Monday, January 31, 2011

A beauty first that I hope to make a regular occurrence...

I am a firm believer in giving gifts that you normally do not buy for yourself so I am so happy that my little sister gave me a gift coupon to a day spa in the Laurel Heights neighborhood in SF, CA. I had the daunting task of choosing between a facial and a massage...gee, I hate decisions like this, don't you? I never get facials just because I am always fearful of thinking about what it would do to my super sensitive skin after the process. Then I thought more about it: steam cleaning, exfoliating, bad could it be? I get massages all the time so why not mix it up? I was willing to take a risk with my skin. I really wanted to look glowing and well rested for once.

I am still thinking about how relaxed and refreshed I look right after the process. This was last Friday and I cannot wait to go back to this place!

I found myself in Laurel Heights Friday morning - took the day off to spend time with my Pops and I wanted a bit of me time before hectic family events later in the evening. Laurel Heights is a quiet and charming neighborhood. I was born in the hospital in this area, SF Children's Hospital and then it turned into the California Pacific Hospital where my daughter was born. I guess that's why I have a soft spot for this area. You will also find little independent clothing boutiques, great restaurants and lovely Victorian/Edwardian homes from another era. Please take a look at this link for more pictures and details.

The spa, Tre Balm is located on Sacramento Street and it served as the original location for the stationary store, Papyrus.

 The front of the store carries a variety of products - candles, bags, cosmetic pouches, lotions, apparel/lingerie and of course skincare by Phytomer and Jan Marini. Once you make your way to the back of the Spa it gets a little quieter and dim - a bit cavernous but it does help to get you into SPA MODE. It wasn't till after my facial when I noticed the walls were a bit thin. I heard voices from the other room as I was sipping the rest of my tea before checking out.

My aesthetician (and co-owner) Sarah Amborsek was awesome. She definitely made me feel comfortable and welcomed the moment I walked in. I needed to use the restroom before we got down to business and I saw this sign right above the toilet.
Yes, there was a small room spray called "Poo-Pourri' right on the lid of the top of the toilet. I had to use it even though I only went #1 (yes, TMI, I know) because I couldn't resist. I really need to buy a bottle of this - it's pretty awesome.

Okay back to the facial. I tell Sarah right off the bat about my problematic eczema skin and because of it I avoid facials at all costs. I tell her the products I use: topical pro-topic ointment, Philosophy's Purity Made Simple cleanser and Clinique's Comfort on Call cream moisturizer. She asked me why I used those products and I gave her my answers and she didn't push any of their products on me. We did talk about the awesome powers the Clarisonic brush has on all that crosses it's path. For the very first time, I experienced the fine, deep cleaning of the that brush. I am smitten.


I heard and read just how awesome this brush is now I know why. I am considering buying the smaller, travel size, the Mia. The only problem that it just has one speed. But the price tag on this one is much friendler than the regular, multiple speed version ($149 vs. $225)

It comes in other colors but I am really feeling this spa blue shade. I normally would gravitate to the girly pink. Something tells me I should just save up for the original version because I would probably end up buying that in addition to the Mia.

I also experience professional extractions for the first time. Wow, am I doing that wrong. Yes, it was unpleasant but not as much as when I do them myself. I know that's frowned upon but please don't tell me you have NEVER popped a zit on your forehead the day before picture day! I also asked Sarah if she recommends I come back monthly for facials and she said since my skin didn't look problematic to her I can do the basic facial quarterly (every 3 months). I appreciated her honesty - she could have easily said Yes, come back monthly....let's get you on a a package...blah blah blah but no. I loved her even more after that.

Although my facial was pretty basic: steam cleaning, cleansing, extractions, masques and my favorite facial, neck/shoulder massage. This was 50mns of pure self-love fest - I know that sounds like that should be kept private but I am just so happy with the results. I was glowing, radiant and happy. Sarah only recommended two products - Phytomer enzyme masque and toner - but I told her I would come back another time for them. Then she told me for the month of February a special the spa will be running - a $50 purchase in the boutique will get you a FREE 50mn facial. YES, I WILL BE BACK.

