Vietnamese New Year Celebrations

This is a relatively text free post because I wanted to share some pictures I took today at the pre-Vietnamese New Year celebration at a local Vietnamese mall.

There is so much red and gold around and I'm sharing just a little bit about my Vietnamese culture.

This is made out of li xi envelopes, which are little envelopes of money that parents give to their children for the year.

I waited in line for 20ish minutes for this waffle. This bright neon green waffle is pandan flavor (slightly coconut and vanilla tasting) and so very good. Not meant to be eaten with maple syrup!

I hope you enjoyed this, I'll be going to Tet Festival this weekend hopefully!

Bright Teal-y Blues

I feel like this isn't as color accurate as it should be but I thought I would post it anyway.

When I have time to be in the sun I'll do a better swatch of Marina! My undereye is looking a bit odd so ignore that.
Urban Decay Primer Potion
BFTE Marina in the inner lid and inner lower lashline over NYX Teal eyeliner
MAC Teal in the outer lid and corner and outer lower lashline over NYX Black eyeliner
NYX Sahara as a highlight
NYX Black eyeliner on the waterline
Wet n Wild Eyeliner in Taupe for brow
Wet n Wild Mega Liner in Black
Wet n Wild Megalength in Black (I don't like this but I feel the need to use it up)

BFTE Cosmetics Praise

This isn't a full review but just an exuberant fawning over their customer service.

I recently purchased one of their "Try Me BFTE" sets where you would get one full size eyeshadow and four various kinds of sample products for ten dollars flat when it's normally worth eighteen dollars.

I got a full size of Caribbean and sample sizes of Marina, Walking on Water, Charm, and Spoiled. I really liked Marina however I noticed that there were some small chunks of unblended base within the shadow. I emailed them about it including some closeups and three hours later I got an email saying "we'll sending you a new one and we're definitely going to check out the rest of the batch". Very excellent thus far.

I got the package on today and instead of a sample size jar of Marina like I expected, I actually got a full size jar!

I'll get a swatch of it soon but I was just excited to get a not blurry picture of it.

So yeah if you haven't tried BFTE Cosmetics yet, you might as well just check out some of their samples and search around for some swatches!

Back To School Time...

So I start school Monday which means my time will be spent in class attempting to learn. I am rather excited about some of my classes since they're in the major (Intro to Language Acquision!) that I want to get into after the semester is done; the rest are boring like Statistics and Advanced Composition.

This will undoubtedly affect my blogging for a little while until I get into a good rhythm so here's just a warning post :)

To prevent this from being a pictureless post, here are my Babar dolls with my Inglot palette (I found my stash of children's toys and am having lots of fun using them as props)

*High Five to anyone that knows of Babar, it's just the French in me that has to bring them out*

Ode to Violet LeBeaux

If you don't know of Violet by now, you're really really missing out. She's one of the hardest working and creative bloggers that I know considering that she literally posts a unique crafting or fashion tutorial nearly everyday and it's really astonishing. I've been a reader for quite some time and it's just amazing to see her dedication to creating good posts!

Anyways I had won one of her contests for a $100 voucher for this Lolita store but there was a weird mix up and so in the end she said she'd be offering me $100 of her own money towards something to make up for the mix up. Well I said I had always wanted to try some Inglot and so she got me that and I said to keep the rest a mystery :)

I got a huge plethora of things from her, some Prestige which we do have in the US but I loooved the Beauty Style products that she included. Beauty Style is a brand that we don't have in the US so it was rather nice to try some of them.

I'm still testing out everything and I'll see about doing a swatch post but I just wanted to thank Violet for going above and beyond to make everything right!

I will say though that Australians are totally gypped when it comes to Inglot prices. I looked at the pamphlet included which listed prices for the Freedom System which is a palette that you can get and fill with eyeshadows, brow stuff etc. Why is it that Australians pay 85 Australian dollars for a 10 pan palette that I would pay $5o for? The Australian and US dollars are just about equal in terms of currency exchange so why the huge price jump? I'm rather appalled by this, it's so ridiculous!

Do you have to pay premium prices for cosmetics that are super cheap elsewhere?

Golden Eyed EOTD

So I redid the template because I wanted to have a white background but Anna told me she wasn't able to comment on any of my posts;is anyone else having a problem commenting? If you guys are, please email me (my email is under the Contact Me link at the left) so I can get an idea of how many people are having issues so I can see about switching back to my old template!

Anyway, I've been experimenting lately with different eyeshadow shapes and I think this might just be the easiest and most flattering for my eye shape.

Yeah ignore the fact that my false eyelashes are waaaay off to the left.

