Friday, November 29, 2013

That Old Black Magic of Black Friday

I will do my diligence in keeping my musings brief as I'm sure that most of you are reading this amidst the fervor and clamor of what is traditionally one of the most popular shopping days ever in the history of American shopping days.  Or perhaps you are one of the many this year to have gobbled down your gobbler and other Thanksgiving fare all in time enough to participate in the pre-midnight mayhem of Gray Thursday and have already completed your parade of purchasing.  Either which way, Black Friday remains the day when many chart a pre-dawn course to ever-so-eager retailers to snatch up one-of-a-kind sales and deals... with some losing their minds while doing it.

Oh, I've participated in a Black Friday once before.  Oh, yes, I did the whole staying-up-late thing just to drive-to-the-store-early thing so I could get-into-the-store-early thing and grab-what-I-wanted-before-they-ran-all-out thing.  The spell of Black's magic fell on me hard and I was determined to leave with everything on my list by hook or crook.  And, thankfully, I did.  I grabbed up $20 electronics and super discounted toys for my niece.  And when I went, the store was remarkably organized and the sales associates were very accommodating and patient, which led to a surprisingly good experience.  There was no pushing or shoving, no knocking people over... no yelling.  In fact, there were people helping others to get certain items, passing out pallets full of goods to those peppered in the crowd whose hands were outstretched to receive said items.  And when inventory ran out, people dispersed without any rumblings or rancor.  Which is in heavy contrast to what has been reported this holiday week thus far.  News has surfaced that there have been serious disturbances at a few stores already!  Yes, Black Friday has become a careful balance between bargains and brawls.  Fisticuffs over a discounted, flat screen TV?  Umm... no, thanks.  At that rate, you can just have it.  It's not that crucial in my eyes.

So as I reminisce over Black Fridays past and remember the rush I felt in scoring my most wanted items that one holiday weekend, an overwhelming sense of gratitude comes over me regarding the advent of a very important tool I'll be exercising this year: the Internet!  Never mind fighting the deal-hungry hordes and circling the parking lot fifty times simply to find an available parking spot; one tap of my nimble finger on my computer's pad and I'm set.  Easy, breezy shopping - just the way I like it.  And I can do it all in my PJs while noshing on pancakes and sipping OJ.  Love it!

I really don't need to indulge this year, but I have seen a few things I may pick up.  But just a few.  And for all those who are braving this weekend's retail bonanza that is Black Friday, may you get all that you set out to find... and find everything you had set on getting.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Low Mane-tenance

I was watching a video clip online of a woman doing her hair and nearly passed out when I saw her take a bristled brush to her wet mane.  Now I am totally aware that salons use round, bristled brushes to do blowouts and such, but seeing this brush take such a tight hold of her locks as she raked it through to the ends made me cringe.  For me and my head, this technique would not work; I would be bald.  OK, not "naked head" bald, but my hair would not be able to withstand such tension, especially while wet, and would snap off.  And I consider my hair to be pretty strong.  But everybody has their own hair routine and tools with which to perform it... which is why I wanted to come do a quick jotting and list mine for possible comparisons. 

Whether wet or dry, I always use a wide-tooth comb to tame and style my tresses.  It causes less stress and strain when trying to detangle hair (especially that of the textured variety), which in turn minimizes damage via breakage.

The only time I use a smaller toothed or rat tail comb is when I need to part my hair for a style or when I dry trim my ends.  The smaller spaces between its teeth provide a soft tension that allows me to be more precise while cutting my hair. 

My initial balking aside, I actually do use a brush on my hair when it's wet; however, I prefer to employ either a rubber or paddle brush for such purposes in lieu of a bristled one.  I own one of each and they're both Denmans.

Again, it's the wide setting of the nylon teeth combined with the hair smoothing rubber base that aids in manipulating my drenched hair in a safer, non-combative way.  I primarily use my rubber brush when detangling, working leave-ins and styling products through, and blow-drying.

I do utilize my paddle brush on occasion, but that's usually only when I've misplaced my rubber one (which isn't often).  Worth noting, I have noticed that my hair becomes a lot fuller when using the padded paddle brush.  Either way, I love them both.

Now, the only time I use a bristled brush is when I need to brush my hairline or edges for perhaps a ponytail or French roll.  If my hair is pulled back, I might use it then.  But that's the only time!  And never on my wet hair!  I did that once years ago and ended up with a crop circle of broken hairs shooting from the crown of my head!  Not cute.  So, yeah... NEVER AGAIN!

And lastly, I cut my hair with small styling shears.  I don't use sewing scissors or utility scissors or craft scissors, but actual hair scissors sharpened and designed exclusively for cutting hair.  This is very important because a dull or mediocre blade will cause ends to be ragged and split.  Granted, I don't have the expensive kind many of the professionals tote around, but my little pink shears have done just fine by me and continue to do so.  I've got no complaints whatsoever.

So, there you have my list of hair tools.  I really like to keep things pretty simple - the less the better.  I'm not one for intensely convoluted regimens, but rather a wash, style n' go type of deal.  And I think my tools of choice keenly reflect my preference.  And hair type.

But I realize that everybody is different.  Everyone has their own thang; what works for you may not work well for others, even when it comes down to the basics like the type of comb and brush.  And I must confess that the Nosy Nancy in me finds it really interesting what tools and techniques other non-professionals like me use to style and maintain their hair. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Wink of Pink

Well, I've got yet another shadowy belle from the world of Inglot that merits some attention.  Besides having a full-on love for the color, I have an earnest affection for the way it performs on the eye.  So if you're ready to visually indulge, please allow me to babble a bit about this beauty - Inglot's #362.

