Wednesday, January 30, 2013

the challenge: box of neglect


So I have this box. I call it the "put an item in it and if you forget about it after time you don't need it" box, or the Box of Neglect for short. A few lucky souls make it out alive when its memory lingers back to my mind. As for the rest? Forgotten and unused. The poor items in this box. They are the abandoned and rejected. Not that they are bad products. Mostly it is because I just didn't like them enough. They weren't impressionable and they were very much replaceable.

Since I do tentatively plan to try and attempt a blog sale this year, these are the products that would be put into it. But before I make the final decision and salute them off to new homes, I had an idea. I believe in second chances, so I will give this box of orphaned items just that. This will be my Box of Neglect Challenge for myself. I will do a series of posts on my progress for you all to go along with me to see my final decision for each product: to the box or drawer? Only time will tell...

I plan to use more than one item at a time (do you see the sheer amount of things I have in this?!) as I think it is the best tactic of choice. Let the challenge begin!

BTW, I don't plan to use the very rare Muppets palette by theBalm. I am definitely selling that. Or giving it away? I haven't decided. But I know for sure I am not using it myself. It is untouched!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

review: lancome teint idole ultra 24hr foundation

As promised, here is my review on Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24hr foundation. This foundation's formula was recently redone to add SPF 15 (the old version did not). I have the newer version. This foundation advertises to be a full coverage, comfortable, blendable texture that leaves the complexion perfectly smooth, velvety matte with no powdery effect for 24 hours. It also promises to be oil-free, fragrance-free, and transfer-free. I have been using this foundation consistently for over a month so I feel comfortable to give my final thoughts. My verdict? In short, it is not the best for my needs.


Lancome is a readily available brand. You can find it at most department stores and online makeup retailers. This foundation retails for $45 USD, which to me is in the mid range when it comes to high end foundations. I purchased mine in store at a Macy's counter. The packaging is nice. The foundation is contained in a frosted glass bottle with a pump. The pump doesn't dispense that much product in one full pump, more on that later.


The finish is matte. I don't see any dewiness whatsoever on me. The coverage is quite full. I do not like the finish of this foundation, as I prefer a satin/skin like finish. This is a bit too matte for me, I feel like my skin looks too fake and obviously made up. The coverage is also too much for me. If you like fuller coverage, this would be up your alley. As for me, for my daily look I prefer a skin like finish rather than a perfect flawless finish. This would be great for parties or special events as it blurs pores out very well and looks great in photographs.


This foundation is thick! Another quality that is bothersome and challenging to me. It is difficult to spread out all over my face. One full pump of this foundation only yields a blob smaller than a pea. But using any more than one pump gives me too much coverage. I find a little less than 1.5 pumps works the best for me. Due to the thickness and difficulty to spread, I usually mix a bit of moisturizer with this to make it easier to blend. Although this does contain SPF 15, I do not notice any white cast in photography.


I will say that this foundation has very good wear time, though it isn't the best at keeping oil at bay since I still need to blot half way throughout my day. Blotting doesn't bother me too much since that is the norm for my skin type. After blotting, my foundation still looks fresh. This is also one of those foundations that look better with time after your natural oils break through a little (I suppose only oily/combo girls know what I am talking about here). I have worn this for 12 hours before and it held well throughout the whole time. Though I am impressed with the long wearing formula, this foundation DOES transfer which I think is unacceptable as it is advertised to be transfer free.


**NB: Most of these shades are too dark for me. They are my summer/tan shades. I would like a lighter foundation but don't know what to try next! What are you all enjoying/wearing right now?

This foundation has an excellent shade range having 28 shades available. The challenge is finding the best match for you since the color range is so extensive. I was matched with the shade 260 Bisque N, which does not match me the best (note to self, never trust the Macy SA). I should have known better since my skin tone is NOT neutral (what the N stands for), it leans warm. Since my daily ritual involves mixing it with moisturizer, I make it work. For this post I wore this foundation alone, no moisturizer mixed in.

For my daily foundation routine, this is too much for me. I do not think it is a bad product since IT IS advertised as full coverage with a velvet finish and great lasting power, all of which it has so if those are qualities you are looking for it would be worth checking out. I see this more as a "for special events" foundation rather than a daily foundation. I would venture a guess that dry skinned ladies should look elsewhere since the finish is so matte and it could make your complexion seem duller than normal. The thick consistency and transferring annoy me the most, especially since Lancome promises a blendable and transfer free product.