Bottom line:
It's a wonder what I have been missing out on when I have been obsessed keeping up with never-ending makeup collections. I recommend this Day Spa in SF and I cannot wait to come back. This facial really did make me realize that I needed to take more time out for pampering myself.

That said, I need to book that next hair appointment. I can see my roots and I'm not the biggest fan of the whole "Ombre" hair movement. I keep thinking that's just an excuse for lazy girls to walk around with five inches of root showing.

Spa info:

SF residents that are interested please look into the Special Offers tab for the month of February.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beauty Rewind - Sunday, January, 30th.

(I bet these two got into some major SHENANIGANS in their day)

Hello my lovelies. How was your weekend? I still have a few hours left here on my end and I'm holding on to it for dear life. I took Friday off to spend some extra time with my Pops (he flew into town for a long weekend) so I know I have a steaming pile of work pop waiting for me.

Till then, I'll sit back, sip some Sunday afternoon coffee and reflect on what I seen this week that's making me obsess.

Elvira has got me obsessing over this palette. I do want to check out the Sea Turtle themed one because I just LOVE turtles!!

Jen is really making me crush on these pretty hard. And yes, I always fall on trends just a bit late.

Karen had me rolling with her Wonder Woman homage comic strip. That girl is LAUGHS! She also has me obsessing slightly over D&G's Secret Garden!

I know these pinks are a bit light for my complexion but Sabrina always makes me want to run to the counters of the brand she is reviewing....

Because of Gaia, this is going to be on my list when I finally get around to calling the Edward Bess counter at Bergdorf Goodman..

As for me, I really fed into my eyelining obsession and paid homage to one of my favorite eyeliner loving actresses.

Okay I am sneaking into the bedroom to watch the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Yes, it's that time of season and my husband hates it. Then again I watch Football and countless episodes of Sportscenter so he should cut me some slack.

Scratch that request...he watched Jersey Shore now because of me.

vintage hula hoop photo courteousy of

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beauty Board inspiration of the day....

As you might have guessed, I love eyeliner. Let me reiterate, I LOVE EYELINER! I think as a high school girl that was the one thing I consistently wore and it was my top lash line flicked out at the corner (cat eye style). I think it was Madonna during her Blonde Ambition/Truth or Dare days. This was personally my favorite Madonna look. She had a perfect eye lined eye and those red lips! But today's look isn't inspired by that its dedicated to this beautiful Spanish lady and new mother:

Penelope Cruz Sanchez
Born: April 28, 1974
Madrid, Spain

The first movie that really called my attention to her beauty was this very small independent film, Woman on Top (2000). I won't go into the synopsis - the movie was mediocre if anything but the music and Penelope Cruz was the most memorable. After that I started to notice her more - All The Pretty Horses (2000) with Matt Damon. And then the Spanish film Abre le Ojos (1997) which turned into Vanilla Sky (2001). She played the same role in both the Spanish and American version of the movie. I naturally prefered the original Spanish version and I won't go into the details of her relationship with Tom Cruise after she met him on the set of Vanilla Sky. I think my all time favorite Penelope movie is Almodovar's All About my Mother (1999). Because seriously who doesn't love a Prada wearing Nun?

What I truly love about Penelope is the simple seductive beauty she exudes. She's exotic and not your typical, classical blonde Hollywood actress type. She has been compared to Sophia Loren (another brunette European icon I idolize) for her dark features but I would also say it would be for the perfectly black eye lined eyes.
(at the 2010 Oscars)

I love that her makeup style is consistent but never boring. Why fix it if ain't broke, right? She typically work a nude lip but I have noticed in some pictures she will rock a red lip with the lined eyes. I think I prefer the nude lip more. What do you think?

So here's my eye look of the day inspired by Ms. Cruz

I have to do this look more often - it takes less than 10mns.

