Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving is the most magical time of the year for me because it was always a time to chill, enjoy great food, count my blessings, and laugh with my family and close friends. In contrast, most of my Diwalis (Indian festival of lights) have been spent taking mid-term exams and my Christmases have been spent in hotel rooms while on hectic vacations.

So here, I want to rant about what I'm thankful for in terms of beauty. Trust me, it's not just a joke! I feel that as a beauty community, we spend A LOT of time talking about our wish lists, our regretted products, how to cover up our imperfections, and so on. So I want to start a list of things I'm thankful for. Please accept this as me tagging you all to do the same. I can't say all these things at the Thanksgiving table as everyone will think I'm nuts, so I figure this is the place where it'll be appreciated. :-)

1. What are you most thankful for about the online beauty community? I'm thankful for the large and interactive beauty community we have. It wasn't too long ago when all I owned was a compact, a chapstick and mascara. And now, I've discovered not only how to apply makeup well, but also how to present a more polished me to the world, which I'm sure you've all experienced garners you the respect you deserve. When you take care of yourself, the world takes note. And this revelation was all thanks to you guys. Today, I'm floored to realize I have over 100 followers. Thank you all, I'm over the moon to be a part of such a wonderful community.

2. Which Cult Classics are you thankful for? For me, its MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation, MAC lipsticks, Revlon ColorStay foundation, and MAC Fluidline (which is now a part of my soul). I'm so happy that these manifestations of perfection exist, all to make my skin look beautiful, my lips look pretty yet moist, and my eyeliner to glide on even though I'm a shaking klutz.

3. Which Dupes are you thankful for? What would we do without dupes people?! First, dupe videos and posts are fun. Second, they are great way for beginners or those on a shoestring budget *cough me cough * to get both price and quality. My first dupe nirvana was achieved when I bought the duo fiber stippling brush from Coastal Scents. Aaaah it was heaven! Next, I want to get the complete eye brush kit from Sigma to dupe the MAC staples!

4. Which personal features are you thankful for? Instead of focusing on my flaws, I want to start being more thankful for the features that I do like in myself, and which, thankfully, just don't need that much upkeep. My little un-sung heroes are 1) my hair, which is soft, full and bouncy no matter how little attention I give it, 2) my nails, which are long thanks to my big hands, and 3) my big dark eyes, which give me so much room to play around with eye makeup!

So that's it for my beauty-related Thanksgiving post! I hope you all enjoyed, and please feel free to answer these questions in your own blogs, or post 'em in the comments below! I'll pretend to be sitting at a harvest table with you guys while we go around saying what we're thankful for!

Monday, November 23, 2009

In and Out #1

I've never done one of these before, but I've been mulling over what's in and out for me this month, so here goes. I wanted to call this post "tip of the hat, wag of my finger" (from The Colbert Report), but nah, too long.


Two days until Thanksgiving!! I am spending Thanksgiving at my parents' house with my cousins, sister, sister-in-law, and grandmother. My whole family is scattered far from each other with some living in various parts of the US, and others in places as exotic as India and London (yes London is exotic to me!)

MAC Romancin and To Swoon For: these pale and hot pink lipsticks have been my addiction all month. Both are from last year's holiday collections, but you can check out swatches here. The consistency is creamy and the pigmentation is wonderful. I call it my smile in a tube. :)

Finally getting the hang of where to put blush and contour: I realized that if I made a fish face and then try to smile, I'll know exactly where are my cheek's hollows. Freaking A took me all year to figure that out. I just have flat cheeks so I had no idea what was this 'hollow' thing everyone was talking about. By the way, I've been using Coastal Scents' six piece contour and blush palette to play around with contouring and blush. The highlighters in this pallete are nothing but chalk, so I certainly don't recommend them. But the 2 blush colors are fantastic and the contouring color is a universal brown, but nothing to write home about. I'd love to try out NARS Laguna next.

Going green: I'm getting more and more serious about going green. I've been buying organic fruits, which is not only safer for the environment, but they also taste amazing (I've eaten 3 organic apples in 1 day!). I've also started going to my local farmer's market. The idea there is to look around at what is the season's harvest and then figure out what you can cook from it. I remember as a kid my mom went to the farmers markets in India (there were no grocery stores in the '90s) brought home the seasonal items, and we'd eat whatever the Earth delivered that week. That's the real way to eat, and I really want to get back to it.


Skipping the gym...for more days than I care to admit. Man I was doing so well in the summer. Why oh why is it that darkness at 5 PM makes me lazy and want to sit on the couch all night and blog while my hubby watches documentaries?!

Getting zits for no apparent reason. It's wierd but as a blogger about skincare, I feel guilty and hypocritical when I break out. It's like here I am giving tips on how to prevent and treat acne and here I am having breakouts. I get so obsessed with why I'm breaking out. It's like I know too many treatments and theories, so its like a murder mystery when I get a zit. Could it be lack of exercise? End of term stress? Something in my diet? Something NOT in my diet? Arrrgh.

My obese laptop: 11 lbs, 17" 2006 Toshiba. Not sexy. There should be a cash for klunker laptops program. I'm giving this one more year, and then moving up to Apple heaven.

That's enough ranting for now. Please link me up to your ins and outs, or write 'em in the comments below!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Burt's Bees Radiance Day Creme

It's been a few weeks since I bought the Burt's Bees Radiance Face Sample Pack. Out of all the samples in this kit, I was most impressed by the Radiance Day Cream with royal jelly.

What it claims: "This quick-absorbing formula is light to the touch, but heavy in nutrients. Royal Jelly, one of nature’s most nourishing substances, is packed with 134 nutrients, including 17 amino acids, and vitamins A, C, D and K, as well as multiple B-vitamins, helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines and renew your skin. Bee pollen in the formula helps skin maintain its essential moisture and restore its natural radiance."

What I love about it:

Consistency: The total opposite of light formulas like Clinique Dramatically Different or Biore Dual Fusion, this stuff is thick and means business. Although I am acne prone and have combination skin, this impressed the hell out of me. This fall, I've been getting chapped, dry patches around my mouth. A few weeks ago, I applied the Biore Dual Fusion in the morning, and about a minute later, the white patches re-appeared. So I put the Burt's Bees on top the Biore, and instantly, my skin was DEEPLY moisturized. Throughout the day, whenever I touched my face, it felt baby soft and moisturized. Ever since, I've used this creme on a daily basis, and it has kept my skin soft and hydrated all day long.

Amazing under makeup:  Forget Strobe, forget Luster Drops. You have to try this moisturizer under your makeup. It made both my ColorStay foundation and Studio Fix Powder look more like NARS Sheer Glow. No joke. The moisturizer literally makes the foundation cling to my skin. This makes my makeup stay on all day, and even eliminates the need for setting powder! Just as the product claims, my skin REALLY did have a radiance. The light always catches the planes of my face without making me look oily. I think this aspect is my absolute number one reason for loving this moisturizer so much.

Non-Greasy: Although I've gone on and on about how thick and moisturizing this stuff is, it's not greasy. Sure, you can feel it on your skin all day, but its not greasy. Also, a little goes a long way. I only need 3-4 swipes on my cheeks, forehead, and mouth area. In fact, be careful you don't overapply. That will make you feel suffocated all day.

But there's always a but:

Not non-comedogenic: After using this stuff for several days, I did notice a couple of breakouts. I can't say for sure whether or not it was the moisturizer that broke me out, but I'm gonna mention it here for the sake of honesty. I've stopped using it for a few days now and my skin is recovering. Maybe for the acne prone or those with combination skin, this moisturizer be used sparingly. What I'm now doing is use this moisturizer for only half the week, and a lighter one for the other half. I've found this works well because this moisturizer really heals my skin, so I can go for a couple of days with a lighter formula and the chappyness hasn't returned.

No SPF: The day creme does not contain any SPF. I figure its not a big deal for me because I walk for 2 minutes to my office, and when I leave the office, its dark. But if you're someone who spends a lot of time outside, be warned that there's no SPF in this. I sincerely hope Burt's Bees comes out with a Radiance Day Creme with SPF someday.

Conclusion: I think Burt's Bees Radiance Day Creme is worth a purchase for me. It makes my makeup look flawless and keeps my skin hydrated all day long. My sensitive skin can't tolerate this much moisture for too long though, so I'm going to lay off of it for the weekends, and just use common sense in general. The non-SPF and tendency to break me out is a bit of a downer, but with a bit of caution, I think I have a powerful winner on my hands!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gray: Color Tag

Uinisan recently tagged me to do a color tag on GRAY. I took the liberty to interpret gray as inclusive of silver (isn't that just gray with a sparkle? sorta? kinda?) Here are some lovely grays around the house:

My favorite super dangly earrings. They amplify any outfit!

Italian glass necklace from my sister-in-law.

My favorite eyeshadow from the Coastal Scents 88 piece palette (3rd column, 2nd from top)

A great smoky e/s from the Coastal Scents 26 piece palette (1st column, 2nd from top).

Silvery-gray clutch for going out. I mainly use this at fancy Indian parties. I love Indian parties. Talk about getting your color on.

Burt's Bees Radiance Day Creme (complete review to follow!)

I tag these 7 lovely ladies, and the color is GREEN!

Thanks for stopping by! Do leave me a comment as they are always lovely to come home to! xoxo.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Hit Pan!

Eliza tagged me to list 6 items that I have hit pan on, and have or plan to repurchase. This can be makeup, skincare, haircare, bodycare or scent. Given that there are 5 categories, I'll do 2 makeup, and 1 each for the rest!

1. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation: even before becoming a beauty junkie, I knew this gem was a keeper. I've repurchased twice, and will continue to do so forever and ever.

2. C.O. Bigelow Lipgloss (Bath + Body Works): Genius. Great color, shine, taste, smell, applicator, everything. It's the Godfather of lipglosses.

3. Biore Ice Fighting Blemish Cleanser: lovely smell and highly effective at getting that squeaky clean face feeling. I love how it feels cold and tingly as I lather it up.

4. Organix Shampoo and Conditioner: my hair feels so thick, healthy, and shiny when I use this stuff. Love.

5. Johnson + Johnson Baby Lotion: great smell, cheap, super moisturizing, and even works on my face in a pinch because its so pure that it won't break me out (also I love smelling my hubby when he uses baby lotion.)

6. Scents: I've never repurchased a fragrance because by the time I finish a bottle, its been so long that I'm dying to try something new (I'm a serial monogamist with my scents. Wierd, I know.). But here are 3 scents I've hit "pan" on: Chanel Allure (feminine, enduring, romantic, garners LOTS of compliments), Lacoste (clean, smells high end, very preppy), Banana Republic Classic (clean, citrusy, perfect for daytime).

I tag all my followers to do this tag! Would love to hear from you guys!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nicole by OPI: It's Possible

I put on "It's Possible" from Nicole by OPI over the weekend. I wanted something shiny on my nails to counteract the not-so-shiny weather (eugh it was cloudy, cold and raining the whole time). Nicole by OPI is  just a little bit cheaper than OPI ($1 less at Target). The color range is nice, but not as diverse as OPI. I was pleasantly impressed by how thick and creamy this nail polish was--this picture was taken after just 1 coat! Also, the applicator is large enough that cover my nailbeds in 3 strokes (ok 5 for my massive thumb). I have tried two other colors by Nicole, and my overall impression is that its a high quality brand of nail polish, but with a narrower color selection (at least at Target, maybe there's way more out there that I'm not aware of). I will say that the one downside of this nailpolish is that the thick consistency makes application a bit streaky (especially for metallic shades), so apply with care. I try to apply a generous amount for each nail so that I can go over the streaks. Other than that, its a great nail polish--right up there with China Glaze, I'd wager.

What are your thoughts on Nicole by OPI? Are there other brands that you'd say are cheaper than OPI, but have great quality and color range?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Products I Regret Buying

The best thing about being a makeup blogger is that even my duds get some use. Here are the products I regret buying. I've chosen them based on poor/wierd consistency and quality rather than things like products that broke me out, because that can be very subjective.

MAC (gasp I know) Mineralize Satinfinish: the thick, gel-like consistency makes my skin feel suffocated and I always look mask-like, no matter how little I apply.

BareVitamins Prime Time primer (from Sephora): This feels very silicone-y, and made my skin feel suffocated. It didn't really help my foundation last longer anyway.

Maybelline Dream Mousse Bronzer: Although I love my Dream Mousse blush, the bronzer does nothing for me. Its just bits of golden shimmer, not much pigmentation. Maybe it matches my tan skin too much, but its not really a bronzer. More like a shimmer-er.

Coastal Scents Lip Smacks: at $2.95, I was tempted to amass tons of glosses. However, there isn't a lot of pigmentation, and its UBER shiny, so I find myself putting it on only to dab it off with a paper napkin. If you must purchase, avoid the shimmery ones because after a while, your lips end up with random bits of silver glitter and no color or shine. Not sexy. Lancome Pink to the Club: Got this as a gift for buying a perfume. This is too sheer for a lipstick, is not very moisturizing, and chunky glittery bits. 
Elf Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15: lame color, sucks the moisture outta my lips, and chunky glitter bits.

Lancome Color Design Quad: I got this as part of a gift for buying Miracle. There is very little color payoff, just makes my eyes look kind of shimmery with not much color.

Mary Kay Signature Liquid Eyeliner in Black: the nib is not at all flexible, which makes for sloppy lining. The consistency is watery, and there is no staying power.

Hope this helps you guys. Hey, a penny saved is a penny earned right?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pimples: signs of a deeper problem

Did you know that the location where you tend to get break out says a lot about what body part or organ is out of whack? Crazy right?! According to Dr. Gillian McKeith's "You Are What You Eat" (which is also a popular TV show on BBC), its true. Here's how it breaks down, and how you can fix it:

Forehead : Intestinal Area Affected

Get clean and regular with psyllium husk (see my post about it here)

Cheeks: Lungs and Breast Area Affected
Avoid dairy and red meats, take muellin tea, astragalus, evening primrose, echinacaea

Nose: Heart Area Affected
Take hawthorn, CoQ10, barley grass

Jaw: Kidney Area Affected
Take quinoa, dandelion tea, magnesium, and B complex

Shoulder: Digestive Area Affected
Try digestive enzymes, aloe vera juice

Chest: Lung and Heart Areas Affected
See cheeks. Also try to integrate lecithin granules into your meals

Upper Back: Lung Area Affected
Avoid dairy, sugars, peanuts, and have simpler, smaller meals. Try celery juice, muellin tea, astragalus, and germanium

Around the mouth: Reproductive Area Affected
Try the herb agnus castus

I primarily break out on my cheeks, so I am going to cut down on dairy, and I rarely eat red meat (only the occasional burger on weekends). With winter around the corner, I enjoy drinking herbal teas with lemon and honey added to them, so I might go get the herbs they've suggested this weekend.

The fine print: I don't have medical expertise. I am only quoting a page from Dr. Gillian McKeith's book to talk about how dietary changes can help clear up skin. Before trying any of these recommendations, talk to a nutritionist or physician. At the very least, read You Are What You Eat or leave me a comment below to find out the amount of each supplement you should take, and how often (I'll just look it up for you). Please implement these recommendations at your own risk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's in my Bag?

Hey guys, the lovely LotionsPotionsandMe (how cute is that name) recently interviewed me to find out what's in my makeup bag. The interview all about my blog's philosophy and what are the products I seriously cannot live without. There is a glass ball in the Hall of Prophecies with my name, and it says that I cannot live while Fluidline is not in my purse. So go check her out. Her blog is a wonderful place for honest reviews, interviews of other bloggers, and much more! She's a really sweet girl too, I loved chatting with her and e-mailing her my little rant. 

My name is Ashwini and I'm a beauty addict

I've reached a point where I cannot walk past a corner drugstore without going in and buying something from the ever-increasing wishlist I carry around in my head all day (see my widget in right side bar). I'm sure this is probably not the best place for finding group therapy to abstain from makeup purchases. Hell, this is more like enabler therapy. Oh well, I have plenty of ways to rationalize buying Revlon's Colorstay foundation.

1) It's a cult classic I've been wanting FOREVER.
2) I know its only been 1 day, but its LOVE. It's everything I ever wanted in a liquid foundation.
3) I didn't fall for any BOGO sales. Just went in, picked this up, and left.
4) My Studio Fix Powder Foundation is far from hitting pan, but a girl needs variety ok???

Sigh. I'll sit down now....**hangs head in retail shame**

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Affordable October Favorites

Coastal Scents 26 shadow blush combo palette ($19.95): this is a mix of shimmer, matte and pearl finish e/s and blushes. CS always delivers in terms of pigmentation, and this palette is no exception. For day time, a single swipe of e/s will give you a lovely sheer wash of colors all over the lids. Also, the multitude of purples and grays are so fall-appropriate. Finally, the 2nd blush from the left is an absolute staple. Having a pre-assembled palette really helps me explore colors I would't have naturally picked up by themselves.

Conair 2" ceramic hair straightener ($19.99): I've been happily using this baby for years now. It heats up in 60 seconds, has extra-wide ceramic plates, and a very handy removable comb is attached to it so you don't have to comb your hair sections anymore. LOVE it.

Elf Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder in Warm Tan ($1): Do not, I repeat, do not use this as a bronzer. It's just bits of coppery gold shimmer. So why is it a fave? I love applying this with my finger over a pink lipstick for the fall. It turns a matte pink into a coral-bronzey pink. I've also created a custom lip balm by mixing bits of this stuff with my Merle Norman Superlube (you can use Vaseline) and a bit of powder blush. Superb multi-tasker.

Elf Shine Eraser Blotting Sheets ($1): You all know what blotting sheets do, so I'll spare ya. This is a fave because its a shame to blow a lotta money on blotting sheets, so for $1, stock up!

Sorry it took me so long to post this! October just flew by!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review: Biore Skin Preservation Moisturizer

Good for summer, bad for winter. That should be Biore's disclaimer for the Skin Preservation Moisturizer ($12.99 @ Target), which is for "transitional skin", that is to say skin that is past teenage acne but not yet dealing with wrinkles. The bottle has a dual pump that dispenses moisturizer and SPF 30 separately. According to Biore, keeping the two fluids in separate chambers preserves each one's potency, but I'm thinking that might just be a marketing gimmick.

I must say, I adore this product's consistency and scent. It's kind of thicker than Clinique's Dramatically Different moisturizer, which allows the product to sink into the skin in like 5 seconds. The scent is a mild cucumber/soapy smell, which fades quite fast, so the experience of putting it on is nice, but you're not in danger of smelling like a cuke all day. Also, the SPF 30 does not make my skin look super white and goes on smoothly, not greasy at all. For the summer, this is drugstore perfection.

The first negative is is the tricky packaging. The dual pump does not initially dispense equal amounts of the two fluids. You have to 1) tap the bottle hard on a surface, and 2) pump 7-9 times before both fluids come out! Hello, that's a lot of wasted moisturizer! I put the excess into a an empty sample jar from MAC.

The second negative is that this does nothing for dry, flaky skin. Its already quite cold where I live, and my skin has gone from needing blotting sheets to being flaky dry (lucky me right?). I found that just a few minutes after putting on the moisturizer, I had dry patches around my mouth. Even two pumps right after a warm shower wasn't doing the trick. So its pretty simple, this is a wonderful drugstore moisturizer in the summer, but in the winter, go with something thicker.

Final grade: A-

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's on your Day-After-Thanksgiving Wishlist?

Black Friday (or the national Day-After Thanksgiving mega sale) is fast approaching! I'm planning to buy nothing but clothes and shoes, because believe it or not, I NEVER buy clothes except on massive sale days like Labor Day or Black Friday. My normal purchases are makeup and skincare items, so this holiday season, it's all about the clothes baby. Here's my drool list:

Victoria's Secret Boucle Sweater ($39) & Gap hoodie ($78)
Victoria's Secret Sweater Dress ($79) & Victoria's secret off-shoulder boucle sweater ($39)

Northface Down Jacket ($$$?) & Nine West leather boots ($119?)

I've left out the less photogenic stuff like leggings in all neutral colors, staple must-have blazers, and accessories like diamond studs. What is on your wishlist?And more importantly, who is financing it? ;)

Lovely & Kreative Blogger Awards!

I've been awarded the Lovely Blogger award by Computergirl, and the Kreativ Blog award by krystle. Thanks ladies, that's so sweet! I'm so grateful that my little rants are of some use and entertainment to you guys. And to make matters even more ego-fanning, I'm at 50+ followers! I think this calls for a haul, don't you? However I think my pocketbook might beg to differ, so we'll see.

I've nominate 15 buzz-worthy blogs for the Lovely Blogger Award, so go check 'em out and subscribe!

For the Kreativ Blogger award, here are 7 things about myself:
1. I love bunnies! My hubby emails me pictures of bunnies to perk me up.
2. I don't own a single OPI nailpolish. This must be remedied right away.
3. I want to learn to make my own soap one day. It just seems so cool and crunchy!
4. My favorite color is white. It's clean, minimalist, and makes me feel elegant.
5. I hate swimming in the ocean. I always think something is gonna bite me.
6. If I could move anywhere in the world, it'd be Isle of Skye in Scotland.
7. I'm totally addicted to BBC America. I can't get enough of Supernanny!

Last but not least, I nominate these 7 blogs for the Kreative Blogger Award:

I do apologize that several of these 7 blogs are quite popular already, so they're not exactly hidden gems. But I'm running outta hidden gems to showcase, and in any case, they are really fabulous blogs so I figure if you haven't heard of them yet, this is a good way to do so.

If you made it this far, thanks a BUNCH for sticking with me, and I'll be back with more posts very soon!