Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beauty: Fanime Makeup!

Last week was finals weeks, so I'm sure you all understand why I haven't been around.  But!  As grueling as juggling all my final projects was, it all ended with a really fun bang because last weekend was Fanimecon weekend.

What is Fanimecon?  It's a convention for diehard fans of anime and manga. (Japanese comic books and cartoons)  Yep yep.  I really got a chance to unleash the ultra-dork in me.  It was nice enjoying a fun-filled weekend amongst my kooky, goofy, geeky kindred.  Of course, Fanimecon wouldn't be half as fun without cosplay.

What's cosplay?  Dressing up like your favorite anime/manga/videogame characters.  Fanimecon weekend (which always takes place during Memorial Day weekend) is like 4 days of Halloween.  Of course, I took the easy way out by just wearing a pair of cat ears all weekend.  I'm very disappointed in myself.  Next year I'll go all out for sure!

I'll be posting some pictures from the convention, but in the meantime, I'll give you a sample of a makeup look I did for one of the days.  Enjoy!

Products used for this look:

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden
Sonia Kashuk Teasing Teal Eyeshadow Duo (I only used the mint shade)
CoverGirl Liquiline Blast in Blue Boom
Wet N Wild Coloricon Palette in Blue Had Me At Hello (I only used the bright teal shade)
Prestige Liquid Glitter Precision Eyeliner in Starlit Black
Maybelline Full N Soft Waterproof Mascara in Black

Tada!  Here's me in "costume":

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beauty Tutorial: Posh Pink Pout

Do you like fuchsia but find it a little too loud to wear during the day?  Well, I think I've discovered a way to wear it subtle enough so that you don't have to wait till nightfall, but still maintain a bit of a pink pop.  My star product for this look is MAC's Dazzleglass in Extra Amps:

Extra Amps is a very sheer, glossy shade of fuchsia with large chunks of bluish glitter.  Fun!  I start with bare lips.

Next, using a nude lip pencil, I'm going line my top and bottom lip line.

Smashbox Sheer Lip Pencil in Smashing Muse
I'm also going to fill in my lips with the same nude lip pencil.  This will increase the staying power of our look and will prevent bleeding.

Then, using a fuchsia lip pencil, I'm going to apply color just to the center of my top and bottom lip.

Sephora Nano Lip Liner in Funky Fuchsia

Once I've completed this step, my lips will look like this:

A little strange, I know, but we're not finished yet!  Using a lip brush, I'm going to dab the center of my lips with Extra Amps and then work the color out towards the edges.  That way, the color remains the brightest in the center and fades towards outer edges.

The effect is a pretty pink pout, subtle enough to wear in the daytime, but with enough color to warrant some double-takes.  It's a fun and easy way to wear fuchsia outside of the club.

My favorite way to wear Extra Amps.  FYI, I did this lip look for the Cheerful Chartreuse tutorial a few weeks ago.  Today, I finished with some blue shadow and winged liner just for the heck of it.

Happy Sunday!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lovelina: Vintage Garden Rose Earrings

I've been wanting to make these forever and was finally able to today.  Aren't they dreamy?  Can't wait to wear them out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lovelina: Topaz Blue Swarovski Drop Earrings

There's a pink version of these earrings too.  I thought the blue would suit the warm, summer sky for the upcoming season.  Cheers!

Product Review: Urban Decay Big Fatty Mascara in Indigo

So a few months ago, I was browsing the Urban Decay website looking for deals and sales.  They were doing this free shipping thing and were having a product clearance, so I was like, yay!  I was thrilled when discovered their Big Fatty Mascara in a shade called Indigo.  I've always been curious about trying out colored mascaras.  Normally a $20 value, I jumped at the chance to purchase a tube for the clearance price of $6.

Well, there was a reason it was on clearance.  First of all, the color isn't even really indigo.  For those of us that are familiar with the colors of a rainbow, indigo is supposed to be deep shade of blue-violet.  This was more of a medium blue shade with some lilac tones.  I was expecting something more in the navy-purple range.