TFSI primer
MAC Arena entire lid to brow bone
MAC Soba (light golden brown w/shimmer) - crease
MAC Femme Fi - right arch of my brow
MAC Technakohl in GraphBlack
lots of MAC Haute and Naughty mascara - Black

There's a fine line between a seductive lined eye like Penelope's and a gothic mess like Taylor Momsen. So to keep me on the seductive spectrum I line my bottom waterline with the black liner and I blink a few times afterward to let the color smudge on it's own. I take my pencil brush (MAC #219) and I just smudge it gently. It if starts to veer towards heroine junkie I clean up with a makeup remover soaked q-tip.

And final face shot:

NARS Syracuse Sheer Glow
Bronzer - Edward Bess Daydream
Blush - NARS Gilda (coral)
Lips: Liner MAC Whirl (med. brownish pink)
Gloss - Chanel Waterlily #112 (light pink with gold shimmer)
Recently, Penelope and her husband celebrated the birth of their son.
Congrats to them -  That is one beautiful family!

This is her Baby Daddy:
Penelope and Javier Bardem at the Goya Awards in Madrid, Spain (2010)

Honestly I could watch these two feed jamon to each other because I bet it would be damn SEXY. Oh wait I can:

Picture references:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If I ever had the chance to name an eyeliner.

UD 24/7 eye pencil - BOURBON!!! The UD 24/7 glide on eye pencil celebration continues.

Urban Decay beats me again! This is my favorite 'go-to' eyeliner when I really don't want to put a lot of thought on my eyes or I want some definition without competing with a red or dark colored lips.

It's a medium brown with fine gold glitter. Depending on the light and how intense I have lined my eyes it can pull a bit bronze or even amber on me. Remember everyone is different.
And yes, when I drink bourbon I do always see finely milled glitter in my glass!

When swatched on my arm it looks dark because I layer it on pretty thick but on my eyes it goes on lighter. It's a combination of having super dark brown eyes and being a NC 42 (just keep that in mind if you are lighter than I am).

Also used:
MAC All That Glitters e/s - lid
MAC Texture e/s - crease
MAC Orb e/s - brow bone
(TFSI primer)

Next to UD's 24/7 pencil in Underground (metallic taupe) this has permanent residency in my makeup pouch. You can also use it smudge all over your lid to deepen your eye shadows. Sometimes I just smudge this along my bottom lash line and wear with Benefit's Creaseless cream Shadow/Liner in Birthday suit on my lid and call it a day.

A very LAZY day! Seriously though, this is a gift from above when I really don't want to wear any eye makeup but I know I should when I want to look put together.

Also, I love it for the name alone.

I know this sounds wrong but a Maker's Mark is sounding good - it's noon over in the East Coast right now, isn't it?

Retail price: $17.00/1.2g e 0.04 US oz
(They are very soft so take caution when sharpening)
Available online or at any department store carrying the Urban Decay line.

On an unrelated note:

One of my favorite reality shows is back for it's Third Season:

"Start your engines...."

Seriously though my favorite part of Drag Race is watching all the Drag Queens get ready. I am so amazed how they transform themselves with cosmetics alone. I would just love to sit and watch each one of them put their makeup on. I learn a lot from Drag Queens - the many uses of Duct tape, the term 'cooking' and from the first season, Rebecca Glasscock "If your feet start to hurt walk faster!" - when she was teaching a butch woman how to be feminine while walking in stiletto heels! Also, one of the lady boys at the MAC counter taught me how to apply crease colors beautifully.

My biggest fear is having RuPaul tell me I have to LIP SYNC for my life and don't F*CK it up!! I'm currently working on my Drag Name - I'm thinking either Caramel Latte or Brandy MuleKicker...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Making my brown eyes blue...

Yes, I am currently humming this song in my head. And this is the real reason why:

UD 24/7 liner - Binge - Dark Navy Blue/soft sheen. This is a perfect denim blue eyeliner, in my opinion. I bought this about 2 yrs ago as part of the Super Stash Eye Pencil gift set from Sephora.

To commemorate their 15 yr. anniversary, Urban Decay put out this tremendous 24/7 set. Because I don't have $92 to spend on eyeliner I thought I would pull out the 24/7 pencils I do have in my collection and celebrate on my own.

