Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photo Break - Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

Here's another small set of photos from my Disney trip - this time from the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks.

Animal Kingdom

the 'Tree of Life'

'Mt. Everest'

the Animal Kingdom Christmas tree
I didn't get a chance to see this during the day.



white rhinos!

Hollywood Studios
look at the film reel around the bottom!

The next photos are from the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights - where an entire street in the park is covered from pavement to roof in Christmas lights, and sometimes they change synchronized to music. It was amazing (and a little overwhelming)!






Hope you all are enjoying these photos!

I only have one set left - the ones from the Magic Kingdom. Incidentally, those are my favorites, and that's why I've saved them for last. They'll be up soon!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Two Favorite (Perfume) Stores in the World

Ok, kids, you can stop holding your breath. Here is the post I promised about my favorite stores, not only at Disney, but in the world; and it has nothing to do with the Mouse.

In case you don't know this about me, I really love perfume - arguably more than I love makeup. I know. Shocking.

If you're a fellow perfume lover, Epcot has quite a few shops that you will want to pay a visit. Italy has a perfume shop if you are looking for Bvlgari, Versace or Pucci; and England has you covered if you're interested in Burberry. However, my two draws lie in France.

As I said, I am an avid perfume lover, and my scent universe revolves around the two following stores. Big words, I know.

Plume et Palette and the Guerlain Signature store

The first carries high end French perfume lines such as Chanel and Dior, but my interest in them specifically lies in their Givenchy. If you visit this store, please ask about Givenchy's Harvest Collection. Every bottle released in this line is limited edition as the formulations are slightly changed every year. If you would like me to elaborate on how this line works, I will be glad to do so in another post; but for now, I'll just say the perfumes in this line are very special.

They can be difficult to find in that they are not sold at just every perfume counter that offers Givenchy perfumes, and not many know about them since the company does (to my knowledge) no advertisements on it. It's a line you learn about through some one rather than some ad.

front of Plume et Palette

side entrance of the shop


The second is obviously a Guerlain store. If you're interested, the store carries the brand's full line of cosmetics; but, if you're like me, you'll go for the wall and table to the left of the store.

If you only check out one thing in here, I recommend the Aqua Allegoria line. It was originally introduced in 1999 and was meant to break away from the heavy, vanilla-based scents that Guerlain was known for (such as Shalimar) and appeal to a younger audience. Each is meant to celebrate natural notes and raw materials.

I am younger, and I find it appealing, so I guess their strategy worked. This year I picked up Flora Nymphea with notes of orange blossom, syringa flower, and honey from this line.

the wall

the table (i.e. perfume heaven)

Although I own quite a few perfumes, the small handful that make up my favorites have all come from these two stores.

And a shopping extra

In case you really need a break from the Disney environment, and Epcot just isn't enough of an escape, there is an amazing outlet mall right outside Disney property.

Though not my first time to Disney, it was my first stop at this outlet because I didn't even know it existed until we happened to drive past it on the way to our hotel. How fortuitous, right?!

The Orlando Premium Outlets has 150 stores including Burberry, Dior, Michael Kors, and Swarovski. If you want to see the full list of stores, check out their list here. I didn't buy much at these stores but had loads of fun looking around!

The one store that I did do some wallet damage in was the Cosmetics Company Outlet! I'd never been to one before, so it was a real treat to play around in there. There is also a Lancome outlet there, but I was extremely disappointed in it. The selection wasn't good and it was terribly unorganized. The CCO is much more worth your time.

I hope you enjoyed this little rundown of stores. I hope you'll take them into account if you visit Orlando. You won't regret it. : )

And if you've ever visited any of them, I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Photo Break - Epcot

A few photos from my Disney vacation - Epcot edition.

the entrance all decorated for the Food and Wine Festival

...and decorated for Christmas a few days later

Coca Cola drinks from different parts of the world that you can
taste at Club Cool (for free!)
VegitaBeta was my favorite, and Beverly should be tasted with caution...

Mickey and Minnie topiaries ready for Christmas

'Morocco'

'France'
My two favorite stores in the world are back there - a post about them is coming soon.

There are many more countries represented in the World Showcase, but I was lazy about photographing them. Sorry!

their Christmas tree across the World Showcase lake.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Basin - A Look Inside My Favorite Bath Shop

As promised in the previous post, I will be highlighting my favorite shops at Disney, and this is the first of the two.

