May 11, 2010

A full face from the drugstore.

Maybe it was my enforced cutting-back, maybe it was all that Cover Girl product in my face on ANTM, but lately I've been experimenting with drugstore makeup brands and have, for the most part, been satisfied. In a couple of cases, even impressed. Here's how I have been creating my (almost) full face with drugstore products, none of which cost more than $12.99.

Foundation: L'Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Makeup, SPF15
This foundation is sheer, light, and of course, blendable. It comes in a little bottle with a simple cap (no extravagant packaging), and is easy to apply with your finger.

Eyeliner: Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner.
After years of racoon eyes from Clinique products, I experimented to see exactly what was running down my face. After trying this eyeliner, I blame the Clinique. This goes on easily, is removed relatively easily, applies well, and stays put all day. The Brownish Black color is good for day or night.

Lips: CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain.
This stain really does stay put, and I found a delightful berry-red color. It lasts a super long time and doesn't really rub off. One caveat: if your lips are chapped or dry, this stain will fade unevenly. Also, you have to apply it exactly where you want it - this doesn't blend or smudge. So trace carefully!

As for everything else, in the spirit of using what I've got, I've been maintaining my Clinique mascara. I've also been LOVING, absolutely loving, benefit's Highbeam liquid highlighter. A little on the brows and tops of the cheekbones, and it wakes up your whole face and makes you look totally fresh. Use highlight with mascara and gloss, and you're basically done. For cheeks, I've been sticking with my benetint, which is only half empty a year after I bought it (or half full?).

So try some drugstore brands. Seems like they've gotten better since our high school days. And if anyone is even checking this blog anymore, thanks for reading! More to come, for sure!


Back from hiatus.

Over the past couple of months, there hasn't been any time for blogging. Let's just say the recession hit a bit close to home, and when you do what you gotta do... sometimes that means paying the bills and not having the time for much else.

Good news is I've gotten good news, and without going into detail, let's just say working seven days a week is no longer a necessity. So I'm excited to have free time again to go out with friends, visit the fam in CT and of course, get back to this little web log of mine.

Coming up next, a lesson learned in a few very frugal months: The best drugstore beauty products right now!


December 29, 2009

Surviving NYE in NYC

Every year I am amazed at the relentless crowds that travel from far and wide to stand in frigid cold behind steel barricades, surrounded by strangers and NYPD, wait several hours in boredom, and finally watch a ball the size of a sprinkle drop about 1/16th of an inch. Some of them even do this sober.

I have done the Times Square thing once, which is enough for anyone. I have spent several other New Year's Eves in this city, and have learned several valuable lessons. If you plan to ring in 2010 in New York City, I highly recommend you learn from my mistakes and heed the tips below.

Tips for Everyone:
1) Pregame. No matter where you're headed or where you're starting. It will make the rest of the night a lot more interesting and a little less chilly.
2) Get to your destination early. Peak arrival times at clubs on NYE is usually between 9-10pm, and this is when the Times Square crowd starts to really grow (more on this later). Get there early and get comfortable because...
3) Be prepared for travel hassles. Train, subway, car, taxi... they are all over-crowded and harder to come by. Don't expect to sit on a train of any sort on NYE, except maybe in Queens.

If you're going to a club/bar:
1) If you prepaid for a ticket (often the case), including so many hours of an open bar, definitely get there even earlier than you think you need to. For instance, if you bought a $100 ticket to a place that has open bar 7-11, get there at 7. Or even before. Sounds ridiculous, but the bar will be harder to access as each hour passes. Get your money's worth by arriving early. Another benefit - you might even score a table or a cluster of chairs to hold your stuff and/or give your feet a rest.
2) Dress up. This might be specified in the ticket, or could depend on the venue, but it's always better to look your best when headed out on the town. More on this later.
3) If you're feeling saucy, here's a trick to ensure your party gets drinks easily all night: chip in money to tip the bartender ($10 each is nice, $20 is even better), and tip him/her at the beginning of the night. Thank them for working and if you can, introduce your group. This transaction does two things: gives the bartender a recognizable group of faces, and incentive to feed those faces drinks before the thousand other faces in front of them. I also recommend you continue to tip about $1 per drink, just to keep the guy coming. Approach the same area of the bar and try to wait for your guy to keep some consistency. Hey, this town is competitive.
4) Unless invited, don't get up on the stage with the band. Security doesn't like that. I'm just sayin'.
5) If you see the place is getting crazy-crowded and you're waiting half an hour for drinks, do yourself a favor and double-fist each time you go to the bar. Fewer trips means more fun dancing and toasting with your friends.

