Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Makeup for Gem

One of the challenges of doing makeup for someone who doesn't wear makeup at all is to balance the client's desire for a "natural look" while ensuring her features are highlighted in a natural way for photography.

Gem is your typical au naturele gal who leaves the house everyday comfortable in her own skin.  This young mother definitely was not use to wearing a full face of makeup - including false lashes (for the first time!).  Luckily, I was able to play up features that were already pretty to begin with with an amount of makeup she was comfortable with.

Makeup Forever Mat Velvet Plus - shade #40
MAC NW 20 concealer
Bare Minerals Mineral Veil

Urban Decay eyeshadow primer
MAC eyeshadow in Soft Brown
MAC eyeshadow in Carbon
MAC eyeshadow in Bronze
MAC eyeshadow in Mylar
MAC fluid liner in Blacktrack

Make Up For Ever Aqua Gel #25

Nars - Laguna
Nars - Orgasm
Sleek contour palette in Light

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscars 2013 Fashion

Top 5 Best Dressed: 
Ultimate FAVORITE:
She completely channeled Audrey Hepburn
Her makeup was very neutral with beigy eye shadow and lipstick color from Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous in Seduisante mixed with a dab of concealer.

Amy Adams
Love the Oscar de la Renta dress and the fact that she kept her hair up so that it didn't compete with the ruffles of the gown

Reese Witherspoon
 Gorgeous wavy hair with jewel toned blue Louis Vuitton gown.  Her smokey light blue eye makeup looks fantastic with her glowy skin.

Jennifer Lawrence
Dior Haute Couture gown - 'nuff said.  Gorgeous!  That simple necklace that dropped down her back was a great accessory

Jessica Chastain
 Happy Birthday Mr. President, anyone?
That gorgeous lip color is Chanel Rose Cache layered under Quartz

Worst Dressed
Quentin Tarantino
Someone please tell the man a black tie event requires you to button up your collar and a non-leather tie.

Kerry Washington
Kerry, I love you - you're gorgeous...but I was not a particular fan of this dress on you.  Then again, I've never been a fan of Miu Miu.

Salma Hayek
The hair and the neck of the dress was too much.  Thank goodness she didn't wear earrings.

Halle Berry
This doesn't scream "Oscars" to me....especially the shoulder pads.

Amanda Seyfried
I believe I would've liked this Alexander McQueen gown more had it been a dark plum color to complement Amanda's creamy skin.  The lavender color was so light it almost blended into Amanda's skin.

Which gowns were your favorite?  Dislikes?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Recipe: Oxtail Pho

Let's take a break from makeup and venture to the culinary side of this blog.  After all, my two greatest loves after my family (which includes my beloved pug!) and friends are makeup and food.  Anyone who knows me knows I had ZERO interest in food until 2011.  I had even less interest in COOKING food, let alone eating it.  

Once my interest was kindled, I initially embraced cooking anything except for Asian food.  Growing up with a fantastic home cook known as my mother, Asian food was plentiful in our household.  My mother cooked everyday.  I suppose you can say I took Asian food for granted.  However, I tended to veer towards French, Italian, and Western food because the challenge of plating French, Italian, and Western food was greater than Asian food.  I suppose my interest in plating (aka the aesthetics of the culinary world) originated from my love for makeup: make the object of your work pretty!

Anyway, starting July 2012, a friend of mine (ahem, the fanstic personality from Insatiably Epicurious) pushed me to reconnect to Asian food.  I have a new found appreciation for Asian food that is fostered by my mother and gal pal from Insatiably Epicurious.

To start the first of a series of recipes, here is an ode to a Vietnamese staple: Oxtail Pho.

