Shopping: Boxing Day sale picks

dicembre 27, 2012

We all love a good bargain but, let's be honest, no one enjoys endless lines and getting elbowed in the ribs by some fanatic middle-aged lady while trying to grab odd lot and scraps in an overcrowded store. Scrolling online shops in the quiet of your room, wearing feetie pajamas and sipping hot coco, is so much better. Online shopping ftw!
Here are the best deals I stumbled on during my Boxing Day online beauty shopping:

sale picks
Laura Mercier Souffle body creme sampler // Laura Mercier mini baked eye color trio // Shu Uemura Rouge unlimited supreme shine lipstick // Laura Mercier petite patisserie quartet // China Glaze Luxe & luch nail polish // Bare minerals READY eyeshadow duo
SpaceNK had some of the best deals I've seen but the stocks are small so be quick if you want something. The Laura Mercier section is definitely worth a look: the reductions were crazy and I grabbed myself some amazing gift sets for a fraction of the price (001, 002 and 004). Be sure to browse the candle section as well and the Shu Uemura beauty line: I picked up a couple of lipsticks (003) but I've seen some nice cream eyeshadow shades and some gorgeous false lashes in the bunch.
The latest China Glaze collections, including the Christmas one, are on sale on Beautybay, but some of the old ones were also restocked. I'm so glad I finally got my hand on Luxe and Lush (005) from the Hunger games Capitol collection! After all this time I didn't hold out much hope in finding it.
If you're a fan of Bare Minerals (006) be sure to check Lookfantastic, Feelunique and Asos; I've seen reductions on the range pretty much everywhere but those sites have the best deals and the biggest variety in my opinion.

sale picks2
Urban Decay Naked basics eyeshadow palette // Maybelline Color tattoo cream eyeshadow // Illamasqua listick palette // Crabtree & Evelyn hand creme sampler // Mini Essie Holiday collection // Illamasqua Lip twin set Sangers & Succubus
Also on Beautybay you'll find the newest Naked palette by Urban Decay (001) on sale. It's a teeny-weeny reduction but it was a pleasant surprise anyway.
As usual Feelunique doesn't disappoint. I had to restrain myself a lot to just buy a Maybelline Color tattoo (002) and a Crabtree & Evelyn hand treatments sampler set (004) I had my eyes on since November. I'll probably have to go back and check some hair goodies tho, it's never to early to start stocking up on some favorites. Finally on Asos you'll find some good deals on the Holiday sets: along with This works, Paul & Joe, Yes to and Too faced, you'll find great bargains on the Illamasqua gift range (003). The Sangers and Succubus lip twin set (006) is seriously a stunner. And if you missed them before, now it's your time to grab some cute Essie minis (005).

Did you pick anything? Any website you want to recommend?

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Notd: Easy peasy Christmas nail design

dicembre 24, 2012

Orly mini Prince charming // Ciaté mini Cookies and cream // Ciaté mini Mistress
There's nothing better than a Christmassy nail art to get in the Holiday mood. For the occasion I decided to use two of the beautiful shades I found inside my Ciaté Advent calendar: Mistress is a gorgeous fire truck red while Cookies and cream is a creamy milky nude. And to complete the design I grabbed another mini polish, this time by Orly, that I got free with a magazine a couple of months ago.
The Rudolph design is super easy and was inspired by some cute Christmas cookies I came across while browsing the internet for some recipes. You just need a dotting tool (a bobby pin will also do) and a tiny nail art brush, but you can make do with a toothpick. It doesn't have to be neat, just have fun with it. It's an ideal last minute nail art.

Are you doing anything special to your nails for tomorrow? What nail polish did you pick for Christmas day? I think I'll take Rudolph off because he's a little worn out after a whole week on my claws and apply the ultra festive red glitter polish I found behind today's door.

Have a lovely Christmas!

