Monday, November 28, 2011

I HEART MAC: My Daily Brushes

How could I fail to mention the brushes that get me through sleepy mornings 9 out of 10 times?

MAC #219 - Pencil brush, $24.50/USD.
Not a smudged eye look goes out the door without this brush!  It softens hard lines and it just really makes my smoky eyes look polished. If I am doing a really easy eye look I will use this brush to smudge a dark brown liner on my top lash line on top of a nude cream shadow on my lids. I also use this to deposit shadow on my lower lash line if I don't want to use a traditional eyeliner. It's quick and easy - I rely on the brush a lot!

MAC #217 - Blending brush, $22.50/USD.
A great all around brush: use with paint pots, you can use this to apply your eye cream/primer before shadows, use to blend shadow on your lid or crease. This is my crease and outer-v brush. I have deep set eyes so this is brush head is a good size for my eye sockets.  I love the oval shape of the bristles in this brush.

MAC #239 - Eye Shader Brush, $24.50/USD
This is a nice densely packed brush that picks up a good amount of product.  A pretty basic brush that you can depend on to get the job done!

I believe the bristles are natural animal hair - the site doesn't state otherwise if they are synthetic or not.
As for care, I try to wash my brushes at least once a week. But with the holidays, I have been somewhat lazy. I will clean once every 2wks - I hope I didn't gross anyone out with that statement. Also, use baby shampoo - I bought a travel sized Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo from Target for about $1 and it lasted me for a long time. Now, I just steal some from my daughter's bottle. This is a lot cheaper than buying the MAC Brush Cleanser bottle ($13/USD). The handles are wood and have nickel-plated ferrules. So when drying, I like to have the bristles lean over the edge of my bathroom sink. This way if there is any dripping it lands into the sink and keeps the wood handles of my brushes dry.
And my all time favorite brush that has gotten me through many mornings - this guy

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!
Yes, here in the US we are celebrating Thanksgiving. You know that American holiday based on the first meal the Native Americans shared with the Pilgrims that's now just the event that's right before the mother of all retail sales, "BLACK FRIDAY"...seriously? I don't even brave the whole Black Friday sales - Jesus could be opening the doors and Elvis could be working the cash register and I wouldn't even go.

I like to sleep!

Seriously, some of these stores are opening their doors at midnight tonight! I think we have lost sight of what matters most - time with our loved ones.

Also, that's why online shopping was created!

Some things I am thankful for:
  • My wonderful husband, Mr. Lex
  • My family - especially my awesome sisters - I couldn't have asked for better best friends!
  • My wonderful friends that have my back through thick and thin
  • My health - I bitch about my weight a lot but I am thankful that I have the strength and ability just to walk up three flights of stairs. I should also remind myself that the average Thanksgiving meal is roughly 3500 calories while I am making my plate!
  • And last but not least, I try my hardest to be the best I can be for her:

Mini Cupcake keeps me grounded and reminds me what is truly important: stop and take the time to sit and watch The Powerpuff Girls with her!

Have a Happy Holidays to my fellow bloggers and readers celebrating today. I'll be back!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NARS 2011 Holiday Collection...for Miss Omni Media

Hey Darlins!

I wanted to share my write-up and thoughts on NARS' 2011 Holiday Collection - Modern Kabuki.

I really, really want this set:

Because you guys know that I really, REALLY need more eye pencils! HA

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Special Delivery!

YAY - this is one of my favorite packages receiving in the mail:

I snagged a bottle of one of the limited edition re-issued shade, ANNE

Gorgeous, isn't it? Anne is like a golden olive-brown with fine gold, pink glitter. This was from the Real Housewives of Tudor Fall 2010 collection. I passed this up the first time and I'm so glad I picked up when Ms. Ji Baek kindly brought it back for us RBL fanatics!

Now I just wished I picked up one of the Holiday shades. I guess I'll have to wait till those are brought back again. I'll be back with manicure photos.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I HEART MAC: My Go-To Neutral Eye Shadows

You know those days when you don't want to put your makeup on but you have to because you'll scare anyone in your path? I turn to these shadows to help keep me presentable:

Woodwinked - antique gold, my lid color about 85% of the time.

(color is slightly off as I'm still learning how to adjust the color/exposure in my editing process)
Soba, soft golden brown - a strong workhorse that's my crease 90% of the time. I'm proud that I hit the pan it's like a badge of battlefield honor! I love this shade because it adds depth to an otherwise neutral eye and for dark charcoal smoky eyes this adds a bit of gradation between a dark liner, lid color and light, shimmery brow bone highlight.
And when all else fails, I turn to this unassuming shadow.

