Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Academy Awards Notable Mentions - and Vanity Fair afterparty Add-ons!

Here we go again!

Jennifer Hudson in Versace
It seems that this dress is photographing differently in various lightings.  Although the color does not seem to pop as much in this photo as it does in others, this dress is still a winner.  The peachy-orange color goes beautifully with her smooth mocha complexion, and the cut of the dress adds something to an otherwise stiff and rigid gala gown.  The V neck and asymmetrical detail at the hip give this dress some needed edge.  I'd have liked to see the color a tad on the more coral side for everyone else who'd like to wear it, as any other girl had worn it with a different complexion, it would not have worked.  This brown queen is fit for a throne in my book, and the crystal-white jewels accent everything perfectly.  A

Anne Hathaway in Valentino
The show isn't even over yet, and already everyone is fussing over how beautiful this dress is.  This may seem like true movie star glam at first glance, but I'm goin' against the grain on this one.  This was a huge disappointment for me.  First of all, it looks like a mediocre bridesmaid dress.  Secondly, the fit is not flattering her body at all- NOTHING like how flattering that gown she wore to the Golden Globes was - this makes her look stumpy, boyish and adds about 25 years.  Lastly, this bright red color in combination with her whiter than white complexion is completely washing her out, and the red lipstick is just completing this 50+ look.  Not that I have anything against 50+, I just don't feel its right for a girl in her late twenty's.  The floral bunching is what's saving this dress from being an F.  As of now, I'm going to give the entire look (ho-hum, middle parted bland hair and all) a D-.  I think it's terrible.

UPDATE 2/28/11:  Ok, everyone...please check out this link to see Anne in Atelier Versace at the Vanity Fair afterparty later that evening:

Now, HOW MUCH BETTER does she look there!?  She looks amazing in that dress!!  I'd give it an A.  The first red dress is completely heinous, and this gorgeous picture of Anne Hathaway that very same night in a different ensemble just strengthens my opinion on the first one.  Way to make a quick comback, girl!

Mila Kunis in Elie Saab Haute Couture 
I have been dying to review Mila Kunis all season!  She's been my steady favorite in most of the big awards shows this year, and this is no exception.   The ethereal, delicate feel of this gown on her is stunning.  I love the stark contrast against her olive skin tone and almost-black hair; it really balances out how feminine and girly the dress is.  Had it been worn by an equally feminine and delicate starlet (say, Reese Witherspoon) I don't think it would make the same impact.  Love it, love her. A

Amy Adams in L 'Wren Scott
This one is getting mostly negative feedback so far, however I think this is the best I've seen from Amy Adams ever.  Perhaps I'm being influenced by her historically lackluster, forgettable looks, but I think she looks great in this gown, and I don't think the sequins are too much, surprisingly.  The dress is slimming on her, and the at-bay dark blue color keeps the sequins subdued (similar to the nude sequins on Anne Hathaway at the Golden Globes).  Sequins are tricky - this wouldn't have worked if it was a brighter color.  I am however going to bring the entire look down to a B due to the random jewelry selection - I don't feel the green teardrop necklace or bracelet are adding to the look in a good way - more like making it look a tiny bit cluttered.  B

Hillary Swank in Gucci Premiere 
Ok, ok....maybe I'm just a smidge biased because I LOVE everything feathers....but I do really enjoy this frock on Ms. Swank.  I think her swept back hair is the perfect selection for this almost over the top dress, and the minimal (or nonexistant) jewelry as well.  She looks fierce!  B+

Michelle Williams in Chanel Haute Couture 
Man, I am tired of her borderline hipster looks this year.  The hair is killing me!  It's ruining every one of her outfits on the red carpet.  In addition, she wears dresses like this over and over and over again...come to think of it...check out this link...proof is in the pudding.  This is definitely a step up from the Valentino nightmare at the Golden Globes, I've got to give her that.  Underwhelming at best.  And PLEASE do something with the pixie hair.  You're a woman, not a child.  Such a gorgeous girl, such potential.  C-

