Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Thursday Post

Charlene Soraia: Wherever You Will Go (cover). I love this! Apparently this was used in a tea advert in the UK (advert is a weird word. By the way.)

Doggies! And tulips.

Some perspective, I suppose. School has been endlessly frustrating, lately.

Is this how you remove your eye makeup? I'm trying it, but I'm so impatient.

Making these for the Super Bowl this weekend! We're having some friends over. There will also be chili and cornbread. Woohoo!
Still taking pictures? Lame.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Think Pink?

As many of you may well know, I'm not much into pink. It's not my kind of color. However, lately I've been going through some of the pink products that I own, and I have to admit that they are usually quite flattering - very natural. My lips are, after all, naturally pink; my cheeks flush pink, my nail beds are pink. Clothing-wise, soft blush shades are often worked in as neutral staples. So, here's a post dedicated to products that are soft and pretty - ones that I have begrudgingly accepted as "natural beauty" staples.
Background: The scarf was a gift from my mom.

Smashbox Radiance blush
I did a "Beauty Week at a Glance" post centered around this, which really reminded me how natural a cool pink blush can be. This is a nice powder that's hard to overdo.

Senna Cosmetics Très Jolie
Another pink blush! This one is a deeper rose color, but still within the realm of "natural." The texture is lovely and I like the small pan size.

Zoya Gigi
I don't usually buy feminine shades like this, but this one is a favorite - probably because it has delicate flecks of silver glitter in it. A fun "neutral."

Burberry Pink Taupe Quad*
This was a fabulous Christmas present. The pink shade is not bright or fuchsia or anything too colorful, so it does make a nice, flattering wash of color on the eye, especially when blended over the beige or paired with the darker brown. Really, really lovely and absolutely work-safe.

MAC Viva Glam V
Frosty, but a flattering plum-pink that is an easy finish to a look.

Dior Rouge Serum in 215 Primrose Crystal
A natural, "MLBB" shade. Not as moisturizing as some other formulas, but still comfortable to wear and flattering. Plus, it's Dior and therefore luxurious.

Fresh Sugar Rose Treatment
I thought this would be a shock of pink, but it's only slightly darker than my natural lip shade, and has all the benefits of the original colorless balm. An easy swipe of color and moisture.

Jo Malone Red Roses
I know, the name is "red" roses, not "pink," but I think it falls in with my theme. Rose fragrances get treated as "old lady" fragrances, but I often like them. This one is lovely, with hints of green that keep it from getting too powdery, cloying, or sweet. Decidedly feminine, yes, but that's okay.

Annabelle Volume Lip Gloss in Coralicious
Milky pink and comfortable to wear. Faintly paler than my natural lip shade, but it makes them look shiny and healthy.

Are there products that you initially found boring, but have come to appreciate?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Empties + Rejects, January 2013

I debated whether I should restart the counter for these posts since we're on the new year (eep!). I decided: yes. Or else it just gets too confusing and endless.

It looks like there is still product in the gloss, but I swear, I could not fish any more out and I tried the hot water thing multiple times. The end.

Clinique Moisturizing Gel
I've repurchased this countless times and have been using the whole system since late high school, but it's time for a change. I still like some of their products, but I think my skin type has changed and I need something a little more moisturizing now. Experimenting with some new products; will give a report later.

Fresh Sugar Mini Lip Balm
Love the original, hate the mini because the packaging does not work when shrunk down to this itsy bitsy size. I have a couple more (free Sephora gift) so I'll use 'em.

Dior Orange Pareo lip gloss
It happened! I finished an actual colored lip product! Of course it would be an LE one. I think this sheer orange jelly sort of color is really flattering, glitter or no. I also find the Dior glosses to be really moisturizing (at least, this one was), so I will definitely buy another in the future. Not right now, but eventually.

Benefit Magic Ink Liner
I like this one (this is my second), but it's not waterproof and in the summer when it gets hot, the liquid starts too ooze out of the well and makes a mess. I think I'm going to try some other types of liquid liners; I use black liquid liner every day, so I need a good one that doesn't smudge and stays put.

Cake It's a Slice Hand Cream
I like the original scent much better. Still like the texture of this one, though. Using up a mini L'Occitane cream right now (that I don't like), but will have to find something new after that. Preferably a cheaper alternative.

Haus of Gloi Parkin mini Pumpkin Butter
This may be my favorite indie body lotion - it's so luxurious! Feels wonderful. Parkin is a bit too foodie for me (though I didn't mind it in the winter - pumpkin muffins, mmm!) so I wouldn't get this scent again, but I definitely need more pumpkin butters!

