Monday, October 26, 2009

Flu shots, vaccines, etc.

A friend of mine just showed me this video and I was moved to tears about a beautiful girl's life ruined by a simple flu shot:

I'm a huge fan of Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carey's work on advocating that vaccines are not bad (if it wasn't for the, polio would still be around) - but the impurities in them (mercury and antifreeze are just a few of the toxic ingredients) as well as the amount of them within the first year of a child's life are completely unnecessary and account for the autism caused in Jenny McCarthy's son. She has since joined many other parents who've had similar experiences in their children following vaccines.

This is a fantastic informative video on how vaccines work and how they are distributed (the funniest thing was that 70% of doctors and nurses do NOT get flu shots - and yet they encourage YOU to get them!):

Something to ponder - and please show these vids to your loved ones!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Favorite eyeliner

I'm a huge fan of eyeliner, I think it makes the eyes look so much more awake when put on. Without it, I feel like I look exhausted. I always use black, since I'm dark, a brown liner doesn't show up too well and I'm not a fan of unnatural colors as liners unless I'm going out.

Occasionally I'll use liquid, but I find my favorite is the pencil. It's easy to apply and practically flawless every time I put it on. And the best pencil I've ever found is the  Urban Decay 24/7 glide on pencil.

It's pricey ($17) but it glides on like a cream, and once it dries it's solid and impossible to remove. I tested this on my hand and even through all the regular day activities (even hand washing - and hand rubbing) it stayed for like 2 days straight!! It's the blackest liner I've found, to the point where the black is as strong as a liquid liner, with the softened edge of a pencil liner. It also lasts longer than any other liner, even on the inner rim/waterline of the eye.

Karlasugar did a review and posted color swatches here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Favorite fragrances

Juliet once said: "...that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet..."  Did you know that the brain - out of all the senses - remembers scent the most?

I LOVE perfume. It's like an addiction. Thank God I'm the pickiest when it comes to choosing it though, cuz perfume is deff an expensive hobby. I was at Ulta the other day for their weekly specials (and Halloweeen fake eyelashes lol) and when I walked past the registers I got a whif of something that smelled amazing. I was thinking, "How nice to work somewhere that smells like THAT all the time." When I brought up my purchases to the counter, I asked the cashier, "Ok - I HAVE to know - WHAT is it that smells soooooooo good up here?" She said, "Well I'm wearing Idole d'Armani - is that it?" I walked over, smelled the perfume bottle and yep - that was it. I bought it on the spot. I sprayed it on myself, and at first it was a little sweet. But after a few minutes it dampens to a cross between a musky, fresh, and floral scent. I actually don't like musky at all - so I'm leaving this as my fall/winter scent. My credit card for some reason still smelled like that the following day at work and my coworker said, "OMG WHAT is that smell? It smells sooooo good!" Lol and the cycle repeats. I'm wearing it right now and CANNOT stop smelling myself!!

Some of my other favorite fragrances - most of them tend to the floral/fresh/feminine side:
  • Pink by Victoria's Secret (the first one I ever bought!! Extremely floral, a very girly scent)
  • Chance Eau de Fraiche by Chanel - the GREEN colored one, NOT the yellow one (the yellow one smells like poison shit, the green one smells very fresh, clean, and summery)
  • Raulph Lauren Romance (another clean fresh and feminine scent)
I also love (but do not have in my collection):
  • DKNY Be Delicious (the green apple)
  • Clinique Happy Heart
  • Christian Dior J'Adore
GAHHH I CANT STOP SMELLING MYSELF!!! ^___________^ Anyone have any scents that are MUSTS in their collections?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Snow White look

I did a vid on Snow White's makeup!! After begging Kandee over and over again, I was like "Screw it - I'm doing my own" lol.

