Monday, November 29, 2010 Giveaway!

I really like to think of myself as a very low-maintenance kind of girl. I try to go with the flow, be laid back about things, and not be too picky. However, all this being said, there are certain things that I am ridiculously picky about, completely blowing my whole theory about moi being laid back.

I am picky to the point of being somewhat snobby when it comes to sushi (which I blame on my parents and them taking me to Nobu when I was growing up - they spoiled me for life), denim (which again, is my parents fault for buying me my first pair of Seven for All Mankind denim when I was in eighth grade), coffee (which I again, I blame on my father, who tried to motivate me to be on time for private school starting in 7th grade by buying me Starbucks every day that I was on time), and of course, makeup.

Maybe it's because I'm prone to breakouts, but to me, what I put on my face is extremely important. Makeup is one thing that I will absolutely not scrimp on, especially since with my awful skin, I notice a huge difference in the cheaper products and the higher quality products (in fact, I would highly recommend at least switching to a higher-end concealer, it really does make a huge difference).

The day-to-day essentials for moi (sorry for the clutter - I took a picture as-is so you get a feel for what a mess I am ;) :



With my adoration for good, high quality makeup, but my tres limited budget maitenant since I am without a full-time job, I'm sure you can imagine my excitement when an online retailer specializing in high-end makeup said they want to sponsor me. is an absolutely amazing company - it's a database of high-end products including Too Faced, Stila, YSL (which my mom swears by), Shiseido, and my personal favorite, Bobbi Brown. Not only is there makeup, there's also fragrance, hair products - seriously, anything beauty related that you can possibly imagine is at Apothica, and it's all on a very user-friendly site that is ridiculously easy to navigate (because there is nothing I hate more than having to hunt around a website to find what I want!).

To me, there is nothing better than a Bobbi Brown makeup brush. I own a ton of them, and I have noticed a difference immediately upon switching from a cheaper brand of brushes.


The Bobbi Brown short handle foundation brush is my personal favorite.


Before using a foundation brush, I would always use my hands, which I have since learned is a major no-no when it comes to makeup application. Since our hands have a ton of oils and bacteria on them (always, even after washing hands), when you touch your hands to your bare face, no good can come. Makeup experts always encourage using sponges (which conveniently, Bobbi Brown also makes, and a set of 8 is sold on for only $5.50!) or investing in makeup brushes.

I'm telling you - I could sing the praises of this Bobbi Brown foundation brush all day and night. You simply dip or dab it into or with foundation/concealer, and then spread it wherever it needs to go.

I'm a big fan of Bobbi Brown cosmetics to begin with, but this brush applies such an even coverage that I never have to worry about the dreaded zebra effect of my normal skin vs. my skin with concealer - it's all blended together perfectly. I had tried makeup brushes from other companies before, but I was never able to achieve full coverage, while still looking natural (it is very important for me not to look like I work at Lucky Cheng's - though those women are fab in their own way!).

See the tapered edges? They're part of the blending magic ;)


There are definitely some benefits for using a foundation brush, like the Bobbi Brown one I use:

1. Foundation brushes can be used with any type of concealer - creams, liquids, and even solids!

2. The brushes can create a more flawless finish - everything is spread evenly across the face.

3. Foundation brushes have a flat, tapered edge, so both simple spot application as well as complete face coverage is easy peasy.

4. These are easy to maintain, and will last for years. Plus, you will not be spreading oils all over your face as if you're simply using your hands.
(While you can clean your brushes with expensive products, washing them with baby shampoo and laying them on a paper towel to dry for 24 hours works well!).

Using a foundation brush makes all the difference in the world, but can be a little intimidating if you don't know exactly how to apply concealer/foundation with it. These are some simple steps to follow so that you can perfect your use of a foundation brush.

1. For light coverage, dip a small amount of foundation onto one side of your brush (from either the lip of the bottle or the inside cap, if you're using a liquid, which I do). For fuller coverage, use both sides of the brush when you dip.

2. Use broad, downward strokes as you blend the makeup, sweeping on your nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin.

3. Use the tapered edges of the brush so that you can reach those tricky spots that are hard to get even coverage - like your hairline, the corners of your nose (I really struggle with this!), and around your eyes and mouth.

Cleaning your makeup brushes (whatever type they are) is essential. If you don't properly clean your brushes, you're basically spreading bacteria all over your face (seriously, for a while, I wasn't properly cleaning my brushes and I was breaking out like crazy and couldn't figure out why!). I try to do it once a week, and I usually do it in the morning so that it has enough time to dry!