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Quick reviews: Foundation remix #2

dicembre 23, 2012

I got my hands on a couple more samples recently and I thought to throw in a quick review of one of my favorites foundations as well, because why not.
wishlist8
Dior Diorskin Nude skin-glowing makeup spf15 // Burberry Sheer luminous fluid foundation // Illamasqua Skin base // Rimmel Wake me up
001 This foundation was quite disappointing. The coverage is so light it might as well be a tinted moisturizer. 010 was a perfect match for my pale skin tone at first but after a couple of hours it looked pinker and about one shade darker. I actually liked the natural satin finish and the lasting power was decent without powder but I can't be bothered to spend 40€ for a foundation that looks like a bb cream. Recommended if you have pretty decent skin already or if you have freckles and want them to show through your foundation, otherwise skip it, unless of course you enjoy doing an awful lot of concealing. And keep in mind that it might oxidize and become darker and darker during the day.

002 After loving the Velvet foundation so much I had to try the Sheer version as well. Don't let the name fool you. This is not a sheer foundation by any means. The coverage is medium, with a nice skin-like finish and a soft glow. It has the same delicate baby powder scent of the Velvet one and feels like nothing on the skin, but somehow is very noticeable. Seems nice from far away but when you look up-close it's like the pigment clung to every little imperfection, making it look more obvious. There are definitely better foundations for the same price or less on the market, but if you're curious about Burberry foundations I recommend you check the Velvet formula. That one is really great. Try-before-buy is mandatory here.

003 I just love Illamasqua Skin base so much! I always forget how much I love it until I wear it again. The pixel perfect finish is wonderful, dewy but very natural. The coverage is medium to full depending on what you use to apply; I like to apply it with a stippling brush, like the Real Techniques one or a MAC 130 to really buff it in for a flawless skin effect. It took me a couple of disastrous attempts to figure out how much product to use. You only need the smallest bit, about a pea-sized drop, to cover your whole face. It's so pigmented it takes absolutely nothing to overdo and make it look cakey. Since there's no spf in it, it's my foundation of choice (along with NARS Sheer glow) for a night out because it photographs perfectly and doesn't flash back. It's available in 26 shades (yes, you read correctly! 26! I'm shade 6 for reference) plus a golden highlighter and Illamasqua provided a very useful shade conversion chart for easy color match.

004 Rimmel Wake me up looks so much more expensive than it is with a radiant finish and long lasting formula; price tag and availability make it perfect for anyone on the market for a medium coverage foundation with an anti fatigue effect. Don't mind the shimmer, it's barely noticeable on the skin in normal lighting.
Unfortunately the shade selection (6 shades only) is unforgiving: the lightest shade Ivory 100 settles around a MAC Nw20-22 and the pink undertone is very obvious. I managed to wear it this summer with some adjustments and a bit of fake tan but at this time it's impossible for me to use it. If you can find a shade that matches yours I totally recommend it. It's a brilliant product.

Have you tried one of these products?

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Review: TheBodyShop Winter trend smoky eye palette - Smoky copper

dicembre 19, 2012

The Body shop creatives really out-bested themselves this year: after the beautiful Christmas bath & body gift sets, the brand released a gorgeous limited edition makeup collection that brings back their smoky eyes palettes with a new on-trend twist on color, along with matching eyeliners, lovely lipstick shades and body shimmer to fully embrace the Holiday spirit.

The Body Shop Smoky eye palette - Smoky copper* £14/€20
The Smoky copper palette* features 4 metallic powder eyeshadows in shades of copper and coffee with delicate shimmer, a large mirror and two decent brushes for touch-ups on the go.
The off-white shadow reminds me of a less yellow version of MAC Nylon: the frosty finish makes it perfect to highlight the inner corners but it's a little too much to use all over the lid or on the brow bone in my opinion. The pale copper color is one of those universally flattering shades, like MAC Naked lunch or Stila Kitten, that really open up your eyes for an instant pick-me up look, while the mid-tone copper-ish brown is a lovely transition shade and it's perfect for a quick wash of color. Finally the dark chocolate brown is extremely pigmented and quite multi-dimensional thanks to the beautiful red flecks. You really need the smallest amount to darken the outer V or to fake a fuller lash line.
All four shades have lovely silky-soft textures and apply smoothly without fall outs.
I enjoy the color combination a lot; the gradient is just perfect and can be easily modulated for both day and night looks. If I have to find something to complain about, I kind of miss a matte shadow, but I don't know what shade I'd give up in exchange. Not every one likes to wear four metallic/shimmer eyeshadows all together even if it's not an 'in-your-face' shimmer; I don't think it's too much, not even for the day, but I know that some people would like a matte shadow to break the metallic vibe.

