Monday, January 30, 2012

Impermeable: Anti-Humidity Spray

I have successfully refrained from purchasing makeup for the rest of the month and what did I do instead? I bought expensive hair products of course!

I have been currently obsessed with Oribe's hair products - I reviewed one of my favorite styling sprays, Royal Blowout:

Reviewed here for It is not cheap but I am happy to report that it's worth every penny. It does take work, you need to dry section by section, but it is worth the soreness you'll experience in your arms by holding that hairdryer in one hand and brush in the other!

I was recently talking to my coworker that although I did well by not getting carried away by the latest Spring cosmetic collections, I did fall prey to pricey hair styling products. She asked me if it was Oribe I had purchased. Before I could say yes, she offered to give me a spray for free that she bought and did not love.

How could I say no?

Meet the latest in my Oribe collection:

Touted as a finishing spray that will shield your hair from humidity and is 'Miami-tested'. I have been to Florida, not in the Summer but it can get humid there even in late Fall, so I was interested. The texture of my hair is course and even though it straightens easily any sign of humidity or mist in the air and it will wreck the work I put in with blowing out and flat ironing!

This spray contains unique copolymers that enhances and extends longevity of hairstyles in any climate. Your stands are given free radical treatment with tocopheryl acetate and retinyl palmitate while adding nourishing treatment.

This spray also adds body and thickness with Pro-Vitamin B5. While this is marketed as a finishing spray, I used this as a heat protecting setting spray before using my flat iron. I used this on second day hair and I still felt that it didn't weigh my hair down.

I am happy to say that my hair stayed straight from my eight minute walk from the train station to the office. Then again the weather was nice - no mist or humidity in the air. Another test it passed - lunch time Spin class. My hair still looked awesome and I was a total sweaty mess. I did spray some dry shampoo on my roots to soak up some oil, I blasted cool air though my hair and roots. My hair looked as good as it did right after I flat ironed.

I was so impressed with this spray that I would have actually paid for it. I'm currently trying to figure out what to give my co-worker in return for this gift.

Need more inspiration? Check out the how-to video from the Oribe site:

Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray
Found online and in department stores and salons that carry the Oribe collection

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Summertime in January LOTD

Here in SF we have reached temperatures in the 40's and rain - it is not fun and yes, I am thankful it wasn't snow. Either way, we are freezing are asses off! I didn't retreat to dark colors or ignore bronzer - I brought Summer to me, well Indian Summer since Summers in SF can be foggy.

On my eyes I used MAC Sumptuous Olive on top of Indianwood Paint Pot for a golden olive eye. Using a combination of two NARS bronzers warm up my complexion - Irresistiblement as a blush and Casino to contour. On my lips is MAC Chestnut Lip Pencil, NARS Hot Vodoo, copper frost and top with NARS Sweet Revenge Lipgloss, a sheer pink grapefruit.

Also, I started adding a drop of NARS Illuminator in Copacabana with my Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer. This gives me a better glow versus adding a drop of the same Illuminator liquid to my foundation.

This golden bronze look helps keep me warm, well my infinity scary and wool pea coat does most of the hard work!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rye, Steak, Bacon, Donuts and Bruce...

Last Friday night, I went out with my sister and a friend of ours to take part of the 11th Annual SF Sketchfest. It's a festival featuring some of your favorite comedy stars - sad that I missed Law & Order's (and Oz) Chris Meloni on Saturday. I didn't realize he was a theater geek that loved performing sketch pieces! So before that here's some cocktail porn:

Restaurant - 5A5 Steak Lounge, a steak restaurant that seems to have an Asian fusion type of theme.

L to R:
My sister's Punkin Pie - all I can remember is that it had Grey Goose Vodka and it tasted like it had pumkin puree and pie was truly delicious.
My Bulleit and Bacon - Bulleit Rye whiskey, antica formula and maple syrup
served straight up with a salted rim and candied bacon garnish

As you know, I love whiskey, rye and scotch. I love bacon so this is a winning combination in my eyes. This also seemed to be the steakhouse's answer to the Manhattan cocktail (one of my classic bar treats). However, I was disappointed. This cocktail was very one note - all I tasted was the rye. No, not a deal breaker in my book - if I was ordering a SHOT! This is supposed to be a cocktail - I should taste a combination of all the ingredients. And what is Antica Formula, you ask?