Haus of Gloi Snow Wolf Whipped Soap
I like the texture of the whipped soap, but this scent didn't speak to me, either. Because of this, I confess that I used generous amounts of it for extra sudsies, which help chase away winter gloom.

Alchemic Muse Honey Basalm soap sample
Received a sliver sample when I made an order long ago, and just finally got around to using it because soap bars are not my thing (they get slimy. Ew). I like the herbal, spa-like scent but don't like the feeling the soap leaves on my skin - tight and squeaky.

Bath and Body Works French Baguette, Apple Crumble and Vanilla Snowflake 3-wick Candles
Yep, three. I don't always burn the same one but over the past few weeks there's usually been something lit at all times - I love the way the scent wafts up the stairs and makes the whole apartment smell cozy. I've enjoyed them a lot this winter. I'm down to one candle now, but I won't be purchasing any more for a while, and that's okay.

Bath and Body Works Lavender Macaron & Caramel Apple Mini candles
The first was not super lavender heavy, and subtly sweet. Too small to fill a room, but nice on my desk. The Caramel Apple had much stronger throw, and smelled deliciously of caramel, but this sometimes got to be too sweet.


Sephora Long-Lasting Liner in Glitter Khaki and Fancy Violet
Not useable any more (really watery and weird) and far too old. Tossing.

Dove Dry Shampoo
I hate the smell. HATE. Smells like the Buxom lip glosses to me, and it makes me kind of nauseous. I bought this months ago, tried it once, and stuffed it in the darkest, deepest cabinet. But it was only a few bucks and I can't stand it, so out it goes.

On the quest to empty things and reduce, reduce, reduce! I'm also trying not to buy any backups at the moment; I've got multiples of cleansers and things going on right now because I am trying out a lot of skincare (and I always try new things when I still have the old one left so that I can take it slow). I haven't bought anything beauty/skincare related this month (actually, I haven't purchased anything, not even new knitting needles) so far, so here's hoping it will last!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

OMG Nail Art: "Fishtail Mani"

I never, ever do fancy patterns with my nails because I have no skills or patience, but after seeing this tutorial and realizing that a fishtail mani is basically a series of overlapping lines, I decided to give it a shot. Lines that follow the natural curve of your nails are much more friendly than squiggles or free hand ribbons or the other craziness that goes on. Also, my nails were longer than they usually are (I've been sick and haven't been climbing), which meant there was also more "canvas" to work with, and that made it seem more do-able, as well.

I picked these shades because I wanted ones that were mostly opaque in one coat, and I wanted some contrast rather than a single color gradient. It took forever, but it was kind of fun!
Revlon Gold Coin, Essie Tart Deco, Essie Mint Candy Apple

Well, what do you say? Are you going to give it a shot?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Thursday Post

Ron Pope: Last First Kiss. Romantic.

It's my dad's birthday! \o/

HAHAHA. These things kill me. Pets! And this.

This made me laugh. I never thought about it before.

Surfing in the Antarctic sounds ridiculous, but PENGUINS. This video made me smile.

A recent find: travel/food blog.
Stop taking pictures and play with me!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beauty Week at a Glance: Jan. 13 - 19

This week's focus was Smashbox Radiance, a cool pink blush. I also added Smashbox High Definition Concealer in Light to my daily bag, in an attempt to do more to banish the raccoon eyes (it's been sitting in my stash; I use it off and on).

And Saturday, Jan. 19, was another lazy, makeup-free day.

I actually quite liked using Smashbox Radiance this week! I'm glad I kept it around. It's very fresh and youthful. I also experimented with just using Clinique's Brush-on Cream liner alone, without layering a pencil over it. It actually holds up decently, though I do experience some smudging as the day goes on, so it's not perfect.

Next week's product: Shiseido YE406 trio! I need to inject some color into my life. How would you wear yellow eye shadow?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blush Fiends: The One That Started It All

Blush is a problem. It lends itself to far too many lemmings (see here). A few other bloggers and I decided that we should form a support group, of sorts, so here we are. First topic of discussion: the blush that started it all.

I never used to wear blush - I think it's the last thing I really got into. But now I'm hooked, because it can really brighten up a face. Or define it. I think too, part of the reason why I covet blush is that it can have interesting patterns and blends and colors! The first blush I ever wanted to purchase was this:
MAC Sakura, from the Quite Cute collection.

