Category: Beauty

Beauty Blogger Tag!

I have been loving Dorkchops blog and she recently did this tag.  If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll do this tag too!

1) Is your hair naturally straight or curly?
My hair is stick straight.  It’s really difficult to maintain a curl by heat styling, so I get one of those Korean digital perms periodically.  It looks like I took the time to curl it myself, but it requires very little-to-no effort.

2) Do you dye it yourself or go to the salon?
You know, I’ve never dyed my hair.  I used to want to put red streaks or purple in my hair, but those days are behind me…  maybe.

3) Do you wear the same style everyday, or do you switch it up?
I’ll either wear my hair down, pin my bangs up to the side, pull it into a side ponytail or put it in a messy top knot.  I wish I knew how to braid my hair!  If it’s a particularly bad hair day, I will wear a slouchy beanie.

4) Do your own mani/pedi or go to the salon?
I do my own nails because it takes me forEVER to pick out what color I want.  🙂  I started wearing nail polish after I discovered quick drying topcoat.  Revolutionary!!  Prior to that, I barely wore polish.

5) How often do you change your nail polish?
Usually, I’ll switch the polish on my fingers once a week or so.  My polish will typically last long enough for me to get sick of the color and that’s about 7-12 days.  If I’m really inspired or it looks really chipped, I’ll change my polish sooner.  I will change the polish on my toes about every three weeks…

6) Do you polish your toes in the winter or just the summer?
All year round!

7) How long does it take for you to put your makeup on? 
Hmm, on a work day, probably 5-10 minutes.  On a weekend, maybe 15-20 minutes?  Special occasions or filming makeup takes about 30-45 minutes.

8) What do you do first face or eyes?
I always do face first, unless I’m doing a super smoky look with potential for lots of fallout.

9) Do you collect makeup or just buy it?
Oooh, good question.  I initially thought, “No way! I don’t collect makeup!”  I’m wrong though…  There are a few items I collect.  I have a LOT of the Maybelline Color Tattoos.  They are amazing and I’m sure you’ve all heard about how great they are as a base for eyeshadows!  I did a whole post on them back in the day that you can read here.  I am a huge Urban Decay fan and have been informally collecting the Vice palettes.  I have Vice 2 and 3.  I’ve heard the Vice, Ltd is out, but I need to swatch it to decide if I’m going to pick one up.  I’m not sold on it yet.  If you have one, let me know what you think!

10) How often do you wear false eyelashes?
I will only wear them if I’m filming something.  I don’t think I’ve ever worn them in my everyday life.  Maybe I should try that this year!  I had eyelash extensions once and that was super fun.  I had the most fluttery, beautiful lashes for a whole month!

11) Do you do full face makeup everyday?
For work, it’s funny.  I’ll typically wear a tinted moisturizer, blush, some light contour, and a natural lip color, but won’t put eye makeup on.  I don’t know why I do that, especially since I think eye makeup is my favorite!  I may have to change that.  On the weekends, I’ll do the whole routine, but I like to keep my look pretty natural.

12) Do you wear makeup when you’re home alone or with family?
Not usually, unless I’m filming something or trying out new products.

13) Will you leave the house without makeup?
I used to, but now, I try to at least put on tinted moisturizer (for SPF purposes too) and lip color.  Otherwise, I think I look kind of tired.

14) How many high end products do you own?
I think I do a mix of drugstore and medium-ish range products.  I really like Maybelline products, like their Fit Me concealer, Color Tattoos, and some of their mascaras.  My nicer brands include Urban Decay, Hourglass, Nars, Too Faced, and Tarte.  I have a few Chanel items I invested in last year that I enjoy a lot.  There are some other brands I’m excited to try, but I’m trying to be more selective these days.  Let me know if you have some “must-try” suggestions!

15) Do you plan your OOTD every night or decide when you get ready?
I usually pick my outfit when I get ready, unless it’s a special occasion.  Every so often, I’ll go “shopping” in my closet and experiment with what I have to come up with new combinations I wouldn’t normally think of on the fly.  It’s really fun doing that!

16) How often do you change your handbag?
It depends on how big of a bag I need.  Sometimes, I just want something streamlined, so I’ll switch to a small cross body.  If I’m traveling or need to carry a lot, I’ll bring something more roomy with me.

17) What time do you wake up and go to sleep?
Weekdays, I wake up around 6:30 a.m. and go to bed around 11:30 p.m.  On weekends, I will wake up around 8 or 9 a.m. but sleep anywhere between 1 – 3 a.m.   I’m a night owl by nature…  these days, I’m enjoying a break from the routine.

