Friday, January 3, 2014

The Friday Forum - January 3

It's a winter wonderland here today. The sun is bright, and the sky is a vivid blue. Unfortunately, it's frigid outside. When I went out this morning to feed the birds and squirrels, I nearly froze. Now I am inside, still trying to regain the warmth I lost. I think I'll grab the heating pad - or coax Charlie to come sit on me.

I'm grateful I can work from home today. We have meetings this morning, but I expect the afternoon to be slow. Maybe the sun will have melted the snow on my car by then. Maybe the guy who is supposed to plow our street will show up by then.

This has been a slow beauty week for me. I haven't set foot in a store at all. I try to avoid all mall stores between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Like so many others, I was disappointed with UPS. Two of my boxes did not arrive as promised. One was a box for me that was sent overnight on Monday. It arrived Thursday. Another was a box promised to arrive by December 24. It had gifts inside. It arrived on December 27 at about 7:00 pm.

What I find amazing is the planning failure of UPS. They are not rookies. They should have logistics down pat. We all knew from watching the news that this year we'd see more online shopping, and with the shorter "shopping season," many more last-minute orders. All one had to do was watch the news to know these things. UPS had access, I'm sure, to the market research that generated those stories - but failed to adequately react. They get a "national razzie" for the year. I want to make it clear that my annoyance with the company does not extend to their delivery guys, who are the best of the best. They ran their butts off delivering packages and are to be commended for making it through the shopping season with their health intact and good cheer.

As I write, my warm buddy just came up to join me. I snapped this photo with my iPad one morning recently as Charlie enjoyed the dappled sunshine. He had just finished playing with his tail, then turned to look at me and admit it was silly.

What's new in your life? It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

I hope you have a happy weekend!

Photo at top courtesy of; other photo by Best Things in Beauty


Nemo said...

Have a good, warm Friday, Cg. And oh, do I love your darling Charlie! I would rather see pics of his furry little naughtiness than the makeup features! He is looking like he wants someone to touch him so he can grab their hand. Little love.

Unknown said...

Totally agree about UPS - we have some issues with "overnight" and "2-day" delivery that is anything but. However, I love my UPS guy more than anything, and he does definitely work his butt off!

Swathi Narumanchi said...

Hi CG,

Wish you a happy and fun filled year ahead. It's been very long since I wrote ! :)

Hope the weather over there warms up for you !!

Charlie is so so cute ! Hugs to you and him both !

Z said...

I've always been so happy with UPS, and thankfully wasn't affected by their logistical nightmare this year.

Having moved to the west coast over the summer I'm jealous that you got a snow storm! I hope your beautiful Charlie keeps you warm. I can sometimes count on my kitty keeping one or two of my feet warm (he has a foot fetish). Unfortunately, he likes my husband (or his feet) better. Totally unfair!

I just ordered the new Guerlain gloss and top coat. I'm seriously considering the eye shadow quad but I'm still waiting, deliberating. I may just deliberate myself out of a limited edition. :-) Honestly I'm not sure if the colors are for me, but they're soooo pretty.

Stay safe and warm, and happy new year!

Eileen said...

Good morning to everyone on this, our first FF of the New Year :-) As in the past year, I'm sure we'll have lots to share during these Friday chats and so I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our lovely Charlestongirl who provides us with such a safe and wonderful environment in which to spend some time. I also want to thank all of you remarkable readers who take time to share your thoughts. This wish is belated, but no less sincere: I hope the New Year brings you and your loved ones good health and great happiness, peace and prosperity, laughter and love. Here's wishing joy to all of you in 2014!

