Hugs & Kisses: A Flying Visit to Smashbox

Back in January, on a wander through the East End of London whilst visiting a pal, we came upon Boxpark, a clever pop-up set-up in Shoreditch. I related my Urban Ears PR horror story {back when I used to review gadgets, I was asked to return the headphones I was reviewing. Yuck} and we moved on. Just a few weeks ago, I spent a morning in the Smashbox pop up; considering the constraints of the ‘box’, they more than managed to make the space their own.

SMASHUP

Mood board; Da gang; Janine demonstrates hugs + kisses on Heather; new shades of Be Legendary lipstick

Above, a mash-up — indeed, a Smash-up — of some of the highlights of MUA and National Makeup Coach Janine Bird‘s masterclass. The highlight of the morning was the contouring lesson using the brand’s Step By Step Contour Stick Trio, three softer-than-soft pencils for highlighting, contouring and bronzing. Here’s an introductory video from Lori Taylor Davis, Global Pro Lead Artist for the brand {who did my makeup once!}; Janine applied contour beneath the cheekbone in Xs, and highlight on the cheekbone in Os, and blended them flawlessly together, what she called using ‘hugs and kisses’. It worked amazingly well, it’s easy to remember — and cute! — and it prevents one from drawing on one’s face like a child drawing on a wall and making a mess.

05 MIIIINE

Miiiiiiine!

The clutch of lippys in the collage are all new shades in the Be Legendary line; above is Fireball Matte, that literally has my name on it. Now, this is definitely at the warm, orange-y end of the spectrum, the end I generally avoid. I’m glad I didn’t and availed of the expertise of MUA Heather Jackson, because:

06 FIREBALL

As seen in the wild {the back of the number 8 bus to Tottenham Court Road Station}

It’s not all that orange-y, and it lasted until the burger I had at Stanstead on the way home! That’s me off on a jaunt on the number 8 bus to the National Portrait Gallery, where the John Singer Sargeant show was slightly disappointing, but the view from the rooftop café was boss.

Fog + Rain + Big Ben = London

Fog + Rain + Big Ben = London

I’ve got a few things to take for a spin:

Smashbox collection

That’s a new face right there

There’s the pencils, along with two of the new LA Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color. Also: the Donald Robertson Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner is in purrrrrrple, and the upside down thing is a bronzer {d’oh!}

Do call in to your local Smashbox counter and get your face did — you’ll learn something new and end up being able to use whatever you purchase to their best effect!

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Smashbox are in Arnotts in Henry Street, Dublin and in good pharmacies nationwide. Check the store locator at smashbox.com.

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I’m On Someone Else’s Virtual Patch Today!

Please to patronise this lovely blog, A Small Press Life, for which I was asked to complete a questionnaire about books and reading. Here’s the link — I thoroughly enjoyed doing it!

Everyone should answer more questionnaires, as a matter of course. Makes ya think — and remember…

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Mother’s Day 2014: Things That Spritz and Things That… Fits

Gift guides demonstrate the breadth of options one has when coming up to a big day like Mother’s Day {does anyone still call it Mothering Sunday, which sounds a little bit creepy?} or, they are prejudiced to the writer’s own preferences. This is a little bit of both. I like perfume, and I like things that are contained in other things, espesh when the container is ultimately useful in the future. I like all of these, and your mum may, too.

JO MALONE Rain & Angelica {€100} JO MALONEThis is one of four in the limited London Rain edition, hence the extra few bob in the price. The first hit of this is spectacular, truly infused with the freshness of rain. I pick up a little bit of pepper too, but that may just be my screwy nose (don’t ask me to talk about wine; I can tell if it’s red or white, that’s about the extent of it.) I just kept spraying it and spraying it on myself, because I kept missing the dry down — when I did get it, I was delighted for the wee blast of vetiver. This is lovely, but I will say it doesn’t have the staying power of some the classic JM scents.

Other scents in the collection include Wisteria & Violet, White Jasmine & Mint, and Black Cedarwood & Juniper, the last of which appeals as juniper = gin; also, the press materials claim that it has a ‘carnal touch of cumin’ in it, which — the mind reels.

LACOSTELACOSTE Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle {€60} This brand has always seemed preppy to me, which is mainly what they’re going for — that’s all in the way to say that sensual and little alligators haven’t exactly matched up in my mind. This is here to change yours: it’s got some amber notes in it, to darken things down a bit, and the bottle, as you can see, it designed to reflect the new tone.

It’s still sweet and yummy, though, and this dries down to a nougatine, vamilla-y vibe, so not too shocking a change. It’s definitely a touch more sophisticated — as in, less sporty — than the the original Eau de Lacoste for Women — but it doesn’t get completely down and dirty.

MUM'S DAY LUSH
LUSH Mum {€37.95} Talk about ‘what is says on the tin’! This container — yes, made of tin — is chock full of fun Lush stuff. Well, five seems like a ‘chock’ to me. There’s Dream Cream hand and body lotion, which is fab, and a trial-sized Gorgeous mosituriser for the face, along with four delicious bath additives, including a personal fave, the Secret Garden Bath Bomb. The tin is useful after mum uses everything up!