18) How often or when do you work out?
1-2 times a week, sometimes more.

19) Left or right handed?
Right!  I can sort of write using my left hand and maaaaybe use a utensil…

20) Do you speak any foreign languages?
I can speak Spanish and some Korean.  My Spanish is actually pretty respectable.  I can treat my patients speaking in Spanish (and doing lots of gesturing).  When I try to think of words in Korean, usually I’ll think of the word in Spanish first…  hahaha.

21) How tall are you?

22) How many pets do you have?
I have a dog!  I love him.  🙂

23) How often do you blog?
Since I’ve been off work, I’m trying to blog at least every other day, sometimes more.  I’m going back to work soon, but I’m hoping to continue blogging consistently.  I’ve blogged here and there over the years, but I will say, this time around has been the most enjoyable, especially since I’ve been able to connect with such cool people!

24) Do you read comments?
Yes!  I love reading comments and replying!  I think it’s an awesome way to connect with other people.  Isn’t that why we blog?

25) Do you keep a list of products to try that you see in a post?
Heck yeah!  It’s actually pretty dangerous.  I’m trying to put myself on a temporary makeup purchase ban, but it’s challenging.  Making a list helps me prioritize what I’m actually going to try out.

26) How did you come up with your blog name?
I based it off of a nickname I had in college.  🙂

27) What kind of camera do you use for your photos?
I use a Nikon D5100 or D300 for my high-res photos, but I admit, I’ve used my cellphone for quick photo sometimes.

28) How often do you clean your house?
I try not to make a mess in the first place, but sometimes, life gets in the way.  I’ll usually try to clean up after myself right away, if possible.  I’ll do a more thorough clean once a week.

29) What’s your favorite color?
I like blue, black, and gray.

30) Do you swear?
I don’t swear very often.  If I’m swearing, it usually means I’m driving and just encountered an idiot on the road.  :p

31) What are you doing for the rest of the day?
It’s 2:36 a.m. right now.  I am going to sleep!  Later on, I think I’m going to try to film my next video for my “One Take” series.  I may go to Ulta and swatch the Vice Ltd palette.  I’m still on a makeup purchase ban, but I don’t want to have any regrets.  🙂  I also want to write up a January favorites post sometime soon.

Thanks for reading!  If you end up doing this tag, please let me know.  I would love to read what your answers are!

This is my first Manicure Monday post!  I’ve seen them on the blogosphere for quite some time now and it seems like a fun way to share about what colors I’ve been enjoying lately.  I’m no nail artist, but I DO like to change things up.  Sometimes, I’ll wear neutral colors, but other times, the shades will be bold.  There are also occasions where I’ll wear different (but complementary) shades on each hand.  It all depends on how I feel.

IMAG1169This week, I went for Julep’s Avni, described as an African violet shimmer.  I applied a Sally Hansen base coat, two layers of Avni, and Julep’s Freedom Polymer Top Coat.  I decided to add a little sparkle to my ring fingers using Sephora’s Formula X Effects Top Coat in Oh! Zone, a silver holographic microglitter.  I was happy that Avni looks just as nice on the nails as it does in the bottle.  I think it’s a shade that will look lovely on a variety of skin tones.  The Formula X Top Coat adds just the right amount of festivity while still being subtle.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Julep polishes.  I like them, but they took some getting used to.  When I first started using them, I had a difficult time getting even layers because it has a really long wand.  The polish on the end of the brush would be really thick and goopy because of all the excess polish on the wand would drip down onto the brush.  I’ve found that if I wipe that excess polish off the wand as I’m pulling it out of the bottle, I can get much better control over the amount of product I’m using.  It also prevents the excess polish from drying up on the wand and adding goopy polish into my fresh polish.  Ugh.

Aside from that issue, I like that Julep polishes are 5-free (free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, and DBP), vegan, have a UV filter and made in the U.S.  They also have oxygen technology that lets your nail beds breathe.  Each polish is named after a woman and each purchase supports different organizations that empower women.

You know, blogging is making me realize that I like supporting companies that give back somehow.  I guess if I’m going to buy something, it may as well support a good cause, right?

Anyway, what are some of your favorite nail polishes from January?  Any recommendations on colors to try?  Please let me know!

