Monday, October 17, 2011

My niece has made her debut...

My gorgeous niece decided to grace us with her presence 3 days before her big cousin (my son's) birthday! I sincerely hoped she'd trump his teenage ass and be born ON his birthday but alas, no luck. Introducing Olivia Marie Elena, the queen who reigns supreme in my cold, black dying heart.

I love you, my darling sugarplum!

Also: her mama (Alisha) and I are hitting up the M.A.C. store this weekend so I'll pick up a few things and do some reviews. Time to really start blogging and getting my writing up to par if I'm gonna grow up and be a beauty editor :)

To new babies and new makeups:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The One Where I Fall I On My Sword...

Many years ago when I was just wee lil makeup artist (HA! I was never wee or little...) I was either snobby or naive depending on your perspective of me. I was a die hard devoted M.A.C. fan (still am, don't get me wrong) and my great friend Tammie purchased some makeup online from a company called E.L.F. and I mercilessly mocked her for buying makeup that cost ONE.DOLLAR. Recently I've heard some great reviews of the products so I purchased some last weekend with the intent of trying them out during my vacation weekend in Leavenworth, WA. That did not happen! (read: too much beer, booze and general debauchery) So yesterday while at work I tried out their blush/bronzer duo, and their eyshadow primer. First off, they smell so clean when you open the package! Like lemony, citrusy goodness. I particularly liked the color payoff of the bronzer, sometimes it's easy to overdo the bronzer and frequently they are too sparkly. This one is a great shade and it lasted for about 7 hours before I felt like I needed to touch it up (and I only did because I was going to Happy Hour with some friends). The blush is a really light and sheer peachy pink shade that is obviously very complimentary to this bronzer. Some have said this is a great dupe for the NARS Orgasm/Luna duo which is very, very close however I will say Orgasm is quite a bit more sparkly than the E.L.F. blush. For three dollars you CANNOT, SHOULD NOT pass this up. (more later on the primer, still testing it)I wholeheartedly believe that the 'drugstore' cosmetic companies have significantly stepped their game up over the recent years. Packaging and product have improved greatly from years ago when your older sister/brother/cousin/drag queen was using them.
Rant ahead: while I cannot simply single out E.L.F. cosmetics, as a woman of (some) color but more specifically as a makeup artist, it's so irritating and frustrating that companies don't make bronzers for deeper skin tones. (Exclusion: Iman's line but the ENTIRE line is specific to people of color)Usually we resort to some very deep eyeshadow colors to do contouring/bronzing and it's HIGH time these companies get it together and recognize that men and women of color have the same needs and desires when it comes to makeup. Even typically racially cognizant M.A.C. only goes so dark in the bronzer arena./end rant
That's all makeuppies, hope you found that useful or helpful and if not feel free to tell me why!
I want to point out the products I purchased for this review were from Target. I also ordered some E.L.F. products via their website on 7-29-11. It is now 8-18-11 and I still have not received those products. So, in the future I will likely purchase from Target or if I'm especially excited about something, pay for expedited shipping of some sort. 20 days for a handful of makeup seems preposterous.

Friday, August 5, 2011

My sister's wedding...(Family Friday)

I won't dole out apologies and explanations as to why I haven't blogged because frankly, who cares?! HA! One of my (4) younger sisters got married back in June and of course I did her makeup. We went with a traditional 'pinup' look, except rather than a red lip I opted for a blue based, hot pink one. Enter: M.A.C. Hollywood Nights lipstick:

I think it went well with her spray tan (err...coloring? KIDDING!) and gave a bit more unconventional twist to the look. Behold, Magpie:

Happy Family Friday!

Let's pretend it's still (Family) Friday!!

I didn't get a post up yesterday but this is me, being diligent. Alisha is one of my 4 younger sisters and she is the first to produce me a NIECE!! She gets lucky stars in my book because I'm surrounded by NEPHEWS! I want to introduce Ms. Alisha and her husband and my niecey niece as well (even though she won't enter Earth until sometime in Sept). Alisha's husband Marcos is in the Army, Alisha works at World Vision and Olivia's job is growing and getting as fat as possible over the next few months!

I love these kids.

Friday, July 1, 2011

In Pursuit of the Dream...

Happy Friday and Fourth of July weekend everyone!
I'm going to showcase my friend Tiffany today.

I wish wish wish I could give an introduction that would even BEGIN to do her justice, but I'll do my best. She was my manager when we worked at M.A.C. a few years back and almost immediately I realized she was not only one of the most talented artists I'd come across, but one of THE MOST genuine human beings you could ever hope to meet. She is so down to earth, so kind hearted so absolutely loving, I cannot help but gravitate toward her sunny disposition. She just recently left the retail makeup world to pursue her passion which is doing Youtube videos sharing her knowledge with anyone looking for great tips. Trust me when I tell you, you will not only learn SO much from her you will be entertained! She is (as I tell her all the time) accidentally hilarious!! Join me in subscribing to this future Youtube guru and prepare to step up your makeup game!
Love and light

Friday, June 17, 2011

I love sleep...

