Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Tough Go Shopping

At one of the lowest points of my life, I had brand-name cosmetics and toiletries from the finest department stores. I had great shoes, lingerie, brand new books from Borders, and at least one CD a week from Tower Records.

I was also in college and using my parents' credit line to buy all of that stuff.

I look back on that time now - all those BeneFit eyeshadows and Nine West shoes in one hand, and endless arguing with my Dad on the other - and I understand now that I was using shopping to fill a spiritual void. I was, in other words, a living example of HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, tired.

I'll admit that I came away from that addiction with a better understanding of fashion and beauty, knowing that just because somebody tells you to buy something doesn't mean that you go out and do just that. And yet, that same addiction also left me adrift in so many ways: How could I truly appreciate the value of currency and hard work, if all I was going to do was blow it out on the newest trend or fad? Did I even have an idea that all those sales clerks that gave me so much attention and care were no substitute for spending time with real friends that would've appreciated my time?

I guess that's part of the reason why my blog always seems sparse compared to the other beauty blogs in the same genre: How can I convince you - truly, genuinely be convincing to you - to look as fabulous as you feel, when I can't even scrounge up enough for groceries? I'm not saying that the other bloggers have it better than I do; maybe they do, maybe they don't... but that doesn't mean I should pounce at the bit every single time MAC comes out with a new collection just so I can catch up with everyone else. It's not realistic for me - and even if it was financially viable, I don't think I can live with myself if I have ten billion new eyeshadows and not a lot of days for me to wear them.

(Yeah yeah, you must've heard me whine about that too... but let's move on.)

In the years since I got my credit line cut off from The Bank of Mom and Dad, I learned the hard way that I can't stay young and party-hearty forever. Going to the public library for books has significantly reduced the clutter created from buying one too many paperbacks at Borders. Cotton underwear proved to be more durable and practical than overpriced lacy nothings. The rise of iTunes made it easier for me to just buy That One Song I Like instead of spending for whole albums. Netflix and YouTube has broadened my entertainment options beyond episodic TV and artsy first run movies.

And of course, when it comes to the fashionable stuff, I find that it's best to do the research and spend more money on a few items of quality. That explains why my shoes go to the cobbler, my jeans go to the tailor, and the one crazy-colored MAC eyeshadow that I do have (aside from the palettes and the neutrals) turns out to be the one that's getting relaunched this spring.

Which brings us back to HALT:

If I'm hungry, I get nourishment... not just for my body, but more importantly for my soul.

If I'm angry, I deal with it... and if I can't deal with it rationally, I must disengage.

If' I'm lonely, I call a friend... and if they're not always around, I must remember that there are others who could use a helping hand.

If I'm tired, I stop... and rest.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Randomesticity: Aging With a Measure of Grace

- I've decided not to write about the Sephora event that I attended today, mostly because my vain self forgot to charge the batteries in the camera (grr) but also because I had an epiphany mid-makeover: Even though the makeup artist I was working with was a genius with the concealer - and she did recommend a great one (LORAC Double Feature, $24 - my shade is DF3) - I realized that I'm already at this point in my life where dark circles are the least of my problems... well, at least as far as my eye-area problems are concerned, especially since I have been slacking on my eye cream use lately and the whole area looks seriously unmoisturized. Or maybe it's because I just realized that I'm on Spring Break right now after months of back-to-back work? Either way, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

- That said: I was thrilled to find a sample of Boscia Vital Daily Moisture in my Sephora Insider goody bag today, and I can't wait to try it. :)

- Okay, since I was at the mall today: Yes, I'm miffed that True Religion jeans don't come in my size. Not that it matters, really (although I have to admit I was intrigued) but that didn't stop me from having my second epiphany of the day... I really should stop buying low-rise jeans in general. Especially if I want to stop wondering how I managed to be in between sizes, where the smaller size gives me camel toe and the bigger size falls right off me if I don't button up.

- Also, I would like to take the opportunity to put on my Cranky Pants right now and lodge a complaint against the people who actually use shopping carts at Ross Dress for Less. I can see why they would need a shopping cart... but in the shoe section, where there already isn't much space as it is and everyone has to try on shoes in the narrow aisles, such as they are? ESPECIALLY during the very season when the Ross shoe department is flooded with spiky platform shoes? Seriously, I had three different people literally push me out of the aisles because they couldn't leave the carts somewhere safe... and let's not even talk about the fourth shopping cart, which clogged the entire aisle just because said cart had a toddler on the verge of a tantrum and a visibly hassled Mom who couldn't leave the shoes alone. Heck, at least the Marshall's stores I've seen on the Mainland provide actual seating areas for people to try on shoes... so what's your excuse now, Ross?

