Wednesday, May 23, 2007


No longer just the name of an old Usher album (WHAAAT??? YEEEEAH!!) -- our favourite brainy bloggers over at The Beauty Brains tagged me in a meme -- my very first one, no less! This one lists 5 things about a blogger that were previously unknown to readers. Who knew Sara-bellum and I were addiction-twins? If I keep bugging Right Brain, will I get an invite for a home-cooked meal? And can I raid Left's CD collection?

Anyway, since I'm still working on some reviews (soon, promise!), this meme comes at a handy time. So without further ado, here are 5 Things You May Not Have Known About Me:

1. What book is currently on your nightstand?
Hm... does an unruly stack of unread journal articles count? I just finished Will Ferguson's Happiness, and have been reading Dorothy L. Sayer's Five Red Herrings for like a year -- I never get past the 2nd chapter, because I only remember that I'm reading it every couple of months, and then have to start from the beginning again. So far it's fascinating!

2. Who are your personal heroes or role models?
Oh wow. Well, my mom is pretty awesome. One also has to admire the coiffed blonde gumption that was Mary Kay Ash. She seemed like a great lady.

3. How do you relieve stress?
Shopping, she said sheepishly. Beef jerky. Going to band practice, when I did that. Singing loudly while driving down the highway also works, as does curling up with a good book or some trashy TV.

4. What music do you like?
Jazz, of course! (Emilie-Claire Barlow's new CD out June 19th! So cannot wait!) The Fratellis are also making me bop around a lot. They're Scottish and awesome.

5. What personal care product can’t you live without?
Well, there's the lip gloss, of course. And then the concealers, and foundations, and shine serums. The blog's tagline basically says it all. But lip gloss is definitely what I have most of, so I guess it wins!

And there ya go! I think how it works is that I tag someone next, so.... Meg, from Faking Good Breeding, you're it!

Happy Wednesday!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Wheeee! Tonight is the season finale of ANTM, and my pals and I are having a good ol' fashioned sleepover in honour of the event. I am trucking my crapload of makeup over there, and shall attempt to co-erce my friends into letting me doll them up.

In other news, I apparently have 2/3 of a small suitcase of makeup that I deem presentable enough to be used on friends. And that's not counting any hair and body stuff. Yikes.

Oh, and here's a random tip -- unless you've fallen absolutely crazy in love with a nail-polish colour, why shell out the big bucks for the high-end stuff? Drugstore lines have loads of variety in colour, and you can often create exactly the shade you want by layering 2 polishes. As for staying power, just buy a high-end topcoat (I like OPI) to go over your cheapie colour. It totally works -- my Sally Hansen "Hard As Nails" + Rimmel pedicure lasted for weeks this way!

Alright, off to the party. Go Renée! And please stop calling yourself Néné!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Because life is more than makeup

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Meade

How true these words ring! Think about all the pivotal changes that have occurred throughout history. Suffrage. Equal rights for minorities. Awareness of animal testing. All these things are brought to the forefront of the public's eye by dedicated, passionate people who work tirelessly to shout it from the mountain tops. They have a vision that burns bright, and they fight to make sure that their message is heard.

These people are special. But they are also regular humans -- they are parents, daughters, and sons. That guy who you always see at Starbucks may organize food drives in his spare time, and perhaps your boss spends her Sundays volunteering at the children's hospital. So if they can do it, why don't we all lend a hand?

It's easy to forget. I sure do -- I am fortunate enough to have a pretty good life, and it's terribly easy to say "Oh, I'll contribute to XYZ foundation later" and then completely forget about it. We have good intentions, it's the follow-through that's hard.

Well, the ladies of the Beauty Blog Network are making it easy to follow through! After learning that several Network members are currently fighting cancer, we decided to combine forces in an effort to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and treatment. Cancer has touched each and every one of us in some way. Those ads, while cheesy, are true: Cancer survivors are our families, our friends, and our colleagues. There are few things scarier and more sombering than finding out a loved one has been diagnosed with the disease. It can make you feel so helpless.

But we CAN help! 25 blogs from the Beauty Blog Network (including yours truly!) will be participating in Comments for a Cancer Cure from June 4th to 6th. How it works is easy: Just visit the participating blogs each of those 3 days, and post a comment on the blog. The blog editors will donate a certain amount per reader comment to the cancer charity of their choice (visit the blogs for their specific details).

For the Ebay junkies amongst us, there will be a charity auction on Ebay for a HUGE goodie basket, filled with items from Tarte, KENZO, DuWop, and Bourjois Paris, just to name a few. (I'm serious, that list is totally impressive, and it's still growing as sponsors chip in. Check it out on the website.) Some Network members are also holding their own Ebay auctions, with proceeds going to the cancer charity of their choice. And if all that ain't enough for ya, Teri from Beautiful Makeup Search has set up a wicked cool Cafe Press store filled with great merchandise emblazoned with our Comments for a Cure logo. Shirts, stuffed bears, aprons, totes... there's something for everyone, and it all looks awesome!

So what's my deal? Well, for every comment posted on the days of June 4th, 5th, and 6th on Brain Spam, I will be donating $1 to the Canadian Cancer Society. Since I am kind of a broke-ass student, I will be capping the donation at $50 (but help me reach that $50!!). To make things a little more interesting, I will also be doing a draw for this lovely t-shirt* from the Cafe Press store. So, even if there's already been 50 comments, comment anyway, because you could get a free shirt!

I can't imagine an easier way to help than this -- all you have to do is visit some blogs, and make some comments. What a great way to use those web-surfing minutes productively. Philanthropically, even!

