Monday, May 6, 2013

Abbot Kinney: Cute Style, Cool Tunes

Hello potentially hypothetical, but hopefully corporeal readers! I know it's been a awhile, I hope you've stuck around, patiently waiting, like a desperate single girl or job searcher. Sorry I've been MIA, but things have been crazy and I'm currently in Florida maybe having slightly less of an existential crisis.

Anyway, my lovely friend Jenni Halina was recently featured live on the Langdon Nation radio show, singing with Abbot Kinney's Jared Swanson. Not only were they super funny, my favorite brand of witty and profane, but their music was beautiful! And i'm really snobby about music so that means something. This is a band I would really enjoy, even if I didn't know anyone involved. I only write about things I honestly like. Trust me, I wouldn't be telling you about them if I wasn't into it because I'm not that nice of a person. They have a catchy alt-rock sound evocative of Thom Yorke that's especially lush with the addition of Halina. I know this blog isn't really about music, but it's my blog so I can kind of do what I want, right? That's how it works? If you don't like it you can just go read another blog but you won't because deep down in that sick little head of yours you like it when I'm mean to you. And you'll be thanking me for introducing you to this band.

Abbot Kinney has recently launched an Indiegogo Campaign to record a new Ep and go on their debut US tour this summer. With contributions, the site is offering prerelease downloads of the new EP as well as these adorable T-shirts designed by The Mighty squirm T-shirts and Art. I grew up with so many great independent bands who didn't make it simply because of a lack of funds, and I know the world missed out so I really think this Kick Starter-esq idea is great. The T-shirts are actually really adorable and I can't wait to get my hands on one. They would look equally great paired with jeans or a skirt. Check these guys out and if you dig what you hear please donate.

Disclaimer: These T-shirts will not make you look like Jenni Halina, but they will make you look marginally better than you usually look. If you have an erection lasting longer than 12 hours consult a physician. That has nothing to do with Abbot Kinney, but it's just generally good life advice.

Abbot Kinney is online at:

Jenni Halina is online at:

Meanwhile on the internet: My new XOJane article on Natalie Dee's Super Black Lacquers! You should read it, it's an important piece of literature. These polishes are fantastic, get your wallets out and prepare to go on Food Stamps.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Desperate Things I Did To Preserve My Gel Manicure

Hello there! I'm so sorry this blog has become the redheaded step child since I started writing for things that are... I don't want to say more important, but I mean more important. Actually I really like redheads, so I'd probably be way nicer to the redheaded step child than the boring brown haired biological children. Maybe that's not a good analogy. What I'm really trying to say is I still care for this blog in the way the Dursley's cared for Harry Potter, like I'm willing to make it live in the closet, but I'd be kind of sad if it was ever in mortal danger. It's not going anywhere my attention is just mostly elsewhere at the moment.

So today we're going to talk about how to extend the life of your gel manicure if you absolutely can't afford to get it re done but refuse to walk around with chipping nails. Some how I ended up on the LIRR the other day without any polish on my thumb nail and so something had to be done. I can not deal with chipping nails, you guys.

Here is what I Frankensteined together to keep it on. In order.

Acrylic glue- A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away I wore fake nails. I still had some of the glue lying around, so when the edges of the gel started to lift in that telltale "I'm about to fuck your shit up" way, I stuck the tiniest bit of glue under the raised portion and pressed down till I glued the gel to my nail. Yeah. I don't think you're supposed to do that ever and I have no idea what unspeakable horrors my next manicurist will wish upon me now, but it worked. Instant gratification is yay.

Clear Topcoat- As the rest of the manicure started to follow suite I decided to just coat everything down with a thick top coat. This seemed to prevent further flaking.

Repainting- So I thought the whole topcoat thing was going really well for a few days and then my entire thumbnail fell off. Well I mean all of the polish fell off. But I scared you for a second right? That was fun. So anyway that happened and I was about to go shoot photos for an article on xoJane and I was freaking out. So I went into Sephora and used their testers to paint my thumb a very similar shade to what the gel was. It was a really similar shade and most normal people would have accepted it and left it at that but I'm a freak who saw that the new color was slightly more green when you turned it upward in the light so I just threw a coat of the new color over everything.