NYX Eyeshadow Base in Nude
Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy
Sugarpill Goldilux on the inner corner
NYX Golden in the middle of the lid
MAC Bronze in the outer corner and crease
Wet n Wild MegaLiner in Dark Brown
Wet n Wild Taupe eyeliner for my brows
L'oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black WP
M123-A lashes from KKCenterHK

I Dream of Greenie EOTD

Sorry, no full face shots for this one!

I'm still trying to perfect winged out eyeliner but it's being finicky haha

NYX Eyeshadow Base in Nude
Wet n Wild I Dream of Greenie trio
Pale wintergreen used in the inner corner (marked Browbone)
Midtone green used on the rest of the lid (marked crease)
MAC Teal used in the crease
NYX Sahara as a highlight
Wet n Wild MegaLiner in Black
L'oreal Voluminous in Carbon Black WP
Wet n Wild ColorIcon Pencil in Taupe for the eyebrows (I'm really liking this one!)

Beauty Blogger Challenge Week 3

What is your blogging environment? Do you sit on the couch with your laptop after the kids have gone to bed, or do you lock yourself in your home office? Do you listen to music, watch tv, or multitask while you blog? Extra credit: share a photo (or five) of your environment.

I usually blog at night on my computer desk where I also do my makeup. I've got a rolling storage unit to the left of my desk that holds some of my makeup and a Melmer storage unit to my right that holds my nail polishes and the rest of my makeup.

Occasionally I'll have music on but I usually don't. I find myself churning out blog posts better at night when I don't have many distractions but I tend to proofread in the daytime. I try to take as many pictures in the daytime when I can so I don't have to deal with flash, reflections, and all that jazz.

Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil pt. 1

When I got a couple of samples of the cosmetics I was rather intrigued by the Bronzing Argan Oil. I wondered if the bronzing effect was worth the extra four bucks and whether it was too oily for my skin.

Originally I really did think it was going to be but it sinks in nicely without that oily touch. This is vegan. Unfortunately it does have a weird smell. The description says it has a light-citrus essential oil scent. My impression of it is that it is a light citrus but the rest of it smells like play doh. The scent does dissipate after a little while.

I'm going to use this for a whole month so I can test the results on my acne-prone skin but for now here are some Before/After to show the tint.

Just so you can get idea of how dark the tint is before being blended in.

Before: haha Ignore the smudge of unblended sunscreen
After: Oooh look at how bronzy I look. Or not.
I tried to keep the lighting the same and honestly I don't notice a difference at all. I say if you're deciding between the Bronzing Argan Oil and the regular one, just get the regular one.

Disclosure: I got a small sample of the Bronzing Argan Oil as part of a giveaway, I wasn't sponsored or paid for this.

I Love My Taupes and Browns

This Wet n Wild trio has been serving as a great source of inspiration lately. I like that especially since this was only $1.49 which makes me want to pick up another one. I think I like this look better than the other one I did.

I really really love the taupe in this. I'll see about doing swatches of this in comparison to my other favorite taupes.
Oooh smoky smoky
Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Primer
L'oreal True Match
Fyrinnae Fluff
Rock and Republic Bedroom blush

NYX Eyeshadow Base in Nude
Wet n Wild Silent Treatment Trio
Pink color as a highlighter, Taupe color in the crease, Brown on the lid
N.Y.C. Brown Eyeliner on the lashline
NYX Dark Brown for the eyebrows
Wet n Wild Megalength WP mascara (I don't really like it but I'm using it until I get the Maybelline Falsies mascara)

A bit off topic I'm really happy about getting this sunscreen from my aunt. She visits my family in the US typically about once every two years and makes deliveries of amazing French goodies that we can't get in the US. I think a couple of years ago I asked for French sunscreen and I'm honestly hooked.

European sunscreen is so superior to American sunscreen in my opinion. I always found it gave better results in terms of protecting my skin against post-acne red marks. Needless to say I'm awaiting her return so I can get my stock of sunscreen and my family can get their stock of pate.

Give Me the Silent Treatment

I love taupey browns, it's just a perfect color and I'm rather glad that Wet n Wild came out with a trio that has one in it.

Silent Treatment has been really sought after and I picked up the last one at the second Walgreens I went to. If you were going to get any of the Spring trios, this is the must-have one especially since they're 50% off until tomorrow at Walgreens!

I'm getting a bit better at taking full face photos.

Nothing on ze face
NYX Eyeshadow Base in Nude
Wet n Wild Silent Treatment trio
Taupe on the lid, Brown in the Crease, Pink as the highlight
NYX Dark Brown for eyebrows

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Swatches

First off, props to Revlon for having an awesome twitter campaign. I got these lipsticks as a prize in their Fire and Ice giveaway. I have to say I like the packaging. They included the retro logo on the packaging which was a very nice touch, plus the top of the lipstick cap is transparent so it's easy to get a look at the color.

