Monday, May 30, 2011
Yes. Makeup. I put in a MaryKay order, including all the necessary Sun Protection elements. I say necessary--I'm see-thru white, but as with the effect of my buying crops and camisole tops in early spring, Summer disappears. There was one week in March, two glorious weekends where I burned my t-shirt V and my forearms very slightly. This, because all I had was facial moisturiser with SPF 25 (see below). Ever since it’s been cool and somewhat sunny, at best.
I also followed one of the many Sephora emails I receive as a VIB and have been circling round nude palettes for testing. I have just received the new Ulta Beauty catalogue with coupon (this month: $3.50 of purchase of $10.00 or more), and don’t know what sort of trouble that will lead to. I compare all the brands across the sites, then all the national brand sites.
Since I started working again, I have campaigned against my natural time-induced panic/anxiety with a systemised morning routine. Most important: Getting hair and makeup done, getting dressed and the hell downstairs to get breakfast, grab my lunchbox and go.
Oooohhh all the products I have accumulated --for SCIENCE! --remember all the Liquid Assets Foundation Review products? Yah, I kept a few I liked, but I’m also just finishing up the powdered foundations, as well as mascaras. So I have, well, a lot of stuff.
A lot. Lip stuff has a box that doesn’t quite fit well under the sink, as do Brushes and Tools. Of my four bathroom cabinet drawers, the top is Skincare, Hair Brushes and Hair Doo-Dads. Second drawer is Foundations, Concealers and a couple of highlighter/bronzer things. Third drawer is Eyes and has a two-level removable insert: The top level of which is made to hold pencils and such--all Liners and Mascaras; so the bottom contains Shadows, etc. Trying to pull from this in the morning would make me even more mental than usual.
So I bought an eye-popping black-and-white boxy-shaped travel case and tried to create a Face System. Cargo brand makeup had something similar for a while called the 7in7, and I tried that as well (I was able to grab one at CVS360 on El Monte @ El Camino in Mountain View,CA). If I can wake up, wash, moisturise, then lay out foundation to lipstick and zip through it, I leave the house with a full glam face and a feeling of invincibility.
I’m just not one of those girls--for whom moving their lips while reading Cosmo is a major monthly literary accomplishment. Right? Fluffy. Professional Gum Chewers. Or whatever stereotype you can conjure. And yet I have developed this quirk in my Pantheon of Obsession. Not only to be Made Up, but to apply my yen to Collect, Compare and Expound.
****Disclaimer Repeat: Full Disclosure: I have, in the past, been a Beauty Control consultant and am currently one for Mary Kay. I do it solely for the discount and do not sell for profit, the same way I also hold discount/membership cards for Sephora, Ulta, Peninsula Beauty and Sally retail cosmetic and aesthetics shops. I strive to give fair reviews of all products used in this blog, and pay for everything out of my pocket. If ever a product is given without purchase by a shop, Independent Consultant of a direct marketed brand, or manufacturer, this will be *explicitly* stated at the beginning of the review and the product will be highlighted as such.***
I was going to give an in-depth report on Mascara, and this was, in fact, one of the original ideas I had for the this blog. I have since discovered, over seven months, that this was unnecessary. As Mascaras go, I have Two Rules:
1) Stick with a fluffy brush. Stay away from the myriad novelty brushes--everyone has them--they are easily identified as brightly coloured poly/plastic brushes, and a few are the ball or ‘mace’ shaped and I found I was not alone in finding they were nothing but gimmicky. They promise lengthening, separation, a “false lash” effect. In reality, they are extremely flexible so the brush tip wobbles during application, exacerbating another problem with the plastic brush: The surface doesn’t hold on to the mascara. Even after employing the quick-tissue-swipe, the poly surface simply applies the product directly, and in full, to the first bit of lash it contacts. Voilà, gloopy, clumpy lashes and mascara all over the eyelid. The more traditional filament-style brushes offer several advantages, in that they can be constructed with many, many more bristles in several configurations to “Lift and Separate”. This vastly increases the number of filaments which brush and separate your lashes, and the materials hold the product better, dispersing it more evenly throughout your lashes.
LOL @ Silly Claims: 117% Lash Growth? Millionized? Falsies Effect? Yes, it’s because every single spokesmodel is wearing visibly recognisable glamour-length FALSE LASHES IN A MASCARA AD. These new formulas with weird claims are misrepresented from the start (I know, shock and all....but really?!). They feel oily, gloppy, runny and smudgy. They won’t stay put for more than a couple of hours on many people, depending on daily activity and moistness of the individual, plus they tend to flake into the eyes when they do let go. I felt pretty dry this winter, not at all my usual hot tamale/moist self and these formulas still smudged and flaked all over my face like a makeup hit-squad.
