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.

November 26, 2010

Long Time Coming...Thanksgiving Yummies

Hello lovelies...

I feel so bad for not posting in FOREVER. But let's just get right into it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I have a lot to be thankful for...most of all a wonderful family, along with a new addition who is getting bigger and more interesting every day. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Not only for the delicious feast but because I cherish gathering together with family and friends. There is something simultaneously comforting and energizing about the din of a home filled with loved ones.

This year, besides the usual pumpkin and apple pies, I wanted to do something special and a little exotic for desert. With a two year old and 4 month old kids, I'm always looking for dishes that look like they were a pain in the butt to make but really aren't at all. This Baklava recipe is a no brainer and people have told me its one of the best they've had, maybe because I use an assortment of nuts as apposed to the traditional pistachio or walnut variety. Hope you like it...

1 package Phyllo pastry sheets
2 cups crushed walnuts
2 cup crushed pistachios
1 cup crushed almonds
1 cup crushed pecans
2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. nutmeg
1 cup water
3/4 cup honey
juice squeezed from 1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 cloves
2 cups unsalted butter (melted)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Mix the crushed nuts with 1 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Start by buttering a 9x13in. baking pan. Lay down a sheet of Phyllo and brush it with butter. Continue layering 7 more sheets, buttering each one. Evenly sprinkle half the nut mixture on top. Continue with another 4 layers of buttered Phyllo pastry. Cover this with the remaining nuts. Finish off with another 8 layers of butter pastry sheets. Pour the remaining butter on top of everything. Bake for 1 hour or unitl pastry is golden brown. In the meantime, make syrup by bringing water, sugar and honey to a boil. Add cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon juice. Take off heat. When pastry is done baking, cut into squares or diamon shape. Pour syrup over top of pastry and let sit until time to serve while the pastry soaks up the syrup.


August 5, 2010

Faves in July

A lot has occurred in the past few weeks since my last post...namely that I became a mommy again for the second time around! I've got another precious baby girl and am feeling great.

Since I've had little sleep and not much time to get pretty-fied, my July favorites are super functional products that have helped me look my best in a pinch.

Ojon Rub-Out Cleanser-I've found that with two youngins, showering becomes a treasured affair. Because my hair is fine and silky, it can begin to look flat just a day after washing. I love this dry shampoo because it's so easy to use...just spray at the roots and brush through. It freshens up limp locks, removing impurities and pumping up their volume in seconds. I purchased this product at Sephora, where they had a package deal for $25 that included one full 4.5oz size and one 2oz. travel size (a $35 value).

Olay Total Effects Transforming Eye Cream-The word "transforming" can be quite misleading. While this eye cream isn't a miracle worker, erasing all fine lines and remnants of dark circles, it does sufficiently moisturize and brighten the eye area temporarily. I like that it's slightly tinted so it conceals darkness instantly.

Buxom Lips in Sandy-I've been giving all my other lip products a rest as of late...all do to this baby right here. This is a perfect pinky-nude gloss. It's also plumping, but this feature doesn't make such a big difference to me since I already have pretty voluptuous lips lol. However, the plumping agents give your lips a little tingling sensation which is kind of nice. It's not tacky and is infused with Vitamins A and E to help maintain a soft and smooth pout. I got my mini sample as a free gift with purchase from Sephora, but I will probably buy this gloss when I run out.

Covergirl Lashblast Volume in Very Black-I avoided the hype around this mascara for some time, but decided to give it a whirl. I wouldn't say I love it more than my DiorShow Blackout, but it's a nice everyday mascara. The fat brush really packs on product but the formula doesn't seem to clump.

July 21, 2010

Monkey On My Back...Finding the Perfect Eyeliner

There is one makeup item that Middle Eastern and Desi women ubiquitously cannot live without. Eyeliner.
Whether it's kajal, surma, pencil, gel or liquid...all of us brown girls are invariably looking for the perfect liner to make our almond-eyes pop. Personally, I feel like I'm contstantly on the lookout for the BLACKEST eyeliner. Moreover, it has to apply easily and stay in place because as hot as Jack Sparrow is, that's not the look I'm going for.

The following is a list of some of the best black eyeliners I've tried to achieve some seriously smoldering peepers...

Tarte Kohl Eyeliner in Starry Night-This was my HG eyeliner...until it was discontinued. It was an intense black that applied smoothly. It even came with a little smudger on one end. The only drawback was that it did run slightly throughout the I had to be cautious about fallout.

Stila Kajal Eyeliner in Onyx-This is a richly pigmented carbon black pencil. Because it's a kohl pencil, it glides on easily without tugging, is soft enough to smoke out and shouldn't irritate when worn on the water line.

MAC Feline Kohl Power Eye Pencil-Although MAC's Smolder kohl pencil is a staple in most makeup junkies' cosmetic bags, I've never been into it as I find that it breaks and smudges way too easily. The limited-edition Feline Kohl Power Pencil, while just as soft, is not so delicate. It is truly a BLACK eye liner and I love that it does not budge.

L'Oreal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black-For me, a look doesn't look complete without a swipe of liquid liner along the upper lashline. Most girls opt for felt tip applicators when it comes to liquid eyeliner, but this brush tip is uber fine and makes application a cinch. It dries pretty quickly and won't come off until you remove your makeup.

Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink-This gel liner is a dream to work with on others. I always use it on clients because once it dries, it does not move. It's jet black and glides on effortlessly without pulling on the skin.

July 14, 2010

Roman Style Pizza

Besides New York City pretzels and bagels, there ain't nothing like a good ol' slice of its iconic pizza. The wide, thin, doughy hand-tossed crust, oozing with sauce and mozarella...munchies perfection, I tell ya! However, some of the most memorable pizzas I've tried were authentic Roman-style ones. On our honeymoon, the hubz and I made Rome the first stop on our European tour. One of the first things we did was wander the streets and grab a quick bite of real Italian food. "Why not start with pizza," we thought. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the pizza was considerably different from NYC pizza. Roman-style pizzas are thin and crunchy and are topped with a more conservative amount of sauce and cheese. They are also usually baked in wood burning ovens, giving them a distinct "old world" taste.

