Monday, February 28, 2011

A Real Class Act

We live in a world of Real Housewives, Beyonce, Gaga, Nicki Minaj and the Jersey Shore girls. Yes, I admit I have indulged and checked out each one for pure entertainment.

But will these ladies truly last?

I would like to share my daily inspiration and beauty motivator that stands the test of time then, now and forever:

Helen Folasade Adu
1959 Nigeria - raised in London

Simply known as Sade

I have been a fan since 1984 - the first time I heard Smooth Operator. I didn't know what that song was about at the time but I was truly mesmerized by her smooth, slightly raspy voice, jazzy sound and her beautiful red lips.

She wasn't Madonna or Cyndi Lauper - she was sleek, exotic, fashionable and seductive. I wanted to be her. Plus she had dark hair and features - something attainable for a 9 yr. old girl at the time that was used to seeing blond haired singers and actresses most of the time.

I would like to share my top 5 favorite Sade videos. This is also how I learned about the director Sophie Mullens. Ms. Mullens directed most of Sade's videos and I find them stylish - like I'm watching a fashion editorial come to life.

This was a very hard choice because I love them all. In fact, 15 yrs ago I owned a collection of her videos on VHS - yes, I am OLD. I would play this video while I cleaned the house, was in a bad mood or I just wanted to watch some of my favorite videos, this would do the trick.

Watching these videos/hearing these songs also cures my "CASE OF THE MONDAYS!"

Again, this was just a difficult choice because I love pretty much every video she's ever done - I just wanted to feature a progression of her looks. She is classic in every sense of the word.

When Am I Going to Make a Living:

Sweetest Taboo:

Nothing Can Come Between Us:

King of Sorrow:

(this song is so depressing and beautiful at the same time)


(only Sade can make Jello making look so appealing)

Two other mentionable shout-outs:
The song that made me a fan - Smooth Operator, Live '93

and the song that always makes me think of my boo:

I'm always on the verge of tears when I hear this song.

That's what I love about Sade - she's so personal. When she sings you feel like she's singing just to you - she feels exactly what you feel and vice versa. That is also how she performs. I have been lucky enough to see her perform live twice in 1993 and 2001 - she doesn't perform very much. Shoot, she's only recorded 6 albums in her 27 yr. career. When she performs it is such an intimate experience - it could be at an ampitheater but she makes it feel like a small jazz club in an alley in the most metropolitan city.

I will always love and admire her, despite her DUI wrap sheets. She'll always be in my heart, feel my pain and describe exactly the way I feel about my husband when I just don't know what to say.

She's also one of the Sexiest women in the world! She's the top of my "girl-crush" list followed by Christy Turlington and then Penelope Cruz.

Yes there was a time I rocked a slick back ponytail (to show off my big forehead), gold hoops and bold red lips. It is one of my favorite looks - personally.

(Personally one of the best backing bands - they helped create her sound)

 Seriously, I would love to look like this now at 36. Well hopefully, I'll be half way there when I'm 51.

I am planning to see her live in Oakland, CA this August w/John Legend. It should be an awesome show - I probably should stop obsessing over new lipsticks for a few months so I can get the Baller seats in the front!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yes, I was singing the SNL short D*ck in a Box as I was writing that. It makes me giggle - sorry fart jokes still make me giggle. I am just that dorky!

Okay moving on...
Once upon a time, I took a Fashion Show Production class where I had to help stage and then walk in a fashion show. This was the one and only time I ever fulfilled my short-lived modeling dreams. I am pretty sure that will be the last time I ever walk down a runway. I didn't even get to walk down an aisle for my wedding - I got married at SF City Hall. But if I ever were lucky enough to score front row tickets to NY or Paris Fashion Week I have this:

NARS beauty set
One of Three exclusive sets at Sephora
Front Row edition
Retail - $59/USD

Just look what $59 gets you:

A full sized eye shadow duo - Nouveau Monde:

Silver lilac and olive green - a unlikely duo that works beautifully together!

A full sized felt tip eyeliner, Eyeliner Stylo - Nuites Blanches (black) and a full sized gloss in iconic Orgasm (warm pink w/golden shimmer). Also, included is a travel sized Multiple in Palm Springs (light golden beige). It also comes with a "how-to" tips card.

L to R:
Orgasm gloss
Palm Springs multiple
Eyeliner Stylo - Nuites Blanches
Nouveau Monde duo

You do the math:
Eyeshadow duo - $33
Lip gloss - $24
Eyeliner Stylo - $27
and a delux sample you would receive in a gift that you would normally have to spend anywhere from $75-100 just to get.

