Matte, Not Dry

Sephora is my black hole.  Whenever I go, I circle the store multiple times, trying to take it all in.  I rarely go with an agenda; I just go for whatever catches my eye…which can be a bit of a budget killer.  And then if I add Rebecca (The Lipstick Gal) into the mix–we might as well set up camp and stay the night.

I went on a lipstick bender not too long ago, looking for dark and bright options for winter–nothing lackluster.  I wanted to look at formulations I wouldn’t ordinarily buy, either, like glosses and mattes.  Glosses are too sticky, mattes are too drying.  But I’m always open to have my biases busted.

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Enter my big Sephora find: Buxom’s Big & Sexy Bold Gel lipstick.  This lipstick goes on light and smooth, and even though it’s matte, the gel formula doesn’t dry out my lips.  Plus, it lasts forever.  Pixlr_20160201222728245It’s the end of the day–a filter is a necessity.

I bought Toxic Cherry, a bright, true bombshell red.  I’ve worn it probably more than any of the 8 lipsticks I bought in my lipstick frenzy.  The case is matte black, heavy, and the tip of the lipstick is flat, but cut on a slant.  It’s the perfect size and shape.  It smells a bit like vanilla or caramel–definitely a sweet smell, but not overwhelming.  And it’s such a little detail, but I absolutely love the fact that the case is magnetized–the top snaps back into place, so the Buxom logo is always perfectly lined up.

Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel lipstick is available in 30 shades.  It costs $22 at Sephora.

Strange Magic

Luxe + Cheap.

Not a natural pairing. In fact, it’s pretty rare to find that combo–especially in makeup. I’ve avoided drugstore makeup for years because I feel that the price is higher than the quality–in other words, I’d rather pay more for excellent products than pay a moderate price for cheap quality products.

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My friend and soulmate since we were 18, Rebecca from The Lipstick Gal, shares my love for great makeup.  When she texted me that I needed to check out Colourpop Cosmetics while they were having a sale, I didn’t hesitate.  I just took her word that this cheap (super cheap, comparatively, especially during their sale) cosmetic line would meet standards.  She knows her stuff.  (Check out her Colourpop vlog, if you don’t believe me.  Also, she’s so gorgeous, inside and out.  Love her.)

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Colourpop exceeded my expectations.  Especially the Super Shock Shadows. Five dollars a pop (at full price), they are bright, pigmented, and long-lasting.  They can be applied with fingers or a brush.  There’s a bigger color payoff if you use your fingers; I’ve been using a brush for everyday wear.  The texture is between a cream and a powder, if that makes sense.  (Pro tip: close the lid TIGHTLY, so it doesn’t lose it’s “magic” texture.)  They blend so easily and beautifully–the shades meld into each other as if a professional was in charge of the brush.  Plus the shades are fun.

I’ve already collected 11 different shades of the Super Shock Shadow.  Currently I’m obsessed with Lace (below left) and Porter (below right).  Lace is described as a “deep rich blue violet with a pearlized finish” and Porter is described as “warm burgundy with multi-dimensional gold glitter in a metallic finish.”  I contrasted the finger application (left) and the brush application (right) for each shade.  Porter is pretty accurate in the picture, but Lace is a little washed out–it’s richer in real life.

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Rebecca always keeps me up on the trends, thank goodness. Anyone else find a product that mixes luxe payoff with a bargain price?

Cozy, Cuddly Cashmere

I have severe snow envy. Everyone’s been posting blizzard pictures with rosy-cheeked children romping in the snow, but I’m fated to have no snow days. Despite that, it’s still cold! Retailers are pushing spring, but the weather isn’t cooperating.

Which is pretty much perfect, because it’s time to buy sweaters! That cashmere sweater you wanted for Christmas (but didn’t get because it was over $100) is now on deep discount. Time to snap up some sale sweaters! I’ve rounded up a selection of cashmere and cashmere-blend sweaters, all under $50 right now. Get to getting. They’ll be on your doorstep in no time…if the mailman can get through your snowbanks.