Second, the applicator brush really sucked.  The bristles were too dense, so I couldn't evenly coat my lashes.  Also, the formula was on the dry side which made it difficult to apply.  In addition to being dry, the formula was also thick and heavy, weighing down my lashes and eliminating my curl while not delivering enough color.  Does that make sense?

pardon the poor lighting
I found that the color was too subtle and you can only see a hint of it on the tips.  Didn't make my lashes look longer and thicker either.  Most products that I review are pretty great, but in this case, I did not get any bang for my buck.  I wish I would have known enough to skip this one and save $6.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Product Review: Maybelline Expert Tools Dual Pencil Sharpener

I've been through about 3 cosmetic pencil sharpeners over the last couple years or so, from Wet N Wild, L'Oreal, and MAC,  and I'm just about sick of them.  I'm simply tired of having my precious lip and eye liners eaten up by crappy sharpeners.  I swear, probably only half the pencil gets actual use.  The other half just gets mangled and has to be scraped out of the sharpener with a toothpick and into the garbage.  Honestly, I'd probably be better off whittling my pencils down with a knife!

Well, my problem has been solved as of yesterday, thanks to my baby sister.  For at least a year now, she's been talking about this magical makeup pencil sharpener.  I didn't really pay much mind to it.  Yeah yeah, fine, you have a great sharpener, whoopee.  I guess I was content to struggle with the ones that I had.  And then, a little while ago, while I was doing event makeup for my mother, she had mentioned that my sister has this great makeup pencil sharpener that she likes to borrow sometimes.  At that point, it started to sink in a little, but not so much that I felt compelled to go out and get one of my own.

Then, the other day, when I was down to a tiny stub of my favorite lip liner, my idiotic pencil sharpener ate up the last of it.  I nearly screamed.  That was the last straw.  I dumped all of my poopy sharpeners into the trash and dragged my sister to Walgreens to point out the legendary sharpener that everyone was raving about.  This is it:

Dual Pencil Sharpener from Maybelline's Expert Tools series.  It's possibly the best cosmetic pencil sharpener I've ever used.  Baby sis was quite right.  It sharpens clean and efficiently, bringing even my softest pencils to a neat and tidy point.  The only gripe I have is that I didn't get one of these sooner.  At less than $4 at your local drugstore, you really can't lose.  My sister has had hers for over a year now and it's still as sharp as ever.  Love it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Product Review: Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush in Candy, Baby

Now that summer's around the corner and we'll soon be able to stroll about town in bare arms and legs, it's time to break out my favorite scent for the season: Candy, Baby by Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush.  Nearly nothing floats my boat like the sweet, carefree fragrance of cotton candy, and VS has got this scent down to a tee with Candy, Baby.  My favorite product from the fragrance collection is the body spray, followed by the body lotion:

The body spray is a double-layered fragrance and moisturizing spray that you have to shake up before spritzing.    It smells heavenly, not too strong, yet long lasting enough where I still get faint whiffs of it when I wake up the next morning.  For all you lucky gals out there that have soft, spongy skin with no need for heavy lotions and moisturizers, this is a fantastic alternative to keep your skin smooth and supple while maintaining a weightless, naked feel.

Unfortunately, I have super-dry skin that's comparable to a desert wasteland, so body lotion is a permanent part of my daily beauty regimen.  My favorite way to keep myself sweet-smelling of cotton candy is to moisturize immediately after I step out of the shower with the Candy, Baby body lotion.  This is a very important step for those of you out there with dry skin like me.  Your skin is full of healthy moisture when you get out of the shower, so when you apply lotion at this time, it acts like a force field that seals all that moisture in for the rest of the day.

After applying lotion, I shake up my body spray and spritz myself from head to toe.  Sometimes I'll spritz a little onto my clothes and hair before I leave the house as well, just to make sure that yummy scent really stays put.

The Beauty Rush collection runs about $12 per product or 3/$25.  The pricing isn't bad and a bottle of the spray lasted me all last summer.  The lotion lasted awhile too, although I used it mostly for hands and arms.  I found that it wasn't *quite* moisturizing enough for my overly-dry skin.  In general, I need the not-so-fun heavy duty stuff, like Eucerin, which doesn't come in tasty fragrances.  That's a whole 'nother story though.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beauty Tutorial: Cheerful Chartreuse

Here's a wild color that love, but wouldn't think to use: chartreuse.  Yep, neon tennis-ball green!  Heck, I'm wearing all sorts of crazy colors left and right these days, so I decided, why not?  I felt that the best way to wear it for every day would be simply, since it's such a high-impact color.  As usual, let's start with a primed eye.

