Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing in the New Year

...with style.

I just took a shower after finishing my last college essay (2-3 pages for Cornell...), and I thought I would report back to you guys. Fresh-faced, towel wrapped around my head and all. Shabby webcam pictures, but a report back no less.

What can I say? I'm F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.
Let's hope these bags go away soon...

How does one come back blogging in full force after being gone for so long, slaving away at applications? This is quite a dilemma for me as photographing products (or anything in general) and typing up posts have flown out of my routine as of late. The posts on this blog this past month have been...a mess, I don't even know. Very bleh. I don't quite remember how to approach this right now. But I'm sure I'll come back to my senses soon enough.

But huzzah! I am done with college applications! At long last, I. AM. DONE!!!!!! 

This year has been great, however. It was nearly a year ago when after a long mental tug-of-war that I decided that I'd give blogging a go again. I really did miss it, and I'm so glad I came back. I reconnected with old blogging friends while making new ones. I know I haven't been the best blogger so far, but I really do hope to be a better one this new year. It's definitely one of my resolutions.

But anywho, I hope that you're all enjoying this lovely New Year's Eve with your loved ones! Let's ring in the New Year with warm, positive attitudes. I'm going to go enjoy the local fireworks tonight with my parents. Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're all having a lovely holiday/day off with your loved ones. I'm going out to watch Les Miserables today with my family. A really unorthodox, and kind of...y'know sad, celebration but hey, we all love the book so dearly, so we gotta make seeing the movie a family affair! I'm excited.

This Christmas was a lot more low-key and a bit rough (emotionally) for us, but the important thing is that we have each other. For better or worse. 

Didn't really get to photograph any festivities, so here are some recycled snapshots from last year. I've also been too busy to even touch my camera (it's been so neglected this past month).

Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful day, and I hope Santa brought you bountiful gifts. Let's hope you don't get a case of Present Face, though. ;)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hello hello


Remember me?

Hello everybody. I've done it again. I've disappeared again. But really now, I'm back. It's finally Christmas break, and I can get back to posting and reading your blogs, which I've missed so dearly. I've been so M.I.A. from the blogosphere and Twitterland (and even Instagram, shocking!) this month. I've been getting at most 4 hours of sleep a night these past two weeks, which hasn't been very good to me. The bags under my eyes...not a pleasant sight at all.

Anyway, I thought I'd report back to you all and notify you of my return! And I can't leave this post photo-less, so here's another painting I've painted for my concentration. This time it was hair rollers. :)

The camera washed out a lot of my shading on the skin, boo. :(

I look forward to posting again and catching up on your blogs. Also, we survived the apocalypse! Huzzah!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rosettes, Transepts, and Groin Vaults!?

Foreign terms to you, perhaps?

Well, they were pretty foreign to me before I started taking art history this year. I'm not really a religious person either, so churches were pretty far away from my designated niche. However, I've become fascinated with churches as of late. The architecture of these buildings is truly spectacular. There is so much attention to detail in almost every inch of these churches. And so many of them were built a long time ago (some nearly 1000 years ago!), so I am so shell-shocked by how amazing and well-built they are. They are so magnificent and just so beautiful to look at.

Anyway, we were assigned to pick a church in Boston and analyze it. I chose the Old South Church, which was built in a Gothic revival style in 1874. The exterior isn't very impressive, but I found the interior to be quite lovely. It was intricate, but muted. It was simple, yet beautiful. Something I'm inevitably drawn to: simplicity. This church, in my opinion, was the perfect blend of traditional and modern architecture.

In this "Color Play," I wanted to emulate the warm browns and vibrant jewel tones of the church. These colors in the church itself created such an inviting and welcoming atmosphere.