Cate Blanchett Givenchy Haute Couture 
I knew the second I saw this gown it had to be from the amazing Spring 2011 Givenchy line.  This might be my best dressed pick of the entire show.  It's a little avante-garde, most people probably think it's kind of weird - and I understand why...but I think its amazing.  All of the other gowns from this line that have attempted to be worn have looked awkward and like art instead of fashion - this is the first time I've seen one of these dresses look absolutely stunning on someone in person.(i.e.-  - this dress from the same line that Florence Welch wore at the Grammy's didn't work.) The gown is a magnificent piece of work, and it fits Cate Blanchett exquisitely.  I love everything about her look here, and the bright yellow detail adds an unexpected punch. The details are actually "pearls" made out of leather - just stunning! However, I will admit that I'm giving the gown an A+, and not necessarily the person.  But, she did it well, and this isn't an easy dress to carry. A+

Nicole Kidman in Christian Dior
So, this is an example of an dress that wants to be like Givenchy that Cate Blanchett wore, but instead of being bold, intricate and sophisticated, it looks crafty, almost cheap and awkward.  It reminds me of those dresses you can get in Chinatown.  I hate the detailing, and the bright red pump is a cheesy touch.  Nothing else to say about it really.  Oh - the sharp, jagged sideswept bangs match the tacky theme of this dress as well. F

 Penelope Cruz in L 'Wren Scott
"Firey Latina" is what this is screaming.  Whoop-de-doo. Its unoriginal and I'm disappointed that she went for the typical and expected red dress that shows of the girls.  In addition, the sequin fire detailing is a bit tacky in my opinion.  I do give her major credit and props for wearing a risky and revealing gown only a month after giving birth, but the dress looks again, costumey.  She's very gorgeous, so overall she still looks beautiful, but this dress is at best a 3.  I'm thinking...Chico's when I look at this. C-

Celine Dion in Giorgio Armani Prive
This dress is buttery, creamy, silky...its a great look.  She looks fantastic!  I don't really see a lot of long-sleeved dresses on the red carpet and this is a fresh, welcome change. She looks like royalty.  The bold, yet not overdone shoulders add to her long and lean look, and her hair is a perfect accoutrement to the ensemble. I do enjoy the statement necklace as well.  In addition, the dress is keeping her body high and tight - and considering she also just recently gave birth, that alone is worth an A.  A

Melissa Leo in Marc Bouwer
This looks like a doily.  Her face and hair - A...but the dinnerplace napkin dress - F.  Averaging out to a D+.  AND, it's custom, too!  It's bad enough that it looks this bad, but to hear she had a role in creating this disaster?   What a shame. D+


Leah Michele in Roberto Cavalli
It's nice to see Leah Michelle trying to step outside of the box, but I'm still not a fan of her look here, sadly.  I'm starting to feel bad, because this is the third time I've given her a bad grade.  She looks engulfed in this dress - its a bit too much...and it really isn't flattering her body whatsoever.  I'm seeing too many bulges and lumps - which I don't even think really exist but rather the dress is making it look like it.  I feel like only a waif-thin supermodel would look OK in this.  In addition, I'm not really a fan of the dress itself - the pattern is not flattering, or pretty, or's just kind of...strange.  In addition, I think the long sleeves with sequins are making her look overly buff.  Also, I also now see why she always wears her hair down...the swept back look isn't exactly flattering on her.  Sorry, Ms. Michele.  C-

Rosario Dawson in Diane von Furstenburg
I had to post this and give it an honorable mention. THIS is fabulous.  I love everything about the dress! The color, sequins, makes just the right statement.  The neckline actually plunges a little bit deeper than it appears in this picture (I think it's her posture that is making it look higher), which is the only critique I have for it. I'd wear this in a second.  It reminds me of the dress Angelina Jolie wore to the Golden Globes this year...and I love that one too.  Perfect!  She looks like a goddess.  A

