Friday, June 19, 2015

About Face: bronzer and blush

On camera, since everything needs to stay matte, I stay away from the shimmer and sparkle.


I really like Bobbi Brown's Flat Bronzer in Golden Light for contouring. (Yes I contour with the lightest shade of bronzer-- I'm that pale, ha.)

I also just bought MAC Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronze which I like as well and is a bit less spency $$.

In normal life, I completely embrace the sparkle. I'll still use my matte bronzer but add on top Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Copper Diamond (Beige is similar) during the Winter months or Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic now that summer's here.


The key to blush on camera is something that isn't too strong. I've used shades that were a bit too harsh, and looked ruddy on my cheeks, like I had packed dirt on them.

MAC Powder Blush in Cubic is almost laughably light but I love it for the camera. (It's lighter than it looks below)

Bobbi Brown Blush in Nude Peach is also nice if I feel like going the orange route.

A bargain blush my studio's MUA suggested for me is Elf's Tickled Pink. It isn't as pigmented (more powdery excess falls off the brush), but it's a great deal for $3.

Off camera, I like to punch up my blush a bit... I'll use MAC Margin or Bobbi Brown's Pale Pink.

About Face: foundation, powder and concealer

Foundation and powder are a really important piece of an on-camera look. If your skin isn't even in coloration, you can look sallow and shiny.

I just returned from a sunny tropical vacation, so my skin is a little bit more tanned than normal. I've simply been using NYX CC Cream in Green (which color corrects redness) and powdering on top. But when my skin returns to it's usual pale form, I'll resume the foundation.

I am always trying to find something better, but the following are ones I've tried and really like.

Liquid Foundation -- the key is getting a thicker, MATTE concoction :
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet Foundation

I love the above two and think they're both great for on camera.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Even Finish foundation I also like, but not as much as the Make Up For Ever formulas.

NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Liquid Foundation -- This was recommended to me by my studio's makeup artist, who surprisingly uses mostly budget makeup from NYX and Elf.  To me, this foundation does the job but doesn't feel quite as luxurious as the Make Up For Ever or Bobbi Brown formulas. It's cheap, though (like 7 bucks), so it's a great option on a budget.

I've been wary of using MAC liquid face makeup and face powders ever since my derm told me to stay away from them. But my skin is in good shape again, so maybe I'll give MAC a try one of these days to see if it makes a difference.

One brand I'm not impressed with is NARS. The foundation I've tried looked cakey and chalky on my face, so I returned it!


Bobbi Brown Skin Weightless Powder Foundation - It's a little thicker than normal powder without being a cream base. I will probably try something else when I'm out, as I'm not completely sold on it.

I also like Shiseido Perfect Smoothing Compact Foundation. I feel like you can't go wrong with Asian cosmetic brands because of how culturally obsessive they are about skincare.

NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat powder -- Cheap and does the job, but not my absolute fave.


MAC Select Moisture Cover

NYX HD concealer - Also recommended by my studio's makeup artist and I've also seen others rave about it. I don't like it as much as the MAC's sheer-er and not as long lasting. Though, it is cheap.

Tip: I also use concealer as an eyelid base. I've used a few eyelid primers before (the Urban Decay one is great, the Laura Mercier Eyelid Primer is not that great) but I find that concealer usually works just as well and I'm all for product two-fers. Shhh don't tell! ;)

And of course, to combat shine I'm on the Oil-Absorbing Sheets train. I use them obsessively almost always before I go on camera.

About Face

My dad has always advised me to take 3 passions and find a way to combine them into a career.
Three of my greatest passions are reading, writing and! And I feel lucky that I've found something that accommodates all three!
I have loved makeup ever since I started wearing it at the end of middle school -- I think it can be transformative and empowering -- and now it is quite literally part of my job.

I'm pretty terrible at traditional forms of art like drawing and painting, but I feel like doing my makeup makes me feel like I CAN be an artist in some regard. Plus, it's very practical and frankly, necessary in my line of work. I've been on camera without it and there is a difference.

