Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hands and Feet Arts

Hi everyone,

This is a preview of what's coming up tomorrow. Yup, an obnoxiously bright pink nail polish on my toes and some Angelina Jolie-inspired greige for the manicure. I've been wearing these colors for a week and so far, I'm impressed!

Hands and Feet Arts
Hands and Feet Arts
Hands and Feet Arts
Hands and Feet Arts
Hands and Feet Arts

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why We Buy Makeup.? My Internet Cant Handle True Blood

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I was playing with my makeup stash and I've realized how little it has grown since 2011. While my move to Vietnam put a damper to my makeup shopping habit, there is something more to it that makes me not buying makeup as much as I used to. I could not put that idea out of my head and kept on asking myself why I haven't bought makeup anymore. Of course, the love for makeup is still there but why?

About a year before I started makeup blogging, my stash was relatively small. An eyeshadow quad here, a couple of lipsticks there, and probably 5 brushes. I was happy and my mind was not cluttered with the question of what products should I use during my makeup session. And then, I discovered makeup blogs. The result? Makeup hoarding began.

To make it worse (or better, depending on how you look at it!), I decided to open My Makeup Blog. As a makeup blogger, I had to buy makeup, makeup, and more makeup. It was a vicious cycle. I bought things only to use 2-3 times before I lost interest. And they were good products, too. Before I went to Vietnam, I sorted out my stash and donated about 2/3 of it. The stuff I brought home are things I truly love. My must-haves.

Since I came back to Vietnam, I haven't bought more than 20 makeup items. To think about it, when I started wearing makeup back in 2001-2002, I probably bought that much makeup during a month. Or even in 2 weeks if Ride Aid had sales.

To come back with our original question- why do we buy makeup- I have a few answers:

1. The novelty effect

Every season, makeup companies roll out with new products to entice us. New colors, new textures, new scents, new packaging. And guess what we do? We buy the new stuff and forget the old ones that are still full in our makeup drawers.

If you notice, some makeup companies like MAC come out with new limited edition collections very frequently. MAC is notorious for it up to a point I got sick and tired of their new LEs. It is hard to keep up with MAC collections anymore and after a year or so of following them, I have come to a conclusion that their regular lineup is just as good. On top of that, they don't have the limited factor that worries me.

2. The sales effect

As a bargain hunter, I love, love, love sales. Sometimes, I could get a whole lot of things for cheap when combined with coupons. However, not all the time the sale items are worth it. Once in a while when I sorted my stash, I had to throw away barely touched items that did not live up to my standards. Yet, I bought them because they were such awesome bargains.

3. The happiness effect

I don't know about you but always, when I have a new makeup item, I feel happier. A new lipstick, eye shadow, blush, or even nail polish put a smile on my face. It does not take much to make me smile because most items I bought these days are affordable.

I guess I am not the only one. Coined by Leonard Lauder, the lipstick effect is an indicator for economic uncertainty and recession. During tough times, lipstick sales go up. Now, even nail polish sales increase in this economy. Lipsticks and nail polishes do not cost as much as a dinner or even a movie ticket. On top of that, you can use them over and over again. Therefore, they have better pay offs in this economy.

My internet can't handle True Blood!

Now, here comes an interesting part: since last Thursday, I was not able to go online at all. My internet decided to quit on me. It was the second time this week and the internet guy began to remember my face.

Guess what happened two days before that? Two friends of mine encouraged me to watch True Blood, starting from the very beginning. So, I went online and watched a few episodes in two days. Ok, I lied. I watched half of season 1 in two days. And then, le internet decided to call it quit!

It was beyond frustration, ok? I was in intense pain. It was like the Internet God was toying with me to lure me into something dirty and raunchy only to yank it away when I was hooked.

So, I called the internet guy again and he came, took a look at my setting, and told me there was nothing he could do. My internet setting was messed up beyond his repair and he needed to call in the crew to fix from the main line. That was Friday evening. Internet was down since Thursday. And there was a weekend without the World Wide Web.

Thankfully, I had books. During the weekend, I managed to polish up a book and started reading half way through another one. Not so bad. But now that le internet is back, I guess I am going to watch True Blood again. This time, sparingly since I know my internet cannot handle half a season of raunchy, dirty, sexy TV in two days.

That's all for Monday. I did Hip Hop Abs earlier today and I felt so good. Week 2 is more intense and I already feel a slimmer waistline. How about you? Do you have any plans for Monday? Also, are you a fan of True Blood?

Happy New Year 2012!

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year!
May 2012 bring exciting opportunities to your life and may your heart be filled with joy and love throughout the year.
Thank you for your continuing support to  and I hope 2012 is going to be a wonderful year of makeup and beauty blogging to all of us.