  1. Stila Charmed Eye Palette: Jewel tones and warm coppers? This is basically the church in one palette.
  2. L'Oreal HiP Pigment in Valiant: I wanted to imitate the stained glass windows, and this blue was the one for the job. It has such a pretty multi-dimensional effect.
  3. MAC Eyeshadow in Moth Brown: This complex purple-gray-taupe was the perfect match for the exterior of the church.
  4. L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Smoldering Plum: Y'all know I love this eyeshadow. It's exactly the color of the regal purple robes in the stained glass windows and icons!
  5. Covergirl Outlast Lip Stain in Plum Pout: What's Christmastime without a little red?
  6. L'Oreal Hip Eyeshadow Pencil in Unmistakable: And some more red!
  7. Revlon Beyond Natural Eye Pencil in Brown: The rich, reddish browns of the Cherrywood furnishing.
  8. MAC Fluidline in Rich Ground: Another warm, cozy brown that reminds me of the nave of the church.
  9. Revlon Matte Eyeshadow in Rich Sable: There were darker brown bricks like this peppered throughout the faces of the church.
  10. L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Sahara Treasure: To mimic the intricate caen limestone-carved screen, I decided to use this. The sheen adds some nice extra umph.
  11. L'Oreal HiP Eyeshadow Duo in Gilded: A church has got to have some gold, so of course I added gold to my colors. In the church here, the gold is focused in the chandeliers and the cross hanging down from the ceiling.
  12. MAC Blush in Loverush: This deep, maroon-y red is another jewel tone color that was used on the stained glass imagery and on the walls.

I thought it'd be nice to share these pictures since it's near Christmas! Like I said, I'm not really a religious person, but I've fallen (hard) in love with church architecture. Growing up I was a little creeped out by churches, but now I've come to really appreciate them! From an architectural and artistic standpoint, they are simply ah-may-zing. Unlike modern-day skyscrapers, these structures have been around for over a thousand years -- that in itself is something. Are you a fan of church architecture?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guava & Pomegranate

On Black Friday, which sounds like quite a while ago now, I did a little bit of online shopping. So of course I had to go on Sephora. The selection in the sales section was a little disappointing, but I did get away with two things and a little mystery bag of samples. One was a lipgloss (which I'll be saving for something) and the other was this Korres Butter To Go Set. It was $15, which I thought was a pretty good deal for a full-size of the coveted Korres Lip Butter and a generous travel-size of their raved body butters.

This is such a great set to try out their products. I'd wanted their lip butters for such a long time, and at least I got my grubby hands on one! 

I've always loved Korres's minimalist packaging. So much kudos to their brand designer(s)! I'm such a fan! And I also love the fact that their products are really natural. Brand love aside, the set came with a Lip Butter in Pomegranate and a Body Butter in Guava. They both smelled delicious.

I'm a sucker for body butters. They (usually) have nice scents, and are of such a nice, thick consistency compared to regular old, runny lotions. I'd wanted to try the Korres Body Butters after hearing great things about them, but not as much as I wanted to try the lip butters. A lot of times guava scents are obnoxiously sweet, but for this Guava, the sweet was just right. The Body Butter sinks easily into the skin. There is no oily film, and it leaves my skin feeling nice and soft. Love! If there's a mango-scented version...SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

These lip butters have been raved about for a while. I remember going to Sephora at various different times to browse, ending up with a lip butter or two in my hands intending to purchase them, only to put them back down reasoning that I didn't need another lip balm. A slightly pricier one at that. However, now that I've tried it, I realize that I really should've gotten them sooner!

The lip butter is smooth, creamy, and moisturizing. Pomegranate gives my lips such a healthy hint of color and shine, which is perfect since my lips have been rather dry and pale lately. It leaves my lips feeling back to normal, smooth and soft, after wearing off. And on top of all of this, it smells great! So much love. I am definitely going back for other colors.

Have you tried these cult-favorite Korres lip butters? If so, what are your thoughts on them? Love them or just another lip balm? Regardless, I highly recommend this set to you if you've been wanting to try Korres butters for a long time like me! And it's a great stocking stuffer. ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cold Feet

Hiiii! *waves* I'm aliiiiiive! 