Cashmere Under $50

More Cashmere Under $50

Can We Try Again?

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I’m always amazed when I (infrequently) check my blog and notice that people are STILL reading.  Bless you, kind folk.  It makes me think that perhaps I wasn’t too bad at this blogging thing after all.  Then I remember the fun I used to have coming up with posts, especially when my readers would chime in and give me ideas.  So, it occurs to me that mayhaps I should blog again?

In the early days, I set aside time to blog.  Then I went back to school for my MFA, and it got difficult, so everything tapered off.  I’m a proud MFA holder now, but I seem to have replaced my study time with work, so I don’t feel like I have the free time to blog anymore.  And then there are Korean dramas to watch.  Don’t get me started on the draw of a good Korean drama.

But I think I might still have some things to say.  So, if you’ll bear with me…will you take me back, dear reader friends?  Will you welcome me even if I’m a little stuttery at first, uncertain of what to share?  Will you take me even if I’m not on the cutting edge of fashion, or have a YouTube following, or even know my “brand”?  I miss “us”.  I don’t want to be broken up anymore.  Consider this my love letter and reconciliation plea.

After all, if Miley and Liam can do it, why can’t we?

ReGeneration X

It’s undisputed fact that fashion trends come around cyclically, and there seems to be a resurgence of 90’s style going on.  Seeing this, I can’t help but feel regretful that I gave my fairly pristine 90’s Doc Martens Mary Janes to charity a few years back.  I said as much on social media not long ago, and a former student in her late 20’s replied that she LOVES hers, and was faithful to a 90’s grunge aesthetic.  The picture she sent made me want to say oh, you poor baby chick.  That’s not 90’s grunge.  A Nirvana tee does not the 90’s make.  But I didn’t, because in her leather and ripped jeans way, she’s attempting to find her style. And isn’t that what your 20’s are all about?

Dr. Martens shoes


Buying my Docs was like a rite of passage for me. I bought them with my birthday money at the Doc Martens flagship store in London. Before my Docs I exclusively wore £5 cotton kung fu shoes from Covent Garden Market. The Mary Janes cost £100, and I thought I would die from sticker shock. However, they were the most resilient and long-lasting shoes I ever bought. They wore in beautifully, were pretty comfortable, and looked great with a floral babydoll dress.

However, the offerings today are pretty great, too. They still offer the classic Doc boot and a take on the Mary Jane, but they’re also offering cute librarian-esque shoes, patterned boots, and even sandals.

ReGeneration X

Maybe instead of mourning for my lost shoes, I should think about a modern upgrade…

With a Sting

I did a post a few months ago about Korean skincare, where I did a vlog demonstrating my Korean skincare routine.  I look at that vlog now, and I cringe.  The difference between my skin now and my skin then is notable.  I had only had a Korean skincare routine for a couple of weeks at that point; now I’ve been using it regularly for a few months.  I think that video was the last time I got a blemish between my eyes, which used to be so regular I joked about having a third eye.  The cystic acne under my chin is almost gone.  When I use a pore strip on my nose, nothing comes up.  My skin is soft and moisturized during the cold and drying winter months.

One of the things I’m a big fan of with Korean skincare is all the natural ingredients in the products–ones you might not imagine.  I have masks that use every fruit and vegetable, caviar, gold, snail slime, you name it.  (Snail slime I’ll have to go into another day, but trust me–the slime is awesome once you get past the mental block.)  To treat my acne, I’ve been using a product with a very interesting natural ingredient–bee venom.

Apparently, bee venom is a more powerful anti-inflammatory than hydrocortisone.  It tears down cell membranes, causing the body to increase circulation in the area and also increase collagen production, meaning quicker healing time and an end to red, inflamed pimples.

I’ve been using Shara Shara Bee Tox Spot Cream. I got it from Memebox–they do themed boxes of Korean beauty products–not for the faint of heart, because you can’t choose what’s inside. (More on Memebox another day–I’m waiting for a box to do a vlog on.) However, this product is worth the cost of the whole box. It smells herbal–it contains tea tree oil–but not medicinal. I don’t have any side effects from using it, even though I have sensitive skin. I put this directly on my spots two times a day–morning and evening.