Arena, soft peach satin that I layer on top of a Paint Pot or use as a brow bone highlighter. This shade never disappoints and this is my second pan.

Here's my lineup:

(a true depiction of the colors on my NC42 arm)

Here's the obligatory EOTD shot using Woodwinked and Soba. I just realized that I didn't use Arena as my brow bone highlight shadow. Just trust me that it's magical!

Also used -  MAC Feline Kohl Power Eye Pencil, GA Eyes to Kill mascara, Anastasia Brow Express for Eyes and Brows - Brunette. 

MAC Eye shadows retail $15/USD and $11.50 for a pan refill (for customized palettes - which I recommend!).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I HEART MAC: My Favorite MAC Blush

Today, I want to share my all time favorite MAC blush - Gingerly.

Gingerly is a Bronze with some peachy tones in it. I wear this a lot in the summer for obvious reasons then I discovered the NARS South Beach Multiple and Gilda blush. Sadly, Gingerly took a backseat. It wasn't till I was digging around for product to build my stage makeup kit (more on that soon!).

I started to wear this again and I love the warmth this gives my skin in Winter. This is a sheertone blush but don't let that fool you - it packs a bit of punch if you're not careful. It blends easily if you need to buff it out with a bigger fluffier, kabuki style brush. It has pretty good staying power but I also use a primer underneath my foundation.

Here's a little snapshot of me and my Gingerly blush:

Gingerly is part of the permanent collection. It retails for $19.50/USD and can be found at MAC stores and department stores that carry the line. You can also find it online. I was lucky enough to find this at my local Company Store for $15. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

I HEART MAC: My Lip Lining Staples

The way how I make almost any lip color to work on my naturally dark pigmented lips - lip liner. My two favorite nude liners are Cream O'Spice Cremestick liner and Whirl Lip Pencil.

I have used other nudes in the past from other brands but I always come back to these two liners and when I am done I go back to the MAC counter and purchase two new ones.

Whirl is considered a dirty rose and Cream O'Spice is a neutral beige. I love Whirl underneath sheer pink blush or peach toned glosses. I love Cream O'Spice when I need to warm up cool tone lipsticks. I also use this underneath glosses to deepen glosses just like I use Whirl to add a warmer rose tone to beige lip colors.

Here's Edward Bess' Pure Impulse, a lovely neutral beige with just the slighted peach tone to it. This color is wonderful on lips that are naturally lightly tinted.

It's a bit flat on me...not too bad but not great either. My lips blend in with the rest of my face.

Now warmed up with Cream O'Spice. It becomes a warmer pink beige.

Here is Whirl liner on it's own. I really love Whirl, it's like a MLBB (my lips but better) shade. All I need is a light topping of my kiehl's lip treatment balm.

And here it is paired with Pure Impulse:

Okay, I apologize for some of the inconsistent exposures. I will say that Whirl gives Pure Impulse a more soft pink look whereas, Cream O'Spice makes it a deeper beige. Both altered versions work better with my skin tone, NC42.

I'm not just a fan of these two shades, I know quite a few of them. They apply easily and they are pretty inexpensive - Lip Pencil, $14 and Cremestick Liner, $14.50.

Whirl and Cream O'Spice are both part of the permanent collection and can be found at all MAC counters. If you're lucky like me, you could find the Cream O'Spice liner at The Company Store, Estee Lauder Brands Outlet stores.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I HEART MAC: My Staples

One of my popular post is a MAC fail and it makes me feel a little guilty. MAC was there for me in the beginning back in 1994 where I was introduced to the brand by a little matte red lipstick named Russian Red. But along the way, the relationship soured.

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with MAC - when it's good, it's an intense passion and when it's bad it's like that bad morning after feeling. You know, just intense awkward silence? One of my intentions with this blog is to give you, the reader, my honest opinion on products - good and bad.

This week I will focus on the basic MAC staples that have not failed me. The products that I find myself actually finishing and restocking.

I know this may not be fair because the first product I am going to share is actually a limited edition item.

LIMITED EDITION...who knew those two words together would incite an eye roll response. MAC is the leader when it comes to limited edition items in a collection. This phrase can cause a anxious feeling like: if I don't get this MSF powder, lipstick, pigment, shadow...etc...I will lose my mind! Who ever is in charge of  their Marketing department is pure genius!

Yes, I have been there before. I forgot what collection made me the most jaded in terms of trying to obtain a L.E. Mineralize Finish Powder but I do remember walking away intensely angry because the item I THOUGHT was promised to me was actually given away to another person. I guess waiting list don't always guarantee, of all things, blush!

