December 8, 2011

I'm Back...with Naked 2!

After having stayed away from this blog for so long, I thought I would dedicate this long delayed post to something sort of epic...well epic for me maybe. The Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette just hit my doorstep (err...actually it arrived almost a week ago) and I am so excited to share it!

Last Thursday morning, I just happened to catch Kandee Johnson's blog post saying that a second edition of Urban Decay's celebrated Naked Palette was to be released that very same day on December 1st. The urge was overwhelming...I immediately logged onto the Urban Decay website... but found nothing about the Naked 2 palette being released, just a teaser for an upcoming product that lead you to a link to Urban Decay's e-mailing list. And what do you know? A few short hours later, I got an e-mail from UD! Here is where UD's genius marketing ploy...ehh i mean strategy... comes into play. They make you pine for the Naked Palette and Naked 2 by making you think them seem so whimsical and the unicorns of makeup or something lol. It seriously only took me two seconds to jump on my computer and phone and attempt to log on to UD's website...but the servers were going crazy and I couldn't get in. Finally, after attempt five or six, and after trying to get my husband to illicitly log on to the site from work, I managed to get through! Whew. I was definitely relieved and ecstatic to have gotten that order confirmation and to know that that baby was on its way! Wow, I sound like a nerd.

Now, as I'm sure you all remember, the release of the first one in 2010 caused virtual mayhem. Everyone was clammering to get their hands on one but UD just couldn't produce enough supply for the demand. At that time, the Naked Palette came with a double-ended 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in shades "Whiskey" and "Zero". I had one UD trainer tell me that the old-school factory in Germany that made the pencils just couldn't manufacture the pencils quick enough to fill all the palettes. I, however, was lucky enough to get mine early on at Sephora. Obviously, being my greedy self, I snagged two. LOL. And no, I didn't sell them on e-bay for double the price. Even though I hoard cosmetics, I rarely ever find something that's HG status...something that I know I can rely on like a good friend, will probably never tire of and use consistently. The Naked Palette is one of those one-in-a-million finds. I heart this thing like crazy... I can't tell you enough! The best thing about this palette is the value. And I preach this to everyone and anyone that seems interested in getting this product. It includes 12 FULL size shadows (single UD eyeshadows normally cost about $17), a double-ended 24/7 eyeliner ($18 on its own) and a mini original primer potion! The newer ones come with a Good Karma eyeshadow brush (which retails for around $26). If you were to buy each eyeshadow individually, that would easily add up to $200 plus. So for $44-$48 I would say that that this palette is a pretty good investment, especially considering how often I reach for it. The colors are suited for any look you want to achieve. You can go from barely-there, low-key and demure, to sultry, smokey and bold...all with the help of one little case.
From left to right: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep and Gunmetal.

Now onto Naked 2. Honestly, my first reaction was that Naked 1 and Naked 2 are oddly TOO similar. One apparent difference is that Naked 2 has a matte cream and a matte black shade (two AWESOME and very useful colors to include in an eye palette). The second big difference is that Naked 2 leans towards cooler colors, although there are a few warm shades in there (Half Baked for instance, a complete REPEAT color from the first palette!). Naked 2 also comes with a mini Lip Junkie lipgloss, instead of the Urban Decay Primer Potion. While the lipgloss is a nice rosy-nude color, I'd rather have an eye primer to go with my eye palette as they kind of go hand-in-hand. I guess UD is trying to promote their other products since UDPP is already a staple in most makeup lovers' kits. I really like the the brush that came with Naked 2. It's dual-ended, one side to apply color and the other for blending. UD's Good Karma brushes are all vegan so they're synthetic but they are so soft and durable. My purchase also came with a free sample 24/7 glide on eyeliner in ElDorado, a vibrant yellow-gold.