I'll be honest here. I love to sleep. I could sleep 12 hours a day, EVERY day. I come by it honestly, my mom is a champion napper. That being said, as much as I love makeup I cannot possibly get up in time to do a full face like I used to when working at M.A.C. Enter: the Stila Trendsetting in Tokyo palette

I have a lot of (ahem) free time at work so occasionally when I'm bored and feel like sprucing up I'll put on my trusty Studio Fix powder and reach for this palette. The big pink color you see at the bottom of the photo doubles as a cheek color and a lip color (a little dry for my lips but meh...). I put a little color in my face and grab a 217 brush and swipe a little of the champagne color over my lid, add mascara and voila! I have a face on! Do you have quick makeup staples that you reach for consistently? In the interest of honesty, sometimes I reach for a lipstick as blush. Shoot me.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Clarisonic Review/My new best friend

Over the years my skin has been the barometer for all that ails me. As a child I was plagued with eczema on my arms and legs, as a teenager I had horrendous acne coupled with dry skin patches. Oh yes, I was a dermatologist’s dream. Read: MONEY. Once those conditions sort of cleared up (did I outgrow them?) I was happy to just have so-so skin. It was relatively acne free, save for the occasional (ahem MONTHLY) pimple and I found products to combat the dryness. The one thing I really couldn’t overcome however, were these small bumps under the skin along my jaw-line. Couldn’t call them blackheads, definitely not white heads but (let’s get graphic here people) when squeezed, a white substance came out. It was a lot like when you over-squeeze the toothpaste tube. I wasn’t able to get rid of them permanently. They weren’t so bothersome that I felt the need to seek out my lifelong dermatologist (I still see him regularly for eczema) but I would have been more than happy to see them gone. My T-zone is quite oily as well which is new for me, having been the dry skin poster child for most of my life.

          I was recently given a Clarisonic by a dear friend of mine who works for the company. She claimed it would revolutionize my skincare regimen. I heard: ‘blah blah blah’ whatever. But, I turned 32 last March and thought I should probably start doing a little more for my skin to combat some of the damage I’ve inflicted over the years, so I kindly thanked her and began using my Clarisonic. For reference, I use M.A.C. Cleanse Off Oil to remove makeup, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum at night, and M.A.C.Studio Mositure Cream before bed, and M.A.C. Strobe Cream for day time. The Clarisonic instructions told me I didn’t need to change my regimen as far as products (although they do offer their own line of skin care) so I stuck to what I’ve always used.

The following took place over the course of one week of use:

Day 1: The feeling of the bristles is quite invigorating, very stimulating. My skin felt like I’d done a medium level exfoliation. It was more than I could get with an exfoliation product but far less than I’d have felt with a micro-dermabrasion.

Day 2: It could be all in my head but my skin feels like it absorbs my moisturizer far better than when I was only using my hands to wash my face. My skin feels much smoother to the touch.

Day 3: I noticed a slightly dry, red patch under my eye on the highest point of my cheekbone. I ran out of Cleanse Off Oil and had to use my boyfriend’s Green Gel Cleanser, so this might account for the patch but other than that my skin is really starting to feel really good.

Day 4:  I should have taken pictures from day one (if only to convince myself) but I would SWEAR the pores on my cheeks are nearly non-existent. Had I ever really thought of this as a problem before? No, because as a makeup artist I perfected the art of covering them up!

Day 5: Those pesky little bumps along my jaw-line are COMPLETELY gone except one or two. I didn’t realize how skeptical I actually was until I realized the Clarisonic had totally gotten rid of those bumps that I’d given up on evicting from my face.

Day 6: I’m targeting wrinkles now. The teeny tiny, barely there little lines near my eyes are now my mission to eliminate. The operating instructions show me which setting to put my Clarisonic on to maximize results. These lines are shaking in their boots.

Day 7: I’m going to kick up my serum game and purchase an eye cream serum to really go after those lines and this time I’ll be taking pictures to prove to myself and everyone else how well this thing works because I find it hard to believe myself!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Benefit Eye Bright Review

I was given a Macy's card for Mother's Day (shout out to my boyfriend's mom Ophelia!) and found a really cute top on clearance which left me with enough to try out the Benefit Eye Bright pencil :) I missed out on the M.A.C. concealer pencils and wanted a pencil that wasn't so stark white for my inner rim. I told the gal at Benefit that I'd like to try a more flesh colored pencil for my waterline and she thought this was perfect. The color itself is a soft pinky tone and it really is pretty. However, the staying power for the waterline is nil. It's literally gone in minutes. It's not marketed for the waterline, it's supposed to be used under the brow and near the inner tear duct. It's a very creamy formula which is probably why it disappears in the waterline. I'm sort of meh about it, I probably won't purchase it again being as it's 20 dollars. I'll use this one up and then order the concealer pencils from M.A.C. Have you tried Benefit Eye Bright and how did it work for you?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Take two lipsticks and call me in the morning...Trust the Experts!

