Monday, December 26, 2011

my first time: luxury gifts for christmas


i feel so blessed. christmas was good to me this year. i thought i would share a little peek at a few of my gifts this year. all are things that have been on my wish list for a long time (besides the mac cleanse off oil, i have used this before and really enjoyed it but i havent gotten around to repurchasing. i like it more than shu uemura)

i can hear the angels first chanel and burberry items! i told myself when i purchase luxury brand cosmetics, i was going to wait until i could go all out and purchase a few things at once to try. looks like i get to jump start my exploration of luxury brands with chanel's soleil tan de chanel bronzing base and burberry's russet blush.

finally, FINALLY, i own nars mounia! i have been wanting this for the longest time but by the time i was committed to purchasing it they discontinued the shade. i am so happy i have this shade to add to my ever growing nars collection.

& of course, dolce and gabbana's light blue. i already have opened this and used it. i am still in love with the scent. i know it is massively popular and many people own it but i love the scent all the same. i keep smelling myself and smiling.


i leave you now with a picture of my awesome christmas sweater i wore. yes it has ribbons, pearls, and just about everything else you can think of on it. super baggy, tacky, festive, and fabulous har har.

i hope you all had a great holiday with plenty of food, love, and family/loved ones. i am so thankful for all i have. share what you got for gifts lovely readers! i love hearing what people end up receiving.

now i have to ponder about what to wear for new years. it is coming up fast...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

christmas eve media


this year i have discovered i have become much more comfortable going outside the "nude lipsticks only" territory. case in point: today i am wearing mac's media, a recent addition to my lipstick collection. i back to mac'ed for this because if i am going to wear a red it is going to be a dark berry red. the bright cherry reds dont seem to flatter me, or so i think...

i also wore bobbi brown's pot rouge in blushed rose. i havent worn this shade in a long time and i dont know why. it will always be one of my favorite blush shades since it adds such a soft touch of color to my face while blending in the skin so easily.

are you uncomfortable wearing bold lip shades or is wearing color normal for you? i am still a nude lipstick girl at heart, but being a little bold can be fun every once in a while...

Friday, December 23, 2011

holiday cookies + mani


here is my holiday mani of choice this year: blood red nails with silver glitter accent. nothing massively creative, just something festive. plus i was itching to try out my new set in stones glitter polish i blogged about last time.


i used essie limited addiction for the blood red. as for my accent nail i used revlon silver ring as a base with two coats of essie set in stones. i thought about doing all my nails this combo but i really wanted to try out limited addiction which, by the way, is insanely smooth and pigmented. one coat of this polish and i couldnt see any nail line. i did three coats out of habit but it definitely didnt need that many. wear time seems to be great, this is three days of wear and tear!



hope you are all enjoying your holidays, i have already dived into the festivities! yesterday i spent 5 hours rolling and baking my grandma's thin sugar cookies. talk about exhausting. i am actually not a huge fan of the typical thick and frosted sugar cookies always seen around this time, i only like my grandma's thin and sprinkled version! they are small, melt in your mouth and they especially pair well when dipped in a cup of hot tea. yum.

happy holidays! cant wait to see what everyone gets for christmas this year....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

diy christmas present idea: crayon art

another DIY present project: retro crayon art! this is a really easy inexpensive idea i saw on tumblr (i cant find the link for it!) i plan on giving this to my younger sister, i think she will think it is really neat, at least i hope so!

things you will need:

crayons (i used a 48 count box)
canvas (i used a 12x16 but any size you want will do)
hot glue gun and hot glue
a bowl of warm water
towel/old fabric

step 1
DSC_5917align your crayons in the order you would like. i am going for a rainbow effect, but you can be creative and use only blue tones, grey tones, etc.

step 2
DSC_5918-horzthis part is optional, but i prefer the look without the wrapping. if you want to keep the wrapping on skip this step.

if you want bare crayons, peel off the wrapper. to make this MUCH easier and less time consuming, soak your crayons in a bowl of warm water. you have to figure out what temperature works best by testing it, too hot and your crayon will melt, too cold and the wrapper doesn't unravel as easy. experiment! i found if the water was just bearably hot to the touch, it was perfect. any colder and it didnt peel off as easily.

step 3
DSC_5921once unwrapped, hot glue your crayons in the order you like at the topmost part of the canvas. make sure to place the hot glue on the CANVAS, and then place the crayon on top of the glue. putting the hot glue on the crayon itself will melt your crayon and get it all over your glue gun.