Here is my version of a Roman-style pizza (I had to use my plain old electric oven, but I think it turned out almost as good!)


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

5 tbsp. wheat flour

1/4 cup semolina flour

1 tsp. yeast

1 3/4 warm water

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling)

3/4 cup tomato sauce

3-4 cups mozarella cheese

1/3 cup basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Dissolve yeast in warm water for 4-5 minutes. Sift together all-purpose, wheat and semolina flour with salt. Slowly add in water and then olive oil. Knead for about 2 minutes and form into a ball. (Take care not to over-knead the dough as it will overwork the gluten network, making it more gooey than an typical Roman-style pizza). Move to another bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1-2 hours until dough has risen. Punch down dough and knead for another 2 minutes. Place in fridge for another 2 hours. Take out dough from refridgerator, spread onto pizza stone (or a baking pan if you don't have a stone) and shape with your hands. The shape doesn't have to be perfect as this adds to the pizza's rustic quality. Top with tomato sauce, cheese and basil leaves. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

July 12, 2010

Ever Had One of Those WTF Moments?

Now, I love me some MAC makeup but I've never been one of those cult followers who stalk the internet kerfuffle surrounding new and much anticipated collections, limited edition products and the like. I do, however, wish I was one of those obsessive-compulsive MAC addicts right about now. After seeing some swatches online of the Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish (a repromote item in the In The Groove collection), I wanted it. I've heard that it's a beautiful coral highlight powder, with more subtle shine than full on shimmer. Sounds nice, but I doubt I'll ever get to see it firsthand since EVERY location is sold out!! I asked my hubz to take me to the mall on Saturday so I could cop this heavily craved product, but decided not to go since he doesn't like shopping or mall crowds and because he seemed tired. Why did I have to be considerate at that moment?! Cue in the Homer Simpson "DOH!" Anyway, cut to today when I rang up one MAC counter and the salesperson notified me that they usually get shipments on Thursdays and most people bought the majority of them that same BULK. I even called up my sister in Atlanta (thinking that maybe this is just a NY area phenomenon) and asked her to scope out the situation there. SAME THING!!!! At this point I just want the MSF just to say I got it LOL. On one hand I want to commend those people who bought them in mass so that they could hawk them on ebay for three times the price because they must have entrepeneurial spirit...on the other I just wanna say WTF. Ya...there is my makeup-related WTF moment.

July 11, 2010

Brownie Addict's Bliss...Best (Easiest) Brownie Recipe

Everyone knows that I'm a big fan of QUICK and EASY but still (almost) from scratch recipes. I had a hankering for brownies yesterday (my pregnancy cravings are showing up at the last minute) I grabbed whatever ingredients I could find from my mum's pantry to whip something up. Surprisingly, this recipe produced some of the yummiest, fudgiest, chocolatiest brownies I've ever tasted, not to mention the prep & cook time was under an hour. That there is awesomeness in my book. If you can't find the particular hot cocoa brands mentioned in this recipe, feel free to use any other kind or just use unsweetened hot cocoa mix and add another 1/2 to 1 cup sugar depending on your sweet-tooth.

1 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2.5 cups sugar
4 eggs
1.5 cups all purpose white flour
1/2 cup Ghirardelli "Double Chocolate" hot cocoa mix (or 2 packets)
1/2 cup Nestle "Rich Chocolate" hot cocoa mix
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cream butter, vanilla extract and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after adding each. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, hot cocoa and salt. Gradually stir the flour-cocoa mixture into the butter-sugar mixture until combined. Add in chocolate chips. Spread evenly into a lightly greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Now if only I had some ice cream to go with this!

July 9, 2010

June Favorites

This really should have been posted a while ago, so I apologize for the delay! At least I got it on here before my July favorites, right? LOL.

1. Ardell Demi-Wispies Lashes...During the hot, humid summer months, I like to keep my makeup as uncomplicated and smudge-proof as possible. These lashes add just the right amount of oomph to an otherwise simple look.

2. NYX Trio Eyeshadow in TS3...If you're looking for a small, versatile pallette of neutrals, then this is a great pick. The colors include a nude which I use as a highlight, taupe for lid color and a dark brown for the crease. I also love that it conventiently fits into my makeup bag and that I can take it on the go.

3. Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in 070 Soft Nude...It seemed as though for a while, every time I was browsing through the makeup at several drugstores this was the particular lipstick that was universally sold out! When I found the last one at a Rite Aid not too long ago, I just had to snatch it up and see what the hoo-ha was all about. It's a nice creamy, pigmented lipstick in a pinky-nude shade. It's a little milky-looking for my lips but when I blend it out with a lipliner like MAC Spice or Stripdown, it works really well.

4. Inglot Lip Gloss in 541...This gloss is so special lol. It's really unique as it's essentially a clear gloss that reflects blue and purple! Err...I don't think my description is doing this iridescent lip gloss justice...but if you live in the NYC area, then I would definitely head to Inglot's Times Square location and check it out in real.

5. Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder in Deep...I bought this matte bronzer specifically as a contour. The reddish undertones work wonders to sculpt my NC42-43 skin tone.

June 27, 2010

How to Achieve Luxurious hair

I'll be the first to admit that my own hair is not perfect. Albeit, even if I might wish for naturally fuller or curly locks as opposed to my fine, silky straight hair, I do try to make the best of what I've got. It occurred to me to write about this subject when I noticed my mother-in-law "towel-drying" her hair. Actually, it was more like she was rubbing the crap out of aggressively it was like she was sanding wood or something. I cringed just thinking about the damage she was causing to her hair...the breakage, split ends and not to mention the frizzy aftermath it entailed. She's not the only person I've seen guilty of this crime against hair though. And these are the same friends and family members that complain about having unruly and unmanageable hair. Now I now not everyone's hair is the same, but there are a few simple and universal tips that can help anyone attain tresses that are soft, shiny, touchable and tamed.

1. After washing your hair, gently squeeze out any excess water with a soft towel. Don't rub your head like your grating cheese, especially not with an abrasive towel because this will only increase frizz. On the other hand, smoothing the hair downward along the shaft will help keep the cuticle laying flat.

