Thursday, April 30, 2009

Domesticity Retail Roundup: A Glimpse of the New Tenants at Ala Moana

Folks, you have no idea how happy I was when I found out that the Lego Store was finally going to open here in Honolulu. But since this is a beauty blog, I think it is my duty to tell you about Lego's new neighbor on the second floor of Ala Moana Center...

Awww yeah, Vicky's Secret is finally coming to Hawaii! That means we don't have to embarrass our relatives by asking them to bring home scads of lingerie Amber Romance lotion and Dream Angels body spray! And it looks like this is going to be one of those VS stores that's going to have a comprehensive beauty department - the better to give Sephora (on the same floor) a run for their money in terms of skin care and makeup selections.

You know what that means, too...

Um, yeah, I just remembered that they sell undies, too.

(In due fairness, I do want Adriana's red lipstick in this photo. Hot.)

Sexy billboard aside, however, seeing this billboard does not worry me as much as seeing THIS...

Remember when Vicky's Secret used to sell stuff for grownups? Remember when they didn't market faux-Juicy sweats for "younger" shoppers (read: teens and undergrads), before they sparked the trend for "sexy" labelwear now overtaking university stores everywhere? Remember when they didn't make panties with stuff written on the butt area? Yeah, I miss those times, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Foot Candy for Spring

I'm totally in love with the Zoe & Zac shoe line at Payless right now.

Especially these adorable Daisy skimmers! I got to try them on last week and they fit my wide feet quite nicely. I want to buy them in every color. They totally remind me of my other favorite eco-friendly shoe line - Simple, who are also responsible for some of my favorite dress sneakers and canvas slip-ons.

While I can imagine wearing these on my regular work days, however, I've found myself wearing more heels lately - partly because of my Sunday duties as a cantor for our choir (let's just say that podiums are not always a flattering accessory for the petite) but mostly for the ego boost that I do need from time to time... and believe me, my ego could use a lot of boosting these days! So, while I've yet to indulge in some serious Do Me Shoes, the heeled shoes in my closet are getting retro-fitted with inserts.

Dr. Scholl's for Her High Heel Insoles, in particular, have been a Godsend for me: they're gel-cushioned, but they truly are undetectable once you wear them in your super-tall heels. All those claims of shifting the weight away from the ball/toe area of your feet are valid - these do a great job of not putting too much stress in a single area of your feet, and if you ever encounter arch-support problems in heels like I usually do, the extra padding in the arch area helps a lot. I've been wearing them with the red suede Kenneth Cole wedges that I got from Ross last year, and that has made all the difference.

And since I'm planning on retro-fitting the other high-heel shoes in my closet... well, at least until I can finally save up for a pair of Soffts... why not indulge with a three-pack of colored insoles?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Face of the Moment: The Easter Season

Because I haven't done a makeup post in such a long time:
I've been doing variations on this face for the last few days, but this was taken on Easter Sunday. The black eyeliner, I'll admit, is over the top, but everything else works fine for me.

Base: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly (on eyes): L'Oreal Bare Naturale in Sun Beige (on face); Everyday Minerals Concealer in Sunlight (under eyes); Maybelline Mineral Power Finishing Veil in Tan (contour)

Eyeshadow: Stila Wheat (on browbone); MAC Rolled Gold and Bitter layered on lids

Eyeliner: L'Oreal HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner in Black

Mascara: Maybelline The Colossal Volume Express in Glam Black

Blush: MAC Revenge combined with Bare Minerals Warmth

Lips: Max Factor MAXalicious Lip Glaze in Girls' Night Out (fuschia in the tube, but see through on the lips)

Domestic TV: People who Need to Shower Edition

- Okay, this question would never, ever, have occurred to me if I didn't spend all day on my knitting, but... seriously, what is up with all the ugly hairdos on As The World Turns? Not that I care about anything or anyone else about the show - except for that gay-couple storyline, only because those boys are cute - but I can't help but be distracted by the Blagojevich-level haircuts that some of these actors are sporting. Ew.

- Speaking of knitting: I'm so tempted to watch Dancing with The Stars tonight because all my other "shows" are on reruns and I can't help but watch all those pretty people dancing in pretty little costumes... yet, the mere mention of Gilles Marini makes me self-combust. Perpetually shirtless and sweaty eye candy: good for TV, definitely not good when you're trying to finish a complicated sweater sleeve.

(Yes, I've already seen the Sex and the City movie. In the theater, mind you. So you could imagine why I kept giggling and couldn't look anyone in the eye when Mr. Scribe asked me how I liked the film.)

- Moving away from the eye candy: This weekend, at a party, we were just talking about Russell Crowe showing up on Letterman, and the consensus I got so far is that the guy has gone off the deep end. It's an opinion that I don't share, though - not because I don't think he's crazy, but because at least he turned out to be pretty articulate and charming in his own way. (As opposed to, say, Joaquin Phoenix.) If I do have a bone to pick, though, it's with whoever styled his hair for State of Play. Come on, folks - John Simm may have played a disheveled reporter in the BBC original, but at least he managed to look handsome by keeping his hair short. Crowe's character, on the other hand.... I don't care if he's supposed to be playing a hard-boiled American investigative journalist if he'd been combing his hair with margarine. No. Please, no.

