Tuesday, January 20, 2015

thoughts of the week

1. Confession, I've never been a fan of Beyonce. I've always thought she was gorgeous and her voice is out of this world, but her entertainment style and song choices never appealed to me. I am, however, a huge fan of Mitch and Scott from Pentatonix and they have their own YouTube channel. My favorite videos they post are the ones of them singing and I have probably watched this video over 25 times. I stubbornly put off listening to the real Beyonce versions since she released them back in November. I finally gave in and watched her visual album on YouTube (she made a music video for every single song on this album) and I have to say, I get the hype. My favorite songs are Rocket, Yonce, Haunted, and the ending bit to Ghost.

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2. I am really enjoying my short hair. I cut it back in the beginning of December and was having slight haircut regrets but that has long gone now. Less product to use, less time to waste styling it. My favorite product I have been using to help with some volume and kickass texture is BedHead Queen for a Day. I read on many Into the Gloss interviews that professionals frequently pick this for fashion and runway shows.

3. My coworker convinced me to start the show Once Upon a Time and I am really enjoying it so far. You would think Disney story lines would come off stale as a show but they spin it in a way that works and keeps it interesting. I'm currently starting season 2 so no spoilers!

4. I went to a Brazilian Steakhouse for the first time ever this past weekend and it was such a fun experience. If you have never been to one, there is usually a salad bar that you are able to frequent while the waiters come around with spits of meat that they cut off pieces of your choosing on your plate. Think of that restaurant that makes everyone sick in the movie Bridemaids (lol).

5. I am obsessed with vlogs. This is huge you guys because I was a former vlog hater but I have been converted. I blame Vlogmas. I think you have to enjoy/like/want to know the person that is vlogging for them to be interesting. Who are your favorite vloggers? I am missing thefashioncitizen vlogs tbh, I hope they decided to do more beyond vlogmas.

6. What do we think of the Harry Potter illustrative books coming out? I will probably buy them as I love the series and having artistic illustrations sounds really appealing to me. I love seeing how others visualize the stories.

7. I watched one of the best movies I have ever seen on Netflix recently. It was called The Intouchables. It is in my top movies of all time so I really recommend it. It made me laugh and feel good inside. Bonus that it is based off a true story.

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8. Another thing I have been obsessed with is Snapchat. I think I felt too old for the app but my coworker persuaded me to use it and showed me the ropes and now I'm hooked. I update it pretty frequently so if you are interested in seeing the mundane going-ons of my life, feel free to add me; my username is kellyyes. Let me know your username if you have the app!

9. This was the most ridiculous article I have read this week.

10. This Jimmy Fallon interview with Nicole Kidman is hilariously awkward and it made me laugh very much.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 favorites: makeup

2014 wasn't a very adventurous year for me makeup wise. I don't think I bought anything new at all besides essentials like mascara and foundation, both which aren't terribly exciting. Nonetheless, here are my makeup favorites for the 2014 year.

MAC Groundwork Paint Pot
I believe I have talked enough about this little pot of goodness on my blog but a breakdown: perfect matte mid-tone brown for a nice wash all over the lid that gives an effortless put together look in a second. Can also be used as a base for smokier looks. My pot is almost gone but I already have another waiting to be used. It is one of my essential makeup items I don't like being without.

Miani Bella Rosa Blush
I pretty much wore this blush exclusively for a good half of the year, especially in the summer time. It packs a punch in the color department but doesn't give clown cheeks if worn right. It is super affordable as well.

Revlon Colorstay Foundation
I bought a couple of bottles of this foundation this year as a throwback since I used to wear it all throughout my high school days and I wanted to see if I still enjoyed it. I do. It is a bit high in coverage for my liking but that just makes the bottle last longer for me as I only use a small amount on a daily basis. It is long lasting, decent at oil control, and it looks really great in photos.

L'Oreal Butterfly Mascara
This came as a surprise as I initially didn't care too much for this mascara. I thought it didn't give enough volume or intensity to my lashes. But like any good L'Oreal mascara, this just needs some aging for its true performance to shine through. I have gotten the most compliments over my lashes with this mascara. It really gives nice, long, fluttery lashes once the formula thickens up a bit from being open.

Smashbox Filter Trio
Mentioned countless times on here. Smashbox makes some good shadows, don't pass over them!

NARS Gilda
This was my second most loved blush this year. If I wasn't wearing Milani Bella Rosa, I was most likely in the mood for a soft color so Gilda was my choice. It isn't the most unique color on the planet but it is still a great color that is universally flattering.