Jessica Biel in Atelier Versace
This dress has been getting bad reviews.  I actually like it in a weird way. I think its very uncommon and different.  If a less pretty girl had worn this, it would have looked horrible.  However, I feel like the dress goes with her stunning beauty's almost acting as an accessory to her beautiful face.  I think it was a risk, its a bit fashion forward, but it worked.  And her body looks amazing.  Side note: is it just me, or do really buff women always look like their wearing workout clothes no matter what they're wearing? Lol.  B+

Amanda Seyfried in Valentino 

Just a tip: spray-tan.  Your skin is blending in with the ashy-cream color of your dress. C-

Camila Alves in Marchesa
I'm in love with this dress, I'm in love with Marchesa in general.  This dress is reminicent of the tattoo-sleeve dress Katy Perry wore a while back that I featured in one of my blog posts.  I actually inquired about buying that dress because I loved it so much but it was unavailable to the public.  This dress is so original, and unlike anything else I saw at the Oscars.  I think her low, sleek bun is a perfect accompaniment to this dress because it is a bit busy.  She looks great.  I'd totally wear this one!  A-


Friday, February 25, 2011

Group Vaycays Done Right

Part of our fabulous and amazing group at Marquee at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV
[Nightcap Clothing lace dress, Shotwell earrings]

Planning a vacation for a large group is a task that should not be taken with folly.  The person tackling this daunting but worthwhile job should be aware that the role requires due-diligence, a TON of patience (something I could still improve on), some savvy-know how, string-pulling, and a love for organization.  I'll have you know; however, that it is COMPLETELY worth it.  Group vacations are some of the most amazing, memorable and FUN experiences to have  if the trip goes well (AKA – not a complete disaster).  Someone in every group of friends should (wo) man up and take on this role, because every group of friends should go on at least one or two big vacations! Once travel and check-in is complete, most of the stress is over, and you can then relish in all your hard work as group coordinator.

1.  The group.  When planning a group vacation, take into consideration the people you are including in the trip.  Some peoples' personalities are not going to do well with situations that may be stressful, physically or emotionally demanding, and keep in mind that when people travel our personalities tend to shift a bit -as we are all a tad more elevated on varying levels when we are away from home.  In addition, consider how  personalities will react with each other, and re-examine whether or not you want to bring any and everyone on your trip.   Keep this in mind when choosing who's rooming together.  Try not to stick one person who may not be as close with others in a room just because it might be convenient for you - this often ends up being awkward and in my experience, the person could bail on the trip entirely because they don't want to be in a weird rooming situation, understandably.  This will aid in encouraging a welcoming atmosphere and to help keep them happy.

2.  Your expectations.  One of the most important things I've learned while planning group trips over the years is: everything is not going to go as planned.  Things will have last minute changes, and in the past (more early on) this has upset me.  I now know that the trip planner can only do the best that they can to create a perfect trip, and only about 60% of what was planned for is actually going to happen.  I say, embrace it!  This is one of the many fun aspects of a group trip.  Think about how a flock of birds fly together - going any which way - sometimes splitting up, but usually blending back and moving forward together.  You can only do so much to keep it all tied in, and in many ways it is like being a kindergarten teacher - it is very difficult and virtually impossible to keep everyone in the same place.  Know that people are going to branch off to do the various activities they want to.  Allow this to happen, but plan a unifying group activity for each day (lunch, dinner, drinks, nightclub) that will bring everyone back together.  You want to be the group point person, not the planning group Nazi.

3.  The location.  Choose a location that is going to have many different outlets for all kinds of personality types.  Some people will want to sleep in and wander down to the pool or spa to relax, others may want to go out exploring, shopping or for a hike. Choosing a fun location with options will help keep everyone happy.  In addition, make sure everyone has hotel rooms booked at the same hotel and with rooms on the same floor or connecting if possible.  Explicitly specify when booking the rooms that you would like all rooms to be linked together, even if under different names.  Many times hotels offer discounts or benefits for booking multiple rooms at the same time, so make sure to inquire about this as well.  Also, encourage your party people to book their itinerary as soon as you do.  Prices will only go up over time (can’t stress this enough) - and if you've gotten them to commit, nudge a bit to have them book ASAP or else they'll be tempted to cancel on you when prices go up after they've procrastinated booking their tickets and rooms.  If someone is being particularly unreachable or non-enthusiastic, drop ‘em early on.  Enthusiasm is an important thing to bring on a group trip, and after years of getting on people for this, I now say don’t waste your energy and efforts on someone who is being flaky. You’ve got enough on your plate.