Just a quick post about your best friends in the beauty industry: the counter employees at stores like Macy's or Nordstrom. I have found their knowledge so extensive and comforting over the years that they are my top pick hands down, especially if you're not exactly a connoisseur of makeup or skincare products. Get to know the ladies and gentlemen there, they will talk with you in-depth about your desires and needs when it comes to beauty products. Are they on commission? Yes, but these folks aren't hired just to sell, sell, sell they are interested in developing relationship with you so that you continue to use them as your personal beauty expert. After all, this is what they love to do: talk makeup, skincare and the like. They’re knowledgeable about any upcoming collections and launches and can put you on their personal contact list to keep you informed.  Your best bet is to go in on a weekday morning, bare faced with a solid color shirt (black or white is usually best) and just head for the counter that strikes your fancy. Looking to shake things up with some bold color? Head for M.A.C. Do you like the natural, neutral makeup that just enhances your features? Make a beeline for Bobbi Brown. If you're dying to get into a great skincare routine Kiehl's, Estee Lauder or Laura Mercier will bring about your best skin yet. See? That wasn’t so hard. Take some time for yourself today and get a personal, complimentary assessment and get on the road to your beauty and skincare goals. You'll feel better in the morning!



**Coming Soon**
My review on the long revered: Clarisonic !!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Makeup for my sister's senior portraits

My sister Mariessa graduates from high school AND with her AA from community college this June! She's my mom's youngest, so of course she went all out and did her senior portraits :) I did her makeup using the Urban Decay Naked Palette. Mariessa is 19 but she looks like she's about 14 in real life, so I wanted to make sure I didn't take her too far out of her comfort zone. Plus, she doesn't wear makeup on a daily basis so keeping her very neutral and enhancing her features were paramount in this look. I used Virgin under her brow to highlight, Buck in her crease, Smog on her lid and Darkhorse in the outer "V". I used her own foundation which was Studio Fix Fluid in NW50 but normally I would NOT recommend it because it can make the face look lighter than the body in photos. But I didn't have time to take her in to get matched with a more preferable foundation. I used Flirt 'n Tease blush by MAC and a little Pearl Cream Color Base to highlight the tops of her cheekbones. I think she ate off all her lipstick by the time the photos were taken :) but I used Polished Up lipstick by M.A.C. and Blacktrack Fluidline in her waterline. I think she looks gorgeous and I'm so proud of her accomplishments!! Her photographer, Colleen Pfeilschiefter did an awesome job, like her FB page to see even more great images!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eczema...Let's talk about it.

I've been plagued with eczema my entire life.
When I was a wee lil thing:
...I had it on the insides of my elbows and on the backs of my knees. It got so bad that I had a secondary infection. It was then that my mom discovered Dr. Michael J. Scott. He's an osteopath and he is able to make the medication for me each time I go in. No other doctor I've seen has been able to help me. Now that I'm older, it's only on my hands which is super unfortunate for a makeup artist!! What I've learned though is that this ugly pest doesn't define me. I'm a great artist and I can't let it get in the way of my success. So there it is world, I am done hiding it, done being embarrassed. What about you? What outward physical 'problem' keeps you from your destiny?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Family Friday

I just wanted to introduce my little family to those of you who don't know us! I'm the mama, Danielle (and no I do not endorse duck face pics)

My domestic partner/semi spouse/substitute parent/man of the house/DJ extraordinaire Devlin: aka Papa Bear:

Then there's this guy. The love of my life/bain of my existence/carrier of my DNA: Isaiah

We recently adopted a chihuahua named Daniel (Devlin got to name him,and apparently this dog is the K9 incarnate of myself)

So that's us, in a nutshell. I'm thinking every Friday will be about my family in some shape or form.
Have a good weekend peeps!! (Assuming the Zombie Apocalypse doesn't happen!!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brow Highlight Colors

If I need some shimmer under the brow (not often, but occasionally) I always reach for M.A.C. Ricepaper. It has the prettiest yellow/gold sheen and it really looks great with oranges/deeper berry shades.

If I'm going all matte I prefer M.A.C. Brule shadow, it really just looks like cream on the skin.

Finally, if I really want to give some serious definition under the brow without the fuzziness a matte might give or the shine/glitter some of the other highlights give off I reach for M.A.C. Studio Finish concealer in a few shades lighter than the skintone I'm working with. It's so creamy and gives that eye opening, brow lifting effect.