I've been wearing it a lot lately enjoying the different combinations and the creamy texture. It's a great palette with beautiful easy-to-wear shades that will look good on everyone. This was my first experience with The Body Shop makeup range and I'm quite impressed. I can't wait to try something else.
What do you think of the Smoky copper palette? Have you tried anything from the TBS makeup line before?

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Giveaway: NAIL ROCK Disco rock book gift set - closed

dicembre 16, 2012

Christmas is just around the corner. Are you as excited as I am? I thought I'd pop one last giveaway before the Holidays, since the prize is oh so festive.


The winner will receive one beautiful Disco rock book gift set* by Rock nails.
The book contains four different eyeliner designs for super colorful eyeliner looks, a set of nail wraps in Chevrons for fun geometric nails and finally a gorgeous body rock tattoo which will be perfect to add some sparkle to the Holiday parties.
Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widegt below to enter.

It's open worldwide.

The winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email, so please leave a valid email address or I won't be able to contact you.
Good luck!

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Manca pochissimo al Natale. Siete eccitate qunato lo sono io? Ho pensato di organizzare un ultimo giveaway prima delle Feste, visto che il premio è intonato all'atmosfera festosa.

Il vincitore riceverà un gift set Disco rock book* di Rock nails.
Il libro contiene 4 diversi eyeliner designs per dei look coloratissimi, un set di nail wraps con la fantasia Chevrons per una divertente nail art geometrica ed infine un tatuaggio glitter perfetto per Capodanno.
Per partecipare compilate il form all'interno del widget Rafflecopter qui sopra.
Per riassumere dovete essere followers del mio blog tramite GFC o Bloglovin, dovete diventare fan della pagina FB di Nail rock e per ottenere punti aggiuntivi potete seguire Nail rock anche su twitter e diventare fan della neonata pagina FB di Strawberry makeup bag.

Il vincitore sarà estratto a caso e contattato via mail, quindi assicuratevi di inserire nel widget una mail valida altrimenti non potrò contattarvi.
Buona fortuna a tutte!

Gift ideas: ROCK BEAUTY Rock book gift sets

dicembre 15, 2012

Sometimes finding an original but not too expensive gift can be very difficult, but this year Nail beauty comes to the rescue with three cute gift sets - the Nails book, the Disco book (win it here) and the Glamour book -, created exclusively for this Christmas by the talented Zoe Pocock, creative director of Rock beauty.

Rock Beauty Rock book gift set in Glamour* £9.99
The Glamour book contains 4 different eyeliner designs for basic to very dramatic looks that can be trimmed to fit every eye shape, a set of Metallic cheetah split nail wraps to sport an aggressive yet feminine nail look and a set of gorgeous Eye rock tattoo perfect for the upcoming party season. Everything is really easy to use and the included step-by-step instructions are very useful. You can't go wrong.
The cheetah nail wraps were a little out of my comfort zone but I got so many compliments when I wore them, even from my dad that rarely notices my nails. They're not so hard to put on and last a pretty decent time before the edges start to lift (the picture was taken on day two and they still looked pretty good; not bad for my first try). They can be cut to size and you get enough for a whole manicure plus a couple of accents.
I can't wait for the right occasion to sport the lace Eye tattoo, and even if black eyeliner is pretty simple to do once you nailed the technique, the liner sheet is like a ready-to-slap-on emergency kit to keep in a drawer for a last minute occasion. Always ready, like the Marines.

The Rock beauty books are a funny and original gift idea, perfect for a makeup lover friend that already  has everything. They can be purchased from Asos or the Rock beauty website.

