Archive | December 2012

Stay Cute Monday – Luscious Lips Edition

Lip gloss is my thing. Every year, I wait anxiously for Christmastime when many of the high end cosmetic companies produce gift sets for many of their products. This means that I can get a package of 5 – 7 lip glosses for the cost of or a little bit more than one gloss. For the last two years, I purchased the Smashbox sets, which were 6 for $29. They were not something I would regularly choose as I like my lip gloss a bit more saturated. Nevertheless it was a good deal considering the cost of each gloss is around $20 separately.

001

However, the SmashBox sets didn’t have the same bang for the buck this year, so I moved on to Stila. This holiday set was seven glosses for the low, low price of $25. Plus I had a Sephora coupon. The biggest issue with the sets is that I am a brown person and many of the colors cater to paler complexions. Plus, I have full lips. Bright bubblegum pinks only (and kind of not really) work on folks like Nicki Minaj, who is going for the outrageous. As a brown person with full lips, I have to be careful that I don’t look like 1) a clown 2) someone who just enjoyed a really delicious Popsicle or 3) a person who thought that rubbing bacon grease on her mouth was a good idea.

To combat this, I use my arsenal of lip liners, tricks I learned from tv and tips that I learned from lovely department store make-up artists.

First, you need a really nice mauve with brown undertones as lip liner as these sets are heavy on the light pinks. Sephora made a great chubby that they discontinued, so I stick with MAC’s Plum. With bubblegum pinks, I do a “porno lip”. I learned this from a tv segment on how they keep color on soap stars’ lips during makeup scenes. Apply your mauve liner to 2/3 of your lips. Then cover with any of the pink shades. It gives depth and color so you don’t look like a clown.

I stated before that I am not a fan of the color of my lips. So with translucent neutrals, I buy a what I call a lip stick approximate, which is close to the color that I wish my lips were. I apply that, then layer over the lip gloss. For more saturated neutrals, I use an infamous and often maligned brown liner. Here are the rules for brown liner. It must match your skin tone. MAC’s Cork works for me. Nothing too dark. Chestnut I am looking at you. You must blend, blend and blend with a brush. Another brand I love is Dior. They have a liner with a built-in brush. Plus, it has a softer texture and is much easier to blend than MAC products.The Stila set came with a beautiful rust that looked amazing with a orange-brown lip liner by MAC that I swear by called Mahogany. Then was a lovely raspberry color that I used with a slightly darker liner. Finally, there was this fuchsia thing that was absolutely made for thinner lips. Unlined, popsicle effect. Lined, hooker effect. Then I remember how I saw a make-up artist layer fuchsia over a copper lip gloss. I have this wasted copper lipstick that I got for $2 or 3 at Ulta. I applied that and voila. The best look yet.

See below for the color, a plain before and after I worked some magic:

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We Be Clubbing Edition

So I didn’t do anything intellectually stimulating, cultural or artistic this week. I went to the club. Remember before your mid-30’s when you were 18 – 24 and going to the club was everything? I still remember my first time at the club. Cue flashback sequence. This leads to one of my favorite stories. It was my cousin’s 18th birthday. I am three months older, so we needed to wait until her birthday to hit the club. My birthday consisted of a dinner. We had a slight disagreement about where to go. She wanted to go to UBQ’s, which had male dancers. I have another epic story about male strippers that will need to wait. I wanted to go to Legends because everyone on the radio made it seem to be the coolest place in the world and Monday was “College Night” or 18 and over night. This was a Monday. Score! But it was her birthday, so we went to UBQ’s. This was in the early days of MapQuest, when it was a software program and terrible. You would plug in your location and desired destination.  Then, print out the equivalent of a 5 year old’s line-drawn map that didn’t even give you cross streets.  Our younger brother (okay, he’s my cousin) swore with his 12 year old might that this was way better the traditional paper maps we used from AAA.

So we lied to our parents about where we were going. Detroit? By ourselves? On a weeknight? Lies were necessary. Her birthday fell in this weird week high school seniors got off between the last day of exams and graduation. However, non-seniors were still in school. We followed the directions on this MapQuest printout and…. We were in the middle of nowhere Detroit. This is when I learned a valuable lesson: Never Ask Detroiters (city dwellers, not suburbanites) for Driving Directions! I actually messed up and did this last year while looking for a post office. I saw and almost passed the real post office while following some alleged directions. Since I made it, dude was spared any ill thoughts.