Basin is a bath store located in Downtown Disney which sells lovely, predominately handmade, bath items. I've heard some people compare it to Lush minus the nauseatingly strong in-store smell. I've never been to a Lush, so I can't comment on the comparison, but I can say that I don't think anyone could get a scent headache walking in to this place.

You may be wondering, Why have I never heard of this store? Well, it's probably mainly due to there only being two in the country, this one in Orlando and one in California's Downtown Disney. There is another store called Basin White which is supposed to represent a more luxurious version of the Basin products which also only has two locations - one in Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando and one in Las Vegas. So, with only four locations between the two, there isn't much opportunity to discover this place.

While you can order their products online, it is so worth making a point to visit the store if you have the chance.

Take a look!


 bath bombs

bath salts

body butters

some soaps and body butters (the front soap on the left is a Halloween leftover!)


more of their hand cut soaps.
their soaps are on tables all over the store, so I couldn't get a shot with all of them

Good to know!


The store also has things like shampoo bars, massage bars, and sugar and salt scrubs that I didn't get photos of. The store was very busy, and I tried to be respectful by not getting strangers in my pictures (and I was trying to be a bit sneaky about it).

While I haven't tried all of the items this store has to offer, I am absolutely in love with it because of two products -

Their soaps create a lovely lather that leaves my skin feeling both clean and moisturized - not stripped as many bar soaps tend to do. It also doesn't hurt that almost all of them have a cute image or pretty pattern in them and they smell lovely (my absolute favorite is the Tahitian Vanilla). In the store, all of the soaps are priced based on their weight with most ranging between $4.50 and $7.50. You can also purchase their soaps from their site http://www.basin.com/, but they are priced at a flat $5.99 from there.

The other star product is their body butter. These are hands-down the most amazing ones I have ever used.
They are neither too thick or too thin, have a silky smooth texture, and soak into the skin beautifully. A little bit of it goes a long way so, even though it is a bit expensive at $15, one of them will last you an extremely long time and, like the soaps, they all smell amazing (my favorite is the Almond). They have two scents out right now for the Christmas season: Pumpkin and Peppermint. The Pumpkin was nice, but a bit too strong for my liking; but I did pick up the Peppermint and am really looking forward to using it! 

Even if you don't want to spend money here, I'd still say it's worth making a quick visit if you can. It really is a lovely store to go into and browse around. They have unwrapped sample slices of all the soaps out so you can get a good sniff of them, testers of all the lotions to try, and there are two sinks where you can test all of the scrubs. Actually, I think that even if you do go in intending to spend nothing, you'll end up finding something you love and walking out with a bag.

I'm usually good for wasting at least an hour in here!

and a fun extra:

There was an event held at Downtown Disney called The Festival of the Masters where many artists came to create live works of art where bystarders could watch the projects take shape.

I didn't know about the event until after it was over, so I didn't get to see anything being made, but one of the projects was a Mickey figure carved out of a 250 lb block of soap which was still on display in the Basin store:


Sunday, November 21, 2010

So Where Was I?

It seems no one could guess where I was based on my hints!

Maybe it would have helped if I'd added that I was at one of the top vacation destinations in the world?

I was here:

For those of you who don't recognize the image, this is Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida all covered in lights for Christmas.

Yes, I am a big child. No arguments here.

I went at a good time because I managed to both catch the end of their Food and Wine Festival and see the Christmas decorations go up. So much fun!

I have a few posts planned based on this trip including a couple of Disney stores that I think everyone interested in beauty should visit if possible, some products that I discovered while away that may well become Holy Grail material for me, and a good spot to go broke right outside Disney property. 

I also have lots of general Disney photos that I'd be glad to post some of if any of you are interested in seeing them. Just let me know!

I hope all of you all had a lovely time while I was away. I stayed relatively offline while out of town so I am very out of the beauty loop at the moment. Hopefully I can manage to catch up soon. 

Let me know if I've missed anything monumental!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Play a Game

I am somewhere...

 there is an infestation of rodents... and people are OK with it.

 where Christmas begins in November even though the temperature is still in the 70's and 80's.

 people display an aversion to the 'real world' and turn to a more fantastical reality.

 most adults show intense regression to child-like behaviors.

 a bottle of water costs $2.50.


Where am I?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mini Hiatus

Hi, all.

I wanted to write this quick note to let you know that I won't be around for a bit. I am going out of town tomorrow and will be gone for a little over a week, so there will not be many, if any, posts from me until I return. If I have time, I will try to post a bit, but I don't want to say that I definitely will and then break my promise.