Bonus, my favorite scent of 2014 is actually a men's fragrance: Hermes Terre D'Hermes. It smells strongly of cedar so if woods aren't your thing, stay away. But if cedar gives you life you will love this. I can't get enough of it and I don't even care that it is supposed to be for men. Gender roles are overrated. Happy New Year everyone! I look forward to a fresh start every year so bring on 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 favorites: skincare

It's 2014 favorites time! I'm splitting up my favorites into two installments, one skincare and one makeup. It won't be terribly exciting makeup wise because as I explained in my last post, I pretty much used the same makeup for most of the year in order to use things up. Still, I will do a post on it to explain what items made it and why I liked them.

Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Porefinist
I have tried a few different oil cleansers and so far this shu version has been my favorite by far. It has a very watery consistency which makes it very easy to rinse off and it also is very effective at removing all my makeup. Two thumbs up. I'd repurchase for sure. I think once I finish this I will try out a balm cleanser to see if I like balms or oils more.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream
I bought this months ago and I still have more than half of the cleanser left. It is the gift that keeps on giving. I really enjoyed this cleanser this year for a few reasons: you don't need much product to get a nice lather, it cleans thoroughly, and it doesn't leave my skin overly dry after rinsing off. It also doesn't burn my eyes if I open them which is somewhat of an important aspect of a cleanser to me. This is probably my second favorite foaming cleanser I have tried so far with the Clarins Cottonseed beating it just a bit more due to the better scent and richer lather.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
These really caught me by surprise. I didn't think these would cause such an impression on me but they have. When I run out of these I plan to repurchase and not even bother trying to find a replacement as these work very well. I notice a difference when I stop using them when I am away for a weekend and don't bring them with me. My only wish for these is that they were more saturated in the formula, but it is a small complaint.

Puritan's Pride Retinol Cream
Another item I was completely surprised by. My mother gave this to me to try and I took it graciously but promptly ignored it once I got home since I was being a brand snob. My skin was parched one day during the beginnings of winter so I remembered this tub and used it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this absorbed quickly and didn't leave my face greasy. I woke up with nice, supple skin. I think my skin reacts very positively to retinol as I have noticed blemishes on my face heal quicker when I use this cream.

Clarins Lotus Oil
Another bandwagon I tried this year and happily hopped on. With use of this I noticed severe reduction of oil production during the day. I am almost out of this and have a Dr. Hauschka oil to try after so we will see if all oils are created equal or not.

2014 was a good year of skincare trials. I liked almost everything I painstakingly researched and picked out for myself. I actually made a little video of myself getting ready for bed, or my nighttime routine, using all of these products which I will put in another post probably after the new year. Until next time, where I will talk about my makeup favorites...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

my daily 10 minute face

I am not sure if you all have noticed but I haven't been feeling very inspired to do any makeup related posts. This is simply due to me being stuck in a very fixed makeup routine. 2014 is coming to a close and it was very much a year of me trying to use up as much of my makeup collection as possible with very little purchases. That being said, I thought I would show you just what products I have been using for my daily face. It is a quick, simple look that takes less than 10 minutes for me to apply. I stick with a thin base, a matte neutral eye, not much eye liner (shocker, I know), and a sheer lip.

For foundation I have been using Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation, which I am a fan of. It is pricey but it gives a really nice base that gives decent coverage while looking very skin like and natural. It doesn't cover major blemishes on its own though so for that I go in with my trusty Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage which is something I have been using for quite a while now. For under eye brightening I like the ever popular Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer. This tube is on its last legs and once it is out I plan to repurchase as it really does a nice job at such a cheap price point. To set everything in place I have been using Maybelline Dream Matte Powder dutifully. I smashed up all the stuck product on the pan so I can use every last bit.

My current bronzer of choice has been theBalm Betty-Lou Manizer. This has a bit of a sheen to it but it isn't noticeable if applied sheer. The only makeup product that I actively switch up every few weeks is blush (got to spice it up in here) and currently my choices are Mac Vintage Grape and NARS Gilda. If I am feeling fancy and have some extra time, I will also swirl some MAC Lighscapade underneath my eyes and along my cheekbones to help with the brightening effect.

To start out my eye look I curl my lashes with my Kevyn Aucoin lash curlers. I like how this has a big opening so fitting my lashes into the space is a breeze, but I think the Shu Uemura curlers curl better if I am being honest. Next I apply a wash of Mac Groundwork Paint Pot all over my lid and under my lower lash line. From there I use my Smashbox Filter Eye Shadow Trio. This trio is almost finished you guys, I'm almost done with the mid-brown shade and the biggest hurdle that is left to tackle is the darkest brown. I use a mixture of both shades to apply in my crease and under my lower lash line.

