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.