The Champs: Sephora Lash Plumper Mascara and Lash Stretcher Mascara; Maybelline Great Lash (My fave Big Brush in Brownish Black-they are one of the few who do a good Brown) and The Colossal Volum’Express Mascaras; Stila Major Major Lash Mascara; Fresh Mascara; Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara.
The Chumps: Rimmel Sexy Curves and Lash Accelerator Mascaras; L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara (Ball or “Mace”- type brush); CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion and Volume Blasting Mascaras;
**Extra Credit Mascara: As I scanned the monthly mags, my Inner Jerk, Bern, saw an ad repeated in Vogue, Lucky, Elle and a couple others and experienced a rare indecision between apoplexy and perplexion (a real word. Bern says so). To wit: Clinique’s Lower Lash Mascara. Yeeessss. Lower. Lash. Mascara.
It boasts a tiny, specially designed brush that promises to carefully separate lower lashes without spreading all the mascara love all over the under-eye area as well as boasting a special formula that will not budge or smudge. For once, as Bern ranted I uh-huhed, shuffling my feet. Really, how freakin’ different can this be? This has to be some stupid scam of the $500 Organic, Alsatian Mountain-Elf Baby-Snot Under-Eye-Cream variety, jah? And yet... I’ve always had trouble with mascara on my lower lashes because A) I went gray at 23, and my brows and lashes finally followed suit about age 30, so I need colour, B) I tend to be a little, well, humid during my day. I have no idea what menopause has in store cuz mama I been a’cookin’ since my twenties. So I was secretly curious while Bern was bemusedly furious. I plucked up my courage, popped down to Sephora, noodled round with lipstick and eyeshadow, then blurted out before he could hear: “canihavethenewcliniquelowerlashmascaraplease?”. It’s brilliant. The brush works. It stays put. As promised on the tin. NO MORE RACCOON. I’m happy I spent the money and Bern grudgingly admits there is elegance in details.
Some more current Makeup Faves:
Foundation Primers--Mary Kay and Bare Minerals both have easily-applied gel-style primers that immediately feel powder-dry upon application. And they do actually improve the sticking power of even the best liquid and powder foundations. They’re super lightweight, you’ll never know they’re there but for the smooth, longer-lasting finish and greater smudge-proof-ness.
Lip Primers--Urban Decay and Mary Kay: I’ve used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion for Eyes and Lip Primer for some time, and like them both. I tend to have an active lip er...what, Lip Life? I drink a lot of water, blow my nose and still have a bit of a tendency to chew my bottom lip. Can any product really withstand that? Urban Decay does it’s damnedest, and Jedi Jasmin swears by it. I’ll take it as back-up, but I LOVE Mary Kay’s TimeWise Age-Fighting Lip Primer. It feels silkier upon application, and all brands of lipstick layer beautifully and smoothly over it. With colour touch-ups throughout the day it prevents caking spots, feathering or cracking which I do experience after a few re-applications on the UD. I would prefer if the tube were as sturdy and compact in shape as the UD, which has a really kickin’, pocket-size tube for about the same amount of product.
Blushes--Nars and Mary Kay: Nars powder blushes are legendary for brilliant colours and beautiful coverage. They apply sheer and build to a beautiful sexy flush and they leave even the most early-morning beleaguered face looking Renoir-esque. Their most popular shade being Orgasm, my faves are Sin (raspberry-pink) and Deep Throat (peach). I really love them, and highly recommend applying with a kabuki brush--
--first dipping and twisting on the blush, then gently blowing on the brush and bouffing on the apple of the cheek, swirling as you draw the brush back and up diagonally to the hairline following the cheekbone. Mary Kay Cream Blush is a sheer cream-to-powder formula, mine is Sheer Bliss, another raspberry-pink colour. It applies pretty smoothly with fingertips, is very sheer indeed, and it has a party piece that you can try with Nars’ Multi sticks as well:
***MAKEUP TIP: Apply foundation of choice to even complexion. Lightly apply cream blush to apple of cheeks and blend. Apply to center of eyelids only, layering colour until dark enough for desired shadow shade. Leave outer and innermost corners very lightest to keep a bright look. Apply one coat mascara. Apply one coat cream blush to lips as primer, apply lip colour. --OR-- Apply blush to lips at just the center, geisha-style, and apply gloss over for a pixie- look. Voilà, four products, you’re done!
Which leaves me blushing with shame at the sheer amount of stuff still occupying the containment units, despite the post-review purge. Can I still have this much? Glancing in my closet at the purses, hats, scarves and shoes, Bern howls with laughter till he needs to change his astro-diaper. This once, I leave him to it, this is well without his purview--I really am that girl: I'm a professional.