Have you tried Nail rock products before?

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On my wishlist this week #7

dicembre 13, 2012

Here we go again.
wishlist7
Illamasqua powder blusher duo Lover & Hussy // The Body Shop Very merry pocket mirror // Chanel Notorious Ombre Contrast/Sculpting Veil // Urban Decay Naked basics eyeshadow palette // Bliss Triple oxygen instant energizing mask

001 During the last offer on the website I almost bought it, but then I browsed my collection just in time to find out that I already own Hussy. What a shame! The duo is so beautiful and convenient... Someone should really take me out of my misery and buy it for me. You heard that, Santa?

002 If this isn't the cutest pocket mirror you've ever seen, you're lying and you know it. Red felt and gingerbread man, that's it. Who doesn't need a pocket mirror specifically for the Holidays? One you can use only for about 2 months a year? I do.

003 At first I thought the shade was a no go, especially because it has a hint of shimmer but after reading some reviews with real life pictures, Notorious started to grow on me. I'm really intrigued by the idea of a grey-ish, purple-ish taupe for both cheek and eyes.

004 Raise your hand if you can't resist to travel sizes and minis! Both my hands are firmly up in the air. I have this huge soft spot for tiny products, I really can't help it.
I like the Naked basics because there's no wasted space: the packaging is very handy, with a huge mirror that covers the whole inside lid and no silly applicators in sight. Just six good quality eyeshadows and a mirror. Perfect for both eyes and eyebrows on the go.

005 The moment I heard Lisa Eldridge speak about this mask during her Beauty gift ideas video I had to have it. It's an oxygen based mask that when you put it on starts foaming on your skin and gets rid of those nasty dead skin cells in only 3 minutes. It's like the fastest facial ever! It's a little expensive tho, so I'll have to wait for some good discount codes to buy it.

What you're lusting on right now?

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Gift ideas: L'Occitane Delightful almond collection

dicembre 12, 2012

I've been a fan of L'Occitane products for a while now. I don't know how many times I repurchased the Lavender hand cream and the Almond shower oil is one of the best products I discovered this year (I'm on the second bottle right now!). Their skincare products can be quite expensive tho, so I was really excited for the Holiday gift sets and when I saw what a good deal this set was I ran out to pick mine. I couldn't risk missing out on this one.

 L'Occitane Delightful almond collection £48/€49
Inside the Delightful almond collection you'll find two Almond delicious soaps with crushed almonds for a delicate scrub, the luxurious 100ml Almond milk concentrate for the body, a 50ml Delicious paste to exfoliate in the shower, a 30ml Almond smooth hand cream and the best selling 500ml Almond shower oil, all nicely packed in a gorgeous Christmas box. The gift is worth £71 but you only pay £48. Not bad, uh?
The almond scent is very unique in these: it's not the creamy, milky almond scent we're used to, but a fresher version of it; there's something sour-ish in the background, a hint of green apple I think, to counteract the sweetness. It's really lovely.
I love the lavender hand cream for the night but I think the almond scented one might now be my favorite of the line for everyday use. The smell is simply delicious, it's addicting! The shower oil is wonderful: leaves the skin so soft and nourished and is also a great shaving oil. Definitely a must have for every skincare addict. And I'm glad I got to try awesome products like the exfoliating paste and the Milk concentrate that otherwise I wouldn't have considered.

I think this would be a great gift for anyone really, but it would make any almond lover very happy. Personally I'd love to find something like this under my Christmas tree.
L'Occitane put together some great gift sets this year, all nicely packed in gorgeous carton boxes or cute basins. You're spoilt for choice. Just take a look to the website and I'm sure you'll be able to find something that works for your budget.
Did you add anything by L'Occitane to your wishlist?

