Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Neeyuh and Mayaari tagged me for this baby, here goes:

Here are the Rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

1. I love to eat salad. After four years of inconsistent eating habits in college, I found salad to be a fast, cheap, tasty way to dine when I started working full-time two months ago and was faced with lackluster take-out options in my area. Now I'm hooked - I generally eat a salad with/for at least one meal a day. I really enjoy the taste of fresh veggies.

2. That being said, I definitely like junk food sometimes. Cheese doodles are a personal favorite. (I'm such a foodie and love cooking too....hmm, might be inspired to post more recipes...)

3. I love wearing sneakers. I like my feet feeling secure in my shoes and the ability to walk with ease. Thus, I usually only wear flip flops around the house or if I'm going out to lounge, and I save heels for special dressed up days.

4. I once wrote a 90+ page screenplay about a 16-year-old British science prodigy trying to discover time travel while working on a submarine with a team of international experts. It had romance, drama, and cool sci-fi stuff. Unfortunately my computer hard drive died and I lost the whole thing :( But maybe one day, I'll write it even better.

5. I really like reading washingtonpost.com discussions. I'm a big fan of the Post as a whole.

6. My dentist says I grind my teeth at night. Sometimes I wake up with my jaw clenched really tightly. I should buy a night guard for my teeth...which I normally take very good care of. Heck, I floss everyday, seriously!

Trying not to duplicate tagging is hard, so I'm calling out:
JennBee at Bare Budget Beauty
Crystal from Beauty on a Budget
Sara at Bombshell Beauty
Vanity Treasure
My elementary school friend Aimee
Anyone else who wants to do this!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Last Lip Gloss Brand I May Ever Need

I'm only exaggerating a little bit. Really, I'm currently quite infatuated with NYX mega shine lip glosses. So much so that I've purchased five of them in the past six weeks. And at $2.60 a pop at a local beauty supply store, they're especially easy on the wallet as far as beauty products go!

Pretty, huh? Vanessa at Nessasary Makeup - whose reviews and tutorials I absolutely love - recently had a post with her NYX "lipstick army"...and while I'm not quite there yet, I'm quickly becoming a convert.

These are glosses, not lipsticks, so don't expect a heavy, lipstick-quality color. The lighter colors are more sheer, particularly 'Juicy Red,' the most translucent in the tube of the bunch. Since I haven't yet mastered the art of taking pictures of my lips, check out the below photo and I will verbally explain how they look on my lips.

From left to right:
Sunrise is a bright, opaque, shimmery, berry color that's less red than it looks in the tube.
Juicy Red makes my lips look exactly as tasty as it sounds. It deposits just a hint of color and a lot of shine.
Salsa is also bright, berry, shimmery and fairly opaque, but lighter than sunrise and less intense. It's a true, bold pink that feels very tropical to me, if that makes sense.
La~La~ is probably my favorite color. It deposits just the right amount of light, rosy, bubble gum pink on my lips, subtly perking up my complexion. (Side note: You can't see it in the photo, but Juicy Red isn't sparkly at all, Sunrise and Salsa are shimmery, and La~La~ and Perfect have bigger sparkle particles in them.)
Perfect is sooo pretty. It puts a very muted pink glaze on my lips with tiny sparkles, only apparent from up close.

Overall product pros:
  • Wide range of colors.
  • Fantastic texture; this is some of my all-time favorite textured lip glosses. I find slight variances based on color - for example, between the glosses with shimmer, with sparkle and those without it. Yet across the board I find these glosses to be smooth and provide ample coverage without being too sticky or gloopy.
  • No taste and no odor (unless you sniff it really close).
  • Great alone or over lipstick.
  • Not too sparkly. The shimmer works as a light reflector and is subtle.
  • Great price.
  • Not widely available depending on where you are. (I got mine at an independent beauty supply...I've seen NYX in some drug stores, but never these lip glosses.)
  • Relatively long-lasting but nothing special when challenged with food or drinking.

What I especially love is the quality. I haven't used many high-end lip glosses so I can't compare these NYX glosses to them. However, I am very experienced when it comes to drugstore brands, from Revlon, Covergirl, L'Oreal and Maybelline to Wet 'n Wild, NYC and Bonne Bell (in my younger days) -- and in my opinion, these NYX glosses match or beat all of them. Plus, they're cheaper?? Count me in. (FYI, online the glosses are $5 on NYX's Web site, but I'd still pay that much for them, definitely.) I feel like I'm not sacrificing quality for cost, that it's fun and easy to experiment with different shades, and that I don't have to break the bank to treat myself once in a while.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Shout Out to Good Friends

I just got two letters in the mail today from my best friend volunteering for the Peace Corps in Zambia. I felt like a kid on Christmas ripping open the first envelope...what a great treat! She's only been gone since August but I miss her so incredibly much. I'm happy though, knowing she's happy.

