Monday, December 24, 2012

Sugar Plum Holiday Look

My last makeup tutorial for the year!  Festive and colorful inspired by the sugar plum fairies of the Nutcracker.

Ice Blue Princess Holiday Look

It's close to Christmas and I'm finally posting some last minute holiday looks that I created a few days ago.  This is fun and festive with the whole icey blue look.  This reminds me of the Alaskan sky with the different shades of blues, grays and purples- don't be thinking 50 shades of grey!  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Bronze Holiday Look

This simple, bronze/gold look is perfect for a big nighttime event such as New Years Eve.  Actually, I've been playing around with this look for a while after being inspired by one of the models in the Sephora holiday catalog.  When I returned from my trip at the end of November, I found 2 catalogs in my pile of mail plus another one found its way into the pile.  This is very sophisticated with the bronze/gold combination.  As long as you don't create raccoon eyes, then you'll look fabulous!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Red & Green Holiday Look

I finally got myself into creating a few holiday looks despite the fact that the holidays started a couple of weeks ago.  Well, is there an official kick-off for the holidays?  Like, does it start on Thanksgiving or Black Friday when everyone goes shopping crazy?  Anyway, this look takes Christmas colors to another level that's chic and classy.  Instead of boring reds and greens, I love using olive greens and berry reds.  These colors are so popular now and this look is very achievable.  I used a lot of products, but you can narrow down the multiple steps to your basic makeup applications.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

Hi everyone and happy first Monday of December!  I know that my blog (and YouTube channel) has been very quiet throughout November, but I was out of the country for 2.5 weeks.  Before leaving for vacation, Hurricane Sandy put me under the radar with no power for almost a week.  Despite that, I'm excited to share with you the beauty goodies that I found while away.  I talk about my trip in my latest video which I'll link below.

While in Hong Kong...
- I was eager to purchase (unique) beauty products while in Hong Kong for 3 days.  I wanted beauty products that were of brands not sold in the US plus branded towards Asian skin tones.  Somehow nothing really caught my attention except for the "eyelash bar" at the local drugstore called Sasa.  This bar contained a wide array of false eyelashes plus different lash glues, contraptions to apply the lashes and containers to store them whenever on the go.  The natural looking lashes were a good bargain ($10 for 2 packets of lashes that are a total of 11 sets).  Not bad right?

While in the Philippines...
- The Face Shop: I was happy to pop into this store towards the end of the trip once everyone was tired of shopping.  This cosmetics store is quite popular and carries cosmetics brands that come from Korea, Japan, China, etc.  Despite not being able to read the directions and ingredients in Asian characters, it's not hard to figure out what you like/dislike and what catches your eyes.  I purchased a BB cream from Lovely Me:ex which I have yet to wear.  This was the only BB cream that when tested on the back of my hand, it didn't turn my hand completely white.  Once my tan from my trip begins to fade, I'll definitely give this a try.  Next item I got was a waterproof "everyday" mascara from Face it.  I purchased this because I was intrigued by the "peanut" shape brush.  I already tested this and it's definitely not my favorite because it clumps.  I started getting into cheek/lip stains and luckily I stumbled upon this lip tint (Lovely Me:ex) that leaves my lips cherry stained.  There's no need to re-apply and it doesn't leave your lips feeling dry.  One thing that caught my eye was this waterproof gel eyeliner (Lovely Me:ex).  The color I got was black with gold shimmer.  The color pay-off is more intense than another eye kohl pencil I have that's the same color (Jouer Long-Wearing Eye Definer in noir).  It's waterproof and smudgeproof (which these claims are true!).  Lastly I couldn't leave the store without a new lipstick.  I'm unsure of the brand, but it's a dusty pink/ mauve color that makes your lips look next-to-nothing all natural.

- BYS: While walking around Mall of Asia (which is ginormous!) with some of my extended family members, there were a few beauty kiosks right next to a runway hair event that occurred later that evening.  I took a stroll through the stands and wanted to get my hands on something.  I came across this brand which is actually Australian and was introduced to the Philippines a couple of months ago.  I wasn't able to test these eyeshadow palettes, but told myself to purchase it before I regret it.  The smaller palette is 8 matte shades that are perfect for smokey eyes.  The bigger palette is a wide range of 36 shimmery shades.  This palette caught my attention first because the colors all look jewel-toned.

Yves Rocher: The name of this brand instantly caught my attention in which I did not hesitate to look around at all the beauty items from skin and hair care, cosmetics, fragrances and bath.  Nothing really interested me except for the different shades of lipsticks.  This particular lipstick is moisturizing, creamy, satiny and non-sticky.  The shade I have is called rose cannelle and it's absolutely stunning!

So this is pretty much my beauty hall while on vacation.  I'll definitely feature these products throughout the month for holiday looks.

Thanks for reading through this!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Favorite Items of October

Hi everyone!  October has come to an end with such sad devastation as Hurricane Sandy has destroyed thousands of homes and cities along the Northern East Coast.  Cities affected by this include Atlantic City, cities along the Jersey shoreline, Hoboken, and New York City.  My family and I have had no power since Monday night so I'm taking advantage of posting anything at this point.

Here's my favorites for the month.

Enjoy and keep those families who are still struggling from Sandy's aftermaths in your thoughts and prayers.  It's not easy living with no power or not being able to go back to a place that you used to call home.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

BareMinerals Fall Eyes Makeup Tutorial

Fall is my favorite season with the cool air blowing on your face, the smell of pumpkin and apple at every fragrance store and makeup brands selling unique products in time for Halloween and every holiday afterwards.  I created this beauty look with fall related colors that are all in 1 eyeshadow quad.  I've had this quad for a while and was waiting for the right time to finally use it.  Check out my video on how to re-create my look.  Products used are listed below.

