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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello 2012! Resolution Time!!


As I watch the CNN New Year's Eve special at my hotel, I realized that yep, it’s that time of the year again—time to make plans for the upcoming year! I like making resolutions because it forces me to reorganize my short-term goals and makes me face reality. I also like it because it makes me feel hopeful, as if whatever happened last year no longer matters.  Instead of looking back on the past like looking at the rearview mirror, we need to focus on the present. As we go through changes in life it’s always helps to make a list of things we need to focus on.

In 2012, I’d like to focus on improving the following things:

Focus on Career—the first 6 months of 2012 will be spent in a vigorous training program for my new job. I will be in Atlanta all by myself, so I won’t have a lot of distractions. I am 24 now; it’s time to take my job/career more seriously. I need to concentrate on getting through the training program (apparently it’s super competitive) and hopefully be relocated to a great city (i.e. Seattle or Irvine).

Spend Less—I literally have this on my resolution every year, yet I rarely get through a month without blowing my budget. I need to be more conscious of what I spend money on since I need to pay for everything myself now (Nathan and I used to split things when I lived in Boulder). I can’t run out and buy every limited edition eyeshadow palette every season. Things need to be streamlined. Let’s keep our fingered crossed that hopefully I’ll be better at it this year.

Relax—I don’t know if it’s my upbringing or what, but I’m probably one of the most negative people you’ll ever meet. I’ll be the first one to admit that nothing’s ever good enough for me. Things can always be done better. I realized how being so hard on everyone including myself has made me bitter and unappreciative. Things don’t wow me anymore. I’ve become so jaded that there’s little excitement in life. I need to relax and regroup. I’ve got a long road ahead of me; I need all the motivation I can get. I can’t afford to lose steam this early in the game.

Eat Healthily—I think I’ve got the exercise part down, but I need to focus on having a cleaner diet. I eat nothing but junk food, and you can totally tell that it’s not doing me much good. More fruits and veggies need to be added to my diet, and I need to cut out the majority of carbs and fats (Nutella will be the death of me). Hopefully when I see Nathan again in 6 months I’ll look like a million bucks.

Increase YT/Blog Quality—It’s simple: I need to learn how to edit my stuff to look more professional. My favorite Youtubers include Emilynoel83 and Pixiwoo, among many others.  I feel that there’s more credibility when the person sounds/look professional. I definitely need to work on that. Please let me know if you’ve got any tips.

Anyway, those are some of the major things I need to work on in 2012. It will be challenging but I’m up for it. Let me know what some of your resolutions are.

Happy New Year!! Cheers! May your 2012 be better than ever!


Tao

Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub

I'm sure many of you have purchased (or at least thought about purchasing) the Burt's Bees Citrus Facial Scrub after seeing Kandee Johnson mentioning it in several of her videos.

I did too. And I regretted it.

This was one of the PvP products I wanted to use up for the month of December...

Yeah, that didn't happen. I realized that every time I used it my face breaks out in giant cystic acne. I threw it away half way through because the plain sight of this brings out the monster in me.

This is what Burt's Bee's website claims:
Infused with refreshing Sweet Orange and Grapefruit Oils, this facial scrub removes dirt, oil and makeup. Formulated with Ground Almonds, Oats and Pecans to gently exfoliate while Sweet Almond Oil and Glycerin help moisturize your skin. It’s something to celebrate!

• Helps removes dirt, oil and make-up with a blend of Sweet Orange and Grapefruit Oils
• Exfoliates gently with Ground Almonds, Oats and Pecans 
• Helps moisturize skin with Sweet Almond Oil and Glycerin 

Product in action:
How it looks in the jar. It's a thick dry paste.
I use about a tablespoon for my whole face.
It's really dry y'all (practicing my Southern accent).
Add some water to it to make it thinner.
Start scrubbin'.
PROS:
--Affordability. You get a lot of product for a little under $8.
--Accessibility. You can pretty much find this at every health food store/drugstore.
--Scent. Smells exactly like pumpkin pie. GOOD pumpkin pie.
--Customization. You can adjust the abrasiveness of this scrub by changing the amount of water you add to it. It can be a deep exfoliation or a light scrub/facewash.
--Natural ingredients. You pretty much can eat this if you wanted.
--Moisturizing.

