Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sam Edelman "Vancouver" Lace up Booties VS Proenza Schouler Lace up Booties

 After seeming my favorite fashion socialite Olivia Palermo wear the Proenza Schouler's Lace up Platform Booties ($795 USD), I was determined to find an affordable version.


After much research, I recently purchased Sam Edelman's Vancouver Lace Up Booties in Graphite Suede ($225 USD). I must say I am extremely surprised at how comfortable and beautiful these shoes are. The shoes are 4.5 inches high with a 1.25 inches platform. The lug sole is reminiscent of Timberlands (back in the days of 1995!) and the lace up aspect of the shoe is extremely on trend. This is the must have shoe of the season!! I walked for 3 hours in these shoes on the streets of Chinatown, NYC (NOT EASY since it's filled with cracks and fish water) but I was able to make it home unscathed and my feet did not hurt at ALL.

So if you're in the need for a new pair of lace up platform booties, this is the boot for you. (no Sam Edelman is not paying me for this)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More YSL Rouge Pur Couture Swatches

I have been playing with the samples of some additional YSL Rouge Pur Coutures, in #1 - Rouge Flame, #9 - Rose Stiletto, and #10 - Beige Tribute. 

Here are some swatches comparing these to the YSL Rouge Pur Coutures I posted about earlier, under inside lighting and natural sunlight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Gifts and Gift Sets

In my opinion, cosmetic companies seem to make the best gift sets and value sets right around the holidays. Alot of times they package a full size item into kits containing sample sizes of their bestsellers. There are also a variety of palettes, mostly lip and eye, that could potentially be great if you don't have a large makeup collection already (I find that I normally love one or two colors that make me want to buy the entire palette, but the other colors are similar to products that I already have). I think Bobbi Brown makes really beautiful neutral eyeshadow palettes, two of which I am showing below. 

These are some of the things that I think would make great gifts this holiday season:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

YSL Rouge Pur Couture

I picked up two YSL Rouge Pur Coutures, #6 in Rose Bergamasque, and #20 in Rouge Flamme, a Sephora exclusive.  Rouge Pur Couture is described as a satin finish lipstick that provides medium to full coverage.  They go on pretty smoothly and have a satiny creamy feel, with some slip.  The lipsticks have a nice fruity scent to them, and they wear pretty well.  The sales associate indicated they are supposed to last about 8 hours, but I never actually go 8 hours without having something to eat or drink.  I only have to reapply after I eat and not in between meals, so I suppose they could potentially last that long. 

I am really loving the packaging of this lipstick.  It comes in a gold mirrored case, with the YSL symbol engraved in red.  I think the mirrored casing is a really smart idea, since you can apply the lipstick without having to pull out an extra mirror, and I wish more lipsticks were packaged this way.  I do like the formula, the #6 is more slippery than #20 which I find to be more creamy and pigmented.  #6 is a really great nude, its a bit more pink than it comes out on camera, and I think it's a perfect color for a smokey eye, while still great on its own.  I am also really loving #20, which is a beautiful cranberry red with a slight satiny sheen to it.  It's an elegant red and highly pigmented.  I tried #1 Le Rouge as well, which is a classic red, but it just didn't look good on my NC20 complexion. I think Le Rouge would look great on someone fair and more cool toned.  

#6 has medium coverage, slightly on the sheer side.  Since my lips are very pigmented, I feel that I need to apply more coats to get the look that I want.  The only thing that I have against the nude lipstick is that it accentuates any dry patches on your lips, so it's probably best worn after exfoliating.  

I definitely recommend this lipstick, great formula, colors, and packaging.  I received a sample from the YSL counter, containing three other colors, including #1, #9, and #10.  I will do a mini post on these with swatches soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bon Appetit Thanksgiving Special

I realize this has nothing to do with makeup, but I really wanted to share my thoughts on the November issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  First of all, I am a big fan of cooking, and Bon Appetit magazine, and the holidays, so when I received my Nov issue two weeks ago I was really excited by the recipes they suggest for your Thanksgiving meal.  The magazine provides suggestions and recipes for each component of Thanksgiving dinner, from the turkey, to the different gravies, sides, and stuffings. 

I made my first Thanksgiving dinner two years ago and I think the food turned out really well.  A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I went to Williams Sonoma for a turkey demonstration, which inspired me to try it myself.  It seems like it would be really complicated to produce, but with the right tools, making a turkey isn't really all that difficult.  I picked up an All-Clad roasting pan from Macys, which came with a rack and those giant forks to pick up the turkey (not sure what the technical name is for that).  At Williams Sonoma I purchased a brining solution, brining bags, and a roasting thermometer.  The thermometer is a really cool gadget: its attached to a cord which you can stick the end into the turkey, close your oven on the cord and leave the thermometer on the outside.  It tells you what the temperature of the turkey (or whatever other meat you prefer to do, it has a setting for beef, chicken, pork, etc) so you know when it's done.  Highly recommended! I believe it was a Williams Sonoma branded thermometer, for reference.

All I did to make the turkey was, wash it, soak it in the brining solution for about a day, put my turkey into the roasting pan, stuck the thermometer in, and put it in the oven until it hit 165 degrees.  I also made cranberry sauce from scatch, gravy, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing (not in the turkey, I did this on the side, since some people say putting stuffing in the turkey takes longer for the turkey to cook therefore drying it out more), and flan for dessert.  Flan isn't exactly traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but I really like making and eating it :)

I don't have a ton of time to decide whether or not I want to host thanksgiving dinner this year, but if I decide to, from the Bon Appetit recipes I would do the malt-beer-brined turkey with malt glaze, the potato gratin with mushrooms and gruyere, the maple-braised butternut squash with fresh thyme, and for dessert, the vanilla-spiced caramel and pear tart.  yummmm!