I like to wear colored eyeliners like this with very neutral shadows so I can let the eyeliner speak for itself.

Also used:
MAC pigment/Tan - lid
NARS/Nepal - crease
MAC e/s/Arena - brow bone

With all UD 24/7 eye pencils, I get good wear time. I am wearing the said items over my TFSI primer. It does go on a bit sheer at first so I find myself tracing 2-3 times to get a good blue line. It doesn't really bother me much but it may be annoying for others. This will come off easily with my Almay eye makeup remover pad.

Yes, this is helping me face yet another dreary start of the work week! I guess I'll just wait till I get home to put on the long black wig and sing into my deodorant can like I'm on the Solid Gold stage.

The home stretch...

Here I am swinging with my daughter, Gabi. Mr. Lex was kind enough to take a break from his weekend work and football watching to hang out with us at our neighborhood playground. This was the highlight of the day. I didn't do a whole lot this weekend and it was perfect. It got me thinking about the progress I made during my "No Makeup" plan this month.

I can really go a full month without buying makeup - any price point. If I miss out on a limited edition the world will not stop - there's a reason why Ebay exists. Also, MAC is notorious for bringing lusted L.E. items back reintroduced in other collections. It helps that I have a Company Store near my office - I have found many a sought after MAC product here for about $5-9 less (Petticoat MSF, Style Snob, Smoke & Diamonds e/s and pigments in their old sized containers).

When I did my cousin's makeup last weekend for a her friend's Debut ball, it made me really go through and take  inventory of my exisiting collection. In a situation like this I would probably buy new products as an excuse to try new items. I'm sure my husband got scared when he saw my makeup collection spread out on our dining room table - truthfully, it wasn't even my entire collection.

This is my last week of my self-imposed ban - I am hoping I don't take what I have learned about myself and my spending habits out the window on Feb. 1st.

I have added items to my "wish list", mostly Spring items, from D&G, NARS, Rescue Beauty Lounge, Armani and Burberry. My first test, I was invited to the MAC/Wonder Woman event at the SF Pro-Store on Feb 1st. Luckily, I only have two items on my radar but in a cosmetic frenzy I can be easily swayed.

I am hoping all my new habits will not be thrown out the window - like the time I lost a bunch of weight while on the Weight Watchers program only to rekindled my love affair with Dorritos, soda and cookies again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beauty Rewind and a booze review...

Hello there. I hope your weekend is a pleasant one. This is how I celebrated the start of mine:

Maker's Mark Manhattan
Il Pirata, 16th/Potrero, SF

I attended a very belated birthday roast of a good friend of mine. Nothing better than celebrating a birthday that was almost 3 months ago with good malicious bashing humor and a smooth bourbon cocktail. Maker's Mark is considered a "wheater" bourbon, the 2nd grain (flavor maker) is wheat instead of rye. Therefore, it produces a sweeter bourbon. The other components of this cocktail is very basic: sweet vermouth, angostura bitters and a maraschino cherry for garnish - shake in a cocktail shaker and pour into a martini glass straight up. It don't get more basic than that! This is my favorite basic bourbon - it's always good and each time I order a drink with Maker's Mark I am reminded that I need to add a bottle to my home collection of booze. The only factor that would make this beverage inconsistent is ordering from different bartenders - the first bartender made my Manhattan a lot smoother than the second bartender. Ugh, when will I learn? Try to order from the same bartender that made your delicious beverage!

Okay and now on to my beauty rewind. This is my first beauty round-up so please bear with me. It was an extremely busy work week so I didn't do a whole lot of blog reading - seriously this is a shocker even for me.

Jen of My Funny Valentine reviews a brilliantly named lip product. I love a good coral pink shade but the name alone is worth the shipping/handling fees.

Karen introduces a nail polish for Spring that is making it hard for me to walk away from.

Sabrina reviews GA's Eyes to Kill mascara - Excess vs. Regular.