4.  The vehicle.  It is ideal if most people are on the same flight to encourage the group atmosphere, however there will always be a few stragglers that plan their own flights.  I recommend flying Southwest Airlines WHENEVER possible. They are the only airline that does not charge a change/cancel fee if your dates change and they do not charge for checked bags.  Believe it or not, this adds up.  Yes, Virgin America has cool-looking planes, but you will be pissed off and regretting booking with them when you have to pay $75 per flight to change your itinerary AND $25 per checked bag. It adds up!  If you are driving, encourage everyone to meet at one spot, all leaving at the same time.

5.  Foresight.  Make sure to always anticipate change, and having enough room on your credit card (or in your wallet) for any unexpected mishaps or change in events is usually a good idea.  For example, on our most recent group excursion, we ended up having to switch hotels at the very last minute.  I was able to book 3 rooms at our new hotel immediately on my credit card, but in the meantime, I was still waiting for my deposit funds to be released by the old hotel.  Had I not had enough room on my card to re-book, this could have made things a lot more complicated.  In addition, expect a lot of confusion when paying for any and every group activity.  The best way to go about it is by having one person pay the venue, with everyone paying that person back.  It is that person's responsibility to do the math correctly and make sure they are being reimbursed appropriately.  Taking turns between bill payers each time ensures not one person in particular is paying for everything, over and over again.  This usually applies to dinners and bottle service only.  And, if you're feeling risky – try credit card roulette.  Heh heh heh. ;-)

-Another tip: when booking restaurant or nightclub reservations, always give an estimate of how many people are going to be coming, for example 10-12.  One or two people are always going to drop off or add to the party, and the venue should be aware that the party size may fluctuate.  However, when going to a nightclub – make sure to provide a guest list with full names to your host – this is the #1 thing a lot of nightclubs request going forward with your reservation, and if you dilly-daddle on it they will probably put you on the back burner thinking you’re not serious (this is our attitude at the club I work at).  Just let them know that a few people may add on or drop off.  Planning large dinners is probably the most difficult part of a group vacation - many restaurants require a credit card to hold the reservation and the seating setup is often awkward as well when it's groups of more than 8.  I would really only suggest doing a large dinner if the group is 10 people or under.

Advice for the group goers:

-Be on time to any planned events.
-Expect to contribute a fair and equal amount of money to dinners or other planned events. Don’t be the group cheap ass, scrutinizing every detail of the bill and asking tons of questions – great way to get on the fast track to annoying everyone in the group. If you end up paying $20 more than you should have, make a point to pay $20 less at the next dinner/lunch etc.  Do NOT make a scene at the restaurant when everyone wants to just get out of there and party.
-Don't be afraid to suggest or partake in any planning! The more ideas the merrier. Being a vacation planner is much like being a party host -any help is always welcome.
-Realize that people are going to act a little differently on vacation, and things are subject to change at any point.  Embrace this!
-Whatever you do, don't back out at the last minute!
-Take pictures!  The more people taking pictures, the more likely that everyone will actually get to see them!  Picture posting laggers, you know who you are!  ;-)

And most importantly, have fun and be patient.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat!  So worth it.


My friends enjoying our trip!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I need some advice!

Ladies, what is your favorite moisturizer?

I have recently began using Retin A, which has turned my skin into a desert landscape nightmare!  My usual favorite moisturizer, Clinique Dramaticaly Different Lotion that I've been devoted to since age 14 is now no longer heavy enough to stand up to the Retin A goblin.