So when I heard that my all time favorite (smudgy) black liner, Feline was going to make a comeback:

You know how you have 25 different pairs of black shoes in your closet that all serves a different purpose? Well I have different black liners that serve different purposes depending on my makeup mood that day or evening. For a more 60's doe eye, I turn to my NARS Larger than Life liner and if I want a more clean, thin defined line I use my MAC Blacktrack Fluidline.

Look how dark and sooty that is! I am not a huge fan of the popular MAC black liner, Smolder. I feel that just smudges a bit too much. Feline has a bit more holding power - it's not waterproof or long-lasting but it doesn't budge as much!

I love this liner when I want a sexy, almost slept in smudged black lined eye with a nude lid. This is when I try to channel my inner Angelina Jolie. I love when she does the smudgy black lined eye without any noticeable shadows.

Feline makes an appearance now and then. So when it does, you have to move quickly because it tends to sell out. It made a superstar cameo appearance in Cindy Sherman's collaboration collection this past Fall. This is the first time I bought two pencils at the same time. I have been holding on to a pencil from 2yrs ago and it has dried out. I didn't have the heart to toss it. Until now!

Not quite Angelina like but it's a good attempt, nontheless!
I believe it's still offered online, however I was super lucky to find mine at the MAC store location at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, CA. It retails for $15/USD/0.05 oz.

Oh Feline, how could I ever be mad at you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday....

Image from

I'll never forget the last day of my creative writing class my senior year in high school, we all took turns writing what each person in class will end up doing in life. Because I was obsessed with fashion and makeup, mostly everyone in my class predicted that I'd become some Lancome executive, except one of my girlfriends, she wrote that I'd be a politician's mistress.

Pretty bad-ass, right? Too bad neither came true. 

I was introduced to makeup blogs back in 2007 by my little sister. She knew my obsession over makeup. She turned me to Karen's blog and also Christine's. I really loved these ladies because like me, they were in the Bay Area and they understood my obsession with makeup. I was a full fledged FAN GIRL. I  read their blogs when I should have been working. They got me through my pregnancy and helped me get my sexy back after I gave birth. But truth be told, I was never that girl to just let herself go. I'm that girl at the gym that does her eye brows and wears a light smidge of lip gloss (nude, of course). If anything, I was on top of Seasonal launches for the very first time and I started to really take my makeup seriously. 

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a novice. I started young, my mother bought me my first Maybelline palette. She started buying me Lancome at 15 and at 16 I got my first Dior red lipstick, Dior Dior Red. It was the perfect maroon, brick red! But along the way, I just wore what I liked and I didn't pay attention to what was new. Blue eye liner? Never - only black or brown if I wanted subtle. I wore lots of neutral shadows, purple or charcoal if I was feeling daring. Blush? Why bother? Lipstick was only red, nude or brown. I was pretty boring with my makeup. It wasn't till I started reading the blogs, did I really pay attention. 

After reading my daily blogs, I came across others along the way and discovered that these bloggers were really kind and lovely. They responded to my comments, questions, personal emails and I even received a few samples along the way. Sabrina, I will never forget the nice packages you've sent to me over the years! Elvira, I remember when MAC's Style Black collection made you remember your early goth days and Joey, well you are just a dear and one of the sweetest bloggers I have ever come across! You are wiser beyond your young years! I always thought of starting my very own blog because it also partially fulfills my fantasy of being a beauty editor. I reached out to some of these ladies and asked how they started. It wasn't till I was really pushed into it by a good friend, Christina to start typing away. She's also a  fellow blogger

So 365 days later, I spawned 230 blog posts. 

My first post was very modest, I didn't even include any photos. It was just a quick introduction of myself and my blogging intentions.
A brief refresher, here's the story behind the title of my blog.

Blogging is a tough thing to do, getting people to read about my meager reviews and looking at my sub par photos. I have gone to bed many a night frustrated, tired or just indecisive if I should keep going.

Because honestly, how many different ways can you describe a black eye liner or nude lip gloss?

Lucky for me (and you), I also like to indulge in cocktails so writing about a tasty beverage I have come across is fun for me to share with you. I also love sharing a great pair of shoes, usually on sale, as well.