Antica Formula is an Italian sweet vermouth with notes of vanilla, orange peel and dried fruits. This sounds lovely but I didn't taste any of these notes either. I did enjoy the candied bacon garnish - slight maple flavor. The salt was also unnecessary. The high price tag - $14 doesn't make it any better.

So to make myself feel better I will share pictures of my delicious dinner that made up for my disappointing drink:

Hamachi Shooters (yellow tail fish, avocado, ginger, yuzu tobiko, ponzu)

Boneless Rib eye with shiitake mushrooms

marble potatoes - fingerling and purple potatoes, cheddar, sour cream, bacon bits

Pistachio cake (really tasted like marizpan)

And as the title implies - donut and beer at the Eureka Theater, SF:

My sister, Tatiana holds up the donut I made her share with me - cake donut with fluff (marshmallow spread), crushed graham crackers and caramel drizzle on top. It tasted almost like a S'more and no my pale ale beer did not go well with it. But I am not a rude girl, I finished my beer. Also, I'm not about to waste a $5 bottle of beer! Donuts at the theater provided by Psycho Donuts, San Jose.

And of course:
Bruce McCullough


If you are into super obscure sketch comedy from Canada - then you know Bruce from the show The Kids in the Hall. In the picture, Bruce is playing one of my favorite characters, Gavin. Bruce read from a work in progress, Pink Dot Stories. Part essay, part poetry, party musical but 100% obscure - you really have to be a Kids fan to get this kind of humor. I was able to keep up but even some of his material went over my head and I was really paying attention, too! I forgot to mention the opening sketch act for Bruce was a duo appropriately named, "Knuckles and Tits" - no I am not making that up. They were funny but I just wished that most of their skits were not dating themed. 

Despite the rain storm that plowed through the Bay Area last weekend, I managed to enjoy good eats and have lots of laughs! If I do see a cocktail that features whiskey and bacon, I should probably walk away from it. I'll keep reminding myself that bacon is for eating and not drinking.

I just wished the people that created bacon lube would share that thought as well.

Again, I am not making that up!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beauty Baller on a Budget...MISS Guest Post for week of Jan 22.

Hey there,
I've been tightening my budget and so far, I haven't caved in on cosmetic splurges - buying perfume decants off members from my online fragrance club is a whole different story! This give me opportunity to dig around my local drugstores or Ulta Beauty Shops for affordable makeup. And leaves me more money to spend discovering wonderful scents!

Here's my latest find and contribution this week for

For $4.99, I am so pleased that I found a staple - I have been using this pretty much 5 out 7 days of the week!

Read my review here.

Have you made any new drugstore discoveries? Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January's Birchbox

So what is Birchbox? If you are not familiar with the company, it's an online shop that sends you 4-5 samples chosen by the editors for $10 a month. I believe that each sample box is tailored to each member's profile so box contents may vary. It is a membership and in addition to DELUXE sized samples, you can also receive coupons for purchasing the full size version of the samples sent on the site. I have this wonderful blogger to thank.

I received my first one last month but because I was caught up with planning a New Year's Eve party, I completely forgot to share.

So here are January's samples:

Algenist - Firming & Lifting Cream (full size - $94)
FIX Malibu - Immaculate Complexion Smoothing Serum (full size - $125)
Juicy Couture - Juicy Couture's signature scent (full size - $69-89)
Zoya - Nail Polish, Kendel (full size - $8)
'wichcraft granola - (full size bag - $8)
(not pictured - magnet of Birchbox square logo)

The theme for January is clarity, hence the skincare and creamy periwinkle nail polish that just welcomes the promise of Spring just around the corner!

For more info on Birchbox, please click here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Royal Blowout - My Guest Post for Miss Omni Media and A Look at My Busy Week

Hello there,
It's going to be a busy week for me, posting may be a bit sporadic - well compared to last week. So to get you by, here's my guest post for

How did Oribe's pricey styling juice do on my course hair? Find out here.

I will spend the first part of the week interviewing for a new position at the current company I am working. I have spent six years as an admin - now, don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with that but I'm ready for new challenges, change and a larger pay check definitely does not hurt!

I did make sure my makeup was tame, my hair was neat, I removed old, chipped nail polish on my nails and yes, I did wear a suit. The only thing I refused to do was not wear any scent. I did make sure I wore something unoffensive like:

Patchouli, Oak Moss, Bergamot, Pink Peppercorn and Jasmine

I was shocked when I got a whiff of this - I was expecting more of a heady floral, the kind that makes my head spin in a very bad way. This on the other hand, the opposite reaction. First whiff, it's fresh (from bergamot) then the patchouli kicks in and on my skin does it ever! It's not that hippy patchouli you find at head shops but a very chic yet earthy form of it. Not into patchouli? This scent may not be for you. Then a few minutes later, if you smell and pay attention there's a subtle scent that is reminiscent of leather. It's not as blatant as Kelly Caleche Hermes per se but it's there. My coworker sniffed me and she said I smelled spicy - there's the pink peppercorn.