2. Use a WIDE-toothed comb to detangle wet hair to prevent breakage. Only use a brush when your hair is dry.

3. Don't over-shampoo your hair. The cleansing ingredients in shampoos will strip your hair of its natural oils, dry it out and make it unmanageable. Whether you shampoo every other day, every two days, three days or every week is up to you and how dirty your hair gets. The same tip goes for other clarifying rinses and products.

4. Avoid excessive sun, chlorine and salt water (during the summer).

5. Concentrate conditioner on the ends of your hair. Your roots produce natural oils that soften and keep your hair healthy anyway...the ends of your hair however are usually the most damaged and need the most attention when it comes to conditioning.

6. Don't sleep in tight buns or ponytails if you have long hair. Instead, opt for a loose braid. Also, the best material for you to rest your pretty little locks on is satin.

7. Trim your hair every six to eight weeks. Some stylists will tell you to come in every four weeks, but that's because they want to get paid. But you really only need clean up about every 2 months to maintain healthy looking hair.

8. You scalp needs stimulation for your hair to grow faster. Gently massage your scalp for 2-3 minutes when you shampoo to increase circulation.

9. Rinse product out with cold water. This is the best way to achieve ultra shiny and tame hair since it seals the cuticle. Hot water causes the cuticle to open up, resulting in frizz.

10. This might be hard for some, but try to avoid over-processing and over-exposing your hair to heat. Your hair might be looking fierce immediately after blow-drying and straightening but, it's going to be damaged in the long-run. If you do insist on blow drying or ironing your hair everyday, use a heat-protecting spray first! Morever, try to invest in ceramic and ionic hot tools. Ceramic plates prevent overheating and seal the cuticle while ionic products use negative ions to help break up water molecules faster and with less damage done.

There are many more tips in my aresenal that I'd like to share but we'll save them for anther post!

June 12, 2010

Turqoise Nails

This morning the hubz was sweet enough to miss part of the Argentina-Nigeria World Cup match so he could take our daughter to gymboree class. The opportunity off I went to get a manicure! I'm decided on Essie's "Turqoise and Caicos" polish. It's a bright turqoise color-perfect for summer! It just puts a smile on my face. The bummer is that even though it's a pretty pastel color, the formula is so sheer that you need at least 3 coats for it show up properly. My newly polished nails also go with my new Forever21 feather earrings lol.

June 10, 2010

A Little Late But Here Nevertheless...May Favorites!

Haven't posted in sorry about that! But I'm just going to jump right in and give you a rundown on my May favorites. I think these products will continue to be june, july, august...and maybe even longtime favorites!

1. Fresh Lotus Eye Gel
I had to return my Clinique All About Eyes eye cream about a month ago as I found it a little too greasy and it was causing tiny milia around my eye area. While it was moisturizing, it did not seem to reduce any puffiness or darkness. I decided to exchange it for the Fresh Lotus Eye Gel which I am so far loving. The formula is light and absorbs quickly into the skin with a cooling effect. Besides anti-inflammatory lotus extract, it contains green coffee and ginko biloba, both of which help to stimulate ciruclation. I use this day and night, and unlike some other harsher eye serums, I find I can even use the Fresh Lotus Eye Gel three times a day! I've noticed that not only does it diminish puffiness and darkness under the eye, but my entire eye area is more hydrated, leaving a more refreshed appearance. I also like that it comes in a pump container because it saves more product and is more sanitary than a tube or pot container. The only downside is the price...$48 for .5oz. However, with any eye cream, a little goes a long way! You don't need one pump per eye, just half a pump, rub your two ring fingers together and dab lightly under your eyes until the product is absorbed. Never pull your skin as this can cause premature wrinking. Also, it's best to start from the inner corner and work out because this motion drains fluids through the lymph nodes.
2. Cosmedicine Global Health SPF 30 Face
Memorial Day marked the unofficial beginning of summer, but it's been quite warm and sunny here in NYC for some time. Being a brown-skinned girl, I hate the white, chalky appearance most sunscreen give but this formula is clear...amazing! I'm on my third or fourth tube, that's how much I love this product. It's waterless, so it will hold up and won't run and sting your eyes when you're sweating. Even though it's pretty thick, it doesn't feel greasy when used in moderation and it dries to a matte finish. It's also good for all skin types, even sensitive skin. I would recommend this as a year-round moisturizer because we need SPF EVERY DAY and because it can even act as a makeup primer. It retails for about $40 dollars for 1.35 oz.

3. Mac Fleur Power Powder Blush (Satin)
This bright pinky-coral blush may look a little intimidating in the pan but when applied moderately with a soft, fluffy brush on the apples of the cheeks it gives the most beautiful flush and pop of color! It's a great spring and summer hue. I also like the satin finish because it's pigmented, not exactly matte but not as shimmery as a frost finish blush. I was using this consistently, but since I recently got Hipness blush from Mac's To the Beach collection (an intense coral in a frost finish), I've been testing that out instead.

4. Ardell Invisibands Demi-Wispies Lashes
I normally reserve falsies for special occasions or a nights out, but these are natural enough to wear during the day time, yet still flirty, sexy and fun. These lashes add volume and length, and because they are slightly longer at the outer corners, they make your eyes appear longer too. They are around $3.50 a pair but if you take care, you can reuse them a few times before they lose their shape and become all nasty from all the glue.
I'm currently on the hunt for a new perfume. Preferably something citrusy and fresh. Hopefully I'll find one and it'll be in my June favorites!

May 26, 2010

Beauty Benefits: Green Tea vs. Black Tea

Tea has been a staple beverage in many cultures throughout the world for centuries. Many studies have been conducted on the health benefits of tea like whether certain varieties can reduce the risk of ailments such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. For this reason, Green tea has become sort of a trend in recent years. It's been heralded for its richness in antioxident polyphenols, vitamin C and nutritive minerals. Research has shown that green tea can potentially reduce cholesterol and fight cancer. Although less potent in antioxidants, black tea is also said to be an immune boosting drink. Nevertheless, these are all purported benefits of the consumption of tea since we all know that numerous factors play simultaneously into a person's health, such as genetics and other lifestyle choices.