Hello, see below the reasoning behind cleaning your brushes! (This was just from cleaning my foundation brush and my face blender! Ahhh, imagine all that on your face?!). I was cleaning them off in that glass - yummmo!



I think the best thing about using my Bobbi Brown foundation brush, is that it completely cuts down the time it takes for me to apply my makeup (because really, who isn't going to say no to extra time on our hands?).

In the need to stock up on makeup brushes, or fabulous, high quality makeup products? I have amazing news - is sponsoring a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to their site! They have absolutely everything, so you can load up on everything from brushes, to different makeup (eyeshadows, concealers, glosses, blushes), skin care products - seriously, anything beauty related is on Apothica.

This contest is open ONLY to followers of my blog.

International readers are welcomed to participate, but Apothica wants me to let you know that you are personally responsible for all customs/fees associated with the order (if applicable).

To qualify, simply leave a relevant comment on this post, mentioning Apothica!

This contest will run until December 13, 2010 at midnight (Eastern time).

For Extra Entries:

1. Become a fan of Apothica on Facebook (1 entry)

2. Follow Apothica on Twitter (1 entry)

3. Retweet Apothica's Tweet about the giveaway (2 entries)

4. Leave a comment about Apothica, or Bobbi Brown in the comment section of this post (2 entries)

5. Opt-in for the Apothica newsletter found at the bottom of their website (2 entries).

6. Create a blog post with a link directed to the specific brand (7 entries - *Must have a minimum of 100 words and it has to mention and directly link to anything Bobbi Brown related on the Apothica website).

* Please leave all the ways that you have completed extra entries in ONE comment - you don't need to have a separate comment for each way that you gain entries! *

If you follow by Twitter, make sure that you leave your Twitter name in the comment section, so I know it's you! :)

I'll be using to pick a winner - so excited for you guys to check out Apothica! It really is an amazing makeup database. Good luck, crossing my fingers for a lucky reader :)

I hope everyone here in America had a beautiful Thanksgiving, and spend some quality time with friends, family, and loved ones (actually, I wish the second part for everyone, regardless of where you live!).

xo, Will be catching up on all your blogs soon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I don't know if I have ever fully appreciated Thanksgiving. Since it just so happens to be wedged between midterms and finals to a college student, and is a place where my (slightly) dysfunctional family gathers and attempts to go around the table where 45 people say what they're thankful for before diving into the catered Thanksgiving dinner (since my aunt finally admitted she cannot cook) - it always was a bit chaotic and stress-inducing for me.

Last year brought on the stress of meeting J's extended family for the first time - including his tres conservative grandparents who only listen to hymns (no, seriously), don't watch TV (they put on American Idol and were horrified by how immoral it was - no, seriously), and don't believe girls should wear pants or skirts that fall above the sole of your shoe, I was hyperventilating like crazy (I changed my outfit THREE times over at my aunts house).

Maybe it's because this year I am super mature and grown up, now that I'm a post-grad (just kidding). Maybe it's because we've had a lot of things happen in our family this year and I'm just grateful to be around them. Maybe I'm finally realizing that I have a really good life and that I'm so blessed. Whatever it is, this year, I'm determined to reflect on the things I'm thankful for - the things in my life that I really take for granted, or that I just don't acknowledge enough.

Due to some things going on in my family, lately the fact that we really don't have that much time together, and so we should be focusing on the big things, and not the petty little things is making me want to shout from the rooftops how much I appreciate certain people or things, that just make my life better, or give me a breather, or are just so extraordinarily amazing, and yet - I overlook them, every single day.

1. Family.
I feel like this really should go without saying, but my family and I have a complicated relationship (i.e., only in the past few years have we actually begun to develop a relationship). Going away to college was the best possible thing that could have happened - I definitely appreciate them more, and I'm really enjoying spending time with them.
I'm thankful that we're headed towards positives in our relationships, that we're doing more together, laughing more than fighting, and trying to make ourselves involved in the interests of our other family members.



2. Cooper.
I know it sounds trivial, and to anyone who doesn't have a dog, I don't think it would make sense. This dog though is there with me every night when I sleep (even though half the time I want to kill him because he is a major bed hog and a LOUD snorer, and looks at me like I'm the devil when I try to move him over), and when I'm sick, or hurting he will NOT leave my side.
I think everyone should get a dog so that everyone can know what unconditional love is.


