Apr 152014


I feel as though this post should come with a warning label. Something like, “Caution–the images you are about to see may be disturbing.” Yet I thought it useful to detail at least the first half of my experience moving my beauty products across the U.S. to a new home. I thought it would be useful in case anyone on the Internet, ever, has to undergo similar project.  After years of blogging, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only person who truly loves makeup and have accumulated (ahem) more than a few items. By the end of April, I’ll be moving out of one home, into a transitional home, and then finally landing on the opposite coast sometime during the summer. As a practical matter, I’ve got to figure out how to make this move while packing several boxes of perfumes, skin care, and fragile beauty items.


 This is my first try with anything like this–these items will be moved and stored until our new home is ready. Whether this project is successful cannot be known until later this year. In less than two weeks, I will be saying goodbye to most of my beauty stash until at least July, and possibly later. I wish it a pleasant and safe trip.


To start, I accumulated numerous the following tools:

  • small packing boxes
  • large and small scissors
  • rolls of bubble wrap in large/small sizes
  • contractor paper for stuffing (to keep everything from moving)
  • Scotch tape
  • packing tape to close the boxes
  • rubber bands for bundling similarly-sized items together
  • a Sharpie to mark the boxes

Perhaps most importantly, I had the help of Sandra the Organized. She arrived at my home at 8:30 a.m., and didn’t leave until 4:00 p.m.  She swears she took a break, but I didn’t see one. There was a lot to do.


Boxed powder items were bundled together in bubble wrap, and then secured with tape or rubber bands. Then, the bundles were packed into cardboard boxes that were lined with more bubble wrap.


Spaces were filled in with the contractor paper, or the large-sized bubble wrap, then taped shut.


Non-fragile items, like pencils and lip glosses (boxed and unboxed), were put into bundles with rubber bands. Again, these were put into boxes lined with bubble wrap.


Round, unboxed items were stacked into bubble wrapped into tube shapes. This was really helpful for unboxed nail polish, because we didn’t want the glass to hit against each other.


Another example of some unboxed items:


By far, the most difficult thing was to sort what should stay, and what should go. I’ll post again in a few days to show you how I’ll be transporting them items that I’m keeping throughout the next few months.


As I said earlier in the post, I’m not sure that I’m doing this correctly or whether there are better ways to tackle this project. My goal is simply to show you my own way and then follow through to see whether this was successful.  If you have thoughts, please feel free to include them in the comments.

Please follow us on....

Apr 132014

Boots No 7 Lift & Luminze

I was sent pres samples of the Boots Lift & Luminate Day & Night Serum (available at Target/Boots for $24.99 for both). As you might already know, Boots skincare has a history of challenging the luxury incumbents.For some of this history, take a look at this article from the Daily Mail UK: “The £19 anti-wrinkle cream set to cause a stampede at Boots after scientists claim it DOES actually work.” When I got an email that Boots was at it again, I agreed to test the product.

Boots Lift & Luminate9

This is an anti-aging duo meant to address wrinkles, lack of firmness, and uneven skin tone. They day serum is designed to brighten, smooth, and firm. The night serum exfoliates.

Boots Lift & Luminate8

I found that these lightweight, pleasant and non-irritating. Although I didn’t notice any immediate effect, after two weeks, my skin started looking brighter, more even-toned, and smoother. For this price point, this is an impressive product.

Boots Lift & Luminate 3

Although waiting for visible results takes patience, I was happy to see that this duo delivers. It’s nice to see an effective product at a good price point.


Day serum: aqua (water, eau), cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, dimethicone crosspolymer, butylene glycol, isononyl isononanoate, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, actinidia chinensis (Kiwi) fruit water, octyldodecanol, acrylamide/ammonium acrylate copolymer, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline, silica, polyisobutene, PEG-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, octyldodecyl xyloside, phenoxyethanol, alcohol, retinyl palmitate, parfum (fragrance), polysorbate 20, methylparaben, sorbitan isostearate, propylene glycol, ethylparaben, tetrasodium EDTA, lupinus albus seed extract, carbomer, sophora angustifolia root extract,panax ginseng root extract, ascorbic acid, dipropylene glycol, morus alba leaf extract, tocopherol, ethylexylglycerin, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmytol tetrapeptide-7, CI77891 (titanium dioxide), CI 77491 (iron oxides)

Night serum: aqua (water, eau), glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, butylene glycol, aluminium starch octenylsuccinate, isononyl isononanoate, glyconolactone, dimethicone, amonium acryloyldimethyltaurate,/VP copolymer, dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline, cetearyl alcohol, ascorbyl glucoside, potassium hydroxide, dimethicone crosspolymer, actinidia chinensis (kiwi) fruit water, phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 20, xanthan gum, dimethiconol, retinyl palmitate, parfum (fragrance), alcohol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, tetrasodium EDTA, lupinus albus seed extract, T-butyl alcohol, carbomer, dipropylene glycol, sophora angustifolia root extract, ascorbic acid, tocopherol, ethylhexylglycerin, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7

This was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

Please follow us on....