I know. It's pink and it's got a heart on it. I'm a bit embarrassed, but hell, it's cute. And lavender! How often do you see a lavender blush? If you use the edges, it's a cool pink. If you pick up the center heart shade on your brush, you can get a much brighter pink.

I don't use it as often anymore, but this has reminded me to pull it out again. I like the mineralize blush formula for its glow and ease of use (I own four).

And now, check out the first blushes of the other ladies!
Beautyholics Anonymous
Bronzer Bunny

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Thursday Post

Ellie Goulding: Only You. I find it really catchy. Dance-worthy.

That settles it. We have to find a way to stay here. And visit all the other cities!

Need some new music to listen to?

This is pretty cool. A bird car!

A good read on chypres.

Kind of love all things Wizard of Oz, so this looks really fun!
"What the hell is this?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beauty of Science #6: Soap

Last time we talked about oils, and now we'll talk about soaps. They are a rather brilliant way of using the contrasting properties of polar and non-polar molecules together.

Non-polar molecules are hydrophobic (water-fearing), and polar molecules are hydrophilic (water-loving), because, as you remember, water is also polar. Soap molecules consist of both components: a non-polar tail and a polar head. Let's look at sodium stearate, a common soap molecule.

The hydrophobic tail binds to the non-polar oils on our skin; the hydrophilic head binds to water. In this manner, we can wash away the dirt and oily substances that build up on skin.
The hydrophobic tails clump together because they want to keep water out. They don't like it. Like sticks to like!

And I think that is the shortest, most to-the-point BoS post yet! For past Beauty of Science posts:

BoS #1: A Primer and Some Food for Thought
BoS #2: Antioxidants and Free Radicals
BoS #3: UV Radiation, Visible Light, Color
BoS #4: Sunscreens
BoS #5: Oils vs. Water (Polarity)!

Resources and other good reads:
ChemMatters Oct 2011: Demystifying Gross Stuff

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beauty Week At a Glance: Jan. 06 - Jan. 12

Time for another one! (For the first post in the series, see here). This time it's a whole week's worth of products! The product of the week was:
White balance! Argh! Still working on that.

Dior Orange Pareo. Because I'm so close to finishing it and I figured it should be done. How I used it this week:

I am finding that when I focus around one item, I am actually a little more creative with the rest of the look! And it's easier to pull together, because there's already a bit of direction. I'm having fun!

Next week's item is a bit of a personal challenge, because it's pink: Smashbox Radiance blush (similar cool pinks: NARS Desire, MUFE #75, Tarte Amused/Dollface). So pink! We'll see what I can come up with. Do you have any favorite eye shadows to pair with bright pink blush?

Friday, January 11, 2013

EOTD: A Basic Smokey Eye

I've been trying to do different things with my eye looks, lately. They don't all come out well, though, and half the time I'm giggling in the bathroom at how horrendous a look came out. Or swearing. Depends on my mood.

This was more of a swearing session. It's not that I hate it, it's just that it's a bit messy, and also not quite as dramatic as I would have liked. I should have brought the black down to the lower lashline, but that's a pain to clean up! Maybe next time. I also need to invest in some new eye brushes, preferably some synthetic ones. What are your favorites?
The things. Revlon Gold Dust, theBalm Nude'Tude, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in 02 Black, Shiseido Camellia Compact. Forgot to include mascara, but it's my trusty L'Oreal Voluminous Power Volume Collagen thing.

Anyway, here's the look. I was going for a simple smokey eye; simple, because it really only used one black eye shadow instead of all that blending and smudging and what not. I did use a black base, but it wasn't anything fancy, and was more of a template for the eye shadow shape.
I tried to give it a bit of a wing. Or something. They're uneven but let's ignore that, shall we?

And the full face. Had to do a nude lip, right?
Face: Bobbi Brown Peach Corrector + Annabelle BB Compact Makeup in Light/Medium
So, yeah, well. They don't all turn out well, right? I'll have to keep trying!

What's your favorite method of creating a smokey eye?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Thursday Post

Sia: Breathe Me. I adore this song. I was trying to figure out if I've posted it before, but the hell with it. If I have, YOU GET TO HEAR IT AGAIN.

I started this last week! Hope it goes well. S. loves sourdough and I'm developing a taste for it, though I hated it as a child.

This is kind of awesome. I always liked LEGOs as a kid.

I've been teaching myself basic crochet stitches.

