Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Case for the Fruit Punch Lip Gloss

When it comes to lip glosses, most of my choices belong to two extremes: Nude and Vampy. The nude ones are almost always the color of certain food items - caramels, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg - and often sport a fair amount of shimmer to go along with my skin tone. The vampy ones - which I blame on the original Clinique Black Honey - are on the blackberry/raspberry side of the spectrum, low on shimmer but high on the "hey, it's not too bad if I put it on a little at a time" factor.

So why, then, did I go home from Longs with a 99-cent tube of fruit punch pink lip gloss?

1) It was actually an old shade of Rimmel Vinyl Lip called "Fantastic." Hey, even if this was a 99 cent tube of lip gloss, I still consider Rimmel to be a respectable brand, so I'll snap it up anyway.

2) It's not completely piiiiiiiink pink - it's actually more of a darker fuschia shot through with tons of subtle gold shimmer. I like to think of this more of a "strawberry" pink - more similar to Revlon's Super Lustrous gloss in Cherries in the Glow - and it looks more like something I'd see at a Clinique counter for the summer.

3) Hello, I live in Hawaii. It's always summer over here, even if it does get drafty at 60 degrees Farenheit. Do you think I'd be able to get away with anything dark over here right now?

4) Perhaps it is a Freudian commentary of sorts on my own feelings about living in Hawaii. Maybe I am, on a subconscious level, trying to put on a "happy face" and soldiering on when I should be confronting my own hidden resentment and bitterness.

5) On a more external level, the pink gloss isn't too pigmented; the gold shimmer is quite sheer (read: doesn't look like I coated my mouth in gold leaf); and the product smells like oranges, but not in a non-barfy way. Plus it's non-sticky, non-drying(even if it does feel goopy when I glop it on straight from the tube), lasts pretty long, and practically eliminates my need for extra lip liner underneath by glossing over (hee!) the discolorations on my lips. I look good in this, people, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

In summary: Meimei likey!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The 200th Post: Domesticity's Basic Party Essentials

Video: "Faster Kill Pussycat" by Paul Oakenfold featuring Brittany Murphy... yes, folks, THAT Brittany Murphy! I know! Didn't see that coming either!

I recently gave a black vintage Nine West purse to Evie, who is in the Philippines right now working as an event planner for rock concerts and major special events. I packed her bag with what I felt were some serious essentials for an experienced girl-about-town like her: lipstick (Revlon Colorstay Soft and Smooth in Fabulous Fig), mints (from Sephora), and a “little black book” (actually a tiny black notebook from Old Navy – perfect for those rock-star phone numbers!) I think it’s so perfect for her, since the bag is small enough to carry everything she needs and the strap is long enough to sling right across her shoulder. Plus, hey, it’s black.

“Remember,” I told her, “a sassy girl always can always use a Sassy Bag.”

I don’t exactly have a “Sassy Bag” of choice right now – not because my clubbing days are over (far from it, folks!) but I’ve got the kind of life that can never fit inside just about any old designer purse. The closest I have to a “Sassy Bag,” come to think of it, is my beloved hot pink fake-ostrich fake-baguette, which I purchased at Payless for dirt cheap – it’s one of those bags that can go from church to dinner to dancing without looking too heavy. Otherwise, my life is one endless assortment of leather laptop bags, midsize knit purses, and the occasional backpack.