CONS:
--Packaging. I dislike having to dip into the heavy glass jar to attempt at scooping out hard scrub.
--Usage. There is a learning curve. You have to experiment with the amount of water before finding the "perfect" texture. I still haven't quite mastered it.
--Left a wierd film on my face which lead to...
--BROKE ME OUT LIKE A MOFO. 'Nuff said.
--Expiration date. Since it's all natural, you have to use it up quickly before it expires. Hence why I chose it for PvP in the first place.

All in all, it was a good scrub. I had high hopes for it because of the claims/ingredient list/celeb endorsement (yeah, Kandee Johnson is a celeb in my opinion). My skin just didn't like it. Your mileage may vary, so I advice getting a sample/travel size before fully commit to buying the full size. $8 is still $8. That's like 8 things of chicken nuggets at Wendy's (Yes, I'm pretty much obsessed with that place).

Anyway, hope that was helpful for some of you . Here's a video of me talking about it in more details:


Enjoy. I'm boarding the plane soon. :)

Tao

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What I'm going to miss the most...

Whenever you move, there are bound to be things you leave you behind. 

I don't care about clothes (as you can tell from my lack of OOTDs, shopping for business professional clothes has been a huge pain); I can deal with shrinking my makeup stash; I will find ways to stay connected with Nathan. 

However, my can't bear to think about life without my babies. 

Yes, they can be a pain, but just look at their sweet faces!! Please excuse the horrendously messing background. Packing/organizing is NOT my strong suit.
Is it just me or does Happy look scholarly here?

Yep, I think I will miss Phlooof and Happy the most. 

I'm seriously getting cold feet about this move guys. *thinks happy thoughts*

I would take Happy with me but I'll only be in Atlanta for 6 months (I will then get relocated again-destination unknown). I don't want him to go through flying/getting moved around. Besides he seems happy with the companionship of Phlooof. 

This is going to suck. BIG TIME. 

More blog posts coming up shortly, including a swap from Jacq!

Stay tuned!

Tao 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Reflections


I honestly cannot believe it’s already the end of 2011. It kind of depresses me to realize how fast time goes.

It’s habitual for me to reflect on my life at the end of every year. I like to summarize what had happened, what I learned, and what I need to improve on. It’s rather liberating to see everything I have accomplished and what the future looks like.

Accomplishments:

