to get the 980 iRobot Roomba as my Christmas present. It’s more than double the price but works noticeably better and hands down well worth the investment – especially if you have pets or if your home gets dusty easily. If you want a list of the other vacuums he’s bought I can list them in this post, but the Roombas are a life saver.
I’ll be on the road for the next several days and will have limited access to my computer while we make our way across the US to our new home. You can follow along on Instagram @beautylookbook as I’ll be posting a few things here and there along the way.
Hope your week is going well! More fun beauty reviews to come as soon as I’ve settled in. I was able to get a sneak preview of the new Tom Ford Soleil items yesterday (details on Instagram and if you can catch IG stories before they disappear) and everything is to die for! I also bought three of the Rouge Coco Glosses which I’ll be putting to the test while on the road.
I stopped by the Scent Bar in Los Angeles over the weekend and this store takes the perfume experience to a new level of amazing. It’s been a while since I stopped by the store as I tend to gravitate towards larger retailers for my beauty shopping – but this place is the best I’ve shopped at for perfume. For those in-the-know you are already aware of all the reasons why this place is great: unique selection, relaxing intimate store setting, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and there is absolutely no sales pressure. The store is primarily organized by notes to help you find variations of what you like by mood. There are also a few areas organized by brand. They carry a wide range of brands including Tom Ford, Byredo, Creed, L’Artisan, Cire Trudon, Serge Lutens, and Escentric Molecules to name a few. The experience you’ll have shopping here is going to be different than most other beauty shopping experiences. I think it’s great because it’s suitable for anyone no matter what level of perfume expertise they have. They have a unique selection for those who want something unusual or different. At the same time they carry a good selection of more main stream but still luxurious brands to pick from. If you’re a complete perfume novice I think it’s perfect as they’ll really help you find your perfect scent as well.
On Saturday afternoon I was delighted to find the store wasn’t busy when I stopped by and was lucky to have the whole store to myself for a little while while. It quickly filled up with a lot of customers within the next hour but the staff was still extremely patient, friendly and I was really impressed with how well they were able to meet everyone’s needs even when it became busy. A look at the store for those who haven’t been before:
Everything is organized and sorted by notes, although some brands are grouped together:
Steven at the store helped me and he was amazing to work with. I shared a few of my favorites with him to see what he would recommend. At the top of my list right now included Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, Creed Virgin Island Water, L’Artisan Mure et Musc and L’Artisan L’Ete en Douce. He immediately identified my tastes as liking clean, beachy and fresh scents. I told him I love vanilla but couldn’t find one that I could wear so he pulled an almond option which I fell in love with immediately. He pulled few suggestions for me to smell and it was literally like magic – all of his recommendations were great.
- Profumum Confetto is a sugared almond that smells like a delicious sweet scent without the overpowering notes of vanilla that you usually find, they were unfortunately sold out but this was next level delicious
- Parfumerie Generale Le Musc and La Peau was recommended as a good skin scent since I loved L’Artisan L’Ete En Douce (once of the few I’ve used up entirely), it has a white musk blend with light florals and smells like skin, but fresh and has a hint of sandalwood, this was at the top of my list and I almost came close to buying it but they urged me to take a sample home and wear it to enjoy it over a few days and take my time deciding
- Escentric Molecules was an interesting line try, I smelled a few and they had a small sample pack which they gave me to try, I sprayed one on my hand and I could not smell anything but they did explain it’s something others can smell on you rather than something you can smell on yourself, I’ll report after I’ve had a chance to try them
- Maison Francis Kurkdijian is a line that has intrigued me but one I’ve been intimated to try at department stores because of the pressure I experience from pushy sales associates, the Scent Bar is the perfect place to try these as an alternative, Steven patiently went through the line and picked his five favorites that he thought I might enjoy, the top three being the Petite Matin, Aqua Universalis and A La Rose, I am going to try to go back and see if they have the discovery set in store to buy
- Byredo Mojave Ghost is one I’ve smelled before, another one that tempted me but I still have Bal D’Afrique and Black Saffron which have a long way to go before being used up, so decided to wait on this one
I left by buying a Cire Trudon candle in Ernesto which is one of the most amazing candles I’ve ever burned (I had a mini from a trio set a few years ago). They will make samples for you so I left with a couple on a card to try at home.
Bottom line perfume heaven and a beauty lover’s dream come true. They have candles and some body products as well, but the primary focus is perfume. These days online shopping has been my go-to for convenience, no pressure and also no attitude, but with scent often times you have to just experience it in person to decide what to buy. Even though I’m a beauty lover, I really don’t like shopping for perfumes in stores because of the pressure to buy. The Scent Bar however offers a really unique experience without the pressure. You can learn about different lines or perfumes at your leisure and take your time to find something you’ll truly love. This place is definitely worth the visit if you’re ever in Los Angeles. They’re located at 7405 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. If I lived closer to this place I know I’d be in here on a regular basis. They do sell items online too on their website Lucky Scent.