Sorry for the brief hiatus, ladies. I noticed that I gained quite a few followers during my absence...which doesn't make sense to me, but welcome to my blog! Right when I was on the high of having submitted half of my college applications, I was smacked in the face with a truck load of work. I still have so much due on Monday (yay), but I thought I'd take a quick moment to share with you the shoes I've been living in this fall and will be living in this coming winter.

Let me start off by saying: I love shoes. We all love shoes, don't we? They're the perfect accessory to dress up or dress down an outfit, in my opinion. Now, I don't have a super expensive, massive shoe collection (nor do I really want one), but I do have a nice selection to pick and choose from.

Clockwise from top: Payless ankle boots, Bare Traps riding boots, J.Crew moccasins, American Rag floral oxfords.

The pair of shoes I've been most frequenting this cold season has been these flat ankle booties from Payless that I got as a gift from my friends. I've always wanted plain brown ankle boots (because they're so versatile), so imagine my excitement when my best friends got these for me my last birthday. Sure enough, they go with any outfit. Whether I'm wearing jeans or a dress, they're so easy to slip on and run out the door. 

Since Black Friday, my feet have also been snuggling into these soft, fluffy J.Crew moccasins my brother got me. I know they're not the most fashionable things out there, but they are so. damn. comfortable. It's like I'm walking on pillows when I'm wearing them! I also love that they have actual rubber soles on the bottom. They were $21, which is such a steal for good quality moccasins...and from J.Crew, whaaat!? Thanks for the early Christmas gift, bro. :)

Some other shoes I've been loving are these Bare Traps riding boots (shown in an outfit post here) I got during an after-Christmas sale last year and a pair of floral oxfords I got at around the same time. My mom and I co-own the boots, and she's actually been using them more than me. They're just the perfect pair of shoes to dress up ANY outfit. These floral oxfords (or brogues? not sure which to call them) have also been my go-to shoe to wear when I feel like dressing up.

I'm sure you've noticed that brown and being flat-heeled are a trend in my shoe collection. If I had brown oxfords, I would definitely be replacing those floral ones with them. My mom bought these high-heeled boots recently, and she told me to try them on and walk. Needless to say, my ankles did not cooperate. The high-heeled life is not the life for me, which is quite saddening considering my (lack of) height.

Do you have a favorite pair of boots? What are your winter shoe essentials? Let's talk shoes, ladies. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In lieu

Just wanted to check in with you ladies today! Sorry, but there won't be an actual post on the blog until after this weekend. I have quite a few college applications due by Saturday so I'm devoting most of my internet time to that. In lieu of anything beauty-related, here is some of the artwork I'm putting into my portfolio I'm submitting to colleges. Since I have these images already on hand, I might as well share them with you. I noticed that I hadn't posted much art on the blog lately anyway, so let's see some already, shall we?

For my AP Art concentration, my concept is about beauty products and their effect on a woman's confidence/way she views herself. I'm trying to have the concentration progress from the woman's natural beauty to something completely artificial and ugly. The first two pieces below represent the turning point and the beginning of the concentration, respectively.

Acrylic -- a monster's creeping out!
Watercolor -- the curiosity and seemingly endless choices you get with makeup.

And then here are some miscellaneous pieces I've done in the past year. Still searching for my own specific style, but it seems when it comes to drawing/pen-work, I favor heavy contrasting lines (see cross-contour, stencil, and ice cream pieces).

Micron Pen (cross-contour lines).
Original stencil printed on a matte medium transfer with acrylic paint -- a statement against our Starbucks overlords?
Micron Pen & Pencil -- experimenting with hand-drawn typography.

You may have noticed that not all of my art is as great as I make it to be on this blog (haha). And you might also have noticed that I quite like painting. ;) I'll be back soon (and hopefully I haven't pulled all of my hair out by then)!

