Review: Think Happy by Karen Salmansohn

Think Happy by Karen Salmansohn

Think Happy by Karen Salmansohn is such a cute book. One of those you’ll want to have lying around on your coffee table. It’s full of adorable illustrations and positive quotes that you can flip through to brighten part of your day.

Think Happy

I would highly recommend it as a gift. I could see myself browsing through this if I’m going through a tough time, and would even give it to a friend to help her cheer up.

Think Happy

Think Happy

On a random note, I’m now blond!

After watching a million videos and reading hundreds of articles (huge exaggeration here, obv.), I now know a lot more about hair than I did before.

At-Home Manicure: Tips from a Former Manicurist

Give Yourself an At-Home Manicure

Treat Yo’Self: How to DIY an At-Home Manicure

Tips from a Former Manicurist

Ah, yes. I used to do nails. Yes, I am Asian. Yes, Vietnamese. Yes, I know I am very cliched. Sorry ’bout that. But hey. Now I get to give you some tips on how to DIY an at-home manicure, right? You can save some money from those trips to the salon!

Disclaimer and side note: They’re totally talking smack about you.

Let’s just skip my whole sob story about my short career as a manicurist and what a horrible job that was, and get down to business shall we?

Here’s what you’ll need:

At Home Manicure Materials

  • Lotion and water in a bowl
  • Cuticle pusher or orange stick
  • Cuticle remover cream (optional)
  • Nail clipper (optional)
  • Base coat, nail polish, and top coat
  • Something to read or watch while you wait for the beauty godmothers to work their magic

Let’s get started on your at-home manicure

Start with clean nails. Wipe off any remaining nail polish with a polish remover. I like ones with acetone because they’re efficient, but they can also be very drying so whatever you prefer is fine, so long as it removes all the polish off your digits.

If you’ve got thick cuticles like me, you’ll need to soak your fingers in a bowl of water and lotion or cuticle cream. I just use lotion. To speed up the moisturizing process, I’ll even dab globs of lotion onto my nailbeds and let my fingers soak in more lotiony water. Sorry I didn’t have a more attractive bowl on hand. 😛

Hand Soak At Home Manicure

Then I take a cuticle pusher (I’m using Sally Hansen’s Push-n-Trim) to gently nudge my cuticles into my nailbed. It’s common practice to cut cuticles, but you should never do that because you might give yourself an infection. You have cuticles for a reason, which is to protect your nails and fingers. If you have excess dead cuticles, you can remove them with a cuticle remover cream.

Cuticle Pusher At Home Manicure

This Sally Hansen tool comes with a trimmer at one end. If you must, you can very very gently trim your excess cuticles. But be careful or you can catch some skin.

Cuticle Trimmer At Home Manicure

If you need to trim your nails, do so now also. I like to keep my nails short because keeping them long is just one more way to hurt myself. And also, how do girls even function with long nails? How do you do things, like life?

Anyway, then wash your hands with soap and water to remove any lotion or gel from your nails.

After Image for At Home Manicure

Get your polish on

When applying nail polish, you should always use a base coat, which will prevent chipping and staining, and keep your color lasting longer. I’m using essie Grow Stronger Base Coat.

Grow Stronger Base Coat At Home Manicure

To stave off chipping, apply polish with thin, even coats. You should never apply more than three brush strokes per nail. Gently place the brush at the base of your nail, just touching your cuticle, and stroke downward in the middle. Then stroke each side of your nail. Do up to three coats. This is an awesome video that also explains how to paint your dominant hand with your non-dominant one. It just takes practice but you can manage it perfectly, trust me.

I’m wearing my sister’s borrowed OPI before I have to return it to her this weekend. It’s such a fun color! I’ve been addicted to essie’s polishes, but was pleasantly reminded of OPI’s thick brush. It made for applying the polish a lot easier and smoother. This color was a bit streaky on the first two coats though, to be honest, so I had to apply a third.

OPI Nail Polish At Home Manicure

Once I’ve got my polish on, I like to let my nails dry for about fifteen minutes depending on how thick the polish went on (some colors need three coats). This is where having something to read or watch comes in handy.

Side note: I was finishing up Crown of Midnight, the second installment in Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, and it was de-lish. Made the whole waiting process in this at-home manicure much more bearable and guilt-free.

Then I will finish my nails off with a top coat. I’m using essie No Chips Ahead.

No Chips Ahead At Home Manicure

Again, let it dry for about fifteen to thirty more minutes. Yes, beauty takes time! Don’t be tempted to touch it! Don’t be tempted to do anything. I will be watching you. Just rest your hands on top of a surface and do not, do not touch anything. Seriously. Even if you know you’ll be “careful.” That doesn’t exist. It’s like freshly painted nails are a magnet for dents and scratches and fluffy dustbunnies and dog hair and potato chip crumbs. I DON’T KNOW HOW THOSE GOT ON THERE I SWEAR I WASN’T EATING ANY.