  1. Being #1 Sales Associate in Cosmetics at my Nordstrom—It was amazing to realize how persuasive I can be. Hard work pays off. Hours of research on product information and makeup techniques improved my selling ability and credibility. 
  2. Landed a great job with another great company—The name of the company shall remain anonymous because we all know how scary internet can be. I’d like to retain some privacy. However, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with cosmetics/beauty industry. It’s so rewarding knowing that my education and skills are needed. Not saying that working at Nordstrom wasn’t great, but I do have to think about why I spent the time and got a master’s degree instead of working right out of high school. 
  3. Got my mom her first Chanel all on my own—I know she’s always wanted a Chanel bag, so for her 51st birthday, I got her the Caviar Jumbo Flap Bag with silver chains. It took some serious saving, but it was all worth it to see my mom so happy and proud. It’s kinda funny to see how much she treasures it, which is another reminder that I need to be successful in life/career so I can splurge her with presents like that.
  4.  Got through 7 years with Nathan—Maintaining any relationships is hard, especially when both people are working full time. Everything is unicorn and glitter when you first started dating, then real life sets it. It’s so easy to let romance die and just live a mundane life, but happiness can be found in the littlest and simplest things. Take a walk in a near-by park, go grocery shopping, walk the dogs together…the list goes on and on. Be mindful of your surroundings, simple pleasure can be found in the most unexpected places.
Lessons Learned:
  1. Enjoy the awkward silence—We’ve all experienced that situation. All were going great at the party/dinner/any social gathering, then suddenly all conversations come to a halting stop. For several minutes, all you would hear were silent eating and drinking (well, occasionally people clear their throats, but that just makes everything more awkward). I’ve always been the one who say silly things to try to break up the silence. However, when you desperately try to come up with topics to talk about, the plan usually back fires.  Sure, people laugh, but you come off as silly and ditzy. I’ve learned to enjoy that awkward silence. Why do I always need to be the one who break up the silence? If others can tolerate it, so can I. I guarantee that someone else will think of something to talk about. 
  2. Keep in touch—I am forever guilty of not keeping in touch with people. I have period friends. I categorize them by time periods. Highschool, college, co-worker, etc. Once I’m out of that period, I no longer stay in touch. I’m sure many of you who read this had experienced that from me as well (sorry Sue Lynn, I am really going to get better at staying in touch). I don’t know why, but I’m really lazy when it comes to networking and socializing. The less I have to do, the better. In my perfect world, all communication would seize to exist except internet (for some reason I don’t consider that “communication” but it’s the quintessential form of communication) and Netflix. Yet with my new job, I HAVE to start to get better at it. Anyone has any tips on how to do that? Please let me know because I need all the help I can get.
  3. Take care of your body—I have to admit with shame that I’ve gained 10 lbs in the recent months. With the stress I’ve been under lately, it seemed natural to me to stuff my face and watch The Biggest Loser. As a result, my skin condition deteriorated, my clothes don’t fit as well, and my mind has been hazy. Mostly importantly for your guys, since I feel/look like crap, I make less videos/take less pics of myself for FOTDs. It’s amazing how alert and energized I felt when I ate properly and exercised. I really need to get back on the wagon once I get to Atlanta. I think being by myself with me-time would do me some good. Hopefully.
  4. Reduce, reduce, reduce—I simply buy way too much. I come across this problem EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I move. It’s not just makeup; I have way too much of everything. It’s a pain to pack everything. It’s frustrating to see everything that I bought thinking I’d use yet never did. I seriously need to shop my stash more and stop watching Youtube videos. I swear, that place creates so many lemmings for products I didn’t know I wanted. Hopefully this will help me to save enough money for a down payment on a place for Nathan and I.

With that being said, 2011 was a great year. Hopefully 2012 will be better. I will post a list of plans for 2012 shortly. Stay tuned!

Have a happy and safe New Year!

Tao
xoxo

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

M.I.A

Hi guys,

Sorry I've been missing in action lately. Major MAJOR changes happening in my life right now. I'm so excited and scared at the same time. I can't say much about it at the moment, but it's not my intention to leave you all hanging.

I will be back in full swing in a few weeks (hopefully sooner). Please bear with me. :)

Love you all. Happy holidays!

xoxo,

Tao

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Charlotte Ronson All Eye Need Eyeshadow Palettes



I need more eyeshadow palettes like I need a hole in my head, but I just couldn't stop myself from putting two of the Charlotte Ronson All Eye Need (cute but cheesy name IMO) eyeshadow palettes in my basket when I was looking for something to buy with my VIB discount.

I have heard SO many good things about these palettes, but being the cynical o' me, I had to swatch them and play with them before making a final decision. Oh my lanta, it was love at first swipe.

I got two colors--Henrietta and Nicole. I got these because they were more wearable and unique. There were a few other colors but they looked IDENTICAL to some of the colors I have.