Fine Glitter Topcoat- So I did the shoot and whatever and it stayed on and looked fine so i was happy. On the way home however I realized I smudged it and didn't have the same color because it lived at Sephora. So I just threw a fine dark glitter over everything.

Large Glitter Top Coat: Then surprise everything started peeling again! So I threw the glitter side of those Revlon moon candy two sided nail polishes over everything and it's stayed on. It looks nice. I have to get these damn things done again eventually but so far so good!

There are so many different things on my nails right now I don't even know what's going on, but I kind of dig it. My nails are having an existential crisis but I'm not anymore because I decided that this morning and I'm sticking to it.

The moral of the story is to just throw a bunch of glitter on and keep going. Everything will be ok.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Physician's Formula "Nude" Palletes, the Cheap Alternative to the Naked Pallete

Photo by Mark Raker

 Hello All,
Sorry I've taken my sweet ass time getting back to this blog, but some potentially exciting things were happening. More to come about that later. 

 So the other day I was playing with my friend's Naked and Naked 2 Palletes from Urban Decay and I loooved them. But not for $100. Okay, that's a lie if I had $100 that's where it would have gone, but I did not. Being a freelance writer is not exactly conducive to spending $100 on eyeshadow, or anything really. Like really, the next time one of those charity collectors stops me on the street and asks me for money I'm just gonna say "Oh. I'm a freelance writer" and they're gonna be like "OH! I'm so sorry I had no idea..." and promptly give me their jar of change. So while the job search continues I'm not exactly flush with funds at the moment.

  My hopes and dreams were not completely crushed however after seeing the new Nude line from Physician's Formula. They really have a nice little assortment ranging from the colors of the Naked palletes and even beyond.  I received the Smokey Nude pallete from a friend and adored it so much that when I was itching for the Naked pallete I snatched up the Classic Nude collection myself. You see these babies are only like $11 bucks and then I did not have to spend $50 on the Urban Decay 
shit, so I was actually saving money. That right there is how logic works. Mmhmm.

I have to admit the velvety texture of the original Naked Palette is untouchable, but these are pretty good too. They are pretty well pigmented and I think I even like the color selection a bit better. They're really versatile as you can wear them alone for a smokey nude eye, or pair them with other colors. I only have two of them (so far) but there is a version to suit every skin tone. If you're looking for a cheap, good quality nude set look no further.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Post: Tasneem on Ruby Red Lips

 My tried and true method for red lips that last (pretty much) all night long

I don’t know about you, but none of those “red lips that last!” tutorials ever work for me. I feel like I’ve tried pretty much every variation of the standard steps, e.g. use lip liner, apply thin layers of color with a lip brush, blot, set with a translucent powder, find a unicorn, hug it deeply, etc. As someone who’s been performing since age five and is thusly well-accustomed to the art of SUPER INTENSE stage makeup, I’ve waded through over two decades of lip color innovation. And by innovation, I pretty much just mean that the most exciting development was the kind that you paint on, and then you have to make your mouth into a weird blow up doll shape while it dries, and then you put on the lip balm that comes with it so your lips don’t die from dehydration…and then? And then it just cracks and flakes off in a few hours anyways. Yeah, fuck that shit.

When primers became the new darling of the makeup world a few years back, I thought that my lipstick-related prayers were answered. Sadly, none of the lip primers I tried out seemed to make that much of a difference for me. I was a saaaaad panda. I came to terms with the idea that if I wanted to wear lipstick, I’d just have to be that chick who checks her lipstick every fifteen minutes.