I'm still training myself to detect it but I trust her since I didn't tell her that pink peppercorn is indeed in the mix. Well, I'm still learning and it's hard to train your nose when you are getting over bad sinus headaches.

So if I didn't get this new position, at least I smelled damn good!

Bottega Veneta - $95/1.7 oz
                           $130/2.5 oz

I was lucky enough to make myself a very generous sample - I love that samples are self-serve at Nordstrom now. At this rate, I won't have to buy a full bottle for a while!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 5 - Ignite

To make up for yesterday's cheat day, I bring you Illmasqua's Ignite (reddish orange):

This lipstick formula is described as matte but surprisingly there's a bit of a slip to it. However, it was still a bit dry on the lips. I added a layer of gloss to it - Dolce & Gabbana's Lip Gloss in Secret (sheer tangerine orange. After the lip gloss topping faded, the color endured for hours. The pigment gradually faded but I didn't have to reapply till after my lunch time spin class - six hours after initial application, around 6:50 AM.

Obligatory arm swatch:

I was inspired by Bobbi Brown's Spring Neons and Nudes 2012 collection with the look I decided to wear to the office.

With lips this bright, I really kept my eyes soft so they didn't conflict each other. However, I still felt a bit self-conscious with this type of intensity at the office this early in the morning.

I'm happy I survived this challenge, with just one small set back yesterday. I think I made up for it today with this lipstick. The one thing I really enjoyed with this challenge was only spending around five minutes doing my eye makeup.

I may have to convert to colorful lipsticks just so I can have an extra ten minutes of sleep. It's a fair trade-off, right?

Illmasqua Lipstick - $22/USD (bought at Sephora)
Dolce & Gabbana Lip Gloss - $29/USD (bought at Saks Fifth Ave)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 4 - Forever Yours

Confession - I think I cheated on my week long challenge today. I did my eye makeup just a touch bit darker than I intended and I just don't feel right rocking a smoky eye with a bold lip, well I don't feel right doing it for a day at the office. So to balance it out, I went with a lovely mauve-berry shade:

Edward Bess' Forever Yours Ultra Slick Lipstick:

It looks a bit dark in the tube but on my lips it almost registers as a nude, okay a nude with mauve tones.

And here it is on my arm (NC 42 for reference):

I love Edward Bess' lipsticks, I just wished it was easier to buy. I was lucky to buy this in person last time I was at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, where I had the pleasure of getting my makeup done by Mr. Bess as a birthday treat, and now my only option is to buy this online or as a phone order via Neiman Marcus (Beverly Hills) or BG.

Maybe it is a good thing that EB cosmetics aren't easily available. Well it is for my bank account!

This lipstick has a great amount of slip and even though that this line of lipsticks are Ultra Slick, it's anything but that. It's got a great amount of pigment and it has a pretty good wear time, well depending on how many liquids you drink between applications. I also, love the fig scent.

So is this a darker nude shade? Did I cheat?

Technically, no but it does look like a darker nude shade that I would normally wear. Okay, a minor fail.

I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipstick - $32

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 3 - Glossy, Cherry Red

Since I've been wearing colors - light and dark - I have been taking full advantage that a statement lip require much little else on your face. Therefore, I have been sleeping in. Sometimes I lose count how many times I smack the snooze option on my cell phone.

I knew I wanted to wear a cherry, glossy red lip so I pulled out a new lip liner I recently purchased:

NYX Lipliner Pencil, #804 Cabaret, a lovely soft burgundy red. It goes on very smoothly and evenly. I just wished it was a longer pencil and longer wearing. Then again, for $3.99 you get what you pay for.

Here it is all by itself:

The gloss I knew this would pair well with - Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss, Fatale (blue cherry red with soft shimmer):

I originally reviewed Fatale here.

I very pleased with this pairing - it's very playful and flirty.

Perfect to keep my spirits light at a very busy, stressful day at work. I'm also trying to prep for my BIG interviews next week so this helps keep me smiling at my desk!

