Ten Beauty Essentials

I’m sharing my favorite beauty/skin care products today; the ones that usually fit into my daily routine –

1. bbBB Cream – I use BB Cream in lieu of liquid or powder foundations. I’ve yet to find another kind of base that provides the coverage, SPF, and moisture that BB Cream gives. I believe the best kind of makeup- either in product or technique- is when others can’t tell you’re wearing any, so the main thing I love about BB Cream is that it evens out my skin tone while still remaining translucent and lightweight.

2. olayCleansing System – I only recently began using a cleansing brush for my skin when I read about the Clarisonic on Bleubird, but now, I can’t imagine ever not using it. It gently exfoliates and cleanses my skin, and after each use my face is able to absorb lotions and makeup nicely and so evenly. My face was glowing ever since its first use. Highly recommend!

3. rosebudRosebud Salve – My beloved little tin of Rosebud Salve. I’ve used it since high school, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be using it for all my years to come. I put it on my lips every night before going to bed, and my lips stay super soft and hydrated all day. Subtle shine, slight tint, beautiful branding – I love everything about this simple product. It’s great for your cuticles too! After putting it on my lips, I always rub the remaining salve left on my finger into my cuticles.

4.nars-orgasmNARS Blush in Orgasm – This blush makes you look as though you walked a mile in a frigid blizzard, bundled in a thick coat and scarf, with your head down against the falling snow, to arrive home, the inside glowing with candles and a wood-burning fireplace warming a cozy and lively room full of friends and family who are drinking apple cider and laughing heartily, and you walk in and everyone cheers at your arrival, and you feel yourself glowing from the engulfing warmth of gentle fire and so much happiness. That glow.

5. plushMaybelline Mega Plush Mascara – I’ve tried Lancôme’s Definicils, Benefit’s They’re Real!, Diorshow, and many others, and Maybelline’s Mega Plush could stand with them all, for a quarter of the price. I really think the effectiveness of different mascaras depends on the individual’s eyelash thickness, length, the form of their eyelid, and other factors. Mega Plush really works for me, and true to its name, it makes my lashes look full and soft.

benefit-cosmetics-high-beamBenefit High Beam – I bought my first bottle for prom night, but this highlighter has remained with me over the years as a daily beauty favorite. The liquid formula blends in flawlessly, making my skin look dewy and fresh. It’s fantastic at highlighting my cheekbones, and on special nights, I blend some on my brow bones, collarbones, and shoulders as well. It gives me the perfect glow to make me feel glamorous.

elf e.l.f. Liquid Eyeliner – I oftentimes find drugstore beauty products to perform just as well as high-end ones, and in this case as well, e.l.f.’s black eyeliner is my daily pick.  The applicator’s fine point makes for precision lining, and the liquid dries quickly on my lids. It’s not waterproof, but as long as you don’t rub your eyes, it’ll stay put throughout the day, even after some tears. I really like how easily it comes off at the end of the night though, because I find my eyes too delicate to have to repeatedly try wiping off thick, smudgy, waterproof eyeliner.

neutrogenaNeutrogena SkinClearing Blemish Concealer – This concealer matches my skin tone perfectly, and has acne medication to treat blemishes while providing flawless coverage. I use a tiny concealer brush to apply the light concealer, and it blends into my skin so well that up close, you can’t see the blemish or the concealer at all.


shu uemuraShu Uemura Eyelash Curler – I’m sure you’ve heard of Shu Uemura’s eyelash curler before. There’s certainly a reason why it’s again and again the leader of the curling pack. It has never pinched my lids (ouch!) , and perfectly curls my lashes with its silicone pads, as though the form of the device was custom made for the shape of my eyelids.



Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Lipstick – I usually look really silly with any kind of lipstick on, but my YSL lipstick in Peach Passion is the only kind and color that looks lovely. It comes on smooth and I had originally chose the color for the Spring season, but it so wonderfully transitions over with me into the Fall and Winter. My year-round lipstick. When I find myself in a mad dash in the morning and can’t put on any makeup or do anything with my hair, I flip my head over and twist my hair into a tippy top bun and put on this lipstick, and I instantly look chic and put together. Hooray!00210h_bt_320x320While on the topic of beauty, sometimes, I like funky things…

bright and bold color

karlieklosseyemakeup eyelineraseyeshadow00240h_426x639m-kors_426x639

geometric shapes
eyeliner_beauty7_br_21aug12_pr_b_426x639 eyeliner_beauty2_br_21aug12_pr_b_426x639eyeliner_beauty4_br_21aug12_pr_b_426x63900350h_426x639macbeauty01_V_07feb12_PR_b

And other times I like it natural…

minimalism1_V_30jan12_PR_b 00400big_426x63900330big_426x639

Either way, have fun with it! As with makeup or clothes or accessories, let it frame the true beauty within- the inner parts of a kind soul.

