Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Palette Review

Tarte Full paletteI’ve had my eye on this palette for many months now. Every time I would pop into Sephora or Ulta, I was magnetically drawn to this beauty. A palette filled with  twelve warm and cool neutral shades was bound to be mine. I finally caved in and bought the Tarte Tartlette Palette when I read the back of the box, and found it to be free of parabens, phthalates and mineral oil. It would be a stretch to call this an “all natural” makeup choice, but the absence of phthalates in particular makes me very happy.

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Hourglass Ambient Powder in Dim Light & Ambient Powder Brush Review

Hourglass Compact and Brush

Along with my perfume and scarf collection, I’ve acquired quite the heap of highlighters in an attempt to achieve that ever elusive “lit from within” look. What I’ve found so far in my valiant effort to find said effect is either a nice glowy enhancement at best, or too much sparkle or even glitter at worst. I’ve settled for the glow and have been pretty happy leaving it at that.

It’s time to make a little more room in my highlighter drawer because Hourglass has muscled its way in with something new. Many of you beauty blog followers are probably already aware of this latest offering, the Ambient Powder line. It consists of six finishing powders that impart a skin-perfecting “light” and I opted for Dim Light, a neutral beige per the website.

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Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes

I was given the opportunity to test a few Josie Maran products recently, and felt mixed about it at first. I’m always up for trying something new, but I’d been turned off by what I had perceived as “greenwashing” on the JM Cosmetics website. I won’t bet money on this, but a couple years ago, I remember reading words like “100% natural” and “petrochemical-free.” Yet, when I delved into the ingredients, I found several that seemed synthetic and most likely petrol-derived.

If you’re a regular reader here, or have read my “about” page, you know that I am not a purist and have a mix of all natural beauty products in my collection, as well as those that do contain synthetics. What I don’t like though, is when a company sells you on the notion that they are 100% natural, yet upon closer inspection, you find you’ve been mislead. That’s how I felt about Josie Maran Cosmetics.

I don’t know if I’ve loosened up, or if her website has changed, but something’s different. Gone is the promotion of her line as exclusively “all natural,” “green,” or “organic.” This feels more honest, allowing me to embrace what she’s got going on with her company which includes eco-friendly packaging, charitable giving and a website that lists all product ingredients.

To be clear, the overwhelming majority of her line contains ingredients that are naturally derived and none of them contain phthalates or parabens. Organic argan oil, sourced from women’s cooperatives in Morocco, is used in every product which not only helps those women to support themselves and their families, but also to protect the argan forests through responsible harvesting practices and reforestation projects. You can read more about the Josie Maran “Giving Back” philosophy at her website.

Today I’m going to focus on the Beautiful Eyes Palette in Beautiful Smoke. Upon first opening the compact, I was admittedly a bit disappointed as cool grays are not my favorite. I definitely prefer warmer colors, but was happy to give it a try nevertheless.

The texture of these shadows is a little hard, so I was concerned about application. Turns out, the pigment adheres nicely to the brush with just a few swipes over the eyeshadows. The two lightest colors are too frosty for my liking, but I had a fun time playing with different looks that I ultimately found flattering, just not for frequent use. The dark shimmery gray color (lower left pan in the photo below) is really lovely on the lid, and when smudged out, the charcoal eyeliner (in the center) completes the smoky-eye.

The brown on the lower right might seem like the odd ball of the palette, but it blends in nicely when applied as an eyeliner and to the upper lid, close to the lash line. I wore the brown color today as an eyeliner on its own, and was impressed that at least 75% of it remained intact after a full day which included over an hour of rigorous tennis.

Below are two shots of me messing around with my camera, pretending to be a beauty blogger. I hope the last one isn’t too laughably amateurish. I’ve reluctantly included it since it shows off the shimmer quite accurately. I’m also wearing one coat of Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara in Aubergine, Korres powder blush in 16 Pink , and Ilia Beauty lipstick in Arabian Nights.

Visit Best Things in Beauty for a review of the Argan Beautiful Eyes Palette in Beautiful Nudes.

Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes is available at JosieMaranCosmetics.com for $36. Mine was sent to me by the PR people for Josie Maran. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

All photos were taken by me and are mine. If you ask nicely, I’ll let you use them :-)


Holiday Gift Guide


It was difficult to edit my gift picks as I want everything I reviewed this past year and would love to give them all as gifts. In any event, here it is, an attempt that hopefully covers reasonable price points and varying tastes to aid in your gifting pleasure.

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Hedera Helix: Wouldn’t you love to receive the lovely compacts pictured above? I certainly would as they’re filled with Roxana Villa’s newest fragrance, Hedera Helix, an olfactory ode to ivy. Not surprisingly, this perfume is a leafy green chypre that has a dense and addicting note of oakmoss as its foundation. Both incarnations of Hedera Helix, solid and liquid, are a complex blend of nearly forty different essences, but I prefer the solid’s focus on the effervescent top notes of clementine, orange blossom, and grapefruit. (The liquid is much more resinous and inky and also very beautiful). The heart is full of warm beeswax and woods and the drydown is dappled with sweet rose and jasmine petals. I find this progression from chypre green to pale pink to be quite compelling and all together lovely. The mini compact is $30 for approximately 1.5 gm. If you live in the Portland, OR area, you can test Roxana’s perfumes at Spring Creek Store.

Red Flower Sweet Alyssum: Sweet Alyssum is Red Flower’s latest perfume offering which evokes the burgeoning blossoms of spring. And what better time to have your spirits lifted by iris, violet, honey and hay than in the middle of winter’s darkness? It’s a scent to daydream by. Plan that escape to a sundrenched shore, or imagine the color of that first blooming violet, heralding the new garden season. Whatever the dream, Sweet Alyssum will make it brighter. Sweet Alyssum is $138 for 1.0 oz, exclusively at Garnet Hill.


Alima Nourishing Lip Balm: Speaking of dreams, I can’t go to bed without putting lip balm on my lips. And I know I’m not the only balm addict out there. I bet you’re one yourself, or you know one pretty well. Alima’s Nourishing Lip Balm will satisfy even the pickiest guy or gal with its minty scent and smooth texture. Natural is sans color, perfect for bedtime or over lipstick, but I also adore Fig, a shimmering bronzy-plum that’s perfect for everyday wear. $7 per tube at Saffron Rouge.

Ilia Beauty Blossom Lady: I reviewed Ilia’s lipsticks in September and told you all how much I loved Blossom Lady. Well, I am still loving it. So much so that I need to get myself another tube. I also need to pick up a couple extras to give to friends since it’s such a flattering color. I just can’t think of a complexion this would not brighten up! More pictures and gushing are here.  $24 at Beautyhabit.com

For Strange Women Decadence and Debauchery: For Strange Women is a perfumery that I newly found this year and have been enjoying a great deal. I have a few favorites- Moss & Ivy, November, and Horse to be specific- but Decadence and Debauchery ranks high up there and strikes me as the one most people would be drawn to. It has a little bit of everything from tobacco to violet to vanilla and it’s all whipped up into one richly decadent perfume. $40 for 1/4oz bottle of perfume oil on etsy.

Aftelier Perfumes Pear Fir and Coffee Body Oil: Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes always has something new up her sleeve whether its creating Chef’s Essences®, perfumed teas, or candles. This time, she has caught me by surprise with her newest Body Oil & Hair Elixir; Pear Fir and Coffee. That’s quite a trio of scents! When I first applied the oil on my skin I thought, “Huh, that really is pear, fir and coffee.” After twenty minutes more I thought, “Wow! That still is pear, fir and coffee and I’m liking it!” Somehow these seemingly disparate notes- seemingly to me being a fragrance sniffer rather than a fragrance creator- work in concert to not only harmonize with each other but also allow each other room to shine as individual notes. This oil would be perfect for the perfumista in your life that is open to new olfactory experiences. $40 for 3.5 oz pump bottle at Aftelier.com.