+ You have trouble finding a foundation shade match
+ You prefer full, skin perfecting coverage
+ You like a matte finish
+ You need a long lasting foundation
+ You don't mind blotting half way through your day


+ Transferring is a deal breaker
+ You like a dewy/skin-like finish
+ You prefer light to medium coverage
+ You need a fluid/easy to blend formula
+ You have dry skin

Have you tried this foundation? What do you think of it?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

greige nails revisited: essie playa del platinum

I think greige (grey + beige) nail colors will always be in style. It is neutral, makes fingers look longer and more polished, and it seems to be a shade that is at a comfort level for all ages to wear. My mother loves colors like this on her when they lean more to the beige side. Though I do like the greige nail every now and then, my heart never goes aflutter when I wear them. I will admit that it is nice to take a break from my usual dark polish of choice though.

 photo skullglossboneplayaplatsandtropezchinchilly_zps410c04e7.jpgOPI SKULL & GLOSSBONES, ESSIE PLAYA DEL PLATINUM, ESSIE SAND TROPEZ, ESSIE CHINCHILLY

My greige polishes are all different, thank goodness. Makes me feel better knowing I don't have the same shade in 1029897234 different bottles. These colors are the reason I skipped out on Chanel Frenzy, which looked pretty similar to these colors. OPI Skull & Glossbones is a pale moon grey. I think the beige in it only lightens the grey color. Essie Playa Del Platinum looks like wet clay, a bit of dirtiest to it to emphasize the beige. Essie Sand Tropez is cleaner sandy grey. The warm beige in it makes it look slightly pink when comparing. Essie Chinchilly isn't very greige at all, I would consider it straight up grey with a purple tinge to it.

 photo essieplayadeplatinumright_zps12201403.jpg

On my hands, Playa Del Platinum comes off greyer than what is portrayed in the bottle. I quite like this since greys are fun for me to wear. The formula is one of Essie's nicer but not the best. I did three coats as two looked a bit patchy. It was no where near the nightmare Essie Sand Tropez was!

What do you think of greige nails? Too boring or just right?

Monday, January 21, 2013

lasik surgery, my experience

Today's post isn't about beauty. I had a few readers who wanted to hear about my recent LASIK surgery experience so I thought I would do a post for those interested in getting the procedure or for anyone who is just curious. Hopefully this is helpful.

Before I dive into it, just keep in mind you should always make informed decisions by speaking with an ophthalmologist and expert in this area, both of which I am not. With that out of the way, onto the details!

The first step was to see if I was even a candidate for the surgery. I had a battery of tests done (vision, pressure, dilation, size of eye, etc) so they could get an idea of the overall health of my eyes. Some reasons for not being a candidate would be not having fully developed eyes (they recommend 21+ of age), a history of disease, etc.

After being confirmed as a candidate, it was time to pick a surgery date and prepare. You cannot wear contacts for 1-2 weeks. I wore my glasses for a few months beforehand because I ran out of contacts and knew I was having the procedure done. I also started a prescribed antibiotic eye drop therapy the day before surgery. Four drops a day, easy and painless.

The day of surgery you don't need to fast and you come makeup free. I went in early in the morning, wore a cap over my hair and gown over my clothes, sat in the operation chair and let the ophthalmologist do his work. It takes less than 20 minutes and you are fully conscious for the operation. He applied numbing eye drops and a contraption that would keep my eyelids open so I couldn't blink. There were two machines, one to cut the flap in my eyes, the other being the laser that would do the correction.

I wouldn't classify the feeling as pain nor as sensation free. The flap cutting was the most uncomfortable since the machine must apply quite a lot of pressure to the eye to cut accurately. The laser didn't hurt but it can be a bit of a psychological trip (the doctor IS slicing/burning your eyes). Also during the laser cutting, I could slightly smell my eyes burning. That was probably the craziest part of the operation for me.

I was offered anti-anxiety medication prior to surgery but refused them as I am not prone to panic attacks. If you are prone to panic attacks, have high anxiety, are so nervous you can't sit still, etc I definitely recommend you consider this option.

After the surgery, I was led out to change and for the doctor to check his work with a microscope. My vision was blurry but better than my normal vision, I would guess this part varies for everyone since my vision was pretty terrible (in the -8 range). I felt the most uncomfortable at this point. It felt as though I had a bunch of eyelashes stuck in my eye and also felt a burning sensation. I was sent home to sleep as you aren't allowed to read, look at your phone, watch tv, etc for 12 hours. I had to come back later that same day for the doctor to check his work again. So I went home, wore a special pair of goggles so that I didn't rub my eyes during my sleep, and took a nap. I woke up and could already see clearer and I no longer felt any discomfort. After seeing my doctor, I went home and was so bored! I wasn't allowed to do anything that would strain my eyes so I just conversed with my sister, listened to music, painted my nails, and went to sleep.