2 stock pots

10 pounds of oxtail
2 -3 yellow onions UNPEELED
(2) 4-inch pieces of fresh ginger, UNPEELED
1 daikon
10 toasted star anise
12 toasted cloves
2 toasted cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp toasted fennel seeds
2 tbsp toasted coriander seeds
2 toasted cardamom pods
1/2 cup fish sauce
2-3 chunks of yellow rock sugar
optional: tendon, tripe - amount to your desire

Place star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and cardamom pods into a cheese cloth after you toast them

1. Turn on oven broiler.  Half the onions and ginger.  Place onions and ginger onto a cookie sheet and slide sheet under broiler.  (The purpose of halving them is so that they don't roll around under the broiler).  Broil for 15 minutes, making sure the onion and ginger becomes charred.  After 15 minutes, remove with tongs and rinse onion and ginger under warm running water.  Rub off the charred skin.  Trim and discard the blackened root and stem ends.  Peel ginger skin.  Make sure all blackened spots are cleaned off.  Bruise the charred ginger lightly with broad side of a knife.  Set onion and ginger aside.

2. Parboil the oxtail.  I chose to follow a parboil instruction I found from Insatiably Epicurious' blog: Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the bones/meat.  Throw in a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and let it boil for about 3 minutes to release impurities.  While you wait for the stock pot to boil, place another 12 qt stock pot into the sink.  Put a colander on top and put a cheesecloth into the colander.  Pour stockpot of bones into the empty stockpot through the cheese clothed colander.  Thoroughly rinse the bones with water to remove any clinging residue. 

3.  Add enough water into the 2nd stock pot that is now containing the bones and bone water to nearly fill 3/4 of the 12 quart stock pot. (Add tendon and or tripe in this step)  Bring to boil over high heat then simmer.  Using ladle, skim off scum.  Add onions, ginger, and cheese cloth full of herbs, fish sauce, and rock sugar.  Simmer uncovered for 3 hours.

4.  Taste to ensure the broth is seasoned to desire.  Season using fish sauce and or rock sugar to your desired taste.

5.  Strain broth through cheese clothed colander over 1st stock pot (which now should be cleaned).  Discard remaining solids.  Use ladle to skim off fat OR cool broth and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, lift off solidified fat and reheat to continue.

Assembly: (simmer broth while you are assembling the bowls)

pho noodles
sliced ribeye
1 yellow onion, sliced paper thin, soaked in cold water
3 or 4 scallions, thinly sliced (I prefer to slice them diagonally because it's more aesthetically pleasing to me)
pepper (I prefer white pepper)

1. Boil pot of water.  Put pho noodles in for about 5 seconds using a strainer, swirling noodles entire time to prevent clinging.  Alternatively, place pho noodles into a strainer that will fit in your pot of boiling water and submerge.  Remove the noodles and make sure water is drained before placing into a big bowl.

2. Top each bowl of noodles with the raw sliced ribeye (and tendon and or tripe).  Place a mound of yellow onion in the center and garnish diced scallions on top.  Finish with a sprinkle of pepper.

4. Increase the heat of the broth and bring to a ROLLING boil.  You want it HOT for each bowl so that it cooks the raw beef.  Ladle broth into each bowl making sure it distributes over the raw beef.  Serve immediately.

Garnish with Thai basil, culantro, bean sprouts, Thai or Serrano chiles (thinly sliced), hoisin sauce, and or sriracha sauce.  Squeeze lime juice.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Introduction to Cleansing Oils

This past Christmas, I was introduced to Shu Uemura's Skin Purifier. I'm use to seeing gel cleansers, foaming cleansers, cream cleansers, exfoliating cleansers, and wipes but a cleansing oil?  Definitely virgin territory.

Truth be told, this product took me almost two months to get use to.  I have combination skin - the dry areas are dry and the oily areas are oily.  I look for matte foundation formulas to keep the oil at bay.  I then top my matte foundation formulas with matte loose powder, touch up with matte pressed powder, and use oil blotting paper during the day to rid myself of oil and shine.  Thus, the idea of slathering oil onto my skin to rid it of impurities and makeup is counter-intuitive. In fact, the first time I used this product, I almost threw the entire thing out.  My face felt like it had an oily residue even after I rinsed my face numerous times with water.  Panic then set it.  Oil residue may lead to acne.  Sigh.

