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Friday, March 23, 2012

Sunny Skies: Eyecandy and Sunscreen

Source: Millie Motts. Oh doesn't this just make you long for the beach! It would feel so nice to be basking on a towel and pushing your toes into the cool sand.

With the warm weather and sunny days quickly approaching, it’s time to find a suitable facial sunscreen to protect against the elements. I love my Estee Lauder Daywear for use under my makeup but an SPF of 15 just isn’t going to cut it while I’m out and about in the summer.
My new facial sunscreen MUST:
  • Have at least SPF 30
  • Act as a moisturizer
  • Not cause clogged pores or break outs
And ideally I would also love:
  • The lotion to act as a primer
  • Anti-aging/wrinkle/ protection from the elements
After a trip to Sephora and a chat with one of the ladies there, I took home 3 different samples and will be trying them out (note... I did NOT realize how expensive these were until I looked them up for this post... yikes!)
  1. Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer Moisture SPF 30 (Price $42 for 1.7oz)
  2. “Philosophy Oil-Free Moisturizer with Sunscreen”: I think this is the Hope Oil-free SPF 30 but unfortunately the woman didn’t label the package very well. (Price: $39 for 2.0 oz)
  3. Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV-Protection for Face (water resistant sunscreen SPF 42 PA+++). Price $30 for 1.0oz
It will take me a little while to give these a try as I will only be using them on the weekends for now (when I need the extra sun protection).
The blue skies and sunshine have gotten me so excited about summertime... my favorite! The feel of sandals and sundresses with no stockings... heaven! And now I will leave you with these gorgeous and inspiring photos to feast your eyes on. (source: Life Archives)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Top Ten: Disney World Places for Lovers of Retro

Happy Friday! The weather has been just glorious for the past few days and I have been basking in the warm sunshine. Isn't it the best feeling to put on your first sundress of the season?! Well I've been working on this post off and on for a bit... hope you enjoy!

In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite vintage escapes on the property. Most people may not initially think of Disney as a place for retro lovers but when you take a moment, you can see that Disney does a top notch job of transporting you to another place and time. I’ve said it before that my trips there as a child have influenced my love of the fashions and settings of the past. You will notice that about half of the entries are located in MGM (Hollywood Studios) which makes sense as that entire park is themed to be “the Hollywood that never was and always will be.”

1. The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride (Hollywood/MGM Studios): This ride introduced me to so many genres of movies and absolutely sparked my interest in old Hollywood. I specifically remember seeing the Busby Berkeley girls all lined up in their matching swimsuits looking so glamorous and graceful. And of course I fell in love with the handsome Gene Kelley after seeing his audio-animatronic in the Singin’ in the Rain sequence. But perhaps the most magical scene is when you pass through colorful Munchkin Land from the Wizard of Oz and you can feel as if… just for a moment… you were really there on the set with Judy Garland. This is also an instance where the queue is entertainment on its own with loads of movie memorabilia and clothing. Oh and did I mention the whole thing is inside of a replica of the gorgeous Hollywood Chinese Theater…

2. The Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater

Sci-Fi Diner (Hollywood/MGM Studios): This is a personal favorite of mine. This restuarant allows you to experience a nightime under the "stars" at an old drive-in theater while you dine in your very own car table. Eating here as a child sparked an interest not only in 1950’s nostalgia, but also in old Science Fiction movies and cartoons. I just fell in love with this era’s idea of space travel, aliens, and the future! I remember becoming infatuated with Ed Wood all thanks to the trailer for Plan 9 from Outerspace. Thank goodness my Vampira phase didn’t last very long….

3. The Enchanted Tiki Room

The Enchanted Tiki Room (The Magic Kingdom; Adventureland): This attraction is perfect for both vintage lovers and die-hard Walt Disney fans. Walt fell in love with the Polynesian style and wanted to bring that feeling to his park. The original Enchanted Tiki Room was built for Disneyland in 1963 (during the height of the Tiki craze in the U.S.) and featured the first audio-animatronics, a WED Enterprises patented invention. The Disney World version was one of the opening day attractions on October 1, 1971. I adore this kitschy Hawaiian tribute… it just feels wonderful to surround yourself in this room full of tiki nostalgia and Walt Disney’s innovation.