Wow, so how’s that for a title?  I think it may be the longest title I’ve ever had on a blog post…  🙂

I really enjoyed writing that last review, so I decided to write another one.  I’ve never considered myself to be a beauty blogger, but the more I’m honest with myself, I like beauty products and being able to talk about them with others.  Isn’t that why we blog?  To find a way to connect with others who are passionate about similar things?  I genuinely enjoy reading/watching what other people have found on their journey and what works for them.  You know those “Best of 2014” videos that were flying around YouTube recently?  Love them.  I’ve watched so many of them during my time off and I am not ashamed.

So, this brand, Tatcha.  I’ve never heard of it before, but I learned about DSC_0414it from someone’s “Best of” list.  Tatcha was founded by Victoria Tsai.  She used to work for large corporations, but changed course after a visit to Japan.  These luxury products were inspired by geisha beauty rituals, following a mantra of “less is more.”  According to the Tatcha website, the ingredients are free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA or TEA.  None of the products are tested on animals.  This company even supports education for young girls with an organization called Room to Read with every full-sized purchase!  The more I read about it, the more I respect the brand.  As an aside, the packaging is really pretty.  Holy schmoly, these photos don’t do it justice.  The bottles are plastic, but don’t feel cheap.  Another plus is that plastic is more travel friendly.

What about the products?  A company can be great, but it doesn’t matter if the products don’t deliver.  I purchased the cleansing oil and rice enzyme powder (they’re meant to be a duo) to see if it would counteract this giant colony of angry acne that developed on my chin upon my arrival in Chicago.  I left most of my makeup/toiletries in California because I was only supposed to be in Chicago for a week.  I think my skin was irritated from the flight, lack of sleep, stress, drastic temperature change, etc.  Usually, when my skin breaks out, it clears up within a few days.  This colony of acne frenemies stuck around for a week.  I was also starting to break out in areas I don’t typically have problems.  I was looking for something that would be a good makeup remover and cleanser, but would also soothe my irritated skin.  I also wanted a gentle exfoliant to help keep my skin looking fresh.  I’ve learned that if I don’t exfoliate with some regularity, my skin breaks out more.  Go figure.

The cleansing oil was a pleasant surprise.  It’s meant to be applied to your dry face with dry hands.  It took off my waterproof mascara like a champ without making my eyes burn!  After you work the oil into your skin, you dampen your hands and the oil becomes milky.  Once I rinse all the oil off, I pour some of the enzyme powder in my wet hand and apply all over my damp face.  The powder turns into this light “lather.”  It’s not bubbly or foamy like soap, but it’s not a powder anymore.  This all sounds like it takes a long time, but it really doesn’t.  My skin felt clean afterwards, but not dry.  Usually, the area around my lips gets crazy-dry after washing my face and if I don’t put some moisturizer on quickly, it’s uncomfortable.  With this system, I was able to take my time.  These two products work nicely together.

I’ve been using these products for a little over a week and my skin feels soothed.  My cluster of acne didn’t look so angry after my first use and went away within a day.  Nice!  I get the occasional blemish appearing, but it goes away within a day now, instead of lingering.

Here’s my take on this:  I really like the cleansing oil.  I think DSC_0416it’s a great product, even though it’s pricey ($48 for 5.1 fl. oz).  My philosophy is that skin care is worth investing in, though.  The product is made with natural ingredients, gentle, and effective on my skin.  I don’t feel like there’s oil residue all over my face after using it.  It takes off waterproof mascara without burning!  I only use this product at night (1 pump for light makeup, 2 for heavier application).  If I didn’t put on any makeup that day, I’ll only use the rice enzyme powder.

Speaking of the rice enzyme powder:  As an exfoliator, it’s pretty gentle.  I think I still need to use a stronger exfoliator throughout the week.  It’s really nice as a gentle cleanser.  It’s supposed to even skin tone, hyper pigmentation, and breakouts.  It’s definitely helping with the breakouts.  I’ll keep you posted on evening skin tone.  You don’t need much of it, maybe 1/2 teaspoon, give or take.  The price for this item is $65 2.1 oz.  I will let you know how long it takes for me to get through this jar.  I don’t recommend using this product in the shower because it’ll get ruined if water gets in the container, so if that’s your thing, you might need an alternative.

All in all, I really like the combination of these two products.  I’ll give you an update once I finish them up and let you know if I’ll repurchase.  You know, it’s one of those situations where I’m glad I found something that works, but my wallet is horrified.  Hopefully these items will last me a while and my wallet will have a little time to recover.  I bought my items at Sephora (per usual), but I hear you can also get these at QVC and also the Tatcha website.

