Thursday, July 11, 2013

Girl on the Go's Guide to Pearly Whites

I love coffee. I need coffee. I drink at least three cups throughout the day. I'm also a fan of soy chai latt├ęs with a shot of espresso. I drink a lot of caffeine, and with this being said, caffeine causes a not-so-bright smile.
I, like most people I'm sure, feel much more confident with a whiter smile. I do naturally have a pretty white smile, but because I've been drinking so much coffee lately, I notice that my teeth aren't as vibrant. I do use a whitening toothpaste, Crest 3D White Luxe Enamel Renewal (long name, I know), and it's my favorite. However, I don't think using a whitening toothpaste alone can do a justice on brightening my coffee-loving smile.

Recently, I tried two different brands of whitening products--Rembrandt & Crest. I first tried the Rembrandt brand because it was less expensive. I bought the Deeply White 2-Hour Whitening Kit thinking that I'd like getting it all over within two hours, but I didn't. I just used it once a day because my teeth felt sensitive. This product worked well, but it was bulky since instead of strips, they were trays that you filled with gel.

Next, I bought the Crest 3D Whitestrips Vivid. These are perfect for a girl on the go. You wear them for 30 minutes, once a day, for 10 days. The packaging and the product itself are portable, so I like to wear them on my way back home from work (it's about a 30-minute commute with the traffic).

I like how they are pre-packaged individually so I can just throw a set in my purse. They are also thin, so they are more comfortable and less noticeable when they're on your teeth. You can also wear them comfortably while you're getting ready for work or a night out. The issue I ran into with the Rembrandt Whitening Kit is that I felt the trays were too bulky and I had trouble applying my makeup evenly. I also noticed less sensitivity with Crest.

Even though I noticed a whiter smile with both products, I prefer the Crest Whitestrips better because I can wear them on-the-go to fit my fast-moving lifestyle.

Show me your teeth :: Lady Gaga

Monday, July 1, 2013

Girl on the Go

Living in Boston and being the Executive Assistant of a nightlife promotional company means that I am always running from point A to point B, stopping by point C and making a last stop at point D before heading back home to crash face down on my bed...oh and I have to squeeze in some gym time as well. I've been a busier person after graduation so sometimes it's hard to look fully made-up or get all eight hours of sleep. I actually don't think I've gotten a full eight hours since I was 13, to be honest.
This month I'm going to dedicate my blog to being a "Girl on the Go." I'm going to give some pointers on how to not skimp on your typical beauty routine just because you had to get up extra early for work or were running late for that meeting. There are tips, tricks and shortcuts to everything!
For my first Girl on the Go post, I'm going to start with getting ready in the morning and putting on makeup. This morning, I woke up earlier than usual (thanks Chels for the 6:40 a.m. text) so I decided I would stop by the pharmacy before work. I realized that I would have to leave TWO hours earlier to ditch rush-hour traffic, go from one side of Boston to the other, stop by Starbucks and make it into the office on time. This was a challenge I was ready to face.

Being tight on time, I decided my makeup would be the bare minimum today. So, after my Aveeno Positively Radiant moisturizer with SPF 15 sank in, I used my fingers to apply NARS Sheer Glow foundation. This is the foundation I use during the day because it is so natural and leaves the prettiest finish. I pump a full squirt onto the back on my hand and make four dots on my face--my cheeks, chin and forehead. Then I dab the Sheer Glow on to the spots that need most coverage, like where I have more redness or imperfections. Then you can spread it a long the rest of the face. You don't want to rub this foundation in like you would a moisturizer because then you won't get the correct coverage. Just use a dabbing, or patting motion. I applied two layers of the NARS Sheer Glow.

Then, to cover up my dark circles, I applied my yellow NYX Concealer. I love yellow or peach-toned concealers because they color correct my dark circles and brighten up my eyes.

I didn't bother with concealing any more redness or imperfections, I just applied L'Oreal's True Match Powder over my foundation.

After powder I used Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed, which is my favorite color when I'm not using any bronzer. I actually use this color in between the apples of my cheeks and where I would normally contour my cheekbones with bronzer. It's a nice bronze-rose color that adds the perfect, natural flush to your face.

I never, ever leave my eyebrows bare. I quickly applied my Anastasia Tinted Eyebrow Gel in Granite. It takes literally two seconds. Never forget your brows because they frame your face.

Lastly, a quick application of Maybelline's The Rocket Mascara finished my barely-there makeup look of the day. I love The Rocket Mascara. Maybelline makes great mascaras that are inexpensive and give fab volume.