Have you been to their store before? If not where do you like to shop for your perfumes?
NARS launched a new concealer called the Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30 for 0.21 oz) and being the fan that I am of their bases I knew I had to try it. To date the Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30 for 0.22 oz) has been one of my favorites for under the eye and around the nose to help with redness and create a more brighter more awake look. Since I tan easily and also because I use a different shade under the eyes versus spot concealing, I rotate between three shades. I used to mix Custard and Ginger together for my best match. Then NARS added another color in between which is Macadamia with slight peachy tones. This one is perfect for me as I actually prefer something with the tiniest bit of peach for under eyes. The warmth helps brighten the eye are for me. For the Soft Matte Complete Concealer, I ordered the same three shades. The colors are pretty close between formulas for the ones I bought, not identical but pretty close.
The Soft Matte Complete Concealer offers full-coverage finish with a soft matte look. It’s oil free, light weight yet ultra pigmented so a little goes a long way. It feels creamy and soft to the touch, almost like it has just the slightest bit of bounce. I tried it under the eyes and on a few spots using the finger to dab and blend. Under the eyes it was like an instant eye lift with a blurring effect. It didn’t cake or darken and lasted all day (I did set with powder). For spots it didn’t cover them 100%, but I would say that it still did a really good job at covering them to about 85% of the way. For the corners around the nose it works well to reduce redness.
Color-wise these look a bit dark in the pot. Also side by side I thought they all looked the same in the container. Even when swatched on the back of my hand and arm I thought they were all going to be too dark but they actually work better than I expected on the face. I love that it blends effortlessly on the skin and even though the coverage is near full it still manages to look natural on the skin. I will say that I have normal combo skin – since it’s matte and opaque I do think if you have dry under eyes it could emphasize dry patches. In this case I would just make sure you have a good primer to hydrate the eye area (I like the Marc Jacobs Coconut Primer for dry skin days).
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer
3 shades of the matte formula swatched on the face, under eye area and along jawline, on the lips is Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ludwig:
Custard was too light for me, but I put Macadamia on one side and Ginger on the other, both look like they’re a good match, right now I have a slight preference for Macdamia:
The Radiant Creamy Concealer has been a long-time go-to for me. I tend to prefer something with a tiny bit of radiance because I find it blends better on my skin type and also looks more natural. Matte often looks too opaque, too matte and therefore a bit fake on the skin. For years the Radiant Creamy Concealer was one of the few I could use under the eyes no matter what condition my skin was in regardless of season and weather. I still love it.
If I had to pick one, I would say Radiant Creamy wins because of the packaging and also because I like something a bit more creamy. I’m not the biggest fan of pots because they tend to get messy. I also really don’t like matte finishes because I find they don’t work the best with my skin – they tend to emphasize pores, imperfections and look cakey. However for a matte formula the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer is seriously impressive and I do think it’s worth owning even if you have the other formulas. I found it easy to blend, but that being said if you need something with a bit more slip to blend easier, go with (or stick with) the Radiant Creamy Concealer formula.
I didn’t swatch the Radiant Creamy one on the face as it blends out slightly sheerer so it’s a bit more forgiving color-wise. When I use any of the shades, Custard, Macadamia or Ginger, it blends to match the skin really well – it looks so natural you can barely tell there’s anything on the face. I do have side by sides of the corresponding shades in both formulas. You can see the difference in finish. Colors are pretty close but I feel the Radiant Creamy formula has slightly more yellow undertones.
Bottom line a solid win. Macadamia is the best match for me, but if I need a bit of brightening I can mix in some of the Custard to lighten or brighten certain areas. Since I tan easily I suspect Ginger will be a match within the next few months and as I’m often in between shades I don’t mind owning multiple colors so I can mix them as I transition between colors. I don’t know how I feel about the pot style. I’ve avoided this type of packaging for years and a quick look at my concealer stash shows that they are literally all either wands or twist/click up pens. I also don’t like that NARS does that matte almost velvety finish packaging on their face products because it gets dirty so easily. If you get any bit of concealer or cream product on it, it’s pretty much stuck there forever (I’ve tried getting it off, but it’s near impossible). It’s not a deal breaker though and that’s just me being picky.
You can find both the Soft Matte Complete Concealer and Radiant Creamy Concealer at all counters now. I bought the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer from Sephora. It’s also available at NARS, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and all other NARS counters.
Have you tried this one yet? What did you think? If not, what are your current go-to concealers?
P.S. I’m also testing out concealer formulas from Too Faced, Tarte and will compare them to Kat Von D in the next couple of weeks.