And I also hope you went to the restroom before you started. I warned you!

How to Give Yourself an At Home Manicure

After about thirty minutes, you should be good to go! Simple and easy, no? It’s the perfect way to treat yourself without splurging. I hope you try this at-home manicure yourself!

If you got excess polish on your fingers, you can take a brush dipped in some acetone to gently remove it. If you’re too lazy to do that, it’s okay, it’ll disappear once you wash your hands enough times. 😛

So I’m totally obsessed with essie’s beautiful shades right now. What’s your favorite brand of nail polish? Color? I’m totally into this Sugar Daddy. It’s so subtle and cute, and I woke up with a smile when I saw it first thing in the morning. Oh, the things that make me happy…

How to: DIY Ombre Hair at Home–no Bleach

How I get my DIY Ombre Hair starting with Asian-black roots to blond ends at home–without bleach.

DIY Ombre Hair

I never caught onto the platinum blond trend that looks so great on some Asian skin tones, but I could never quite picture on my own head. I always thought they looked amazing on other girls, and I would always be super jealous that I couldn’t pull off the look. My tan was just too splotchy for it, and I felt like the blond would highlight every dark flaw my mother was always pointing out about my skin tone. Then when ombre became super trendy, I thought maybe this was how I could go blond, and not have to commit to it at the same time, so I decided to try my hand at DIY Ombre Hair.

Before I splurged on this trend that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on, I wanted to try it myself. At Target one night, I happened to spot this L’Oreal Feria Ombre hair kit. I looove L’Oreal. It is my go-to drugstore brand for dupes when I want to try a new product without spending my entire month’s beauty budget on one item. L’Oreal always works for me–everything from their mascara to liquid eyeliner to foundation. So when I saw the DIY Ombre Hair kit, I didn’t think twice, and snatched it right up.

The thing about dying organically black Asian hair is that nothing works except bleach. I didn’t want to bleach my hair, and though I read that this hair kit has some bleach in it, as long as I didn’t have to worry about bleaching my strands directly, I was okay with that. (Plus I was too lazy to figure out how to actually bleach it and then still have to apply color–really, the whole process boggles my mind.)

I didn’t think the ombre hair kit would work, but the worst that could have happened was that my hair didn’t change colors at all. Seriously, I’ve tried some “blond” kits that did absolutely nothing. So I wasn’t expecting much with this. Much to my surprise, the first experiment went so well that I decided I wanted to go even lighter! And I love it.

Disclaimer: If you have never gone blond, at first, you will be shocked. And then you’ll get used to it. And then you’ll want more.

Now, onto the DIY Ombre Hair.

The kit comes with:

  • Shimmering Conditioning Permanent Color Gel
  • Developing Cream
  • Shimmer Bleach Powder
  • Conditioner
  • Panted Brush

Hair Dye Kit

This “patented brush” at first sounds really pretentious. Like, what’s so special about a brush? Well, if you’ve dyed your hair at home before without one of these, you’ll know and truly appreciate the difference. It’s so much easier to apply the hair dye to your strands evenly with this thing.

Hair Dye Brush

Mix the shimmering powder into the developing cream bottle, cap and shake. Then squeeze in the gel color treatment (in the tube), cap and shake. Then when you’re all shaken up, snip the tip of the pointy cap (really take a pair of scissors to it. The perforated twist-off part will produce a tiny, frustrating hole that will have you squeezing the bottle with so much power, you might hurt yourself).

Hair Dye Formula snipped

I tied my hair up into four ponytails according to my layers and the style I wanted my DIY ombre hair to be, which was a gradual color change from layer to layer. You might want a gradual color change from top to bottom through the whole mass of your hair, but I like my layered color look. It’s really up to you, but if you want my look, split your hair into four different pony tails before you start applying.

Hair Tied Up in 4 Sections

Then squeeze a moderate amount onto the brush and start applying to your hair.

Dye on Brush

I began with the ends of my hair and moved up to my roots, starting with the bottom layer. I would recommend waiting about five minutes before moving onto the next layer, but I went ahead and started on the next layer immediately. The result was still a gradual change. With each layer, I always applied to the ends of my hair and moved up to my roots.

When my bottom layers were saturated with hair dye, I used the excess and brushed the brush lightly through my top layers and bangs. I did not soak my hair with the dye on my top layers because I wanted them to remain black.