4. 50's Prime Time Café

50’s Prime Time Café (Hollywood/MGM Studios): Well this is a no-brainer! The café was made to transport guests back to the stereotypical kitchen from the mid 1950’s complete with waitresses that yell at you for putting your elbows on the table. Their menu has home cooked staples such as “Mom’s Old Fashioned Pot Roast” and “Dad’s Traditional Meatloaf”. The décor is a blast from the past with sunburst wall hangings, black and white TV’s, formica tables, and fun nick-nacks. Their dessert menu is on a ViewMaster…. How fun! There is also a full bar called The Tune-In Lounge that is themed like a family room. Ladies… put on a comfy daydress and kitten heels, fellas… go grab your cardigan and horn-rimmed glasses and enjoy!

5. The Carousel of Progress

The Carousel of Progress (The Magic Kingdom; Tomorrowland): So… I feel that this can be an overlooked attraction if you aren’t a huge Disney fan but it is just the neatest audio-animatronics show! Walt had the attraction built for the 1964 World’s fair, then it eventually made its way to Disney World in 1975. You get to see an American family going through the 20th century and experiencing the changes in technology along the way. There is a different scene for each of the 4 time periods which means you get to see authentic clothing, kitchen and household gadgets, technology, and lifestyle changes throughout the century. You start in the early 1900’s, next the 1920s, then on to the 1940s, and finally end at the present day. And don’t even try to get the song out of your head!

6. The Polynesian Resort

The Polynesian (Deluxe Resort): This luxurious resort is another example the wonderful tiki culture that I so cherish and long to recreate. Even though Walt had passed before the opening of this resort, he was around for the initial planning in the 1960’s. He wanted the location of the Polynesian to be the backdrop for Adventureland (and the Contemporary the backdrop for Tomorrowland). I have never had the chance to stay here but have visited many times. The Polynesian is on the monorail loop and you can also take a boat to the Magic Kingdom making it a great place to stop for a short visit. So put on your favorite tropical print dress and some hand-tooled wedges then head to the Tambu Louge to enjoy some vintage tiki cocktails (the Lapu Lapu is even served in hollowed out pineapple!). And don’t forget to throw your best floral two-piece in your straw bag so you can take a dip in the volcano pool!

7. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Hollywood/MGM Studios): Well… the name should give it away, I mean come on… The Twilight Zone; any vintage sci-fi nerd can appreciate that!! “The attraction is themed to resemble the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. The story of the hotel, adapted from elements of the television series, includes the hotel being struck by lightning on October 31st, 1939, mysteriously transporting an elevator cart full of passengers to the Twilight Zone” (quote from There is so much detail in this gorgeous out of service hotel from the decorations found in the interior to the gardens around the exterior. Waiting in the queue is an attraction by itself as you can gaze around at a hotel that seems to have been quickly and eerily abandoned.

8. Chester and Hester's Dinorama

Chester and Hester’s DinoRama (Animal Kingdom): This seems to be another overlooked area of the parks for many people. “Chester and Hester’s DinoLand U.S.A: The story goes that DinoLand U.S.A originally started as a small highway town where an amateur fossil-hunter found some dinosaur bones in 1947. Chester and Hester, two locals, were determined to make a quick buck and converted their gas station into a fossil souvenir shop" (quote from The detail found in this part of Animal Kingdom is so creative and fun! If you look down you will notice that you’re now walking on an “asphalt” parking lot. Well… not really… the imagineers just wanted it to look that way but asphalt would not hold up in the hot Florida sun so they had to come up with an alternative. You will feel completely transported back to the roadside attraction nostalgia of a mid-century trip down route 66. Put on your cat-eye sunglasses and enjoy a refreshing coca-cola as you walk through this section of the Animal Kingdom!