NYX Lipliner Pencil - $3.99 (purchased at Ulta)
Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss - $32 (purchased at Nordstrom Stonestown Galleria, SF)

Okay I did my three safe colors first - the last two days will be a challenge. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 2 - Aubergine Lips

Aubergine....sounds so much nicer than eggplant lips, don't it?

Meet Train Bleu, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

I know it's really dark.

It's pretty dark on the lips, too!

As you can see, it's a color that you need super smooth lips to pull off. I apologize, obviously someone hasn't been exfoliating regularly. Yes, I disgusted myself after looking at this picture. Also, this is too much color for a day at the office. Date night, it's on - especially since Mr. Lex tells me he likes a dark lip. But I would still need to tone this down because it reminds me of my high school goth girl days!

I hope he's down for this dark a lip!

So how did I tone this baby down? With a pink pearl shimmer gloss, of course!

After blotting and applying two light layers of gloss, I got a shade that is office appropriate.

Again, eyes are kept very nude and simple. I used a berry blush with gold shimmer (NARS Sin). I really love this look. Eggplant is a very tricky shade to wear because it's very easy to go into Goth Girl territory.  I'm not 16 anymore and I want to look vampy, not like I work at Hot Topic!

Here's a swatch on my NC 42 forearm:

Day 2 - successfully toned down a vampy eggplant into an office friendly berry shimmer!

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, $24
Available at fine department stores offering the NARS collection, Sephora and online.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now??

Day 1 of my NO NUDE LIPS week challenge!

I also need to complete this before next week - I have an interview within my department for another position and screaming hot pink lips is not quite the look I'm going for!

I eased into color with this poppy pink shade:

MAC Cremesheen, Speak Louder

It's pink with a bit of red.

It's how I dip my toe into the pool of color without doing a cannonball.

Although it's not retina burning bright for the office, I still prefer to keep my eyes soft and put the focus on my lips. With a pink lip, I love a pink blush.

Eyes: MAC Woodwinked on lid/L'Oreal Smooth Latte (review coming soon) in the crease/UD Foxy on browbone/UD 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Smog/Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara

Blush: Chanel Joues Contraste #67 Rose Tourbillon

I forgot to mention that to keep the color from moving outside my natural lip line, I paired this with MAC Soar (mid-tone pinkish brown). This is an easy color to wear. When it fades it's not a scary, patchy stain. Also, along with the lustre finish, the cremesheen is my next favorite - it has nice slip and remains comfortable on my sensitive lips when the color sets.

I have a feeling that my lips might get progressively brighter as the week goes on...we shall see! But I think it's safe to say I'm off to a good start

MAC Cremesheen Lipstick, Speak Louder is a permanent color and retails for $14.50/USD. It's sold at fine department stores that carry the MAC line, MAC free standing stores, as well as online.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Best Buys or '11 - Makeup and More!

Some of the best things I bought this year were surprisingly enough not beauty items!

The best non-beauty item purchased last year was my gym membership to the super fancy Equinox gym. 

Equinox, the NY based gym, has three locations in Northern California - one gym happens to be in downtown SF, about a seven minute walk from my office. Yes, I am often late from lunch running back from an after spin, yoga, weight, etc. I even purchased a few training sessions, probably the reason why my cosmetic/shoe purchases for the year were far and few between. It was well worth it because my awesome trainer helped me shed ten pounds. I am half way from my goal of twenty-five, I'll probably have to tack on a few extra pounds since I can't seem to stop eating "Holiday Style". 

This is the most I've ever spent on membership fees but I get free use of towels, the ladies locker room is stocked with Kiehl's bath products, there's a great health food cafe (also pricey) and there's a spa that gives a 10% discount off to members. I am still trying to save up for another massage as I type! I have to say this is money well spent.

This year, I am contemplating re-joining Weight Watchers. Those Jennifer Hudson commercials are starting to annoy me but I cannot snark - the girl worked her butt off on WW and she looks fantastic! I have joined and quit the program three time - this time I need to commit and quit when I reach my goal weight!

The other item came late in the year. It's my first Marc by Marc Jacobs purse. Technically it's not my first - I own a wristlet, a makeup pouch and a super cute medium sized clutch purse. But this it the style of purse I've had my eye on for a few years and I am so glad that I had the will power to apply a Nordstrom gift card I received on my birthday toward this purchase. Usually, I would blow a gift card at the cosmetic counter, naturally but this time I thought I'd REALLY treat myself.

