|Impossibly blue Florida skies setting off pain box coloured terraces.|
Where this was the view to my right.
And this was the view to my left. There's nothing like a bit of strategically placed Missoni for Target and a non alcoholic pina colada smoothie to get you feeling all summery. It's that combination of vibrantly coloured patterns, brain freeze from the smoothie and then nibbling at the fruit that came with the drink. Logic dictates that they should all spell summer yet in the routine of life at home, you'd be hard pressed to remember the last time you actually experienced all of the above in a non holiday context. We don't enjoy life between holidays as much as we should, do we?
The kaftan was a great thing to pack for this trip. It hits just below mid thigh on me and is billowy enough to cut it on the piazza as well as by the pool. It dries really quickly and hasn't crinkled or had its colour run on me yet.
If we can head back indoors for a moment (I actually fell asleep on a deck chair, fortunately one under the shade), there's lots to see and discuss there.
The idea of a large, central water feature in the front room is starting to grown on me. That sound of trickling water is very soothing and it seems to fill a room with the happy sounds of life.
Still not sold on sweeping staircases and baby grands. They look lovely in context, and that context wouldn't be SSG Manor.
Yesterday's shopping excursion too me to the Florida Mall which is about half an hour in traffic from the resorts. It's meant to be very popular with tourists but to be honest, the Premium Outlets seem to have the tourist market covered between them. The Florida Mall is currently undergoing some major renovations and if you're used to the big Westfields, you might not be too excited about what is essentially 'just another shopping centre'. Still, it does have the benefit of having branches of many of the big US chains that you may be in need of a visit to for a massive stock up. Like the outlets, hotel guests have the opportunity to obtain a discount coupon booklet from reception that would usually cost $5. However, the discounts and offers are not as good as for the outlets and not all stores participate. I used one coupon from the book.
Victoria's Secret was my first stop and I'm done and dusted in the smalls department for a good couple of years. It's too easy. Get your size, look around, see styles and patterns you like, find your size in a display drawer (the always have at least one of your size) and pay. Or, you can use the fitting rooms if you want to make doubly sure. I love their idea of having a store issue T shirt you can wear over a new bra to make sure everything sits as it should.
Drat. My picture of the VS cuff not uploading. Will see if I can get it to work later. In the meantime, think gold with rhinestone bits in the style of Wonder Woman.
And here it is, the technology came back.
It was gift with purchase day and I received this cuff which I am sure has magical powers that'll turn me into Angel material the moment I snap it on my wrist.
|Got two because I never, ever want to run out of Luminoso ever again.|
But that wasn't even the most exciting purchase I made yesterday. Look, it really does exist!!! Milani's reformulated Luminoso baked blush. Many moons ago, it was called plain old Luimnous and had a pressed powder formulation. Luminous became known as the duplicate of NARS' Orgasm but for fraction of the price.
The Milani baked blushes retail for $10 USD each and a google search tells me that Australian online retailers are selling them for around $15 AUD. In my opinion, they are a serious contender if you like NARS colours but may find the shimmer and colour intensity a bit overwhelming. Luminoso is an even closer to the big O on skin than its predecessor. It has even colour pay off and blends easily. It lasts all day and through the heat.
On the shimmer spectrum, I'd place it on the milder end with no visible signs of actual glitter chunks which reviewers have noted in some NARS shades. In the pan, Milani blushes do look like those little Bourjois pots but are a superior product in my eyes. I find that the Bourjois blushes tends to look chalky on the skin and are a bit patchy to apply.
Be warned, the packaging looks a little more flimsy than the competition but it does have a chamber beneath the blush proper that stores a brush and mirror.
And then I discovered Sephora. Where I managed to talk myself out of buying a Clarisonic (where would I honestly find enough alone time twice a day to use it properly?) and several cute travel kits. Just as I was about to congratulate myself on leaving the store with only a small purchase of essentials (see later), I walked past the Urban Decay counter and what looked like 200 different shades of 24/7 glide on eye pencil.
These pencils retail for $20 USD a pop and are available through Australian etailers for $35. What I like about them is how soft they are to apply yet how rich and deep the shades are. The line doesn't budge and there were at least four different browns from which I could choose. I've often been underwhelmed with pricier eye pencils as they've either not been quite the right shade or else too hard in texture to quickly and easily (what I need most from my makeup, besides performance - don't half ask for much) apply.
So I bought two. And will likely forever turn my back on my old favourites from Maybelline and Models Prefer. Both of which were great in the colour and ease of application departments but not quite as much in the durability stakes, often disappearing from my lashline at the six hour or earlier mark. I bought Corrupt, a deep brown from the Glide On range and Lush from the Velvet range, that's another more blackish brown.
I don't know why I even thought I could walk out of Sephora without a Naked palette, especially given how much I like their eye pencils. I picked #2 with the help of a sales assistant and it comes in a tin box that I'm hoping is toddler proof. These retail for $54 USD with the Australian online price through third parties looking to be around $89. I have seen UD in Myer on George Street but they don't seem to be making it available online through the Myer site so I can't comment on the official retail prices in Australia.
It's going to be interesting when Sephora opens in Sydney later this year. I'm hoping that the pricing will be as competitive as what the press were promising when the news first broke. I also hope that they don't dilute the product as it crosses the Atlantic (I think we might be aligned to the US rather than European arms of the business) and that we get everything that's available here in the US. The staff at the store I visited were even more excited than I was with a few mentioning colleagues that had volunteered to be part of the first team to head out to help establish the Sydney store.
Another interesting find was Sephora's own house make up label. It's major in the breadth and depth of what they offer. There were at least 20 shades of the Contour Waterproof Eye Pencil and you could even buy half sized pencils in most of the shades. These promise 12 hours of wear and only cost $10 for the full size. I bought them because the $16 L'Oreal Silkissme that everyone's been talking about were sold out over at CVS.
If I were to be completely honest with myself, I only needed to buy these and not the Urban Decay pencils. They are just as much of a dream to apply with a thick, almost gel liner consistency. They dry off quickly and really last the 12 hours and beyond. And by last I mean look exactly like how you applied it first thing in the morning. None of it budged on me and that was after putting sunscreen on over the top and going for a paddle in the pool. I was even more impressed at how easily it came off with makeup removing water (Bioderma's micellar water, a travel essential and well worth the $$$). The shades range from glitter to matte and my test shade was #12, Cappuccino which has a fine glitter to it.
Sephora is going to change the landscape of cosmetic retail in Australia. It's going to be one of those stores where you'd be hard pressed to leave empty handed because from what I've seen, the nicely priced range perform even better than some of the current big players in the drugstore market over her. And those big players seem to be getting more expensive relative to the high end brands over time.
Do you have any of Sephora's house makeup? Hits or misses in your book?
Going back to Milani, I found this Illuminating Face Powder that is another hit for me. It was $14 and actually illuminates rather than embalms in a film of chalkiness. It also hasn't dried my skin out which the last illuminating powder I tried did.