9. Tomorrowland
Alright, I know it's a bit unfair to put an entire land in the Magic Kingdom but I just love the feel of the whole area. Space Mountain, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (People Mover), the beautiful Astro Orbiter, and the Carousel of Progress. This area of the parks radiates with that wonderful Jules Verne-esque feel of the future. I especially love riding the TTA and seeing the architectural model of Walt Disney's Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) originally envisioned as a working city of the future.

10. Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream of Extinction

Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction (Hollywood/MGM Studios): I realize this is just a quick-service food stop but something about this little gem makes me smile. This “building” was made in the California Crazy style that was popular around the beginning of the automobile age during the early half of the century to catch the eyes of travelers. From the sign near the stand “Gertie first amazed vaudeville audiences in 1914 when she was projected life-size onto a screen and shared the stage with her creator, Winsor McCay.” Perhaps Gertie appeals to me because of her connection with early vaudeville and cartoons. Also… the story is just so fascinating!

Honorable Mention:
The Grand Floridian (Deluxe Resort)

I also think that any lovers of the Victorian era must check out the incredible Grand Floridian Resort. If you can’t afford to stay there (like most of us!) you can stop in at the Garden View Lounge for some afternoon tea and finger sandwiches.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Foundation Review

After receiving some free samples from make-up counters, I have given a two new products a test over the past week. I ramble on a bit… my overall rating/opinion is underlined if you feel like skipping to that part.

Chanel Vitalumiere (liquid foundation): I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about Chanel’s foundation as they are not known for their skin care. Also, I feel that with a name like Chanel, they could bottle pond-scum and women would buy it up without question. That being said, I was very pleasantly surprised with this product.

On day one I wore it without primer (only moisturizer underneath) and it blended nicely and easily. It has a slightly thicker consistency and heavier coverage than Diorskin which is what I was looking for. The foundation blended nicely and looked great even around my dry T-zone. The makeup seemed to be staying nicely and then came the real test… my daily walk around the building in the chilly outside air. Usually when I come back I can see my powder or foundation has settled into dry spots around my nose. With Chanel and no primer, this happened only slightly and I felt it was an improvement over my regular Diorskin. On day two I used my regular primer (Bare Escentuals Prime Time) and that seemed to do the trick! There was hardly any fading or settling of the makeup throughout the day. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua left my skin feeling hydrated and even gave me the “dewy” look that it claims. On day three I swapped my regular primer for Laura Mercier’s primer sample and I didn’t see much of a difference.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5: I have been very impressed with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. My skin seems to like it as there were no adverse reactions or break outs. I even used two thin coats around my nose one day and it felt almost too “dewy” which means that the formula is incredibly moisturizing and great for dry skin during the winter months. I do think it is essential to keep your face exfoliated as the Vitalumiere will stick to the little dry skin flakes if they are there. My original foundation, Diorskin Nude might be better for a lighter coverage in the summertime and warmer climates.

Laura Mercier (crème foundation): You can get great coverage and a somewhat airbrushed look that lasts all day with this product but it is very fussy and tricky to apply! This is an incredibly moisturizing foundation that I would only recommend for someone with dry skin issues. On day one I applied with my regular primer and it is pretty difficult to blend. Once blended, it looked great everywhere except my t-zone. My nose looked incredibly cake-y to the point where I used a makeup remover wipe and cleaned off the area entirely. I was in a hurry so I just slapped on bit of moisturizer, let it dry for a minute, then applied a VERY small amount of the foundation again. I used a bit of powder concealer and it looked great. After a few moments it must have sank in because when I checked again it looked flawless! The remainder of the day was spent running lots of errands, trying on clothing, lunch, Bach Fest and returning home about 7 hours later. The makeup had not moved or come off at all, it still looked fresh! My only issue on this day is that something about the shade gave my skin a slight pinkish tint which I wasn’t crazy about.