- Rimmel London Hide the Blemish Concealer (natural beige 004)
- Rimmel London Wake Me Up Foundation (201 classic beige)
- Tarte emphasEYES Brow Pencil
- Tarte 12-hr Smoothing Eye Primer
- BareMinerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0 (The Rare Find)
- Josie Maran Long-Lasting Eye Liner (black raven)
- Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liner (blackest black)
- Maybelline Volum' Express One-by-One Mascara
- Maybelline Lash Discovery Mini-Brush Mascara
- MAC Blush (blunt)
- L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm (219 plush plum)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Elegant Blue Eyes Makeup Tutorial

It's been a while since I've done a makeup tutorial, but I had a great time filming this most recent one.  Today's look is all about the color blue.  I always thought I couldn't pull off the color blue because in the end, it would turn out looking purple.  But, after months of practice and learning how to use certain makeup brushes, this is my first time debuting a blue eyeshadow look.  Check out my video on how to work this look.  Products used can be found below.

- Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer (medium)
- MAC Pro Longwear SPF10 Foundation (NC40)
- MAC Studio Fix Powder (NC40)
- Tarte 12-hr Smoothing Eye Primer
- Maybelline Eyestudio (Saphire Stylist)
- Urban Decay Smoked Palette (blackout, kinky, freestyle)
- Josie Maran Long-Lasting Eye Liner (black raven)
- Maybelline Line Stiletto
- Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara
- NARS Bronzer (casino)
- MAC Blush (Pinch Me)
- MAC Cremestick Liner (Sublime Culture)
- Korres Mango Butter Lipstick (Natural Pink 13)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Skincare Routine

I've been preparing this video for a long time and have finally buckled down the products that have been working for me.  This skincare routine is not too complex, but works for my skin issues.

I have combination to oily skin and major acne issues.  I have a serious issue with picking and popping my pimples which is a TERRIBLE habit.  I've been working on breaking this habit.  Most products that I use can be purchased at any drugstore or local shopping center.  I will list the items that I use into my AM routine and PM routine.  I also do weekly masks which I will also include below.

- Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
- Clarisonic Mia with Deep Pore brush
- Clean & Clear Finishes Pore Perfecting Moisturizer
- Origins VitaZing SPF 15 Energy-Boosting Moisturizer with Mangosteen

- Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
- Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner
- Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Mark Treatment
- Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment
- Boscia Recharging Night Moisture

- C.O. Bigelow Power Berry Mask No. 1675
- Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Lasting Shine Control Cleanser/Mask
- Boots No7 Total Renewal Micro-Dermabrasion Exfoliator

If you have acne issues and are sick and tired of purchasing separate products that don't work together, I highly suggest looking into Clean & Clear's Advantage acne kit.  It worked miracles when I first used it back in college.  Here's the link if interested:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

Hey friends!  It has been a while since I've featured any makeup item, but I finally got my hands on something that I've been wanting to try for a long time.  The item I'm talking about is the Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation.

This item may or may not seem new to you because this has been in the market for a while now.  But, I wanted to wait for the right time to pick it up which turned out to be now as we transition into fall.  I tested this item at Sephora where the makeup artist/salesperson tried to sell me the Stila Stay All Day Forever Foundation & Concealer.  Of course, I was only interested in the Urban Decay foundation but she did a good job in almost convincing me to purchase the Stila product instead.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Makeup Series | "Free Mini Kits" | Tarte

Here's another addition to this series I created for the month of October called "Free Mini Kits".  I'll be featuring makeup samples and kits that tend to not be used on a daily (or if ever) basis.  Personally, I love collecting samples because they're free most of the time.  But, that also means that these items will most likely be never used.  Same goes for makeup kits where the interest of only trying 1 item means the others will be forgotten.

This item is a makeup kit from Tarte that I purchased on back in 2010.  I believe this was my first kit I ever purchased.  This kit came with a trio-eyeshadow palette, shadow/liner, brow mousse, mascara, cheek stain and lip gloss.  Of all the 6 items, the quality and lasting ability is great.  The colors are great for a natural look and gives your face a nice, fresh look.  Even though this didn't come with a foundation, I can only imagine that Tarte offers great foundation options.  After finally digging up these items, I'm happy to say that I started using them especially the eyeshadow and shadow/liner.  You can pick up these items individually wherever Tarte items are sold.

Tune in throughout the month and see what other items I'll be featuring!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Me Want Cookie Cake!

Does your mouth water every time you pass by a Mrs. Fields counter and look at the colorful cookie cakes on display?  Do you find it a hassle when you order a birthday cake for your kid and not everybody wants a slice?  I always wanted a cookie cake as a kid because my birthday cakes consisted of overly frosted Filipino cakes with extravagant designs.  Now being older and a mom myself, I always forget that my daughter (turning 4 next month) doesn't really know what cake is unless it's ice cream or cookies.

Same thing can apply to adults- I just made my sister a birthday cookie cake earlier this week and it was a hit.  It wasn't too sweet, not too much frosting and it was easy!  Whether you use an original cookie recipe or straight from the box, this simple cake is great for all ages.

- 1 recipe for cookies (homemade or box)
- 12 inch round cake pan
- Parchment paper
- Color icing tubes and decorating tips

STEP 1: Prepare cookie dough as directed

STEP 2: Take a big sheet of parchment paper and fold it into quarters.  Next, place the tip of the paper at the center of the pan and cut off any excess paper that passes the ridge of the pan.  Open the paper and firmly push the paper into the pan.  Spray an even coat of non-stick spray.