Leme know your thoughts!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Red Lipstick - you CAN do it!! ^__^

With Halloween coming up and the holiday season just around the corner, I figured now would be a perfect time to discuss red lipstick! Someone once told me that red lipstick was popularized by movie stars because it showed up well on black and white films and eventually was worn in day to day life.  I love red lipstick - I think it's classy and beautiful for the right occasion and particularly during the holidays.

Some tips before applying the lipstick:

-Skin must be FLAWLESS (as with any lip color - makeup looks good only if the canvas looks good!). Moisturize over night, and then use a primer, anti-shine, foundation, concealer, and powder to seal everything in. (I know it's a lot of steps and I will go through each step in a later blog - but for now, these are all musts.)

-Make sure the eyebrows are shaped and groomed. Messy eyebrows will make you look like a caveman. Thick eyebrows look lovely on Brooke Shields or Jennifer Connelly. But red lipstick isn't the best choice of lipcolor for either one of them (not saying it's bad, just that with their eyebrow styles, they're suited to other lipcolors), paired with the thicker brows I think it makes them look aged:

 Megan Fox, on the other hand, with her polished eyebrows pulls of red lips beautifully:

-Ensure that both the eyes and cheeks are fairly neutral. Stick to matte, neutural eyeshadows (like browns, greys, taupes, and steer clear of the smoky eye), a black or brown eyeliner, and bronzer or peachy blushes - go easy on pink cheeks, too bright of a pink combined with red lipstick will look clownish.

-Prime the lips with the anti-shine, then dust some powder on them to absorb any oils.

-Always use a lipliner as red lipstick has a tendency to bleed.

-Thin lips are accentuated with darker colors. While this can also have a cute, pixie effect, it's up to you whether you want to go this route.

The truth is that everyone can wear red lipstick, it's simply a matter of choosing the right hue of red. First we must determine if you're a cool or warm tone - you may exhibit qualities of both warms and cools, try to choose the one you best fall into:

COOL skin tones are people with a little pink in their skin (those porcelains that burn easily - usually the foundation is pink based), people who look good in silver and not too great in gold, people who look better in ash hair colors as opposed to golden hair colors, and people with blue veins on the underside of their wrist. Cools look better in stark white as opposed to ivory, and awesome in black. You're also a cool if you look best in these colors of clothing:

WARM skin tones are yellow based or golden (meaning they tan easily, foundation is usually yellow based), look better in gold than silver jewelry, look good in golden hair colors as opposed to ash, and have green veins on the underside of their wrist. Warms look better in ivory over pure white and washed out in black. You're also a warm if you look best in these colors of clothing:

Generally, you want to stick with like colors. Meaning, warm tones should stick to warmer toned red lipsticks and vice versa (cools should stick to blue based red lipsticks).

NOTE: You guys have it easy - my skin is such a strange shade of olive that I fell under BOTH categories!! (I have both green AND blue veins on my wrist, I tan easily and wear yellow based foundation, but what made me realize I'm a cool (which is very unusual for olives) is that I look better in silver jewelry and look horrid in olive clothing. It appears that most olives have yellow-based skin, making them warm tones. But turns out I'm such an unusually deep olive, my skin is literally green based, making me a borderline cool tone.

The next step is to look at your hair color, which plays a huge role in the intensity of the red you'll be able to pull off. (When I went from burgundy to blond, I had to change my entire makeup ensemble). You will be classified as either dark (brown or black-haired), red (anything from strawberry blond to coppery orange, to auburn, to burgundy-haired), or blond (enough said lol). Here, the darks are going to use a darker shade of red, the blondes a lighter red, and redheads a brighter red. Again - you could fall into 2 categories here (ex: a brunette with blond highlights). In this case, you may want to experiment by mixing colors.

Dark-haired beauties with a WARM skin tone: Look best in brownish reds (brick reds), or darker golden reds.

Dark-haired beauties with a COOL skin tone: Look best in darker cool, blue based reds - cherry reds, plums, and burgundies.

Blond-haired cuties with a WARM skin tone: Look best in coral or light copper reds.