- As for upcoming entries, I'm working on another Case for The Basics entry for this blog, which touts the virtues of the boar-bristle brush, and a couple of possible recipe posts as well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flo Rida - 2; Good Taste - 0

Yep, I am ashamed to admit that this is Flo Rida's second appearance on this blog (the first one was that holiday ad for Gap that wouldn't stop streaming), and I still can't believe he got his grubby paws on one of the gayest and most karaoke-worthy hits of the '80s.

That said: Here's "Right Round" by Flo Rida, which refuses to be embedded by Blogger for some reason or another.

1) At least I can say that Dead or Alive has done worse things to this very song... to say the least of Marilyn Manson.

2) Seriously, in terms of ideas that sound horrible on paper, this is up there with T.I.'s producers sampling a certain Romanian pop song and asking Rihanna to sing the hook.

3) Which is another way of me saying: Man, this is so horrifyingly awesome.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brush Cleansing: A Revelation

This entry starts with the ongoing drama that I have with my hair - what with the breakage and the thinning and the sudden haircut - and the resulting backlash, starting with an insta-purge of hair products from my bathroom. One of the products that instantly left my shower stall was this shampoo:

I really wanted to like the Daily Shampoo from Fantastic Sam's, but the silicone totally did not agree with me because it always left my hair flat and over-conditioned. So while I was in the middle of "benching" this with the other shampoos, I remembered something I had read about washing one's makeup brushes with a 2-in-1 shampoo to keep them in good shape.

(Side note: I haven't gone through the Internet just yet to figure out where I read it, but I have a feeling that this was advice given by a beauty blogger who's not on my blogroll. Anyone care to step up and help me on this? Thanks.)

So that gave me the inspiration to wash all of my current makeup brushes with shampoo.

Now, the thing to remember here is that I already have the MAC Brush Cleaner at home, which I keep in a tiny spray bottle. I swear by this stuff to get my brushes clean on the quick, but because I spray it on (and wipe it on a tissue or paper towel afterwards) it has a tendency to not get most of my brushes as clean as I like. Since most of them were already grungy in the first place, I went ahead and used the shampoo on all of them - naturals and synthetics, from the cheapest of cheap deals to my prized stash from MAC and Sephora. Then I let them air dry, lying flat, and fluffed them out as soon as they were dry.

The results were astounding: Not only did it keep all of my brushes clean, every single brush came out in fabulous, near-new condition. My MAC #224 brush, for example, came out softer and less prone to shedding, and my Sephora travel blush brush (basically a shorter version of this) came out as soft as it was from the day I bought it, without any breakage. The Taklon brushes in my collection also came out more pliable and workable, as well.

The most astounding result, however, was the combination of the shampoo and a kabuki brush that I had bought from Wal-Mart for about $5, which I thought was already a lost cause: it had not only lost its shape, but it was shedding like crazy, and not even the MAC Brush Cleaner or even a once-over with regular soap could save it. One swish with the shampoo, however, and as soon as it dried out it was back to being its soft, bouncy, well-behaved self. Amazing! It just had to be the silicone, I'm sure.

Bottom line: Even if you already have a fine brush cleaner at hand, it doesn't hurt to use an actual shampoo - especially one with silicone-based conditioners in it - to de-gunk your brushes once in a while. Your brushes will not only come out cleaner, but better conditioned for use as well... and who knows, you might even be able to save more $$$$ in the long run, even if you do decide to switch to yet another shampoo.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Guess Who Just Got A New Haircut?

I have an excuse for this: I'm already losing a lot of hair from the stress (will elaborate more on that later), and I needed a better reason to keep my hands away from my hair. You may not see the layers -or even the breakage near the crown - in this picture, because I had styled it with a little mousse and a boar-bristle brush (similar to this), but it's definitely supposed to be piecey and layer-y.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Domesticity Retail Roundup, Part 2: Best. Store. EVER.