So here I am, in my office (shh), finishing up my first Girl on the Go post and I feel confident in the makeup I put on this morning that took me no more than five minutes. All you need is 6 simple products, and you've got the perfect look to take on your busy day.

The ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquility :: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beauty is Pain

I don't care WHO tells you otherwise, beauty hurts. But hey, nothing makes me feel hotter than a pair of kick-ass black stilettos. It's totally worth it, until I have to stumble my way home, and not because of too many drinks...I swear. My first day working at a bar in Boston I was walking home (completely sober) and some guy commented on the fact that I had "too much to drink." Awkward...was it just my walk or do I permanently look drunk all of the time? This might be another issue I have to worry about. 

I've been wearing heels since I was 8, seriously. I was like a human Asian Barbie to my parents. My dad still talks about the Miss Pre-Teen Boston days, which was 9 years ago. That being said, I've been wearing heels for years, and yes I can probably tolerate them better than most, but stilettos and peep toes are no walk in the park. 

Luckily, I saw that BzzAgent was having a Dr. Scholl's Campaign and I had to sign up for it. I was sent Dr. Scholl's High Heel Insoles for free and was so excited to try them out! For graduation I bought these beautiful, professional and classic wedges from Off 5th, but they were a little uncomfortable. I dealt with it for graduation, but when I started wearing them to work, 8 hours really felt like 15. I finally received them in the mail and couldn't wait to try them on. AND THEN...

Man oh man, another dissatisfying, turn off and let down for a future blog post. I was really disappointed because I am constantly in high heels and working in the city requires a lot of walking. The wrong insole size really does take away from the entire product itself. Weirdly enough, the insoles only come in one size, suitable for sizes 6-10, which really makes zero sense. I don't know any grown women that are a size 6. That's tiny! 

The one good thing about the insoles is that they do stay in place. Fab job Dr. Scholl's. I can recommend the Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles for women that are a size 7-8, unfortunately I don't fit in that category with my monstrous feet. 

I still use them because it helps slightly, but if they only come in one size, then it's not really worth my money. 

Taking a look at the rest of the line, I'd be interested in trying some of their other products, like the Rub Relief line for blisters or the Ball of Foot Cushions. It's a shame that these insoles are at the top of my turn offs list. Oh well, it's just an excuse to buy more shoes, you know, that are "more comfortable."

High heels are pleasure with pain :: Christian Louboutin

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Minx Brings Out Your Inner Beyonce

I have a ridiculous problem with biting my nails. It's gross, I know, and it's a terrible habit, but when my nails are done it's like I have no temptation whatsoever, as if there was a little person on my shoulder saying, "No Natasha, your nails look too fab to bite." And of course I reply saying, "Well of course my nails look fab!"

My nails need to look fresh as f*#! for me not to bite them.  The second my nail polish chips, is fading or has an indentation, byeee pretty nails. I've also had a much busier schedule since I graduated college and got a job (still weird to say) so I don't want to have to sit around waiting for my nails to dry.

I had tried nail stickers before, but it wasn't love at first sight. I mean yeah it was cool that I could rock leopard print nails, but it wasn't my new obsession. Until I stumbled upon Minx.
I was exploring the clearance section at UIta and I noticed a box of Minx crammed in the back of the shelf. I remember Beyonce talking about these a few years ago and she even rocked them this year at the Super Bowl. Being a huge Beyonce fan, I had to. They were marked down to $4.99! It was a sign that'd I'd fall in love I bet. I only bought one set to try out. I first used them on my ring finger as accent nails. Then one day when I was bored and didn't want to deal with wet nail polish, I applied Minx to all of my nails! I was always skeptical because I thought it would be too much, but hell, I felt like Sasha Fierce.

Of course my next trip to Ulta consisted of raiding the clearance section for more Minx! I've tried Sally Hansen nail stickers too, but something has me hooked on Minx. The staying power is phenomenal and the foil appearance is hot.

Get Minxed

Monday, June 10, 2013

I've Got Money to Blow

Well not really...

I mean I don't have any bills to pay, although my mom made me pay her back $20 for parking yesterday. That caught me a little off guard. 

Let's just say since I have no responsibilities, aside from going to work and the gym of course, I have been shopping...a lot. But, hey, everyone goes through the I-just-graduated-and-got-a-job-so-now-I'm-going-to-celebrate-and-buy-things phase. My old college roommate (weird) and friend, Cara, could back me up on this one. 