Blond-haired cuties with a COOL skin tone: Look best in darker plum-pinks, light red/rose or any lighter blue based reds.

Redheads with a WARM skin tone: Look best in bright orangey, coppery reds.

Redheads with a COOL skin tone: Look best in bright, blue-based reds - plums, berries, and brick reds.

I would suggest hitting up your local Ulta and taking a gander through Revlon's lipsticks - they have some fantastic reds. Purchase any color that sounds roughly like what you're looking for. Most Ultas allow you to return any makeup that you don't like (yes, even if you tried it on) as long as you keep the original packaging and receipts - but again make sure to call and double check with your's. Also, don't be afraid to mix colors together if you fall into 2 categories.

Which red lipsticks are your favorites? Do you have any tips of your own to share about reds?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

French Manicures

I was at work the other day and noticed my nails were suffering from some major chippage - it was time to redo them. Those that see me regularly know that my nails are almost always painted. And the most frequent look my nails sport is probably the french manicure. I love it because it looks so clean, it matches with everything, and it goes with any season of the year. It takes forever to do, but it's so worth it.

My method lasts almost 2 weeks. I start by using a nail polish remover to remove all traces of previous color first, followed by filing to the shape I like (usually rounded or a rounded square - straight up square makes my fingers look short and knobby). I then use a buffing nail block to smooth out any imperfections in the nail (these blocks are your heroes after removing acrylics!).

NOTE: Speaking of acrylics/gels/fake nails, I've had them done twice in my life and will never EVER get them again. They made my nails so brittle and paper-thin - literally ripping off the outermost layer of my nail. My nails are now so flimsy and break after simply picking something up the wrong way. I was told by a nail tech to use OPI's Nail Envy (listed below) until the damage has grown out from the cuticles and that's exactly what I'm now doing.

The products I use in order:

1. Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Plus Nourishing Nail Color, Pure White Tip -I use this as the white for the tips obviously. Some girls will use stickers or tape to get that straight line. I find that's too much work and simply steady my hand and slowly paint straight across, trying to follow the line on my natural nail. I then take a concealer makeup brush, dip it in acetone and clean off any slip ups. A simple paint brush from a craft store should do the trick too.

2. Original Nail Envy by OPI nail strengthener. I have extremely brittle nails and if it wasn't for this stuff, I would not have nails at the length I do now. I never go without it. When painting, I ensure the brush is fully loaded with polish and wipe off VERY LITTLE excess (maybe just touch the tip of one side lightly to the edge of the bottle). I use 3 strokes - first paint a stripe the middle, then one side, and then the other (never redipping), turning the brush to a new angle for each nail side to get fresh polish to cover the whole nail - I also start a hairline away from the cuticle to prevent spillage. If spillage occurs, I'll wipe it away using my thumbnail.

3. Over all that, I go over the entire nail with Orly Beverly Hills Manicure, in Sheer White Tips (the bottle design changes continually btw), which is a translucent, ivory color. It softens the harshness of the white tips themselves a bit and just looks very natural. For the longest time, I used OPI's Pillow Talk, and was so sad when I saw that it was discontinued because it was my absolute favorite. I went months looking for something similar, and was thrilled to find the Sheer White Tips is nearly an identical color for half the price.

4. I use the Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat to finish. This is the best top coat I've ever found - aside from it drying quickly, it seals everything in serving as a protective barrier and STILL looks shiny 3 days later!!

Some tips:
- Before painting, make sure all the bottles you're using are openable!! Nothing's more frustrating than reaching for the last nail bottle of polish (while the nails are still semi wet of course) only to find it's stuck closed - ARGH!!
-Allow nails to dry at least 15 mins between coats. Make sure you take your time, I usually pop in a movie while I do mine.
-Keep some nail polish remover and a brush or q-tip handy to clean up mistakes as you go.
-If you can remember, make sure to paint the thumbs last. The thumbs are awesome to clean the edges around the rest of the fingers in case the polish spills onto the cuticle.