STEP 3: Spread the cookie dough evenly.  Using your hands is the best way to spread as much dough to the edge.  The edge doesn't have to be fully covered since this will be baked.

STEP 4: Bake as directed (roughly 9-12 minutes).  Once done, let it cool completely and decorate with icing.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Haul from Target, B&N, H&M, MAC & Kate Spade

Here's my haul video showing you guys some items I recently purchased.

From Target:
- Scarecrow
- Glow stick necklace (pack of 2)
- Sally Hansen Salon Effects in Lust-rous (on sale for $7!!)
- Sonia Kashuk Instructional Eye Shadow Palette in Eye on Dazzling Color
- Boots Expert Anti-Blemish 2-in-1 Scrub & Mask
- Boots Expert Anti-Blemish Night Moisturizer

From Barnes & Noble:
- "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

From H&M:
- Gray blazer

From MAC:
- Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in NC40
- Powder Blush in Blunt and Pinch Me
- Lip Pencil in Beet
- Viva Glam Nicki Lipstick in I

From Kate Spade:
- Brightspot Avenue Stacy wallet in Maraschino

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

NOTD: butter London Toff & Aston

October is one of my favorite months of the year.  My favorite color lately has been variations of mauve and purple.  They're quite soft and beautiful on all skin tones.  My current NOTD are polishes that I purchased during Ulta's "Buy One, Get One Free" offer for butter London nail polishes.  This awesome deal was something I couldn't pass just because I love butter London!  Plus, buying 2 polishes for the price of 1 is a wallet's best friend.  I'm so happy that I was able to snatch up these 2 polishes (I bought 4 polishes in total, but you get my drift).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Makeup Series | "Free Mini Kits" | Smashbox

Happy October!

I was inspired by a YouTube video I watched a while ago to review my current makeup pile.  I realized that most of the makeup items that I don't use (ever) are the little samples and kits that I haven't touched since being transferred from the store bag of purchase to my makeup storage containers.  This got me thinking to create a series for this entire month where I feature all my makeup items that are rejected.  You can't forget the little ones, meaning the samples that you get when spending a certain amount of dollars online or in store.  Also, I tend to purchase kits for just wanting to try 1 item.  The rest of the kit is just a bonus.  Now, it's time for these items to rise out of the darkness of my makeup pile and be used.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Favorite Items of September

Hey everyone and happy end of the month (almost)!

Below is a list of my favorite items that I've been using on a daily basis and/or have been helping me look awesome when I step out of my house.  You can also see me rant about these items on my YouTube channel.

- Clarisonic Mia with Deep Pore brush head : This is a great at-home cleansing device that cleans deep into your pores and removes all dirt, oil and makeup.  It leaves your face feeling smooth and refresh.  With this particular brush head, it has helped remove all my blackheads on my nose and reduce the size of my pores.

- Clean & Clear Finishes Pore Perfecting Moisturizer : This is very similar to benefit POREfessional (if you use this).  This softens the appearance of pores with light-diffusing minerals to give you a beautiful finish.  It's lightweight, oil-free and has SPF 15.

- Jouer Matte Moisture in Hazel: Absolute favorite of this month!  This foundation is lightweight, medium coverage and evens out imperfections leaving your skin with a smooth, matte finish.  This is perfect for all skin types with SPF 15 protection from UVA and UVB rays while Vitamins A, C and E deliver rich antioxidants to the skin.

- Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer in Medium: Best under eye concealer by far!  The smooth, easy-to-use applicator gently spreads the product evenly under your eye and instantly erases dark circles and fine lines leaving your eyes looking radiant.

- Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Pink Bellini: This is part of the Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Collection at QVC.  I believe this is exclusively sold only at QVC unless you eBay it.  The shade is a neutral, light pink with a lilac shimmer.

- Maybelline Volum' Express One By One Mascara in Blackest Black: This mascara de-clumps every lash and coats each one from root to tip giving you the volume that you want.

- Mary Kay Satin Lips Set: This exclusive lip duo from Mary Kay is a god-send for those who have dry, cracked lips or for those who like to pick or bite your lips.  The two-step system gently exfoliates dead surface skin cells and moisturizes lips for at least 6 hours.  I use these items at night and in the morning, my lips are still moisturized.

- Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie: This lipstick is a butter balm with beautiful shine and gives you soft, smooth and hydrated lips.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

Hey friends!  Today's cosmetic highlight comes from the fabulous makeup store of MAC Cosmetics.  I was never a MAC girl until I started learning more about makeup earlier this year.  Whenever I pass by the MAC store, I just hear a church choir singing an angelic tune as the lights around the store get brighter and brighter.  It's makeup heaven to most people, but to others it's either over-priced or intimidating.  Whatever you may think, everything in the store is of great quality and I haven't experienced any let down (yet).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mascara Galore!

Mascara is always evolving with its revolutionary formula and bristles.  It seems like a new mascara is being debuted every week from all brands of low-end to high-end cosmetics.  The branding of these beauty tubes always seems to amaze me.  Some claim to enhance your natural lashes to look like false ones and others claim to help your lashes grow 5 times its natural length.  Whatever your needs are for your prime mascara, it's definitely a popular item that consumers stock up on all the time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NOTD: Zoya Kelly

My nail polish collection is a solid variety of colors with one thing in common: black handles.  This observation was noticed a while back when I started researching the "toxic trio" in nail polish.  Heads up: if you don't know what I'm talking about, type "toxic trio" in your search engine.  After researching different, harmful ingredients found in beauty products, I re-evaluated my makeup collection and wanted to make sure that every item I own wasn't doing any harm to my health.  I started on my nail polishes and since have changed my habits on reading the small, tiny printed labels.  This may or may not be for you, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion about the effects of beauty products to your health.  If I continue on this path, I may never reach my goal of the purpose to this post.