Monday, November 26, 2012

But I'm not a Nudist

Back when I first started getting into makeup, the lip colors I was most enamored with were nudes. I remember being swayed toward them by Laura (back then lollipop26 on Youtube), who sported the nude lip so effortlessly. (I might have been sold over by her accent too.) Consequently, I was at the drugstore almost weekly to seek out all these nude lip products to feed my obsession. Yeah, it was that bad.

Nude, nude, nude, nude, nude...

Because of that, I built up a little collection of nude lipsticks and lipglosses. However, they have not been given much love in the past year or two. I'd grown away from nudes, and I now much prefer darker lip colors like reds, berries, and roses. I mean, I would probably never even touch nude lip colors unless I'm wearing heavy eye makeup (which is pretty rare). And so I decided to take an inventory of the nude lip products I owned. Thanks to this, I realize that I actually have a nice variety of nudes.

  1. Korres Cherry Lip Gloss in Nude: This is probably the least nude lip product I own. It's more of a 'my lips but better' shade. It's a redder/rosier nude with gold shimmers, which enhances your natural lip color making your lips appear as if they're nude (bare).
  2. Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Nude Blush: Like its name suggests, the color is similar to a natural flush of color in your cheeks. Nude Blush is probably my favorite nude lipstick because it is the most wearable, and it's oh so creamy. I need to start wearing this more often.
  3. Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Nude Lustre: Along with Nude Blush, this is my favorite nude lip gloss (it's always been, actually). It's a creme finish with the most subtle, barely barely noticeable, fine shimmer. I love it. Gotta finish this before it goes all bad!
  4. L'Oreal Colour Juice Lip Gloss in Strawberry Smoothie: Not much to say about this one because I've never really used it (got it because it was 75% off) and it's really sheer, but it has a really interesting opalescent finish.
  5. Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Sugar Plum Ice: This is a pale beige pink with a silver/frosty finish. It's actually really really frosty. But for some reason, I must have used it a lot back then because this is down to almost a nub. Perhaps I'll finish it soon (or try to).
  6. Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Soft Nude: This is the last nude I ever bought. Everyone had raved about this when it came out, claiming it was the perfect nude nude. In many ways it is, but if I put it on now, I just look dead. It's basically a creamier, slightly pinkier version of the next one, Nude Attitude
  7. Revlon Matte Lipstick in Nude Attitude: Nude Attitude was my go-to lipstick when I wanted to completely blank-out my lips, which explains why it's one of my most-used nudes (along with Sugar Plum Ice). This is a matte, peachy nude. Again, I don't think I'd go for such a nude nude nowadays, but it's nice to have this on hand.

Thanks to this little inventory check, I think I'll go back and finish some of these lipsticks. If not, they'd probably just sit there forever. Might as well mix up my lip color instead of sticking to one all the time. What do you feel about nude lip products? Love them, hate them or just okay with them?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today was Thanksgiving for us Americans. My relatives came over to our little apartment to take part in my mom's annual turkey feast. The air was filled with warmth, conversation, and laughter. I always look forward to this day every year. I'm so very thankful for my family, friends, food, and the roof above my head. 

My mom's never-dry turkey.
Accidentally bought pre-sliced ham this year, oh well.
Surf clam sashimi and garlic + sesame oil-tossed green beans -- there's always a few Asian dishes.
My brother carving the turkey.
My little plate of food.
Almost full!

Cousins brought over homemade creme brulee, yesss!
Of course my brother and I had to do one of those "re-do" photos. I was probably 4 or 5 in that picture. I crouched instead of tip-toeing hahaha. My, have we grown.

It was nice to take a day off and just cook and eat and relax. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your loved ones (that is, if you celebrate it). What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Faithful Companion

"It's been such a long time, dear friend," I said to Birthday Suit. "Sometimes I feel naked without you."

We embraced and I twisted open her cap to find that her edges had shrunken away. A pang of guilt hit me. I had neglected her and all of my makeup for far too long. Having met her three years ago, when the Benefit Creasless Cream Eyeshadows had just come out, Birthday Suit had been a constant presence in my makeup routine. That was, until I'd decided to take a break from makeup. 