Oh, but guess what?  I just got a new primer from Urban Decay.  They've changed the packaging so that you can really get the most product for your money now, yay!  Back when the packaging used to look like this:

I actually had to saw the bottle open with a knife to scrape out the leftover product, which was more than 50%.  Very inefficient packaging.  Now, however, the packaging looks like this:

They changed it to a great, squeezy tube design, probably after plenty of customer complaints.  It took a few years, but I'm glad they got around to it!  Urban Decay's Primer Potion now comes in a wide variety of finishes: Original (invisible finish), Eden (matte nude), Greed (gold shimmer), Sin (champagne shimmer)  My current favorite is Eden.  Because of the lighter, matte finish, it really makes shadows stand out.  I even like to wear it alone with winged liner for a simple, classy look.  And because of the new packaging, a little product goes a long, long way.  I wouldn't be surprised if this lasts me a year.

naked eyelid primed with Eden
We'll do a monochromatic color wash with a shade of chartreuse.  I got this one a few years ago and only used it twice, both times very sparingly.  The brand is Covergirl and it's from their Eye Enhancers collection.  I couldn't find the name of it on the packaging though.  I think it may have been a limited edition, but I'm not sure.  It's probably not hard to find a shade of bright lime green as a substitute if this one isn't available.

It's such a flourescent shade of light bright green that it nearly looks yellow.  Using a medium flat shadow brush, I simply applied an even layer from the lid line to the brow bone.

No need for a highlight shade.  Eden doubles as the primer AND the highlighter.  Cool beans, yeah?  So we can skip straight to eyeliner.  I lined the top and bottom lid with black pencil liner.

To set and smoke the liner, I layered black shadow over it with a small smudge brush.  I also swept a little bit of chartreuse shadow right below the bottom liner to make the whole look more cohesive.

For a clean look, I layered liquid liner over the top and bottom lid lines, winging the top lid liner for a more stylized look.

Curled lashes and a couple coats of mascara to finish.

To complete the look, I chose a peachy blush with golden shimmer (Milani Blush in Luminous) and a sparkly pink gloss (MAC Dazzleglass in Extra Amps).

And there you have it, a bright, cheerful look for a sunny day in May.  My husband took me out for a fancy ice cream cone after I'd finished the shoot.  What can I say?  It was a perfect day today! (wow, I sound so rhyme-y...too lazy to fix it though.  it's past my bedtime so I'll just leave it at that. lol)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Style: Geeky Glam Glasses

I've got near-perfect vision, so I don't need glasses, but I've always flirted with the idea of wearing them because I do sooooooooo adore nerdy-chic.  Here are some new styles from Gucci and Dior that float my boat, check 'em out:

from top: Gucci, Dior, Dior

I like the shape and simple elegance of the Gucci, although I think I'd prefer it in black.  The red Dior frames are out of this world.  They certainly pop, but might be a little too out there for me.  I'm not sure if that shade of red is particularly versatile either.  The black Dior frames are so much fun!  I love the heavy, retro-style black frame and the blingin' Swarovski crystal design on the temples.

It's just a thought.  Sunglasses would probably be a more practical choice.

Product Review: Sephora Doe Eyed Liner in Blue

I was shopping for a navy-blue eyeliner a few months ago when I came across Sephora Collection Doe Eyed Felt Eyeliner.  Of course, I went straight for the blue, alas, it wasn't what I was looking for.  After drawing a swatch on the back of my hand, I found that the color was too bright...more like an electric teal shade than the subtle deep blue that I had my heart set on.

Fast forward to today.  I still can't get my mind off of that teal!  I mean, bright teal isn't exactly a practical color, but I figured since I can't stop thinking about it, I just had to cave and make it mine.  I'm sort of on financial lockdown right now because of a promise I made to my husband in regard to paying off my credit card debt.  Luckily, I had a Sephora gift card, a very thoughtful present from one of my nearest and dearest. (ah, my loved ones know me so well)  But, even without a gift card, Sephora's Doe Eyed won't set you back much.  The liners are $12 apiece, which is neither cheap nor terribly expensive, and come in black, brown, and green as well.

The pen is a nice diameter so you can really get a good grip and I especially like the felt tip, which is somewhat flexible and not too hard and pokey.   Since the color is so bold, I didn't find it necessary to supplement it with eyeshadow.  Rather, I simply drew a clean, sweeping wing across my (nearly) naked lash lash line.  My eyelid was, of course, primed along with a light dusting of pressed powder. (key word: light.  you'll find out why)

The actual color in real life is much brighter with a touch of green so it's more of a true teal.  My lighting wasn't the greatest so the camera didn't capture shade as I would have liked.  But I'm sure your imagination can fill in the blanks.  I love how a great color can really turn a simple look into an attention grabber.  This eyeliner is a great solution for on-the-go glam!