Then I got rid of the smelly chemical things, and threw all my hair kit away (I debated washing and saving the brush, but it was too messy to bother with), and found a book to read for forty-five minutes. The results vary for some–and the instructions recommend testing a strand for twenty five minutes, and then leaving it on in increments of 5 until you achieve the desired color, up to forty-five minutes. But since I knew my hair was resistant to lightening, I did the full forty-five minutes.

Then I rinsed, rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed some more. I used the shampoo/conditioner they provided, which is actually a very rich, moisturizing formula, about three times, and then kept rinsing.

Rinse, rinse, and repeat.

Usually it takes me like a week to wash out the hair dye smell from my hair, but Husband and I went to the sauna that day and I showered about six times (no lies). The smell was gone by the time we got home. Do you need another excuse to spend a whole day at a spa?

And here’s what it looked like.

DIY Asian Black Blonde Ombre Hair

Asian Black Blonde Ombre Hair

Asian Black Blonde Ombre Hair DIY

You can see that my top layers and roots remained black.

What do you guys think of this ombre hair color trend? Cute? Or too much like you ran out of hair dye? Haha. I think it’s the perfect way to go drastic without making a huge commitment, which is perfect for a commitment-phobe like me. I hope you guys try this DIY Ombre Hair! It’s easier than you think, and you’ll love the way it freshens and brightens up your face, hair and overall appearance. Let me know how it goes!

Hour by Hour Review of NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream


For the sake of science, I present to you my hour by hour review of Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream

I wore this lipstick and then took pictures pretty much all day. You know. For research.

But seriously, it was super fun to do this hour-by-hour review of Nyx Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Cream.

First off, the color I’m wearing is Montecarlo, a deep blue-based red color that I believe will look good on any skintone. It’s difficult for me to find a lipstick that won’t wash me out and won’t make my teeth look like it’s been bathed in coffee (which it has been every morning for the past 15 years of my life). This blue-based red lipstick is perfect because it makes my teeth look whiter and really brightens up my face.

I also have this Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul, which I’m still not sure looks good on me, but you can take a look here yonder. I honestly think maybe it’s time to accept that pink isn’t the color for me, at least not on my lips. Since I have a darker undertone, I’ve discovered that darker lipstick shades brighten up my face while paler versions wash me out. Weird how that works.

You can see how much red lipstick brightens up my face while pale pink…doesn’t.

So on to the review. This is what it looked like almost immediately after application.


It goes on butter smooth, and has a floral scent to it that I really love. Most girls have said they don’t like the smell, but if you don’t, it goes away after the lipstick dries and then you don’t even notice it anymore.

I love that it has lipstick qualities but goes on like a gloss. The wand makes it super easy to create a precise line, and I honestly hate lipliners so there ya have it. This thing was made for me.

After application, I would recommend waiting at least one hour before eating or drinking anything so it has proper time to set and dry. It will glide on a little glossy, and be totally not matte, but don’t worry. It will mattify once it sets, and you’ll look absolutely gorgeous, dahlin’.

If the lipstick is allowed to dry properly, it doesn’t transfer and is totally kiss proof and husband tested. Also, it will last allllll day. No lies. Here’s the proof.


I wore this to watch The Jungle Book with husband, so I didn’t eat or drink anything during the three hours. It actually prevented me from dropping $20 on popcorn, which I always have at the movies. Not only did it make me feel gorgeous, this lipstick also had me saving money and eating less junk food. Win win.

Afterwards, we went to eat at a burger joint in Burbank. I had a salad and a shake, and let’s be honest, I’m not very careful when I eat. And I don’t feel like I should have to be because what is life if I can’t even eat like a pig in front of my own husband?

Anyway, here is what it looked like. You can see some minimal fading, but the color is still mostly there.


I reapplied and touched up a little after we ate, and then went about my day. I didn’t really care to touch it up after that because we didn’t eat again. This was the same day I made those DIY Citronella Bug Repellent Candles, so I was quite busy.

Before taking off my makeup and getting ready for bed, I took another look at the lipstick. And it was still looked as good as if I had just applied it!


One thing to note, however, is that after hours of wear, the lipstick does start to dry and flake off. Not a lot. Just a speck here and there. But this was after a whole day of wearing (10 hours!) so I think this lipstick stands up pretty well to any busy lifestyle.

My favorite thing about this NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream is that I don’t have to worry about it transferring when I’m eating or drinking. I sip water and coffee all day. I hate seeing lipstick stains on cups, especially since I love wearing darker colors. This lip cream doesn’t leave a nasty residue, it lasts all day, and looks gorgeous on everyone. I’m not sure I’ll even buy another type of lipstick again. (But who are we kidding, amiright, makeup addicts?)