24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in ElDorado and Lip Junkie lipgloss in Naked

The quality of the shadows in Naked 2 is just like every other UD shadow, the color pay-off is excellent, they can be applied and blended easily and they stay put for a long time, especially when worn with a primer. Out of all the colors, I think my favorites are Pistol, a metallic taupe-silver, and Snakebite, a brown bronze with gold flecks. However, if I had to choose between Naked 1 and Naked 2, I would have to go with Naked 1 hands down. I like that Naked 1 has warmer, golden shades that complement my tan complexion and brown eyes. Still, I've only used Naked 2 twice since receiving it, so it may very well become a fave once I discover some awesome color combinations! All-in-all, I would say that Naked 1 and Naked 2 are similar enough that if you already own the first, you don't need to run out and buy the new one immediately. Naked 2 swatches (left to right): Foxy, Half Baked, Booty Call, Chopper, Tease, Snakebite, Suspect, Pistol, Verve, YDK, Busted, Blackout (so sorry for the poor swatches. Some of the glitter from another shade transferred on to Blackout, but it's actually a very MATTE and very DEEP black)

March 1, 2011

February Beauty Favorites

It's already way into March but thanks to my internet service provider, I didn't have connection for a couple of weeks, hence the late post. But these products are so great, that it's better late to see them than never.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum...After a little breakout last month, I was left with some hyperpigmented spots. Using this product twice a day has been awesome at fading those marks, while brightening and evening out my skin tone overall. It also leaves my skin feeling super soft and smooth. Caudalie uses naturally anti-oxidant rich ingredients and this serum is oil-free, so it's not irritating. It's supposedly non-photosensitizing too, which means you could theoretically use it without SPF on top. Nevertheless, I always wear SPF any way and I recommend everyone else does too! At $79, it's definitely seems pricey, but lasts a long time as you only have to use it sparingly. Living Proof Full Thickening Cream...For me, this hair thickening cream is like a salon in a bottle! I simply work a nickel size amount in my palms and then apply to my hair, paying special attention to the areas by the roots. Then I use a wide-toothed comb to distribute the product evenly throughout. When I have some time to do a little something-something, I'll also blow dry my hair after spritzing on some heat protectant spray and it adds lots of bounce and shine to my otherwise limp locks. Almay One Coat Tripple Effect Mascara...I strayed away from this mascara for a while but this really is HG status! Besides lengthening, thickening and curling lashes all-in-one swipe, it conditions them with aloe vera and vitamin B5. My eyelashes should be thanking me now! I've noticed that in just a few weeks, my lashes look and feel healthier. I like to use the color Blackest Black for drama.
Urban Decay Naked Palette...This palette has hands-down saved me from laziness this past month. I just haven't had the interest in scavenging through my makeup kit. The Naked Palette has enough shades to mix it up every now and then but is still safe enough so that I don't have to think to much when I'm combining colors. Love, love, love the combo of Toasted, Hustle, Darkhorse and Sin for a plum-brown smokey eye.

Bio-Oil...After I somehow unknowingly scratched myself weeks ago, I was left with a 1.5" scar on my right hand. I thought it would go away on its own, but after a week, I realized it was probably here to stay. Applying bio-oil 2-3 times a day has dramatically reduced its appearance and I'm hoping it will go away within a couple of months with continued use. I haven't tried the oil on stretch marks or anything, but I suppose it'll have similar effects on other superficial scars and marks if you apply it religiously. Oh! And it smells SO GOOD. But that's just me.

February 28, 2011

C is for Cookie...cookie cookie cookie starts with C

Me Cookie Monster!

Today my sister and lil nephew came to New York all the way from Atlanta. I was so excited for their visit that I just had to bake some cookies. Who am I kidding? Just about any excuse to bake cookies is good enough for me! They turned out so well, they're even blog-worthy. Since I'm staying at my parents house for a few days, I tried to incorporate ingredients that they already had. I used dried cranberries and bittersweet chocolate in this oatmeal cookie recipe but if you prefer, you can substitute them for another type of dried fruit or chocolate. Dried cherries and white chocolate chips might be a nice combo as well. Actually, my daughter didn't seem to enthused with the bittersweet chocolate, so if you have little ones, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips are good too. Mmm-mm TOO YUMMY!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 packets Quaker Instant Oatmeal (brown sugar & cinnamon)
2 packets Quaker Instant Oatmeal (original)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 4oz. bar bittersweet chocolate (cut in 1/4" chunks)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix togeether flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat in the egg and then add vanilla extract. Combine wet mixture to dry ingredients. Fold in oats, cranberries and chocolate. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Use an ice scream scoop to place 6 portions on each baking sheet. Make sure they are evenly spaced and have enough room as they will expand in the oven. Bake for about 12-13 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let cookies cool for 15 minutes before serving.