- And now, some more hotness:

Jeremy Renner: attainable-hot, and possibly the only reason why I watch The Unusuals.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shampoo/Brush Mystery Solved!

And now that I have finally managed to trawl the interwebs, I finally figured out which beauty blogger gave the original bit of advice to use 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo for your makeup brushes.

Behold, this bit of advice from Daneen Baird of Spoiled Pretty, as quoted on Glamour's website:

After investing in a new set, wash and condition them with a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner before using them—and then once a month after that—to cut down on bristle shedding and make them last and last.

Thanks, Daneen! :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter 2009!

Because nothing says "Easter!" like LAMBS!

And also:

Presidential Puppy-to-be Bo, courtesy of

Saturday, April 11, 2009

House Cleaning: A Couple of Tips

- Stole this idea from a guest appearance by the Mrs. Meyer on CBS' The Early Show: To keep mirrors clean, spray them with a solution of water and vinegar, then wipe them with an old piece of newspaper. It actually works - my mirror, which has been grungy for years, suddenly took on a brand new sheen after I sprayed it with the vinegar solution and wiped it with some newspaper. Since then I've been keeping a small spray bottle filled with the vinegar solution next to my sink - that way, I'll be ready as soon as the mirror gets grungy again.

- I have a powder brush that I bought from a drugstore which started out fluffy but turned out to be ratty and unusable on my face. I was all set to throw it away when I noticed that my laptop keyboard needed some cleaning. Inspiration struck.... and now I use my brush to pick up stray bits and dust bunnies that have been stuck between keys. Sometimes I even spray the brush with some 409 or household cleaner, then sweep it lightly over the keyboard to take care of the dirty bits between keys. Now I can always start the writing day with a clean writing surface!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

What's Your Fantasy: Tie Me Mentalist Down, Sport

Well, the title says it all. (Though not all, since I used to sing that song as "tiny kangaroo down, sport" when I was younger.)

That said: Simon Baker may be ten million undeniable varieties of hot, but I don't have a strong urge to demand naughty spankings from him. For one thing, he has been married for 18 years to the same woman, and is a father of three; on top of that, his eldest daughter not only looks exactly like him, but also shares one of many names with yours truly. Then there's the sloppy writing that has been plaguing The Mentalist lately, which has been distracting - and detracting - from the hotness that is Mr. Baker-Denny.

(Though I will allow that if it weren't for the above-mentioned hotness and the deadpan presence of Tim Kang, The Mentalist would have been kicked out of my TV rotation by now.)

But since this is an entry about the boilerplate hotness of Simon Baker, let me count the ways why I find him so captivating...

- Bucketloads of charisma. Like I've mentioned earlier, you can't watch The Mentalist and take your eyes off him, even when his character (the titular fake-psychic Patrick Jane) is at his most reprehensible. Sure, any guy could get away with wearing three-piece suits and tossing around snarky quotes while driving around a baby-blue Citroen like Jane does - but compared to, say, Tony DiNozzo on NCIS (another snarky character who lurks around CBS' Tuesday night slate in sharp suits), Jane is practically a homage to the old-school British detective shows that usually populate the programming schedule on PBS' Mystery! He's sharp and dashing, all right, and usually quick with the zings... but Baker isn't afraid to show the chinks in Jane's armor, often letting us into certain quiet moments of vulnerability - and even downright madness - behind that perfect smile.

And the magic doesn't stop at Patrick Jane, either, as evidenced by Baker's various talk-show appearances; whether he's talking about working on an interracial love story with Oprah or having Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts as the godmothers of his children with Letterman, he's as witty as expected, and just as bemused by his own popularity.

Which also gets us to the next point:

- He's not that into himself. Tell him he's the sexiest thing on two legs (as TV Guide just did) and he'll say, "Really?" - but not in the "aw shucks, you rillyrillylikeme" way that would be irritating on another actor. Maybe I'm projecting this, but I think that goes hand in hand with being married for so long: when you've worked so hard, and changed so many diapers, being the hot stud of the moment does turn out to be overrated in the long run. See also: every single time he shows up at formal events with thick eyeglasses.

- Also: not picky with work... understands the job market anyway. Okay, so maybe there was a reason I didn't watch Something New, or any of his other TV shows, or even The Devil Wears Prada... but if those hints of instability I'm seeing in Patrick Jane are any indication, maybe those days of rom-com/ playboy roles might be behind him.

- He'd make a great husband... if he already wasn't one. And I think that's the whole point of this entry.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Case for the Basics: The Boar Bristle Brush*

So you may be wondering what the big deal is about the boar bristle brush. You may be asking questions like "Why do stylists insist that I use one?" and "Do I really have to get a Mason Pearson, or at least a Denman?" Believe me, I had to ask those same questions too before I got my brush... and now that I have one, I couldn't be happier.