Best part? It’s only $6/tube. I’m heading back for all the other colors. Maybe I’ll see you there.

A Swimmer’s Guide to Caring for Colored Hair

Swimmer's Guide to Caring for Colored Hair

Guilty confession: I don’t care for my hair as much as I should. Then again, my mantra has always been “It’ll grow back!” when it comes to my locks. I don’t stress over my tresses, know whatahmsayin’?

BUT being a swimmer and someone who dyes her hair (on occasion, when I get bored, which is the status quo actually), I realize that I’ve been putting my hair through a lot, and I need to take better care of it. So this Swimmer’s Guide to Caring for Colored Hair is really more for me than for anyone, but here you go anyway. You’re welcome, haha. ;P

Monthly Care Tips

Every month, I like to trim my bangs and layers. Yes, I do them myself. No I don’t really care if my hair is uneven, so if you do care, then of course have a professional do it. In my own experience, hairdressers have never been able to get my layers just the way I like them. Then I have this gut-wrenching buyer’s remorse because I spent money on a service that I regret and don’t like and I get upset and I’m hit with crippling anxiety over my shopaholic tendencies. It’s just an overall bad ordeal. So I’d rather do it myself.

ANYWAY though, less about me and more about hair. Here’s how I trim my bangs:

1 Hair bangs cut before

  • Clip back the top half of my bangs

2 hair bangs cut clip back top layer

  • With a hair razor, make chopping vertical motions across my bangs at a slant

3 hair razor

4 cut first layer of bangs

  • Unclip the rest of my bangs

8 let down a layer

5 cut first layer scary eyeball

  • With a hair razor, make chopping vertical motions across my bangs at a slant

6 after first layer

  • If needed, I twist a few strands in my fingers, and chop at it (taking my time!) to bring out some texture

9 cut some more

  • Remember: Go slow! You can always chop off more but you can never un-chop. Despite my prayers, I have not yet been given Command-Z for life
  • Another tip: Even though it’s healthier to cut your hair when it’s wet, I don’t bewetten my bangs when I trim them. Every time I do so, I always end up looking like a dork because hair stretches when it’s wet and I always accidentally cut more than I should. Thus, I live with my hair being dry while I cut it and risk the split ends. However, my bangs grow way way fast (because I like my chicken and protein yo) so I’m constantly trimming them anyway

10 style with sebastian craft clay

Then I style it with Sebastian Craft Clay.

11 style with sebastian hair clay

12 after

I’m not going to tell you how I trim the rest of my hair because to be honest, I can’t really see what I’m doing. I just keep doing it until I like the way I look. But if you are thinking about cutting your own hair, I highly recommend Secret Life of a Bio Nerd’s video on how to do it. Because she’s like the McGuyver of DIY.

Weekly Care Tips

Every week, I apply a coconut oil mask. I’ve siphoned my coconut oil into these smaller travel bottles to make them easier to use. So here’s what I do:

  1. I put a quarter-amount into my palms, rub-a-dub-dub until it’s warm, and then comb through my hair.
  2. Repeat as necessary until my locks look like Goldilocks’s locks.
  3. Then I wrap my head in a towel and wait it out for about an hour.
  4. To speed up the process, I’ll either heat up the towel, or just blast my head with a blowdryer. But usually I’ll just relax with a book or something.
  5. Then I wash it off as normal. (Warning: your tub will be greasy with oil for a week afterwards.)

Daily Care Tips

14 after argan oil

Wear a hair cap in the pool: It is absolutely necessary to wear a hair cap when you swim. My coworker didn’t want to wear one because “What if I meet someone cute?” No, no, no. Everyone looks like an alien when they’re swimming. Besides, you’re there to work out, right? (And also, if you look cute while you work out, you’re probably not doing it right. Or maybe that’s just something I tell myself to make me feel better, idk.) So just get over it and buy a hair cap. Unless you want your hair to be dry and brittle from the chlorine.

Usually I will pull back my hair into a pony tail, then hit the shower. Once it’s soaking wet with non-chlorine water, I put on my hair cap and tuck my hair into it. Since my hair has already absorbed the fresh water, it won’t be too thirsty once I hit the pool, and I reduce the risk of having it absorb any chlorine water.

I recommend a silicone swim cap because they’re easy to rinse with non-chlorine water afterward, and then wipe with a towel. Anything spandex might smell moldy if you’re not super careful, and of course doesn’t last as long as silicone. I love this hair cap because it’s big enough to accommodate my large head plus my medium-length hair, plus it has earmuffs for my ears. Which is a whole other bane of existence if you’re a swimmer, but I won’t get into that in this post.