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You can buy Shara Shara Bee Tox here. If you’re into K-Pop, the face of Shara Shara is actually a young, fresh-faced man, not a woman as with so many cosmetic brands. I find it kind of hilarious to have L (that’s his stage name) from the group Infinite smiling back from the Shara Shara packaging. Hilarious.

Never separate a KPop idol from his guyliner.
Never separate a KPop idol from his guyliner.

The Holy Grail that is Jeans

I can’t count how many times I’ve pulled my jeans up today.

Since I had the day off, I finally got around to some of the dirty work cleaning around my place.  I wore my “day off” jeans (a step up from yesterday’s “Sunday yoga pants”), which, at their purchase, fit just right.  To the point that I got stopped in a swank hotel once by a woman who wanted to know where I got them, such was their perfection.  But now, even after a good washing, they don’t fit like they used to.

Jeans are the most frustrating, because when they look good, holy mother, they look GOOD.  But it’s alchemy finding the right ones.  Right length, slim around the thighs but not too tight, with a supportive backside that doesn’t droop, with a rise that fits on the waist without cutting off circulation, and a leg that’s slim, but not super skinny.  And it needs to be affordable, to boot.  It’s impossible.

And now I have THE JEANS in mind.  Every now and again I’ll see something, or I’ll get some trigger, where I decide that my life will be incomplete until I own this one piece that I can just picture being the next big thing.  But the retailers haven’t quite caught up to my madness.  And right now, I want jeans with a slim leg and a wide cuff.  Like, super-wide.  Half my calf wide.  I’m having a hard time finding it, though.

Cuffed Jeans

This is the best I can find, but they are 1) mostly too expensive and 2) still not wide enough in the cuff to suit my preferences. I have a mental deadline of March to meet, since I’ll be going to Spain then, and would rather not be pulling my jeans up all trip.

An Unfashionable Age

Sometimes I think bloggers are just out to make me mad.

I read another blog post dictating what you “shouldn’t wear” after 30. I have to reiterate my stance–fashion isn’t dictated by age!

One of my major challenges with aging is finding a role model, because society begins to rule women out at a certain age. Once you’ve reached 30, you need to be a “grown up”, once you’re 40 and beyond, you need to disappear as an individual. Leave fashion behind, especially looking sexy, because you are just too damn old. Remember when Sex and the City was the big empowerment show for women over 30 who wanted to be fashionable and relevant? I read another blog post this past week where some man snarked about how there thankfully would not be a third movie, because nobody wants to have sex with women their age. So let’s all dress in polyester and die together, shall we?

Grandma Yetta

This article, which so incites my ire, needs a whole new title. For most of the items listed, it’s not about age limitations, but rather about being fashionable in general. I can eliminate most of the list this way. Platform flip-flops, booty shorts, tube tops–no one should be wearing these anyway.

Then there are brand names–VS Pink, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch. All marketed towards young girls. As far as Pink is concerned, anyone you’re going to show your underwear to doesn’t usually care about the brand, and if they’re comfortable, wear them. I don’t ever advocate being a label whore, especially if the label is marketed to teens. But if you find a pair of jeans that fit just right, well–that’s a holy grail item right there, regardless of the label. I really didn’t need the blogger’s snarky “Does A&F even FIT women over 30?” comment, however.

And there are some things on this blogger’s list I’d like to actively dispute.

Leopard print

Leopard Skirt

A leopard print pencil skirt is practically a basic–totally appropriate at any age.

Graphic Tees

Graphic Tee

Don’t give up graphic tees! Just pick ones that are more awesome.

Anything Furry

Shearling

I don’t need to tell you about shearling, right?

Crop Tops

Crop Top

Despite the fact that I can’t pull this of myself, I rather like the crop top and full skirt look that’s been showing up lately.

Oversized Sunglasses

Oversized Sunglasses

Over my dead body.

Wear what looks good. Don’t let age dictate fashion.