Despite the uncertainty behind the advantages of drinking tea, there are palpable benefits that you can see when it comes to your beauty regimen. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), found in both black and green tea, is known to aid in the formation of collagen and skin repair. It thus helps maintain a firm and bright complexion. You can make a facial spritzer/toner at home just by mixing some brewed green or black tea, lemon juice and will give you an instand glow and pick-me-up feeling! You can also prepare a mask by mixing green tea powder with water and letting it dry on the face before removing with warm water. Add some coarse sugar to the same mixture and use it as a scrub! Caffeine, also found in both black and green tea, has been shown to boost the circulatory system and central nervous system, thus working as an anti-inflammatory agent (a lot of eye serums and creams include caffeine as an ingredient because it reduces puffiness). Black tea contains Vitamin E, an antioxidant that slows the degeneration of cells while promoting the growth of new ones. It also has emollient properties that "plump" and soften wrinkles and dry skin.

The cosmetic boons of tea have been harnessed in many effective beauty products. One of my favorites is Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask...after using it, my skin immediately feels supple and looks radiant!

May 25, 2010

Delicious Appetizer Recipes

Hey there.

So this past weekend we had a "baby shower" at our house. It wasn't your typical baby shower though because in our culture, it's not just restricted to women and you don't normally get gifts for the unborn baby as it's considered bad luck. Well, our home was filled with almost 50 of my relatives and for some reason we only decided to cater ONE dish which meant my in-laws had to cook the rest. Even though this party was technically for me, I didn't feel good about letting everyone else do the work and I wanted to chip in somehow, so I whipped up a couple of relatively simple appetizers. I concocted two recipes, one for jalapeño poppers and one for coconuted crusted shrimp. The only paintsaking part was making enough for 50 people, but if you're entertaining for 10-25 then these would be easy but delicious appetizers to serve. You can even prepare them the night before and just fry them when needed.

The recipes are as follows:

Jalapeño Poppers

25 jalapeño peppers cut in half and seeded (more or less depending on number of guests to serve)
1 16-18oz container of cream cheese
1 7oz package shredded cheese (I used mozarella but you can use monterey jack or cheddar depending on your taste)
1/2 cup canned corn
1 onion chopped
5 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. margarine
salt and black pepper to taste
lour, eggs and Italian style breadcrumbs for breading
oil for frying

In a saucepan, melt margarine and fry garlic and onions until onions are translucent. Add cream cheese, shredded cheese, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper and mix through. Allow mixture to cool before filling jalapeño halves. Use one bowl for flour, a second. for bread crumbs and a third for beaten eggs. Dip each filled pepper first into flour then into the eggs, then coat with bread crumbs. For best results, repeat this process at least twice (three times is great but if you're pressed for time, I don't blame ya). Deep fry in oil for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let drain on paper towels. (Tip: don't overstuff the peppers as they tend to burst with melted cheese upon frying)

Coconuted Crusted Shrimp with Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Dipping Sauce

2 lbs of large tiger shrimp cleaned, deveined and butterflied
3 cups flour
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. cumin powder
6 eggs beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 cups panko crumbs
1 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 jar Pineapple preserves or jam
Sriracha Thai hot sauce to taste

In one bowl, combine flour with onion, garlic and cumin powders. In a second bowl, add salt and pepper to beaten eggs. In a third bowl, mix panko crumbs with shredded coconut. First, dredge the shrimp in flour mixture. Dip floured shrimps into the egg then coat with breadcrumb/coconut mixture. Deep fry until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). Remove and let drain.
For sauce, combine 1 jar pineapple preserves or jam with Sriracha hot sauce according to taste.

May 21, 2010

Makeup Show NYC 2010

Hey there. After a couple days of rain, the weather here in NYC has been incredibly nice and that makes me incredibly happy. Even with 34083405 layers of sunblock and my humongous JLO sunhat, I am still happy about summer being so close!

This post is dedicated to my recent trip to the Makeup Show NYC 2010. For those of you who don't know about it, the Makeup Show is a two-day trade event that brings together different brands and professionals in the makeup industry. There are seminars, forums and hands-on workshops held by prominent makeup artists like Danny Sanz, Eve Pearl, Johnny Lavoy, Victoria Stiles, Orlando Santiago...the list goes on and on. As geeky as it sounds, it's cool to see such eminent industry professionals up-close-and-personal. At the Makeup Show, you can also check out new products that are coming to the market as well as find great pro-only deals. Whether you are practicing as a makeup artist or are simply a makeup fanatic, I would highly recommend that you attend this event next year. It's a great event to network with others in the field, to find some inspiration and learn tips and techniques. Tickets are generally $50 for one day and $80 for both days. There is also a 10% student discount.

Some of the exhibitors featured at the Makeup Show this year include MAC cosmetics, Temptu PRO, Smashbox, Makeup Forever, Dermalogica, FACE Atelier, Graftobian Makeup, shu uemura, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and L'Oreal...and that's only to name a FEW. The deals are so good that people go there specifically to stock up their kits. There were even some people buying and lugging around airbrush equipment! I got a few small goodies, but there are only two worth mentioning.

1. The Beautyblender is said to be "the ultimate makeup sponge applicator." I've seen and heard about this sponge for a while but never considered purchasing it as it costs about $20 at places like Ricky's in NYC. I thought to myself, "So what? It's pink and egg-shaped." But that is exactly what's so nice about it...more so the shape than the pretty color. The Beautyblender boasts a patent-pending elliptical shape that fits the contours of your face...a larger, round end for bigger sections of your face and a smaller tip that gets perfectly into small areas and crevices like under your eye and around your nose. Whether you stiple or swipe, the sponge's suede-like texture is sure to leave a flawless finish free of streaking. The Beautyblender is also latex-free, non-allergenic and odor free for those of you who are extra sensitive. It's small enough so that you can pack it on-the-go. There is also a special blendercleanser that safely and easily cleans your Beautyblender. I've got to say, I really like this product as it does in fact leave a virtually flawless complexion...the only drawback is that it still is a sponge, which means it inevitably soaks up a little foundation. If I had to give it a rating, I would give the Beautyblender a 4.5/5.

2. Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal-Becca Cosmetics is an Australian makeup brand that used to be sold at places like Sephora until a few years ago when they pulled out of larger retail stores here in the US. Now the most convenient and accessible place to find Becca products is online. I love this brand because its mission is to achieve flawless but natural, radiant looking coverage. The foundations and concealers cover blemishes but feel like you're wearing nothing. They also carry a wide shade selection throughout their range, which is a BIG selling point for a person with dark-olive skin like myself. The Shimmering Skin Perfector is a moisturizing illuminator with SPF 20. There are a number of ways you can use this product. You can apply it instead of your normal moisturizer or after OR your can mix it with a foundation. Another option is to just use it as a highlight on areas like cheekbone, bridge of the nose and brow bone. The light-diffusing particles even out skintone and reduces the appearance of imperfections. It also contains anti-oxidant vitamins A, B, D and E which aid in collagen production, tissue repair, and moisture holding capacity. It comes 1.7 fl. oz. pump bottle and costs $41, however, a little goes a LONG way and it should last a while if used economically. A product like this one is a summer must-have if you want a glowy/dewy/radiant look. The shade that I got is Opal, a pinky-peach-pearlescent hue that gives the most beautiful candlelit/ethereal look. I would rate this 4.5/5 only because it is kind of expensive (but again, worth it).

May 14, 2010

Random MAC Purchase

Must. Stay. Away. From. MAC.

This is the mantra that always circles my conscience when I'm out shopping, but who am I kidding? Impulsive, irrational and generally unnecessary buys are the penchant of a makeup addict. It's just...what I do. LOL.
On Monday, my cousin and I went to the Mall because she was looking to buy some new makeup for an upcoming vacation abroad. Unfortunately, my sweet little cousin is allergic to almost every cosmetic product she comes into contact with (especially lip products, which would make me so sad if I were her). When she applies something to her face, her skin starts to swell and she gets blotchy patches within minutes. MAC foundations are infamous for irritating many peoples skin, so she was pretty sure she wouldn't be able to rely on any of those but we went into the store to play around anyway. On a whim, I suggested that maybe she try the mineralize foundations since they might be better suited to such senstitive skin as hers. Because she has combination skin that is sometimes dehydrated, we decided to try out the compact version because the creamy texture would be more moisturizing than the powder and because it would provide more coverage than the liquid. After the artist matched her to NC44, we decided to shop around the mall for an hour to see how her skin reacted to the foundation. Lo and behold! After more than an hour, her skin was not the least bit irritated. In fact, it looked absolutely glowing and flawless! If your skin is irrirated by foundations, I would suggest trying MAC's mineralize foundations as they come in a variety of formulations that will also suit different skin types.
Now on to my purchases...
I couldn't just leave the store without something in hand. That would just be too weird!
Please forgive the pics...I took them on my husband's iPhone. Still researching for a new camera...
1. Touch Lipstick (Lustre)-This lipstick is a dark peach (the MAC website describes it as "peachy cinnamon") and I'm currently loving this as a natural-looking nude for my pigmented lips.

2. Hug Me Lipstick (Lustre)-Is a pinky flesh-toned lipstick. It's a little light for an everyday nude on me, but if I ever want to do a Kim Kardashian look, this is probably what I'll go for next time. (LoL why do I always cite Kim K. when it comes to makeup?!)
Here are swatches of both lipsticks.
3. Lucky Green Eyeshadow (Veluxe Pearl)-I LOVE Veluxe Pearl eyeshadows for their soft texture and because they are shiny without being glittery. This particular color is a gorgeous shade of lime green with a hint of gold...kind of chartreusey, in my opinion. It's not bright in an obnoxious way, but definitely striking. I am looking forward to using this with darker greens like Humid or dark matte browns.

4. All That Glitters Eyeshadow (Veluxe Pearl)-Another beautiful veluxe pearl finish. The shade is beige with gold pearl (but sort of on the pinky side) and works as a nice highlight.
Now for some insight as to how often I go into my local MAC store...the artist helping my cousin with her shade selection asked me if I had a Pro Card...when I said "yes", she said "Mhmm. I thought I recognized your face." How embarassing! Oh well...probably not going to discourage me anyway!

May 12, 2010

Let's Talk About Lashes

In my last post, I said that I don't normally buy drugstore makeup since you can't try it before you buy it. However, I want to make a correction on that statement. There is one drugstore cosmetic product that I almost always choose over its high-end counterpart and that's mascara. Even though they might not be packaged as nicely and carry the clout of a brand name, I've found that some drugstore mascaras do exactly what I and most other mascara-wearers are looking for...volumize, lengthen, curl and darken.

My hands-down favorite drugstore mascara is L'Oreal Voluminous in Carbon Black because it dramatizes my lashes just the way I like. It's nearly indistinguishable from one of my favorite high-end mascaras, Diorshow BlackOut. They both thicken, lengthen, and darken and they both have fat brushes, but at $7.29, it's more than $16 less than the Diorshow mascara ($24). I haven't tried mascaras from luxury brands like Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent or Shu Uemura, but because they are owned by L'Oreal, I wouldn't be surprised if the formulations were similar to the company's consumer products found at drugstores.

Another drugstore mascara that I use often is Almay One Coat Triple Effect in Blackest Black. This mascara is perfect for everyday as it creates alluringly long, voluminous and curled lashes without being overly dramatic. Super-volumizing mascaras like Diorshow, Benefit Badgal and L'Oreal Voluminous tend to clump, but it only adds to their effect...however, this mascara is more liquidy and less likely to clump so it looks more natural.

What drugstore mascaras do you like?

May 11, 2010

I Finally Tried It...Revlon Colorstay Foundation

Well, I finally did it. Even though I've been faithful to my MAC Select SPF 15 foundation for over a year, I gave into the hype and tried the much acclaimed Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation. Although I have heard many, many...many great reviews about it, I was still skeptical about trying this product as with any drugstore cosmetics. I've shied away from buying drugstore makeup for a while just because you're not supposed to open and test the product for color and quality before purchase. Ultimately, I figured I'd be saving time, energy and money by going into a department or cosmetic store and trying the makeup before committing to it. However, I wanted try this particular item so badly that I did a bad thing...I opened the bottle and swatched it before actually buying it! I'm sorry Rite-Aid, but I had to do it for my peace of mind. Good thing Revlon Colorstay Foundation doesn't come with a tamper-evident plastic seal, because I would have felt A LOT worse about my delinquency. LOL.