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Review: Armani Eyes to kill 4 color eyeshadow palette 04 Effeto Nudo

dicembre 10, 2012

Along with the infamous Maestro foundation, Armani had another great product coming out this fall: the Eyes to kill eyeshadow palettes, which introduce the brand new 'perfect satin' and 'perfect matte' eyeshadow formulas. I knew they were going to be pretty expensive so I waited for a nice discount to grab mine. They come in 8 color options but given the price I decided to play safe and go for the neutral combo. You can never go wrong with those.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to kill 4 color eyeshadow palette 04 Effeto nudo $59/£49.50/€63.50
Effeto nudo is the quintessential neutral palette: includes a beautiful champagne shade, two matte cool browns and a nice midtone chocolate shade. The texture blew me out of the water, so creamy and easy to blend. The highlighter shade is extremely flattering and really opens up your eyes; is perfect for day wear and even as a brow highlighter, cause it's more glowy than shimmery. The matte shades are also very creamy and super pigmented, so different from the chalky, powdery consistency of some matte shades I'm used to. Definitely two of the best textures I've worked with.
The sculpted packaging is very sturdy and overall looks and feels very expensive. It comes with two double ended sponge applicators, hidden in a secret compartment underneath the eyeshadow tier; to be fair the price tag would require better quality tools in my opinion, like a couple of decent mini brushes, but included applicators annoy me to no end anyways, so I could have easily done without them. The little leaflet with some clues about where to place the different shades to achieve more natural or more dramatic looks was a nice extra touch.

Christmas is just around the corner and, depending on your budget of course, you may want to check this palette out: it'd be perfect for any neutral fiend like me, but it would also make a great gift for a newbie, since the formula and the color combination are seriously fool proof, or even for more mature ladies, cause these are the perfect shades to use on hooded eyes. Basic yet a must have.
Overall I think is a brilliant palette, with great quality eyeshadows. It's a little overpriced but if you have a discount code I totally recommend it. I may actually indulge in the 01 Maestro combo as well: the lightest grey shades look superb.

Have you tried anything from the Armani beauty line recently?

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Notd: Illamasqua Glitterati

dicembre 04, 2012

I struggled with my camera for a good hour trying to take a picture that would do justice to this glorious shade, but I'm afraid I couldn't fully capture its complexity.

Illamasqua Glitterati nail polish, part of the Limited edition  Nail duo Viridian & Glitterati £24 - here.
Glitterati is a deep raspberry red with tons of multi-colored holographic glitters in different sizes. There's a lot going on in the dark jelly base between super tiny micro-glitters, micro-glitters, round pink and hexagonal holographic chunks; they mostly flash pink at first but when the light catches the holo particles in the right way there's a sudden rainbow spark. It's absolutely stunning.

As usual the formula was great, after all Illamasqua polishes are some of the best on the market. Glitterati is mostly opaque in one coat, but two coats allow to create a gorgeous multi-dimensional effect, with some glitters sunk in the jelly base and some that gradually float on top. Can you tell I'm in love?
The glitters spread evenly and there's plenty of them in each coat since they're perfectly mingled with the base.

I have one complaint tho: Glitterati comes in a set with Viridian, a lovely metallic peacock green part of the permanent range, which I already owned. I don't mind a dupe, 'cause Viridian is one of my favorite polishes, but I'd rather be able to buy another individual Glitterati, since it's limited edition. I really hope is going to become part of the permanent line. It's the perfect shade for the Holiday season, but I'd totally wear it all year round.

Have you tried Illamasqua nail varnishes?

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Hair heroes: HairMed range

dicembre 03, 2012

Circa due mesi fa, durante la mia visita all'Intercharm Milano, ho avuto la possibilità di sottopormi ad un test del capello presso lo stand HairMed, dove non solo ho potuto constatare lo stato reale della mia cute e dei miei capelli, ma ho anche ricevuto una consulenza personalizzata e delle raccomandazioni sui prodotti da utilizzare per curare la mia fastidiosa dermatite e ritrovare la lucentezza perduta.