Now, let's go through my fabulous list of things I have bought since I've been in Boston. Oh, and spending 99% of my free time in Back Bay does not help my shopping problem. 

Chanel, Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base 
This is a bronzer I've been eyeing for forever! A ton of beauty bloggers rave about this bronzer and it has been impossible to find. I'm glad I bought it. It will last a while and gives a flawless, natural sun-kiss to the face. 

Too Faced, Better Than False Lashes 
Eh. I tried it this morning and I'd rather take the time and effort into putting on real false lashes. Who knows, maybe I'll perfect the 3-step false-lash mascara, but all I know is that my eyes itched and looked spidery! Not cute and not comfortable. 

Healthy Sexy Hair, Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner 
It kind of smelt like a man...and I kind of liked it. I haven't been using it long enough to know how effective it is, and hell I need a trim anyway, but I prefer spray leave-in products over oils and cream. Also, for a more high-end product, $16.95 is cheap! 

Macadamia Natural Oil, Reviving Curl Cream This was a huge let-down for me (future Turn Offs and Let Downs?) It smelt bad and made me look like an awkward middle-schooler again. Maybe that is why it was on sale...

Dior, Diorskin Ultra-Shimmering All Over Face Powder in Amber Diamond
Haven't tried this yet, but I've been wanting to try it for years! Literally. My beauty advisor at the Dior counter, who is the only person I go to for Dior, actually applied it on me as a highlight and on my eyes. That's why I don't feel too bad spending so much money on it. It's versatile. 

Dior, Lip Glow
Again, another product I've been wanting since it released. This nourishing balm enhances your natural lip color, so it's different on everyone! Yes, it's gimmicky, but it actually works. On me, it's a muted, hot pink, but on my co-worker it was just a "my lip color, but better" color. Coolest lip product, ever. 

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water
Cleansing waters are better for dry skin because you're not using tap water to wash your face that could irritate your skin. Cleansing waters are really popular in Europe where the water is harsher there. I've been using this for about a week and I like it. I might have to try Dior's because I used there's the other day in store and it felt a lot more gentle, refreshing and soothing. Sephora's cleansing water is still great and less-expensive. 

Bobbi Brown, Corrector in Porcelain Peach
A must-have for makeup artists and beauty-lovers everywhere, I had to buy it. I do love it, since peach brightens up my under-eye area and it doesn't crease, but it is a little bit of a drier formula. This is my daily concealer. 

Real Techniques, Expert Face Brush
After you read my blog post, you should stop what you're doing, go to ULTA and buy this brush. The best brush for any sort of BB Cream, Foundation or Tinted Moisturizer. It buffs any coverage perfectly onto the skin, leaving a natural and flawless finish. 

NARS, Radiant Cream Concealer in Custard
This is very similar to my Chanel concealer, but cheaper. This concealer has been raved about and when the makeup artist from NARS applied this on my red marks as well as my under-eyes, I understood why. 

Lancome, Artliner in Noir
My favorite liquid liner. Ever. It's dark. It's fluid. It's smooth. It's easy to use. Enough said. 

Lancome, Color Design Eye Brightening Palette in 307
I bought this because it came with the full-size liner, as well as a mini Hypnose Drama mascara, but the bright purple eye color caught my attention as well. Haven't used the palette yet, but Lancome makes phenomenal eye products. 

Urban Decay, Naked Basics Palette 
It's about time I got hooked on Naked. Now that I have the Basics Palette, what next? Naked 1 or 2? Warm tones vs. cool tones. Any suggestions? Oh, and yes this palette is awesome. I barely have any matte colors so this was a must. 

Dior, Diorskin Nude Tan Paradise Duo in Coral Glow
Beautiful. The packaging, the bronzer, the blush, the brush, it's all beautiful! When the coral and bronzer are mixed together it makes the most beautiful coral glow (hence the name?) but they work great separately as well. The brush is made out of goat hair and is amazing quality, which you don't see often in a packaged brush.

Spornette, Little Wonder #111 Brush
Why did I get this brush? I'm not really sure, but it makes my hair really smooth for when I need a tight pony or a top bun. It's also great for teasing. 
Amore Pacific, Moisture Bound
I bought this to sort of replace my Urban Decay setting spray because my skin is getting so dry. It doesn't provide lasting power like UD, but it helps my skin stay hydrated to prevent cakey-looking foundation and it refreshes my skin throughout the day. It doesn't hurt that it smells amazing either. 