I like the results I'm getting from Retin A, however the dry skin is a bit much.  What are some of your favorite moisturizers?  I'm looking for one *without* an SPF - I already use a separate SPF cream.

Your advice is appreciated!  Oh, and a somewhat reasonable price point would be great, as well.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

One of my new favorite things

I wanted to share with you my new favorite body butter, Yes To Carrots nourishing body butter.

I have been searching for a reasonably priced paraben-free body lotion for a while now, and I must say that this is truly a good one.  It's very moisturizing and leaves your skin feeling very nice, not sticky or greasy.   It's about $13, and I thought I'd share it with you all.  Also, it smells very light and feminine...I love it.  I rarely miss an application of lotion or body butter after showering, which is a step I think is imperative to smooth, soft and stretch mark free skin.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Red Bombshell

Ladies and Gents-

I AM NOW A REDHEAD!!!!!  Whoa.  Still getting adjusted.  

Special shout out to the stylist who transformed me - David Bui at Edward's Salon in Mill Valley, CA.  He does great work with cut and color, so if you are in the bay area I highly recommend him no matter what you're doing to your look.  He's very patient, listens to your questions and needs, and has expert skills to help you achieve any look you're going for.

What do you guys think?  It's even redder in real life but I am starting to really like it!  I don't know what got into me!

[Alice & Olivia Raccoon Bolero, Mac eyeshadow in nylon and carbon]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grammy Awards 2011

These critiques are a lot of fun for me.  Here are my thoughts on some of this year's Grammy Awards looks!!

Eva Longoria in ?
I think this is a pretty stunning look on her.  I'm a fan of over-the top ruffles and high waistlines (those who are friends with me on Facebook definitely know that from my pictures, haha).  This dress pairs the two well, and it also flatters her body type - showing off just the right parts that she has going for her: her fierce legs, arms and her face with that slicked-back hair.  A-

Kelly Osborne in Tadashi Shoji
This is a pretty fierce look and flatters her curves nicely.  I love the dress, I think the shoes pair well with it and the length is just right.  Any higher and it would have made her legs look too muscular.  The only thing I'm not really a fan of are those roots!  B+

Ciara in Emilio Pucci
If anyone was going to rock this revealing of a dress, it would have to be someone like Ciara with that rock-hard body.  Even still, this look is overall way too masculine/gladiator.  With that aggressive in-your-face bodice and equally bold shoes, this look radiates too much masculinity and takes away from Ciara's incredible body.  The slit is about 4 inches too high, but would have looked much more proportional if she had worn leg-lenthening pumps and not gladiator heels that cut off her stems and make them look stumpy somehow...seemingly impossible but somehow it happened.  I do like the earrings and the middle-parted long, shiny hair; it goes nicely with the theme of the gown.  However, WHAT is up with the overaccesorizing trend lately with bangles on both arms?? Too much, ladies! Too much!  C-

Heidi Klum in Julien McDonald
Ok, this is a HUGE improvement from her last looks at the Golden Globes.  In fact, that was so bad, I think that memory is going to skew my opinion on this look today, because ANYTHING would be considered an improvement.  In any case, this overall is a pretty nice look on her.  I do like the gown, and I've seen it from other angles as well and it just gets better.  The only thing I don't really like is how wide and gaping the front slit/opening is.  It's showing a little too much high inner thigh if you ask me.  However, her hair, makeup and accesories are spot on, and this shade of gold compliments her complexion well. Glad to see things are looking up for Heidi. I just noticed the veiny feet. Egh.  B

Jennifer Hudson in Versace
This just might be my favorite look on the Grammy's Red Carpet.  MAN, talk about a body!  That Weight Watchers campaign has definitely done her right.  In addition, this dress does JUST the right job of showing off all the right parts.  Her waistline looks tiny, her skin is glowing and her silky hair is the perfect accessory to that neckline.  Brownie points for not adding a necklace, either!  I usually don't like mullet dresses, but this one is cascading in just the right way and instead of appearing tacky, it is reminiscent of a Greek Goddess.  The shoes are just the right touch as well - not too bulky or chunky, and more creative than a basic pump.  You go girl. And, after having a baby...this look is the anthem for all mothers out there. A+