Have a funky weekend!

Model images from Vogue UK and Harper’s Bazaar


Favorite Breakfast Dishes + Recipes

dcsdreamy cream scones – I used this scone recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook for my first time baking scones from scratch, and I can honestly say that I never need another scone recipe again. I couldn’t believe I pulled these out of my oven. I may not have baked many scones before, but I’ve definitely eaten many*, and I tell you, this is the scone of your dreams.  It’s at the tippy-top of scone perfection.  It’s moist, but sturdy, but still so soft and light and buttery and wonderful. The perfect scone.

*scone cred? – some of my favorites include Tartine’s buttermilk currant scone, Arizmendi’s blueberry scone/corn cherry scone, Square One’s raspberry scone.

DSC_0173baked oatmeal – I made this not too long ago, and I’ve had it every morning for the past couple months. Yes, every single day. Sometimes I use apples rather than blueberries. The amount of cinnamon in the recipe goes well with the apples, naturally, and I like to use a mix of Fiji and Granny Smith apples. Pears would be a nice alternative. Are you still perplexed by the fact that I eat the same breakfast every day? I find an incredible amount of comfort in breakfast routines, leave me alone.

giltslowly scrambled eggs – 30 minutes for scrambled eggs? Yes. Ruth Reichl says, “…scrambled eggs, cooked with great patience, have a texture like velvet and a taste that reminds you why you want to be alive.” This recipe will require your time and patience, but it’ll give back the most luxurious dish of eggs. The slow process of constant stirring not only creates a luscious texture, but the flavor of egg is phenomenally reduced and concentrated in every bite.

croicroissant + preserves + coffee

My favorite bakeries in LA for a croissant – unless you plan to make them at home – are Proof, Maison Giraud, and Europane.

avoavocado toast – No recipe needed here – simply mash half an avocado onto a well-toasted slice of a nutty, whole-grain bread, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Healthy, hearty, easy, quick, delicious.

2yogurt + agave + chia seeds

When the yogurt is especially good and fresh, I like to keep the toppings to a minimum. This is one of my favorite combinations.

aprilApril Bloomfield’s English Porridge – You’ve probably heard it before – it’s been praised by The Wednesday Chef, The Amateur Gourmet, Food52, among many others. This oatmeal doesn’t need me to say it, but I’ll say it. It’s special.

eggsdippy eggs and soldiers – Buttered strips of toast dipped in rich egg yolk. My favorite meal for those slow, glorious mornings of breakfast in bed, a good book, and the morning sun.

berrybreakfastcobbler3piedessert for breakfast – Be it leftover pie, cobbler, or crumble, I believe that if you put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, it’s breakfast and it’s wholesome.

cerealcold cereal – Cold cereal never, ever gets old. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or late night snack, it’ll do. Kashi in the morning, Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms at night.



whaleThese Whale Bookends made me smile.

lunchMost of have seen the iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper” photo taken in 1932, but here’s a photo of some of the men napping after lunch-

sleepSpeaking of sleep, have you seen photos of Ted Spagna’s sleep portraiture work? : “Taken at fixed intervals throughout the night from a bird’s-eye view, and displayed in chronological order, the series of images reads like a silent film.”

nyny2Really excited for Brandon and his upcoming book, based on his beautiful project, Humans of New York. It’ll be out in mid-October, but you can pre-order the book here.

Good read: Gardens, not buildings. 

ice ice2 ice3Iceland.

Six micro-movies on the physics of love: What Love Looks Like.



Toska (Russian): A state of mind with many different shades. Russian novelist, Vladmir Nabokov describes it this way, “At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, indegineous language of Tierra del Fuego): The look shared between two people, who both desire to initiate something but are reluctant to start. For example, let’s imagine there are two strangers sitting on a park bench and both wish to start a conversation with the other, but neither is courageous enough to do so. The shared look between the two strangers is called mamihlapinatapei.

Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.

L’esprit de l’escalier (French): Literally translated, l’esprit de l’escalier means “the spirit of the stairs.” It refers to that moment when you finally think of a comeback or finally think of the perfect thing you could have said in a certain situation but it is already too late.

Wabi-sabi (Japanese): The Japanese word for “a flawed part of an elegant whole.” It refers to the idea of finding perfection or beauty within life’s imperfections and recognizing that they are a part of something larger.

Ya’aburnee (Arabic): This word literally translates to mean “you bury me.” It is the declaration of one’s wishes that they will die before another person because it would be impossible to live without them.

Saudade (Portuguese): An intense, constant longing for something that does not and probably cannot exist. A vague and constant desire for a lost love, or for an imaginary, impossible, never-to-be-experienced love.