I've been so busy lately at work and in life. I'm looking forward to putting up more entries soon. Speaking of which...

Coming up next:

NYX lip glosses = new favorite product.

Anyway, go out and tell a good friend how you feel about him or her today. It's so nice to feel loved. :) I hope you all are feeling that, and having a good kick-off to the weekend!

P.S. The Neutrogena poll is back open so please vote and tell me what kind of product to buy with my $10 coupon. Thanks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fairy Princess Shoes

I've been a bit down recently - relationship troubles with my beau of 3.5 years. Thought we were going to get married and share our lives together and everything....now, such remains to be seen. Us being friends remains to be seen. And the hardest thing is, I don't really know what I want.

So, times like this call for some special shoes. Shoes purchased on a whim, before said drama happened, but an appropriate pick-me-up for my current mood.

Pink fairy princess shoes (in an adult size).

Don't knock it, I thought these were just adorable at some sketchy, no-refund boutique in my sketchy local mall. In person they're a really soft, pearlized pink with sturdy rubber soles.

I also bought a pair of brown faux-leather ankle boots with a heel and some coppery little heels for the office. I prefer wearing shoes with some height, since I'm so short (read: little and lovely), but I just adored the above pair. I've been wearing them around the house, and even might venture to find something they'll go with outside. Skinny jeans? A gray tweedish skirt? A black skirt and textured black tights? Maybe you have some more creative offerings.

*Blissful sigh* Now back to reality...

Friday, October 17, 2008

My 4x4 About Me

A 4x4 about me that I took from the lovely Mayaari's blog (it was surprisingly hard for me to narrow down only four items in each category):

4 things I did today:
1. wore jeans to work
2. read wikipedia articles
3. nearly completed my story about Ten Thousand Villages, a nonprofit fair trade org that sells crafts from around the world
4. brewed some Lady Grey tea

4 things on my to-do list:
1. exercise
2. paint my nails
3. make chicken soup
4. find a time to skype with my friends in New England

4 guiltiest pleasures:
1. chocolate
2. watching so-bad-they're-good TV shows, like The Hills
3. playing dress-up
4. writing this blog, it's antithetical to the serious aspects of my life but a lot of fun

4 random facts about me:
1. I used to be mildly obsessed with anything Norwegian, and I still want to go to Norway one day
2. I am a huge animal lover and my family has three dogs back home: two mini-poodles and a Boston Terrier (=most fantastic dog ever, I'll post a pic of her sometime)
3. I love hearing and telling stories
4. my favorite beverages include hot tea, ice tea/lemonade, root beer, sprite, anything mocha and lime seltzer, which my best friend who's currently in the Peace Corps in Zambia turned me on to

If you've read this, I tag you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Bottle Rainbow in my Shower

I was inspired to take this photo the other night -- moments after bathing -- to share with you the (crazy?) way in which I ordered all the bottles in my shower by color.

I currently have 14 containers in there, but in all fairness, I only use a maximum of five per shower. Half of the items are spares I brought with me when I moved that I don't have a better place to store. Four of the containers are trial size samples.

The fact that they are such a wide array of colors is pure accident. Seriously. Funny how that worked though. Guess I'm really drawn to vibrant colors.

The products, from left to right:

Gillette regular foam shaving cream -- No prissy shaving gel for me!

Bath and Body Works body wash in Midnight Pomegranate -- I have no idea what makes a 'midnight' pomegranate different than an afternoon one. Or a 3 p.m. one. But I love pomegranate and picked this up on sale a few weeks ago. The scent and lather are great. In fact, I even picked up the same body wash and a hand cream for my friend for her birthday. She liked it too.

Herbal Essences Color Me Happy shampoo
-- I don't know who bought this. Probably me, though I'm usually not a big HE fan. I highlighted my hair for about four years years, during which time I almost exclusively used color protecting products from the drugstore. I'm currently in the process of growing it out - wanted a change, also going darker for winter - but I still use color protecting shampoo. I've got no complaints with this bottle, and I like it better than regular HE.

L'Oreal Vive Pro
Nutri Gloss Conditioning Treatment -- As the yellow-label indicates, it was on clearance at Duane Reade. This is supposed to be a deep conditioner, however, I'm really not sure what it does. I've had neither especially good nor especially bad results. I've read mixed reviews of this stuff so I'd say you can judge it yourself. I probably won't re-buy because I know I can find something better.