January 2, 2011

Pin-Up Inspired Shoot

Hello lovelies,

Back with another collabo with talented photographer Tamiz Rezvi. This shoot was a pin-up inspired shoot. I really wanted to do something fun with the makeup and the actresses we worked with definitely knew how to work their roles. Hope you guys like.
Bobbi Brown Foundation
Bobbi Brown Color Corrector and Creamy Concealer
LORAC Soul Blush
Makeup Forever HD Powder
Bobbi Brown Beige Shimmer Brick
MAC Cork Eyeshadow (eyebrows)
MAC Vanilla Pigment (lid)
MAC Texture (crease)
MAC Brule (highlight)
MAC Blacktrack Fluidline (upper lashline)
MAC Zoom Lash
Ardell Wispies Lashes
Julie Hewitt Film Noir Lip Pencil
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
MAC Amorous Dazzleglass Creme
Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation
Bobbi Brown Color Corrector and Creamy Concealer
Makeup Forever HD Powder
MAC Gingerly Blush
NARS Orgasm Multiple (highlight)
MAC Embark Eyeshadow (eyebrows)
MAC Heritage Rouge Pigment (lid & lower lashline)
MAC Antiqued (crease)
MAC Brule (highlight)
MAC Blacktrack Fluidline (upperlashline)
MAC Zoom Lash
MAC Icescape Lipglass

December 30, 2010

Time for those New Years resolutions...

Hi lovelies,

2010 is out and 2011 is in. Time really does fly by. Nevertheless, I'm still excited for the New Year to come. I've never been one to make New Years resolutions, but I feel like as the older I get, I should have something to hold myself mentally accountable for the things I want to accomplish. So here's what I intend to do to improve my life in 2011...

1. Stop and smell the roses...In the everyday blitz of handling a home, work and family, sometimes you just don't take time to appreciate the little moments. I want to spend more precious time with my kids because before I realize it, they'll be all grown up. I don't want to complain about my husband always working and just enjoy the time that we have's not quantity but quality!

2. Spend less and save money...I've stopped spending so much money on clothing but cosmetics is one area that I just can't help myself when it comes to shelling out money. I want to spend less on skincare and makeup products and try to make use of what I already have. There are a lot of BIG things I want to accomplish in the next few years and for that I need to keep track of every penny. Saving is a big resolution for 2011.
3. Eat healthy...I don't really eat junk food but that definitely doesn't mean I'm a healthy eater. I'm determined to eat more healthful, wholesome foods like vegetables and whole grains as well as drink lots more water.
4. Read and write more...reading and writing are things I love to do but haven't had time for in the past few years. I resolve to read a new book AT LEAST once a month and to take some time out each day to write even a few sentences.

5. Try new things...whether it be a yoga class, a different type of food or a change in hairstyle!

December 23, 2010

Kitchen Conundrum? Just Make It Work!

I'm sorry to say it but at our house...fruits just aren't a fave. My husband and daughter will eat bananas and grapes but that's just about as far as their experimentation with produce will go. Ironically, fruit baskets are probably one of the most popular gift around the holidays...after fruit cakes, of course. A few days ago we received a basket filled with yummy cookies, nuts, chocolate covered popcorn and PEARS. Instead of just letting these beautiful fruits go to waste, I decided turn them into something my family would readily dig into-a sweet, flaky, home-made PIE! The hardest part was the crustand even that wasn't so complicated...just a little tedious trying to keep all the ingredients cold (I'll explain why later).

1 1/2 sticks COLD butter (cubed)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
6-8 tbsp. ice water
4 Forelle or Bartlett pears (peeled and sliced)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup flour
1/2 lemon zested & juiced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Add salt and sugar to flour. Cut in cold cubed butter until the doug resembles a crumbly texture. Slowly add water until it forms a soft, maleable ball of dough and refridgerate it for 15 minutes. Roll out half of the dough and place in pie dish. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges. For the filling, combine pear slices, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, lemon zest and juice. Pour onto pie crust. Flatten second half of dough and cut into strips. Create a lattice top by weaving the strips of dough. Pinch edges together with the bottom crust. Flute the edges with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

December 20, 2010

Rockin' n' Rollin'

Hi lovelies,

I wanted to share some photos from a test shoot I did with photographer Tamiz Rezvi and model/actress Maria Papathanasiou. The look we were going for was grunge chic with a feminine twist, so I went with a smokey grey eye and defined, thick eyebrows along with sparkly pink lips to match the sparkly pink guitar! The rest was pretty simple, some light contouring and a flush of pink color on the apples of the cheeks. We shot in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. It was so cold but I think Maria rocked it and the pictures came out pretty good.