Ah, UPS. I must say I haven't had any issues with them. All my packages have arrived on time, and in a couple instances, the packages arrived earlier than expected. I don't know why some areas seem to have problems with late deliveries, but I'd imagine the weather throughout the Midwest and back East is a strong factor. The logistics of moving packages around a country the size of the US with its variety of harsh winter weather systems must be a real headache. And this year we shopped online like never before which increased substantially the number of parcels that needed to be transported. The obvious answer is to shop early, but that's hard to do when all the really good deals begin after Thanksgiving. If the public is going to continue shopping online in record breaking numbers, the delivery services will need to keep up. As for the UPS guy on our route, what a sweetie! He always rings the doorbell when he leaves a package and when I answer the door, he always gives a cheerful wave and "Have a nice day!" as he pulls away in his truck. Super nice guy.

I know much of the country has been blasted with snow, but here in So Cal we've been enjoying temperatures in the seventies and eighties which puts me in the mood for the pretty spring collections. I'm surprised that I haven't bought that much--yet :-) I bought a blush, lipgloss, and quad from Chanel; a lipstick, gloss, polish, two Météorites, and an eyeshadow duo from Guerlain; and this really surprised me--a lipstick and eyeshadow from MAC. But, as pretty as the colors are, they quickly reminded me why I consider MAC to be a mediocre brand :-(

I was sad to see that Dior and Armani didn't have anything to entice me. I found Dior's pretty Trainon collection to be colorful in a My Little Pony sort of way. It's not a bad collection by any means, it's just too young for me. I also skipped Armani's Effetto Nudo. There's nothing inherently wrong with a selection of nudes, but as we get a bit "long in the tooth", they become harder to wear. There has to be a bit of color somewhere in the scheme otherwise we look like we're ready for the morgue! LOL The only thing that really caught my eye was Armani's Belladonna highlighter, but I wasn't willing to drop $88 for a tiny product that didn't offer anything new vis-à-vis texture, finish, or color. It's a pretty little thing, but it was easy to skip. And, little it is! It only contains 0.17 oz. as opposed to something like Cruel Gardenia at 0.31 oz. or Chanel's Mouche de Beauté that was 0.42 oz. I'm not particularly concerned about quantity since I never finish anything before moving on to something new, but the small size of Belladonna in relation to its cost might be an issue for someone who does use a product down to the pan.

Still on my must see list are the spring collections by YSL, Lancôme, and Clé de Peau. Their color stories interest me and so I have much to see and try on the beauty horizon. I absolutely love the CdP rose cream blush I bought from the winter collection and think it will carry over well into the spring offerings. We shall see . . .

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hi CG & Everyone, Happy New Year. I love the pic of Charlie. My Fergus has been gone quite some time now, and your photos and talk of Charlie always warm my heart with the memory of him.

UPS disappointed me too this season. Fortunately none of the tardy packages were gifts to others, all those made it on time. I just received the IT Cosmetics neutral eye pallette Naturally Pretty (thanks to a nice Ulta gift certificate I got for Christmas plus a 20% discount code!) and can't wait to try it. The shades are gorgeous and have received many great reviews. Another eye pallette I got during Sephora's friends & family sale was my first Guerlain purchase, Ecrin 4 Couleurs in 06 Les Fumes. These are also gorgeous colors and I'm in love with the texture. I just wish there were more options in these quads with less shimmer. I'm so much braver lately with the shimmer, but I still feel way too many high end cosmetics overdo the shine. Has any one tried the Dior quad in Rosey Tan? An old one I know, but it calls my name every time I'm in Sephora. It's the shimmer that keeps it out of my shopping bag, especially since my cosmetic budget is so challenged right now. I don't want to waste the purchase on something I won't end up using.

Happiness to all, and thanks for being here!

Denise at aeiokid at gmail dot com

Z said...

Hi Eileen,

So glad you reminded me to check out Armani. I have a few eye shadows that I absolutely love, but for some reason have slid to the back of my drawer (and memory). I don't buy that much but still the newest is what I tend to reach for first.

I was glad to hear someone agree with me about MAC. I have only a few items, and they're mediocre to wear. Cool looking in the pan, but mediocre. Oh well. Lesson learned (I hope).