#362 is an unabashed bubblegum pink from Inglot's Freedom System lineup of single shadows.  It is creamy soft to the touch and yields substantial, opaque color with very little effort.  It has a matte finish.

In addition to providing a canopy of pink on the eyes, it would also be highly suitable to use as a wash or bold flush on the cheeks.  Its severe pigmentation allows it to be utilized in whatever capacity you deem fit, which makes it all the more fun to work with.  It's like getting multiple products in one small pan, thus making it a veritable cornucopia of cosmetic expression.  And the easy object of my current Inglot obsession.

Inglot #362 is available at their boutiques as well as their online store, and retails for $6.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Spellbound By These Shadows

Besides receiving a Barbie for my birthday, I was also gifted an awesome eyeshadow palette from a fellow makeup enthusiast - my sister.  If you think I have a bunch of stuff (which I really don't), you should see her stash!  OMG, it fills her entire bureau top, continues to the inside of its upper drawers and then spills over to various storage bins and units.  She has a lot of makeup.  But enough about her.  Let's talk more about me... and how I am in absolute awe of my new palette - the Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book by Kat Von D.

This is my very first palette from Kat Von D, the popular LA-based tattoo artist, and I'm so glad my sis picked this one to introduce me to the brand.  With a black and white sketch of a doe-eyed girl framed by an ornate design of skulls, the box itself proves to be a work of art.  And listed on its backside are the names and color layout of the palette tucked away inside.

As you pull the palette out you immediately discover the same hauntingly beautiful portrait repeated on the front with a color and name guide of the shadows listed on the back as well.

Then you open the book of shadows...  Wow!  Underneath the plastic overlay (which is actually bound to the palette) lies twenty-four gorgeous eyeshadows that were specially paired to layer on top of and/or complement each other seamlessly.

First four, left column, top to bottom: Dark Throne, Sunset Blvd, Holy Bible, Instaglam
Second four, second column, top to bottom: Precious, 8 Bit, Oddfellow, Stupid Autocorrect
Left to right: Stupid Autocorrect, Oddfellow, 8 Bit, Precious, Instaglam, Holy Bible, Sunset Blvd, Dark Throne
First four, third column, top to bottom: Babe, Geek, Birdcage, Galore
Second four, fourth column, top to bottom: Piaf, Fallen, Gunner, Hexagram
Left to right: Hexagram, Gunner, Fallen, Piaf, Babe, Geek, Birdcage, Galore
Bottom four, left side, left to right: Bukowski, Cry Later, Queen, Smile Now
Bottom four, right side, left to right: WTF, Wonderland, Countess, Arcadia
Left to right: WTF, Wonderland, Countess, Arcadia, Bukowski, Cry Later, Queen, Smile Now
Can I just tell you that these shadows live up to their long reputation of being highly pigmented and easy to work with?  This palette is absolutely stellar with no duds whatsoever to speak of!  From a range of satins to pearls, the shadows are firm, but smooth and non-tempermental as they were very eager to coat every finger with color while swatching.  And the colors!  The duo-chrome Queen, which is a far superior version of MAC's Club; and the duplicitous Smile Now, which is a peach that boasts pink undertones, are two of the standouts.  But that's really not saying much as every shade in the collection turns out to be a bona fide star.

Smile Now

I am super happy to have gotten this palette and can't wait to really take it for a spin.  Kat Von D has now become a fixture on my radar as I am curious to find out what else she may have up her cosmetic sleeve down the line.  But for right now, her Spellbinding palette has garnered my undivided attention and will keep me sated until her next offering.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book is available at Sephora and retails for $55.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Barbie: City Shopper

Guess what Birthday Boy bought me this past weekend for mis cumpleaƱos?  Knowing how I adore dolls, especially Barbies, he took me to the store to pick up yet another one to add to my collection.

At first glance, the pickings seemed mighty slim.  Oh, there were plenty of dolls, but none that caught my discerning eye.  And then I saw her.  Out of a sea of bright pink boxes hung a small series of jet black ones; only about a handful.  And after giving her snazzy ensemble the once-over, I knew that City Shopper Barbie would be the one coming home with me.

Dressed for a day of leisure and some serious retail therapy, Barbie is unabashedly head-to-toe fabulous.  From the dark sunnies perched high on her head to the thick, gold earrings hanging from her ears, her accessories add the perfect amount of panache to an already eye-catching outfit.

But it doesn't end there.  To set off her Missoni-like halter dress are a pair of golden bangles, which delicately hang above her freshly manicured right hand...

while the left one holds firm to a pink shopper, complete with tissue paper, ready to fill to the brim with a load of luxe goods.

Unlike most Barbies, City Shopper's long legs are not bendable as the left leg is already posed with a permanent bend at the knee.  But that's no matter as it surely will not slow down her shopping spree. 

And laced on her lavender lacquered feet are a pair of strappy, nude, platform sandals - the perfect mode of transport for a day full of mall walking.

And can we talk about her platinum blonde streaks?

Or her thick eyelashes, which act as the perfect window dressing to a soft, smoky gray eye.  Or how about her sparkly lilac lips?

Welp, needless to say that I am very happy to add this fashionista to my Barbie crew.  And I thought it was awfully sweet of Birthday Boy to even bother to indulge me in such a way.  It really is the little things and the thoughtfulness behind them that get my attention. 

A broad smile worked its way from east to west across my face as the cashier handed me the doll.  One more to add to the fortune... with a bevy more of Barbies to go.