Organix, Brazilian Keratin Therapy Express
I have yet to try this, but I thought that I would give it a try after I get my hair trimmed. $9.99 sounds and feels a lot better than $600. 

NARS, Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Barrow Street
I fell in love with this at the counter. The most beautiful minty-green eyeliner I have ever seen and it wasn't gaudy at all. It's a great color for the waterline to brighten up the eyes, but I wish the liner itself was a little softer. I'll try rubbing it on my hand first to warm it up. 

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover
This is a great gloss in a lovely pink color that's not too overwhelming. This also lasts very long for being a gloss and I'd definitely recommend this for when you're going out. 

Rimmel London, Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in 01
It smells good, is an awesome red and is by Kate Moss so I said, "Hey, why not?" 

Anastasia Beverly Hills, Tinted Brow Gel in Granite 
Yet another product I've been dying to get and thank goodness I waited to purchase this in the Prudential Center Sephora! They know what they're talking about. The lady here was the only one to recommend Granite for me and it looked so much more natural than Brunette or Espresso. Other Sephora's should get their stuff together. This is perfect for daily use or when you're in a rush. 

L'Oreal, Nail Color in Creme Puffs 
This is a really unique color because it's a cream color with a yellow undertone. It looks great on the nails and is long-lasting. 

Korres, Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial
I got two of the sample sizes of this because I had 800 points at Sephora. Actually 800 points. This was great alone, but I mix it with almond oil for extra hydration. 

Palmers, Cocoa Butter Bottle & Jar
These products are called the same thing, so I'm going to call one "Bottle" and the other "Jar." The one in the bottle is more of a lotion-y texture. I use this for my upper body. The jar is a very thick texture. I honestly can't describe it. When you tip the jar upside down, the product doesn't move. It reminds me of a more emollient-like coconut oil. This is great for legs bikini area. It also smells so good! 

NARS, Sheer Glow Foundation in Punjab 
Love this foundation because it's perfect for daily use and is actually my color! I would say NARS and Lancome make the perfect foundation colors for my skin tone. I don't really know what else to say. It's sheer, gives you a nice glow, probably why it's called Sheer Glow. 

Lancome, Teint Idole Ultra 24H 
I lost this already. I bought it two days ago. It will turn up somewhere, I'm sure. Anyway, this is an amazing foundation for going out or that special occasion. It provides moderate-to-fuller coverage but doesn't look cakey. It's also long-lasting so there's no need for a setting spray. 

Wow, writing this all down makes me realize how much I've actually spent. This doesn't even count the shoes and clothes I've bought. Uh oh...someone take away my credit card and throw my cash into my savings. Hey, that still won't save me. 

A store can awaken a lust for things you never even knew you needed :: 
Confessions of a Shopaholic

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Best Kept Secrets: Beauty Schools

In college I was poor.

I just graduated...and I'm still poor. I'm going to go ahead and make the assumption that most college students or recent graduates couldn't keep up with their weekly manicures. So, we buy our own polish and just do it ourselves, which is fine, but it's so much better done professionally. Am I right? I can barely color inside the lines, you don't want to see me do my own mani and pedi. 

So, one day over Christmas break, my mother gave me this amazing idea to go to the local beauty school -- Empire Beauty School. They are the nation's leading beauty school and have over 100 locations. They also offer salon services to the public. AND THEY ARE CHEAP. You can't beat Empire's prices. 

Empire offers hair, skin and nail services at their student salon. The most expensive hair service? Hair extensions: $50. That is insane! I have friends that have spent thousands on extensions. Skin misbehaving lately? Treat yourself to a spa facial for $30. The prices are insane, check out the rest of the guest services here

My mom and I both got a spa manicure and pedicure that costed $28 each. A "spa" mani/pedi combo at any actual spa could cost more than $100. The spa mani/pedi at Empire includes an arm and foot/leg massage, a mask and polish. I'm not sure if it was the location closest to us, but there were only five polishes to select from. So, just in case you're unsatisfied with the colors they provide, I'd bring your own. And if you're anything like me, you have tons of polishes that you don't even use yourself! 

I also got a facial at this same location. Now, I knew this would be below par when the student told me it was his first time. There was no facial "experience." There was just cleansing, toning and moisturizing, which I could've done myself in my sleep. I think I only got the basic facial, so the spa facial could be better. 

Looking at the menu, I'm intrigued by their hair services. I'm feeling black violet hair color right now. For $25, I can't say no! 