Winners of the National Geographic 2012 Photo Contest. My favorite is the fox!

I actually LOL-ed.
He does this sometimes. Who knows why.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Beauty of Science #5: Oils vs. Water (Polarity!)

Repeat after me: like dissolves like.

It's a basic rule in a general or organic chemistry class. What we mean is that a solute (the substance you dissolve) only dissolves in a solvent with similar chemical properties. We're talking about polarity.

Atoms have electrons. These electrons are involved in bonding, which creates molecules - groups of atoms. The chemical polarity of a molecule depends on those electrons, which are negatively charged. When atoms bond, they don't always share their pair of electrons evenly, which distributes the charge unevenly along the molecule, creating an electric dipole.
δ+ and δ- mean partial positive and partial negative, respectively. δ is a lower case "delta" (Greek alphabet).

It's like, say, two teams at tug-of-war (a loose analogy, but good enough). One team is stronger and pulls more of the rope. The other team has less of it. Just like one atom has a greater electron affinity and pulls more of the electron charge toward it, becoming more negative, and making the other atom more positive.

Why does this matter? Well, molecules with dipoles are polar. Molecules without them, or with dipoles that are arranged symmetrically (effectively "canceling" them all out) are non-polar. Polar dissolves polar, and non-polar dissolves non-polar.
Two layers in salad dressing: oil, and water.
You see this when you pour oil and water in a glass. Oil rises to the top (lighter), water sinks to the bottom - and they form two distinct layers. They can't dissolve each other. They can be mixed to form an emulsion. But if you let it settle, they'll separate out again, like salad dressings and most eye makeup removers (this is why you shake!).
Example of triglycerides; these are non-polar and are a major component of skin oils.

So, let's think about your face, which is, indeed, covered in sebum - a kind of oil secreted by glands in the skin. Throughout the day, dirt and bits can get into your pores and on your skin. The idea is that cleansing oils can break down all of this oil buildup and grime and makeup better than water can, because oils are non-polar and water is polar, and like dissolves like.

Stay tuned for #6: Soap!

For previous Beauty of Science installments, check these posts:
BoS #1: A Primer and Some Food for Thought
BoS #2: Antioxidants and Free Radicals
BoS #3: UV Radiation, Visible Light, Color
BoS #4: Sunscreens

*I have to make it absolutely clear that I am only a chemist, not a health practitioner. I can't recommend any courses of action or do any consulting, and everything I'm sharing is information that is widely available, simply compiled in one post.

Some resources:
High on Health
Beauty Huile

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Beauty Week at a Glance: Jan. 01 - 05

I decided to trial a new type of blog post for January: the "Beauty Week at a Glance." It'll be a roundup of the week's products - the items I used daily (partially inspired by Vita!). This is just a fun way to remind myself what I used, spot trends, and share what combinations did and didn't work. There will be four or five - one per week this month.

These basic items don't change: Bobbi Brown Corrector, Annabelle BB Compact Makeup, Becca Vicuna, MUFE Aqua Brow, and Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner. Typically, I do my winged eyeliner like this, with a pencil to soften the black and set it, so I rotate the pencils out. (Incidentally, it's hard to find a black eyeliner that I can wear alone without smudging). Also, since I have bangs now, sometimes if I'm in a rush, I skip the brows. (Don't tell Wandz!)

All right, let's do this!

Yes, this is today. It worked out.
You may have noticed that there is a recurring element; that was also part of the idea. To challenge myself, I'm going to try to incorporate one product, color, or method of application every week. This week's, as you can see, was L'oreal Sahara Treasure.

I'm only committing myself to the rest of January, but it's a bit of a fun project, so I may continue on past that even if I don't continue documenting it on the blog. What are your favorite combinations for a shimmery taupe like L'oreal Sahara Treasure?

Also, want to play along? Next week's item is Dior Orange Pareo. If you have a sheer orange lipstick/gloss, we can compare notes!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Thursday Post

First Thursday Post of the new year, wooooo!
Angus and Julia Stone: Draw Your Swords. Haunting and a beautiful showcase of stripped down instrumentals and voices. I love them both - both Stones, I mean.

Gotta try this Challah recipe. I've made a few different ones, but never one I liked enough to keep.

More inspiration for the new year.

Hahahahaha. This is actually a concern of mine. I won't know the answers!

There appear to be lots of liquid liners coming out and I'm excited.