I still can't believe that you get ALL THIS STUFF for just $59! That's like a QVC type of deal but better because I didn't have to pay for shipping or handling. This is one of the best deals I have come across in a very long, long time!

Natural Light

And with Flash:

I used the UD 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Sin (champagne) as my brow highlighter

I used MAC's Whirl lip liner with Orgasm gloss on top.

And here I am very pleased with my purchase:

Side note - I used NARS Gilda blush with Laguna bronzer to contour. I applied the Palm Springs multiple as a highlight. It is pretty light if you are my shade NC42 or deeper. It's also nice on the lips with Orgasm gloss on top of it - this is how it's recommened on the enclosed look tips card.

Out of the three sets, I find this one to give me the most bang for my buck. Trust me, with rent, bills and a daughter with a growing doll need this is everything I could hope for in a beauty set!

Oh Shadow OWN me!

I love me a shadow pencil. My beloved MAC Greasepaint stick pencils will have to make way for my lastest acquisition, Urban Decay's 24-7 shadow pencil. This is a bigger version of the beloved 24/7 Glide liner pencils.

This is Wastleland, a dark brown with shimmer. Like the UD 24/7 glide-on eye pencils, these shadows pencils will set in a matter of a minute or so.

Here's a shadow stick lineup:
L to R:
MAC's Dirty Greasepaint stick (taupe)
MAC's French Quarter Greasepaint stick (drk brn/olive green)
UD 24/7 Shadow Pencil (dark brown)

Yes, the UD Shadow Stick took much quicker to dry and set than the MAC Greasepaint sticks. I will say that is a PRO over the Greasepaint sticks, however, the Greasepaint sticks are self-sharpening and it has a hidden sharpener at the end of the pencil. That is a MAJOR PLUS for me.

I have to use a brush to smudge this on my lid - this is sold with a companion brush, 24/7 Shadow Pencil Blending Brush (vegan). I used my MAC #219 pencil brush - I may have to pick up the UD brush or some other substitute that is slightly fluffier than the pencil brush. I have yet to try this out with my finger. This is my prefered method when I use my Greasepaint stick pencils, therefore, I can't make a solid preference between the two pencils.

So I put this to my 5mn eye look test - this was the day after I attended the fabulous Prince concert. I only had 4hrs of sleep and I had to also wash my hair this morning. I have to say I was pretty pleased with the results:

This was applied on top of NARS concealor in Praline on lids to (beneath) brow - Wastleland applied thick from lashline to right below my crease. I used a dense brush to just smudge and soften any harsh lines. I also used it to line my bottom lash line and I then used my pencil brush to smudge and smoke it out. I then used the rose gold NARS shadow in Nepal in my crease and a bit on the outer-v edge. I used MAC's Femme Fi as a brow high light. To finish my eyes I applied a few coast of Dior's Extase mascara.

Cheeks - NARS Oasis
Lips - NARS gloss - Easy Lover (sheer hot pink) and Ophelia (strawberry nectar) mixed. 

I like the ease of this pencil but I can already tell the constant sharpening and delicate touch while using (I read through other reviews the tip of the Shadow pencil is a bit fragile if you line your lids with the point at an angle - apply with the tip facing straight at your lid or lashlines) it will annoy me. Then again, if you ask my husband, it really doesn't take much to annoy me.

Wasteland and Sin (champagne) on my NC42 forearm:
I have tried the Sin shadow pencil as a brow highlighter and I have to perfect my application. I used a brush and I feel that it didn't really do the job right. There was still a harsh line right under my brows. I am hoping if I use my fingers I'll get a softer look.

Yes, this is still a work in progress. More to come!

Retail price $20/USD
I purchased this at my local Sephora store.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

No, I didn't wear a Raspberry Beret...

Truth be told, that is my least favorite Prince song. Sorry, if I offended anyone.

So I am paying the price for singing at the top of my lungs and dancing in my seat like a lunatic. But it was so well worth it.

How does one dress for a Prince concert? I wanted to look cute but I didn't want to wear anything cliched - purple, frilly and lots of lace. Come to think of it - that would also work at a Stevie Nicks concert if I was lucky enough to score tickets to her show. I decided to go with a dress I bought at H&M and a really cool, silver, bib like necklace my good friend, Chris designed. It is called the Flint necklace.