**All Urban Decay, Stila and national brand products are available at Ulta stores and online at Ulta.com. Sephora, Urban Decay, Nars, Fresh, Clinique and Stila cosmetics are available at Sephora stores and Sephora.com. Mary Kay products are available exclusively from your Mary Kay Independent Consultant, visit MaryKay.com to find your closest representative. Pin It Now!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
There was a fire pit and therefore S’mores later on, with home-made marshmallows that melted beautifully, impossibly, perfectly between ooo-ey and goo-ey.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Yes, it might have originally come from a cookbook, a magazine or show, that’s how we learn! What most of us don’t realise is how we’ve tweaked and fiddled and changed--and that makes it yours! So HURRY UP! Did I say that already? Get your recipe up in the Comments Section in the Joy of China post. GOOD LUCK, AND GOOD EATING!!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
And so should YOU! You have a week left to enter my First Ever Recipe Contest, in which you can win your choice of a Three-Pack of Tasty Baking Spices -OR- some High-Grade Saffron! Rules listed here:
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Joy of Cooking Sightings! Both at shops GingerMan and I scoped for china cabinets. First, Whatnots & Doodads in Willow Glen, on Lincoln Avenue near Minnesota. Two hard copies of the 1975 edition for $6 each, one two-volume paperback set, also for $6. Second, Not Too Shabby on South Bascom in San Jose. It’s a huge space with multiple venders, I spied this gorgeous copy all the way in the back:
It’s a 1943, well-loved and re-taped. Wonderfully gift inscribed, it's $38. As a special gift, with your personal inscription added it would be a touching gift so it’s actually worth it. The rest of the shop is fab.
Shabby is where we finally scored the right breakfront after a year of looking, where the *three* full officer’s sets (e.g. double sets of serving dishes and tea sets) of inherited china hiding in my cupboards will now be accessible. I’m really excited because they’re all completely different, of different eras, but they mix-and-match beautifully and as we’re not anticipating any Popes or Presidents for dinner, look for Tuesday night meatloaf on china from now on!
One set are the Noritake Duetto my father bought while stationed in Vietnam, with delicate gold scrolls. The next are Grandma's beautiful 40's-streamlined leaf motif Rosenthal. Finally, a hidden set of of Haviland from Grandma's friend, tucked into a storage space for 15 years. All of these to be set on our ***finally!FINALLY!!*** soon-to-be-delivered grown-up dining table and chairs! Next thing you know, we’ll get crazy and actually paint walls in a house we live in. Before we move out!
Cool Dinner Time Show: Ebert Presents At the Movies. I’ve watched his shows since I was small. It shaped my view of movies and informed my to-watch list for nearly 30 years. This newest iteration airs on PBS, which is cool. In the last 5 years ABC really jerked the show around, especially after Roger Ebert bowed out for advanced medical treatment, leaving his last cohort, Richard Roeper, to spar with guest critics. The guests were still well-chosen, most notably A.O. Scott of the New York Times. It was lively, wide-ranging, boisterous.
The spirited discussion was balanced between knowledge of classics and a willingness to embrace the new, the fun, the absurd and squarely B-genre. The newest pair are Christy Lemire, who, with quirk, wit and humour, would have fit well with the old guard. But she’s been set (I say with some reluctance) poorly against Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who seems like a squeeky-fresh college grad, chagrined to be saddled with viewing plebian popcorn flicks shot for more than $200,000 by other than obscure foreign directors.
No, that's not fair at all-- small foreign films are great--like my favourite gem I stumbled on by way of Netflix on AppleTV, Mary and Max. It's a beautiful, tender, hilarious story of accidental pen pals between Australia and New York, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the stolid Asperger's-enduring Max:
and Toni Collette as the compressible, eventually irrepressible, Mary.
Ignatiy is usually obstinate, poncey and derisive. This week, however, She gave Thumbs Down to Hobo with a Shotgun. He gave it Thumbs Up. HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
So! Cooking Fairies, let’s queue up a movie, break out the china and dish up something great! What would YOU serve on the Wedgewood for Tuesday dinner? Chime in and you could win Bragging Rights and a Shorty Trio of Baking Spices OR a 1/2gram jar of high-grade Saffron (aquired myownself, from Penzey's Spices in Menlo Park, California)!
-Entree Period Runs from Monday 09 May 2011 to Monday 23 May 2011. Judging period follows, with winner to be announced on Friday 03 June 2011.
-Entrees must be posted in the Comments section and include your name, email address, and full recipe.
-ONE winner will be chosen by me.
-The winning recipe will be posted with photos and the Winner presented here as an Official Kitchen Jedi!
-Now Get Cooking!Pin It Now!