Henrietta is the cooler one of the two-a satin pinky beige, a light silvery pink (think Naked Lunch), a shimmery neutral brown (swatches a lot warmer then shown in pan--it look like Patina, but goes on like Bronze e/s), and deep gunmetal grey (like a deeper version of MAC Sweet Sienna pigment).
Henrietta
Henrietta
Nicole palette was actually inspired by Nicole Richie. Since I'm a HUGE fan of her, I had to get it. This palette is definitely warmer--a light golden ivory, a shimmery champagne apricot, a reddish copper, and a dark neutral brown with golden forest green shimmer.

Nicole
Nicole
PROS:
--Pigmentation <--These e/s are VERY pigmented. A little goes a long way.
--Texture <--It reminds me of a creamier version of Veluxe Pearl
--Colors <--Don't know how they did it, but EVERY SINGLE COLOR look amazing on the skin.
--Packaging <--So classy and sturdy; definitely won't make you embarrassed to take it out in public.

CONS:
--None yet, but I will keep you posted.

Expect more FOTDs from me in the future, life has been crazy.

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend guys!

Tao

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Collab: Makeup Pan-Killing Round 1 (PvP)

Hi guys! Today I am doing a very special post, one that I think many of you would consider fun.

My friend Jacq (blog here) had suggested that we have a little friendly competition called Pan vs. Pan(PvP).

Basically we each choose 10 "contestants". These have to be products that you can visually measure the degree of usage (i.e. mascaras don't count b/c you can see the product/how much is left). We use them for a month, posting reviews/action pics in the time being, and do a comparison post at the end of the month. This way we can see how well we actually stuck to the plan and measure how fast it takes to use the products up.

Of course you can also use other products in the time being, but I'll try really hard to stick with the things I chose.

Here are the contestants:

1. Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #21 1 oz <--I recently started using this for around a week. I REALLY like it so far. This is NOT the full size version, but I've rarely used up any foundation. We shall see how much I'll use up by the end of December.




2. Laura Mercier Undercover-3 <--Contains both Secret Camouflage and Secret Concealer. I kinda don't know the difference b/t the two, but I LOVE the concealer. I foresee that this will be easy to hit pan.


3. Physician'f Formula Healthy Wear SPF50 Bronzer in Light <--Very natural/light, great for my paler skin. This will take FOREVER to hit pan, but I'm hopeful. *fingers crossed*


4. MAC Blush in Harmony <--I use this everyday as a subtle contour, so it already has a slight dip. I hope to further deepen the dip.


5. Black Radiance Velvet & Glow in Modern Glamour <--I forgot how much I loved this product. It's like MAC CCB but better! I love using this in the colder weather because it's moisturizing and glowy.


6. Stila Blush duo in Quaint & Coral <--I LOOVE the Quaint (lighter) side. So natural and yet so pigmented.


7. Physician's Formula Matte Wet/Dry e/s in Baked Butter <--My goal is to flatted the dome. This is an AMAZING trio. Great for everyday office wear.




8. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Berry Smoothie <-- Just got this recently, hoping this face brightening color can save me some get-ready time in the blistering cold morning. This also doubles as a lip balm because it's so moisturizing.
Twist all the way down

Twist all the way up

9. Tarte Pure Optics l/g in Pink Grapefruit <--Pretty generic, but the twisty-uppy lipgloss tend to be easier to use up b/c it contains less product. :)
The gloss stops right at the blue line
10. Burt's Bees Citru Face Scrub <--Bought this b/c Kandee Johnson recommended it and she has AMAZING skin. It's at 70% right now.

I keep all the makeup in a nice little pouch on my desk. It reminds me that I need to use those products first. I got this along with the order from Meow Cosmetics. 
                                   

Hope you guys enjoyed it! Go check out Jacq's post too! 

Tao

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: LORAC Bejeweled Day to Night Jewelry Box

In my last post I showed a FOTD featuring the LORAC Bejeweled Day to Night Jewelry Box, so today I will do a more detailed review on it.

This is a limited edition set that is sold at Sephora exclusively. It is valued at $415 but priced at only $56.