 Kim Kardashian in Kaufman Franco 
It's a rare day in which Kim Kardashian isn't impeccably put together.  Usually we see nothing but passing grades from her, but today is an exception.  This dress makes her look wide.  The word "linebacker" is coming to mind.  Is she not channeling Khloe in this dress or what?! Now, I never usually feel this way about her - I think she's one of the most well-dressed and smokin hottest celebs out there!  In addition, it's way too reminiscent of JLo at the 2009 Golden Globes (see picture here: - and I didn't like that look on her either, as it made JLo look thick and linebackerish as well.  Considering KK is often associated as a wannabe JLO, I'd have opted to steer clear of such a similar look.  Lastly, I really feel like this cut only works on waif-type bodies where the dress can hang just right - not where it's bringing attention to curves in the wrong way. Her face and hair look pretty though!  D

Selena Gomez in J. Mendel
She certainly is cute as a button.  I like this dress on her - it's not too boring and PG, but it's nowhere near too risqué or revealing for someone her age.  I think she got the hair right as well, and she just looks like a blooming star.  The dress could have been hemmed a bit however, it seems to be dragging.  A

Leanne Rimes in Reem Acra
It's hard for me to tell if this is as unattractive as I think it is, or if I'm being influenced by how much I don't like Leanne Rimes as a person.  Either way, I'm not feeling it.  It's doing that same linebacker thing that was going on with Kim Kardashian!  The cut widens her instead of flaunting her shape.  Look at the midsection.  It's bulky and with the sequins appears too thick.  Also, it looks too tight throughout the legs - like she'd be waddling down the carpet unable to take properly sized steps.  The closed-toe black shoes are also a random choice and stick out in a bad way.  NEXT! D+

Jennifer Lopez in Emilio Pucci
JLO looks nothing but divine in this look.  I love everything about it - from the wild hair down to the Christian Louboutins.  Mirrored mosaic done right - unlike one ensemble coming up later in this post.  Her legs are inspiring me to do more calf lifts and the dress fits her like a glove.  She's having a good run lately! A+

Rhianna in Jean Paul Gaultier
After writing these posts today I've come to realize that I really dislike any kind of fabric that is going to add extra bulkiness and make a woman's figure appear too thick.  AGAIN, this dress is committing that crime with Rhianna along with KK and Leanne Rimes.  I think this could have been better with a different neckline as well, perhaps a one shouldered deal or a V neckline.  She looks stiff, and we can all see your underwear Rhianna.  All she needs is a fruit basket headdress and to start doing the can-can!   D

Katy Perry in custom Giorgio Armani
She's young, she's rebellious, she's wild. So, obviously I expected something like this coming from her.  The angel wings don't even bother me - I actually like her kooky and crazy fashion choices.  My issue with this particular dress is that it looks like a craft project or a costume instead of a couture gown.  The taffeta skirt material reminds me of the prom rack at Dillards and the mosaic mirrored hot glue gunned top as well. However, her hair and face look gorgeous, and I'm sure she'll make up for this next time. D+

Lea Michele in Emilio Pucci
Eh. Underwhelmed by this.  Same exact thing as her look at the Golden Globes in my last post about her - something is not wowing.  Whether it's her or the dress or both, I can't really tell.  It's OK, but this isn't going to be one that will stick out in everyone's memory by any means.  I'm not really even sure what would improve this look.  Different makeup? Hair?  In any case I'm bored already looking at it.  C

Lady Gaga in a cocoon
Sigh.  Lady Gaga....always the attention whore.  Lol.  Gotta give her credit for originality.  C? Who even knows.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Beggar's Bible

We've all done it. You're trying to put together the perfect outfit in your mind but are lacking that *one* essential item that will take it from "cute" to SMOKIN HOT.  "Oh!  Samantha has a "x"...I can totally borrow it!"  It is OK to borrow from your friends... if you follow and respect the Beggar's Bible.