I'll post a reminder closer to the date of the event, but in the meantime, check out the Comments for a Cancer Cure website to see a list of participating blogs, and to keep updated on the ever-growing list of products in the Ebay auction. As well, browse around on the Comments for a Cure Cafe Press Store and keep the items in mind for gift-giving, or as gifts for yourself!

* For the gentlemen readers out there: if you win, you'll get the dude's t-shirt instead. Pink is manly, especially if it's for a great cause!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Product Review: Zhen Oil Free Matte Foundation

This review was brought to you by Meg's Makeup. To see what others thought of this product, check out the reviews here!

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!!!

My mom is a nice lady. She's always great with her P's and Q's, she smells nice, and children and animals like her. She let me play with her makeup and scarves when I was little. My mom's great.

Which still doesn't make it easier that she's always right. Like, how she was always telling me that I should eat more vegetables and drink more water? Score one for Mom. Or how she'd always tell me to plan out my homework so that I wouldn't have to stay up for days trying to get it done in time. Yeah, Mom's right again.

It should come as no surprise then, that Mom was also right about Chinese school. I hated Chinese school. HATED it. It was hard, and ruined half of my weekend, and I had to go to it for like 8 years. Mom would always say that it'd be useful in my future careers to know Chinese, to which I replied in my attitude-y adolescent sneer: "Duh Mom. I'm going to work in CANADA. I'll learn French instead!*"

And, because my Mom is so great, she refrains from telling me "I told you so", even though I use Chinese words in my experiments now, and things would be immensely easier if I'd paid more attention in Chinese school. (That's +3 for Mom now, if you're keeping count)

Fortunately, I did pay enough attention to know the meaning of this Chinese word scripted on the bottle of foundation that Meg sent:

"Zhen". It means "true", making Zhen Oil Free Matte Foundation very aptly named indeed. The finish and colour of this long-lasting foundation stays true even after a long work day. In fact, it basically beats up the long workday, and mops the floor with it, all the while leaving you with a perfectly velvety finish.

For such a long lasting foundation, Zhen is surprisingly light. The thin liquid goes on cool (it's water-based!) and spreads easily on the skin, but you'll have to blend fast, since it sets rather quickly. The Almond shade that I received was just about a perfect match for my light-med warm skintone, and it blended right in with just a few strokes. Coverage is on the light side of medium, although you could easily sheer it out with a damp sponge or foundation brush. It looks fantastically natural, but it can look a bit masky if you put on too much -- a little really goes a long way!

Although it has amazing tenacity at stopping oil from coming through, it doesn't look chalky or overly flat -- just a lovely matte finish. This is meant for oilier skin types, although my currently dry-ish skin has no problems with it. It does not emphasise flakes, nor does it feel dry and uncomfortable.

Zhen foundation comes in 5 shades that are especially designed for Asian women, or anyone with yellow/golden undertones. A high quality foundation with SPF 15, all for less than $18 USD? You can order this foundation and other Zhen products from the company's website (they ship to Canada, whoo hoo!) or try, which does not ship to Canada, but has a nifty 30% off promotion going on.

So the moral of today's post: Moms are wonderful, wise creatures that we should listen to more, and Zhen foundation truly rocks!

* Which I kind of did. Poorly. Oops, I mean mauvaisement. See?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Product Review: New York Color Pencil & Pout

Cheap and Cheerful.

Apparently this is a good thing when uttered across the pond, and not a name for a value-priced escort service or something. And since I'm ready and willing to embrace all things English, from their accents to their bands to their... er, accents, I'll be all over this like ... like how Paris Hilton will pay complete attention to everything. (Okay, I know that doesn't actually make any sense, but I just wanted to use that quote. Because... seriously, Paris?)

So, if you've been reading along, you'll notice that I have this intermittent obsession with the red lippies. Can you blame me? All the models look so damn gorgeous with their ruby-red lips (and the heartbreaking bonestructure and impossibly good hair and genetically unlikely eyes and whatnot) that I just wanted to hang with the cool kids. But, sometimes, you just want a lipcolour that WORKS. Something strong and polished-looking, but that you don't need to plan a whole outfit or attitude around.

For me lately, this go-to lip colour seems to be NYC's Pencil and Pout, in Parfait Duet. This product has a creamy pencil and a smooth pigmented gloss all in one neat medium-sized package. Line and fill with the pencil, then top with gloss, and voila, you've got a glossy lip look with amped up staying power. This will come off on your coffee cup, no doubt, but you'll still find enough pigment on your lips afterwards to leave a pretty stain. And, unlike most longer-lasting glosses, this stuff isn't sticky, so you'll avoid the fly-trap hair phenomenon.

Parfait Duet is a plush, rich, cool rose. The gloss alone is pretty, but layer it over the pencil for the wow-factor. (The pencil is darker than the gloss, but somehow, the combo is bang-on). It ends up being a polite, ladylike colour -- perfect for work or mid-afternoon shopping. (Because in my warped little mind, snooty sales girls are nicer to me when I've got a good lipstick on.) This isn't exactly the sheery summery gloss look that is all the rage during warmer months. But it is poised and constant, like a good twinset and a double-strand of pearls. Oh, except for around $4 a pop, it'll cost you much less!

Alright folks, back to the paper writing. The end is near! Maybe!

PS: I should note that I was not equally impressed with all the colours in this line. The Teaberry Duet is a nice medium plummy neutral, and the Tawny is more coppery colour. But I was really disappointed with the lighter pink and peach combos -- the pencil looked orange or muddy, and the glosses lacked pigment, with an annoyingly chunky glitter. I don't know, maybe it just didn't work with my skintone, but there's the FYI for ya.

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