Moving forward- once clearing out any polish that contained the "toxic trio", what remained in my nail polish collection were colors that were either OPI or Butter London.  I adore both nail polish brands and have wanted to try a new brand that was "toxic trio" free.  I did intense research on healthy polishes and Zoya was part of the list.  This brand immediately struck my interest not only because it was "toxic trio" free, but it had a black handle!  It sounds lame, but I did a recent Zoya haul at my local Ulta and am so happy I did so.

This color is perfect for fall.  The gunmetal tone has a undertone of blue and purple.  There's no shimmer or shine, but looks bad-ass when the light reflects of off your nails.  Since this was my first Zoya polish, I was kinda upset that the application was kinda streaky.  It's not as consistent as OPI or Butter London with just one coat.  So you definitely need 2 (or maybe 3) solid coats.  Other than that, I'm glad that this shade is part of my nail collection.

Do you have this?  Let me know and happy painting!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Meal of the Day: BBQ Chicken-Touille

Remember the Pixar movie "Ratatouille"?  Just replace "rata-" with "bbq chicken" and this dish is as easy as that!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

NOTD: OPI Schnapps Out of It!

It's September and already the transformation from summer to fall in fashion and beauty has arrived in a blink of an eye.  Everyone can say that the summer flew by so quickly that people are still in summer mode post Labor Day.  Well I'm not one of them- I LOVE FALL!  I already started picking up a few items that are perfect for the fall including a new nail polish by OPI from their latest collection.

The OPI Germany Collection includes 12 new shades that were inspired by what fashion editors are calling "Europe's hottest new fashion metropolis".  It embraces elegance as well as the avant-garde essence of modern Berlin.  Personally having travelled to Berlin over 7 years ago, I love the boldness of each color and the names are quite catchy.  These shades are great transitional colors into fall and are perfect for any activity, day or night.

Being a loyal OPI consumer, I couldn't resist purchasing at least one of the new polishes.  Among all the new colors, Schnapps Out of It! is a color that caught my attention.  It's a beautiful mauve/brown color with red and grey undertones.  There's a super fine hint of silver glitter and shine that's nearly noticeable after applying 2 coats of polish.  I don't know why but this color reminds me of rose petals.  When I first swatched it at the store, all I could this of was rose petals and potpourri (weird, I know).  Anyway, this color is great for those who are still holding onto their summer tan (guilty to that!).  The color on your nails is warm and very fall appropriate as the weather starts to get cooler.


Have you tried any of the shades from OPI German Collection?  Let me know.  Happy painting!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Product Showdown: Setting Spray

I've been building up my makeup collection since the beginning of the year and have dedicated a lot of time in researching the pros, cons and differences between items that serve the same purpose.  After all of my purchases and will power to avoid buyer's remorse, I decided to do a showdown between items that serve the same purpose but have different labels.  So here we go!

First up is Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray.  This product can be purchased in travel size at 0.34 fl oz, normal size at 4 fl oz, or XL size at 6 fl oz.  The retail price is $12, $29 and $34, respectively (based on the Urban Decay website).  You can purchase this online or at any beauty store that sells Urban Decay (for me, my local Ulta, Macys and Sephora).  As the name of this product implies, this setting spray is meant to set your makeup once applied.  You can spritz this all over your face after applying your face makeup (foundation, concealer, powder, etc.) or once you're done applying all of your makeup.  Just shake the bottle and spray a few inches over your face.  Let it dry for a bit and then you're set.  Easy as pie!  Another addition to this line of setting sprays is that it comes in 3 different types: All Nighter which is the original and great for all skin types, De-Slick for those with oily skin, and Dew Me for those with dry or combination skin.  The sizes and prices are the same as All Nighter.

The challenger is Model in a Bottle Makeup Setting Spray.  This product can only be purchased in one size at 2 fl oz and can be purchased at $18.  You can purchase this through the company's website or any bargaining website (I purchased mine plus other items on HauteLook) or, if lucky, at any makeup show such as IMATS (International Make-Up Artist Trade Show).  The packaging is a glass bottle with a frosty finish and has a gold cap.  Just like the Urban Decay setting sprays, the directions on this product says to "close eyes and spray evenly about 10-12 inches away from face.  Allow 20-30 seconds to dry before opening eyes".  This spray seals your makeup and is resistant to smudging, humidity, water and tears.  It's long lasting and leaves your face with a matte finish.

And the verdict is...Urban Decay wins in the setting spray category!  First off, Model in a Bottle is over-hyped.  It sucks that you can only purchase this online and it has a horrible powdery scent.  It's pretty strong that the scent lingers not only on your face, but in the room.  Definitely hold your breath when spritzing your face because if you inhale while spraying, your nose will hate you for a while.  As I mentioned earlier, I purchased this through HauteLook.  The deal (at the time) was $10 for the 2 fl oz bottle.  I decided to purchase 2 bottles ($20 for 4 fl oz) since the price and size is comparable to the Urban Decay All Nighter spray ($29 for 4 fl oz).  After assembling the bottle, I couldn't remove the cap.  With all my strength, it just wouldn't budge.  It came to a point that the whole gold top came off and all that was left was the spray tube with no nozzle.  I had to transfer the bottle into an empty, travel size spray bottle.  The other bottle is sitting in the back of my closet.

Overall, setting spray is setting spray.  I've gone through 2 travel size bottles of All Nighter.  Even though I have oily/combination skin, I have yet to try De-Slick but assume I'll get the same results as All Nighter.  Maybe my next purchase will be the XL size so that I can transfer it to the travel size bottle once I'm done with Model in a Bottle.