Next I take the dual ended Urban Decay 24/7 liners in Zero and Whiskey. Now if you know my liner rep by now, you know I can't stand Urban Decay's 24/7 liners. For some reason they all smudge and never last on me. But as I mentioned at the start of this post, I am on a "use up everything" mindset so I'm dealing with it. I apply Zero on my upper waterline and then I use Whiskey on the outer portion of my upper lash line, which I then smudge in with my finger. Lastly I give my lashes a single coating of mascara, my current choice being L'Oreal Manga Mascara. I like this mascara, but it isn't my favorite L'Oreal offering.

For lips I either smear a dab of Aquaphor and run out the door or I'll apply a dab of Revlon gloss on my lips and work it in with my fingers. I've been trying to use up Pink Pop and Coral Reef so I switch between the two depending on my mood and blush choice.

Full look with all products mentioned. I applied Revlon Pink Pop on my lips and Mac Vintage Grape on my cheeks. I really like the effect of smudging my liner into my lash line, it makes my lashes appear fuller in an inconspicuous way.

This is what my makeup routine has been like for a good portion of this year. A little boring but seeing all the pan and progress makes me very happy. I also love how quick I am able to do this look since I have been doing it over and over again. I can't wait to be done with these products so I can come up with a new routine to get into.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! I plan to do a 2014 favorites post before the year's end so look out for that soon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

thoughts of the week

1. My cousin showed me this Reddit feed of horrifying implications in the Harry Potter universe and it kept me entertained for HOURS. My personal favorite discussion is when the relationship of Hagrid's parents comes up. DELETUS FETUS omg.

2. Speaking of HP, I bought the Dumbledore's Office candle from the Frostbeard shop on Etsy as a Christmas gift to my little sister. I wanted to try out more scents (Slytherin and Winterfell look promising) but perhaps another time.

3. This makes for a good conversation with friends. I tested my co-worker and sister and it was interesting to see how much different their opinions were.

4. I'm bringing up Taylor Swift. I bought her newest album and have listened to it so many times I'm not sure what my play count is. It's a fun album, I enjoy her pop sound. My favorite song is Wildest Dreams at the moment.

5. How neat is this moss graffiti tutorial? If I had a brick wall I would definitely try it out.

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6. I have always been a firm no-Christmas-anything-until-after-Thanksgiving type of person but for some reason I have gotten the holiday spirit so early this year. My apartment has already been decorated with lights and garland. Christmas music has even been playing. No regrets.

7. Into the Abyss and The Act of Killing are my Netflix films I recommend watching. Into the Abyss takes a look at a death row inmate and his accomplice and the repercussions of their crimes. The Act of Killing follows around the most prominent Indonesian gangsters who explain how they have killed their countless victims. Both documentaries really made question human emotions since the main focus of both films deal with apathetic people and how they deal with their demons.

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8. Winter is upon us here in the Midwest which means my poor hands have been zapped of all moisture and painfully dry. Any recommendations for the best unscented, heavy duty hand cremes? I say unscented as I work in a lab environment and no strong scents are allowed. Perhaps something simple from Neutrogena or Eucerin?

9. Pitch Perfect 2 trailer. YES.

10. Dining etiquette around the world.

Friday, November 7, 2014

battle of the exfoliation pads

Toning is something I have really come to love in my skincare routine. If you have kept up with my skincare routines in the past, you know I like having two types of toners on hand: one that is moisturizing in the morning and one that is exfoliating for night time. I had finished up a container of Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads and wanted to try something new so I ended up replacing them with First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. So how do they compare?

Both are at similar price points with PTR being a bit more expensive than FAB ($30 versus $36). They both contain the same amount of pads (60) which are housed in screw top containers. They also have the same type of pad texturing, with one side being smooth and its reverse having a bumpy pattern.

PETER THOMAS ROTH:
PTR is the stronger of the two as it took about a week for my skin to acclimate to its effect and I have pretty resilient skin. It also has a high alcohol content, with it being the second highest ingredient listed. The Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads have 10% glycolic acid and 1/2% salicylic acid as their exfoliants. The pads have a scent that is sweet and fruity. They are very saturated in that the pads are soaking wet. I felt one pad was a waste and too much for my whole face so I cut them in half and used half a pad for my whole face.

FIRST AID BEAUTY
FAB is very mild but effective. My skin had no reactions and didn't need to adjust. They have a more "green" approach with their formula and do not contain any alcohol. The First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads have lactic and glycolic acid for their exfoliants. The scent is not very nice, it reminds me a bit of not so pleasant liquid multivitamin my mother used to make me ingest as a child. The pads aren't very saturated and are drier than the PTR. I need to use the full pad to cover my whole face, cutting them in half was not an option.