However, I continued use to see if my fears were justified - lo and behold, they were unfounded.  It's been about two months now and my face has not broken out.  In fact, now that I'm use to the "oily residue," it actually feels like my skin is hydrated.  How effective is it as a makeup remover?  I used a white towel to wipe down and dry my face after I washed it and absolutely no makeup residue was found anywhere on the white towel.   

This cleansing oil doubles as eye makeup remover quite effectively as well.  I don't use mascara as I am allergic so I can't personally comment on that.  Other users have reported success in removing mascara with this product.  However, this cleansing oil easily removes my waterproof eyeliner just as well, if not better, than my regular eye makeup remover (Sonia Kashuk).  Even when I leave my contact lenses on while removing eye makeup, the formula does not irritate or sting my eyes. 

Use this with a Clarisonic for optimum results.  Two pumps of oil onto your fingertips, massage into your skin using circular motions, use your ring finger for your eye area (it's the weakest and thus won't promote wrinkles), use the Clarisonic, and then rinse with water.   How easy is that?

The cons: pricey.  The price range is between $67 - $90 for a 450 mL bottle, depending on the type of formula you purchase.  Visit the Shu Uemura website for more details as to formula and pricing for each formula.

Verdict: Tres bon.  Singing praises for cleansing oils!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tutorial: Quick Red Lips

1. Start by prepping your lips because ladies, flaky dry red lips are not aesthetically pleasing, correct?  Exfoliate your lips to rid them of any flakiness.  Thereafter, MOISTURIZE.  I moisturize using Primavera's Moisturizing Lip Balm.  In order for the true color of the lipstick to show up on your lips, you should neutralize.  I do this by using my foundation brush after I've applied foundation to my skin to run over my lips.  It "erases" the color of my lips as well as my "lip line."

As you can see, I do not have even lips.  Thus, "erasing" my "lip line" helps so that I can later draw in my lip line to make it even.

2.  Draw in your lips!  I used MAC lip liner in Cherry Red

3. Fill in your lips with the lip liner.  This helps the lipstick color to stay longer.

Please ignore my blemishes - these are unfiltered photos taken off my phone.  I'm such an amateur.

Optional step here: Since this is suppose to be a quick tutorial for red lips, I skipped using a lip stain in these photos.  However, after you fill in your lips with a red lip liner, to make the color stay even longer, use a lip stain.  I'd use Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic's Lip Tar in True, Balanced Red (or whatever shade matches the lipstick you will use).  Let the stain sit for a while.  Then, use a kleenex and press your lips onto the kleenex being very careful not to smear or smudge your lip liner/color.

4. This next step is super important.  Use a concealer to draw around the edge of your lips.  Use a concealer that is closest in color to your foundation.  Why do this?  Well, you all know what Heath Ledger looks like in The Dark Knight Rises, right? "Bleeding" red lips is unsightly and not very Hollywood Glamour in my humble opinion.

Like I said, any concealer will do.  You can use a liquid concealer and draw around the edge of your lips with a small brush.  Since I like to be efficient, I skipped using a brush and went straight to using a pencil - Make Up For Ever Concealer Pencil.  I literally drew around my lips.  This makes your lips stand out against flawless glowy skin.

Remember ladies, the goal is to not look like the Joker!

5. Using a brush, blend the concealer out so there are no traces of the concealer.  I used Real Technique's Pointed Foundation Brush

6. Apply your lipstick color.  I'm not use to a bright red lip color so I went with MAC's Dubonnet lipstick. Follow up with a drop of lip gloss in the center of your bottom lip.  I like Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge in Number 9 Burgundy.

I hope this post made it in time for you ladies prepping for your Valentine's Day dates. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Real Technique Brushes by Samantha Chapman

I'd like to introduce you to my favorite face brushes at the moment - Real Technique Brushes by United Kingdom Makeup Artist Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo. These brushes are made of ultra plush taklon bristles, hand cut to the perfect shape, and are labeled by name on their handles for easy use reference.