Elvira speaks to my inner-goth girl with her cake eyeliner review.

Gaia makes me reminisce of the good 'ol Stila days.

As for me, this eyeshadow really makes me rethink the whole limited edition marketing that tends to make me obsess.

My Sunday plans: Morning yoga, pedicure and planning dinners for the week. My husband will be posted on the couch watching Football...just 2 more weeks of football season.

I'm counting down the days till Baseball season starts again!

Here's to Sunday - let's try to forget that Monday is right around the corner.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Friday!!

We made it through yet another challenging work week. I don't know about you guys but I am ready for a cocktail and I've got another 2 1/2 hours more to go  (I'm on Pacific time).

I have yet to go outside for a little break. I'm one of those sad people that eats lunch at her desk while working, unless I sneak out and go to the gym instead.

What's getting me through the day?

Shoe of the day picture from our guest model:
Gabriela is wearing her boot cut denim from Gap Kids, striped Frog hoodie from Gymboree and black suede ankle boots I found at Target. If I were only this stylish at 2 1/2 yrs old! I'm surprised she didn't wear her tutu again to school.

Speaking of tutus, this is the only way I could remotely look like an ex-ballerina. The bun hairstyle. I remember taking an adult ballet class at a community college - it didn't go very well. I was literally prancing around like a bull in a china shop. I lasted just a week and transferred into a class that was perfect for me - Self-Defense for Women. I was discovered in that class by a Wrestling coach that was trying to form a Women's team - he was impressed with the way I threw people. But that's a whole other story!

Okay back to my hair of the day.

Lately, I have noticed lots of Hollywood actresses sporting this 'do, even before the movie Black Swan came out.

Hilary Duff


Nicole Kidman

My personal favorite is SJP's just because it's bit rumpled but not too messy. I like the idea of Nicole's neat bun but I think it would be too severe on my head. Hilary's is a little too 'I just rolled out of my dorm bed and ran to Experimental Psych class' messy for me. I have seen other pictures of Hilary's high bun hairstyle that looks much better.

Here's a side view:

Co-workers were commenting how nice and fancy I look today. Apparently, I walk around like a slob with lipstick on. HA!

Hope you all have a fun and exciting weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Missing the bandwagon by five minutes...

I hate when I JUST miss my train or bus by a minute or so. The same is true when it comes to certain permanent items from a cosmetic brand.

Meet NARS single shadow in Nepal:

It scored 4.5 out of 5 lipsticks in Makeup Alley site. That has to say something about this shadow. It's a lovely rose gold that is sheer on the lid but works wonders as a crease. I first found out about this shade the last time I attended a NARS makeup event to try out the Melusine duo for the very first time. My M.A. Mindy applied this above Strada (amethyst infused with gold, shimmer) in my crease and up to my browbone and it was magic. I have yet to return for Strada (it's on my list).

(Nepal used as brow bone highligher)

(And as a crease)
For a sheer color on my skin (NC42) it does work wonders! I really love this as a crease color - especially when I am doing a smoky eye. I like the gradation from dark to a medium tone then to a light highlight shade.

You know you have made a good purchase when you have used it everyday for the past 2 wks. I am so glad this was one of the items I have purchased before the Makeup Ban started!!

NARS Nepal single shadow
$23 0.07 oz/permanent collection
Sold at department stores carrying the NARS line.

or online.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random stuff

Two sharpies and nail polish. Isn't that what everyone buys at American Apparel? Just me? Figures. As much as I want to hate on American Apparel, I have been curious about the brand's polish. Also, I felt good that there wasn't a half naked underage looking girl on any advertisement for the polish.

Now for the thigh high socks packaging...that's a whole other story.

Review coming soon!

Color - Peacock
retail price $6 (15 ml/0.5 fl oz) or 3 for $15

Monday, January 17, 2011

Does anyone ever like Mondays?

(Gabi expresses exactly how I feel on Mondays!)

Yup, the company I work for does not elect to celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a Holiday so I'm here at work - SADLY. I have no motivation to get through my morning projects.