So, a couple of things you should know.  There have been complaints that this eyeliner goes on very light, dries out easily, or doesn't flow consistently.  It's all in the way that you use it.  Logistically, if you've got layers and layers of eyeshadow powder on, the liner isn't going to draw very fluidly.  It's essentially a felt-tip marker which will pick up powder on its surface as you're drawing.  The powder is going to build up on the felt, obstructing the product from flowing properly from the tip.  For best results, wear the eyeliner alone with little or no shadow.  With a color like this, you're not going to need it anyway.

Finally, I'd like to comment on the lasting power.  Boy, does this mofo last!  I know that I said that E.L.F's felt eyeliner was a tattoo.  Well, I shouldn't have because Sephora's Doe Eyed lasts like no other eyeliner I've ever used.  It just doesn't come off, even when I use my favorite L'Oreal Waterproof Eye Makeup remover.  It's long-lasting to a fault.  The swatch that I drew on the back of my hand didn't come off for a week. (and yes, I did wash my hands as well as bathe daily)  Be aware of that and if you're fine with it, I would consider this liner a pretty good buy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Beauty: Revlon Scented Nail Polish in Gum Drop

So you all know I've been obsessed with bright lips lately.  Conversely, in terms of nail polish, I've been obsessed with pastels.  I have a new one that I love now, Revlon's scented nail polish in Gum Drop, a sweet shade of pale lavender.

I took this pic one week after application, notice how it's growing out?  Oops!

Sweet indeed, it smells like it's namesake when it dries.  I've been pleasantly experiencing little whiffs of candy fragrance throughout the day from my fingertips.  To tell you the truth, I was really apprehensive about purchasing this polish.  I mean, the scented feature seemed so...gimmicky.  I expected crappy quality polish infused with perfume.  Also, upon opening the bottle, I noticed that the formula was very thin and translucent, which further convinced me that this polish was gonna suck.

Well, it did require 3 coats for adequate opacity, but I've been pleasantly surprised by it's performance.  I've been wearing it for 8 days WITHOUT a topcoat, and I've yet to see a single chip.  I would put a topcoat on, but I like the gum drop scent, thus omitting it.  Looks like I never needed it anyway!  Great stuff, I'd definitely recommend it.  I hear it comes in a variety of colors and fragrances as well.  It's limited however, I heard it was a Summer 2010 release, so get yours while you can.  Mine was about $6 from CVS, but you can find it here on Amazon: Revlon Scents of Summer Nail Enamel

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Product Review: Girl About Town Lipstick by MAC

Up until now, my favorite way to wear lips was either nude or pinky-nude.  I always played it safe with lips.  Maybe in the past I dabbled in reds once or twice, alas I've always been too much of a coward to go out in bold lips.  I just channeled all of my creative energy into the eyes.

Since starting StyleByCat, however, I've found that I've become braver in trying new looks that stray outside of my comfort zone.  One of my recent favorites has been fuchsia.  Thanks to you guys, I actually went out on a dinner date with fuchsia lips...and it was great!

I've become obsessed now.  For the past 3 weeks, I've been on the hunt for a MAC lipstick called Girl About Town.  Not for the faint of heart, Girl About Town is a rich, highly-pigmented shade that's a hybrid between fuchsia and hot pink.  Velvety in finish, it's an incredible, mega-watt color that can nearly be described as neon.

After being disappointed time and again as it's been sold out everywhere for weeks, I was finally able to get my hands on a tube today after the MAC store in Berkeley received a new shipment.

The formula is extremely smooth, applying effortlessly and evenly straight from the tube.  It feels weightless and moisturizing on my lips and pleasantly has the faintest scent of vanilla cream soda.

While these photos aren't bad, they don't quite capture the impact and intensity of the true color in real life.  My lips are still poppin' though, don't you agree?  I promise this won't be one of those impulse-buy lipsticks that end up collecting dust at the bottom of my train case in 3 weeks.  So much fun!  I want to wear it every day!

Back from Cabo!

Lots of catching up to do!  Here's a glimpse of my spring break weekend in Cabo San Lucas:

clockwise from top left: view from hotel restaurant, our penthouse balcony seen through sheer window panels, poolside pedicure, pool at Casa Dorada

Goodbye sun and sea, welcome back to reality...sigh.  Well, at least there's Lovelina and StyleByCat!