But then. BUT THEN! I went to Sephora to have a makeup playdate with myself (y’know, like you do) and I stumbled upon an amazing stain. I was very skeptical at first – stains are one of the lip color innovations I’ve scoffed at over the years. As I am a darker skinned lady (think MAC Face and Body in C6/MAC StudioFinish Concealer in NC42 – they’re the closest foundation/concealer I’ve found) with darker coloring (raven hair that is somewhere between 1 and 1B with espresso tones, dark chocolate colored eyes), I‘ve learned that I require highly-pigmented (and usually more expensive, boo) makeup. However, when I swatched this stain, it stayed put on my hand, even through a few washes with soap! And now I share it with you:

Stila Lip and Cheek Stain in Acai Crush! 

I’ve heard the other stains in this line are great too, but I’ve had the best success with this particular shade. This gorgeous highly-pigmented stain with a light and smooth gel-like consistency is the key to my ruby red long-lasting lips.

Here’s what I do, from start to finish:

1.Emolliate with a jelly-style emollient. I love Aquaphor for this, or the ubiquitous Tyra Banks approved Vaseline - I use the cocoa butter one! Let it do its thang for a few minutes, then blot it off onto a paper towel.

2. Exfoliate gently with a method of your choice. You can buy one of those schmancy lip exfoliants, but my mom swears by the old olive oil and sugar trick, which I’ve modified by using brown sugar or confectioners’ sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. I use just enough olive oil to make the mix into a paste-like consistency, rub the concoction on my lips, rinse off, and then pat dry. Be aware that my skin is pretty resilient, though, so YMMV.

3. Emolliate again immediately with a light lip balm. I recommend Nivea A Kiss of Moisture (dark blue tube) or Nivea A Kiss of Smoothness (light blue tube) for this. As with step 1, let it sit for a few minutes, and then blot it off.

4. Apply lip liner of your choice (optional) and then apply the Stila stain. I don’t generally line my lips as my lipstick doesn’t tend to bleed, but if yours does, I highly recommend lining your lips with a liner of your choice. Then, fill in your lips with the stain. Try to use even strokes that ensure each area of each lip has the same amount of product in terms of layers and pigment distribution. I usually end up doing 2 to 3 very thin layers on each quadrant of my mouth. Once you have finished applying the stain, let it dry and set for a few minutes.

This technique may take a few tries, so don’t get too discouraged!

Nota Bene: A lot of Stila’s products are clickable pen applicators, and this one is no exception. The first time you use it, it can take a bunch of clicks for the product to appear on the brush. This is normal. I recommend clicking the top 4 or 5 times, then wait a few seconds for the product to emerge, then click a few more times if there’s no product/not enough product, wait another few seconds, rinse, repeat. Don’t get impatient like me and click thirty times and then end up wasting a bunch of product.

5. Apply lipstick of your choice over the stain base. Voila! Red lipped glamour and glory is yours!

As for which lipstick to choose: I don’t tend to splurge when it comes to lipsticks, especially since I
have had great success recently with the reds in the L'Oréal Infallible Le Rouge line and CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor line. There’s still some color transfer with each of these lines, but it’s minimal.

I must confess that the large glowing photo of Beyoncé on the L'Oréal store display featuring her wearing L'Oréal Infallible Le Rouge Refined Ruby is the reason that I chose that particular shade because QUEEN BEY!!! Luckily for me and my occasional impulse-buying habit, it turns out that this shade is super versatile. It’s a bit sticky while it’s setting which weirded me out at first, but it turns out that once it’s set, this stuff stays. the eff. in place.

The CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor line has some amazing colors with a smooth and creamy application and fairly long wear AND A SHINY TUBE! I like Euphoria (dark mauve-red) and Tempt (dark hot pink) in particular.

When I'm going for a matte red, I layer Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Fiery or Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella over the Stila stain. The matte crayons/pencils sometimes get oddly clumpy if you retouch, but they last a long time after the initial application. Plus, the Tarte one smells minty! Huzzah!

Be aware that all of these long wear colors can be somewhat drying. So far, I haven’t found a good lipstick that stays put AND is actually hydrating, but like I said, my skin is resilient so it’s not too much of an issue for me. If it is an issue for you, caveat emptor!