Also, what was up with the ladies at the Globes last night? I felt that there were just a handful of looks I liked - Angelina's green Atelier Versace number, Natalie's pink Viktor and Rolf gown (sans huge red rose) and I LOVE Annette Bening's glasses.
But take a look at the pics on E online:

Best part: Natalie's acceptance speech - I loved her loud, dorky laugh. It reminded me of her character (my favorite) in the movie Beautiful Girls.

I'm very bummed that Emma Stone hasn't dyed her hair back to red because I thought she was Lindsay Lohan at first before realizing it was her.

Okay enough Hollywood chatter. Here's what I got into over the weekend:

The Dewar's Scotch tasting was a bust - Mr. Lex was too sick to go. But wait, wouldn't Scotch be a good thing for scratchy throats? Apparently not - at least he made up for it with sushi for dinner.

My sister and I played GLAM SQUAD for our 15yr old cousin. I did her makeup my sister, Tatiana did hair and I think we did a pretty damn good job!

I did a mildly smoky eye consisting of golds and purple. I suck at applying false lashes (even on myself) so my sister had the daunting task of applying these on her. She did a great job!

And then I wrapped up my Sunday at the playground with Gabi.
This picture says it all.

Oh and I did end up buying this:

(Gris Montaigne)
I know I'm weak but technically it's not makeup. And if we are categorizing nail polish as makeup then I already failed for buying a new basecoat last weekend.

Photo of Emma Stone:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gris Montainge...I probably should have picked up a bottle...

Don't you hate it when you swatch something at the store and then you do a mental inventory of your existing stash at home (probably annoying the S.A. helping you during this thought process) and think I'm cool - I don't need it, I have something similar at home. Then you get home you swatch what you think is close in color only to discover it wasn't even close. And now you're obsessed!

This was my thought process as I swatched Dior's new polish color for the Spring Gris Montaigne up against my bottle of Rescue Beauty Lounge's Stormy:

(NC 42 skin)
 L to R:
RBL's Stormy
Dior Gris Montaigne

My first impression - this is an awesome gray. When I think of the color gray, this is what comes to mind - very neutral. Stormy looks very cool in comparison. I have no experience wearing Dior so I didn't know what to expect applying it to my pinky. I was at my local Macy's with a very annoyed looking sales associate assisting me. She was from the nearby Lancome counter and really had nothing else to do, so if anything you'd think she'd be more accommodating.

Okay, I know that is besides the point - back to the awesome Dior polish.

I love the tapered brush, I was able to apply a good amount to cover the nail on the first swipe. A few seconds later and I apply layer #2. WOW - this thing dries quick! Without my usual Seche Vite topcoat - this nail looks pretty damn glossy. My one pet peeve - I can see my nail bed through the polish. Maybe I needed to apply a thicker coat. I applied to coats of RBL's Stormy - very opaque and I can't see my nail bed through the color. I guess that would be my only strike against the Dior but like I said this is my first experience using the color so I'm not sure if it's a fair assessment. I am really loving this color - a true dark gray cream. Honestly, I cannot detect any shimmer - I could be wrong.

This polish is $2 less than Chanel ($21 vs $23) and if it last longer than a Chanel polish I may have to switch brands when it comes to purchasing luxury nail polishes. I still need to try out the Butter London line of polishes. So far my favorite polish over the $10 limit is still Rescue Beauty Lounge.

Gris Montainge is part of Dior's City Gris trio:
Gris Montainge - a homage to the Dior House in Paris
Bond Street - inspired by the London fog - a grayish blue
NY 57th Street - metallic, gunmetal gray - inspired by Manhattan at dawn.

NYC and Paris are my two favorite cities - so you know I'm dying for these two polishes. I have yet to make it to London, however it won't stop me from obsessing over this color, too!

I found Gris Montaigne at my local Macy's - I believe it can be found at department stores carrying the Dior line. This is a Spring color so get it while you can!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Delightful Little Treat....