Behold, the Supersonic Snake Printed Hiller' Faux Leather Hobo

I initially had buyer's remorse because of the price tag and also I thought about how much I paid for a purse that's 100% PVC. But it makes me smile when I use it and I get endless compliments from complete strangers on the street. Women talk to me about my purse on the elevator and how they are also obsessed with Marc by Marc Jacobs bags. I'd like to add a Marc Jacobs Stam bag one day but I'd have to save up a long time for that one but come on who wouldn't like to own THAT bag?

Here I am with my bag (for scale):

I don't know why I am not smiling and then I realized this was taken on my way to work. Who is really excited at 6:55 AM to go to work?

I am shocked at how much I can stuff into this bag - it's an awesome work bag!

I thank my good girlfriend, Cindy for giving me the gift card on my birthday. This girl understands my love for high priced goods! I want to also thank my co-worker and now one of my good friends, Rey - she actually picked this bag out for me. I thought it was bit much but with lots of assurance and coercing she talked me into this print!

I am also glad I discovered my new favorite moderately priced shoe line:
Vince Camuto

And these:

Both shoes were under $100 and more comfortable than I thought they would be!

Another great buy: concert tickets!!
Oh and how can I forget the three awesome concerts I attended last year:


Okay so my pick for favorite makeup item in 2011 has to be my everyday foundation:

Chanel Perfection Lumiere - reviewed here for

I love that you can work the formula with a light hand and wear it like a tinted moisturizer or layer it on a bit more for traditional coverage. This is the first Chanel foundation I have found that matches my skin very well and hasn't made my skin breakout!

Another great purchase for me was the Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Liner:

I wear this liner every other day. I love the formula but I really love this sexy bronze liner color even more. I use to shy away from colors like this because I thought they were too light for my skin tone. Boy, was I wrong. I pair it with strong red lips, as well as with glossy nude lips. This color works for all occasions - it's even stunning just by itself. The fact that it's practically budge proof is just a bonus.

My other favorite easy, swipe 'n go eye product had to be the Chanel touch cream shadow, Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Emerveille - soft peach shimmer.

I thought that this would be too light for me but it lights my eyes up nicely, especially when I need to look awake. I reviewed the product here.

A surprise buy for me has to be the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. okay technically not a new item for 2011 but I did buy the latest color from the Holiday collection, Train Bleu:

A stunning and dramatic eggplant shade.

My everyday favorite shade is Bahama and for a product with word Matte in it's title, it is oddly moisturizing!

It is the perfect pink-brown for me!

One last honorable mention - Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes!

I think I've collected about six bottles in 2011. I need to curb myself but it's tough when the awesome creator, Ji Baek rereleases old favorites, Bib (bring it back) on her site. I never had the pleasure to get my nails done at her nail salon, Rescue Beauty Lounge, even when I was in NYC two years ago. She has since closed her doors down but she still has a legion of fans willing to order as many polishes as Ji is willing to crank out. I'm pretty sure once she shuts down for good - there will be an angry mob with pitch forks outside her door. I'll be one of them!

Hands down these are my favorite polishes over the $8 mark. I can stop buying Essie, Zoya and OPI if I just use RBL but who am I kidding? It took me 25 minutes at Ulta yesterday just mulling over the decision whether or not to purchase yet another Essie polishes. I can happily announce that I put it back and walked away! I was already past my $20 limit!

So as far as Beauty Resolutions for 2012 I think wearing more colorful lips is top of my lips. A close second is shopping for more affordable, drugstore beauty.

Starting this week, I'll do another self-imposed challenge:

COLORED LIPS week!! It'll be tough because I love me a pink nude lip. I know I can do this. The best part of colorful lips is that I wear less makeup letting me shave at least five minutes off my primping time. The worst part is the high maintenance. I'll have to check my lips every hour, especially after finishing my water and coffee.

I have to say last year was a good one - but also a time of loss. I lost a dear friend unexpectedly. Those closest to E are still mourning his loss. But I know a bit of him walks with us daily. That  keeps me going and it comforts me.

So goals set forth: remaining positive in times of struggle, get my financial crap straight, shopping more of my makeup stash hiding in my bathroom (ties with budgeting goal), take up a new hobby (knitting), conquering my fear of making homemade pie dough, becoming more fragrance knowledgeable, make more time for friends, run a marathon (5K or half for now) and basically being the best mom and person my daughter and family can be proud of!

Wow, I didn't think I had that many goals! What are some of your self-imposed goals for 2012?