What are your thoughts on what I just showcased?  Let me know!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nail of the Day: Jelly Glitz

As an avid user of Facebook who constantly checks up on beauty updates, there was one status that caught my attention and I'm glad it did.  Birchbox (@birchbox) posted a "how to" article about a new nail design called "jelly sandwich".  They enlisted a new contributor, Anna Norman of Glitter, She Wrote, and she explained what jelly sandwich nails are.  It's a very odd name to use as a nail technique, but it made sense after reading through her description.

Basically, this is a new way of wearing glitter.  I remember I would rock the glitter nail polish from grade school into middle school.  I mean, who didn't?  Every girl loves glitter- heck, there was a movie named "Glitter" (but let's not go there).  This technique is great for any person who loves to experiment with fun nail designs, even if it means having to calm down your shaky hand.

All you need are 2 polishes.  The jelly polish serves as the bread while the glitter is in between like jelly.  Your base color is translucent to give that sheer, glossy effect.  My base color of choice is OPI Melon of Troy, a beautiful melon/orange/coral mixture with a sheen, pearly shine.  My jelly color is actually what was used on this nail technique.  If you saw the Birchbox FB status and/or link, the color on the ring finger is Milani Gems.  The chunky, yet colorful glitter nail polish is easy to maneuver if you want the glitter to have a gradient effect.

Now, to the technique: after applying a base coat, apply 2 coats of your jelly polish.  Once it dries, do 1 coat of glitter.  Once that dries, do an additional coat of jelly polish over the glitter in order to trap the glitter, give your nail depth and tone down the glitter.  If you want to skip this step, simply apply a top coat then you're done!

This technique is quite simple and is a great way to experiment with different colors.  Happy painting!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meal of the Day: Chicken Piccata

I was 9 years old when my youngest cousin was born.  He was another addition to the grandchildren on my Dad's side of the family that ended the streak of granddaughters.  I remember his birthday parties were a mixture of Italian catering and Filipino food.  This menu was stapled into my memory that it even transferred over to my daughter's birthday parties in the past years.  Anyway, I remember filling up my plate with chicken piccata all the time.  I don't know what it was about this dish- whether because my older cousins ate it or I was just curious about the sauce, I ate it all the time.  Now years down the road, my baby cousin just turned 17 and his birthday parties have ended a long time ago.  I haven't had any good chicken piccata since then.  I figured, why not make my own?  I've become a cooking fiend and love challenging myself to making different dishes.  Unfortunately I have no picture of how this dish turned out because 1. I swallowed my meal roughly 30 seconds after I finished cooking it and 2. I plainly forgot to take a picture.

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 egg
3 TBSP lemon juice, or 1 medium freshly squeezed lemon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 TSP garlic powder
1/8 TSP cayenne powder
1/4 cup butter
2 TSP chicken bouillon powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 bag egg noodles
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced real thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sliced onions, cut into morsels

STEP 1: Remove any excess fat on the chicken breasts.  Cut each breasts into quarters, long-wise like chicken strips.

STEP 2: In a small bowl, beat egg and 1 TBSP of lemon juice.

STEP 3: In a shallow bowl or dish, mix together flour, garlic powder and cayenne powder.  Dip the chicken into the egg/lemon mixture then season in flour.

STEP 4: Melt butter in a pan.  Place the chicken into pan and cook on each side until brown.

STEP 5: Dissolve the bouillon in boiling water.  Pour remaining lemon juice into water.  Once blended, pour liquid into skillet.  Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.  After 10 minutes, turn chicken over and add all vegetables into skillet.

STEP 6: Cook egg noodles as directed on bag.  Drain when done.

Serve noodles and chicken with vegetables and enjoy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

Hey friends!  With a great response to my "Manic Monday" a few weeks ago, I decided to continue using Mondays as my day to highlight new makeup items.  I did a spontaneous shopping spree at my local drugstore and spent most of my time at the Maybelline section.  I wanted to try the Color Plush eyeshadow quads that are horizontal.  I own a few of the Expertwear eyeshadow quads and I don't like the quality.  The ones that I have contain gold glitter and turned out to be too glittery.  The pay off isn't worth the aggravation of continuous application.  So I finally decided to pick up a few of the Color Plush quads (thank goodness for the "buy 1, get 1 50% off" deal).

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Plush Silk Eyeshadow in Irresistibly Ivy (90) is very rich in pigmentation and is great to wear as we start to transition into fall.  The colors are soft on application and can be worn together or alone.  Once I started applying the colors onto my eyes, the shades reminded me of the feathers of a peacock.

With flash

No flash

L-R: Light, shimmered champagne beige; orange-copper with gold shimmer;
mixture of sea green and teal with gold shimmer; and deep red-copper.

Using a flat eye shadow brush, I brushed the copper color over my eyelid twice so that the color is really compacted on.  Using the flip side of the same brush, I applied the red-copper color on the outer half of my lid.  With a crease brush, I applied the teal on the outer part of my crease then blended inwards.  For this part, you can apply more color on the crease depending on how much you want the color to stand out.  Finally, I applied the champagne color under my brows and on the inner corners of my eyes.  Overall, I was quite impressed with the teal because if you apply it on top of the red, it turns to a darker green.  I suggest using an eyelid primer since the colors are soft and silky.