Fixed Her Retractable Brush

Hi everyone,

This is my EcoTools retractable kabuki brush which I love very much. Only, there is a tiny problem: the brush is not retractable anymore.

As you can see, the case is separated from the brush and I did not do it purposely. After a few washes, the glue at the bottom of the brush fell off the case and I have been using this brush without the case for a while now. Even in this contouring tutorial, you can see I used the brush by itself. It is ok that way but I want my retractable brush, not a kabuki on a stick!

So far, this is the softest brush I have ever used. There is no way I am going to toss it away. Besides, replacing it is out of the question. So, with a little bit of patience and super glue, I managed to put my brush back together and make it a retractable brush once and for all.

Before I re-glued things together, I washed and dried my brush first. Depending on the weather, this brush can take up to 48 hours to dry and I made sure it dried completely before I proceeded to fix it.

What you need: all the parts of your brush and super glue. It does not matter what brand you use. The dollar store version works just fine. Here, I use the 502 glue, which is the Vietnamese super glue.
Step 1: put the shiny metal part...
...and glide it up. This part is the retractable component of the brush
Step 2: make sure the bottom of the brush as well as the inside of the case is clean. Then, open your super glue...
...then squeeze the super glue to the bottom of the brush without getting any glue into the hole. Also, squeeze the glue to the bottom of the casing
Step 3: quickly, put the brush into the casing and let the glue dry overnight.
DO NOT move or touch the brush while it dries. Doing so will disturb the drying process.
After the glue completely dries, put the cap back on and voila, your retractable brush is retracting again!

Also, super glue is good to glue back your brush once the ferrule is detached from the handle. Just make sure to glue the metal part to the wooden part without touching the brush bristles. Super glue dries fast so don't get it on your skin, either.

Hip-hop Abs update:

Today is day 2 of week 2 and things are getting a lil' intense. I did 2 workouts back to back since the schedule instructed me to do so. Now, as I am typing this, my obliques are sore. Tomorrow is going to be another double workout day and I can't wait for it!

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Ecotools retractable brush is a really good brush and I am glad to find a way to fix it. How about you? Have you reattached your brush before?

Pink Nail Polish from Odessa

Hi everyone,

I guess I'm one of those people who prefer having a pedicure over a manicure. Most of the time, my fingers are not painted while my toes endure some really interesting colors (but mostly, I prefer red.) Recently, the moon and stars synced up or something because I finally had painted fingers and toes.

The products I used are from Kem Nghia shop, a place where they sell the legendary Nghia cuticle nippers. Both are utterly cheap and after wearing them for a week, I was very happy with the results.

(L-R): Nghia O'Beauty in S019 and a nameless Odessa nail polish which I call "Obnoxiously Pink"
 First stop, let's take a look at the fingers, shall we?

The picture does not do justice to this nail polish at all. While it does look like milk with a couple drops of coffee in the picture, in real life this nail polish has a touch of pink in it. It looks almost like Revlon Pink Suede, y'know, the one Angelina Jolie used to wear. I had Pink Suede before and could not make it work at all. It was too gunky and did not spread evenly. I was so frustrated that I had to return Pink Suede.

However, Nghia O'Beauty S019 works like a charm. Not only does it spread out beautifully, it also requires only one coat. Like the S030 that I reviewed before, this one does not chip during the week that I wore it. By the end, there was some minor tip wear but that was about it.

The price? Less than a dollar! Which makes me want to stop by that shop more frequently to get more nail polishes for me :D

Secondly, the toes:

While Nghia O'Beauty is the house brand of Kem Nghia, Odessa is a product from ATP cosmetics with ingredients imported from France. It is a bit cheaper than Nghia O'Beauty but not so much for me to jump ship. I have two bottles of Odessa and the texture is the same: they are cream nail polishes that can make OPI creams run for their money.

Seriously, this cream nail polish is that good. It is shiny, easy to apply, and most importantly, it lasts and lasts. I applied two coats since the first coat looked really opaque and the shine was almost blinding. The brush is wide and thick that leaves streak-free coats after layering. Usually, I do not like creams because of the streaks. The first layer may look fine but when I put the second layer on, streaks are all over my nails. And this happened when I used OPI creams, no less!

But the only set back I have with Odessa is its drying power. I guess since it is a cream, it does not set as fast as the other one. The trick for not messing it up is to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second one, then wait for it to dry before applying the top coat. In one of my trials, I was impatient and applied my top coat so fast. Fifteen minutes later, I opened a book and got marks all over my nails!

Last look at my toes and fingers du semaine :D
While I love both colors, the obnoxiously pink nail polish is the one that makes me smile a lot. It is a cheeky nail color. When I wear peep-toe shoes, that hint of pink is a nice surprise for those who manage to take a look at my feet.