So the next few posts will be me gabbing about my fave products and what I've found works to wear on camera, in everyday life and for special more dressy occasions.
I'm working on my hair though. I've never had a knack for it-- I wore it in a ponytail for most of my life before I discovered Keratin treatments (seriously life changing). I only recently taught myself how to use a curling iron, and even then, I'm still not great at it. Most of the time I blow dry, maybe flat iron some outlier pieces, but mainly I just let it fly and hope for the best. Haha.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The present is a present

I thought that in returning to more consistent blogging, I would have evolved to a higher state of being. Older and wiser. That I would somehow have more poignant things to say and more depth. But the interesting thing about being in your own body your whole life is that you can't realize how much wiser you've become without reflection along the way.

I am different than I was five years ago. I don't know why I'm so fixed on this figure of five years ago, but it seems significant because five years ago, right out of college, was a lot different than ten, finishing up high school. Nearly five years ago, I moved to New York and was assaulted with self-doubt and this correlated to blogging less. I learned a lot in that time period and I wouldn't be where I am now without it, so I don't consider it a failure.

Nowadays, I care less what people think of me. I'm more candid and open about my shortcomings, trials, and difficulties. I am more present, not too concerned with the future. I guess I've come to a sort of Deepak Choprah kind of awakening along the lines of "the time is now" because I really enjoy present. I realize that no moment will ever be quite the same as another, so I must relish it for what it is. There are things to love and things to feel neutral about and things to dislike about living in every moment, but that they will all be different is something profound.

For instance, the old me would have pictured myself as happy in LA only if I lived near the beach. That day might come, and it's still a goal, but there is still so much I enjoy about the present that I know I'd miss if or when that situation arises.

Maybe I just really like the people around me at the present moment. Is it all really about the people that make or break an experience? As I think back on the most positively memorable experiences in my life, they are filled with people whom I adored. The not so great experiences? There seems to be a common thread of an absence of people with whom I genuinely connected.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Valley Girls

I live with five girls in the Valley. When I tell people this, it raises some eyebrows, but it is one of the best living situations in which I have ever been. Someone is always home to chat, catch up, chew the fat -- it's kind of like being on a sitcom. From STD scares to stories of working alongside celebrities, there's rarely a dull moment when we're all (or mostly all) home. Or it's a pleasant kind of dull -- sometimes there's not much going on, but you're rarely alone.

They're each pursuing their dreams in the industry, and I have enormous respect for all of them. It's a hard, vulnerable, financially stressful journey-- but they are all happy because they are doing what they love.

When I moved to LA, I was bummed that my work wasn't on the (what I thought was) coveted west side. But I've realized that there is much to love about the quirkier, more easterly and northerly parts. My work is rumored to be moving to a more western location within the year, and I think this has given me pause to take stock in what I've learned and loved about this side of the city.

"It's impossible to hate anyone whose story you know."

I felt a sense of peace and love as I watched the Bruce Jenner special. His sensitive candor touched me, and reaffirmed that I can always be better understanding of those with whom I do not immediately relate.
His is an anguished, sorrowful, triumphant and hopeful story of a man who has never felt at home within something so universal, primal, vital, taken for granted -- his own body. And despite these feelings, going on to achieve such alpha-male feats few will ever comprehend...and also such common things like marriage and fatherhood. I think it is this mix of extraordinary and ordinary that makes Jenner both fascinating and relatable, a hero on many levels and in many forms. A world class athlete and a carpooling dad at the same time. Then add on the element of inescapable media scrutiny he faces as a public figure, and one is hard pressed to not sympathize with him (her).

On a lighter note, I thought it was hilarious how Diane Sawyer refrained from mentioning the Kardashians by name (except in her voice-overs on b-roll), instead referring to them as "them."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Living with ambiguity

I had a religious leader tell me this past weekend that it's unnecessary to connect dots of your life to have it make sense, because some things just don't. It's what I needed to hear, since a lot of things that have happened in my life don't make sense to me, and I waste so much energy grappling to find meaning from it all that the present becomes a wallow-fest of the past.

Living with ambiguity is something I realized I just need to get comfortable with. Dots don't need to be connected and things don't need to make sense immediately. Perhaps this longing for immediacy is a byproduct of living in the 21st century: let's face it, I'm addicted to instant gratification. It feels good and it's satisfying. But I need to be more cognizant of just letting things sit for the sake of sitting, putting them on a shelf like an old book that I can pick up again in years to come, or maybe never again (gasp!).