step 4
DSC_5924 place old fabric or a towel underneath your canvas and start blow drying! keep your blow dryer on either medium or high heat (i did high) and keep the speed setting at LOW. if you blast the crayons on high speed wax will fly everywhere and you won't get very neat dripping effects.

take your time, use different angles to blow the hot air and try to keep a decent distance from the canvas. blowing too close to the crayons muddles the wax together so you can't see all the colors individually. if you find you have bare spots on your canvas, focus on those areas. tilt the canvas at different angles to let the wax settle in different areas. if you have to, take a break and turn off the dryer so the wax can settle in certain areas of the canvas. be creative and experiment yourself!



now you have a neat piece of art that you can frame. i think this is such a neat and fun idea, not to mention colorful.

what do you think of crayon art? i hope you think it is as neat as i do :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

004 vain rambling

time for another installment of vain rambling, where i dedicate my rambling of a few beauty products all in one post so i dont have to do many little posts individually for each product.

i went to a beauty supply store with the full intention of picking up the cult favorite opi lincoln park after dark as well as its sister lincoln park after midnight. if you follow my blog you know i tend to never pay full price for polish, i always hit up beauty supply stores for the heavy discount (usually 50% off).

i am still surprised with myself that i dont own lincoln park after dark, being the nail polish addict that i am. i have been in the mood for a deep, dark purple shade and i dont really have anything like that in my vast collection. sadly when i got to the store, they were fresh out of these two shades. i did, however, end up with a few shades i have had my eye on...

essie limited addiction, set in stones, and opi warm and fozzie.

this beauty supply store had a full display of the essie luxe effects collection. out of the collection, 'set in stones' was the only shade i was interested in. i already have sally hansen's hidden treasure so i saw no need to pick up 'shine of the times'. i am glad i picked this shade up, it satiates my need for silver glitter. i originally wanted sephora by opi's flurry up, but i like essie's version better.

limited addiction has been on my list to grab. nothing special, just a dark blood red. i have so many polishes in this shade but i keep wanting to try different versions. i will have to do a comparison post to what i already have.

as for opi's warm and fozzie, this was the only shade i really wanted from the muppets collection. for some reason rainbow connection really doesnt tug at my heartstrings. this bronze shade, however, does. i wonder if this is similar to mac mercenary?

Photobucketspeaking of polish, i am currently wearing opi russian navy. great choice if you love dark navy/almost black shades.


estee lauder peach nuance blush. i have been wanting this for the longest time but i havent had the chance to purchase it myself. this was gifted to me by my wonderful friend, Hieu, who i have mentioned a few times here on my blog.

Photobucketthis is supposed to be a softer more fool proof version of mac's 'ripe peach' blush ombre. since i dont own ripe peach (yet!) i am ecstatic i get to try out this blush, especially since this shade has been discontinued as well :/

i believe some counters still have it in stock, but once they run out i believe that is it! if you are interested, ask your nearest counter.

Photobucketsomething non-beauty related, but i stopped by my local thrift store and picked up a few books i have been wanting to read for only a dollar each. talk about a bargain. the books i purchased were middlesex, the shack, and 13 reasons why. i am probably giving the latter to my younger sister for christmas since i know she has been wanting to read it. the other two books are ones i currently have checked out from my library :)

what books are you reading at the moment? i love hearing book suggestions :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

what i bring with me when i travel


recently i took a small trip to minnesota to visit relatives. i thought i would share what products i brought with me when i went as well as reflect back on what i ACTUALLY used. what i bring with me when i travel always varies. it depends on what i will be doing on the trip (parties? family events? low key outings?) and how long i am gone. my trip was a little less than a week long and i planned on low key outings with maybe one night out.

DSC_5852this is what i fit everything into. it is a GWP bag from estee lauder i received from my friend.

DSC_5858i am happy to report i used every item here! i also brought a mixture of revlon photoready and neutrogena healthy skin liquid makeup for foundation, but it is contained in a not aesthetically pleasing container so it is obviously not pictured.

i use this to add a nice glow to my face. i havent reached for it in a while so i thought i should start using it again.

love this shade. i never really understood this shade until i got paler. extremely natural color, it looks like my own skin flushed. highly recommend if you are light-med in skin tone...especially light.

i wont blabber about this anymore. i always use this for my bronzer, i am trying to use it up. look at that pan mark!

i have been neglecting my milani blushes so i brought this along to force myself to use it. i like it but sometimes it looks too orange on me.

i just bought this which i mentioned in my last post. i like it so far.

i keep reaching for this highlighter. i love the subtle glow it imparts.