Some of the best things come in small packages - a signature wrapped Tiffany's box, Hostess Mini-Donuts package, Snooki (I like that she's choosing to not rock the Pouf - it gives her range). So I was delighted to pull this little goodie out of my makeup bag. Another bonus of my No-Buy challenge - finding hidden treasures in one of many makeup pouches cluttering my bathroom cabinet.

(Actual size compared to a full sized Rouge Allure lipstick)

This is a deluxe sample sized Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Attitude #10. I received this at a Chanel event - late Fall after spending over $100, naturally. I am taking advantage of the late Winter months to continue my love of dark lips. It looks dark in the tube but swatched on my arm is a different story.

(NC 42 skin)

This shade is more on the warm, brown red side - which makes it a safe color choice for work when I want something more than just a nude gloss.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Rouge Allure formula. Sometimes it'll be very moisturizing but mostly it just ends up drying my lips. I have to be sure to have my lip balm on stand-by when wearing this formula. If I don't drink a whole lot of coffee of water while wearing I will get about two hours of wear time - which isn't very good. Then again it's probably because of the extra slip I get from the added lip balm.

Oh well, at least it is a pretty color and it was FREE!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When I need to feign health and happiness...

I know it's still Winter by listening to my cube mates coughing and sneezing all around me. My daughter is also in pre-school, the hot-bed of germs, therefore I know I'll eventually get sick once again!

On the mornings that I wake up with a raw throat and pounding headache, I don't want to over think my makeup. I'm lucky if I remember to reach for my blending brush to blend my eyeshadow. If I were only lucky enough to remember to apply under eye concealor. I'm now on day 3 with this awful sore throat.

One of the last things I acquired before my cosmetic ban is truly a life saver. From the MAC Stylishly Yours collection - Movie Star Red Cream Colour Base (limited edition, of course!):
(I just like how it matches my MJ cosmetic pouch)

This thing is super pigmented:

It has been described as a medium toned blue-red (MAC site) but it pulls more of a pink-red tone on my NC42 skin.

I like to use my fingertips when I apply - slightly off center of the apple of my cheek and sweep up toward my temple. Using a clean fingertip I buff the color and smooth it out. Like I said, it's pretty pigmented so apply with caution - it's always easy to build up than buff out! I was able to find my skunk #187 brush so I did use that to blend the color better. I would recommend using either method based on comfort level. I then used a fine lip brush to apply on my lips (over my lip balm). It goes on creamy and then dries as a stain (cherry color on my lips). It's not uncomfortable on my lips when it does settle and dry, which is a huge plus for me and my finicky lips!

As for my eyes. I went with a copper/rose gold shimmer vibe:
L to R:
MAC Amber Lights - peachy-brown/copper shimmer (permanent) on my lid
NARS Nepal - rose gold shimmer (permanent) on my crease
MAC Femme Fi - beige-yellow (LE - Neo Sci-Fi collection) highlight
UD 24/7 Eyeliner in Bourbon - metallic med. brown (permanent and used bottom lash line only - smudged)

lots of black mascara - MAC Haute and Naughty/Black.

I also like to finish off with lots of Visine before I put in my contact lenses. This way my eyes aren't too bloodshot from the sleepless night before.

(Man, I could use that under eye concealor right about now)

For extra gloss - I added Chanel's Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss in Fatale #61.

I think I'll O.D. on some Ricola lozenges later - Mr. Lex and I have date night at a Scotch tasting tomorrow night.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living with an enemy...

Eczema has been my nemesis as long as I can remember. I always tried to cover up my arms in paranoia so the kid next to me wouldn't yell out, "GROSS, WHAT'S THAT ON YOUR ARM??" Unfortunately, the cause is unknown but it seems to strike in infants and children from families either cases of eczema, allergies, and/or asthma. I am still paranoid about my daughter's skin because unfortunately my sisters and I have all three. The lucky infants can outgrow the condition early childhood while the rest of us even luckier souls will have eczema most of our lives. So not only is there a clear explanation what causes eczema but there isn't a cure either. If you do suffer from this skin condition there are many ways you can control the itching!