On day two I tried to apply the foundation very lightly without primer but now it was streaking on my forehead and there was still a bit of the cakey look to my nose. I was in a hurry to meet a friend so I blended the best I could and took off. After returning home a few hours later it looked better but still not great. I removed the makeup on my t-zone and put Diorskin on my forehead and reapplied the Laura Mercier around my nose with just a bit of concealer and it looked great again! I don’t get it! I’m certainly not going to start using makeup remover wipes as a primer!

Overall Rating 3.5 out of 5: You can get a wonderful look that stays and rich moisture from this foundation but it is difficult to get the application done correctly. The sample I received still has lots left so I can continue to experiment. Perhaps this is a foundation that is better suited for a very advanced makeup user? Someone with all the right brushes and techniques and such. I can tell you that it is very moisturizing and didn’t react with my somewhat sensitive skin though! This would be a great option for a special night out when you really want to look great and have time to fuss with the application.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Adventures in Make Up

Until recently, I haven’t been very experimental in the makeup department. I have always been interested in application techniques (especially for eye liner) but was convinced that I couldn’t switch my products without a bad skin reaction. Well all of this changed when I learned about the discontinuation of my favorite moisturizer/sunscreen/foundation (Neutrogena Healthy Defense Tinted Daily Moisturizer SPF 30). There was just something about this inexpensive drug store product that worked for me (and my mother). It took care of my sunscreen needs, kept my face moisturized all day without feeling greasy and also acted as a foundation or even primer in a pinch. For years I had been using this with Bare Escentuals loose mineral powders and the combination really worked. My only complaints were the slight yellow tint that I would sometimes get and that it didn’t seem to photograph very well. With this moisturizer quickly disappearing from the shelves, I had to find a replacement! I tried the new formulation that Neutrogena put out… nope not the same… just didn’t do it for me. I then tried another formulation with an SPF of 50 and that’s when things went south.

If any of you saw me over the holidays you may remember my complaining about extremely dry skin on my face. It turns out that I had what I now believe to be a mild chemical burn or reaction from the new moisturizer that I was trying. While this was a nightmare at the time, I now see it as a blessing in disguise. This sent me on a skin care path that has made my complexion much better than it has ever been.

First of all, I completely changed my skin care regimen. Estee Lauder has been fantastic, mild, and nourishing to my skin. At night I use their face wash followed by their Advanced Night Repair serum and then Pond’s dry skin cream. In the morning I use Estee Lauder’s Daywear moisturizer with spf 15; it feels absolutely refreshing with the cool scent of cucumber. It soaks into my skin within minutes and feels great under make up. This routine has completely improved my skin tone and texture as well as basically eliminating mild break outs. I am still on the quest for a few skin care items but feel pretty confident in this routine.

At this point I am on the quest for the perfect foundation. The loose powder does not work well with my dry skin so I have switched to liquid. For the past few months I have been using Christian Dior's Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Makeup with SPF 10 and it has been so so. It hasn’t caused any break outs and it is a light to medium coverage. The shade (20) matches well and the formula is very easy to blend. My issue is that it tends to fade throughout the day and settle into dry patches around my nose. After doing some research I hit the mall and got some samples of different foundations that look nourishing for dry skin. I am giving them a try this week and will let you know how they work out. Though I got a few other skin care/make up samples, I am being very adamant about only introducing one new product at a time to keep track of what causes problems AND what causes the good results. I will be trying the foundations for a few days in a row before coming to any conclusions.

Here are the contenders:
  • Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Foundation (crème): Sounds like a medium to high coverage foundation great for dry skin, though no SPF here either. From reviews it seems a bit more complicated to blend than a liquid foundation but it can really do the trick. Shade is Porcelain Ivory.
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation (liquid): Supposedly good for dry skin but no SPF. I have read multiple reviews on this and ladies generally like it but complain that it leaves the T-zone looking too “dewy". Shade is BR 12.
Hope everyone is enjoying the week and looking forward to the upcoming weekend! I've got some wedding tasks on my to do list as well as some crafting time with a good friend and a double date.