Rinse thoroughly: Of course, it’s impossible to keep chlorine completely out of my hair, so afterwards, I make sure to rinse THOROUGHLY. I don’t use shampoo on it because shampoo only dries it out and exacerbates my scalp. Then my head overcompensates by becoming super oily and I have to wash my hair more often and it becomes a vicious cycle. Sometimes I will use a conditioner, but for the most part, I just try to rinse it out as much as possible.

Use leave-in conditioner or BB Cream for HairThen after my shower, I will brush some conditioner into my hair while it’s wet, and leave it in. When I first saw this BB Cream for Hair by Pantene Pro-V at Target, I was like, really? REALLY?? But at that point my hair was so damaged and dry that I was desperate to try anything to revive it back to life. And it actually works! It makes my hair extra smooth and moisturized and soft. It actually helps to texturize my hair as well, but I have very boring, fine, super-straight hair and I’ll take any texture I can get.

Apply argan or coconut oil: Just putting a dime size amount in my palm, I’ll rub some oil into my hair to de-frizz and keep it smooth and soft. You can use coconut or argan oil. Start at the ends and move your way upward, but stay away from the roots to avoid making your hair look greasy.

13 argan oil

Avoid heat: This is a hard rule for me to follow because I swim in the morning before going to work and my mom always said if I go outside with wet hair I’ll get sick. But it’s better to avoid putting further stress on your hair. If I can, I’ll let it air-dry.

One of the toughest things though is that I do like to curl my hair, which I usually do with a straightener. However, I’ve been trying to do more overnight, heat-less curls on days that I don’t swim.

It all sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. Plus, it all depends on how my hair feels. If I run my fingers through it and notice that it’s dry and brittle, then I’ll put some extra care into it. I’m lucky that, after all the terrible things I do to my hair, it’s actually kept me pretty happy with how strong and resilient it’s remained. So thank you hair! I vow to take better care of you from now on. I hope.

How I Packed for My Summer Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, Husband and I took a trek to San Diego to celebrate his birthday! We stayed at the Hotel Indigo in the Gaslamp Quarter District, since my friend recommended it and she goes there almost every weekend. Of course, the first thing on my mind when I was planning the trip was, WHAT DO I WEAR?

When I go on vacation, I tend to over-pack. But since we weren’t flying and I didn’t have to worry about weight and size and whatnot, I went all out. Hey, you never know what you’re going to get into, right? So this was how I packed for my summer weekend getaway.


Daily Makeup Products

Moisturizer: I like my Ponds Rejuvenes moisturizer, which never lets me down. It’s light but thirst-busting, and has never caused a breakout. BUT I decided to bring along my Dr. Jart’s BB cream, which I still have from my subscription with Birchbox. It’s also pretty light and provides a small amount of coverage, which is perfect to go beneath my foundation.

Foundation: I am in love with my new Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation, which I’ve been wearing for the past few weeks (and which is also overdue for a review!). This thing is magical, lasts up to 12 hours, has a strong SPF, and provides excellent coverage. It also has a matte finish, and I’ve noticed that I don’t get as oily as I usually do with other foundations, even my much-loved MAC Pro Longwear.

New Foundation Update Tarte Amazonian Clay

Blush: I used to not care for blush, but then I actually started wearing it and realized how different it makes me look. It definitely brings out my cheekbones and makes me look not-so-washed-out. PLUS since I’ve been wearing it, that co-worker has stopped telling me I look tired (all the time!). So I must be doing something right. 🙂 I love the blush that came with my Victoria’s Secret pallet (which I’ve had for years. I KNOW, not good! But I didn’t even use this thing that much until recently, so I think I get a free pass here. Or I’m going to give myself one anyway). Sadly, it’s since been discontinued, so I’m trying to cherish it as much as possible.

Lip Gloss: I have so many that it’s hard to pick one. My favorites are Victoria’s Secret lip glosses, which are moisturizing and can last almost all day.

Makeup Remover, Face Wash and Scrub: I like to take off my eye makeup at night with Vaseline. Just rub some on, then wipe off with a tissue. The hotel actually provided makeup remover wipes, which was awesome! Then I use Cetaphil to wash everything else off. (I accidentally bought the Gentle Skin one, which is like a watered-down version of the real thing, so I’m trying to use up all of it as fast as possible.) Then I finish with St. Ives Exfoliating Scrub for Blemish Control, which is excellent at keeping my acne at bay (so long as I eat and sleep right). I use this scrub morning and night, and it’s never done me wrong.

Now, CLOTHES. You might want to grab a cup of coffee and sit down for this part.

Friday night: since we expected to arrive there around 10:00pm, I knew we wouldn’t really get to do much. Husband and I decided we’d have dinner and then head up to the rooftop to enjoy the view. Since we’d be heading there straight after work, I wore my DIY striped curved hem dress (tutorial just out on Tuesday!) with my denim jacket and leopard print shoes from H&M.