Clockwise from top right; Temptress, Fire and Ice, Demure, and Siren.

From left to right; Fire and Ice, Siren, Temptress, and Demure. Fire and Ice is a truer red, not fuchsia as it is looking now.

I did a bunch of lip swatches too.

Bare lips. The makeup is from the FOTD three days ago.
Fire and Ice. I loooove this, sorry for the light change but I felt that this was the most color accurate. It is a gorgeous red and not at all fuchsia like it was in the hand swatch.
This is Demure, which I think is perfect for the lazy days of makeup
Temptress which is a rosy pink that's a step up from Demure
And last is Siren which I really really don't like. The color is traffic cone orange on me and the formula is too dry for my liking.

Disclosure: I got these products for free as part of Revlon's Fire and Ice twitter giveaway. My opinions are my own and I only wish I was getting paid for this.

BBC Week 2

Here is Week 2 of the Beauty Blogger Challenge :) You can find out more info here

Where does your topic/update inspiration come from? What is the weirdest thing that has inspired you? What’s the weirdest place you’ve gotten inspiration?

A great deal comes from different pictures or recreations from other bloggers. I find that I'm still at this point where I am not that great at finding good color combinations on my own to do and sometimes applying eyeshadow can be a bit frustrating due to it not looking the way I imagined it. I feel that because so many people define beauty so Eurocentricly it has led me to kind of bemoan my eyeshape for it not fitting how so many other people see it. I mean I'll always see a pretty look but trying to adapt it to fit my eyeshape can get a bit frustrating.

I don't know if it counts for weird but I kind of remember walking outside in the rain and seeing that oil slick pattern in a puddle next to my car. I haven't been able to recreate that yet but I think it's kind of nice to look at things in nature (however unnatural it may be) and find a way to translate it into another artform.

This wasn't a question but I know my favorite inspiration for a look has been the costume that inspired my Arabian look from my Nutcracker series. I never really did finish the series but maybe I'll keep going as a belated thing.

FOTD with Josie Maran Cosmetics

First off I want to express my condolences to the family members of those who were involved in the Tucson shooting today. It's depressing to hear that an 18 year old committed this crime and hurt so many people. I really really wish the best for everyone.

I received a couple of Josie Maran Cosmetics products from a giveaway that they were doing on facebook and so I wanted to try doing a FOTD with them. When they said samples of the goodies, I didn't imagine getting full sized items...

I have to give props to all of these cosmetic brands that are utilizing different forms of social media to advertise. I have been featuring a lot of things that I've won but it's such good advertising and I know they've peaked my interest!

Here's a close up of my closed eye so you can get a better idea of the eyeshadow color
Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Base
L'oreal True Match W4 foundation
Josie Maran Cream Blush in Sunrise
Josie Maran Eyeshadow in Maple
Josie Maran Argan Infused Eyeliner in Raven
NYX Dark Brown eyeshadow for eyebrows
Wet n Wild Megalength waterproof mascara
Josie Maran Lipgloss in Compassion

Disclosure: I received the Josie Maran Cosmetics products through a giveaway that they held on their facebook. I only wish I got paid for this and my opinions are my own.

Urban Decay Celebrates 15 Years Sephora Event

There are many perks to living in a suburb and in Orange County because it allows for access to many things like the Sephora Urban Decay 15 Year Anniversary event.

I apologize ahead of time to say that I totally forgot to bring my camera to take pictures of how everything was decked out but Urban Decay has some pictures here!

I had a "Complexion" makeover where the MUA put concealer and foundation on me along with some eyeshadow and my eyebrows.

I will say that the most disappointing part of the experience was at the end when the makeup artist walked away to talk to someone for about 5 minutes while I was sitting there awkwardly looking at the products. She got distracted enough that she had forgotten to give me a card with a sticker to redeem for my free swag bag so I had to ask someone else for it.

Anyway, onward ho to pictures!

Post makeover outside in my backyard. I had the Brow Box in Brown Sugar on my eyebrows, the NSA 24/7 Concealer and Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup in Hallucination on my face, Urban Decay Sin Primer Potion on my eyes and Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Midnight Cowboy on my lips.
Here's the swag that I got.

All said goodies laid out. I will say I'm most excited to try out the Pore Perfecting Base and the All Nighter Makeup Spray. I think Gash is a bit too dark for my taste but everything else looks amazing.

Smokyish Brown and Violet look

I really like the Wet n Wild Purple eyeliner but it isn't as smooth as I would like it to be. Nonetheless such a nice color especially with MAC's Violet pigment over it!