DSC_5855i used almost everything here.

i wont go into this any further since i've done so many posts on this lately (swatches and a look). i used this every day while i was away.

inside is cork (one of my favorite e/s ever), brule, brun, and club. i didnt use any of these shades, i was too busy with all my options from shady lady.

i usually like to bring a paint pot along when i travel since it doubles as a primer and lid color. quite natural is a matte dirty brown. if you want to see swatches see my paint pot collection post.

i used both feline and lineur intense (this one is about done...need a new one!) everyday. i also made myself proud by bringing only one mascara. the nyx jumbo pencil was untouched the whole time. i had no need for a black base.

DSC_5860every single thing pictured was not used! i brought a good variety but ended up going gloss and lipstick free the whole time. too busy eating family food :) pictured here is mac lipsticks in media and creme d'nude (these are new, post coming soon...), stila glosses in raisin and grapefruit, and mac lipgloss in florabundance.

i didnt do TOO terribly in overpacking (i normally do). next time i'll cool it on the lip products since i tend to ignore those the most when i travel. and not so many eye shadows next time.

what do you bring when you travel? also, what do you put all your cosmetics in when you travel? i have been trying to find a bigger/more sturdy case...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

using shady lady vol 1...


i thought it would only be fair to show a look i have done multiple times using my shady lady vol 1 palette since i already showed you how i used vol 2 in my last post. this time i stuck with my favorite kind of look, a neutral one. easy and basic!


again, caught in the act courtney (the most difficult shade when swatching) was pigmented and applied smoothly when used on the eye. i had no problems with blending and i didnt have to try hard to make the color show up. these palettes are turning out to be greater than i first anticipated...


face: i cant remember what i used for foundation...either revlon photoready or maybelline dream smooth mousse since that is all that matches me right now, maybelline matte powder, cargo med matte bronzer, milani luminoso blush

eyes: groundwork paint pot, luscious lani on lid, caught in the act courtney in crease and smudged under the eyes, lineur intense liner, mac feline, prestige my blackest lashes (what else?!)

lips: mac florabundance

what do you think? very boring huh? i quite like boring...

Monday, December 12, 2011

diy christmas present idea: laundry detergent

this year for christmas i decided i was going to get more crafty when it came to gifts. it is more personal and i really enjoy diy projects!

for my parents i decided to try making some homemade laundry detergent. my parents are really into natural type products (they love Tom's for toothpaste!) so i thought it would be a neat project for me to try out. plus it will be something new for my parents to try!

i chose a simple recipe, a powder one. all you have to do is grate and measure! as for if it is the best/cleanest/most effective detergent, i am not sure. i will have to get feedback from my parents after they use it.

here is what i used:


1 bar of fels-naptha
1 bar of castile soap
baking soda

fels-naptha is an old school laundry soap. this will probably be the hardest item for you to find. i found mine at my local True Value store in the soaps/laundry aisle.

as for castile soap, it should be easier. i used dr. bronners which i found at target. if you want a cheaper alternative (dr bronners is expensive, around $5 for one bar!) try walmart for kirk's castile soap. it comes in a pack of three for around $3-4.


all i did was grate the soaps with a cheese grater, add 1 1/2 cups of baking soda, and stirred it all together. for each load, about a 1/3 cup should be used... 1/2 cup for heavily soiled ones. to store my mixture i found a glass canister at the salvation army for 50 cents, but you could put it in a mason jar if you had that handy.

what do you think? do you make your own detergent? what recipe do you use? i hope this recipe i used works well for my parents.

i have a few diy christmas present ideas that i will probably share if they turn out well so stay tuned...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

picking up the essentials


well, maybe i am using the term 'essentials' loosely here, but you get the general idea. i needed a few beauty items lately that were desperately needed to make my beauty routine easier. a little bit of tried and true things with a few new items.

i visited the body shop as so i could find a remedy to my severely dry skin from the cold weather. i usually can get by with my normal moisturizer, but i was finding lately it wasn't enough. luckily when i stopped in, the body shop had a "spin the wheel to see your savings" deal. i spun and got a coupon for 50% off my entire purchase. not bad!