It comes with a GIANT bronzer, a peach and a rose lip gloss, a light peachy-pink and a med-tone rose blush, a brown and a black eye liner, and two palettes that contain 16 e/s each-one for day, one for night.

Here they are:

Bronzer: A little too red for my liking, but I tried it on top of a really light blush and it looked really good. It adds a subtle boost to the face. There's a slight slight sheen to it, nothing major but worth noting. The texture is very fine, but I foresee it being a wee bit powdery if you don't use a light hand.


Lip glosses: I actually quite like them. Unlike most lip glosses that come with sets, these are actually moisturizing and balmy. They are not super pigmented, but you can build it up to a semi-opaque level. Peach is a light peachy beige, great with a smoky eye or if you want something that you can apply without looking at a mirror. Rose is a deeper mauve-y rose color that can slightly brighten your face without looking garish. My favorite of the two is Rose, but then again, I like more of a bright lip look.


Eye liners: Nothing to write home about. I don't use them, but from swatching, I feel that the texture is quite hard. They are pigmented though.

Blushes: Great pigmentation, satiny finish. All around winners. I LOVE LORAC blushes, so this came as no surprise.

Eyeshadow palettes: Now THESE are the stars of the show in my opinion. You get a total of 32 e/s in a wide range of colors. They are super pigmented, very blendable, and the textures are almost creamy. I LOOOOOOOOOVE theses eyeshadows. Day palette consists of mostly warm colors while the Night palette contains a lot of cooler tones. I definitely mix them up and create a huge variety of different looks.
Night Palette
Day Palette
Anyways, here's the video of the review:
I HIGHLY recommend this if you are looking to add more variety to your collection or if you are trying buy a picky person a great gift (LOL).


Have a great day guys!

Tao

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving FOTD with Tutorial! YAY!

Hi guys! Happy belated Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a great and full Thanksgiving. I certainly did. :) I almost had to pop a button after dinner! LOL!

Anyway, this is my FOTD for Thanksgiving dinner over at Nathan's aunt's house. Since she's very au-naturale, I didn't want to put her off with massive amount of makeup. I went with a very simplistic and natural approach. This is pretty much what I wear everyday now, mainly because it's SOOO easy and fast. I actually get surprisingly lots of compliment whenever I wear this, so go figure.

All the color products in this look came in the LORAC Bejeweled Set. It's limited edition and available at Sephora right now for $54.

This is the look:

Close up:


What I used:

Face:
--Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #21<--goes on pink/grey like woah, but it does oxidize to match my natural skin color. Detailed review coming up.
--Dior Long wearing moisturizing concealer in 520 to color correct under the eye
--Diorskin Nude concealer in 001 to brighten under the eye
--Physician's Formula Glow Boosting Pressed Bronzer in Light-Medium

Cheeks:
--MAC Harmony to contour
--Light peachy-pink blush from the Day Palette in LORAC Bejeweled Set
--MAC MSF in Soft & Gentle
--A tiny bit of the bronzer that came in the LORAC Bejeweled Set

Eyes:
--Day Platte in LORAC Bejeweled Set in bronze, shimmery apricot, and matte light ivory (all shown in vid)
--Maybelline Collosal Volume waterproof mascara
--Dior Diorshow Maximizer mascara primer<--LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
--Diorshow Blackout <--AMAZING!

Lips:
--Peach l/g that LORAC Bejeweled Set

Here's how I achieve the look:


Anyway, gotta get ready to do some Black Friday shopping. I don't even know what I want, just wanted to be a part of the chaos I guess, LOL!

Have a great day!

Tao

P.S. Nathan makes a rare appearance. And yes, that IS The Hunger Game Trilogy on the couch. I got that from Nathan's parents for my birthday. Heard LOTS of good things about this, so you bet your leftover turkey that I'd be reading away over the break. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Collective Birthday Haul

Guess who turned 24 over the weekend? Moi.

I think I passed the age where I'd get excited over birthdays. The gifts are always nice, but I think I'm mentally too old for all night partying (not that I was EVER into that anyway).