Please do not forget me while I am away. I promise to return promptly. : )

Have a good week, everyone! And think good thoughts for me while I begin a ridiculously long road trip tomorrow.

And now I'll return to packing...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wet n Wild's Holiday Palette in Golden Goddess

Ok, ladies. You knew this would happen. I couldn't let much time pass between finding these things and starting to swatch, so here we go!

I decided to begin with Golden Goddess - the most neutral of the 4 holiday palettes, though still far from a true neutral.



Unlike the ColorIcon palettes from the permanent line which are divided between shimmers and mattes, these Christmas ones are all shimmer and glimmer. No mattes here, kids. Part of me loves all the shimmery goodness, but the other part is a bit sad to see the lack of mattes since that's a big part of why I love the others so much.




All 6 of these shadows are quite soft - no dry or poorly pigmented shades here. And, as always, these swatches were done with no primer or base, so they would perform even better with a little help. But, you can see that they still do very well on their own, although I will say that they don't seem quite as smooth as some of those in the permanent line.

The only shade that hasn't been done full justice in the photos is the right shade in the top swatch photo. It has much more tightly packed shimmer to it than the camera picked up, but it really shows up when the swatch is moved around in the light. Gorgeous!

This set also comes with a small golden brown eyeliner with gold flecks that is surprisingly smooth.

My only warning about this palette is that, as you can see, it is quite warm in tone; so, for those of us with cooler toned skin, it will require a more careful hand. It's very easy for shades with lots of orange to come across looking harsh on cooler skin. However, if you have warm toned skin, dive in! You'll look gorgeous in these shades.

What do you think of these shades? Love it? Leave it?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why Am I Drawn to a Bad Product???

Rather than talking about a specific product, I want to chat with you about a pattern of behavior that I'm wondering if others of you have experienced.

About a month and a half ago, I wrote a post about how excited I had been about Stila's Around the World themed travel palettes and how much they had let me down (if you missed it, check it out here). I wanted to love them because I love Stila's convertible colors, and I hated the palettes because the CCs in them quickly began to dry up; and yes, they've continued getting worse since I wrote that post.

So what's the issue? Now that two more of these travel palettes have been released, I find myself wanting them. What the heck??? I know the quality is sub-part. I know that they're not worth the money, and I know that I won't end up purchasing them (at least I'm not bad enough to purchase them!).

But I'm left wondering - why am I looking at them at all? Have you ever found yourself drawn to a product, for whatever reason, even if you knew it wasn't worth the money? If so, tell me aboutI don't feel so silly!

I've been trying to use the CCs in the two palettes that I do have a lot so I get as much out of them as possible before they dry up beyond use, but I know they won't be around very long compared to the real convertible colors. Even $10 is too much for something with such a short shelf life. To add insult to injury, I realized that the amount I paid for these two 'good deal' palettes would have almost covered the cost of one of the full-sized convertible colors from the permanent line that will last well for months. Ugh.

Anyone else had experience with this feeling?

The Search is Over!

Look what I found today! I'm so excited!


After a couple weeks of checking in drugstores every chance I got, these babies are finally mine. I'm still hoping to stumble across Wet n Wild's holiday nail polishes but won't be scouring the shelves for them. These palettes were what I was really after. Thanks, CVS!

Lots of swatching will be happening soon for these.

Any requests for which ones to do first or should I just dive in?

And a note to anyone else interested in these: There's a $5 of a $10 WnW purchase coupon in this month's All You magazine (available at Walmart) if you want to get a few dollars off!
Anyone else on the lookout for these? Already found them? Thoughts?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Belated Halloween Nail of the Day

I hope you all had excellent Halloweens this weekend filled with candy - whether gotten door-to-door or purchased yourself. I definitely partook in some sugar.

I also celebrated the holiday by donning shade-appropriate polish.

This is China Glaze's Ick-a-bod-y - the third and last from their Halloween Awakening Collection.


You can't go wrong with orange for that day, right? I was impressed that this only took 2 coats for good coverage. In my experience, polishes that are mostly glitter generally require many more.

The polish does leave a slightly bumpy texture but it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be given how large the glitters are. Applying a top coat twice easily evens it out.

Another thing I really like about this is that the orange is closer to a copper than many of the yellow-based oranges associated with Halloween (think candy corn orange). This deeper undertone makes the shade less garish and appropriate to wear throughout fall rather than being color-confined to Halloween.
  
*If you want to see the other two polishes from the Awakening collection -
 Zombie Zest is here.
 Mummy May I is here.

What do you think of this shade? Would you wear it?
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