Christophe of Beverly Hills Color Extending Conditioner
-- I picked up a a handful of these Christophe 2 oz. trial size bottles in a few different treatment types. Does anyone know how long you should continue using color-treating products after getting your hair done? Until the hair grows out, or no?

Citre Shine conditioner for colored or permed hair
-- I love how this smells! I'm almost out and want to find more. It feels light on my hair and isn't tested on animals. Great. I can't speak to its "citrus vita-actives," but fyi some of its top ingredients are cetyl alcohol and amodimethicone.

Sedal Miel y German de Trigo (honey and wheat germ) conditioner -- I bought this on vacation in Mexico in March, since I didn't want to risk getting hair products all over my stuff when I packed. Sedal is the spanish language version of Sunsilk -- both are made by Unilever. This conditioner is aimed toward hydrating dry hair. My hair actually isn't very dry, but again, since it was processed and because it's naturally curly/wavy, I try to give it as much replenishment as possible.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub, Renew & Firm --This will help tone your skin to make it look younger. If it works as it says it does, people will be asking if I'm in middle school soon! but seriously, I bought this hoping it might be a bit more gentle than the regular stuff, which I find a bit rough. Did they change the formula recently? Since the beads in here are a lot finer, but I don't know if that's just this particular type...and by the way, it still works like a charm, just as I expect St. Ives to do. **HG product for me**

Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask -- I've written about this before and will add to the choir who love it for being good and cheap. Definitely a lot of quality bang for your buck in this tube.

Garnier Fructis shampoo for color treated hair -- Another item picked up in Mexico. Does anyone know if South and Latin American products are formulated differently than their American or European counterparts? I browsed the ingredients here and from what I remember, it was the same old stuff at the top - sodium lauryl sulfate, etc. I love the smell and tend to like how Granier works for me.

Christophe trial size bottles in clarifying shampoo and curl-defining shampoo and conditioner -- Just got these, don't have a ruling on how they work.

Bath and Body Works 3-in-1 body wash/bubble bath/shampoo in Twisted Peppermint -- Ha! Also funny that my two body washes are from BBW when I never shop there. This was in a gift pack given to my mom a few years ago. I was using the chocolate scented one at home in N.Y. (it smells like a dream...mmm) but brought this with me in the move. It makes me smell like a candy cane, in a good way. And it makes me excited for the holiday season! Which is why I'm going to look for a more autumn-y scent today, so I can get my fall-wheels in gear. (Pumpkin spice anyone?)

In fact, I might go to BBW for some...my once-a-year visit.

So there you have it, the array of colors in my shower! My shower pouf is powder blue, so it would actually futher complete the spectrum, but I didn't take a pic ;)

Do you have a lot of stuff in your shower too? Do you switch out regularly? Or do you store extra products under the sink?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Looking for Blush in All the Wrong Places

Specifically, the CVS clearance bin.

That's not an inherently bad place to look for makeup, but it was because of my disappointing find. I was looking for bright pink products for Pink's Kawaii contest not too long ago but CVS had few options. (I imagined in-your-face Barbie pink shadow...but even without it, I'm happy how my look came out, especially in relation to the pink wig I got on a whim.) I saw a L'Oreal blush compact while lightly perusing the sale bin and thought 'Why not? It's pink and 50 percent off. It looks pretty and I could re-purpose it for my lids.'

I think I know why this product is LE. Because it bites.

(I hope it's LE. And I haven't seen any more in this packaging around.)

The matte darker color looks like faded Pepto-Bismol and has the consistency of old chalk. In fact, I think it might work better to rub chalk of my face, because after swiping this several times on my cheeks I could barely see any color. It wasn't just lack of pigmentation, it was a problem of picking up the powder at all.

The lighter shade has a tiny hint of shimmer, and aside from also having to swipe it many times to get it to show up, it is pretty. Nothing amazing, nothing bad, a decent highlighter I'll probably use again. I kind of feel bad for it being in this unfortunate duo...it's really brought down by the other color.

(The label and ingredients. I've read good things about the Blush Delice line but couldn't find any other reviews on this particular blush.)

My real problem in looking for blush is that I just don't know exactly how to start. I have one nice rosy blush - Milani's Luminous, which gives me a very natural looking flush on days when I'm looking especially like a zombie. But it's packed up somewhere because of the move and I haven't seen it in a few weeks. My NYC peachy-mosaic wheel is too dark and sun-kissed for my increasingly pale autumn skin. Plus, it just doesn't feel right. I want to look like an ice princess (it's 70+ degrees, a bit early for that) or someone carving pumpkins and eating cranberry sauce, not like I'm about to head to the beach.