My birthday this year was quiet. Nathan and I just spent some quality time together. We went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving at Costco on Saturday because I wanted to sample all the foods. It was a BAD IDEA. There were sooooooooooooooooo many people, good GOD! I got annoyed and went next door to Ross where I found some awesome clothes and unexpected makeup.

Since I forgot to take pics of the clothes, I'll just show you the makeup.

My wonderful friend Sue Lynn sent me some Japanese makeup goodies:


Jill Stuart blush quad in Milky Strawberry


Esprique Precious e/s palette in D-2

They are GORGEOUS! I've been wearing that blush on a daily basis recently. A FOTD will be up soon, I promise!! I've been VERY uninspired lately. I think all the new goodies will change that.

I recently placed an online order at Cherry Culture because I've been dying to try out some of the new NYX blushes.

The new colors: Amber (Great Fall blush) & Bourgeois Pig <---LOOOOOOOOOOVE

 Cream Blush in Tickled (NARS Orgasm but 100x better!) and Cafe<--Great contour shade

Swatches: Amber, Bourgeois Pig, Cafe, and Tickled

Finally, I got some Meow Cosmetics mineral foundations/highlighters. I've been loving using foundation powders to set the tinted moisturizer. I will do a more detailed review on these, but it's suffice to say that I've finally found my perfect color match.

The powders are HUUUUUUUUUGE. You get 30 grams of product! :)

To be honest, I'm kinda over celebrating stuff now. Nathan and I just celebrated our 7-year anniversary (Is the 7-year Itch coming up? LOL) and my birthday. Thanksgiving is up next, then followed by my mom's birthday, then Xmas.....*drops dead*

Anyways, I need to get ready for work. :) Ah...3 more days! 

Tao

P.S. Another reason why I haven't updated is because I've been addicted to reading. Currently in rotation are the Dexter series and The Hunger Game Trilogy (I got that for my B-day from Nathan's parents. They know me so well! Can't wait for the movie!!!).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: Soap & Glory Hot Cloth Cleanser


Thank you so much for everyone's support in my last blog sale. It was a huge success! As of 11/9/11, all paid parcels were shipped out. 


Now many of you know that I purchased Soap & Glory Hot Cloth Cleanser during Sephora FF sale. I desperated wanted to try it because it is a supposedly a dupe for the famous Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish face cleanser. It retails for $20 and you get 3.3oz of product, so not bad price wise. Since Liz Earle isn't readily accessible to me, I bit the bullet and tried out the Soap & Glory version.

Like Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Soap & Glory (S&G) Hot Cloth Cleanser is a white cream that you rub on your dry face with all the makeup on. It's supposed to "melt away the makeup" and deep cleanses the skin. It also comes with a muslin cloth for gentle exfoliation and complete removal of the face wash.

Here's the product:
Fab Pore™ Hot Cloth Cleanser
This is the muslin cloth:

You are supposed to apply this to dry skin, massage it in for 1 minute, let it sit for 1 minute, then remove it with a wet warm muslin cloth. It is formulated to "cleans, smooths, and melts away makeup".

Despite its claims, it does NOT remove waterproof products. My mascara (Maybelline Colossal Volume Express in waterproof) still looked perfect after I rubbed the cream on it for 2 minutes.

Testing:

Result: 

While my skin felt very soft and smooth right after I washed the cleanser off, within 30 seconds I saw massive clogged pores all of my face. Many turned into cystic acne (those deep under the skin owie ones) that hurt and can't be popped. My skin is now scarred and rought (even more so than before). I'm so mad and sad at the same time.

I returned this product promptly and have been battling with the residual effects ever since. This would explain why there weren't a lot of FOTDs recently. :(

Anyways, as with all products, everyone has different experiences. Please do your search before making a purchase (but apparently that didn't help me, just created such a high standard for the product performance).

Hope that was helpful for some of you. :)

<3

Tao