HairMed N4 Fluido lenitivo protettivo* €25 // B6 Bagno eudermico volumizzante* €14 // B4 Bagno eudermico attivo per cute con forfora secca* €14
Tra quelli che mi sono stati consigliati dalla tricologa, il prodotto che ha senz'altro fatto una grandissima differenza fin da subito è il Fluido lenitivo N4*. Si tratta di un tonico per la cute sensibile o irritata, che nel giro di poche applicazioni ha curato la dermatite, liberandomi del fastidioso prurito che ormai mi tormentava da mesi. Lo applico sulla cute asciutta prima del lavaggio e lo lascio in posa per 20 minuti o più se non sono di fretta, mentre l'Elasticizer di Philip Kingsley nel frattempo nutre ed idrata le punte; è come un mini trattamento spa da fare a casa, che ormai è diventato una componente fissa della mia routine. Oltre alla scomparsa del prurito, gli effetti più evidenti sono capelli più lucidi e sani ed una caduta inferiore al solito, nonostante il cambio di stagione. Sono davvero impressionata, e poi la profumazione di pesca e miele è da perdere la testa. Non posso che dare ragione alla responsabile dello stand HairMed che mentre mi descriveva i prodotti, aveva definito la cute come il terreno di un campo in cui i capelli crescono come fiori. Se il campo non è sano e ricco di nutrienti, i fiori non crescono al meglio.

Da accompagnare al tonico, sempre per i problemi legati alla dermatite, la tricologa mi aveva raccomandato il Bagno eudermico per forfora secca B4*, uno shampoo dall'aroma di menta e pino, pensato specificamente per la desquamazione secca e la cute che si sfalda. Assolve il suo compito magnificamente, ma è uno di quegli shampoo a cui far subito seguire un balsamo bello ricco, perchè lascia i capelli un po' ruvidi al tatto quando ancora bagnati. Anche per questo motivo lo staff si era raccomandato un uso settimanale, mentre per i lavaggi intermedi mi era stato consigliato il Bagno eudermico volumizzante B6*, che forse alcune di voi riconosceranno perchè parte del famoso Hair shine kit, comparso nella prima Glossybox. Questo shampoo è un altro prodotto che dà soddisfazione immediata: chiude le cuticole del capello, che quindi risulta meno poroso al tatto e più resistente all'umidità. La differenza si nota soprattutto durante l'asciugatura, per la lucentezza del fusto, quasi 'da parrucchiere', ed il volume delle radici, di cui i miei capelli necessitano particolarmente in questa stagione.

Potete trovare tutti i prodotti su HairMed.it, dove vi aspettano anche un esperto online sempre pronto a rispondere alle vostre domande ed un test per capire di cosa hanno bisogno i vostri capelli.
In più per celebrare il nuovo look del sito, HairMed offre a tutte le lettrici di Strawberry Makeup bag uno sconto del 15% su tutti i prodotti con il codice promo HMB1212 fino al 17 dicembre. Credo proprio che ne approfitterò per fare scorta di tonico N4 e shampoo B6, visto che ormai non posso più farne a meno.

Avete mai provato i prodotti HairMed?

On the first day of Christmas...

dicembre 01, 2012

Ciaté Mini mani month Advent calendar £38
After years of honorable service, I decided to dismiss those beloved, old calendars full of chocolate and chubby cherubs, and bring the thing to a whole new level. No more Santa shaped pralines for me, but wee baby bottles with tiny ribbons, cause, as Ciaté remind us, a nail polish a day keeps the doctor away. Ancient wisdom, you guys. See for yourself.

Somewhere behind the 24 doors there are 17 best selling mini paint pots - I spotted a double in the preview on the back, but I can't really complain for extra cookies and cream, especially when it's cold outside -, 4 mini caviar pearls blends and 3 mysterious shades made exclusively for this gift.
With this calendar I probably gave the death blow to my let's-not-buy anymore-nail-polishes New Year resolution, but my figure will definitely thank me.
See what I did there? The silver lining, ladies.

The Mini mani month is sold out everywhere but the Ciaté website, where you can join the waiting list and get 10% off your first purchase, simply subscribing to the newsletter; or you can always check eBay.

Gotta dash now! It's finally time to peek behind door number 1...

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