In honor of Evie’s new Sassy Bag, I bring to you a list of purse essentials for occasional - but seasoned - social butterflies like us:

  • A tin of multipurpose balm, like Smith’s Rosebud Salve or L’Occitane Shea Butter, to take care of even the most basic chapping on the lips and nails
  • Pressed powder (in a mirrored compact) and blotting papers, to keep your face shine-free
  • Lipstick or gloss, just because (easier to take around than eye makeup)
  • A tinier-than-purse-size container of fragrance
  • A ponytail elastic and/or extra bobby pins, for those hair mishaps when you wear your hair long
  • The tiniest camera that you can fit in
  • Mints, because you never know who you might meet
  • Band-Aids, for the unavoidable booboo
  • A pen for the little black book
  • Big sunglasses, in case you don’t get out of the club till sunrise

Of course, not too long after I gave the sassy bag to Evie she asked me for suggestions on how to take care of her eyes, which were inevitably puffy and dark from all the late nights - not just from the concerts and bar gigs, but also from typing out scripts and poring over contracts. (Take it from somebody who used to be in the biz - this job is not THAT glamorous, people.) So for Christmas I got her a tube of eye cream, along with the old trick of putting cold, soaked Lipton black tea bags over closed eyes (which has worked wonders for me whenever I pull my all-nighters). The trick is to keep the tea bags cold in the fridge - I usually save them after I've made my daily cuppa - and put them over the eyes, then following up with the eye cream to keep them from drying out.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Beauty Stash, and How I Plan to Obliterate It

This entry marks my 199th post on this blog. Stay tuned for the 200th post, which should be coming in some time next week... it's going to be a surprise!

A few posts ago, I mentioned that most of the beauty products that I already have is practically everything I need at this point in my life. Because I am determined to use up my stash this year, I am going to use this entry to predict which of the products I already have at home (not counting samples) will eventually get used up - or, worse, get the eventual heave-ho - by the end of 2007...

- Elizabeth Arden Exceptional Lipstick in Shimmer. I knew the end was coming when I opened the tube and found some smushing of the bullet inside the cap. Smushed lipstick bullets usually signal the beginning of the end, since I (like my very own Mama Mei) would rather wear down my lipstick bullets to tiny nubs with constant use. And since we're talking about a gorgeous nude lipstick that has served me well even when the package has seen better days, I wouldn't be surprised if I go ahead and decant the bullet into a separate container (which I did with some of my MAC lipsticks) so I can go ahead and buy another gorgeous nude-bronze lipstick.

- Most of the stuff that I've purchased in the Philippines. The Johnson's Baby Cologne? Decanted into a drugstore spray bottle, since I hate having cologne on my hands. The shampoos and conditioners? Almost gone, watered down so I can now use it on my short hair. The only product I don't see myself using up right away is the Bench Fix styling paste - since I gave Lexus the go-ahead to razor my hair into a deliciously messy emo-shag, I'm going to need all the texturizing that I'll get - and possibly some of the Maybelline lip products, especially the strawberry lip gloss that I ended up using constantly during the holiday season.

- At least one of the shades in my Stila 8-pan palette. But first, I should take the time to point out that it's more like a "7-pan" right now, since the magnet in the 8th pan fell out along with the Launey eyeshadow that used to be housed in it. Also, I desperately need to buy a "skin" or some stickers to cover up how beat-up this palette has gotten over the last 8 years. Anyway, I have yet to decide on what I will use for Pan #7 (last occupied by Diamond Lil) but already I am looking forward to the eventual obliteration of the palette's other contents, especially Ebony and the Belle blush (which is also currently in heavy rotation, since I use it alongside the Rimmel bronzer that I purchased over the holidays). One eyeshadow I would not want to run out of: Wheat, which is basically the best shimmery-nude eyeshadow ever... and has all the heavy-usage smudges in my pan to prove it.

- L'Occitane Shea Butter Verbena Soap: This came with the set I got from my sister last Christmas. (I love her. This year she got me an entirely new stash of bath products which included B&BW's Cucumber Melon shower gel and a small jar of Body Shop Passionfruit Scrub, which I also look forward to using constantly.) Going back to the soap, every single time I look at it, I always think, "Today is the day I am going to use this soap in the bathroom." And yet, I never do, because... y'know, L'Occitane. Well, now that the good folks at L'Occitane have been in operation at Ala Moana Center for more than a year now (and the salesladies have been wondering when I am finally going to spend more cash at their store) I no longer have an excuse.