Here’s hoping this method works out for you. I know that when I figured this method out, I felt like the heavens opened up and shone down a warm buttery beam of light upon me. Got anything like that? Please share in the comments section, because sharing is caring! Yay!


In a future episode: Ruby Red - glitter lips edition, coming direct to you from NYC’s drag and burlesque scene! 

(Cross-posted to socialworkandglitter:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Benefit Fake Up Concealer

Hello dear readers,

 Sorry I've been behind in my blogging! I can change.  I'll try to work on it, please keep loving me. I'm nothing without you. Whatever.

 Anyway, a few weeks ago I got invited to the very exciting Press Preview for Benefit Cosmetic's new concealer, Fake Up.  It was a super cute event, structured like a game of clue. Someone "stole the fake up" and you had to guess who it was after meeting a few memorable characters including a sexy maid and a rich sophisticate. These parts were not played by actresses, but Benefit employees. They did a wonderful job!

She was great!

  I actually really like the product, which thank god because I refuse to write fluff reviews. I would have felt like a huge asshole if the nice people had invited me to their party and then I hated it and didn't review it. Thankfully that wasn't an issue. I was really happy that it's actually a great concealer. I'm not sure where the inspiration for the name came from, since it's once of the most natural concealers I've used. Nothing fake about Fake Up. The packaging is really cute too, if you are a sucker for shiny things, like me.

 This product was designed to hide dark circles and diffuse fine lines by containing a hydrating ring of Vitamin E and apple seed extract around a concealing core which diffuses light. It's almost like a combination lip balm/concealer so it's super moisturizing. It reminds me a lot of something my friend Laura and I used to do in hs after we had been sick:mix some vaseline with some super thick concealer to put around our eyes and noses to combat dry, flakey skin. It worked like a charm and so does this, I was wondering when the beauty industry would produce something like this.

 My only complaint is that it only comes in a range of three colors! This really sucks because their lightest shade, while it blends better than most is slightly too dark for me. I can kind of get away with it but in day light it doesn't work. I'm actually really upset about this because I would absolutely switch to this as my go to concealer, but sadly I can't. I also would like to recommend this to everyone because it really is one of the best concealers I've ever used, but unless you fall in the medium spectrum of skin tones and veer towards the yellow side, it's not going to work for you. This product launches in March and hopefully they will expand their color range some time after that. If one of these colors does work for you, I absolutely reccommend this!

 Also, when I announced I was attending this event people practically swarmed me asking if I could find out what the deal was with Benefit's blue lip gloss. It turns out this gloss is called California Kissin' and it's blue tint is intended to make teeth look whiter. It also has a minty, breath freshening flavor. There is actually something to this, using any sort of shade with blue undertones will make teeth look whiter. You can wear this alone or over a lipstick. I like.

 In closing, I really love this product and I just wish it loved me a little bit more. Please make a lighter shade for my pasty ass, Benefit! I would love to be drinking your kool aid.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oral Fixation:Obsessive Compulsive Teeth Whitening

Something to smile about.
  Hello all,
Sorry I've been lax with the updating, but I've been preoccupied with pimping myself out vocationally. I did manage to land interviews with Aveda and MAC so I'm hoping for good news this week. I know you don't really give a shit about me or my life, so I will make with the beauty tips now.

 I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that anything I've ever done that was good for my health was first motivated by esthetics. Shallow and sad, but true. I had smoked on and off since I was about 16 and only quit to save my poor teeth. I'd been preoccupied with my teeth since a boy in 9th grade told me I was a "4" but I would have been a "solid 8" if I straightened them. I decided I didn't care, I had already watched too many movies starring Kirsten Dunst and Jennifer Jason Leigh to think only perfectly straight teeth were attractive, so I would proudly show them off. But to do that they had to be WHITE and stay that way.

 I know you all want to hear that you can smoke and drink coffee hourly and still have beautiful teeth, but you probably can't. I sure can't. For my teeth (and skin) to look their best I've quit smoking and only drink water. green tea, coconut water, and white whine. Okay, and a rainbow of alcoholic beverages.  But that doesn't count doesn't.