A quick note on Chris Habana - he's a NY based designer that has graced the pages of Complex, Nylon and Spin magazines. His WORK hat has recently been featured on one of the Season 3 contestants of RuPaul's Drag Race. I went to high school with Chris here in the Bay Area and couldn't be more proud of him.

This necklace was his birthday gift to me. Please check out his site:

Okay back to the Prince concert look I accomplished in 15mns.

My final makeup results:

Eyes: NARS Eurydice duo, Melusine Duo, MAC Designer Purple eyeliner, Dior Extase Mascara - Black

Cheeks: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hr blush, MAC Golden Lariat MSF, NARS Laguna Bronzer

Lips: MAC Soar lip pencil/Lickable lipstick (cremesheen)

His show was everying I could hope for. He sang all the old hits I wanted to hear live - Controversy, Let's Go Crazy, Kiss, If I Was Your Girlfriend (my personal favorite).

(Can you guess what song he sang at this moment?)
He did 3 encores and we just wanted the night to go on. Honestly, it was trip back to my youth. It was one of the best date nights I had with my husband. Our dinner in Barcelona is still the number one date night.

I can now scratch him off my "Must-See LIVE" list. Up next:
Janet Jackson.

I guess I should look into those tickets before I miss that opportunity again - she comes to SF in April, 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Tale of Two New Blushes...which one made the cut?

Meet Urban Decay's new Afterglow Glide-On Cheek Tint in Quickie, a light pink without any shimmer.
Retail price - $24/USD

Those two words should have been a dead give away LIGHT PINK. Even though this was too light for my NC42 skin I thought if I layered it should be good.

I was wrong.

I layered this lightly about 2x and it was pretty light. It is really sheer but great for building the intensity you want. I will say it glides on pretty easily. It is packed with Vitamin A, E and even C. This feels almost like a gel and it is pretty comfortable. Also, this didn't last for very long. I put this on in the morning after going to the gym. I then went to the park with my daughter and picked up some lunch. I want to say I got about  2 1/2-3 hrs of wear with this. Then it just disappeared as if my skin just absorbed it even though I was wearing my Laura Mercier oil-free primer underneath it. I am willing to give it another shot because I would like to try layer a powder blush on top of the tint just to see if that would help the staying power.

So this is what I exchanged it for the new Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush.

This blush also contains Vitamins A, C and E. What makes this different from other blushes that I own - it is infused with Amazonian Clay. This ingredient is a nutrient-rich multitasker. For those with oily skin - it reduces oil in or around the pores to balance the skin and keep the blush in place. Those who have dry skin - the clay keeps the skin hydrated and flake free. It's like a pretty mud mask you wear as an accent. The colors are inspired by the original best-selling cheek tints and lip stains. I can't really comment on it's wear time just yet but I would like to comment on just how lovely this color is:

Flush - matte deep berry - no shimmer.

I also owned this shade in the iconic pushup cheek tint:
Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush
Retail Price - $25/USD
This is an exclusive item at Sephora.

I do want to pick up another shade of this blush. I am really hoping it can at least stay put on my face for at least 5hrs.

We'll see how it does after my workout this afternoon.

So like I said, I'll give the UD Afterglow Cheek Tint a second shot in a different shade. But it looks like Tarte may have won this mini battle.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Infalliable Failure...

When I was a teenager and I had to buy my own makeup my two favorite brands were Revlon and L'Oreal. The Lancome and Dior lipsticks were compliments of my Mom. I remember the glory days of wearing Revlon's Toast of NY and L'Oreal's Pink Perle or Sangria. It wasn't until MAC came along in 1994 and I turned my back on drugstore lipsticks. Also, I have discovered that I was wasting money on drugstore lipsticks that didn't work - I couldn't bring it back for a refund so it would become garbage.

Well lately, I have been noticing bright lips are in recent editorials/advertisements and it's making me crave for a strong lip color. I know that this will be a seasonal thing and I will gravitate back to my comforting pink nudes lipsticks and glosses eventually. This makes drugstore makeup appealing. Especially since the drugstore brand is beginning to step up it's game - famed makeup artist, Gucci Westman is the creative director for Revlon and Sally Hansen has recently partnered with Fashion Designer, Prabal Gurung for a collection of nail colors. Once again, I am happy to browse the cosmetic sections of Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid and when I'm in NY - Duane Reade.   