Chanel No 19 Poudre: I will admit, unabashedly, that I have fallen hard for Chanel No 19 Poudre. I know it hasn’t gotten rave reviews from other perfume bloggers as it’s been deemed as a watered down version of the original, and not terribly inspired. Well, I disagree as Poudre makes me swoon with delight. The opening is a tender and sheer rendering of galbanum unlike the original which is much too cold and sharp for my taste. The iris glistens and remains steadfast throughout Poudre’s evolution, but is at its finest when it melds into the tonka-sandalwood base which is delectable! $85 for 1.7oz at Nordstrom.com.

DSH Vanille Botanique: Another new fragrance launch that has garnered a lot of praise, is Prada Candy. I like it well enough, but I’m not feeling the love quite so strongly. I much prefer DSH Perfumes Vanille Botanique which also starts off with smooth caramel but with a boozy twist. I find Vanille Botanique to satisfy the same type of craving as Candy, but in a more interesting manner. It might not be the “benzoin overload” the Prada PR claim Candy to be, but Vanille Botanique is a lush cloak of tonka, balsams and yes, benzoin. And even though I just sang praises for Chanel Poudre, when given the chance, I would rather spend my dollars on, and give my loved ones a gift from an indie perfumer. $130 for 30ml at indiescents.com.

Happy Shopping! ~Trish


Morning Routine


As much as I enjoy trying new products, nothing beats having reliable favorites that are also a pleasure to use. The above are products that I come back to time and time again, and right now, each one is being used in my morning routine.

After many attempts at finding the perfect facial cleansing oil, I finally settled on Laventine’s just over two years ago. Its high quality, natural ingredients, subtle but lovely aroma, and exceptional efficacy made it the clear winner. I use it every morning when only a gentle cleansing is needed and oftentimes at night to wash away makeup prior to a foaming cleanser. Laventine allows for a wonderful facial massage which aids in its purifying action. I remember reading a post over at IndiePerfumes that delved into the benefits of Ayurvedic facial massage. I’ve never done the full massage described in that post, but I do a mini one quite often which is relaxing and restorative.

After cleansing with the oil, I pat my face with a towel very gently so my skin still feels hydrated from rinsing. I then warm up a large pea-sized amount of Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream in my hands and apply it all over my face, making sure it’s most liberally applied under my eyes. I mentioned this moisturizer in my “favorites list” last spring, and still feel the same way. Even though it feels lightweight, it hydrates like a cream and its effects last all day.

It’s now time to swirl my EcoTools Bamboo Finishing Kabuki around the pan of my Jane Iredale PurePressed Base and then spritz it with some evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol which imparts a slightly dewy finish to the mineral powder. Applying the powder with the EcoTools Kabuki is unbelievably soft and gives moderate coverage since its fibers are not too dense. This makes it really easy to blend, and also build coverage if you prefer more. A few other pluses about this brush are its price point ($7), it doesn’t shed, and it holds up well after cleaning.

As for the PurePressed base, I can’t say enough good things about that either. It has an SPF of 20, a very natural look and does an excellent job at covering up “spots” -say it with a British accent like Lisa Eldridge– as well as dark circles. That’s why I concentrate the Quince Day Cream under my eyes as I apply a good amount of PurePressed Base atop my often visible dark circles with the EcoTools kabuki. In the photo, you’ll see a smaller brush below the kabuki, and that’s my Giorgio Armani Blender Brush. I adore its shape, soft bristles and its ability to blend foundation in hard to reach areas, like the eyes.

After all that, which just takes a couple minutes, the variety begins. It might be simply an eyeliner, mascara and lip balm day, or possibly more with eyeshadow, blush and lipstick added. Either way, I’m set for the day.

Visit The Non Blonde for a full review of the Giorgio Armani Blender Brush.

Laventine Facial Cleansing Oil $24.95 for 8oz
Dr Hauschka Quince Day Cream $35.95 for 1oz
Jane Iredale PurePressed Base $52 for refillable compact. (My first lasted 2 years! Worth the money)
evanhealy Rose Geranium Hydrosol $23.50 for 4oz.
Giorgio Armani Blender Brush $48