Now, before you ask me where and how I got my hands on such a shmancy brush, let me disclose here that my brush is nothing like those brand-name ones that the big-name stylists like to brandish at photo shoots. Those brushes will, indeed, cost you for their craftmanship; they're built to last for decades, and are meant to use for both grooming and styling... but they're definitely not for everyone. (Especially not Mason Pearson -- even its "pocket" model is way too much brush for somebody of my stature.) That's why I had to put the asterisk (*) in the title of this entry: If you have wavy or curly hair, you would be able get away with using a stylist-level brush that has the right combination of boar and nylon bristles to help you style your hair as you desire, with or without destroying your natural curl pattern.

That said, if you have board-flat, baby-fine hair like I do, an all-boar bristle brush may very well do the trick.

I say this because my current brush of choice is a $3 all-boar wood-set paddle brush that I bought at Walgreen's. (You can view similar-looking brushes here and here, for slightly more coin.) Before I bought this I was getting tired of the cheap plastic brushes that I have been using on my hair; they were OK with the detangling, but my scalp - and my hair - felt like it was being poked; for all they were worth, I might as well have been styling my hair with a garden rake.

Not so with the boar bristle brushes. For one thing, boar bristles are, of course, made of boar hair - and unlike a plastic or nylon bristle, which is structurally flat on the surface, boar hair has scales that can pick up and redistribute natural scalp oils when used to style or brush through human hair. This concept of redistribution explains several things that I've noticed since I started using the boar brush:

  • The incredible amount shine that I've noticed on the surface of my hair;
  • The ability of said hair to not only change from a middle to a side part, but to maintain said side part (and/or any other brush-related styling direction) for hours on end;
  • The constant, well-conditioned softness throughout every strand; and
  • The ability to maintain actual volume on top of the aforementioned shine and softness.

In other words, my boar bristle brush has turned my hair into the living embodiment of a shampoo commercial, without the post-production CGI.

As for the purported scalp-massaging properties of boar bristles, here's my take on the phenomenon: I've noticed that, after several uses, the boar bristles on my brush have been showing signs of splitting and fraying... and while some may take that as a sign of less-than-optimum quality, I say that the frayed ends actually make the brush better and softer, not only in picking up individual hairs from the scalp but also in exfoliating the scalp itself by picking up dead skin cells and other kinds of grunge - thus boosting circulation to the scalp and follicles. That means, when you use a boar-bristle brush on your hair, you're not just raking an instrument up and down your scalp; you're actually sweeping hair and grunge off your scalp with thousands of tiny little brooms, all while redistributing oils down the hair shaft. Who needs a ton of products and hair styling appliances when you can just brush your own hair?

Now, I have to remind you that - as with any brush with fine, tightly-packed bristles - using a boar bristle brush on wet hair is a DON'T: it may be softer and kinder, but it's still a brush, and thus just as likely to rip up weak, wet hair strands. Cleanup is also no joke: I can't wash my brush in the sink because the base is made out of pure wood, so I have to basically clean it by picking out hair strands with a nail file and shaking out the accumulated grunge over a trash can. (Gross.) Sometimes I even spray the brush with a ittle MAC Brush Cleaner to disinfect, too. But, to be honest, it really is worth the trouble; all I have to do is check my hair out in the mirror.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Fool's Day FAIL.

So I delivered a massive steaming pile of FAIL for April Fool's Day this year. (It involves Facebook, a fake pregnancy, and naming one of my friends from high school as the baby daddy. And no, I don't want to talk about it.) This ought to convince me that maybe I should leave the April Fool jokes to the experts and professionals.

That said, I'm bummed out that Trent Reznor chose Timbaland as a possible collaborator for his April Fool's Day joke... because that would've been BRILLIANT if they made that record for real, as opposed to being the cheesy embarrassment that it should've been. Besides... come on, Trent, were Rick Astley and Alanis Morissette unavailable?

Anyway, since we're on the topic of bad April Fool's jokes, I might as well share with you some of the failed 04/01 pranks that I came close to pulling on this site....

- Announcing my engagement to one or more of the following: Gerard Butler, James McAvoy, Ed Westwick, Anthony Bourdain, Joaquin Phoenix, Timothy Geithner (oh shut up), Neil Patrick Harris, BeBe Gandanghari.

- Amending that engagement to include that I am also having his/their babies, and we couldn't be happier. (Although I don't know if BeBe would be the type of person to "man up," so to speak, and admit to any extramarital spawn from when she used to be a boy.)

- Posting a potentially embarrassing webcam-quality video of me doing the Chicago Newscaster Dance and/or lip-syncing "Don't Look Any Further"

- Challenging Arnel Pineda to a karaoke duel where we out-jologs each other trying to sing Tagalog ballads from the '70s... extra points if we could get the makers of Xtreme Magic Sing as sponsors!

- Announcing on this blog that MAC will finally release The Domesticity Collection this fall

- Announcing on this blog that I will be in the running for the new season of Project Runway

- Announcing on this blog that Sephora has finally hired me, period

- And finally: Admitting, after all these years, that - in the light of what has become of Perez Hilton - this here blog has not only been ghostwritten, but has been ghostwritten by THIS woman: