Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NOTD: China Glaze Stella

Have you ever stumbled across something in your stash that you had absolutely no memory of? That's how Stella was for me. It's a lovely color but not the type I typically pick out for myself, the paint on the bottle had been worn away as if it had been hiding out for quite some time, and I had absolutely no memory of purchasing the color or of wearing it, which is really unusual for me; even if I don't remember where I got some of my oldest polishes, I'll recall seeing the bottle and using the color. Not so with Stella. After some digging, it looks like this was released back in 2009 with the Retro Diva collection!

Stella is purple-fuchsia metallic shade with some micro-shimmer scattered throughout. It isn't a duochrome, but it does have wonderful depth that gives it a multidimensional feel. It hasn't worn very well-- it developed a few chips only hours after application, and now on the second day I'm seeing significant tip wear-- but I can't tell if that's because it is an old polish, or if the old China Glaze formula has been improved upon since this was made in 2009.

My camera was having trouble capturing the warmth in the color; it's much more of a raspberry color, and much less violet than in the pictures. So strange!

I'm excited to have found a beautiful color that I didn't know I had, but am still curious as to how I got the shade. It could have belonged to my mom, or been a gift, or maybe I just picked it up myself and never wore it. At any rate, the chips are kind of a bummer but it's a pretty enough color that I am positive I'll find myself reaching for it again!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bridesmaids' Makeup and A Wedding!

Hi guys, I have a pretty exciting (for me, at least) post today! It's a long one, and I probably should break it up into two parts, but... I'm not going to. It's about makeup, but it's also about a really awesome day, so I hope you all enjoy hearing about it! A friend of mine got married yesterday, and I helped out with her bridesmaids' makeup! I met my friend (let's call her by her nickname, Tabouli) at work when I started my current position as a bridal consultant. Since then she has left the job and moved to another part of the bay area, but we still keep in touch! A couple of months ago she had a bad makeup trial and decided to do her own makeup, but still wanted someone there to help out her bridesmaids with their makeup, since a couple of them rarely wear anything on their faces. She asked if I would help, and I said yes!

I'll admit, I was really nervous about how this would go. I have done makeup on friends for fun, but I haven't done anyone else's makeup in about a year. I read up on wedding makeup tips and watched a few YouTube tutorials to get some ideas, and also watched with an eye towards what techniques (eyeshadow and blush placement, eye lining styles, etc...) lend themselves to people with faces other than mine! Tabouli reassured me that two of her bridesmaids could do their own makeup if push came to shove, and I figured that me being there to help couldn't make the situation *worse*, so away we went.

My friend (um, er, I don't have a good nickname for her and I'm not sure if she wants to be named on The Internet, so let's call her The Enforcer) and I got to the reception venue, where we were getting ready, at 7:30 in the morning. Nobody was there yet... But then when they did arrive, things got crazy! I have never been in a bridal party, so it was interesting to see how much there is to do the morning of a wedding. All four bridesmaids ended up wanting me to do their makeup, so I got started right away while The Enforcer helped the hair girl do hair.

Tabouli had requested neutral colors, and showed me a couple of pictures of soft smokey eye looks, so I stuck to that. I also focused on trying to bring as much depth to the face as possible so the girls wouldn't look too washed out in photographs. All of the girls were really nice; I'd met a couple in passing when they'd come into the shop with Tabouli for alterations appointments or to try on bridesmaid's dresses, but this gave me a chance to get to know them a bit better. They all graciously allowed me to take a few quick snaps of the finished look and post them here for you guys to see.

Here's how it worked: I had asked Tabouli to make sure all the girls had their own foundation, since I knew I wouldn't have anything to match them. A couple of them had their own that they brought, and the other two went out and purchased Revlon Colorstay (which I have used before and like, so good pick, Tabouli!). You'll notice a couple of the girls are wearing false eyelashes; they were applied by Tabouli's hair person who also does makeup professionally.

I had a few main goals. First and most important, I wanted Tabouli to like how they looked! Second, I wanted the girls to like how they looked, which meant I tried to keep it natural enough so they'd still recognize themselves and not be completely uncomfortable the whole day. Third, I wanted the look to last as long as possible. I used Benefit's Stay Flawless 15 Hour Primer on all of the girls as a base, followed by their foundation, then a bit of Tarte's Smooth Operator Finishing Powder. On the eye and brow area, I used NARS' Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base and Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in 15 on top of that. Either of those products on their own hold up really well on me, but together that stuff is TOUGH. As for eyeshadows, I ended up reaching for the original Naked Palette a lot. I also used some matte shades from my Tarte holiday sets, a few of my Inglot colors, etc... I ended up using my NYX blushes on most of the girls (in addition to other products), between Taupe, Raisin, and Red I had a good matte shade for all of the skin tones and undertones in the group! In service of privacy, the girls will be referred to as Bridesmaid 1, etc...

Bridesmaid 1! This was one of the two girls who never wears makeup, the bride's sister, and the second girl I did. Isn't she cute? When I saw her at the reception she told me she'd gotten compliments from her family on her makeup, and that she was also happy with it herself. She said everyone knows she doesn't wear makeup and told her that she still looked natural, and like herself. Not gonna lie, I may have teared up. Sure, I was a glass of two of champagne in, but it was really nice of her to tell me!

Here is Bridesmaid 2! She was the other bridesmaid who isn't used to wearing makeup, and the very first girl I worked on! Lucky for me, she is incredibly nice and really helped me feel more comfortable. I was very nervous starting off, but I think we were both happy with how things turned out!

Bridesmaid 3! She was the last girl I worked on; by now I had my routine down, we got through this relatively quickly! She was also a bit more used to wearing makeup, so I asked what she usually does and kind of did a variation on that. Isn't she adorable?

Bridesmaid 4! She actually helped me out quite a bit by getting her foundation done herself, and letting me just do her eyes, cheek, and lip! We had time, but it was nice to have those extra few minutes to get myself ready and help out with everything else. Love her smile, and I have to say, I like that lipstick color on her a lot more than I like it on myself!

Don't worry, I stayed busy the rest of the morning even after everyone's makeup was finished! Remember guys, I'm also a bridal consultant, so I kind of fell into that role as the girls were dressing and helped with a stuck zipper, safety pinned a bodice whose lining was flipping forward, showed the girls how to fluff the bride's train, helped the bride position her veil, etc...  At one point I was even hanging on to the rings! THAT was nerve-wracking! And don't think The Enforcer was any less busy. She was helping with hair, steaming the dresses, keeping everyone on time, making sure the first look really was the FIRST look...! One of the boys broke their boutonniere and she had to DIY one last minute using extra foliage from one of the centerpieces upstairs in the reception area.

This is Tabouli while she was finishing up getting ready! She did her own makeup, although The Enforcer forced her (this is not an exaggeration) to let me put a bit more bronzer and blush on her. I snapped a quick picture just so she could see that it photographed well, and wasn't as much as it looked like up close in the mirror.

So, there was one kerfuffle... The Enforcer and I thought the girls were coming back to the room post-photos before going to the church, so we waited for them. Turns out, they'd already left. And there was bad traffic. We made terrible faces as I got real-time updates from my boyfriend "The processional has started... Tabouli walked down the aisle... The vows have begun."

These were the faces we made as we realized we weren't going to get there in time.

We darted in just in time to see them kiss, and then it was back to the reception venue! I knew a lot of people at the wedding. A lot of my friends from work were there, The Enforcer brought her bff who I also know and love, and another of my work friends brought her bff who I'd never met before but who was also a lot of fun. We had a whole table to ourselves except for one other couple who seemed really uncomfortable around us... Oops :( Sorry guys! Hopefully we weren't too weird for them.

Me, Tabouli, and The Enforcer
After our one normal photo with Tabouli, The Enforcer kept thinking of weird pictures she wanted us to take. So here you guys go: 

She was pretending to be our adopted child

The Enforcer as an Evil Puppeteer

Reverse Prom; I'm channeling the possessive boyfriend, John is trying to be the oppressed date.
John, by the way, was the life of the party. Everyone knew he meant business when he started rocking out on the dance floor to Call Me Maybe, stone cold sober. His title as Dancing King was cemented when it turned out he knew most of the moves to Thriller... He was such a good sport, despite most of the photographers probably thinking he was our gay bff. 

And here are some pictures I got from the reception itself. We are goofballs.
The Enforcer realized she still had the garter in her purse during the reception... Oops.

My friend Vector pretending to be the T-Rex that she'd just colored. They had an extra coloring book from the kids' tables and figured we were the table most likely to use it... CORRECT.
There was a photo booth, too! 
The big group shots just ended up as chaos, and at the far left is the rookie attempt John and I made. Not very creative.
 These are the good ones: Left, John as pirate pharaoh, me as Space Fireman (oh the irony). Notice our take on American Gothic at the bottom. Middle, John and Vector's boyfriend tried to have a little bro-time, but Vector suggested we photo bomb them. halfway through. Right, a slightly more successful group shop.

So... VERY long story short (thanks for bearing with me guys, kudos if you made it through), it was a really fun day! I want to thank Tabouli SO MUCH for having the faith and confidence in me to let me do her bridesmaids' makeup. It was such a rewarding experience and I learned a lot from the opportunity.

Thank you Tabouli, we all love you, and congratulations! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils in Ether and Desperation

Hi Guys,

I picked up a few new things as a birthday present to myself back in June, and my haul included a three of Urban Decay's new 24/7 Glide-On Eye pencils! Their 24/7 formula has been a favorite of mine for many years, and I was excited to try out the new formula as well as some of the new colors! Today I'm showing you Ether and Desperation. Ether is a greyed purple with rainbow shimmer, while Desperation is a matte, medium-toned mushroom grey shade. To me, Ether is indistinguishable from UD's old eyeliner formula; it goes on true to color, is smudgeable for about 30 seconds, and then dries down quickly. Desperation is a little different; it seems that the matte shades are much creamier and more inclined to go on smudgey. It's perfect for creating a soft smokey eye, but I would recommend making sure you have a sharp point to get a sharp line with this one; you may even have to go over the original line a couple of times to get very dark color from this one (although it isn't meant to be a dark grey). I don't mind the texture of this one, but if you are used to the firmer formula of the shimmer pencils, you may be disappointed by the texture of the matte shades in the collection.  The pencils are $19 a piece.

Here are some swatches; Desperation is on the left, Ether on the right. I've done a heavy swatch, one pass on the left, and then I smudged a second swatch to the right. Enlarge this to see that shimmer all up in Ether! Gorgeous.

In the following pictures, I'm wearing Desperation on the top lash line, and Ether on the lower lash line. Both were applied with relatively light pressure, and I smudged Ether lightly since I didn't want too much color. It's possible to get it as heavy as the swatch in the photo above.

Natural light:



And here's some indoor light:

Summary: I'm really happy wit both of these shades, although I could see how Desperation's texture could throw someone for a loop if they weren't expecting it to be as soft as it is. Neither one budged after application and I had no problem with the color fading before I was ready to remove it at the end of the day. They're both really wearable colors; Desperation definitely fills a niche in my collection, it's a great neutral daytime shade, and Ether adds a fun pop of shimmer without being too dark or bright.

Have any of you tried some of Urban Decay's new eyeliner shades? I'm happy with the three I picked up and have my eye on a few more as well! Hopefully I'll get to show you all the third color I have in the near future.