I had always been fond of her. I'd crack a smile every time I caught a glimpse of her wearing her cute, dove-patterned lid. In the beginning of the hiatus, I'd open my drawer just to swatch her on my hand ever so often. But then, after a while, I left her alone. She just sat there, staring out wistfully from inside my drawer. It would be months, even a year before I lay my fingers on her again.

And when I finally did, she showed me what exactly she was made of. Even after all this time, she was the same lightweight, smooth, and creamy eyeshadow she was the first time we encountered each other. She had shrunk a little, but she was still that beautiful shimmery pale taupe I had fallen in love with in the first place. She was still my one and only, Birthday Suit.

Her smile was just the same as ever. It was bright. And it shone with gold sparkles here and there. Just like always. I found myself inevitably drawn to her yet again. We began to talk. She told me about how she loved watching me grow up, even if it was a little bittersweet. I told her about how much I wanted to have her with me everyday, on my eyes, but I just couldn't find the time.

We talked it out, then she reached for my hand. And she laid down onto the back of my hand, as comfortable as ever. I rocked my hand back and forth, and she smiled her same old illuminating smile at me. I smiled back, enchanted again by her beauty. Soon, we were talking and laughing and joking like old friends. 

Now, we're inseparable, just like me and my very own birthday suit.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Birchbox

My November Birchbox has arrived! It arrived one day after it was shipped, which I was rather impressed about. This month's box was all about giving. Birchbox is supporting a non-profit called The Art of Elysium with this, and I found that pretty flippin' cool. The organization encourages actors, artists, designers, and musicians to volunteer their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions.

Like I said, pretty flippin' cool.

And again I am enamored by the perfect packaging design this company has -- gah, the polka dots! The products definitely met the expectations I set after last month's box. Let's take a look at what I received for this box.

Oscar Blandi Pronto Texture & Volume Spray ($25): What a generous and cute sample! I've heard great things about this line, so I'm really excited to try it. Especially now that I am more fluent in my hair-prettying abilities.

One of the products I was most excited about after watching their sneak peak video was the Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer ($20), and it is indeed very very pretty! There's such an opulent pinky-gold shimmer/glow to it.

Next is the Miracle Skin Transformer Vanish Instant Imperfection Corrector ($58): This is such a pleasant surprise! I'm always looking for good spot treatments, and this is a pretty decent-size sample so I'm definitely going to give this baby a go. 

Packaged with a cute postcard was Atelier Cologne's Rose Anonyme Cologne Absolue ($75-$195). It had such a fancy name, so I immediately thought that this would be a more mature scent. A quick sniff later and my assumption was confirmed; it's a little too strong for me.

Last, but certainly not least, was a little packet of a Potato Chip Chocopod from Chuao Chocolatier ($7.95)! Chocolate covered potato chips? Um, hell to the yeah!

I thought the postcard was too cute.

There was a little back story to the photograph and perfume:
"She turned the dial until the safe opened, revealing the diamond. She had stolen jewels before, but none compared with this one. She left a single rose and the scent of her perfume in its place for him to find. In a moment she'd be halfway around the world and he would be in pursuit. The chase began again..."
Albeit a little cheesy, I'll leave you on that note. I'm very pleased with this month's Birchbox and I really look forward to December's. Do you subscribe to the any of these sample box programs? What are your opinions of them? Let me know what you think! ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Five Things

It's been a while since my last Five Things post (...again), huh? I'm not sure why it took me this long to get one up the past two months, but well, here are a few things that are making me smile lately (in the midst of all the applying-to-college madness).

{My makeup drawers are messy for once.}
{Been listening to MIKA's new album non-stop.}
{Mmm, pita chips. Need I say more?}
{Trying to get some tips from the watercolor bible.}
{Been living in boots lately.}

So those are my "five things" as of late. I hope you're all having a lovely day. What are some things that have been tooting your horn lately?