3. Friends
Being out of college now, I miss my friends more than ever. I told a friend tonight, that I feel like I really didn't appreciate her sound advice, or just the fact that I could literally roll over in bed to talk to her - there was none of this coordinating schedules to iChat with each other. I miss my friends from school every single day - I miss planning birthdays and holidays with each other, I miss lazy movie nights, I miss making my way through the entire series of The OC every single year with my roomie Rach (it was a tradition) and having Friends, Golden Girls and Law and Order: SVU marathons with my other roomie. I miss the laughs, the bonding, the road trips, shopping, nights out, and nights in.
Looking back, all the things that I was so worked up about seem so trivial, and all I can do is revel in the fact that I am blessed with so many amazing friends.



4. J
Our relationship is tres complicated at the moment, and at the point where things could go one way or another, but regardless, I am thankful for him. Through the ups and downs, I've learned so much, and I've grown so much. I wouldn't take back anything, and I'm grateful for all the time and memories we have together. He's helped me grow more than anyone, and I love him very much. Regardless of the fights, and regardless of what happens with us down the road, I will always love him for the wonderful person that he is, and everything that we've shared together. I hope we can make it, I do - but regardless, I've learned so much and I'm so thankful for this wonderful person I've gotten to know better over the past two years.

I'm also thankful that he'll be joining my family for dessert this year on Thanksgiving (which is a VERY big deal, because his family is very into tradition, so his leaving them early is a huge victory for moi) - and I won't have to change my outfit, so it's a win-win!


5. "Time Outs".
Okay, so a few weekends ago, my parents informed Pat and I that we were being evicted, because they had FOUR couples coming to stay at our house for the weekend. We were PISSED, thinking we were going to be banished to the cabana by the pool, until my parents announced they booked us rooms at a hotel.
This weekend away was EXACTLY what I needed - I was able to unwind, watch bad Lifetime movies (my weakness!) and Jersey Shore (my other weakness - why am I so trashy?!), drink wine, order room service, and read, read, read (though at this time, I was reading Night, which did not ensure a good night sleep, so I chased it with some People).
So, dear mom and dad, please invite company over again SOON - having time to just get away was so refreshing and rewarding - I really came back feeling like a new person!

Tons of room service (yes, that was all for moi), and wine/computer/books was all I needed to rest and recuperate from the day to day stresses!


6. The Kids at Work
These kids at work make my day so much better. Every day, no matter what happened the day before, my third grade boys come running in, super excited to see me, and quickly filling me in on absolutely everything I missed from the previous day to the present.

Some of the stories they tell me break my heart, and are things I carry home with me (like the brothers who told me last week about the monster fight they had with their parents), some stories they tell me make me laugh (like the Indian and Chinese boy who are two of my favorites who told me that their dad's refer to them as "Harold and Kumar"), and other stories warm my heart (like when they tell me that they think I'm one of their best friends).

Lately I've been seeing these kids EVERYWHERE - at Whole Foods, at the library, at Starbucks, Market Basket - all over, and I'm always greeted with a big hug and smile.

7. Poppy.
Because he is adorable, and so old, and says things that he absolutely should not because he apparently lost his impulse control in his old age, and he makes me laugh.


8. Blogging
I love having a place that's just about ME. I can write whatever I want, and it's mine - none of my real life friends know about this blog and I keep it private so that I can just be me. Beyond that, I've met so many people who I really do consider to be friends. I think that the blogging community is misunderstood by people who aren't directly in it - and before I got my blog, I never would have thought that you could consider people you've never met your friend - but I do. I really truly am thankful for each and every one of you - I've come to know and adore you through the mutual readings of our blogs, I Tweet with many of you, email - it's really so wonderful knowing/getting to know so many of you!

9. Traveling
It meant so much to me to be able to go to China this summer - to work in the university, to connect with students there - who I'm still keeping in touch with, to see a completely new culture (and learn how accommodating the people there are to non-language speakers! I can't tell you how well I was able to get by with gestures, pointing, and using my fingers as numbers). It was the experience of a lifetime, and I'm just hoping that I can head back next year to reconnect with all the amazing people I was able to meet there (including ELVIS, who if you don't know, is the guy I met over there who I had a big crush on, and who was crushing on moi as well).

I love traveling, and I'm grateful that I've had the chance to experience the cultures in China, in Europe, and in Africa - that my eyes have been opened to the lifestyle of others. These are all experiences I am beyond thankful for, and truly blessed to experience.

Are you even surprised I found a Starbucks in China?

Great Wall (in the pouring rain!):

My roomie (and fellow American) Courtney and I (believe me, I was so thankful to have PIZZA and beer over in China after 3 meals a day of Chinese food!), and moi and ELVIS <3

10. Freedom
I know it sounds stupid, and maybe even a little cliche, but I am so thankful that everyday I can get up and I can wear whatever I want, I can say how I'm feeling, I can express myself. So many women in so many countries do not have that luxury. I feel so blessed that I can be an independent woman - that I can be proud of being a woman, rather than feel oppressed in something I cannot change. I'm thankful that I live in a country where I have the same rights as men (I know sexism exists, but laws say that we are SUPPOSED to be treated equally), and that all races are considered equal. I'm thankful that we live somewhere where we can all worship as we please, believe what we please, without fear of oppression.