DIY Striped Dress with Denim and Leopard Print Flats Outfit

Click for the dress tutorial!

We planned to spend all day Saturday at the San Diego Zoo, which meant I had a shoe dilemma. Between comfort and style, I’d honestly rather have comfort—though a nice combination of both is always the goal. Can you believe I don’t have a pair of cute sneakers? Well, except for my Chucks, but I couldn’t find a dress that goes well with them. So for once, I opted for shorts and a tank top (as opposed to my usual uniform of a dress and flats). And of course I had to pack 2 outfits, because you never know what your mood’s going to dictate.

Ruffle Crochet Top and Cutouts Outfit

Hawaii Tee and Black Shorts Outfit

Then Saturday night, we of course needed to eat dinner, as Husband is keen to remind me (sometimes I get so busy and excited about THINGS and TO-DOs that I forget about stupid things like food and eating. I’m kidding, okay? Don’t freak out—I eat more than I probably should, LOL). So for our night out, I switched out the comfy shoes for something less comfy, and put on my bodycon, ruched polka dot black dress. To conservatize it, I slipped my oversized DIY crocheted swimsuit coverup/sweater dress (tutorial here) over it, and then wore it with my pointy toe nude flats. (I ended up not wearing the sweater though, because the weather was perfect.)

LBD and Pink Sweater Dress Outfit

Click for the sweater tutorial!

On Sunday morning, we were just going to check out of our hotel and maybe do some sight-seeing before we headed home to be with our furry children. We thought we might hit the beach, which wasn’t on the original agenda. Luckily I always pack an emergency bikini (and have one in the car as well–hey, I live in Southern California). This emerald-color bikini top form Victoria’s Secret is one of my favorites, and I wore it with my ruched bikini bottoms and my go-to LBD swimsuit cover-up with crocheted detailing. (I made a similar version for part of the 10 dresses in 10 weeks series!)

Bikini, LBD, White Hat, Mint Sandals Outfit

It turns out we didn’t really have the energy or the mood to go to the beach though. Plus the weather wasn’t hot enough, so we just had breakfast and then went home. I wore my comfy floral fit-and-flare dress. It was perfect for the car ride home.

Fit and Flare Dress with Pointy Toed Flats Outfit

So here are some of my tips if you’re packing for just a simple getaway:

  • Bring versatile accessories — I only had my purse, which is neutral enough to fit any outfit
  • Wear versatile shoes — my pointy-toed flats gave the long-legged appearance of heels without the discomfort
  • Actually, just wear comfortable shoes — thank God for my Chucks for the all-day trek around the zoo on Saturday
  • Dresses are your best friend. They’re so simple because you can slip one on, add a purse and shoes and your outfit is complete

Any tips you want to give me? Hubz and I plan to take several more trips in the future, and I could do with any traveling advice!

New Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation and Daily Skincare Routine

This is going to be a long post because. Well. Makeup. Today I’m excited to share with you my new foundation and daily skincare routine!

Last week, I was thinking about going to buy some foundation aaaaat last. I normally use M.A.C. Pro Longwear in NW22, but for some reason thought I looked paler than usual so I switched to NW20. Turns out it was too pale, but I couldn’t justify another $40 on makeup in as little as a month, so I grabbed the drugstore imitation, Maybelline Liquid Mousse. The Nude Light is a perfect match for my medium Asian skin tone, and it does have an airbrush finish.

Foundation Battles

If you’re wondering about the Maybelline foundation, I would actually recommend it if you’re looking for a more affordable option, despite some things I’m going to point out. It’s cheap, for less than $8, and provides excellent coverage. Yes, you do get what you pay for, but at that price it definitely rivals some other expensive, “high-end” brands.

My only problem is that it makes my face so oily. After about 30 minutes, there’s a sheen on my nose that I have to blot or powder on days I’m not too lazy. And now that I’ve switched, I’m noticing a reduction in breakouts and redness on my skin. (This could be a number of reasons, such as eating less sugar, sleeping better, etc., but I really do suspect the Maybelline foundation. Because I haven’t been eating less sugar or sleeping better, haha.)

Anyway, I decided it was time to go back to M.A.C., but then my best friend and I had planned a beach day. I knew I was going to get tan, so I waited until afterwards. She’s also a beauty hoarder, so we decided to head to Sephora together because, let’s be honest, M.A.C. girls are not the nicest. And wow, what a difference. I mean I’ve been to Sephora before obviously, but I guess I’m so used to the M.A.C. experience that the excellent customer service at Sephora just blew me away.