I then see my favorite red lipped inspiration, Gwen Stefani as the new spokeswoman for L'Oreal's Infallible Le Rouge lipstick. It's claim is 10 hours of color, shine and comfort. I was noticing this particular lipstick showing up on other blogs I read regularly. So of course this piqued my attention.

I took advantage of a "Buy one, get one 50% off" L'Oreal special at my local Walgreens drugstore. I also had to pick up some Nyquil and tissue for a very sick Mr. Lex. So I picked up Rambling Rose and Ravishing Red...that's a lot of R's but I do love alliterations.

L to R:
Ravishing Red, Rambling Rose

L to R on my NC 42 forearm.
Ravishing Red, Rambling Rose
As you can see there a bit of shimmer in these two colors.

Initially, it felt nice going on my lips and then within the first thirty minutes I felt it settling for the rest of the day. My lips also felt dry but it wasn't an uncomfortable, I'm in Colorado altitude, I need my chapstick kind of dry. This lipstick contains Vitamin E for moisture - well you could have fooled me about that.

I wore Ravishing Red for a fundraising party at a bar where I knew I was going to be drinking and maybe in some photos (yes, to both happening). It's a neutral true red. I appreciate that it's unscented.

I wore this with MAC's Redd Lip Pencil for an orangey-red look - loved it. This is definitely a 'Date Night' color. I wore this for a total of 4.5 hours and drank 2 bourbon/ginger ales. I never had to reapply. I did make sure I layered this on top of my Kiehl's lip balm - it helps a bit. I didn't experience any itching and it came off pretty easily with my Almay eye makeup remover wipes. The next day however, the top line of my lips were pretty itchy and a bit raw. Being the masochist I am, I decided to try out Rambling Rose for a full 8hr. work day - oh the things I do for you guys!

Yes, I realize I have another bun on my head.

I wore this rose with MAC's Soar lip pencil. It's a warm rose with a bit of a gold shimmer. This is a perfect compliment to smoky eyes for the office. Once this thing dried, I drank endless amounts of water, coffee, ate a sandwich for lunch and didn't have to reapply till about 2pm. So I got a good 6 hours out of this - I had to reapply some lip balm for moisture. The color was a light rose stain. I reapplied my color and didn't take it off again till I washed my face before bed.

My lips were once again dry the next morning. I knew what I had to do. They had to go back. Luckily Walgreens is a lot more forgiving with their refunds if you keep your receipt. I was relieved that I didn't have to throw this into the garbage. I am sad that this failed me and I had to take it back because I really wanted to like this formula. And I was beginning to like the idea of buying lipstick that was under $10.

Oh well back to browsing the drugstore shelves endlessly again.

What are some of your favorite drugstore/bargain brands?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Take Me With You...

I'll be seeing this guy next Wednesday and I couldn't be more excited. I have always WANTED to see Prince live as I hear he is one of the best showmens out there. I finally get my chance!!

Now I have to plan wardrobe, hair and yes MAKEUP looks.

I will try to refrain from over doing the Purple eyeshadows/liners! 

For your viewing pleasure, please watch my favorite scene from Purple Rain. This song makes me melt!

No, it's not Darling Nikki but it's a close second...

Happy Days

I am a very simple girl. I am so easily entertained my husband considers himself lucky that he doesn't have to do much to raise a smile or laugh out of me. When I'm annoyed, that's another story - ask him about that.

That said it's the little things that keep me happy: new office supplies, my morning cup of coffee, riding the morning commute train with my husband, my daughter's laughter, hearing my favorite Van Halen song while running the track - Running with the Devil, baking a fresh batch of pecan bars that kills the work I did on the track and of course new makeup.

I introduce to you:
NARS Velvet Gloss Pencil, Happy Days.

It's a delightful peach color that is perfect for Spring/Summer. I have worn it recently in the rain with smoky eyes. It keeps me cheerful during this random SF storm we are currently experiencing. I say random because just this last weekend we had sunny skies and weather in the mid-upper 60's.

The name of the product is pretty self-explanatory. Honestly, I like the gloss tube and it doesn't require a sharpener like the pencil does. I am disappointed that this doesn't come with a sharpener because I had to buy one to accommodate the size of the gloss pencil. Also, if you line up the pencil with your glosses and/or lipstick you notice that it's on the long side.

Yes, I do realize it will shrink in size with constant sharpening if you are using this pencil regularly but then wouldn't the sharpener take up room in your makeup bag? Is that counter productive if you are trying to down size your makeup pouch? Okay, that was a rhetorical question. And speaking of sharpeners, I do love this one:

I love that with the little ring adapter it's like 3 sharpeners in one. I also like the lid - it feels sturdy. Actually a whole lot sturdier than the MAC one I own (I own 2).