What does it mean that the bristles are made from taklon?  It means they're synthetic brushes as opposed to natural brushes.  What's the difference, you ask?  Synthetic brushes are man made, animal/cruelty free, more hygienic, and are more affordable.  They generally are better for the application of cream products (i.e. foundation, concealer, cream blush, cream shadow, etc) and for blending.  Natural brushes are made from different types of animal hair and are generally better for application of powder products as they pick up more product than their synthetic counterparts.  The down side is that they cost more.

Think the handle colors are just for aesthetics?  Not entirely.  A yellow colored handle corresponds to base applications.  A pink colored handle corresponds to the finishing application.  A purple colored handle corresponds to eye makeup application.  Nifty, huh?

It is no surprise that these brushes almost instantaneously replaced all other brushes and or sponges I had been using to apply my base and to finish my makeup.

Above from left to right: stippling brush, contour brush, buffing brush, domed shadow brush, essential foundation brush, blush brush, and powder brush.  Here's a break down of how I use each brush:

1. Stippling brush = BB creams, tinted moisturizer
2. Contour brush = contour and highlight
3. Buffing brush = medium coverage foundation application AND to buff in heavy coverage foundation
4. domed shadow brush = concealer (aside from the obvious eye shadow application)
5. essential foundation brush = stipple concealer to under eye circles
6. blush brush = blush
7. powder brush = powder

Visit the website for more tips and information on these brushes.  MUA Samantha Chapman also has some great video tutorials worth checking out.  Aside from the Real Techniques website, you can also purchase these brushes online at Ulta and Amazon.  (At Ulta, if you're lucky, they'll have their buy 1 and get the 2nd 50% off sale.)  Sephora currently does not carry this line.

Verdict: Tres bon!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Makeup for Kathy

Half Irish, half Filipino.  Blessed with a natural beauty that requires little to no makeup to play up her features.  Who am I to argue with the rules of au naturele beauty?  Which is why I didn't...minimal makeup for this beauty only!

Kathy applied her own foundation and powder

MAC - woodwinked eye shadow
MAC - soft brown eye shadow
MAC - mylar eye shadow for brow bone highlight
Urban Decay - blackout eye shadow from the Smoked Palette
MAC - black track fluid liner

Makeup Forever Aqua Brow - #15

Nars orgasm blush
Sephora bronzer

Kathy applied her own lipstick and lip gloss

Friday, February 1, 2013

Las Vegas Wedding - Jennifer and Lance

Like many other brides on their wedding day, Jennifer did not get much sleep the night before.  Still, this gorgeous and down to earth bride was nothing but smiles, jokes, and preoccupation with her vows during the morning of her wedding.  With a scant 3 hours of sleep, she understandably was concerned with how her makeup would turn out.  She opted for a natural look.

Quite frankly, when you have features as gorgeous as Jennifer, you don't need much makeup.  She made a gorgeous bride walking down the aisle.  Face aglow with happiness, she was surrounded by a sea of people who were as equally happy to see her marry her best friend.  Their vows were heart felt yet still delivered the right amount of humor.  It was touching and truly an honor to be in attendance.

I had a fabulous time not only doing Jennifer's makeup but her entire bridal party.

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation
Make Up For Ever Duo Matte Powder Foundation in 207
Tarte Concealer

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Baked
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Bourbon
Urban Decay Half Baked Eye Shadow (Naked Palette)
Urban Decay Dark Horse Eye Shadow (Naked Palette)
Urban Decay Blackout Eye Shadow (Smoked Palette)
MAC Mylar Eye Shadow

Makeup Forever Aqua Gel - #15

Nars Laguna
Sigma Paris Palette Rouge & Peche blushes
Sigma Paris Palette Lumiere highlighter

Lips (not shown in photo):
MAC Creme Cup