Therefore, the tip of the day is: for those of you who work in conservative environment, wear nude colors on your fingers while reserve the bright and cheerful ones for your toes. When you take off your shoes, those bright colors will make you smile.

How to Make Your New Year Fitness Resolution Stick

Hi everyone,

The new year is here and I bet a lot of us are keeping a short list of New Year resolutions. The thing is, by January 15th, a whole bunch of us are dropping out of the race. By March 31st, those who wrote down their New Year resolutions already forget what they are all about.

I know. I've done it so many times that I finally come to realize why my resolutions did not work in the past. The main reason is they are not specific enough. Another reason is the lack of rewards. And last but not least, resolutions need to be reminded and evaluated once in a while, too.

So, in 2012, I am determined to make one of my resolutions work. Yes, it is my fitness resolution. I know a lot of us want to lose those extra pounds and feel more energized. This method I am going to show you came from my 100-day fitness trial that I did last year. It worked for me well and I hope it will work for you as well.

For your fitness resolution, you need 3 things: specific goal, a set of rewards, and accountability. Here is how you do it:

1. Specific goal:

Most people would put their fitness resolution this way: I want to lose weight.

I know, so do I. But the main thing about that one is: it is not specific enough. You want to lose weight but how much do you want to get off your body? How long will it take? And last but not least: How would you do it?

Instead, your specific goal should be like this: I want to lose x (lbs/kg) by doing (insert type of exercise) y days a week for z days.

For example, my fitness resolution would be: I want to lose 30 lbs by doing a blend of exercises including cardio, Pilates, yoga, and weight training 4-5 days a week for most days in 2012.

Then, I would further break down my main goal. For example, I would dedicate January to do Hip-hop abs and as I get stronger, I would go on to P90X and such.

2. Rewards:

I used to put a smiling face on my calendar the day I worked out. At the end of the month, I would marvel at the calendar and be amazed at how many smilies I had. I knew for a month, I was being diligent and I had something to show.

However, as time goes by, things become harder. Sometimes, you need to bribe yourself in order to bring it. It is good to set some goals as you go. For example, after I finish my month-long of Hip-hop abs, I would probably get me a pedicure or a foot massage to celebrate. Then, to motivate myself to finish P90X, I would get something big, maybe a new pair of shoes from Adidas that I always want or a new pair of yoga pants.

Most importantly, your rewards should be in non-food/alcoholic/calorie-filled form. It is not a good advice to celebrate your 90 days of busting your booties with cake. No, not at all. Having a pedicure, massage, facial, or treating yourself to a mini session of retail therapy is more rewarding.

3. Accountability:

In the past, every time I did the new year fitness resolution, I failed simply because I did not acknowledge it. Now, with my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and even Google+, I have so many ways to let people know that I am exercising. Always, I am surprised at the amount of support I receive. Your replies to my exercise updates and tweets always make me feel energized.

Hot Nail Trends For 2012

The New Year is right around the corner but the nail trends that are going to be in style in the coming year are already being worn by women of all ages. The good news is that there’s something for everyone. The bad news is that there’s going to be so much to choose from you won’t know where to begin.

Whether it’s a true red or a dark wine shade, red is in the forefront of nail polish colors this season. Although it’s gorgeous and sophisticated on its own, you can make it even more personal by doing a red French mani or applying some fun nail art to it.

Take inspiration from the seventies and paint your nails in a sultry nude tone. There are dozens of shades to choose from that are more conventional. But if you want to give your color a kick try a metallic nude or add sparkles to your polish.


Gold, silver, copper and chrome aren’t the only metallic colors were seeing in the streets. Just about any color can be found in a metallic version so go ahead and get creative with your look. Midnight navy in metallic, bordeaux and turquoise are some of my favorites. Get out there and try a few metallic polishes to see which ones you love.

I don’t know a single girl who doesn’t love sparkly polish and this season you can find more variety than ever before. These polishes are surprisingly easy to apply and remove and have the same lifespan as your average polish. They’re also pleasantly uplifting and great to wear for festive occasions such as the holidays and New Years.


Otherwise known as reverse French manicures this design has been around for a few seasons now and shows no sign of slowing down. Basically you have to draw the moon shape at the top of the nail bed instead of at the tip. Don’t forget to use two colors that pop such as red and purple to really nail down the look. It’s edgy, it’s fun and it’s worth trying out at least once.


Many women prefer to file their nails down in a square shape but if you’re up to a change try letting your nails grow super long. Once that’s done make them round and add some polish. It’s a look that’s gaining in popularity amongst celebrities such as Adele and Rhianna and it won’t be too long before you start seeing more and more women trying it out in everyday life.

So now all you have to do is decide which one you want to try out first and where you want to go from there. Don’t be afraid to try new things as you may be surprised by what you end up loving. Have fun and stay beautiful.