i decided to try this face mist out. it is supposed to be a hydrating finishing spray, this is my first time trying any type of finishing spray!

simple but definitely needed. funny how much of a difference cotton makes! i ran out and tried to remove my eye makeup with toilet paper, what a disaster...

this is a thick pink cream. i was debating whether or not to try this intense thick version or the thinner day version. i was worried this would be too greasy for day wear but so far so good on the hydrating front. i hate the scent though! very vitamin E smelling if that makes sense...

definitely my favorite drugstore mascara...a no brainer :) i have yet to get sick of this.

my usual finishing powder (mac msfn) is too dark for me at the moment since i am embracing my winter complexion. i thought i would try something new, especially since i have heard so much about this powder.

what are your beauty essentials? also, i'd love to hear what you dry skinned ladies use to combat tight dry skin!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

using shady lady vol 2...


i thought i would share a look i did using the shady lady vol 2 palette that i showed you all swatches of in my last post. i decided to do a smokey blue since i rarely use blue eye shadow. i think it is because of those icy, tacky, blue shadows people used to abuse in the 90s haha.


surprisingly feisty felicia worked well when used on the eyes. i didn't experience any patchiness or lack of pigmentation like my previous swatched showed, though the shimmers still didn't transfer. of course all the other shades i used worked smoothly and effortlessly, just like the swatches showed.


products used:

face: MUF HD foundation (not sure if i like this, it is just a sample), mac msfn, cargo med matte bronzer, benefit dallas blush

eyes: UDPP (i used a really old one which i think caused an adverse rxn to my eyelids), nyx jumbo pencil in black bean, shady lady vol 2 palette (bossy bobbi on lid, feisty felicia in outer v, just this once jamie to blend out, tempting tara in inner corner), loreal lineur intense, prestige my blackest lashes

lips: mac florabundance (trying to use this all up, i hate the formula!)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

004 what i'm eating


half pesto, half (homemade) marinara. toppings of choice: tomato, mushrooms, pepperoni...all baked on homemade naan. i have been obsessed with naan! it goes with, eggs, cheese, gyros...endless possibilities!

long hair don't care: my hair history

my hair. it used to be the bane of my existence. now we both are on talking terms and try to tolerate each other. in all seriousness, my hair has always been a battle for me. ready for a long story (if not...skip below to see pictures of my natural hair vs styled hair)?

from infancy to around 12 years old i had easy to manage straight hair. once puberty hit, my hair went from straight glossy locks to a wavy frizzy mess. once i got to high school, my locks turned into curly ringlets. to deal with the sudden change, my hair spent a lot of time in braids and buns. i rarely ever wore it down.

the braid. this was during my senior year of high school. i look fabulous, i know haha.

during my high school years i loathed my hair. i just wanted my straight perfect hair back so i could do cute hairstyles or just wake up and go to school like everyone else (if you have naturally curly hair, you know what i mean. it must be styled someway to be kept tamed!) instead i was stuck with my long, curly, thick, unmanageable hair. my parents did not allow me to use any hot tools on my hair. they loved my natural hair texture and style. i continued with the braids and buns...occasionally i would diffuse my hair and wear it down, but by the middle of the day i would put it back up in the safe bun/braid. i dyed it once, a lighter brown shade, but i regretted it. i hated waiting for the color to fade away! i never dyed my hair again.

Photobucketmy hair, styled with gel, mousse and pinned halfway. this was my junior year in college.

once i went to college, i had begun to embrace my curly hair. i experimented with layers and different products to make my hairstyle manageable and started to wear it down, or at least half-way down, often. the volume of my hair also got manageable, it used to be so thick i couldn't handle it all. it became a "normal" thickness. i still wished for straight, or even wavy hair. i decided to take matters into my own hands (now that i was away from my parents) and try my hand at hot tools.

i first tried a basic drugstore straightener...conair. horrible. sure it made my hair straight, but it was puffy and frizzy still, not the sleek style i imagined.

next i tried the CHI. my friend had a CHI and begged me to let her straighten my hair with it. i allowed it. i ended up with slightly better results than the conair, so i wasn't impressed. i had given up. if the famous CHI straightener couldn't tame my locks, what hope did i have?