Have you used this specific color or others?  Let me know!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Meal of the Day: Pastella

This dish I'm about to share with you has been created in the past, yet has never been given a proper name.  This dish encompasses different tastes and textures.  No matter how much of this dish you eat in one sitting or maybe two if daring, this leaves you full and definitely satisfied.  I guess you can say this dish is a mash up of 2 completely different dishes: pasta and paella.  Well, I don't think they're completely different because the only difference is the choice of carbs.  When I first made this dish, I had all the ingredients to make paella but had no yellow rice.  So instead I opted for whatever was in my pantry which was penne.  This dish turned out great the first time around.  For the second time around, I still had no yellow rice so I settled for penne again.

Now this time around, I just finished the yellow rice recently and purchased penne rigate during my latest trip to the supermarket.  The dish still came out great (the key is timing so everything doesn't overcook) and I have yet to name this dish.  My husband and I were throwing out ideas during dinner and came up with a few clever ones.  It's simple to just mash the ingredients together and come up with a nonsense word.  Or, call upon the Rachael Ray goddess and pick the first letter of each word to come up with a name (ie: extra virgin olive oil is now EVOO thanks to the goddess chef herself).  After much deliberation, we decided to keep it simple and mash up the common ingredient of pasta and paella.

So, I share with you pastella!  The ingredients in this dish can also be used to make paella, just swap out the penne for yellow rice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Favorite Items of July

Here's an end of the month recap of my favorite beauty items.

You can check out my YouTube video and hear me ramble about these items.

-Jergens Natural Glow & Protect Daily Moisturizer SPF 20 (for medium to tan skin tones): A daily moisturizer that gradually creates a natural-looking color.  With the broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with SPF 20, this is great to build up your summer tan or maintain your color beyond the summer months.

-LUSH Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter: This butter cream is great to soften dry, cracked cuticles and nourish your nails and any other dry spots on the body.  The container contains 1.5 oz. of mango butter, organic avocado oil, beeswax, and lots of fresh lemons to brighten skin and lighten nails.  A little goes a long way with this batch.

-bareMinerals Prime Time Brightening Eyelid Primer: An eyelid primer that provides a great base color for all eyeshadows.  The "sheer" golden color brightens the eyes and can be worn alone.  This is great for those who have sensitive eyes, even those who wear contact lenses.

-Benefit BADgal Liner Waterproof (Extra Black): A waterproof, black eyeliner contains a unique formula that glides on smoothly and doesn't smudge.  It has a blending tip on one end so you can achieve that perfect smoked-out eyes.

-NYX Lipstick (Haute Melon/LSS 583A): A classic lipstick that's great all year round.  This color is a mix of coral, pink and melon that looks a tad orange in the tube.  But once applied, the soft, glossy color is very giving with how deep you want the color.  It's rich and moisturizing and very affordable.

Thanks for reading this.  Until next month's favorite items...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

Hey friends!  It's been a while since I've posted something but here I am.  If you follow me on YouTube, I did a Haul video of a few products I've purchased online.  I finally opened one of my purchases and tested the products to make sure it was worth every penny.

The Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Collection was last month's QVC Today's Special Value (TSV).  This kit comes with 7 products including a full size face palette that comes in 5 different shades.  Before I purchased this, the only Bobbi Brown item I owned was the long-wear gel eyeliner in black ink.  This was my first gel eyeliner which I was really (still am) happy with.  I wasn't sure what new Bobbi Brown product I wanted to get my hands on.  Luckily, I was watching QVC that day and voila!  I placed an order before the shade I ordered sold out.

The summer has been about "au naturale" and this kit delivers.  The natural colors in this kit goes well with any complexion where the end result looks effortless.  Your look is pretty hands on as the kit does not come with makeup brushes.  In the face palette, the foundation, concealer and corrector are creamy so your fingers are your best tools.  When you apply the corrector and concealer, you immediately see your eyes brighten and the dark circles and fine lines fade away.  The mascara is very lengthening after applying 2 coats.  The 2 lip glosses compliment each other and are great shades all year round.  To complete my eyes, I applied my gel eyeliner and NYX false eyelashes.

After wearing this look for a few hours, I'm happy with the overall look.  It was worth every penny!  The shade I purchased is natural which turns out to be too light for the summer.  Other than that, this kit can still be purchased on the QVC website.  Let me know if you like my look.

 Look, @BobbiBrown retweeted me!  Cloud 9 :)

Side Note: I've been watching Team USA at the Olympics like a hawk.  Really excited to see more action from men/women basketball team, men/women beach volleyball, women volleyball and women soccer.  Go #TeamUSA!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Show Your Red, White & Blue

The 4th of July is a special day for me because it's my parent's wedding anniversary and my chance to try a new "red, white and blue" dessert.  This is one of my favorite holidays of the year to spend with my parents outside of traditional family holidays.  I love grilling with my dad, watching my mom sit on the hammock and seeing my daughter stand underneath the sprinklers.  I think my parents went over the top with celebrating the big "red, white and blue" this year.  They've been married for 27 years so they're allowed to.  Instead of your typical BBQ eats, we had a seafood festival right in our backyard.  My parents had lobsters, crabs, shrimps, mussels, clams, potatoes and corn for 6 adults and a toddler.  An extra bonus to our seafood festival was eating on top of banana leaves.  That's right- we ate like barbarians!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Skincare Challenge: Exuviance

An unfortunate battle that people deal with or have dealt with in their lifetime is acne.  It's punishment from Eve eating that damn apple- just joking.  I have oily combination skin and have dealt with acne since I reached puberty (and so did everyone else).  Since then, my face has gone through the challenge of me using different products to reduce acne, scarring and hyperpigmentation.  Products I've used range from prescribed ointments to drugstore products such as Neutrogena and Clean & Clear.  Those are the only 2 drugstore products that I stick to.  I've had great success with these brands on separate occasions.  Overall, my skincare routine is very sacred to me that if I skip it, I feel a difference in my face and will have to suffer the consequences a few days later.