Them shits sparkle!
   I did do that Zoom Whitening thing twice It was fine, it helped a little. Know what blew that out of the water? Fucking Crest White Strips. Yupp. Not an original recommendation by far but they work!  You have to get the Intensive Professional Effects Level 5 one though, I've heard other people have bought the less intense ones and did not get great results. Buy two packs, use the first one every day as directed until it runs out. Here's a heads up that I could have used:around the 5th day your teeth will HURT. But keep going! Pain is beauty, right? Then use the second box for touch ups. Do one once every couple of months to keep teeth looking their best.

 I also use Aim Toothpaste, and I swear by it. On a shelf bombarded with fancy expensive toothpastes claiming new and exciting levels of whitening power it's easy to overlook basic, $1.99 Aim Whitening with Baking Soda...but don't. This stuff works, it really keeps your teeth white unlike anything else. I first got turned on to this toothpaste because my dad was cheap and bought it from the dollar store. I was shocked  (and maybe a little appalled after spending 12 bucks on some Crest bullshit) that this was the best toothpaste I had used. 

Whitening Booster gel by Arm&Hammer is also pretty awesome. You add it to your toothpaste and it boosts the whitening power. It's relatively cheap and it works.

 The last item I'm going to evangelize is Luster Now! (yes, exclamation point) Instant Whitening Toothpaste. It's this blue tinted substance that is basically like a toner for your teeth. It will instantly make your teeth look great  for hours. As far as I can tell it doesn't actually "whiten" it basically just gets rid of any sort of yellow tint.

 So that is my method thus far: Mix the Aim, the Whitening Booster, and the Luster Now! on my toothbrush morning and night. Use the White Strips once every few months. It's been working great so far!

Toothpaste bukkake.

 If you've been finding any of this blog helpful or enjoyable, shoot me an email or a tweet. Make my life worth living ;)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Lady Grooming Habits Are About My Control Issues, Not Men

 Well I'm sick, and bored and got into a twitter um...heated discussion with @meghanemurphy about her recent article on Feminist Current. She says a lot of things that make sense like how "Make up is a product of a culture that places tremendous focus on women's appearances." Sure. Fine. That's true. But I totally disagree with her assertions that women only wear make up etc. so straight men will find us attractive. And if you say you do it for "yourself" or other women you are a liar. I'm sorry, it's way more complicated than that.

 Meghan says that what men want has seeped into our culture so much that women have internalized the male gaze and think they need it. Maybe that's true for some women, but calling anyone who says differently a liar is extreme in my views. I have always worn what made me feel attractive, and could not care less what men thought. I've had so many men tell me they like me better without make up or I don't need it or whatever. Don't care. Not that I wear a ton anyway I just wear my BB cream and lipbalm daily, but I used to do a full face in HS. And my boyfriend at the time hated it! Did not care. Still wore it every day. We are given messages about what straight men want, but we are also given messages from the fashion industry, which is run by women and gay men. There are a lot of things thrown at us that say "be this!" for all sorts of reasons and I feel a lot of women are like me, they pick through it and only keep the things that resonate with them. I like the things that I like and that's that. Did the things that I like originate somewhere? Sure. Is that somewhere always the mind of a straight man who may or may not want to fuck me? Not necessarily.

 Straight men apparently want to say they "hate make up" but really want women to put in a lot of effort with natural make up. The last time I heard this actually being true was with a boy in high school. Any guy who's actually lived with women or had a long term relationship has seen them put on make up and knows the difference. Or they just cannot tell the difference and therefore you don't even need to put in the effort. If I complain to my bf that I look like a mess when I just wake up, he says "no you look the same" (which great, I'm glad I'm out walking around looking like I just woke up!) but really they usually cannot even tell when you're wearing make up most of the time, so if you are doing it for men it's probably a waste of time.