My friend suggested I get my skin IQ’ed, which is apparently when they scan your face with New Technology and tell you what type you are. But I already knew I have combination skin, prone to getting oily, so I just asked for a color check. Asking for help anywhere is not really my cup of tea as I don’t want to be a nuisance, but everyone at Sephora is amazingly nice and deserves two thumbs and two big toes up.

So the rep, Elizabeth, took this cool handy machine thingy and placed it on my neck, cheek, and forehead. And beep beep boop boop, a bunch of foundation in my shade popped up on the screen. She gave me some recommendations, and I decided to try out two: the Tarte Amazonian Clay vs. Marc Jacobs’s new line.

For the first few minutes, they both kind of looked the same. You can tell right away that the Tarte foundation had a matte finish, while Marc Jacobs was glowy and had more coverage. So I walked around a bit with my friend while I decided, and then I came back to the scary mirror. I noticed that Marc Jacobs’s half of my face was caky and weird-looking as it creeped into every line and pore I had. I looked like I hadn’t slept in days. Tarte remained the same. Add that to the fact that Marc Jacobs’ foundation is $55 whereas Tarte is $38, and I knew what the clear choice was going to be.

New Amazoniian Clay Foundation

I’ve been wearing the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation for a week and here’s what I’ve noticed:

  • It has a beautiful matte finish that lasts literally the whole day (I’m up around 4:30am to swim, so the makeup is on around 7:30am. When I get home at 6:30pm, it’s still going strong). Well, except on my oily area (my nose), but it’s like NOTHING compared to what I experience with Maybelline or even M.A.C. Pro Longwear
  • It really does have a clay-like texture, but goes on smooth like buttah
  • Coverage is excellent, with an airbrush finish (which is something that drew me to it). Elizabeth from Sephora recommended I brush it on with a round, synthetic, Kabuki brush (which is my go-to already, so win win!)
  • It has not made me break out, and in fact since I’ve started wearing it I’ve noticed my acne has really calmed down. Except I’ve also added another step to my skin routine which I’m about to go into

Oh, and as an added plus, it has SPF 15!

New Foundation Update Tarte Amazonian Clay 

The only con is that it’s more difficult to wash off. Which brings me to my updated nightly routine. Let’s start with the morning, where I’ll usually scrub my face with St. Ives Exfoliating Scrub Blemish Control. I use this twice a day and it does an excellent job at smoothing away any dead things on my face (gross, I know.) and keeps my acne in check. (So long as I eat and sleep right.)

Daily Makeup Cleansing Routine

Then I’ll dab some of my Vernal Eye Repair Care Gel (read my review here) onto my lids, and then moisturize with Ponds Rejuvenes Cream. It’s recommended that you wait 5 minutes after moisturizing to put on foundation, so I use this time to get dressed. It’s also a good idea to change now because then I avoid having to acrobat my way into a small neckline and getting foundation stains everywhere.

Vernal Eye Care Repair Gel

So once my moisturizer has settled and everything, I start in on the foundation, eyeliner, mascara, and blush (the Victoria’s Secret palette I use has been discontinued 🙁 !!!). If I feel like it, I’ll powder, but since using the new Tarte foundation, I’m really satisfied with how matte my skin looks, and it even stays matte for most of the day!

Fast forward to nighttime. I like to take off my eye makeup with Vaseline because it’s not harsh and it’s moisturizing, and honestly when I get some into my eyes it doesn’t burn. I just rub some into my lashes and around my eyes, and then wipe it all off with a tissue. I used to just scrub my face with St. Ives at this point, but like I mentioned, the new Tarte foundation has proved to be more difficult to remove. So I wash it first with Cetaphil’s face cleanser (which I’m supposed to do anyway, but I’m busy, fine, lazy). Then I scrub with St. Ives again.

If I feel like I’m extra puffy, I will use my Vernal Eye cream again, but I skip it more often than not. I reach for my Argan oil instead, pump a few drops onto my hands, and rub-a-dub-dub. Then I massage it onto my face with outward motions starting from my noise and the middle of my forehead. The directions recommend to massage for a full minute, but I just do it until my biceps get sore. Working out while I beautify, yo.

Argan Oil for Hair and Face

I used to think using oil to moisturize meant I would break out, but nope! This Argan oil is actually quite amazing on my face, hair, and nails.

And that’s it! I hope you guys enjoyed this post. It’s super long. I need to take a deep breath now, haha. I’ll see you guys tomorrow for my next 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks tutorial, and don’t forget to check back next Monday for another beauty post.

Pinkalicious Lips

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Love That Pink

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Love That Pink

I think Revlon is my favorite drugstore brand for lip products. Seriously. (NYX is a second favorite, although that butter lip gloss has totally leaked all over my makeup bag, making it a non-win this week. Great product, just terrible packaging.)