skip to last summer. I was wedding gown shopping with/for my best friend who got married this summer. the other bridesmaids came along as well. one of the bridesmaid's mother is a hairstylist, so naturally her daughter had access to the neat tools to try...and she had a GHD. i had heard of the GHD from blushingpixie, but i was skeptical. if the CHI didn't work on my difficult hair, i doubted this expensive tool would. regardless, i was curious so i asked if i could take it for a spin. and that, my friends, changed everything.

words can't express my love for my GHD. it does everything i have been dreaming about since puberty: sleek, shiny, straight hair! i was amazed. something finally tamed my crazy hair. to show you what i mean....

my natural hair. no products, not styled, natural color.
DSC_5753all i did was shower the night before and wake up to this. i prefer showering at night, my hair takes forever to dry!

styled with the GHD.
DSC_5777on me, i don't like the stick straight look. i prefer from the roots to about 3/4 down to be straight with the ends curled. it looks more sophisticated and voluminous.

the back of my hair.

ever since my GHD, i RARELY ever wear my hair naturally curly anymore. don't get me wrong, it isn't that i hate curly hair. i think some girls really rock it and it looks magnificent on them. but on ME, i really prefer the sleeker and smoother look. with curly hair i seem to look about 5 years younger than my normal age. i think with the GHD styled hair, i look the right age. once i have a solid career and money to blow, i am definitely investing in the brazilian keratin treatment.

well that is my (long) hair story. what is yours? i love reading people's hair history. im sorry i dont have any pictures of my hair during my youth to show you...i dont have access to the pictures at the moment or a scanner. if you want to do a post on your own hair history, link it below so i can read!

have you tried the GHD? if you have curly, thick, or coarse unmanageable hair i can't recommend it enough. if your hair is already straight, thin, or fragile i don't think this is the best option for you since it will probably fry your hair (there is only one automatic heat setting and it is extrememly hot!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

who's that shady lady? vol 2


as promised in my last post (click HERE to see my post on shady lady vol 1), here are swatches and pictures of theBalm's shady lady volume 2. let me just say whoever came up with all these risque name combinations is pretty clever. i kinda wish they had a shadow named kelly just to see what they came up with (hopefully not kinky, how unoriginal would that be)...

like its predecessor, all nine shades range from shimmery to metallic. no mattes, again, unfortunately.

caught in the act courtney
caughtinactcourtneythe only repeat in this palette, exact first shade as in vol 1. dark chocolate brown with gold sparkles. this shade was still difficult...

feisty felicia
feistyfeliciablackened plum with purplish red sparkles. this was even more difficult than courtney. i couldnt make the sparkles show up in swatches, just the blacken plum shade showed up.

insane jane
insanejanemetallic taupe. probably my favorite shade in this palette.

bossy bobbi
bossybobbimetallic medium blue. this is lighter and more frosty than risque renee in shady lady vol 1.

makeout mary
makeoutmarygolden khaki. this is more golden/yellow compared to the dirty olive of all about alex in shady lady vol 1.

just this once jamie
justthisonejamiedirty mauve with a silver sheen. unique shade, i have nothing like this.

mischievous marissa
mischeviousmarissafrosty golden orange.

tempting tara
temptingtarafrosty white. pretty standard color but i actually dont have a frosty white in my collection. i can see this being very dupable to most though.

devilish danielle
devilishdaniellefrosty peach. the peach of this shade is so similar to my skin color that it is hard to show up on me. not the shade's fault though, we just match.

swatched all together in the same order as above:
shadyladyvol2swatchi omitted caught in the act courtney since it was the same exact shade in volume 1.

like shady lady volume 1, 2/9 shades are seemingly difficult to work with (seemingly because i havent tried these out on my eyes yet, this is just an observation from swatching). the rest are perfectly smooth and buttery. and again, i wish there were a couple matte shades.

i prefer vol 1 over 2 so far just because of the color range (mischevious marissa scares *gulp). however, i am still glad i picked up volume 2 because of the overall quality and uniqueness of the colors. is this palette worth the full $40 retail price? not to me because of the 2 poor shades and i dont absolutely love all 9 shades. BUT, it is worth the discounted $13 at tjmaxx. this palette is still available at theBalm and sephora websites.

what do you think? do you prefer volume 1 or 2? or...volume 3? volume 3 has a very "spring" theme to it, most of the colors are pastel/brights.