Happy Highlighting!

Bathroom Rant

Holla if you feel me. I work in an office with 16 floors. Each of these floors has a bathroom with 6 stalls in it. Help me understand why in the world ladies must come and sit in the stall RIGHT next to mine when there are 4 other stalls completely void? What IS that? SCOOT.OVER.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The lives I'd like to live/overdue introduction

True to my all encompassing Piscean personality, I gather inspiration from any and everything that passes by my sphere of being. (read: I am easily influenced.) If I watch a movie and the protagonist sells all her worldly possessions and moves to Italy, I instantly hypothesize about how that’s what I’ve been looking for ALL.MY.LIFE. I saw the first 3 or 4 seconds of a commercial yesterday that started out saying something about the ‘simplicity of Montana’. I was transported to a log house surrounded by snow and cooking stew over a woodstove (those of you who know me in non blog life are laughing hysterically right now). My longest enduring girlfriend moved to New York last year and I could NOT WAIT to make plans to join her. Living in a tiny one room apartment with little food and no furniture? SIGN ME UP! Never you mind I have a 13 yr old who’s taller than me and eats three to five thousand calories per day: where do you put a mammoth that size?? Not New York City. What I’m getting at friends, is while I know what I want to be in the long run (beauty editor anyone?) the things I have wanted since I was young were to be rich, beautiful and loved. Not high minded or anything J
What I AM is a makeup artist, a mom, a semi-wife in Seattle working in the health insurance field which is MILES away from anything fulfilling. So I’m starting here. With this blog…I’ll do makeup tutorials since that’s what I’m good at, I’ll talk about my teenage son with ‘the feet’ (size and smell: a whole other post), being the semi-wife of a Chicago transplant DJ, my crazy United Nations (but predominantly Mexican) family and my baby Chihuahua Daniel (or D2) whatever else lights a fire under my ass to get out of this 9-5 and on to actually LIVING life!


I'm going to answer some questions I get all the time in regards to makeup, skincare, etc. I won't go into too much depth here but will elaborate in future blog posts!
Here's what I think are key for the non professional's makeup bag:

Brushes: For higher end (and longer lasting) makeup brushes M.A.C. outshines all competitors in this arena. With both synthetic and natural hair brushes each one is tailored for a specific use but can be improvised upon to serve other purposes.
M.A.C. Brush Cleanser is also a must, no matter what brand of brushes you use! Due to their cost, it is definitely an investment for each piece but well worth it. For less expensive options try the Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target or Sigma Beauty Brushes(available online, some consider them high quality M.A.C. knockoffs)

Skin Care: The key to any makeup look is skin and the health thereof. For department store budget I recommend Estee Lauder They have proven over time that their products do wonders to treat all skin types and conditions. For a more budget friendly line, try   Boots(available at Target) and ask the representative there to do a skin analysis and make some recommendations. 

Foundation: Consistent with the key to any makeup look is skin philosophy, foundation is crucial to evening out skin tone and covering any blemishes or discoloration. My preference for higher end is Makeup Forever Mat Velvet +which comes in a wide array of shades suitable to all ethnicities. For a budget conscious consumer L'Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeupis always a top contender (budget or not!)

Shadows/Eye primers: Hands down,  M.A.C.  has always put out the best in eye shadow primers and shadows themselves. Their Paint Pots are a creamy consistency and dry down to a nice finish that holds onto the pigment from the shadow without making it difficult to blend. The shadows themselves have always been on the forefront for pigment, color pay off and range of finishes and color choice. Makeup Forever has recently made some gains in this arena with their varied colors, including a bright neon pink that no other manufacturer has matched. Their shadows are slightly more expensive but they are also larger. I don’t tend to recommend drug store shadows as I haven’t yet found one that rivals the higher end brands but I am always open to lower cost alternatives. In this regard, your shadow palette is an investment. You could potentially have these colors for years to come if they are tended to properly.

Mascara: I am not partial to any single mascara, be it brand name or drugstore. I will say however, that I am not too fond of the new technology called ‘tubing’ mascaras. This new formula (available in many brands, high end and budget friendly) wraps a ‘tube’ of mascara around each lash. I’ve found this to cause my lashes to feel quite stiff and they tend to clump easier on me than any other formula.

Lipstick: My trusty companion M.A.C.. wins this competition hands down. With their reasonable pricing ($14.50) and amazing selection of color and finish, they are unmatched. While I do love higher end brands like Chaneland  Guerlain, I simply cannot justify the cost of one of these lipsticks unless the color is simply so different I cannot match it anywhere else.

This is just the beginning of reviews and things I have to share so keep checking back and we'll talk Beauty's Best Scoops!!