OVERALL:
I like both of these offerings. I think Peter Thomas Roth is focusing more on acne and pore minimizing concerns whereas First Aid Beauty is zoning in on resurfacing the skin to attack scarring and hyperpigmentation. If I had to pick one, I think I would go for First Aid Beauty's take. They are milder yet surprisingly very effective. I noticed a difference with both pads but I felt like the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads gave me quicker, noticeable results and kept large blemishes away the best. The Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads are a good product; I still saw improvement just at a slower pace. The only things I felt the PTR pads did better FAB were the scent and the saturation of the pads. PTR gave me more bang for my buck as I was able to double the amount I had by cutting the pads in half. I am unable to do this trick with the FAB pads as they have just the right amount of liquid in one pad for your face.

I wouldn't recommend Peter Thomas Roth Max Correction Pads to the sensitive skinned...as the name implies they are at a max state formula wise so some stinging and dryness is expected in the beginning until your skin gets around to its effect. I skipped every other day using them until my skin could handle it. I didn't have to do this for First Aid Beauty's Radiance Pads. These would be better suited for sensitive skin types that still want some exfoliation in their lives.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NOLA 2014

Back in September my sister, cousin and I took an impromptu trip to New Orleans. We all had never been plus we had heard the city had renowned food spots, booze happy streets, and a rich history that the residents took pride in. I mostly took pictures with my iPhone as tugging around a DSLR around became tiresome and there was so much to soak in, but here is what I have to share about my time there.

The place we stayed at was Hotel Villa Convento which I highly recommend. It was within walking distance of a lot of areas we planned to see and the staff was really helpful and accommodating. The room we stayed in was really clean and nice at a really affordable price.

We were told we had to try the Hand Grenade drink at Tropical Isle. It apparently is considered a dangerous drink as people will consume a lot of it without noticing it contains a lot of alcohol since it has no lingering after taste. I can vouch for the latter, but we practiced self control and didn't order many.

I loved the old buildings with their intricate wrought iron balconies with bushy greenery to spruce up the scene. And almost all the shutters around were painted in fun colors. Such a nice sight to see.

How could we turn down something listed as The Seafood Tower on a menu? Impossible. We picked that out at Pier 424 Seafood Market which felt a little "chain-like" so it definitely isn't a must try if you are in town. We also tried out Imperial Woodpecker Snoballs which was refreshing and not too shabby to look at. But again, not necessarily a MUST TRY unless you are a huge shaved ice fan.

I definitely recommend checking out Carousel Bar; it revolves as you sit! It was very neat. It spins slowly so you don't really notice it until you've been chatting up for a while and suddenly you are on the other side of the room. We had our first Sazeracs here, wowza that's a strong drink. If you like stiff drinks be sure to try it out. I personally needed to chase every sip with some water.

French Market was a couple streets away from our hotel so we stopped by to check it out. It was fun to see all the different seasonings, sauces, and other fares they had to offer. We walked away with some Cajun spices to take home.

Royal Street had a lot of street entertainment during the day. It also is the location of Cafe Beignet. We had some beignets and a muffaletta for the first time. The beignets were okay, I'm not a huge fan of the massive amount of powdered sugar. I did enjoy the muffaletta, though I have a sneaking suspicion that if you don't like olives (I love olives) you won't enjoy this NOLA sandwich. We didn't bother making it to the infamous Cafe du Monde this trip since we had our fill of fried dough.

So far, New Orleans has had the freshest seafood I have ever tried. The shrimp were always succulent, huge, and sweet. The bottom picture is Mr. B's Barbeque Shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro and it is by far the best shrimp I have ever had the pleasure of eating in my life. I was skeptical as this dish was heavily raved about in my food research but the hype is so real you guys.

A few thoughts on NOLA:

+ The weather is the strangest thing. It is hot and humid but it would also be stormy and rainy randomly for brief periods before clearing up and being sunny like nothing happened. And I thought the Midwest had wonky weather!
+ Everywhere you go there is ice cold AC blasting even if their doors/windows were open. I think they do this to entice you inside their business as the heat was pretty intense.
+ We didn't get to visit a lot of areas that I wanted to make it to. I definitely plan to go back to visit the Garden District, check out some jazz clubs, and to get a tour of the cemeteries.
+ If you are a seafood fan, make sure you plan to visit during NOLA's crawfish season. I didn't even know crawfish season was a thing, but it is and we missed it and were very bummed.
+ Bourbon street was not really our scene at night time. It would have been when I was in college, but I'm a bit of a grandma these days and it felt too "frat like" for my taste. We visited all the Bourbon street places during the day when we had most of the place to ourselves.