I ended up getting the combination/oily formulation in the shade 360 Golden Caramel. I've got to say, compared to my normal MAC NC42/43 and Makeup Forever HD #153, this foundation is significantly more golden toned. I think it might be a little too yellow, but this shade matched the closest and I used my MAC Studio Fix Powder in NW35 to neutralize it a bit . I did find it a little weird that the Oily/Combination shades seemed darker than the Normal/Dry, but I guess that just goes to show that there IS a difference in formulation and Revlon isn't just trying to pull a fast one on us.

So far, I've tried applying this foundation with a MAC 187 duo-fibre brush and a sponge. I prefer the sponge because it provides the most even and natural-looking coverage in this case (any other foundation and I probably would have sworn by my 187). Overall, Revlon Colorstay is good, not only for its price (about $13) but also for living up to its claim to be long-lasting. After wearing it for nearly 12 hours in 70 degree weather, my foundation hadn't budged and when I went to wash it off, I had to really work at it. Coverage is medium-to full and is comparable to MAC and Makeup Forever, so it does feel pretty heavy but since I'm a cover-everything type of gyal, it doesn't bother me too much. I also like that it's quite liquidy (albeit messy) in consistency so it's easy to blend but that it then dries to a velvety-matte finish.

All in all, if you're looking for an inexpensive but quality foundation, I would recommend Revlon Colorstay. Just be careful if you're going to test it out in the drugstore hehe.

May 6, 2010

Homemade Facial Treatments

Pampering your skin doesn't necessarily mean you have to break the bank. In fact, you can find many ingredients in your own kitchen to create cost-effective and efficient homemade exfoliators, masks and other treatments. Everyone knows the health benefits of eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, but many of these healthy foods can also exhibit esthetic benefits when put ON your face or body.

Here are a few concoctions that I like to use as homemade treatments...

Brightening Yogurt Lemon Mask
2tbsp. plain yogurt (Greek yogurt is ideal because of its thick consistency)
1tsp. lemon juice
1tbsp. honey

I love this mask because it seems to instantly brightens my complexion on days when it's looking dull. I just apply it on my face and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes before removing with warm water. Yogurt is a great natural moisturizer and it contains lactic acid (an alphahydroxy acid) which exfoliates and tightens the skin. The citric acid in the lemon juice helps to lighten blemishes, while Vitamin C aids in building collagen. Honey is not only antibacterial but it's also a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin. This mask will brighten and alleviate dehydrated and lackluster skin. For an added "glow factor", add 1 tsp. turmeric powder which has natural skin lightening and antibacterial properties.

Firming Egg Mask
1 Egg (separate white and yolk)

I apply an egg white to my face when my face is feeling oily and I want a tightening effect. I leave it on for about 15 minutes before removing with warm water. Seriously, it's like an instant face lift. I've heard of some crazy ass people traveling across the world to have facials using animal placenta...well, if you're looking to boost your complexion with live cells, pretty much anyone will find eggs in their refrigerator!

Olive Oil Sugar Lip Exfoliant
1tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp. Turbinado sugar (coarse brown sugar)

Once a week, I rub this mixture on my lips for about one minute to remove dry, flaky skin. Olive oil is a natural moisturizer that contains Vitamin E and is high in antioxidants. Course Turbinado sugar is a natural manual exfoliant that removes dead skin from the lips.

Rosewater Milk Astringent
2tbsp. milk
1tsp. Rosewater

Rosewater works wonders balancing and toning oily skin as well as soothing sensitive skin. Moreover, it smells divine! Again, milk acid exfoliates, brightens and tightens the skin. Just soak a cotton ball in the mixture and rub over your face, then rinse with cold water.

I would recommend these homemade treatments for any skintype, but as with any new skin treatment, I would do a test-patch on the inside of your wrist first to see if you have sensitivities to any of the ingredients.

May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

I'm not Mexican, but I had a sudden urge to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Honestly, I'll take any excuse to enjoy good food of a different culture. I made a pretty involved and semi-authentic spread complete with salsa, guacamole, chicken tacos, carne asada, beans, shrimp ceviche, virgin piña colada and pomegranate sangria, and for desert, flan...all from scratch! It actually turned out to be quite fast and simple. Actually, the flan was so delicious and easy, I thought I should share it...

1 and 1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 can evaporated milk (or whole milk if desired)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar over medium flame until it melts and becomes caramel (you will have to stir continuously). Pour the hot caramel into a ceramic or glass pie dish. Quickly tilt the dish around so the bottom is coated with caramel. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated and sweetened condensed milks, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Pour the mixture on top of the now hardened caramel. Fill a large baking tray with about 1 inch warm water and place the pie dish in the center of it (this will act as a water bath that will prevent the flan from cracking and will help it bake evenly). Place the tray in the center of the oven and allow to bake for 1 hour. If you stick a toothpick just outside the center of the flan and it comes out clean, then it is finished baking. Let the flan cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Invert flan onto a serving dish so the caramel flows on top of it. ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!!

May 3, 2010

Overdue MAC haul!

I know...a post was LONG overdue. I'm feel so bad. Morever, I feel worse because the quality of the following pictures are so bad since our camera is curiously I've resorted to using an OLDDDD school camera (and by old school I mean like 5 years old lol). It's so bad that I couldn't even get some proper swatches. Oh well, I apologize and hopefully I can get on track with a new camera and better pics soon!

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a few goodies I got at MAC. Nothing from a new collection or anything, just products that I've been wanting to get for a while.


These are all brushes I already own, but I love them to bits and use them so often that I went ahead and splurged on an extra set.