Ode to a crush of yesteryear

When a boy doesn't like me, I've matured a bit to take it in more stride than I did at age…say 21. I used to be devastated, my heart crushed to smithereens… and I began to doubt myself. I wasn't pretty enough, I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't witty enough, I wasn't 'motherly' enough…. or that I wasn't dumb enough or short enough (ha! To think I ever liked guys that didn't like a tall smart girl. Oh youth.)

But I've realized as I grow older, that I'm just fine the way I am. Sure there's always room for growth, and progression, but I take it a lot less personally when guys don't like me. In fact, I sometimes even go as far as seeing it as a fundamental personality flaw if they don't. Take this cute athletic nerd I liked a few months ago. Found out he's seeing some alternative, crass chick. Instead of pitying myself, I laughed about it. Even now, as I type, it's cracking me up. It's actually kind of interesting to me that I thought so much better of him! He seemed perfectly lovely in his own goofy way. Good family, strong education, college athlete…a good all-American nerd. But it makes so much sense now-- he would never go for me, I'm not his type! And that's totally cool… if not, hilarious.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's nice to have the confidence that age brings. I used to be pretty paralyzed by self-doubt, but now it feels nice not to care. I was also formerly bewildered when people said they didn't care what others think, but now I'm starting to get it. I don't think I could ever be completely impervious to others' thoughts since I'm human, but it's certainly a worthy goal.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Go Pats

Go Pats!

USPS: can't live with/out it

So back in October I needed to renew my passport. I had somehow gotten through LAX customs last year but misplaced it soon after, so I couldn't just renew it. I had to go submit a new application. A few visits to the post office across the street from where I work rendered me impatient. Although it was a no-appointments needed situation, the line was always queued with no less than 20 people. So I got an 800 number to call to make an appointment, then was redirected to calling the post office directly.

There are a couple post offices within blocks of each other in Hollywood, so I made an appointment 4 weeks out from when I called-- the earliest Saturday appointment they had.

I fill out all my paperwork, have my ORIGINAL birth certificate delivered from my parents safe at the bank at home (a copy wouldn't do).

I wake up extra early, get to the post office 30 minutes before my appointment. I actually had forgotten which post office I had made the appointment -- there are 2 in Hollywood just blocks from each other -- hence my desire to be early. But I guessed right the first time, as I waited my turn and asked at the window if I was, indeed, scheduled there. The lady brought out an old clipboard with a basic chart of an appointment schedule that day, names written in various scrawly handwriting. I saw my name, spelled wrong of course, in the 10 am slot. Perfect.

I walk to the nearby drugstore to get some magazine reading material...I am dubious that they will actually be ready for me at 10, so might as well be prepared. I pass all the weird local Hollywood characters you would expect on a Saturday morning. Hollywood Boulevard is the Times Square of LA. It's where tourists want to visit, but where the locals try to avoid.

I arrive back at the post office at 5 minutes to 10. Stand in line again, just to make sure someone will be at the special passports window to help me. I get up to the regular service window in front of a different employee than the first.

I ask where I can stand to be ready for passport applications, and he turns to his coworkers and says, "Yeah, I don't think we're doing passports, today. Are we?"

"Oh, no no no. I have an appointment," I assured him, firmly. "What. The. Hell!" I think to myself, feeling a pang of nervousness. 

"Hmm," he replies.

He turns to his coworker who is helping someone else. She kind of just shrugs with an "I guess?" kind of expression and finishes doing a complicated order for someone. Then I'm finally helped at the special passport window! I have double copies of everything just in case, and to reiterate that yes, I'm an upstanding, responsible American. She unhurriedly shuffles through all the paperwork and compiles everything together.

I speak only when prompted, ask no other questions other than if she needs anything else from me. I've quadruple-checked the checklist already, so I know what she'll be asking for.

A few minutes later, an astute woman comes in and stands a few feet behind me, paperwork in hand.

I just kind of turn around, raise my eyebrows, nod, and give her a knowing look. She reciprocates a nod, confirming that she understands what I'm conveying. "Yeah, this is pretty bullshitty, but you just gotta get through it."

We go to ANOTHER window to pay the fee, and I very emphatically thank the woman helping me several times.

Then, by some miracle, 4 weeks later I actually receive it. Phew. Adventures await!