The overall performance on each service definitely depends on the student. Some students are better with hair, while other are better with skin. My tip is to personally request someone who has more experience in the service you're looking to get. Empire is definitely a place where I'll go if I need weekly upkeep, but if there is an event or I need extra pampering time, I'll probably go somewhere else. 

I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick :: Audrey Hepburn 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Turn Offs and Let Downs

Honestly, anticipating something to be so great, and having it not live up to your expectations, is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. One second your intrigued, the next your disappointed. In these circumstances I'm talking about beauty products.

Nivea's Raspberry Rose Kiss
I fell in love with the lip butter in Vanilla & Macadamia Kiss and when so many people were raving about Raspberry Rose, I had to buy it. As soon as I left the store and got in to my car, I couldn't wait! So, I opened it up right away and smelled the wise words of Janice Ian, it smelt like a "baby prostitute." I was expecting it to smell like a unique combination of raspberry and rose, but it smells like the generic raspberry ice cream you get at your local bodega. I'm not pleased, but I do use it because the product itself is amazing, buttery and is the best lip product out there right now. However, Rapsberry Rose Kiss does not get my kiss of approval.

Estee Lauder's Take It Away Total Makeup Remover 
Not a fan. It doesn't wipe makeup off of your face as well as wipes or oil cleansers. It leaves a residue that feels like a moisturizer, but it takes away from your actual cleanser doing its job. It's not unusual to see leftover makeup on my cotton pad when applying toner. That is not okay! Makeup removers should leave your face completely makeup-free. That's that. The one situation in which this makeup remover is effective is in removing long-wearing lipstick. Personally, I like my makeup removers to, you know, remove my makeup. On to the next one. 

Maybelline's Color Tattoo in "Too Cool" and "Bold Gold" 
Maybelline really killed it with these cream shadows, but Too Cool and Bold Gold seem to have gotten shafted. Neither of these are as smooth and easy to apply as the rest of the colors in this line. It seems that the sparkles make the product gritty and chunky, which isn't the ideal texture for a shadow...especially a cream shadow! 
Stila's Stay All Day Foundation & Concealer 
I was looking for a full coverage foundation that would stay put while I danced during football season, so I was recommended this product. My review might be a little skewed because I was definitely color-matched incorrectly, but it's hard to love something when it looks terrible. The color is orange. No matter how tan someone is, no one is actually the color of a pumpkin (unless you went a little self-tanner-crazy). The concealer is too thick compared to this foundation so it just doesn't blend well together. The concealer is also the same exact shade as the foundation and most people know that concealer should be slightly lighter. Instead of hiding imperfections, it seems like this foundation flaunts them. Not okay. 

Juice Beauty's Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream in Warm Glow
I was so excited to try this product because it was the first "CC Cream" I had ever heard of and I love Juice Beauty products. Making this short and sweet, the scent is too strong and the texture is creepy. Yes, creepy. It feels like a sticky primer mixed with hair mousse.

Maybelline's Baby Lips
Not worth the hype. I don't feel like this lip balm is deeply moisturizing and it tastes like plastic. I like my lip balms to sink into my lips and feel like they are hydrating. Baby Lips doesn't cut it.

Benefit's Erase Paste 
I love brightening my under eyes. I strictly use yellow, peach and salmon-toned concealers so I was excited when my friend gave me this "brightening camouflage for eyes." This is definitely brightening, but it creases like no other. Concealers shouldn't crease under the eyes and I wasn't expecting this from Benefit. It's too creamy to be used on the under eye area, so all of the product collects in your fine lines. This was a huge disappointment.

Model Co's Fibre Lashxtend Mascara
Um, did I just put on mascara? That's what I first thought when I applied this mascara. It doesn't add length. It doesn't add volume. I'm a little confused...

Stila's All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Pink Shimmer 
This would've been great when I was 12. It's too sparkly to be called a luminizer. It's unfortunate because I love the pink champagne color, but that completely blends away on your face and you're just left with awkward glitter. Obviously the name "All Over Shimmer" should've been a giveaway, but this came in my BirchBox so I figured it had to be good. False.

Organix Hyrdrating Macadamia Oil Intensive Moisture Mask 
I love Organix hair products, but something's off with their masks. This isn't the first mask I've tried by them and have been left dissatisfied. With the craze of macadamia oil circulating around the beauty community, but my college budget, I decided that Organix would be a great substitute. I was clearly wrong. It's not rich, hydrating, and not even detangling. There is no reason that after a mask I shouldn't be able comb smoothly through my hair. I can't wait for a real job so I can afford the good stuff. Sorry, Organix.

Keep your heels, head and standards high.