Okay back to the gloss pencil. This made me reminisce of the Stila Lip Glaze pencil from four years ago. These NARS pencils were not scented like the Stila and I like this version more. I am sorry I cannot make a true comparison because I just tossed my old Lip Glaze pencil recently. But from what I do remembered the Stila pencil felt really thick, therefore I stopped using it.

I got a good 2 1/2 hours use of this pencil. Then again, I drink a lot of water and coffee in the mornings. Maybe I'd get a full three hours if I didn't? But that wouldn't realistic of me to refrain from such a thing. It is comfortable on my lips once the initial sting goes away. Yes, it is weird and I can't explain it but there is an initial sting once I apply it. It does go away and it really doesn't bother or make my lips itch. I really need to start researching ingredients!

Since my lips are naturally pigmented pretty dark - this isn't very vibrant on me:

I'll try this over a lip liner next time I wear it to the office. That may also help the color last. I do like that my lips feel moisturized the entire time I wear this before my next re-application. It has enough color that I can wear this on it's own on the weekends when I take my daughter to the playground and I just want some color.

(for reference I am a NC42/Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - Caramel)

I did a simple neutral eye and coral cheeks when I wore this to work.

I do want to go back to Sephora to get another (brighter) shade - maybe Club Mix or New Lover? But like I said I do prefer the gloss tubes so I can't see myself owning more than two. I am just glad that this doesn't make my lips cry the next morning after just one day of use.

This is how it makes me feel:

For comparison, please check out Sabrina's review. She is a few shades lighter than me and she also has an awesome pucker!

Retail price - $24
Available at all departments counters carrying the NARS line. I purchased mine from Sephora.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Window Shopping...Anthropologie

Once upon a time, I had design dreams - huge design dreams. I even attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in SF right after graduation ('92) and I attended in the following Fall. I wanted to be the next Isaac Mizrahi, Todd Oldham (I miss fun, whimsical clothes), Anna Sui or Betsey Johnson.

It was not meant to be - I was a horrible sketcher and my patterns were always about an 1/8th off. I never slept because I was constantly stressed out. I did love draping the fabric on my dress form. I got an A in my Color Theory class and when I studied Fashion History I was awesome. I only lasted one quarter before dropping out. I don't regret it because I probably would have ended up with an amphetamine problem and stabbing my illustration instructor with my drafting pencil! I ended up taking a bunch of Fashion Merchandising courses at a community college in the following Spring.

One of the classes I took (and did great in) was Visual Display. I didn't pursue that because of my fear of heights and the thought of standing on top of a ladder at 10 ft is scary. You can imagine how I feel thinking about setting up a very tall Christmas tree display at a high end department store - no thanks! I have an appreciation for great window displays and merchandising in a store. Take a look at this recent display at Anthropologie:

I love this it looks like a vest made out of old Butterick or McCall's patterns.

Here's another view of the display:

So the dress is made of draped fabric and bunched up patterns to look like flowers.

Close up:

It just reminds me of when I was very young and optimistic with big Fashion Industry dreams.

Below are just a few items I am lusting over in the store. Surprisingly, the items are from the home section.

I love Turtles!!

I like that this Italian cookbook looks like it would have been passed down to me from my Grandmother, if I were Italian.

Or my pretend Italian grandmother could have given me this book!

Marie-Antoinette inspired plates.

I love this pitcher from some reason. I would buy a juicer just so I could serve fresh orange juice from it for weekend brunches.

Loving this crystal punch dispenser. I am not sure if it's for sale but I was imagining the parties I would host just so I would have an excuse to make all kinds of different (adult) punches!

Maybe I could find a punch recipe in this book!

These plates would make my weekend bagel and cream cheese breakfast seem decadent.

I want this antique ring holders.

Aerial view:

I believe they are porcelain dishes and the base is lacquer.

I guess I should go back and focus on the clothes and shoes. I always get distracted by their cute housewares and bedding. Anthropolgie is one of those stores that just inspires me. I can't afford a whole lot for the clothes and shoes but I take the vibe they give and I try to replicate it with less expensive apparel/shoes that I find at H&M.

Even the dessert plates I buy from this place has to be on sale because if I'm not careful I can blow my cable bill money on a set of darling drinking glasses!
For more Anthropologie.