So: Target. Hawaii. NOW. (Okay, technically it's supposed to be for tomorrow... but you knew it was coming, right?)
The weather situation here in town, unfortunately, has prevented me from being able to make it to Salt Lake (at the former Costco site) or Kapolei Commons to check out les Tarjays and brave the crowds doing the same. That said, those of you who are new to the Target experience may be asking what the big deal usually is with this store, apart from the top-notch design and the fact that it's not Wal-Mart. Allow me to explain, then...
- The Hawaii exclusives. Yes, I know that Target isn't the first place to forge partnerships with local companies, since Whole Foods and Walgreens have beaten them to the punch a few months beforehand. And while Bubble Shack doesn't share the same elegant packaging as, say, Method or Indigenous Soaps (which you can buy over at Whole Foods), it's actually a welcome relief to see a big-box retailer partnering up with a local manufacturer that's committed to making all natural product from local ingredients.
-The designer stuff. You'd be surprised with how many big names are collaborating with the retailer on stuff that's designed to make your design-snob friends gasp and say, "You got this fabulous thing WHERE!?!?" Granted, it's a bit pricey compared to the other brands in the store, but if you're a stickler for this kind of thing, start with DwellStudio bedding to spruce up a room, or go big with premium furniture. Which then leads us to our next discussion...
- CLOTHES! Okay, so you might want to start in the GO International section (with Thakoon on sale), but if you're a curvy gal with a stickler for fit like I am, you can't go wrong with anything from Mossimo Black Label; the Mossimo outfits I purchased last year in Ohio still stand the test of time - and several washings, and the occational alteration - to this very day. Go with any of these classic tops and dresses, for starters, all of which are very basic and versatile. For underwear, Gilligan & O'Malley is definitely a must-try - I haven't tried their bras, but their pajamas and robes can't be beat. As for that other big-name designer currently working for Tarjay... well, I've said a ton of tart things about his line in the past, so I'm going to reserve judgement until he resolves that fitting problem he has with this line.
- MAKEUP! Okay, so this won't be Domesticity if I don't talk about the makeup, so here goes: It all begins with Sonia Kashuk, because any makeup junkie worth her weight in eyeliner would be a fool to pass up any of Sonia's budget-friendly tools and brushes. (Not to say that Target doesn't sell anything else as good, or better - but we're going by standard here.) Other Target exclusives include NP Set (for those of you who missed Napoleon Perdis the first time around at Sephora); Pixi (for those of you who are currently mourning Pop Beauty's departure from Sephora); and JK Jemma Kidd (for those of you who are... okay, Sephora never carried the premium version of this line, but it might as well have been). And while I need to find people who have tried this stuff already, I'm curious about the 24-7 Minerals line. Which leads us to the next entry...
- LOTIONS AND STUFF! Apart from the aforementioned Bubble Shack, there's also a lot of good buzz surrounding the UK brand Boots, and there's definitely no sleeping on the awesomeness that is Soap and Glory (from the great minds who brought you Bliss). I'd go on and on... so why not go down to Tarjay this month and check 'em out? Whee!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Face of the Moment: If You're Happy and You Know It, Wear More Eyeliner

A few great things happened to me today to wrap up this week: snapped out of my monthlong funk; found out work was cancelled for the day; made plans with my friends to hang out tomorrow night.

I don't know if you can see it through the crappy lighting on this webcam shot, but I am still wearing my eye makeup from this awesome day, which I'm still too giddy to take off for some reason or another. (Notice how my eyes seem a little longer here?) Here's what I used:

- Base: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly

- Highlight: Stila Wheat

- Crease Contour: Stila Icon (weird, but it's my way of working with the existing dark shadows in that area)

- Lid: The "aqua blue gold" half of Stila's Kajiki duo, which borders on turquoise when I apply it with a Taklon brush. I got this at Nordstrom Rack for about $8 - odd when you consider that it's not discontinued, but a wild bargain nonetheless.
- Liner: Here's where things get really interesting. I first lined the top lid and half of the lower lid (towards the corners) with a black eyeliner pencil from Jordana. Then, using a MAC #266 brush, I went over that same line with the pewter gray side of the Kajiki duo, creating a cat eye in the process. Voila: the almond shape you see in the photo above.
Lashes: Maybelline's The Colossal Volum'Express Mascara. Definitely much better this time, now that the "new mascara" gloppiness has been toned down a bit - my lashes do seem much longer and defined.
The rest of the face here is just mineral powder and lip balm, altough I did sneak some neutral lip gloss on my way to work. But if I wear this out again over the weekend, I may have to step it up with some neutral gloss and highlighter. :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Domesticity Retail Roundup, Part 1: Josie Maran Visits HNL

Just got this in my inbox today, via the Sephora newsletter

Come meet supermodel and homegrown-beauty maven Josie Maran as she shares
her beauty secrets and shows off her new organic brand, Josie Maran Cosmetics.
With botanical-based formulas and recyclable and biodegradable packaging, this
luxurious line embraces eco-friendly practices with products made with love -
for people and the planet.

March 7, Honolulu, HI
Sephora Ala Moana 808-944-9797

I don't know if I'll be there among the gawkers aiming cameras into the Sephora store on Saturday - especially since I do have plans for that day - but if you are going to be at Ala Moana Center, be prepared for an onslaught of this:

(Sorry, boys, but it wasn't easy to find pictures of her fully clothed... which, come to think of it, she probably will be when she shows up at Sephora anyway.)

Coming up on Part 2: The inevitable entry on the opening of the BEST. STORE. EVER. at Salt Lake and Kapolei Commons...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kim Kardashian. Discuss.

Or, as I like to call it: Most People Would Rather Draw The Line on the Implants, Anyway.