- At least one of my body lotions. It's a neck-and-neck race between regular cocoa butter (decanted into an old glass bottle from Fresh) and the Essie Smoothies in Kiwi Lime (which also got a workout during the holiday season, after I bought it on impulse at Trade Secret... the pump bottle is a major plus). I predict the cocoa butter will be the first to go... and after that I'm not sure if I still want to keep the bottle, which is pretty but looks more like a relic from my wayward days back in college. Either way, once I get it all over and done with, I will be finally reunited with my B&BW lotion in Brown Sugar & Fig, which finally made it back into my apartment after being sent to the Philippines during the whole summer debacle.

EDITED 01/13/2006 to add that the lipstick has been decanted and the Ebony eyeshadow has been sacrificed to the gods of 'Opala, because the consistency of the shadow does not match those of the other Stila powders in the palette... which means that, sadly, it has turned, and could make me blind if I even dare to use it on myself. Ewww! Goodbye black smudgy shadow and hello, eyeliner pencil!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Domesticity Retail Roundup, January 2007

I don't know if this counts as "good" or "bad," but I did drop $39 at Lush Ala Moana yesterday. It was all part of a plan to, ahem, help the store clear out the holiday merch, and it made me a little guilty because I thought I was indulging myself too much. But consider the stash I ended up with....

- Lemony Flutter Cuticle Cream. I used to think that there was no way that anyone could ever improve on Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme - and in fact, I was fanatic enough to introduce this genius product to my Mom when she started complaining about her cuticles. Yet, when I road-tested this cream in the store, I loved the results so much that I decided to snap it up. I'm telling you, one tub of Lemony Flutter may be twice the size (and price) of a Burt's Bees, but it's also a definite step up. What's not to love? While the Burt's Bees creme is a lot more solid and matte (great for everyday work) the Lemony Flutter starts out looking and feeling buttery, but sinks in quite nicely. Since I do a lot of work with my hands (and bite my hangnails a lot) I need something that doesn't require too much work to use; and I've found that the butteriness of the Lemony Flutter works well with remoisturizing all the dry spots on my fingers. Added bonus: The butter also left my nails with a "just-buffed" sheen, thereby saving me tons of money on manicures for the next few months.

- Sweet Japanese Girl exfoliating bar. This isn't my first time buying this, and in fact this is more of a love/hate product for me because I broke out the first time I used it. Then again, considering the weather and the temperature outside, I wasn't going to spend any amount of money on just about any skincare product, so I got this and finally got the correct technique down: Warm the bar in your fingertips, massage buttery/scrubby stuff on face, then remove everything with wet cotton ball. Would you believe how much mileage I got from this baby? It took me two cotton balls to rinse off - one for each half of my face - and every single time I finished washing off the cotton balls always ended up really, really dark. That's a lot of grunge and dead skin cells right there! I wouldn't recommend it on the T-zone (and if you do use it there, use a toner to rinse off) but it's a perfect once-a-week cold weather treatment for dry spots on the cheeks and jawline. I also found that SJG also works wonders on my neck area and decolletage, which always get grungy at the end of the day. No more ring around the collar!

- Oxeo Cube deodorant. At the risk of giving away TMI, I've been having problems with my underarm deodorant lately, and not because of the whole aluminum thing - seems like every single time I use my regular deo, it would work OK but then my pits would start itching like heck and I'll have to stop wearing the stuff anyway. ANNOYING! So it was a choice between this and the deodorant powders, but I eventually went with the Oxeo Cube because 1) it was easier to apply; 2) I liked the scent (a fresh, powdery floral/herbal); and 3) the salesgirl said so. Anyway, besides all three points, I like how the Cube's powdery texture stays on your pits and keeps you sweat-free. And because I never seem to find my deodorant when I need it, I keep the Cube in a place where I'm sure to find it: in my desk drawer, next to my school supplies, to keep it dry and non-humidified.