Back to the 90’s, we asked the lady at the gas station if she knew where UBQ’s was. She claimed she did and we were sent to lovely Wyandotte.  This is when we called my cousin who should be in bed and asked him to go on the computer and figure out what went wrong. This was nearly disastrous as my uncle heard my cousin on the phone and wondered what he was up to and why he wasn’t in bed, of course. School night and not supposed to be in Detroit, remember?

My cousin gave us new MapQuest directions from our current location and we headed en route to not UBQ’s. This landed us downtown. UBQ’s was not in downtown Detroit. I knew this much from the radio ads. We decided to ask the street jackhammer guy if he knew where UBQ’s was. He claimed he did. We used his directions and ended up at Legends! That is where we went as it was almost midnight. On the way home, we just followed the masses, who led us to the freeway (or “eway” as it is called back home). We went westward home.

That experience was fun and exhilarating due to the fact we were 18. Getting lost for 90 minutes at this point in my life just to go to the club would leave me humorless and mad. We went to POV this previous weekend. This worked well as the theater crowd was leaving and I got the best parking spot. You wait indoors to get in, no shivering. You don’t have to pay and you get a show as this place draws an eclectic crowd. Apparently, there was some demented prom theme happening as we saw a lot of ladies in brightly colored, ruffled evening wear. Then, there were the touristy meemaws, who looked thoroughly confused as to why anyone would suggest this place to them. The preppy former frat boy and sorority girl K street types. An entire family unit of mom, dad, and two adult sons. The loud, arguing hoochie mamas with multiple wardrobe malfunctions. The occasional drunk girls, who must have pre-gamed as even basic drinks are $14.50 a pop so people are rarely drunk there. I noticed all of this because we were sitting in the hallway as my friend’s fabulous new shoes hurt.

Prior to that we went to 901 restaurant. The food was okay, the service was slow. But they had light up menus. I liked the light up menus. I have steered away from eating out so much lately as my waistline has been mad at me and I feel like I haven’t been missing much with my latest dining experiences. No more clubbing for the rest of the year!

The Birthday Edition (Not Mine!)

This week has been full of win. First, I discovered that I won my hearing against The Man, which turned out to be a woman.  Second, my aunt sent me my Christmas gift early—A Keurig! I only drink about a cup of coffee a day and always thought it would be perfect for my lifestyle. However, it runs $100+ and never thought I could justify the expense. I honestly cannot remember the last time I wanted something rather pricey, $20 or more, and got it as a gift. As a single adult, expensive presents just isn’t something you get. I am quite pleased.

Work has been getting in the way of my social life. The long hours and open Petrie dish of ickiness, I mean open work environment, exhausted me and I didn’t make it to the Leela James concert on Friday or drinks with a friend on Saturday. Sunday quickly became by use or lose all hope for having an interesting weekend. Another problem with being single is when people ask, “How was your weekend?” If you are married or otherwise involved and you say “Well, I went to Home Depot and purchased a shovel”, people smile and nod. Conversely, if you say the same thing as a single person, people frown and ask if you’ve tried online dating.

First on Sunday, we went to brunch at Sax. This space has been about seven restaurants/concepts since I lived here, so I don’t have great expectations for its success. Sax is a burlesque lounge complete with waitresses in

Overview Picture of Sax Lounge, courtesy of the website

Overview Picture of Sax Lounge, courtesy of the website

corsets and shows every 30 minutes. I am one of the few people that actually found the Christina Aguilera + Cher vehicle, Burlesque, cute. So, I thought it would be a fun time. The first number was “Lady Marmalade,” which I felt was a little too close to the video from Moulin Rouge. Even the wigs were the same.  The best number was the second one that I saw, which was “Big Spender.” This looked exactly what I think burlesque is: flirtatious, sexy, fun, well-executed and great choreography. The last was so lackluster that actually don’t remember the song.

The place is dark. A little too dark for a winter brunch as the days get short and sunlight is at a premium. The food is excellent. I had a lobster hash, which was divine, sumptuous and perfectly seasoned. I add pepper to everything as a holdover to bland college cafeteria food and needed to add nothing. My friend had crab and gruyere fondue, which was so remarkably crabby. It was not just crab essence as I would expect. We also had unlimited pomegranate mimosas and free birthday cake shots, which were too large to be shots. The shots were given because while the food is excellent and the performances, average. The service is so slow and I complained. I am not a complainer, so that demonstrates how slow it was.