Again, I think traveling has kind of helped me appreciate that more - especially going to China this summer, where there were certain things we couldn't EVER speak about (like Tienamen Square, or Tibet).

Of course I'm also thankful for things like my health, music, the fact that I have a home and that I don't have to worry about having enough food to eat, or clean water to drink -- these are things that I consider "normal" that to so many in the world are luxuries. I am really, truly blessed and way too often I can't seem to realize that.

Today at work, I was talking with the women about different things with the holidays, and we were all sharing the horror stories, the good stories - everything. One of them told me that it's always so easy to concentrate on the stresses, on the things that drive us crazy, but that being positive is a state of mind, and that it takes practice. You have to try to train your mind to BE positive, instead of negative - kind of like how you have to train your body if you're trying to get in shape.

"You have to think of the little things," she told me. "Like the fact that Alex S. thinks the world of you and that you found a way to connect with him over a mutual interest [Harry Potter saves the day!] in a way that none of us have - that's a huge blessing." It's true though - these little things are so important, and yet are something that I overlook or push out of my mind when things get rough.

(And not to brag, but it really is a big deal that Alex S. is my new bff, because he did not give me the time of day before he found that we had a mutual interest in Harry Potter, and now he's been opening up about how rough things are at home, which kind of gives me new insight into why he acts the way he does!).

She told me the way that she tries her best to beat the stress and to constantly be thankful is that once a week, she sits down and journals all the things that she's thankful for, and then can reflect back on days where she's feeling down or discouraged. I'm adopting this idea, and even went to Anthropologie tonight to pick up a notebook to begin this. Too often I get so overwhelmed, and take everything for granted.

So, my resolution (a bit early) is that once a week, I'm going to be journaling EVERYTHING I'm thankful for, no matter how trivial it might seen. I'm hoping that doing something like this more regularly will help to make me more and more optimistic - and to help me not be so self-centered and ungrateful!

I'm wishing each and every one of you a beautiful and very happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget that I really, truly am thankful for each and every one of you.

What things are you most thankful for during this holiday season?

P.S. I'm going to have something veryyy exciting for you guys a few days after Thanksgiving! So excited to share with you :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Street Stylish.

I love celebrities, and I love fashion, so using basic math, it makes sense that I would love fashionable celebrities.

As much as I appreciate a well-dressed celeb on the red carpet, there's a little part of me that's always saying, "But, they had their high-priced stylist pull an outfit for them, and someone spent hours doing their hair and makeup."

I think this is the reason why I adore street style - on anyone really. The way you dress on your days off (aka days when you are almost 100% sure you will not have your picture taken and be tagged on Facebook) says a lot about your approach to fashion. I think this is why I appreciate and spend a lot of time browsing The Sartorialist - all that street style?! Love, love, love.

When I think of celebrities who I draw fashion inspiration from, I often look at their street style, since, let's face it - I will not be rocking Balmain minidresses anytime soon (or probably ever - hello, I'm an elementary education major).

These are just a few of the celebs I always go to for street style inspiration - I especially love how simple most of the outfits are - and how they're elevated to a much more stylish level through an awesome pair of shoes or handbag.

Which celebrity/celebrities do you think has/have the best style?

Rachel Bilson (who is my favorite, favorite style icon ever):

Nicole Richie:

Olivia Palermo:

Victoria Beckham:

Obviously, the Olsen's have to be on this list.

mary kateMary_Kate_arriving_in_Milan__September_24__2008


Sienna Miller:


Hillary Duff:

Nicky Hilton:

Blake Lively:

Kate Bosworth (who could wear a freaking paper bag and still look perfect):

Leighton Meester (these Alexander Wang shoes are too gorgeous for words!):

Stylish Hills stars - Lauren Conrad and Lo Bosworth:
Out_and_about_in_Los_Angeles_November_2_2010lo bosworth

What is your go-to outfit on a "day off" from dressing up?
Are you the type to always be in a dress or skirt, or do you prefer denim?
(I love me a good cardigan, leggings or jeggings, and boots!).


Even in China, I can't give up on my love of cardigans. :)

Currently watching: The Millionaire Matchmaker. Is it ridiculous that I DVR this show? I love Patti, especially when she puts people in their place! (And today she said she is 49 and I cannot even believe that for the life of me!).