Mar 232014

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Here’s Three Things” post, so I thought I’d give it a try. Life’s been very busy these last several weeks, and I’m making quite a bit of progress in my off-the-blog life. At the same time, I’ve been watching the new releases with interest and should have some good things to share over the coming weeks.

1.  What’s in your baggie? Here’s what’s in mine…. I’ve been traveling pretty extensively, refining my beauty routine down to the quick. Those breakfast meetings on the East Coast come awfully early when your plane lands late the night before and you are running on California time. On Twitter, Marina at Makeup 4 All asked whether I could do a look with five (5) items. Her question made me think hard about whether I could (and should) simplify my makeup for those uber-early occasions. I’m happy to report that this little system worked for me.

5 Things

  • A long wearing foundation:  Pictured here is Chanel Perfection Lumiere (shades swatched here), which has a matte finish that eliminates the need for a powder for much of the day. Another good option is Burberry Velvet Fluid Foundation (all shades swatched here). If I’m going strictly carry-on, I’d switch to the more baggy-friendly Nars Tinted Moisturizer, which has a squeeze tube and a touch stronger sunscreen.
  • A good, dependable mascara:  Pictured here is Guerlain Le 2. It gives me a good precise application, never flakes, and leaves my lashes feeling curled and flexible. (Score another point for eliminating the need for an eyelash curler).
  • A good pen liner:  I’ve used Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er in this picture, but I’ve also used Nars Stylo as well.  On some occasions, I’ve eliminated any liner from my bag completely. Then, I bring a push brush (like this one from Laura Mercier).  To line, I just push the brush onto my mascara wand and line my lids as normal.  This makes room for an all-purpose concealer (usually MAC Pro Longwear, which can be used for both face and under eye) and, as the name suggests, does last well.
  • A good lipstick/gloss:  Here, I’ve pictured Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss which is always fabulous. Your taste may vary.
  • A multi-tasking blush: This Nars Multiple in Maui (or alternatively, Malibu). These can be dabbed on cheeks for a blush, and dabbed on lips for a touch of color. Another nice option are the Chanel cream blushes (some are swatched here), because their slim compact and finger-friendly application makes them foolproof.

Sometimes I slip some skincare samples, as well as one envelope of the Dr. Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta peels in the mix to do late-night facials as I catch up on work back at the hotel in the evenings.

Dr Gross Alpha Beta Peel7

 2. In the spirit of Spring Break, March Madness, and Gifts for Grads:  The very lovely Masik perfumes sent us three collegiate fragrances. In case you don’t know, these fragrances are designed by Katie Masik, intended to evoke the memory-scent and spirit of different colleges throughout the U.S. ($39 each). These are eau de perfums –still, a little goes a long way. You do not need a full spray to get a full, lasting scent.

masik perfume

I can say that these would be lovely for a college-aged student, or a true fan of any of the schools (trust me, I’ve seen alum on game day all decked out in school colors, why not fragrance?)  I liked University of Kentucky’s the best–it was  a powdery soft floral, with a touch of apple and plum.  Penn State’s was a spicy floral with a pleasant mix of rose, lilac and jasmine. For the orange and green of the University of Florida (go Gators!) I received the men’s version, which is a bright, spicy scent with orange, musk and mint.

Masik college

Although these can be purchased from Masik’s website, Cafe Makeup is pleased to send out these exact sample bottles that we received free of charge (each has been spritzed once or twice) to the first person from any of those three schools with an email with one of the three school’s “.edu” address.  So if you’re a Wildcat, Nittany Lion, or a Gator, just leave a comment using your  “.edu” email address in the comment section. Don’t worry, your email is only visible to us and won’t be publicly displayed.

3. Get to a spaaaaaa! I have to admit, this time on the road has left me wanting to have an at-home spa day more than once. Some scrubs can feel harsh or abrasive. I was pleasantly surprised by this Farmhouse Fresh Sweet Tea Whipped Body Polish ($34 for 12 oz. tub).

FHF Sweet Tea Scrub1

Although I expected the texture of this to be grating, in fact it was very soft and moisturizing. The Sweet Tea scent was calming and soft, not at all strong.