The results:

Anyone have any tips for nail care? What are your favorite polishes for the french?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yves Saint Laurent

Why do they have to be so expensive?? I was browsing and was floored when I saw THESE. My mind was racing and I was like "OMG MUST HAVE!" - til I found out they're about $900.00.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cold Weather Fashion - pea/trench coats

Chicago's got THE worst cold weather - even people who come from the far North say it isn't as bad where they're from as it is down here in Chicago because the wind is what really bites you - through the clothes and everything. When I went to school at University of IL at Chicago, I braced myself by always wearing leggings underneath my jeans.

But what about fashion? Finding a fashionable coat that keeps warm is near impossible. Personally, I'm a huge fan of pea and trench coats - I think they're so classy and timeless, and regardless of the fashions that seem to come and go so quickly, pea and trench coats never go out.  Whether worn with heels and a dress, or with jeans, boots, and a sweater - these coats always look good!

And I found a SUPER cute one on Overstock! It's by Miss Sixty and is made of wool.  It can be buttoned like this:

Or like this:

For fun in this pic I added my earmuffs - they are SOOOO WARM and soft. They're made of rabbit fur - I thought I lost them at a store once while shopping and went berserk til I found another pair just like them (but ended up finding the orginal ones ^__^). I love them because often times a hat will ruin the hairstyle I'm wearing - but earmuffs help sustain my hairdo just fine :) These can be purchased here.

As for the coat - I get compliments everywhere I go whenever I wear it - work, school, the store and both by strangers and friends. My qualm was that the buttons didn't seem very secure so I'll be running over them with a needle and strong thread to guarantee I don't lose one. Also, it's not the warmest thing (of course not -__-') so I'll only be wearing it during the mild fall/winter days. I have a puffy jacket that's hotter than a furnace which will get me through the deathly winter. But otherwise, this coat is super cute!! It can be purchased here (NOT FAIR! I got mine for 109.99!! Of course it would go down to $85.00 AFTER I got mine!! GRR!!). Shipping is only $3!! (Hurry and snag this one - overstock runs out of stuff fairly quickly.)

Also, my friend Jessica over at Sugarsticks posted her pictures from her weekend and I did a double-take when I saw this loveliness securing her scarf:

A craftsman on Etsy handmakes these beautiful pins to secure shawls and scarves - and they are just adorable! If he lists a butterfly in mountain mahogany I'll be sure to snag it ^__^.

Supposedly this winter will be the snowiest and coldest Chicago's seen for a while (link), and nothing is worse than shivering to death while just trying to get through the day's normal activities. And considering snow shoveling will soon BE one of those activities, I will make sure I do it comfortably and in style - or freeze trying!!

Do you have any tips for looking cute while staying warm - without looking like a marshmallow?

Cinema Bizarre

I LOVE THESE GUYS!!! Not really a fan of Space Cowboy (the one wearing the hat with curly dark hair and eyes - he's reminiscent to me of Borat), but these men are super pretty - if only more men in this world put as much effort into the way they looked as these guys! Anyway, I really only wanted to share this vid - I love everything about it, the beat, the style, their makeup (they look so unreal!), and just the overall vibe they give off! And NO I'm not crushing on them or anything, I've never been one to go gaga over people I'll probably never get a chance to meet in reality. Honestly, I simply appreciate and admire their effort and unique style. What do you think?  Agree with me on this one or not so much?

And no worries - I'll have a proper blog coming soon :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hair damage? Slow growth?

Many of you I'm sure blow dry your hair, following with loads of product just to keep your precious tresses at least somewhat tame. But how good is this for your hair?