If you have temporarily have Gone Mad and are venturing to Times Square:
1) Manage your expectations. This will almost definitely be underwhelming, no matter where you come from.
2) Dress warmly. I cannot emphasize this enough. You get cold very quickly while standing still for hours on end, and in that crowd, no one can tell if you look cute or not anyway.
3) Prepare for all your stuff to be examined by police. I have seen them confiscate alcohol and fireworks, so anything beyond that will definitely be taken.
4) Get there as early as you can stand it. People will be in the heart of Times Square at noon, I kid you not. My friends and I arrived at 8pm, and stood 13 blocks away from the ball. And squeezed our way that close.
5) Guard your purse, and don't keep anything valuable in your pockets. Pickpocketing is rare in NYC, except in Times Square on New Years Eve. Then it goes from rare to rampant.
6) Bring food. You will get antsy and hungry, and if you leave your barricaded area, you won't be let back in.
7) Oh yeah, they herd you into barricades guarded by NYPD, and no, you can't get back to the same spot if you leave.
8) Oh and also, even though they control the crowds within barricades, people will still push and stick their heads in front of you, as if that will improve their view at all.
9) You know what, just don't do it.

If you're going to a house party - anywhere!
1) Even if it wasn't requested, bring food and/or drink. All well-bred people know to never arrive to a party empty-handed. Booze is always welcome, as is food that doesn't hassle the host. Canapes, prosciutto-wrapped melon, cheese platters, homemade guacamole and chips and interesting candies or fudge are all great options and don't require use of the oven.
2) Have a designated driver and make it someone you trust. In fact, crashing at the party location is ideal, because even if your DD isn't drunk on the road, there will be others who are, and it's proven that New Years Eve is one of the most dangerous nights to drive anywhere.
3) Dress nicely. Maybe it's not the roof of the W hotel, but dignify the party with at least jeans and a cute top, or a dress with boots. Wearing sweatpants (and seeing people in them) does not make one feel festive.
4) Bring an ipod or some CDs to contribute tunes, and keep 'em coming. Also, a deck of cards or a board game are great if it's a small get-together and conversation runs dry.

Of course, your biggest priority on New Years Eve is to stay safe while having a phenomenal time. Please don't take any of my suggestions like getting to the bar early and buying yourself two drinks at a time to mean that you should binge-drink yourself stupid. Buying two drinks at once doesn't mean you have to drink them in half the time. Spread out the booze and squeeze in some water every so often. And no, the ice in your Ketel/rocks doesn't count. You should never drink to the point of losing control of your own actions. This is both unsafe and supremely annoying to your friends who now have to babysit you. Don't be That Sloppy Girl that ruins everyone's good time and gets kicked out of the bar!

Next up: what to wear out on NYE so the Waterford ball doesn't upstage you.

December 20, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Tree Photos

My Fantasy Christmas List

There are the wishlists we keep for ourselves, when the month ends before the money and we want to treat ourselves. There are the wishlists we give our families for birthdays and Christmas. Then, there are the wishlists we know will not be fulfilled, but we keep hoping and wishing anyway!

Dear Santa,
I have been very good this year. I have been punctual and passionate at work, paid my bills on time, acted with kindness towards strangers, provided support for my family and friends, lost 20lbs and repeatedly walked away from impulse purchases for stuff I do not need. This is what I want for Christmas.
  • A ban on sweatpants in public.
  • Health care reform that helps those who really need it.
  • Eyeliner and mascara that won't give me racoon eyes. Ever.
  • Phish Phood that is high in protein and fiber, and low in calories and fat.
  • A sophisticated man who will take me to the symphony, cook me dinner and take charge in the bedroom.
  • A quick and effective resolution in the Middle East that will allow us to bring all our soldiers home.
  • A NCAA Basketball Championship for my college team
  • Skiing in powder in Vermont.
  • More awesome music from Kings of Leon, Phoenix and Devendra Banhart
  • More Lady Gaga and less Taylor Swift.
  • The Boucheron Le Quatre ring. With the diamonds.

PS: The chocolate-raspberry macaroons on the side table in the hall are for you.

Leave It in the '00s

  • "Awkward"
  • "Obvi," "totes," "apps" and all other spoken abbreviations
  • Uggs
  • The ubiquitous North Face Denali jacket
  • Couples referred to with one name (Brangelina, Speidi)
  • Rampant consumerism
  • Texting as a substitute for actual conversation
  • Vampires. Enough already.
  • Egomaniac rudeness (I'm looking at you, Kanye West and Joe Wilson)
  • Mammoth road vehicles for stay-at-home moms and bored financiers
  • Fame without merit (Heidi and Spencer, Octomom, Balloon Boy, et al)
  • Overabundance of TV shows about weddings and enormous families
  • Coach purses. Again, enough already.
  • Sarah Palin

Not Much of an Excuse

The past six weeks have been rather insane, as cliche as that sounds. I had an intense bout of the flu, then a few crazy-busy weeks at work and at play, and just when I was ready to get back into the blogging about two weeks ago, my brother-in-law had a stroke. At age 30. Needless to say it was a stressful time, compounded with the added chores and errands of the holiday season.

So while my apology for an unexplained month-plus leave of absence is probably both unnecessary and ineffective, all I can say is my free time has been replenished and my inspiration renewed, so I'm ready to get back in the swing of things.

Coming up: What I hope will stay in the '00s, what I want to continue past 2010, and the best way to entertain yourself in a snowstorm.