How do you feel about cleansing oils?  Do you have a routine that works for your breakouts?  Any recommendations?  Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

It’s been a long time since I did a beauty review!  If I’m correct, I only did one, but I definitely have drafts of other ones… I just never posted them, BUT it’s 2015 and I’m just going to do it!

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 2.32.50 PM

Anyway, do you remember when that show, The Blacklist, first came out?  I was on a mission to find the perfect pinky-berry lip, much like the main character of that show.  Her makeup was great, even as she was taking down bad guys.  I thought, hey, I don’t usually wear a shade like that, but maybe if I find a matte version, I would be more likely to wear it.  I don’t know why I thought that to be true, especially since I typically NEVER wear matte lip products.  Little did I know…

Remember the Guy Bourdain Nars collaboration from 2013?  I totally picked up a lip pencil set back then during a sale at Sephora.  I had heard so much hype about how awesome these lip pencils are and there was a great pinky-berry shade included in that set.  It was a steal, especially considering how pricey an individual lip pencil typically costs.  There were five lip pencils:  four of them were the velvet matte lip pencils (Cruella, Dolce Vita, Sex Machine, and Never Say Never) and one was a velvet gloss lip pencil (New Lover).  The Velvet Gloss lip pencil is not photographed because truthfully, I can’t find it.  It’s in one of my bags somewhere…

Nars Lip pencil swatches

According to the Sephora website, the velvet matte lip pencils are like a combination of lip pencil and lipstick.  They are supposed to be hydrating, super pigmented, long-lasting, and glide on.  The shades are described as follows:

  • Never Say Never: lilac rose, the shade I was looking for! I love it!
  • Sex Machine: pink mauve, has slight shimmer to it
  • Dolce Vita: dusty rose, a really nice, everyday shade, one of my favorites
  • Cruella: scarlet red, one of the most popular shades in this line

DSC_0417So, why am I posting about an old set I bought a year ago?  Well…  it’s because it’s taken me about that long to figure out how to wear these and actually like how it looks.  I’ve been experimenting with them during my time in Chicago because I left a lot of my makeup in California.  These lip pencils were definitely on my list of regretful purchases until recently.

My advice is, if you have dry, peeling skin on your lips, you may want to use a lip scrub.  Here’s a DIY recipe you can use, no need for super fancy stuff!  If my lips are doing okay, I’ll just put on some lip balm (Nivea’s A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon is my current one) and apply the Velvet Matte lip pencil.  I usually use the side of the pencil, not the very tip, to fill in my lips.  If my lips still look a little sad and dry, which happens, I will sometimes apply a tiny bit of Buxom gloss (in Sophia) pictured above to make things look a little more hydrated.

Now that I’m actually using these, I will say, they are rather long-lasting and unfussy after you put it on.  There are 14 different shades currently, so there’s plenty to choose from.  My favorite shades are Dolce Vita and Never Say Never, but maybe one of these days, I’ll be bold enough to rock a red lip.  Sex Machine is kind of meh…  it doesn’t inspire me to wear it, maybe because it’s a more cool toned pink with shimmer…  Meh.

The downsides:  unfortunately, you have to sharpen them.  Word to the wise – my generic pencil sharpener is not quite the same size/shape as these lip pencils, so it wastes even more product than sharpening already does.  I’ve read reviews saying you probably need to get the $6 NARS pencil sharpener…  You decide what’s more annoying to you: shelling out $6 for a sharpener, wasting product, or high-maintenance, expensive products to begin with.  :p  Another thing is you still have to re-apply these after meals.  This doesn’t really bother me though because I don’t expect lipsticks to survive after meals.  The biggest downside for me, however, is the price.  It’s $25 for a 0.09 oz pencil.  Wha?!  The good news, though, is you can find limited edition holiday sets.  The set I’m talking about is over and done with, but if you’re looking for a current Nars lip pencil gift set, you can check it out at Sephora at $49.  This one has two velvet mattes and three satin lip pencils and cool packaging. It’s a better deal if you know you like these lip pencils or if you want to try a bunch of shades without paying for them individually.

Me?  I’m just going to work on the ones I have until they run out.  The jury is still out on whether or not I’ll repurchase, but I’m glad I’ve been forced to find a way to use them.  What about you?  Have you been forced to revisit old items in your makeup collection?  Do you know of any dupes for these lip pencils?  Any tips or tricks to make them apply better?  Please leave suggestions in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

* This is not a sponsored review.  These are my honest opinions and I bought these items with my own money.