1. 150 Powder Brush--It's so super big and fluffy that it's perfect for setting and pressed powder application.
2. 129 Powder Blush Brush--This brush is the just the right size and softness for a not too overdone blush application.
3. 187 Duo Fibre (Stipling) Brush--By far my favorite brush to put on liquid foundation with, but it's also wonderful to apply powder and cream products as well. If I had to recommend any one brush, the 187 would be it.
4. 217 Blending Brush--This brush is simultaneously dense and fluffy, thus making shadow application to the crease and blending a virtual cake walk. I've even tried applying under-eye concealer with this brush because it provides such a flawless finish.


1. Scene Eye Shadow (satin)--I'm a little obsessed with grey smokey eyes right now, so I've been reaching for this slightly muddy purplish-grey shadow almost every day, pairing it with a very dark matte brown like Laura Mercier's Coffee Ground in the crease. I would definitely recommend this eye shadow for brown-eyed girls like myself.
2. Revealing Lipglass--My current HG nude. It's opaque enough to cover my pigmented lips and warm enough to compliment my golden skin...and sure as heck sexxy enough to even put a goddess like Kim Kardashian to shame lol. I like it on its own, but for a more intense look I've put it on top of Stripdown lip liner.
3. Florabundance--This color is nice but a little too milky-pink for my NC 42/43complexion. However, if I apply it on top of Stripdown or Spice lipliner, I can make it work. This would be a nice pinky-nude for lighter skinned girls or those with less pigmented lips.
4. Fluid Lipstick (frost)--I've been eyeing this lipstick at MAC for a minute but have been too hesitant to purchase it. Thank goodness for the safety-net that is Back2 MAC because I really like this color. It's definitely creates a bold look though as it is a deep plum-brown color.
5. Stone Lip Liner--I've had this liner for a long time but lost mine so I just had to repurchase. It's the only cool brown lipliner that I've found and liked. It's perfect when you want that "icy" look. My favorite combination is using Stone with Fabby lipstick and Nymphette lipglass.
6. Fleur Power Powder Blush (satin)--This has so far been my go-to Spring blush and will probably remain so throughout summer. It is a pop of bright pinky-coral that goes with just about any eye-lip combo. I would recommend this blush for pretty much any skin tone, especially those with olive complexions like mine. Just to note, a little goes a LONG way and remember to blend, blend, blend!!

April 20, 2010

Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy Bars

I'm working on a post for a recent haul but in the meantime, I figured I'd share a yummy recipe. Last night my mother-in-law made 2 amazing homemade pizzas, so I decided to make some lemon squares for desert! This recipe is very quick, very easy and I'd say even foolproof. My hubz normally gravitates towards anything spicy, salty, or crunchy (as in FRIED) so when he does like something sweet, it's definitely a hit at our house!

Lemon Squares Recipe


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (or 2 sticks) melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
pinch of salt

4 eggs
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (optional)
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2-3 juiced lemons)

sifted confectioners' sugar for topping

Heat oven to 325°. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup melted butter, 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar and and pinch of salt in large bowl. Pat into 13x9x2-inch. Bake for 18-20 minutes. For filling, beat 4 eggs and blend with 4 tbsp. flour, 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup lemon juice and grated lemon peel. Pour over first layer and return to oven at325° for another 20 minutes. Let cool and harden a little. Loosen around the edges and cut into squares. Dust sifted confectioners' sugar over top and voilà!

Note: To shake things up, you can spread shredded coconut over the layer of filling before returning to the oven. Also, you can use limes instead of lemons, while adding a drop or two of green food coloring for a pop of color!

April 8, 2010

Pregnancy Beauty

Pregnancy can cause a number of obvious physical changes (i.e. weight gain and a bulging belly). However, there are some changes that can throw pregnant women for a loop, some a welcomed change and others... not so much.

Thanks to increased blood circulation during pregnancy, many women experience a pregnancy "glow". However, for many women including myself, this much romanticized glow lasts about a milisecond before giving way to a superabundance of other hormonal changes that wreak havoc on our skin.
1. Pregnancy Acne-While I haven't personally experienced pregnancy acne, it can be a problem for many. Even people who never previously suffered from acne might notice bumps and blemishes throughout their pregnancy. The good thing is that the acne should go away after delivery, once the hormones go back to normal. On the flip side, you can't use many popular and powerful acne-fighting medications when the zits pop up. Salycilic acid and retinol, are big no-nos. Some doctors give the green light to Benzoyl Peroxide (in products like Proactiv), however not only does everything you put in your body affect the baby, but everything you pur ON your body gets absorbed, and nobody is exactly sure whether BP affects the fetus. There are a lot of natural skin care lines that you can find at places like WholeFoods and Sephora that do not use these ingredients as well as harsh detergents so they help control acne without stripping your face dry, which can exascerbate the problem. Drinking lots of water and eating healthy foods full of antioxidants (colorful veggies, fruits, salmon and other lean proteins) can contribute to regulating acne from the inside-out. I aboslutely love the products from Ole Henriksen, and their blemish attack line contains natural ingredients to combat acne.

2. Skin Discoloration-Skin darkening or dark patches on the face can occur during pregnancy as well and is officially called chloasma or melasma (the mask of pregnancy). Women with darker skin tones are more prone to this problem and the effects can become more pronounced with each pregnancy. Darkening can occur around your upper lip, nose, cheeks, forehead and along the jawline. Seriously, just the other day, the hubz asked if I was planning on growing out my mustache! Furthermore, areas that are already pigmented, like scars and freckles may get even darker. Although melasma should generally fade away after pregnancy, sometimes the darkness never completely disappears. In the meantime, there are a few ways to safely minimize skin darknening during pregnancy. The most important thing you can do to prevent skin darkening is SPF! Using sun protection of SPF 30 or higher whether rain or shine (because UV can get you even when it's cloudy) and reapplying throughout the day will help tremendously. Using gentle cleansers and facial products also contribue to minimize skin darkening as harsh ingredients can make the problem worse. Another option is to...conceal it! A densely pigment-packed, opaque concealer like MAC Studiofinish Concealer SPF 35 is heavy-duty enough to cover tattoos, so why not skin changes caused by pregnancy?