I used a NYX Trio for most of my eyeshadows (the one with Nude/Taupe/Dark Brown) that I won from a giveaway that MakeupbyCrystalS had. Honestly everyone needs to check her out because she's so so gorgeous and a fantastic makeup artist. If she wasn't a makeup artist she should be a model!
I don't like the mascara I used. It was the Wet n Wild waterproof one that I showed in my mini haul. It's okay for lengthening but it wilts my lashes afterwards which I don't like in a waterproof mascara.
NYX Eyeshadow Base in Nude
MAC Coco in the crease
NYX Dark Brown on the lid and blended up
NYX Nude as a highlight
NYX Dark Brown for eyebrows
Wet n Wild Megalength waterproof mascara
Wet n Wild Purple eyeliner
MAC Violet over the Purple Eyeliner

I'm also really happy, my sister managed to get an excellent score on her LSATs so she's heading to law school :)

Wet n Wild Mini Haul/Teal of Fortune Comparison

*Edited with a better picture*

I've basically been stalking Nouveau Cheap for updates on the new Wet n Wild products and so I scoped out my Walgreens for the new goods
I got the Mega-Length waterproof mascara, Coloricon in Purple/Violet (I think it's the same one that was included in the Sugar Plum Fairy Eye Kit :D!) and a Fastdry Nail Color in Teal of Fortune.

I didn't want to have such a short post so I tried to see how similar Teal of Fortune was to Zoya Charla (the similarity was the reason why I got it). ToF is less pigmented than Charla but only by a smidgen. This was $1.99.

Here's a flash picture, the difference here is a little more obvious. Teal of Fortune has that same base color but Charla has a green interference/duochrome that ToF doesn't have.
It's very prominent here, this was with no flash.
And some nail swatches. Index and Ring have Charla on them, Middle and Pinky have Teal of Fortune
This was taken without flash with natural lighting.

I don't own many Zoya polishes because the formula doesn't agree with Seche Vite. SV causes Charla to shrink back from my nail which is kind of bothersome. I did notice some shrinkage on the thumb (where I also put Teal of Fortune) but none on my middle and pinky finger.

They're VERY close, not an exact dupe because Teal of Fortune does not have that bright green duochrome. My verdict is that if you don't have access to the OPI, Zoya, or ORLY polishes this is a good substitute!

Primer Competition Series Overview

So I'll admit it, I'm a bit of an eye primer junkie. I think right now I've got 5 in rotation, Urban Decay Primer Potion, NYX Eyeshadow Base in Nude AND White, Benefit Stay Don't Stray and Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer in Skin.

I have seen a lot of posts that compare how well it works with eyeshadow in terms of vibrancy (see Phyrra's awesome comprehensive post where she compares 10) but I really wanted to see it done for weartime.

So I want to start a mini-series comparing the primers and ranking them in lasting power from best to worst. I'm also going to compare them to each other e.g Urban Decay versus NYX, Benefit, and Kat Von D and then NYX with Benefit, Kat Von D, etc. I think in all that's 10 comparisons?

This is certainly going to be a challenge, but luckily I don't start school until the 24th! Some of my lucky friends start school tomorrow so if you're one of those people have a good day at school!

It's raining now where I live ;( Southern California normally has two kinds of weather, fire and normal. It's strange to be constantly having rain and coldness. I'm rather spoiled like that, I think anything under 70 degrees is cold. I've certainly visited colder places in the world and I've been around snow but I don't think vacation counts haha

Beauty Blogger Challenge Week 1

A Girl and Her Shadows has this challenge which has weekly questions that relate to beauty blogging and I thought it'd be a nice thing to get me more motivated in posting.
With the challenge, you have a week to do the prompt and there is a new one each week. You can sign up to do it at the link :)

Here's the first one:

Why did you start blogging about beauty? Do you think you would have blogged about other topics if you hadn’t started beauty blogging? Were you already blogging something else when you started?

I remember that the first beauty bloggers I ever read were LimeCrime and Temptalia and while I read them for years I didn't really get started until several months ago. I got started with blogging because I kept accumulating cosmetics due to being a member of the mac_cosmetics livejournal community and so I thought I'd try to start writing about them.

Hmm I'm not sure if I would have started to blog about other things, maybe about dance? I was such an avid dancer throughout my adolescence and up until high school. I was not blogging about something else when I started beauty blogging and I made a pathetic attempt at reviewing romance novels (historical romance novels are my vice) but I quickly gave that up.

Tis your turn to join! I think this will be a good motivating factor for posting, especially since in November trying to do a challenge for the month made it so I was much for active!