I love quite a few things in the Dior Spring collection, and while I still consider myself "young" enough for some of the more frivolous eye shadow colors in theory, I don't know that my skin tone can really carry off some of those pretty pastels. Pretty in the pan, maybe not so much on my face. However, I may have to buy all the nail polishes. :-)

I haven't seen the YSL Spring collection yet, so off I go.

Have a great weekend!

melisand61 said...

Just dropping by to say that I love that picture of Charlie. He's a stunner!

roxymisha said...

I adore the photo of Charlie. I too lost my beloved cat a few years ago and it warms my heart to see beautiful photos of cats who are obviously cherished and loved.

Am still receiving and waiting for some beauty items ordered a while ago. Like you CG, I avoid stores during the crazy weeks and I am not inclined to purchase anything beauty wise for a while as the new year has begun on a financially fragile front! Like many readers, I have way too many products and need to sort out and reorganise. Many items have not even been touched (shame on me!).

Wishing all a happy weekend.

Claire said...

Hi CG and everyone,
Happy New Year to you all. CG, Charlie is *so* cute, please hug him for me (or scratch his head, whatever he fancies :-)).
I'm sorry to hear anyone is having UPS problem, I have not experienced any UPS problem myself but then my shopping is perhaps not as extensive. I buy from subscriptions (diapers, wipes, toiletries, etc.) and our deliveries have been on time, every time. I wonder if it could be the vendor themselves that are having scheduling/shipping problem (not UPS per se) e.g. maybe they were unable to fulfill the orders in time for UPS to pick them up?
I meant to share with CG and everyone here that I've been to one of the Nordstrom that has been remodeled, as they call "Beauty Renovation (or is it Beauty Evolution? Inovation?" If your Nordstrom beauty floor is arranged in rows, now the counters in between the cabinets that make up the rows are gone and the aisles are getting wider. There are still stations in between the cabinets for customers to sit and a counter where there are q-tips, disposables sponge wedges, mascara wands, lip gloss wands, tissue, etc. It is somewhare more like Sephora but still there are A LOT of counter SAs around. I think it allows customers to have direct access to products but with the amount of supervision around, I doubt that customers will try products left and right as they would in Sephora. I don't know how to feel about it yet, but the wider aisle is a welcome change for someone like me who is always with a stroller and a bebe in the tow.

Has anyone here seen their Nordstrom beauty counter remodelling? Curious to hear any experience.

Mary Ann said...

Charlie is adorable! Anyone see Sisley Spring collection?

Unknown said...

It was a frigid day here as well. No snow however. FedEx lost a package of mine from Beautylish. I ordered another Wayne Goss Holiday Brush. After many communications with FedEx, they said the driver was new and wasn't sure where left the package. The agent knew it was a couple of makeup brushes and wasn't overly concerned until she asked the price. Lol, she audibly gasped and choked a bit. She actually saiid, "My goodness, why would anybody want a brush like that?" I had to laugh because I don't have a good answer. Thank goodness it wasn't my Tom Ford brush set. She would be having a case of the vapors!

Eileen said...

Hi Claire,

The Nordstroms where I usually shop haven't converted to the Beauty Concierge format yet, but I have noticed more end cap displays creeping in like the ones we see at Sephora. Supposedly we'll eventually have the option to self-serve or have an SA help. The "beauty concierge" is supposed to work with any and all brands, but the brands themselves will have their own people called "brand ambassadors." Perhaps those were all the SA's you saw standing around. I'm sure brands like Clé de Peau, Tom Ford, La Prairie, La Mer, etc. don't want a bunch of people routing around in their products, opening things up, damaging the packaging, getting things dirty, and, in general, transforming their counters into Sephora. I'm sure those brands will want many eyes on their product shelves. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

Unknown said...

The supposed improvements at Nordstrom's bother me. I don't look forward to some of these changes. But they never asked me. How dare they? They never asked me.

Anonymous said...