I am a bit over a month post op. Recovery for this surgery is amazingly fast. I could see clearer the same day as my surgery (after my nap). The next day it was even clearer. It was spectacular. There were a few instructions that I had to follow:

1. No eye makeup for 1-2 weeks.
2. No water was allowed near my eyes for a month (I had to be careful with showers, washing my face, etc).
3. I had to apply two kinds of eye drop medications in my eye four times a day. One was an antibiotic so no opportunistic bacteria would grow, the other a steroid so my own repair tissue didn't scar over and cause growths.

I also was instructed to refresh my eyes with lubricated drops once every hour to keep my eyes moist. The medicated drops lasted me around 3-4 weeks. Once I finished the bottle I didn't have to apply them anymore or renew my prescription.

The side effects I noticed for me were bloodshot eyes, dry eyes, and sensitivity during the night while driving. Right after surgery, your eyes will be very bloodshot. Due to the high pressure from the machine, the blood vessels burst. It will be like this for at least a month. I looked like a vampire! I looked terrifyingly awesome. Unfortunately I didn't capture a good pictures of my eyes when they were at their worst. But around the 2 week mark, my eyes looked like this:

macreflectsantiquegoldNot the best picture, but you can see some of the bursting around my irises.

Currently my eyes look normal far away but still have some slight redness. Eventually my eyes WILL be back to their normal white selves. Here is a picture from today:

LASIKeyesJan21 You can still see some slight bursting but it doesn't look too noticeable far away. I just gave you all a close up to see the fading.

The first month after surgery, my eyes got dry very easily, especially after a night of sleep. I always had a bottle of lubricated drops near my bed so I could relieve my eyes immediately after waking up. This feeling goes away after a month. Currently my eyes feel normal and I only add eye drops out of habit and because my doctor recommended for me to keep using them. As for the night vision, I can still see but some bright lights make me wince. My older sister had this procedure done around 2 years ago and she shares the same side effect of being sensitive to night vision during driving.

I highly recommend LASIK if you have been considering it and have very poor vision. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! I have been wearing contacts for over 10 years and the costs plus the upkeep always annoyed me. I never have to worry about taking anything out before I sleep, I can go swimming without worrying, I don't need to buy expensive contacts or contact solution. It takes out all the hassle!

I just had my one month check up appointment the other week and my vision is at about 20/25. This is expected since my vision was so terrible to begin with and it will take longer to level out to 20/20. I have another appointment set up at the 6 month mark where it should be stabilized. If not he will make the appropriate corrections for free. Even with my vision being at 20/25, I have not seen this crisp and clear in years! It sounds silly but I am still amazed at how great my vision is and what things I notice now.

If you guys have any more questions, feel free to comment below or email me at I'm happy to share anything else you want to know.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

005 vain rambling

I haven't done a vain rambling post in over a year! For those who didn't know, my vain rambling posts are brief little snippets I want to mention but I feel they don't need a full post all to themselves. A collective summary of sorts. Here's what has me rambling this time around:


The core collection has four brushes and can be found at Ulta (link!). The stars of this set for me would be the Buffing Brush and Contour Brush. These are raved about for a reason! I have been abandoning my Sephora platinum pro #55 brush (which I heard they discontinued/redid?) in favor of the Buffing brush for foundation application. It is denser making it a better tool for faster, seamless buffing. I use the Contour brush for mostly highlighter application. I definitely recommend this, I have been very pleased thus far.

My sister and I have been using this religiously. The texture and finish of it surprised me. I thought it was going to be a clear, shiny balm but it actually is a soft cream that applies matte. I love this stuff. It smells like lemons, absorbs quickly, and it makes my lips feel so soft and nourished. When it runs out I will definitely repurchase.

I have been wanting to pick this up for YEARS. I used to use a Revlon curler and it made such a slight impression to me that I didn't see what the big deal curlers were. Enter this curler, wow what a difference! Now I get it, curling = fluttery eye-opening lashes. I can't compare this to any other high end curler but the effect this gives is very noticeable. I do think the opening is a bit small for my eye shape so getting all my lashes in can be trial and error at times. I wonder if I would like the Chanel curlers more.

 photo macreflectsantgold_zps3c3f698d.gif

This has been my foundation of choice for the past couple months. Not so much because I like it but more because I want to use it up. I am lukewarm towards this. I plan to do a separate review post on it.

For a sneak peek though, I am wearing it in the above animation. This was my New Year's Eve makeup look. I wore MAC Reflects Antique Gold Glitter, which I love and always rely on for fun occasions. Also, don't mind my bloodshot eyes in the picture. I recently had LASIK surgery, I will go more in detail about my experience in another post since it was requested from a reader and I felt obliged to do so.