Here's a few things I have learned:
  • I do not need to buy a new piece of makeup every week just to have something to write about - if I really did this, my husband would have serious words with me and I just couldn't deal with myself being that financially irresponsible.
  • When I don't depend on new makeup to review, it forces me to really dig deep and be creative. 
  • I like having deadlines - honestly, if I didn't force myself to blog at least 3x a week I wouldn't blog at all!
  • It really doesn't matter if the number of your followers is smaller than you'd like it to be. I will be honest, yes, it bothered me at first. It made me so frustrated that I only have x amount of followers - I'd beat myself up: are my photos that bad? Do I sound stupid? Do I sound annoying? Is this all just a big popularity contest like in high school all over again? After I let that go and just started writing. I relaxed and really appreciate the followers I have now and fellow blogger friends I have made along the way.
  • Treat people the way you want to be treated. I don't bad mouth anyone. I even feel a bit guilty when I do post about products that fail me - MAC Fail come to mind. I am actually planning a I HEART MAC week - a look at the products from the company that has never failed me and I stand behind 100%. I do play well with others but I also expect others to give me the same kindness and respect. 
  • I have learned to be patient with myself and others. I actually picked this up from a past (bad) relationship, it was only through the blog that I really tested this. I also developed thicker skin. 
  • The friends I have made through this blog are truly awesome and I feel blessed that they give me truly honest and supportive feedback. I also received surprising feedback from fashion bloggers - this is what I like to call cross-functional blogging! These folks help keep me going. 
  • Lighting and a good camera matters - this is something that I am still working on!
It's still a learning process and I am allowing myself to move at my own pace. 

You know how I bought myself some LMdB treats for my birthday? Well here's an anniversary gift to myself:

It's a blend of ginger, cinnamon, clove, prune, peach, orange blossom, violet, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla and benzoin. But on my skin, I smell mostly plum and wood - this is my bottle of happiness! I am trying to learn how to write more about scents this year.

It's hard to do when you have a stuffy nose most of the year but I'm willing to learn! I hope I last another year to write about that process...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Miss Omni Media guest post - Drea

I reviewed one of the latest Charlotte Ronson palettes, a Sephora exclusive line:

For my thoughts and FOTD pic, click here. 

Retails for $22/USD only at Sephora stores or online.

Friday, November 4, 2011

NARS Multiple - G-Spot

Just when I thought I needed to take a break from my beloved NARS, the Holiday collection was released and I was once again smitten with the line! There are a few items that stole my heart and this being one of them.

NARS Multiple stick, G-Spot. Yes, I felt a bit embarrassed typing that word as I know this post will probably pop up in a search engine for someone doing some "research" on the said topic.

Hey, I'm not one to judge. Do...what you do!

So this is just a brief intro...this is described as a rich gold-infused rose. My fellow blogging pal, Makeup Magpie describes it as the blush shade, Oasis in Multiple form. I couldn't agree more with her!

I'll be back with swatches and a FOTD picture. Stay tuned. I will say that I LOVE this shade. It may be my favorite multiple, perfect for the upcoming Holidays. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When I'm not buying Fancy Beauty Crap

I am buying Fancy FOODIE stuff because I like to pretend I'm a Foodie! In attempt of beating the flu, I walk to the SF Ferry building for some Beef Noodle soup, a.k.a. "glorified PHO" at Out the Door, the take-out sister restaurant of the famed, Slanted Door. Well I just can't help myself when I'm in this area, that is FOODIE PARADISE!

Like a Chanel or LV shopping bag this one seems to stop foot traffic when it's in plain view in my cubicle!

So what's inside?

Guanciale from Boccalone makes the best Carbonara sauce. What is guanciale? It's pork jowl - this one is not only salt cured but has also been cured with fresh rosemary and thyme, which adds earthy goodness! I love using this instead of bacon or pancetta in my carbonara because it is more dense and flavorful than pancetta (pork belly). My carbonara recipe is from the Boccalone site and I will say it's the easiest and best tasting one I've come across thus far.

I also bought cheese from Cowgirl Creamery - parmigiano-reggiano (for my carbonara) from Italy and a Manchego from Spain.

And lastly, some random French candy from the Miette Bakery. I believe the salted caramel chew (the big boy on the end) is made here in SF. The hard candy in the front is some type of Bergamont candy. I thought it was going to be super potent like some violet candies I have come across in the past. This one was surprisingly mellow. The one in that looks like a tube is some type of nougat encased in caramel - how is that bad? And the other is salt water taffy, lemon flavored. Yummy! I really don't know why I bought this candy because there's a bag full waiting for me and (Mr. Lex) at home.

I was going to buy a baguette or ciabatta from Acme Bread but there was a super long line and I didn't want to look like I spent all my weekends watching The Cooking Channel...which I do sometimes!

I wanted to snap a pic of my fancy beef noodle soup but I just couldn't wait to dive in, plus lukewarm noodle soup isn't good for anyone!

Guest Post for Miss Omni Media - wk of 10/31/11

This week on Miss Media, I test and review the latest from the folks at Proactiv Solutions:

Jessica Simpson and Katy Perry were not harmed in this review!