I played a bit at the Nordstom beauty counters today. Ordered TF lip shine in Bare (sight unseen so hopefully I'll like it) and bought the lighter Chanel spring glossimer. The spring Chanel quad is dreadful on me which is too bad. Whoever succeeded P. Phillips anyway. Also tried the spring Dior polishes - the sheer pink one would have been pretty but dried matte which looked bad IMO - and tried the new Tory Burch fragrance which is citrusy, light and nice.
Charlie is a charming beauty. I am a sucker for these kinds of cats and his fur looks so soft. Stay warm and have a good weekend.

Claire said...

Hi Eileen,

Yes, that's it! Beauty Concierge! And you are right, the Tom Ford counter is actually a separate old-fashioned counter on an isle of its own -- untouched from the renovation-- so def. a lot less man-handling of products.

I guess I'm glad that the concept is more promoting specific SA-customer relationship rather than specific brand loyalty. I know I sometimes feel "awkward" asking my fave SA to get me items from other brand as I know she needs to fulfill her own brand's quota (also sadly, she has moved out of Nordie entirely!). But I guess now I can start from scratch.

Thanks for filling in of all the info, Eileen! Now I know what to expect.

Chateepatee said...

Hi CG- so the 1st FF of 2014 appears to be off to a good start! Lots of chatting which is always a pleasure to read.
I have to disagree tho on the MAC makeup. It's a workhorse line of products geared towards a youthful ( and oily) complexion, which is often why the more mature customer dislikes it. It's priced appropriately for the young adults who should be more concerned with building a nest egg for their futures than a collection of luxury makeup.
I have the means at my age to indulge myself in anyway I please, but I'd knock my daughter silly if she ever spent what I do on makeup!
MAC, Becca, Hourglass,Lancôme, Face Atelier and others all produce quality products- I find it exciting to try the oddball and off brands. I may not use the product for any length of time-& I might give it away- but I'm game for taking on a challenge any day of the week. I do goof up tho here and there.
For example, I'm sorry to say that I bought a variety of YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks- 4 of them in fact, and they slip, slide and burn like crazy! Ugh... What a mistake. At $34 a pop, it was a pricey goof on my part. I'm a diehard Chanel lippie lover and shame on me for straying.
I also got Bobbie Browns LE Nude Eye Palette as I'm hooked on her Cement eyeshadow & it was in the quad. I don't understand why her makeup just doesn't hold for me tho. It's like "poof"- gone in 2 hrs. Think I'll steer clear of anymore of her items. Gotta love her face oil for long trips on a plane tho- Fab!
Oh, before I go- nooooo- Nordie's is really playing copycat to Sephora with that "free for all" makeup experience?
Maybe it's better once you shop it in the flesh, but I really, REALLY am not a fan of the idea. Enjoy your weekend ladies!

Evelyn said...

Ah the winter wonderland is so lovely until you have to go outside and shovel the driveway and paths clean. I think I've definitely strained some muscles in my arms and pretty much every where else. I guess this is an opportunity to explore the spring collections as I lie in bed recovering. :)

It's been a slow beauty week here too which is a good thing, need to recover from holiday shopping. I had a gift card to Sephora so I made the leap and bought the Marc Jacobs bronzer brush. I do apply bronzer to my face more precisely but this one I will use for more of all all over powder, down the neck & body. I kind of felt in the mood for a frivolous purchase, so there it was!

I didn't have trouble with UPS but I had spread out my shopping catching sales at different times but I do know businesses that had trouble with UPS making their deliveries on time. It got to be impossible. Try to explain that to upset customers. Hopefully they will do better next year.

To those of us in the Northeast, keep warm tonight & if you're from sunnier climes...I'm jealous! lol

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

I've had good luck with UPS, FedEx and DHL. Right now, I'm loving my Wayne Goss and Rae Morris brushes. Rae's brushes have been revamped and I really love them. As for makeup, my Armani Rouge Ecstasy lipstick is saving my lips this winter. It's better than any balm I own!

Jo said...

Happy New Year to you CG and all my fellow BTiB readers!