The following items are used to control my eczema. This may not work for you. I do recommend that you speak with your physician or dermatologist if you suspect that you or your child may have eczema. It may itch first before the rash even appears - it's prevalent on hands, arms, feet and face. I lived with an eczema patch right above my lip for years as a kid and it can be really soul crushing. Luckily, it went away right as I began middle school - good thing since building healthy self-confidence is challenging as it is when you are a 12 yr. old girl!If you do have a rash chances the area is very dry, inflamed, thickened or scaley and in the most severe cases oozing. Sorry, it's not pretty and it is down right miserable, I know because I had it pretty bad as a kid and I've had a few nasty flare-ups as an adult!

Other culprits that can lead to a flare-up:
Extreme weather conditions (cold or heat - I experienced an awful flare-up during an unbearable muggy visit to Oahu)
Animal Dander
Rough/course materials

Luckily I have found items at my local drugstore that have helped. I use to use heavily perfumed body wash but now I have broke the habit and I use Dove's Deep Moisture body wash:

(Dove soap is the recommended soap to me by Dermatologists everywhere)
As for my body lotion:

(a huge fan of Curel lotions)
 Curel's Itch Defense for Dry, Itchy Skin and what sold me - the National Eczema Association seal  of acceptance. In just one week I did feel a difference in my skin. No it wasn't soft as my daughter's but it didn't itch as much as it use to and it did feel a bit softer. I found myself using my prescribed body cream, Triamcinolone Acetonide (0.1%) less and the dry patches on my skin were starting to soften. I have since switched to the regular Curel (Daily Moisture) lotion and my skin is starting to itch more again. I can't wait to finish this bottle so I can buy another bottle of Itch Defense formula. For minor itching 1.0% Hydrocortisone at the drug stores works well - I'm a fan of the ointment. I should probably keep a small tube in my makeup bag since I get little rashes on my fingers from constant hand washing. Other lotions that have kept my skin itch free - Lubriderm and Eucerin. I have used Aquaphor ointment on my daughter as a newborn for the dry patches I have found on her skin. I love that ointment.

(The seal that won me over)

On my face I have tried prescription strength hydrocortisone (2%) and when that stopped working I went on Protopic. I know that there has been some controversy over this product and whether or not it is linked to Cancer but it is prescribed when nothing else works. At the time my prescription expired I wanted to find an alternative. I was surprised that Chanel Hydramax + Active Moisture serum/Hydramax + Gel Cream worked on my skin just fine. But of course eczema would win this round and I had to go back to see a dermatologist. Currently, I am using Protopic on the areas of my face that I'm most dry and prone to get an eczema rash and I still use Hydramax + Gel Cream on my face for day/night. I do exfoliate but I only do it once a week - usually Saturdays. I am currently using MAC's Volcanic Ash. It hasn't caused a rash but then again I use it sparingly. As a face wash I have been using Philosophy's Purity Made Simply Face. I also have to test many liquid foundations/tinted moisturizers before committing to purchasing a bottle. Currently Laura Mercier's Oil-Free primer/Tinted moisturizer is a duo that keeps my skin calm and provides great light-medium coverage. NARS sheer glow, Chanel TI compact and Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundations have also worked - no itching or rashes.

And as for my lips - that's entirely a whole different situation in itself. Because of my experience with eczema right above my mouth, I am constantly concern that this is going to come back. There are certain brands that will leave my top lip line itchy, irritated and peeling after just a day of wearing. That's why I make sure I purchase from stores that will take back used cosmetics that causes skin irritation - I can't always that that challenge. I was very lucky that Dolce and Gabbana didn't fail me (SAKS doesn't give refunds for used makeup returns). This is a process I'm still trying to work through. I am lucky that my new buys (D&G, Burberry and the MAC Kissable Colour formula) have kept my lips pretty happy. The lip balm I always use is Kiehl's

So yes eczema sucks but you can work through it. My daughter's skin is still doing well - then again she's only 2 1/2 and if I do find that first itchy, dry patch of skin on the crook of her elbow I'll be ready for it!

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