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to Fight/Prevent Breakouts

I've had a very long obsession with pimples.  I had mild acne when I was in highschool, which I was able to cure with Proactiv, which worked for about a year and never worked for me again.  In college, I had a ginormous breakout sometime towards the end of sophmore year into junior year.  It was pretty bad, I had cystic acne that really hurt, pretty much all over my t-zone area, especially on the forehead and inner cheek (the worst ones were at the bridge of your nose, in between the eyes).  After I had gotten the acne under control it left me with scars all over my face.  It's a horrible experience to go through, emotionally and physically. The reason why I am obsessed with acne is not so much the pimples as it is the after-effects and the scarring.  The smallest blemish will leave a scar for months.

I'm not a dermatologist, haven't had any technical/scientific training in skin, nor am I an expert, but I do know what works for me and hopefully what will work for other people experiencing the same thing.

To get rid of cystic acne, or any other type of acne, one should really consult his/her dermatologist, as there are so many options available today, and everyone's condition is really unique.  For me, I took oral antibiotics and used topical creams prescribed by my dermatologist.  I no longer suffer from acne, but I do get an occasional pimple, which I attack at the first sight.  I check my skin at night and also the morning to see if anything is starting to form (I know kinda crazy) and depending on what stage the pimple is in and the time of day, I use different active ingredients to fight it.  I alternate between salicylic acid, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide as a last resort, since benzoyl peroxide isn't as effective for me as the other two.  If I see something beginning to form in the morning, I will use a salicylic acid gel (I use Clean & Clear's Advantage Acne Spot Treatment, it comes in silver and purple packaging) before I apply my moisturizer and sunscreen.  I think sulfur is actually more effective, but since sulfur does smell funny, I only use it at night.  If I see a pimple starting to form at night I will use my DDF Sulfur Mask as a spot treatment (this mask is really great, not only in killing the bacteria that forms pimples, but also purges and tightens the pores).  If in the next 8-12 hours, I see that the pimple is still there, I switch to the other active ingredient, and if that doesn't work I'll use a benzoyl peroxide cream (Neutrogena on the spot acne treatment).  I would say this method works for me 95% of the time, and the other 5% of the time I will end up suffering through the entire cycle of the pimple. 

Not only do I do spot treatments, but I also take preventative measures in my normal skincare/makeup routine.  Every night I wash my face using an oil cleanser to remove the makeup (for me I find oil cleansers to be the most effective way of removing ALL makeup, including waterproof mascaras) and follow that by using a gel cleanser that contains salicylic acid (I like the Neutrogena oil-free acne wash, the grapefruit version) which kills the bacteria on your skin.  I try to exfoliate as often as my skin will allow me to, and I also make sure to wash my makeup brushes often (about once a week for brushes used in powder products). I also try to re-do my makeup when I can (as in wash off completely and redo) because I don't like to contaminate my brushes unless I start with a clean face. 

I try not to conceal pimples when I have them, I think it's best to let it breathe and go through its cycle as fast as possible (this is just my feeling, no idea if it's scientifically proven), but there are occasions where you have to conceal them somehow, and usually I find that my foundation is enough to hide the redness (Guerlain Parure Gold).  I also don't pick or try to pop the pimples either, as that will leave an even worse scar when everything is over. 

I'm hoping I don't sound like a complete maniac or that my theories and practices are not too OCD.  I remember what it's like to have scars and frankly I'm a little traumatized, so I do what I can to prevent going through that experience again.  I realize that normal people probably don't study their pores every night, but if you find something in its early stages, alot of times you can prevent them, and that really applies to alot of things in life, including pimples.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Favorite Eyeliners

I never leave the house without at least some makeup, at the bare minimum I will fill in my eyebrows (otherwise you just won't think I have eyebrows at all, its kinda scary) and some eyeliner.  Without these two products I look pretty washed out and/or dead.  I've been doing this since junior high school, ever since I discovered makeup and started tweezing my eyebrows.  The only brow filler that I use, and will faithfully continue to use forever, is Clinique's Brow Shaper, which is a pressed powder that comes in a mirrored case with a small brush.  But I have experimented with alot of different eyeliners, mostly pencil and liquid. 

I use liquid liners mostly at night if I'm going out.  I think liquid gives a very sharp look, very dark and "filled in", about as much made up as you can get with liners.  The one that I have been using for years, and probably won't ever switch to another one, is L'Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black.  It's a felt tip liquid liner with a fine tip that allows you to customize the intensity and the width of the line you want to create.  I have heard people say it's a dupe to Lancome's Artliner, which I have also tried and really like.  They both look similar in terms of packaging, and pretty much creates the same effect, I honestly can't tell the difference.  The reason I use the L'Oreal is that it's much cheaper, under ten bucks.  I don't like to spend alot on products that I have to replace constantly (like mascaras they should be replaced every couple of months) and this is the best drugstore liquid liner that I have tried.  It's just really easy to use because it's shaped like a pen.  (This is also the reason why I don't really do cream/gel shadows, it is easier to apply with a pen shaped liner, and I think you still get a similar intense look with cream/gels as you do with liquid).

For day I tend to stick with pencil eyeliners because the results are less harsh than liquid.  For a long time I was faithful to MAC's Engrave, it's also very dark, and is a good basic pencil eyeliner, not very expensive.  But after receiving a sample of the Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero (came with the Naked palette) I think I'm going to be using this one alot more.  What I like about the UD Zero liner is that it glides on so smoothly and I don't feel that I am tugging on my eyes, like I do a bit with Engrave, but I don't think it's as dark.  I have also tried Make Up Forever's pencil liner, but I felt that I was tugging alot on my eyes, therefore I don't like this one.  I have yet to try Smashbox's pencil liner, if I end up liking this more I will do a post on it.