FHF Sweet Tea Scrub3


The scent faded as soon as the scrub was washed away, so that it didn’t interfere with my fragrance du jour.

FHF Sweet Tea Scrub label1

Well, those are my thoughts of the day. Oh, and also in the meantime, I’ve become a Google Glass Explorer. I’ve been playing with the concept of using them to do some brush reviews to start. Would you watch a video brush review? If so, would you want both a full review with stills on the blog and video? Let me know?

The Masik Fragrances and the Farmhouse Fresh scrub were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains some affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

Please follow us on....

Mar 022014

A note from cafe makeup1

Over the years, some readers have asked us about our picture taking set-up. I’ve always warned that our set up is a little “experimental,” sometimes we wander the house and yard in search of the best lighting. Above, you can see our little lip-swatching assembly line. We have our lipsticks along our bathtub counter, Liz’s cell phone standing by for on-the-fly Instagram updates, and our labradoodle Sherman to keep everyone company. It’s a little rickety some times, as we find ourselves balancing on stair landings and tables propped up in the backyard.


On another note, thank you to our readers for hanging in there while we’ve both been so very busy over the last several months. We’ve both been focusing on career issues that will lead me toward a major geographic move during this calendar year. The task of attempting to ready our home for a move is daunting and moving quickly. As part of this clearing out effort, I’m putting some items up for sale on a Cafe Makeup Blogsale page.


Because of the volume and my schedule, I’ll be posting some items on Cafe Makeup’s blogsale for only a few days and only to U.S. buyers. Unfortunately, I cannot devote the time to doing custom forms and the like. After that point, I’m putting the items on eBay under my username “buttercup5405.” Yes, LOL, I realize that’s a silly name. When I first joined eBay, I used my actual name. That’s how the Internet was back then. When I realized that was not a good idea, I randomly chose that name in a hurried moment. After that, I’m hoping to put up more batches of items, so keep checking back occasionally.

Chanel Fall 2

We’re hoping that Cafe Makeup will continue over the coming years and be stronger than ever. It will be a wonderful way to have continuity in our lives as we move forward through this wonderful and exciting year of change.

Please follow us on....

Dec 242013

Popsugar Must Have Box01

In the middle of a busy week just as I was leaving to catch a flight, arriving at my door was my Popsugar December Must-Have Box ($39.95/ code DECSELECT gives you $10 off a 3-month subscription till 1/24).  I have friends who are content to go looking for the coolest things to bring home, but most of my shopping time is (ahem) pretty much devoted to makeup. It is always fun to see what kinds of things the geniuses at Popsugar have found to delight us.

Popsugar Must Have Box02

This December’s box was holiday themed. After opening this well-stuffed box of goodies, our family friend enjoyed picking out the Ghiradelli chocolate back home to his family. Because both Popsugar and Ghiradelli are San Franciscan natives, we thought playing off of the geographic connection between them was a cute idea. He also picked up the CC Made caramel crunch, hand-baked using organic corn and nuts.

Popsugar Must Have Box06

These NCLA Peppermint Lane nail wraps (typically $18) are self-adhensive, and look party ready and fun.

Popsugar Must Have Box07

Popping a new Model Co. Fibre Lash Extend (typically around $24) black mascara and a $10 gift card warmed our makeup-loving hearts. You can’t see it in the picture, but the mascara tube has a built in mirror on the side.

mixt holiday gifting set

Mixt Studio’s Holiday Gifting set (typically $9) includes three sheets of besoke paper made from recycled materials, and well appreciated this time of year.

Popsugar charm bracelet

One of my favorite items was this adorable crystal charm bracelet, designed by Lulu Frost (custom piece/price unavailable). This nicely-weighted, substantial piece adds a touch of sparkle (and who doesn’t love a touch of sparkle?). Click the image above to enlarge.

Govino Go Anywhere flutes

Finally, to ring in the New Year, Popsugar included this set of four genius Govino Go Anywhere Flutes ($12.95). Their lightweight plastic design are re-washable and re-usable. Don’t toss these after use, they are substantial enough for your next on-the-go champagne picnic. Their size was certainly large enough for a standard serving of bubbly goodness, and their thumb grip made holding the glass easy despite the lack of a stem.  Throw in your bag for an on-the-go celebration.

Overall, the Popsugar December Must-Have Box included some items that I would never have found on my own that are imaginative and fun. If you are interested, Popsugar is offering a $10 off a 3-month subscription with the code DECSELECT now through January 12, 2014.

This box was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.


Please follow us on....