Eileen I completely agree with you about MAC. I never go near the counter but after seeing swatches online of Morning Rose lipstick from the new Nude Metallics collection I decided to give it a try. I tried it on in store before buying and it is a beautiful color so I went ahead and bought it. However the formula leaves a lot to be desired. It made my lips feel very dry. I am so used to using high end lipsticks so the difference in using MAC is quite stark. I'll stick with Chantecaille, LMdB, Guerlain and Tom Ford.

Speaking of Tom Ford I am really excited about his new sheer lipstick offerings for Spring. I can't wait to test them. The white packaging is so classy. I'm looking forward to a couple of the new nail polishes for spring as well.

Besides my MAC purchase this week I bought the new Guerlain Stardust lip gloss but I had to do it online. My Nordstrom was out of it already and Neiman's and Bloomingdales had not gotten the collection in yet. I also made my first purchase from Troy Surratt's new line. I bought the smoky eye pencil in cendres and the clear brow groomer gel. The pencil is a pretty taupe. I'm very pleased with it. I'm not as happy with brow groomer. It is too gloopy for me.

Have a great weekend everyone! It's been in the high 60's and low 70's here so I really feel for all of you with snow and freezing temperatures. I used to live back east and I do not miss the snow and cold.

Solanace said...

Hope you are warm at your house, CG. This week my Film Noir mascara arrived. I find it surprisingly similar to Diorshow Iconic, so I' m slightly disappointed, but what was I expecting? It's black mascara! Have a nice weekend.

Anonymous said...

Aw, Charlie is just adorable :-) I should get a cat... :-) Have a nice weekend!

A Delicate Rosie Beauty said...


I'm so glad you mentioned that the YSL lippies burned. I had the same experience. I've been afraid to try anything else from the line ever since.

Jenni said...

Happy new year to you CG and BTiB readers! Charlie is such an adorable little furry - i'd love one to cradle my feet to keep them warm too, LOL

I'm in mid twenties and was not a 'loyal' MAC user anyway, but I agree with some of the comments that said it's not MAC who has changed, it's our tastes have changed and moved on to something else. While I don't buy MAC anymore, I have to agree with the comment that they exist for a certain market segment (affordable, tons of colors to choose, and decent quality).

Beauty discovery wise, I have not bought any items from new collections, as i'm underwhelmed (Dior pastels anyone?? Armani shimmer powder?? Chanel quad too boring). I'm now waiting for Guerlain quad. I expect 2014 to be a year with less beauty buys for my wallet, it's not just wallet but also for makeup wardrobe space. But I still like reading what others fancy!!

TMM said...

Hi CG,

I really love your blog, big fan. Silent reader for the longest. I think you've put just a bit TOO much pressure on yourself for needing to have the latest and the greatest of everything (well, mostly high end products). I think you've burnt out because you keep on purchasing and purchasing and well - what happens after that?

How about you show us some looks, variations and anything under the frackin' sun about the old items you have for a change? Ramble on about makeup and skincare, whatever floats your boat. You need not cut down on posts if you think your very established blog will die because you hadn't posted in 5 days. God, no.

What I'm trying to say is... CALM DOWN, CG. The pressure you've put on yourself is just not worth it. This blog should be your passion, not your poision.

Also, dont be afraid to take a break! Two weeks, three, take your time. Blogging burnout happens and I've seen the biggest of bloggers feel it. Once they've taken that break and have come back, they're better than ever. I hope you find that, too.

Best of luck!

Unknown said...

CG, you have been on my mind every single day since you posted this. I sincerely hope that you are doing well in every aspect of your life. I pray that you are healed in mind, body, and spirit. I hope that your mother is well ands mends completely. Take however long you need to make choices that are right for you and feel right. If this turns out to not be a hiatus but a swan song, ii support you in that as well. Just come back for a final bow before the curtain closes.

I only want to say that I find you to be a rare treasure and I tank you for every moment you've chosen to share. Be well!