I'm thinking something very light - like Nars' Deepthroat, I thought it looked so pretty at the department store makeup counter - or something dark, burgundy colored for night time. I just don't want to look like a clown because my skin is very fair. Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy Weeeeekend

I just awoke from the sleep of the dead. Not literally, of course, but I was exceptionally tired when I finally got into bed last night and instead of waking up at 8 or 9 as my body usually does on Saturdays, I got up at 11:30. It felt so good though! I'm so happy it's the weekend, I just want to laze around and relax.

Quick update, since I'm working on another entry, with just some little things...

--Are you plugged into Pandora.com? It's a free Internet radio site that creates play lists based on your personal recommendations. "Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar," says Wikipedia. "Users provide feedback on the individual song choices — approval or disapproval — which Pandora takes into account for future selections." It's not something new but I just signed up for my account yesterday.

--If you're a little panicked about the economy - or worse, just trying to ignore it because it seems so bad, - Crystal at "Brunette on a Budget" put together an informative post with expert tips for how we individuals can get our own financial states in order.

--Fantastic Contraption: a fun online physics game. I haven't played but I'm told it sucks you in. I'll say no more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Beauty in Unexpected Places

Do you ever admire a stranger's beauty? Or find yourself drawn to a random person's striking features? That happened to me yesterday -- at a job information session.

After the two-hour presentation I started chatting with the woman next to me. It was lunch time, we were hungry and she offered me some dried mango slices. We agreed that we wished there were refreshments! And I confided that I was a bit intimidated because of my lack of experience. "Are you right out of school?" she asked. "Yeah, I work for a newspaper now," I said. She said I shouldn't worry too much because they like recruiting young people recently out of academia.

Keep in mind, this meeting wasn't just for people applying to my position - in fact, I doubt many if any of the other 20 people in the room were applying for the same job - so there was no weird sense of direct competition. And she was probably right that I shouldn't feel bad just because of the guy across the room with more than a decade of military experience; why he applied and the skills desired for his job were almost definitely totally different than mine.

Anyway...she is probably in her late 20s. Looking to internally transfer. Has stunning features. High cheek bones accentuated by a graceful swipe of red rouge; matte, muted reddish-brown lipstick on a nice pout; big green eyes with thin black eyeliner, long lashes and a bit too light of a white shadow for my taste (too severe on her pretty pale skin); long, effortlessly coiffed black hair. Oh, and an impeccably sharp yet feminine skirt suit in dark tan. She had a twinge of Angelina Jolie-type exotic something in her face, but more gaunt. Like I said, great cheek bones played up well.

That's what I was thinking on my way out. We didn't exchange names, I don't know what she does, but her unusual beauty and polished look stuck with me. I admire people who play up their assets in a seemingly easy way, and in a way that's slightly different from the norm.

Like, on my way out to the parking lot, I met another woman probably about the same age or a bit older with very neat, stylish short dreads and smart, thickish-rimmed glasses. It was windy, and I said it was smart that she'd put a bobby pin in the hair on one side of her head. Yeah, it was just a plain bobby pin, likely tucked in to keep that dread lock from falling onto her forehead. But it was simple and made her look polished, like she was there for business, not to be distracted by some wayward hair. The suit, the pointy heels, the glasses and the clip pulled together a commanding package that said 'Don't worry, I got this.' But it looked so natural, not like she was trying too hard.

Personally, I'd forgotten a bobby pin for my side bangs! But my hair was pulled back and behaving for the most part, so it was all good. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Kawaii Look

Like several of my fellow bloggers, I took the plunge and entered Pink's Kawaii Domination challenge. So here's me...photo-whoring Kawaii-ified....

(I stick out my tongue at the establishment! Puh.)

Yeah, the wig makes me look kind of manga-inspired. (It was the best wig I could find at CVS last night at 10:30. And I was feeling pink.) You can't see my makeup very well in the picture, but the below one is a bit better. Basically, I used a lot of pink - on my lips, my cheeks, my eyes. And some black eyeliner. But only after I showered did I realize that I forgot to put on mascara!

The shirt is Delia's Japanese Racoon (sp) Tee. (Because everyone loves raccoons!) I picked it up at Tysons corner yesterday. Btw, I have never seen a mall so big. Wow, quite impressive. My friends and I had a fun time walking around and test-driving Smart Cars too...even though they feel a bit like a big go-cart to me, lol.