Sloppy sit!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beauty & Blogging Projects and Goals

Now that I've shared my other interest and goals for the year, let's talk about the beauty and blog related ones.

1. Try out new, different looks.
One of two editorial looks I've ever done...hahahaha.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you'll see that I can go pin-crazy and pin all sorts of cool and beautiful looks. But I never attempt any of them! This must change. Part of the appeal of makeup is the fun that can be created with it, and I want to branch out a little more and try different things! This will also make me use the items I have, as my feeling is that makeup was meant to be USED. I'm not a collector in that sense.

2. Buy less things.
No, really.

3. Incorporate different kinds of blog posts.
My indecision-filled, violet-themed post seemed to be well-received! (How many hyphens can you use? Ha!)

I don't have the funds to pump out review after review, and to be honest, that gets boring. I am going to try to be a little more creative and artistic...we'll see how that goes. I'm also going to try to bring out more "Beauty of Science" posts. I have two coming up very soon already!

4. Find the ultimate black eyeliner.
Because life is too short for shitty ones (pardon the language, but I mean it).

5. Reduce
I really have to start using what I have. We all say this every year, but it's true. I think I may Back to MAC some items that I never use just to cut down on the sheer amount (and carefully pick out a lipstick that I will use to replace it) and then just be prudent about things from here on out. I'm really going to make an effort this year, especially with lip products.

What are some of your beauty-related goals? Do we share any?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Non-Beauty Projects and Goals


Did you have a good new year celebration? We did - we relaxed at home, had good food, played some board games, snuggled with Dennison. Good, happy times.

And back to business! I'm going to do another short post to share some of my beauty-related ideas and aims for the new year, but today let's take a break from that. Here are some of my other interests and projects! These aren't necessarily things that I'm going to start all of a sudden or hope to accomplish, just projects that I want to devote more time to and enjoy. In no particular order:

1. Knitting & Crocheting
I made a few passing attempts at it over the years, but it wasn't until last November that I really decided to give it a serious go. I made a scarf and a hat! Both are pretty crude, but the little successes make it easy to keep going and learning. I'm having fun! And it's nice to make something useful!

2. Baking: New Projects!
I like to bake and do it quite often, but now that I've had a bit more experience, I want to tackle some harder projects that have always been on my to-do list, like macarons and english muffins (I've tried to make english muffins a few times now, and they never come out right. I think it's the skillet business. I suck at proper cooking methods). And fancier yeast breads!

3. Learning More French & Korean
In Annecy. Ah, France.

At one point in time, I could hold up my end of a basic conversation in French; I studied abroad (for just a month, though) in Annecy and placed in the highest level of class at an international school for French. I've forgotten most of it, though, and my vocabulary was never the largest, as my French background comes only from college - I minored in it. I do love the language, and want to learn it again. Though really, the best way is to have someone to practice with. S. said he would learn it with me even though he has no background in it (he took German in high school), but I'm not sure how much of that was genuine interest and how much of that was "Sure, sure, I'll do anything you like, but not right now." Harrumph. At the same time, I want to pick up more Korean. I took Korean and French concurrently in college and the contrast of the two was actually really fun. Does anyone have any favorite resources for learning languages? I've heard things both good and bad about Rosetta, but I don't have the money for that right now.

4. Training Dennison

We don't need him to do anything fancy, but it would be nice to have a polite, well-behaved dog. He's not a rascal by any means, but he can get excited (SQUIRRELS) and doesn't have a lot of experience with other dogs. Now that he's much better (i.e., less petrified) of other people and dogs, we want to work on getting him to pay more attention to commands when he's outside, and to be less distracted. It's also fun to work on tricks, like "shake." He can do most of the basic things - sit, stay, down, leave it, etc., but it's a constant process. Dogs need intellectual stimulation and it's also part of being a responsible dog owner, you know? It's also a good chance for me to practice patience and I sometimes collapse into giggles when he does something incorrect.

5. Be Better About Budgeting and Managing the Home

We want to travel and also be able to make the right investments in the future (home, etc.), so we need to be better about this now. We're not terrible, but we could make better decisions sometimes. We already do a lot of cooking (every night, usually) but it's the impulsive splurges that can kill us. With some goals in mind (possibly moving, job hunting, traveling!) it should be easier to make better money decisions.

Five sounds good, right? (Oh, also - I want to write more, but that's a more personal thing). Of course, there's also my dissertation work and job hunting, but that's stressful right now so let's not talk about that.

What are your fun projects and goals for the new year?