Right now, I'm testing out different skincare products that target my skin condition (oily/combination), acne, scarring, hyperpigmentation and smoothing my skin and complexion.  I used Clean & Clear Advance acne kit throughout college.  It was a great starter kit and I still use the acne treatments every night to reduce scarring.  I was using Boscia Best Set, which I already rambled about back in May, for six weeks.  The kit included a cleanser, under eye cream, moisturizer with SPF15, night cream, and blotting sheets.  My review for this kit is not good therefore not recommendable to anyone who has the same skin issues as me.  I knew after purchasing Boscia, I wanted another kit or brand to compare to.  That's when I found Exuviance.

As you can see from the title, I'm "challenging" my face as I start to use the Exuviance kit for six weeks.  I aim to blog weekly and share with you my results whether good or bad.  I have high expectations for this kit due to the reviews from the saleswoman from Ulta.  She has recommended and sold this brand to family and friends who consulted with her about their acne issues.  Whether she was acting like a good employee, her selling point caught my attention.  We both have similar skin issues and she understood my need to make my face look and feel better.

The kit comes with 5 items: a cleansing gel, toner, moisturizer with SPF15, evening cream and treatment masque.  I already used the products this morning and already felt a difference after following the routine.  I'm going to avoid using other products that didn't come with the kit.  I plan on doing a video too so that you can hear what I have to say.

Here are a few pictures of the kit and my current face conditions.  Let the challenge begin!

 The top flap opens upwards where there are instructions underneath and the products shown here.

No makeup taken this morning under natural lighting in room.

 Scarring next my right eyebrow and on my cheek.  There's discoloration under my lip.  I already feel a pimple making a appearance...sadness!

Scarring on my left cheek with some discoloration.  I started breaking out on this side.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Favorite Items of June

Here's an end of the month recap of my favorite makeup and skincare products.

You can check out my YouTube video and hear me ramble about these items.

-Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser: A black, cleansing gel that when rubbed between your fingers has a warming effect that deeply cleans and detoxifies your complexion.  I use this every or every other night as part of my PM skincare routine.

-Boots No.7 Total Renewal Microdermabrasion Exfoliator: An intense, at home exfoliating treatment that's great to use as it works to remove dead skin cells, revealing radiant skin.  I use this once a week on a Friday night.  Since this is an intense treatment, it's advise to use this at most twice a week.

-Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 (medium): A beauty balm (or "bb") that moisturizes, primes, perfects, protects and controls oil all in 1.  I use this as my daily foundation and don't need much product.  This is light to medium coverage since it evens out your complexion and it can be worn by itself or under foundation or powder for more coverage.

-Maybelline Dream Matte Powder (medium/beige): A pressed powder that's super soft for a smooth application.  I press this on my T-zone or in areas that are oily to set my foundation.  Since this powder is matte, it won't leave your face looking duey.

-Urban Decay All Night Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray: A weightless, setting spray that keeps your makeup from melting away throughout the day and night, whether it's hot and humid or cold and windy outside.  I spray this over my face once I'm done applying all my makeup.  There's no fragrance and it doesn't feel sticky once misted over your face.

-Urban Decay NAKED Palette: A shadow palette that everyone can use for that neutral, everyday look.  The 12 shades range from glitter to shimmer to matte.  What can I say- I use this regularly and love this!

-Benefit CORALista: A blush powder that is a beautiful pink coral color with gold shimmer.  This smells amazing and the packaging is so cute.  You won't find any blush compact like this!

-Korres Mango Butter Lipstick SPF 10 (natural pink-13): An ultra-conditioning lipstick that's sheer and moisturizing.  This is my go-to lipstick since there's SPF protection and a hint of color with a glossy finish.

Thanks for reading this.  Until next month's favorite items...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Meal of the Day: Chicken Cacciatore

What a beautiful day to spend time at the beach.  My little family took a small trip to Sandy Hook, NJ and enjoyed the waves and cool water at the shore.  Since I live right next to the George Washington Bridge, I knew that I'd be too tired to whip up dinner once returning from the shore.  Plus we're trying to cut out fast-food.  So I decided to make use of my favorite kitchen appliance, the slow cooker.  I picked out an easy recipe from the small cookbook that was provided.  I already had most of the ingredients for this dish.  I did a quick run to ShopRite last night and prepped everything so that once we headed out of the door this morning, I could throw everything into the slow cooker and let it cook.  I think that's the best thing about the slow cooker: you can walk away from this appliance and let it do all the work.

If you like to make dishes that doesn't leave you in front of your stove for hours, scroll down for the ingredients and how to make this.  This filling dish will leave you happy and content that it only took you 10 minutes to put together, but 8 hours (or 4 hours) to cook.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Little Black Bag

I want to share this new website called Little Black Bag (or #LBBag) that is loosely based on a Japanese tradition known as "Lucky Bag Sale".  You fill out a small questionnaire of your likes and dislikes of certain styles, designers, etc.  Based off of your answers, the stylists compile a list of products from accessories including jewelry to beauty products that will sit in your bag.  You choose one item that you like and the stylists will surprise you with 2, 3 or even 4 other items that you don't know of until checkout.  The price of these items are shown, but what's nice with this website (in addition to others similar to this such as Birchbox, myglam, justfab) is you pay a membership fee which you opt to be either monthly or one time only.  Once paid, you find out what your surprise items are and get to exchange any items for a total of 7 days.  Once the 7 days have past, your items in your bag are locked in and shipped to you within 3-8 business days.