I like this but don't love it. It gives a decent amount of volume and doesn't clump/flake/transfer. I have used better mascaras that give better volume. Volume is always my concern when it comes to mascaras and lengthening is more of a bonus. For reference, a few examples of mascaras I love are Makeup Forever Smokey Lash, L'Oreal Voluminous, and Prestige My Blackest Lashes. Still haven't found a HG though...

I have been using this bold pink blush everyday, inspired by the spring collections that are popping up around this time of year. I just did a post including this blush so if you want to see swatches, view it HERE.


I picked this up at Ulta some time ago. I was always curious about Benefit's boxed powder blushes and this little set seemed like a nice way to test out a few shades all at once. It contains Coralista, Dallas, and Hoola. To be honest I don't really like any of the shades on me. I rarely reach for it because every time I do use it, it doesn't impress me. I think Coralista and Hoola are massively over hyped.

coralistadallashoola(L to R): CORALISTA, DALLAS< HOOLA

Coralista looks very pretty swatched but on my face it doesn't really show up. And when I do pack it on, the color just doesn't translate as the same pretty coral color. Dallas looks like a shade I would love, a browned rose, but every time I wear it my face looks a bit dirty. And Hoola gives me the greatest difficulty. I must work hard to blend this into my skin because the color somehow makes my skin seem sallow. Such a shame these don't work on me since the texture is very nice and soft. Just goes to show that even though a product swatches beautifully doesn't mean it will look the same on the face.

That is the end of this vain rambling post. I hope you all are having a relaxing Sunday :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

shades of pink: why I don't indulge in spring collections

So I think everyone who has followed me by now has gathered that I have a blush problem. Out of all cosmetics, blush is definitely the most dominate section in my collection and my greatest weakness. Seriously, it takes up half my makeup drawer (perhaps I will do a post on my organization, would you all like that?)


With that being said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I have just about every shade of pink blush you can imagine. For this reason, every spring I don't indulge in purchasing the always-some-sort-of-pink blush in spring collections. I certainly pay attention to what comes out, oo and ahh at the pretty shades, but then the practical part of me gently reminds the stubborn/illogical part of me that I already have something similar in my drawer (that practical side is a buzz kill, let me tell you). Here are just a handful of shades in my collection that have stopped me from spending carelessly:


This type of pink pops up in spring collections most likely because it is very eye catching. They are bright, pigmented, and make the promo model's complexion look fresh and healthy. Out of my three shades, NARS Angelika has the unique quality of having chunky silver glitter (not a good unique quality, in my opinion) but the actual pink color is very similar to what is seen in spring collections. NARS Desire has made me turn down purchasing many shades but I am not too heartbroken over this since it gets a lot of love from me. CARGO Catalina is a rather new addition to my collection, but nonetheless, girly bubblegum pink is easy to wear and popular. Some pinks I have resisted in buying in this category would be Dior Rosy Glow and Bobbi Brown Apricot.


One of my favorite things about blush is that it comes in so many different textures like creams and stains. I tend to avoid stains due to my scarred skin type. Because of its sheer and thin texture, the only stain-like product for cheeks that I own are the Nars Multiple Tints. The shade shown here is Cadaques. It looks very pigmented in the tube but swiped on the skin it is sheer and breathable. This multiple tint has deferred me from buying products like Benefit's Posie Tint, which seems too permeable for me.

As for cream blush, Bobbi Brown's Pink Raspberry Pot Rouge and MAC's Posey (old formulation) both keep me in check from buying petal pinks. I have turned down Illamasqua Dixie because of the similarity.


The bolder pinks tend to show up in spring collections to tie in a floral theme. Rock & Republic's X-rated is a scarce item to find and isn't available anymore. Perhaps MAC Azalea or Rhubarb are similar. Too bad it is so rare as the shade is gorgeous and the longevity is unbelievable. The only gripe I have about Rock & Republic blushes is their texture; it is not the easiest to blend. CARGO Key Largo is a nice watermelon shade that imparts a very romantic look. This category of pink is the most recent area that I have had to keep myself in check since the just released Burberry Hydrangea Pink caught my eye. I have a sneaking suspicion that is it very similar to Key Largo.

Shades of pink come in so many tones, I didn't even get into the mauve pinks and the baby pinks or even the berry pinks. Recalling what I own already has saved me from unneeded purchases but a blush fiend like me can't help but give lingering looks to shiny, new collections. For those who picked up Burberry's new addition, consider me jealous :)