3. Stretch Marks-It's that big "wah-wah", dismal moment of pregnancy...when you realize those ugly red or bluish lines snaking around your belly, hips, thighs, breasts...pretty much every place you can think of. Yep, stretch marks are one sacrifice women make to experience the joys of motherhood, but they needn't be inevitable! Now, we've all seen those commercials claiming that cocoa butter can magically make this type of scarring disappear, but honestly, not any one specific product is going to banish them completely. Stretch marks are tears in the skin that occur when there is severe pulling on the dermis beyond its natural elasticity (usually due to rapid weight gain or growth as in pregnancy). You can tell that stretch marks might form when your skin feels taut and super itchy. So, in this state, the skin will benefit from any type of moisture, whether its oil, lotion or cream. Using moisturizing products daily, along with the act of increasing circulation when applying, can help in reducing the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy.

April 3, 2010

Earrings "Throwback"

I want a girl with extensions in her hair
Bamboo earrings
At least two pair

See, even LL Cool J liked a pair of big-ass doorknocker earrings on his chick. He was talking about an "around the way girl" and that's exactly what bamboo earrings represent--hood chic. If you remember the '90s, these things were everywhere, thanks to hip-hop culture. They were womens' answer to rope chains...big, bold and spoke attitude. Back then, bamboo earrings were popularized by celebrities like Salt n' Pepa and Queen Latifah, but in recent years, we've seen them make a comeback on style mavens like Rihanna, Fergie and err...Hilary Duff? They seem hotter than ever now, but some might even say they're a fashion staple that never left the scene.

Then and now...

I couldn't help myself yesterday, and bought a pair for $2.99.

But if I had the money, I would definitely get these swarovski joints

If you want to re-live the '80s and '90s with door knocker earrings, then check out or

March 26, 2010

Sephora Hair and Skincare Haul

Fortunately for my cosmetics addiction, but unfortunately for my wallet, my daughter's Gymboree classes are right near a Sephora. Yep, and it's conveniently located right near the subway and taxi stands we have to get to in order to go home LOL. I really went into the store to purchase an eye cream but, like always, I ended up with a few more items than I had originally planned on. For some background information, I have combination skin that can get dehydrated at times, meaning that if I don't take in enough liquids, exfoliate or moisturize enough, it can get a little flaky around my eyes and nose. The skincare prodtucts I've purchased are either geared towards combination/oily skin or all skin types.

I'll start with the eye cream. When I told her that I was concerned with my dark under eye circles, the Sephora associate suggested I get Clinique "all about eyes". She said it would tareget my dark circles as well as hydrate and prevent fine lines. At $28.50, it was significantly cheaper than many of the other eye creams available there. I decided to give it a try because the description on the box says it's for all skin types and reduces dark circles and puffiness. Furthermore, being a licensed esthetician, I can decipher if some of the ingredients listed might be effective. This particular product contains isostearyl palmitate (i know, it's a mouthful)...this ingredient is what makes the product supposed to be "non-greasy" and non-comedogenic which I am all about. It also contains strawberry begonia extract to help lighten as well as grapeseed and mulberry extract and caffeine which all possess brightening and anti-inflammatory properties. For hydration, you've got petrolatum and dimethicone in the mix.

The next skincare item I bought was a Shiseido Anti-Aging, Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face with SPF 55.
Because I'm of Southeast Asian decent, and have a medium to dark olive comlexion, I was looking for a sunscreen that did not leave a white cast when applied. This product seemed to do the trick when I tested it on my hand, but we will see when I try more on my face. SPF, or sun protection factor, indicates how long one can stay in the sun before reapplying and while maintaining a low risk of burning from ultra violet B (UV Burning) rays. Anything with an SPF of 30 and higher protects against 98or so percent of UV rays. This Shiseido sunscreen also protects against the aging UVA rays. At the same time, the ingredient xylitol is supposed to keep the skin soft, and rose apple leaf extract is supposed to work as an antioxidant to help prevent DNA damage from UV exposure. Even though a sunscreen claims to be "very" water and perspiration-resistant, I would still re-apply every hour or two if possible. I got the smaller version for $19.50, since I'm trying it for the first time, but the larger one for about $32 seems reasonable for a Shiseido product.

The next few items I purchased were haircare products. First, I got Ojon Rub-Out Dry Cleanser, for days when I don't have a chance to wash my hair. I have normal, color-treated hair and I love dry shampoo because it soaks up any extra oils and refreshes hair so it looks bouncy and clean without water. The travel-size costs $10, but if you don't want to spend the extra cash, you can always try applying baby powder closer to your roots. It has the same effect in soaking up the oils but can leave white traces if you don't brush it through properly. The second hair item I bought was Ojon Animated Styling Cream. The label says it "increases hair volume, adds separation and texture, boosts moisture and shine". It's also supposed to be a lightweight, non-greasy formula so it creates "extreme body with movement". The ingredients include Olive Oil butter, Creatine, Keratin, Silk and Wheat proteins to help increase hair volume while keeping it soft. Although I said my hair is normal, it can get a little dry from overheating, so I'm going to try to use this product after my heat-protecting spray to control frizz after I blowdry, iron or curl. It sounded kind of pricey at $26, but I've heard that Ojon products are very effective. The third and last hair product I bought was Oscar Blandi olio di jasmine hair serum ($16 for travel size). I'm going to use it as a finishing and glossing product for the ends after I style.

March 25, 2010

Taupe Nails!

I know it has been a trend in nail polish for some time, but I rarely get manicures so I'm loving my taupe nails right now. I wish I could show you pictures but some of the polish got chipped while I was chopping onions the other day, so I'll spare you the unattractiveness. I usually like dark red, black and gunmetal colors on my nails but this is a great's still sort of dark and edgy but more earthy than black. It's a great fall/winter color for it's gray-mauvey tones but I think I'm going to stick with it for a minute even though it's Spring and most other people will be opting for bright, candy or melon nail hues this season. My husband said it looked like I was playing in the mud, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. Plus, my manicurist was right, men only like RED nail polish on women.

I used OPI's Over the Taupe, but similar nail polishes include Opi's You Don't Know Jacques, OPI for Sephora's Metro Chic, MAC's Wham Bam Glam (from the Riveting collection), Chanel's Particuliere, Orly's Country Club Khaki and Zoya's Pasha.

Here are Sandra Bullock and Gwenyth Paltrow sporting some taupe nails...