Every lipstick or gloss by Revlon that I’ve bought has turned out great, has amazing strong pigment and long-lasting bragging rights. They also leave my lips soft and moisturized, even their lipsticks and some stains (although, let’s be honest, all lip stains are a little harsh and drying on your pucker).

After hearing so many good things about the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick line, I went to Target and hunted some down. It was a tough decision between some colors, most notably the Wink for Pink, Fuschia Shock, or Love That Pink (can you tell I like pink?).

Revlon Suepr Lustrous Lisptick Love that Pink

Revlon Super Lustrous Lispticks

I decided that the Wink for Pink might be too nude on me, which tends to make me look washed out or just simply doesn’t go well with my skin tone. I already have way too many fuchsia everything (and I also got a lipgloss in that color, which I will review next Monday. Hey! Treat yo’self, amiright?), so I ended up getting Love That Pink.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Love That Pink

The pigment is amazing, even on my annoyingly naturally dark lips (I can never wear certain colors I love). It lasts so long, that I even saw a hint of it after lunch when I usually would have eaten it off (or left it behind on my coffee mug lol). My favorite part is that it’s completely scent-less. I don’t mind certain perfumes or flavors on listicks, but for the most part they give me headaches.

The only shocker is that it is more on the red side than I had thought. Though, to be fair, it does look very close to what’s on the sticker.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Love That Pink

I just have to keep hunting for more pinkalicious goodness. 🙂

Lips as Red as Oranges

So this is what I really do during my lunch when I should be eating. Buying lipstick and then wearing it and taking pictures in my car while listening to K-ROQ and hoping a Vampire Weekend song will play before I have to go back to the office where I will immediately eat off said lipstick as a result of drinking too much tea in an attempt to not freeze to death.

Maybelline Sensation Royal Rush 735

Maybelline Color Sensational Royal Rush 735

I LOOOOOVE this Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Royal Rush (735). I’m not too big a fan of red lipstick, but when I saw this color, I knew I had to have it. It’s bright and–while you can’t really see it in the picture–has a bit of an orange tint. I really love how it brightens up my face in a subtle but also major way, if that makes sense. 🙂

Maybelline Sensation 735 Rose Rush

Maybelline Color Sensational 735 Rose Rush

The lipstick has a subtle perfume to it but it’s not overpowering like some other lipsticks I’ve worn. It’s actually quite pleasant in a surprising way. Like you’ll catch it when you smile or turn and a breeze picks up on it.

To be honest, most lipsticks and glosses don’t last long for me in general because I’m always snacking or sipping tea and coffee. But I wore this out on an impromptu walk with Husband, and more than an hour later it was still fresh and bright like I had just put it on. I have never been able to really test how long a lip product lasts on me, though, but I was happy when I got home and saw that this lipstick had stayed put.

Totally plan to wear this during an upcoming weekend to San Diego for Husband’s birthday. I can’t wait! Now…what to wear, what to wear…

Review: Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask

Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask with Orchid2Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask with Orchid

I guess I’ve just been into a lot of masks this month or something. Or maybe I’ve just been breaking out and desperate to keep it from getting worse. But anyway, I decided to give this Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask a try (and I did get it at a discount for my review).

Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask Cap Off2First off, it is a sulfur mask, so that’s something to keep in account when you realize how terrible it smells. It smells like…well, sulfur. Then again, it’s totally not as bad as how this Dead Sea Mud Mask smells, though that one was totally not expected which might have made it worse. The texture of this mask is similar to a hair clay that I use. It feels more like clay than anything. I washed my face, and then while it was still wet, I applied the mask to my face using a wet foundation brush. I coated it generously, then let it dry for about 15 minutes (even though the directions say 5-10 minutes, it took longer for the mask to dry since my face was wet). Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask Cap Off3

It was easy to wash and didn’t leave a sticky residue or anything like some masks do. No messy, no fuss. Just a straight-forward apply for 10 minutes, then wash off sort of thing.

Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask Cap Off

The next day, I did notice a reduction in the oiliness of my skin. I’m not sure if this is just my imagination, but it seems to speed up the healing process on some of my pimples. My acne is toning down a little, but I can’t tell if that’s because of the mask or maybe I’m just not as stressed out anymore since life has managed to ease into normalcy again. I’ll update you guys on whether this is worth it in the long haul, though from what I can see this is a great product and I would totally recommend it.

:: Overall Thoughts ::

5 out of 5
Weird sulfur smell to consider, though really not that bad
Easy to apply
Easy to wash off
Only 10 minutes
Would recommend