 I am the first to admit I'm totally vain. I insist on looking a certain way at all times that's up to my standards. And guess what? Those standards are probably way higher than most men's standards! Men have hit on me in my pyjamas. Men have hit on me when I'm sick. Men have hit on me when I'm sweaty. I've seen some of the women men find attractive and been like...her? Hell I've seen some of the women in Maxim and other men's magazines and been like...her? I have of course worried that I was not attractive enough in general. But I have NEVER ever worried that I was not attractive enough for men. I have seen some really unattractive people who did not even have good personalities land some decent men. It's the way of the world. The whole thing just makes no sense. It's weird and it mildly annoys me, but whatever kind of a wildebeast you are, trust me you can get a man. And you don't need make up.

 When my skin was at it's worst I never believed my boyfriend when he said he didn't notice. Then we hung out with a friend of mine who had a huge sty near his eye. Thing was hideous. It had it's own personality and political leanings. When I finally asked my friend about it, after an hour of conversation my boyfriend said "oh...I guess you do have one." After a freaking hour of staring at this guy's face. This is what we're dealing with, ok? Anyone who's really that concerned about not impressing that baffles me. I am not perfecting my cat eye for a group of people who for the most part would not recognize a sty on someone's face. I find that idea profoundly ridiculous.

 Now other women are a different story. Of course I try to look nice for other women! Other women actually have taste. Other women will notice that I've  painstakingly matched my lipstick to one of the many colors in my dress. Men? Yeah right! Doing this for men is a huge waste of time. When I'm out in the world I don't look at men, men are boring, I look at other women. And naturally I want other women to look at me.

 The compliments from other women aside, it's mostly a control issue for me anyway. As I said in my XOJane piece, the less in control I feel in my life, the more I turn my attention to myself. Unless I'm really pressed for time, I shave everything every day. Even when I'm single (and I'm not into sex outside a relationship) because the hair on my head is not naturally black so therefore....and I find that aesthetically not pleasing. I had a boyfriend who would have liked it very much if I let it grow out down there. Nope. Cause it wasn't about him.

 I will only care if a guy (or anyone) thinks something about me is unattractive if I agree with them. The only time I cared that a guy didn't like my haircut was when I knew the hairdresser fucked it up anyway. When this guy I went for a few dates with on OKC said I should get my teeth straightened the only thing I felt was annoyed at his nerve. I like my teeth, so I did not care.

 I will acknowledge that some of the things I like are things that are considered generally attractive by men or the media or whatever, but some of them are not. Sure I like clear skin, and big boobs, and small waists, and light eyes. But I also like crooked teeth, and being pale, and ethnic looks, and all different sizes of women. I receive the same messages as everyone else about "what's attractive" to men or otherwise, and sometimes I agree with the media and sometimes I don't. I pick and choose. I'm not saying people aren't shaped by these things, but we are not ONLY shaped by these things. We have a choice. We can like wild curly hair, because our awesome cousin who we looked up to growing up had wild curly hair, we can like big noses because a pretty teacher we had in grade school had a big nose, regardless of what the media tells us. The media doesn't have the be the only thing that influences us.

 Some things about me fit what's considered attractive by society and some of them dont, but I've decided I like the way I look generally and no one is going to convince me otherwise. The only way that would change was if something that I currently like changes into something I don't like personally, even if other people like that. If I woke up tomorrow and had naturally straight hair I would be really upset. Not everyone is this way. Some people care way more about what the media says than me. That's fine, I understand why. Some people care more about what men think than me, that's fine too. But don't call me a liar because I don't.

 I certainly wasn't goth in my Long Island High School so men would find me attractive. They did anyway (I'm telling you, not very strict standards), but if they didn't I wouldn't have changed. I look the way I do because that's how I feel on the inside I guess, that's what makes me feel like myself. Make up, clothes, hair, all of it. If women only did these things for men, we would all look like Playboy Bunnies and the world would be very boring.

 Sorry for the rant, I am bored and sick and need a distraction.

I love this one dearly, but do not give a shit if he likes the lipstick I'm getting all over him!