The concept is pretty simple, but was kind of intimidating to me at first.  I signed up for Little Black Bag last month and never had the courage to continue through with it because I didn't have a full understanding of the concept.  So I searched on YouTube to see other people's reviews on the website and what products they received in the mail.  I ended up caving in and told myself to just do it.  Once I paid my fee (which I opted for the one time only), I was amazed with how addicting exchanging items can be.  My husband was impressed with the amount of time I've spent on my Macbook (or "Andre") in just the past 48 hours.  I currently have 4 items in my bag.  I have 5.5 days left until I can't exchange anymore.  But, I know once my time is up, I can't wait to receive these items in my cute Little Black Bag package.

If you are really interested in joining this website, I highly suggest going to YouTube and read up on what people are saying about it.  Some beauty gurus that I follow are among their pool of stylists.  I will link below their reviews on the Little Black Bag concept and items they received in the mail.

If you plan on joining, don't forget to search for me!

sccastaneda "New Obsession!!!"

ThatsHeart "My Little Black Bag + Rose Gold Watch Giveaway"

AprilAthena7 "Little Black Bag & Giveaway!"

RAEview "UPDATE 2.0 + GIVEAWAY: The Little Black Bag Haul + Handbag [$328 Value] Giveaway"

Monday, June 18, 2012

Revamping Your Leftovers

Everyone has their likes and dislikes about leftovers.  Either it's enough to feed 1 mouth or not enough to feed 3 hungry mouths.  But this is where you dive into your creative side of cooking.  Even if you don't have that, everyone is creative with their appetite.  When your tummy starts grumbling and wants you to put something in your belly, you start to imagine what will satisfy your taste buds.  You want to fill that void of hunger and make some use of your leftovers before they get thrown into the garbage.  There's no need to waste food if there are people who can't afford to eat a meal everyday (just saying).

So, what I had in my fridge was roughly 2 cups of white rice and 1 strip of pork belly.  Luckily, I did a quick run to the supermarket to pick up some essential produce that I always have in stock.  I ended up making torta (tour-tah) or an omelette with ground beef and fried rice with vegetables.

Torta (on left) and fried rice with veggies (on right)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Debut on YouTube

I'm excited to share that I have made my first appearance on YouTube with my makeup routine.  After watching all makeup artists and gurus on YouTube, they've all inspired me to follow their footsteps.  I've spent plenty of time watching other artists apply and review a ton of cosmetics and have learned a thing or two from them.  Since this is my first video, I know I have much improvement.  I plan on making more videos with different formats and layouts until I'm satisfied with a certain video style.

For now, click here to watch my video and enjoy.  Suggestions are appreciated :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

HAUL: Makeup & Other Beauty Products

It's been a while since I've blogged.  My (lame) excuse is that I've just been completely lazy & have been uninspired with some of my cooking last week.  But, I've accumulated a lot of items in the past few weeks that I wanted to share with all of my viewers.  I tried doing a YouTube video last Friday while my husband was out of town and my daughter was in school.  I did roughly 5 takes & realized I'm not meant to be in front of the camera.  Just doing a small introduction to the video was painful to watch.  I'll try a different approach some time soon where I'll just do a voice over.

Anyway, the following products that I'll share below are from Ulta(1), and

If you are a happy consumer of any of these products, please share your experience with it.

(1) From L to R: John Frieda Root Awakening Nourishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner for Dry Hair, Benefit Cosmetics B. Right It's Potent Eye Cream, 2 Benefit Cosmetics freebies, OPI nail polish in DS Glow & Melon of Troy, Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lipgloss in Tipsy.
*I purchased the eye cream just so I can get the sample of the Cha Cha Tint which I'm pretty psyched to try.  With the Tarte lipgloss, I was suppose to get a Deluxe Sample of Maracuja Oil which I assume the store ran out of.  Instead they gave me another Benefit sample which is the skincare So Radiant.  I heard great things about the maracuja oil so I guess I'll have to purchase it next time I step into Ulta.

(2) From L to R: NYX Eye Glamifying Set, NYX Blush Set in Pretty Natural, NYX Haute Jersey- Leopard Couture Set
*I purchased these items on because it was one of their special deals.  If you itemize these products, you definitely are saving 40% or more when purchasing them on this website.  With the eye set, it came with the Provocateur Boudoir Mascara, Collection Noir Liquid Black Liner, Collection Noir Skinny Black Liner & Slide On, Glide On, Stay On & Definitely A Turn On Water Proof, Extreme Shine Eye Liner in Black Sparkle.  Annoying that the name of this product is long but that's what's on the pencil.  With the blush set, the 3 blushes are Mocha, Angel & Mauve.  My last item of the bunch is this leopard makeup palette that screams Jersey girl (which I am- well I'm from Jersey but definitely not a "Jersey Shore" Jersey girl if you get my drift.)

When you open the book, there are 24 eyeshadows on your left with 4 eye applicators & a mirror on your right. 

When you flip the mirror, you get another mirror but on the left side.  On the opposite side are 2 lip glosses, 4 bronzers & 2 blushes.  This palette will come to use whenever I want to head down to Bar A or DJais.

(3) From L to R: The New Black Runway- Color Barometer 8-Piece Nail Polish Set, Sephora Collection Marbling & Dotting Nail Tool, Josie Maran Made with Love Kit, Korres Goddess Lip Collection
*The nail tool was on sale online and lately I've been purchasing nail polishes as if I was a kid in a candy store.  A new tool deserves new polishes to go with.  I had a sample of Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil & wanted to try other products of her line.  Korres is a Johnson & Johnson product which my sister works for.  She has a couple Korres makeup products & is happy with them.  I hope I can be happy with these.