Apparently, not very. I was inspired for my first blog by Veronabrit's post, she mentioned Cheryl Cole spending so much money on her hair and that her own hair grows very slowly. This was my response:

The best advice anyone ever gave me was this: the less crap you put in your hair - the better. It sounds awful, but it's so true. The reason Cheryl spends so much money on her hair is to repair the amount of damage done to it every day!! I worked at Ulta and when we learned about cleaning the makeup brushes, there were two types of cleaners: an alcohol (for the synthetic brushes) and a special brush cleaner (for the animal brushes). They told us to not EVER use alcohol on the animal hair brushes, and showed us what happened to a Studio Gear Kabuki brush (which btw is the MOST AMAZING makeup brush I own - totally worth the $50) when someone did use alcohol on it - it became nappy and tangled. The hair fibers themselves were DESTROYED because the alcohol eats the hair away.

Now the majority of hair products have alcohol in them, or at least some sort of fragrance that contains alcohol. So you can imagine how much damage is done when products after products are put in repeatedly.

The less distress, the better. I ALWAYS air dry my hair. When I do blow dry, I must continually blast the cool button, otherwise it immediately feels like straw.  I also only wash  my hair once every five days or so. When I was younger everyone would always make fun of me for this, saying, "That's so disgusting!" But now hairstylists are advocating that washing too often, especially for longer hair, is too drying and strips the hair of its natural protective oils. (Not to mention the chemicals from the shampoo infusing into the scalp are horribly toxic for you in general - but that's a story for another day).

I wash my hair at night (rinse and repeat, followed by a little empty butter spread tub filled 1/5 of the way with vinegar, and the rest with water to remove all the shampoo, then rinse that out), towel dry, then comb it out. I'll finish up my nightly routine doing whatever (usually check my mail, drink some tea, update myself on the latest news, etc) and by that point, the bangs and other shorter pieces of my hair are dry. I then take the front bang pieces and pin them back in a small poof  so that my bangs look straight the next morning - I only secure the ENDS with one of those spring clips or bobby pin, which ensures there's no creases once I wake up the next morning. By the time I awake, the hair is dry. I straighten just the front pieces (the bangs and only if they got curled strangely overnight) and throughout the day, usually tie everything else in a ponytail, a bun, a french braid, or throw it up with one of those butterfly clips. I usually only wear my hair down for special occasions (when I do, it looks phenomenal - I'll do a blog on that soon!), and noticed it needs to be washed the following day anyway due to of all the crap in it.

"But Annette! My shampoo bottle says to use this stuff AT LEAST twice a week!" Yes, and it also says to pair with THEIR BRAND of conditioner - so that you run out of both bottles twice as quickly and dish out another $10.00 from your pockets into theirs.

"But Annette! My hair gets so oily when I don't wash it every day!!" This is due to the overdrying of the hair, the scalp then begins overproduce oils in order to compensate for the stripped oils. Your skin reacts  similarly after using overdrying acne treatments. The solution?  Prolong not washing the hair for as long as you can, the hair will slow down its production of oils shortly. Put some baby powder in the hair for a day or 2 to just get you by.

Go to your local Sally's and buy one of those Protein treatment packets. These are stronger than Deep Conditioners (which usually only prevent breakage, protein treatments will actually repair the hairs) and is one of the first steps to getting glamorous hair. I'd say use one of these every other month or so for very processed and damaged hair. In fact, leave it in overnight with a shower cap on top, then wash it out the next morning. I would recommend the Aphogee treatment at Sally's. It smells rancid but here's the specs from Sally's:
"This unique treatment is formulated with magnesium and modified proteins which fuse into the hair with the application of heat. The result is that breakage is drastically reduced. ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is a salon service product unlike any product available for at-home use. During the process, ApHOGEE treatment hardens into the hair, dramatic evidence that something special is occurring."

I'm no hairstylist, but I do know that the repeated buildup of chemicals is most likely the reason for slowed hair growth. Hair grows an average of half an inch per month. Not to toot my own horn, but mine grows almost double that, and I attribute that to the minimal products I use.

What is your experience with air drying? Any advice you can share on your routine? Feel free to spice up your comment and post a picture (or link to a pic) of your hair too ^__^