Shemomedjamo (Georgian): You’re really full, but your meal is just so good that you can’t stop eating. A word that translates to mean “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”

Hygge (Danish): The pleasant, genial, and intimate feeling associated with sitting around a fire in the winter with close friends.

Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist.

Spring Palettes

I can’t help but get excited for Spring!

Fall and winter have always been my favored seasons, but by this time of the year, as the skies clear up to a brilliant blue, and the trees start bursting with pink blossoms, I’m ready to shake off my coats and sweaters of blacks and greys, to wiggle into lighter, wispier pieces of –

blacks and greys.

richard blackwell

I think somewhere out there a tulip wilted by what I said.

It’s true though, and no matter how much I try to resist, my body wants to be clothed in dark or earthy palettes. I really love seeing others in bright outfits and bold colors, but you can probably guess from my recent style post, that I have a preference for black, navy blue, and neutral hues.

What I do like to do is to incorporate pops of color into my monotone outfits- whether it’s a bright blouse under a black blazer, colorful shoes or a brightly colored bag, I prefer having an accent of color, made even more vibrant by the darker undertones of an outfit.


Another way I plan to add some color this season is to play around with brighter makeup palettes. To avoid looking clownish, it’s best to keep the rest of your face neutral and bare, and focus on one feature to play up and highlight. I’ve been inspired by looks from the runways, and thought I’d share them here –

Bright Eyes -Eyes are naturally captivating, and adding color can really change a gaze.  I love shimmery hues and pastel colors on the lids- so feminine and soft! And the teal eyeliner at Stella McCartney was stunning and so edgy.

stella mccartneyharpersbazaar

Colored Mascara – I sometimes wear Diorshow Mascara in blue, and each time I do, I receive compliments throughout the day. Colorful lashes are unexpected, surprising, and cool, and if you don’t want your lashes too blue, one coat will tint them just enough to show in the sunlight.

Fuschia Lips – Bright lips can dress up any look. Rather than the classic red, I like to have fun with pinks and corals during spring. My favorite lipstick right now is this one.

Blush – I’ve always believed that excellent makeup application is measured by whether others can tell if you’re actually wearing any. I’ll always love the look of a bare and beautiful impression, and adding a pink/coral blush to the apples of the cheeks gives enough warmth and really accentuates a contoured face.petersomkarenwalkerharpers

Spring Nails – I was absolutely moonstruck over the dual tone manicures at Peter Som (top image). It’s much simpler to get away with than those phoenix eyes!  A manicure is always a great way to complete your look, and I’m loving the idea of sheer white nails for Spring.


(Image source: 1. theriverjordyn; 2. Richard Blackwell, via handcraftedinvirginia; 3. neversocial; 4. “Chromatics” by Angela Hau; 5. jal&jil; 6., 7., 9., 11., 13. via harpersbazaar.com; 8. via style.com;  10., 12. via elle.com)




I’ve been reading Intellectuals by Paul Johnson. It’s an intriguing look into the personal lives of the minds that have shaped our modern world. So far, I’ve read the case studies of Rousseau and Shelley, and boy, they both were quite mad and dangerously seductive.


I discovered white Moleskine notebooks! I can see them turning quite grungy getting tossed around in my tote bag, but for now, they look as virginal as the pages within.


I found this lovely ring at a local flea market, and it’s one piece of jewelry I keep on everyday. I like jewelry that are barely there – thin lines, delicate shapes, minimal material.


I’ve been munching on these Chocolatey Cats from Trader Joe’s. The cats come in two positions. When I pluck one that is lying obediently like this one here, I spare him and place him back into the tub, until I find those that are positioned like this-


These pouncers are eaten immediately.

The tub is now full of gentle, lying cats.

spared and scared

spared and scared

A Recollection

Sailing through this Monday with a recollection of delightful things


Peonies – Peonies can really woo, can’t they? They’re beautiful; the happiest of all blooms.


Simple Things – This shot is from a time when a friend and I dissolved ourselves silly with this down feather that escaped from a pillow. We named her Heather the Feather, fought over her, made up stories about her, and blew her off back and forth. Anyway, it represents the times when the simplest things make you so incredibly happy, because of who you’re with, and what’s inside of you.


Ice Cream – …needs no explanation. Over here we have Blackberry Mint, Salted Caramel, and Cucumber.


Stringed Lights – I like having them everywhere. In my room, dinners on rooftops, in my dream wedding, looped and draped in my head.


Childhood Sentiments – When deep inside, your childhood faith in the life of inanimate objects comes alive again.


Eating Clean


…So You Can Eat Dirty


Candlelit Dinners – When your insides glow because of love, good food, and wine. When there’s nothing of the day left except for this.