Poster from the Kiss N Grind event

Poster from the Kiss N Grind event

Finally, we rounded out the day at Kiss N Grind. The event was planned by a personal favorite, Lil SoSo Productions (the owner, Kat, looked gorgeous), and was amazing. I came to the event slightly tipsy, so the two free drink tickets (sponsored by Smirnoff) sat for a while. The Viktor Duplaix event is typically held in LA and is on its first tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the music, the drink menu (eventually) and the space (Ozio’s rooftop) worked well (sunlight!). While initially, I was concerned about that lack of people on the dance floor, the crowd loosened up and grinded away as promised. I did not spot any kissing though.

All in all, I think that one day trumped some entire weekends.

Stay Cute Mondays – Winterization

In Real Simple magazine, there is a cute section on what would you do with $100 windfall. I got to experience this firsthand because after a week of left hand itching I received a refund check from my graduate school alma mater for $100. I have no clue as to why I got it since I graduated eight years ago, but I chose not to worry. I decided to spend my extra dough on my skin winterization plan. I have extremely dry and very sensitive skin. In fact, most liquid cleansers, body washes and hand soaps break me out in the most unattractive hives, followed by peeling. I also have a very unique T-zone situation. My T-zone (forehead and nose) is extremely dry while my cheeks can get a little oily especially in the summer.

I first went to what was once the best deal ever—a luxurious 45-minute hot stone pedicure complete with glass of good enough wine for $35. However, in my two-month absence (vacation, Sandy and whatnot) something happened. The technician usually rubbed my calves, arches and heels with the hot stones to practically turned my feet into butter. No longer. I got a calf rub, a foot scrub and was sent on my merry way. I did complain and I was told it was because they thought I was a Groupon user. Umm…okay.  Granted I discovered the spot through a Groupon, but I subsequently became a regular. As a result of my displeasure and lack of wine I was given a discount with a price of $25.

Due to my sensitive skin, I am a Kiehls devotee. I received my annual Kiehls cash. The company is quite stingy with discounts, so I view these things like gold. They do have a nice recycling policy, which almost makes it fair. I switched my daily facial routine to their Ultra Moisturizer line (face wash, day moisturizer and night cream).

Here is the rest of my plan to keep my cold  parched skin as supple as possible:

Face:                   

neutrogena

One of my short-term life goals is to own a Clarisonic. However, my aunt got me a Neutrogena microdermabrasion tool that works phenomenally well in the interim. I used it twice a week to slough off the dry skin

I usually do a Lush Oatifix masque once a week for added moisture

Finally, I apply a little shea butter to my T-zone daily to prevent flakes. I foolishly used to buy the L’Occitane’s travel Pure Shea Butter for this purpose because I like the consistency. However, I realized that I could buy pure solid Shea Butter at the Beauty Supply for $7 and whip it myself

shea butter

Feet                     

I have the driest feet. My beloved Suave Cocoa Butter with Shea lotion does absolutely nothing to save them from the dreaded ash. I discovered Suave because I started buying Jergens with Shea Butter lotion. I truly believe Shea Butter is my savior. However, Suave, in its role as the Jean Nate of beauty products, soon came up with a similar product that to me is better than its pricier counterpart

I need to scrub them to death. This is where Lush’s Porridge soap scrub comes into play. As many have noted, it can be extremely messy, so remember to scrub in a confined area as the little flakes of oats can get everywhere

Finally I pile on the Burt’s Bees Coconut feet cream before bed. It was my first guess at a foot cream and the best burts beeschoice ever. They suggest wearing with socks, but I have a tendency to kick socks off.  If you apply any other time, it makes your feet way too slippery for shoes

Hands                

I have gone through every product line, every formula, every price point. My hands actually crack and peel from dryness. It doesn’t help that I wash them constantly. I really wanted something that would only need goldbondapplication a few times a day. My best discovery was another accident—GoldBond Ultimate Intensive Healing Cream. It was on sale at CVS and I liked the 7 moisturizers tagline. I love it. I apply only thrice a day unlike other formulas, which seemed to require use after every washing

That’s my strategy. The less itching the better.