- I Love Juicy shampoo. The smallest size. Hey, I'm almost out of shampoo. Haven't tried this yet, but hoping to do so when I get around to it.

And for my fabulous freebies, I got the Merry Christmas massage bar (the Fever was getting pretty lonely ever since Sleepy Head melted away into nothing and It's A Pleasure Treasure got lost in transit) and a sample of Ring of Roses buttercream, which I might road-test some time soon.


In other news:

- Tried Sally Hansen's Brush-On Hair Remover for Face. Good news: The hair finally, FINALLY went away without the annoying sting or chemical smell. Bad news: I left it on way too long, and now I have the usual post-depilatory stubbly dead skin on my upper lip. Am currently remedying this with a combo of Lush SJG (the buttery underside, not the stubbly bits) and Aveeno Ultra-Calming cream.

- Purchased from the supermarket: Sunsilk Anti-Flat Weightless Volumizing Creme. Not hoping for much on the volumizing side, since I know Sunsilk tends to be more moisturizing (hey, at least I got a nice leave-in conditioner out of this) but if I blend it with my usual thickening stuff I might get some kind of vavoom going on.

- From Ross Dress For Less: a yoga mat, to replace the other one. Better than having to waste another good bath towel.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2006: The Year That Was, In List Form

You know, I'm still dithering on whether or not I should go ahead and write a Best of 2006 entry for this blog, mostly because this was the year when I took a look at my beauty stash and realized that I already have everything I needed - which means that I'll probably be using the same stuff for the next six months, unless something turns first. This just wasn't my year to rave about some of the new releases (though I did catch a whiff of Youth Dew Amber Nude - that was really nice - and I can't emphasize enough how much I now love the new HIP makeup line) because at the end of the day I just found myself so completely overwhelmed by everything. So I'll just go ahead and put all my favorites in a short (for me) but sweet (nevertheless) list...

- Cover Girl Lash Exact mascara
- L'Oreal HIP Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor and Concentrated Shadow Duos
- L'Occitane Lavender Shea Butter
- Sugar scrubs in general
- Aveeno Ultra Calming Moisturizer, both in cream and SPF15 lotion form
- LUSH Fever massage bar
- Bench FiX Hairlastic Flexible Fiber styling paste (available in the Philippines... come on, Ben Chan, we need to see this in the online store!)
- Bath & Body Works shower gels in Coconut Lime, Pear Blossom, and Cucumber Melon
- Essie Smoothies hand & body lotion in Kiwi Lime
- Earth Therapeutics pumice sponge (a lifesaver, especially for those moments when my feet get really ugly)
- Johnson's Baby Cologne
- Sunsilk shampoos (both in the Philippines and stateside)
- Striped long-sleeved shirts (especially when worn by really cute Filipino guys who happen to be very intense)
- Gap Curvy Fit jeans and pants
- Short haircuts (would you believe that I'm actually going to ask Lexus to cut my hair real short this time? I'm a little partial to what Nicole Richie has been sporting in the January 2007 issue of Allure)
- Dark eyeliner (see also: Nicole Richie in Allure, and Thandie Newton in InStyle)
- Noontime swims at Makiki District Park
- Giving up on the manicures and going for clean, non-scraggly cuticles instead
- Soy candles turning up at PriceBusters
- Getting samples for Dove's Calming Night lotion (smells nice enough to almost make me give up on B&BW) and Deep Moisture Nourishing Hand Wash (my new favorite!), not to mention Olay Definity Intense Hydrating Cream (don't love it as much as I love the Aveeno, but I'm giving it a a shot anyway)
- Ending up with enough toothpaste to last me until next year (thanks, Dad and Evie)

Not much for resolutions beauty wise, except that I am drinking more water, eating less, taking more "me" time, and seriously contemplating taking up yoga again. We'll see.