This last photo is probably my favorite. Peace out guys. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Field Trip and Interview Clothes

I'm taking my first trip to Tysons Corner today, a huge mall in Northern Virginia. I can't even bear to read through the list of all the stores, it's so extensive...But first, my two friends and I are going to a Smart Car dealership for one of them to take a test drive. Have you seen these little things?

My friend says they are supposed to be very safe because the frame is built like that of a race car, and that they are gas efficient and easy to park. So I need to hop in the shower now and get ready if I plan to meet them on time...

The second thing on my mind, though, is a job interview I have Monday. I have no idea what to wear. I feel like I should look very polished, commanding and confident. A little tough too. I have black slacks, a black suit jacket and black heels, but what color shirt to wear is a mystery to me. Black doesn't seem right. Black checkered seems too busy. My pink shirt isn't a professional enough fabric. And my light blue shirt fits funny.

FYI, I'm very happy at my current job -- where I wear sweater sets most of the week -- and why I'm doing this other interview is a long, involved story for another time. It's also a bit late to back out now.

Okay, what I'm thinking is that a dark, emerald green shirt would be perfect. Serious with a punch. Subtly exciting. With gray pearl earrings. Maybe?

Let's see if this actually exists in my size! I mean, this super mall should have everything, right? Wish me luck...

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Lips Say 'Thank You'

I've been battling one of my arch nemeses lately -- raw, tight, uncomfortable lips. The temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees here in the Maryland-outskirts of D.C., yet my lips already feel like it's the middle of winter with the heat cranked up and poor ventilation.

Of course once your lips get dry like that, the problem can easily (and quickly) spiral out of hand. And my problem was that I had nary a Chapstick or bottle of Vaseline in sight. All my lip balms seemed to have vanished at exactly the moment I needed them! Plus, I was too lazy/indecisive/frugal to get something new...so I let things get progressively worse, till my lips really freaking hurt.

Then in the nick of time last night, I found my tin of Smith's Minted Rose Lip Balm.

You know it? If so, you probably love it.
"Created specially for Sephora, this cult-favorite, minty, multi-purpose lip balm soothes dry lips, calms and heals irritation, and soothes the sting of minor burns," the retailer's Web site says. "Try dabbing on dry elbows or knees to condition, and relieve dryness."

I haven't used it on my body much, but I'd believe it works. The ingredients are
: cotton seed oil, borax, aromol, and essential oils in a "special" petrolatum base. It's a lot more solid than regular petroleum jelly, but has a similar consistency when you get some on your fingertip. The nice smell and cool, minty-yet-subtle 'zing' of this stuff is a really nice change from your standard petroleum lippie though. The tin is adorable, and the product just has some fantastic quality about it I can't quite put my finger on. It feels really nice on, is pleasantly fragrant, restores my lips to a non-uncomfortable state, and it looks nice too...just the right amount of healthy shine.

In writing this post I did some research on borax, a compound that has some people concerned about its presence in cosmetics because it is also used in detergent and is toxic in high doses. This alarmed me a little bit too, so I turned to The Beauty Brains, a great site on which cosmetic chemists cut through advertising hype and look at the science behind products to give readers scientifically-accurate, unbiased information. (Packaged in an easy-to-read, entertaining way! Check the site out, for sure.)

In discussing what borax does in beeswax-based Lush lip balms, the Right Brain explains that it forms an emulsion, which is a stable mixture of two unblendable liquids, such as oil and water. (The Right Brain says about Lush: "Borax-beeswax emulsions are unusual - they’re “water in oil” emulsions so the water drops are dispersed in the oil. That type of emulsion tends to be more water proof which is good for a lip balm.") Smith's uses petrolatum and not beeswax, however, it still seems logical that like in the Lush product, Smith's salve uses borax as an emulsifier instead of turning to a multitude of other chemicals.

"And a final note: if you do any kind of web search on Borax you’ll find that it can also be used as an insecticide, but don’t worry about that," Right Brain notes at the end of the post. "It’s only toxic to humans at very high levels - in fact it has the same toxicity profile as common table salt. (Hey, even water can be toxic if you drown in the stuff!) So a little bit in your lip balm is perfectly fine."

So I'm willing to believe that borax is safe in this use. I haven't tested it myself, but when you consider all the carcinogens and potentially harmful substances we all encounter everyday...plus the fact that, as the Brains point out, a lot of things are toxic in high doses but safe in smaller quantities.