L'OCCITANE
L’OCCITANE The Exquisite Boudoir Collection {€17. with €40 purchase} I myself love a good coffret, and L’Occitane have packed this adorable, yet elegant box with five travel-sized products, including their glorious new scent, Neroli & Orchidee, in Eau de Toilette and body milk form. And you could even spend the €40 on mum — or on somebody else, ahem. You can now shop online at loccitane.ie, using the code VELVET, if you haven’t a boutique in your locality.

MUM'S DAY THE BODY SHOP
THE BODY SHOP Spritz & Moisture Basket {€22.95} Ah! A wee beach bag! Available in three ‘flavours’ — Satsuma, Shea, or Moringa — this contains a shower gel, an Eau de Toilette, and a sample of the brand’s famous body butter. Pictured is Satsuma, which I find to be refreshing and sexy, but the other two are equally good, depending on mum’s preference. Perfect to bring along on the big summer holidays.

FIT FLOPSFIT FLOPS The Skinny {€90} These also come in white, and look fab in either colour, I think it’s thanks to the cork-wraparound on the sole. White might go better with the above beach bag, but the red is so sporty and, I don’t know, yacht-y? Which may match nicely with the Lacoste perfume? If mum is an FF enthusiast, you won’t go wrong.

ROISIN CHOCOLATES ALDI
RÓISÍN’S Luxury Irish Chocolates {€9.99} From Aldi, these are delicious, and I can personally vouch for that, because I would never, ever recommend something without having tried it. Ever. So selfless! Anyway, this ‘fits’ because chocolates always work, for chocolate-loving mums, anyway.

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Make Up Mathematics: Smashbox (bumble+bumble) + Davis Factor = WOW

Oh, hello, bus face!
01 46A AS USUAL
Here’s me, at the official start of my 2014, on 12 January. I’m on my way to get done by a squad of beauty experts, in Smock Alley in Dublin 2, thanks to Smashbox UK, bumble+bumble, and American photographer Davis Factor, who also happens to be the great-grandson of Max Factor, the actual Hollywood beauty legend. A legend in his own right, Davis and his brother Dean founded Smashbox Studios in LA, in 1990; our beloved line of cosmetics came along in 1996. Ooh, a twenty year anniversary is imminent!

I have only one snap of Smock Alley, because there was too much craic to be had. It looked amazing in there, like, NYC loft-style fabulousness, and I think I was either homesick for NY home {as I’d only been back a wet week to Ireland home} and/or the setting was so familiar to me — in my own personal NYC loft-style fabulousness {LOL— no so much} that I felt perfectly comfortable.
00 SMOCK ALLEY
Sure, and you wouldn’t know you were in Dublin a’tall.

The vibe was all Irish, or what I’ve come to equate with being an Irish beauty bird: we all know each other, if we don’t, we soon do, and everyone is cool and nice and, and, everything. I always feel so proud of us whenever we get together. *Sniffle*

Let’s get to it!
02 BUMBLE VOLUME
My hair came under the comb of KT from Sobe Brown, Cork, known for their expert use of bumble+bumble products. I haven’t been well acquainted with the brand, TBH. I tried their deeep hair mask years ago, and was impressed, but haven’t found a shampoo & conditioner duo that I like.

03 HAIR
I very much liked what KT did with my hair though, a style in which the Bb thickening hair spray figured largely. Lashed on the roots, it managed to lift the hair but stay light and non-sticky. Above, the moment I realised this very fact. Huh!

My cut and colour was thanks to Aileen Fennessey of Joseph Kramer Studio, Stillorgan — it is still receiving compliments, and the highlights are still going strong.

No sooner was I coiffed but I was whisked into the chair of Lori Taylor, the brand’s Global Pro Lead Artist. I apologised for being American; from California, I was certain Lori wasn’t expecting to have a Jersey Girl in front of her mirror. We did not let any coastal bias effect our time together, and had a great chat about all sorts. I was able to recommend an Irish single malt to bring home to her husband; she gave me a fab flicky, smokey look.
04 FLICKY!
Here’s the flicky! For me, the whole point of getting my make up done by a professional is having them do the things that I am crap at, like flicky eyeliner. I was the extreme opposite of disappointed.
05 SHADOWY!
And here’s the smokey! All the MUAs were availing of the excellence that is the Full Exposure Palette: with fourteen shades to take you from day to evening, from matte to sparkle, there is nothing that this can’t do. Well, okay, it won’t put it on you itself.
06 BLUSH!
Blushy! I haven’t been bothering with blush much these days, but was inspired to change that, by this. Lori used Halo Long Wear Blush, and when I say ‘used’, she barely tapped the brush into the miniscule bit she’d produced, using the grinder. It is serious pigment, and it really did wear long, too.
07 VOILA!
Lippy! Which is not actually lippy, but a secret thing — hang on — okay, looks like it’s not launched yet. Secret thing is still a secret. Check back in the summertime. Moving right along.

My time under the lights came up directly I was done with Lori {or rather, she was done with me…} I found it to be fun, throwing shapes in front of the seamless, and there was a wind machine. THERE WAS A WIND MACHINE: this is exactly what has been missing all my life! It is completely and utterly awesome and hilarious to be in front of a wind machine, getting your portrait taken. It went too fast!

I ended up hanging out, chatting with the PR team over from London, and then going out for cocktails with a couple of my blogger pals, and then swanning around the house trying to defer the dreaded hour when I’d have to take it all off.

Off I took it, because you should always, always take your make up off before you go to bed, right? Right!

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Weeks went by, and we all checked in with one another: did you get your picture? We were to receive one portrait retouched, and printed properly, and a USB with all the frames from the shoot.

People started getting theirs, and I still hadn’t, and I lost the actual run of myself. When it did appear, it was all I could do not to open the envelope right then and there, with my teeth.
Susan Conely_1064
As chosen by Davis himself!

And as chosen by me:
SBX select 01 RT

SBX select 04 RT

SBX select 02 RT
Haaaaahahahahaha I love this last one, as I said to a pal on Facebook, it’s my ‘look of irritated compassion before I lower the boom.’ Watch out, mortals!

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So, what’s the point of a post like this? Just showing off the fancy pictures of myself? If I didn’t routinely show unflattering snaps of my gob, I suppose you could draw that conclusion.

For me, it’s worth showing the entire experience of getting done up for the camera, how it changes step by step, to the end result, which is entirely different from any of the stops along the way. It’s like math — you show how everything adds up to the result — only it’s fun.

It’s also demonstrating how flattering a good face from a MUA is, and how well the Smashbox make up comes across digitally. The brand are so active when it comes to offering deals at their counters; maybe this will inspire you to give them a go the next time they have an event, especially if you haven’t tried them before.

I was surprised by the lack of colour, but damn, I would love to live in a B&W world!

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Make up? Make-up? Makeup? I was making myself cray trying to decide. I went with what turns out to be house style, unbeknownst to the only person in the house. ‘Make up’ it is!

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Lots of Love from LUSH: Literally

Yay! A cute box with things inside! LUSH are a prime purveyor of such containers, and as V Day looms, this goes both ways {ha, ha}: you can share the contents, or use them in anticipation of sharing their benefits, or encourage someone significant and otherly to purchase this for you, or you can treat your gorgeous self, as the case may be. Either way, you’ll come up smelling like a rose, with overtones of jasmine.

Bright, and beautyfull!
01 LOL BOX

Knot is knotty.
02 KNOTTY!
Thank God I wasn’t videoing this reveal, it took me ages to get that thing undone. The ribbon seems rather robust, for use in whatever way you may wish after all the bathing.

Is it me, or has it gotten smutty in here?

Time to clean things up!
03 LOTS INDEED
Now: these samples are excellently sized, which does matter. You’re going to want all the mileage you can get out of the Tender is the Night Massage Bar, which is the yellow thing with the pink flower on. The brand have improved the manufacture of their massage bars: in the past, it used to take about an eternity to get them to soften up. Aeration has made these more malleable from the off, and the scent is a blend of ylang ylang oil, Fair Trade vanilla absolute, and jasmine absolute.

Going counterclockwise, just for the craic:
> Neon Love Soap, made from soya yoghurt, is infused with the fragrance of fresh figs and passionfruit juice

> The invigorating scent of Prince Charming Shower Gel is down to its blend of grapefruit, sandalwood and geranium oils.

>I can vouch very highly for the Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner. It’s an in-shower body lotion, made with argan oil and rose oil > from damask roses, which are really sexy. It’s not rosy, like, you’re eligible-for-your-bus-pass rosy. The resulting super soft skin has to be felt to be believed.

> Sex Bomb Bath Ballistic! Jasmine blends with ylang ylang and clary sage to make your bath a sexy fizz-fest! Look how pretty!

Do with this information what you will. ‘Susan’ is a lovely name, meaning graceful lily, should you be debating same, down the road. Just sayin’.

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€32.50/£26.50/$52.95

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Lucky Thirteen of 2013: The Selfie Apologist

Simply because mine are routinely daft and unflattering. Selfies have become such an object of derision, that I felt I had to chime in on their defense.

In fairness, this is a blog about beauty and make up and other products and services, and many of the former involve my face, so… there you go. A picture = 1000 words.

Freshman year in art college, my drawing teacher said that what he liked about my self portraits — actual, charcoal-on-paper selfies — was that I wasn’t vain about the way I portrayed myself. Which may in fact be a left-handed compliment, because he was kinda like that, but clearly it made an impression on me, and I took the good from the comment.

Because srsly:
08 ALMOST GONE
The BLISS fabulous skin-reviving rubberizing mask didn’t peel off in one piece as hoped.

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photo 2
Mud mask selfies: run of the mill. This ORIGINS Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask is not, however. I really got great results from using this. Squeaky clean!

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CLARINS EYE MASK selfie

Had to post both of these again: my first ‘blind’ selfies. Cotton pads courtesy of CLARINS PARIS Skin Smoothing Eye Mask treatment.

CLARINS eye mask fail

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PEARLY
Hello. The PEARLYS Teeth Brightening Treatment in action.

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