Have you ever had someone borrow something, then never return it?  Some people relish in tech-y, gadgety stuff, other people love to collect artwork.  Me?  My love, blood sweat and tears are devoted to my cherished wardrobe!   This right here has turned me into somewhat of a borrow Nazi.  I now have a small list of rules that applies to friends borrowing items of mine, and I think that it is inevitable that as a woman, you are going to get into it with one of your friends or siblings somewhere along the way when they "forget" to return what they've borrowed, or they return it damaged, or it comes back unwashed...the list goes on.

I'll never forget one instance where I found an item that someone had borrowed from me bundled into a ball on the floor hidden in the bottom corner of said person's closet - I had happened to stumble upon it when I was searching for a missing shoe of mine.  The fury raged heavy in my heart.  This hot button issue really does get ladies riled up and can definitely spark a full on war.

Here are my own personal rules to letting friends borrow something:

1.  Said item must not be brand new or in the "coveted" category.  I need some time to relish in a new item I've bought, or if I absolutely adore and cherish it - I WON'T let you borrow it!  There are only a few items in "coveted" category, so this isn't too often an issue, and my friends usually know better than to ask for a coveted item.

2.  Said item must be returned within one week of borrow date.

3.  Item must come back in the shape it was given out in, or the borrower must pay to replace or fix the item.

4.  If it is an item of clothing, it must come back dry cleaned within the one week return policy.

5.  If the borrower is not your size (give or take) they are not allowed to borrow any item of clothing in which they may stretch or damage due to size discrepancies (goes for shoes as well).

6.  If an item is unreturned and this goes unnoticed by the owner, when the owner realizes the borrowed item has been missing, there will be a penalty in which the borrower is banned from borrowing again for one full season.  It is the borrowers responsibility to ensure that said item is returned within the one week policy - with no reminders from the lender.  It is the borrowers responsibility to ensure that the item is in the lenders hands within the timed policy, and not left somewhere for the lender to pick up, unless specifically agreed upon by the lender.

7.  It is by all means ILLEGAL and ill-advised to borrow any item without asking - whether you are a friend or blood relative.

Follow these guidelines or your own made up rules to stay on lovely and fabulous terms with your closest friends.  And the next time you are searching for that perfect golden accessory to bring your outfit from a B to an A+, you will feel solid knowing that you can turn to a friend to help, thanks to the Beggars Bible.


When you have this much fabulous gear floating around, you must follow the rules! We do :-)
[Max Azria Runway dress, Tiffany & Co. cuff, Marciano earrings]

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Perfect Primer

This one is for the ladies - or for the ladyboys as well! 

I've come to appreciate what I now believe as one of the most imperative steps that cannot be skipped in my makeup routine:  applying a primer. I know a lot of people tend to group primer into the "does it really make any difference?" category - but please believe me when I say IT DOES!

No matter what kind of foundation you use, whether it is liquid, stick, mineral or powder - a primer will smooth out your face and make sure that glow you see right after you finish your makeup remains all day long, not just for an hour or two after you've left the vanity.  Have you ever noticed how mineral makeup tends to settle into every little friggin' crease on your face, overmagnifying the tiniest wrinkle or issue?  Or how it tends to want to broadcast your dry areas to the world?  A primer will help with that.  And while I love my liquid foundation, it does have a nasty little habit of creating an oil slick on my face by 3pm.  The "dewy" glow I love so much turns into a full on oil spill by mid afternoon if I don't keep it in check.  A primer will help with that as well.  

However, I'd like to stress that finding the right primer is going to be like finding any other product you really love - not all of them are going to work for you.  There are many different kinds of primers out there, and they are definitely not all the same.  I have taken the liberty of gathering together a variety of my favorite primers I've come across throughout my journey.  Enjoy!

Benefit "That Gal"

This is a great primer that has a creamy finish and a wonderful light floral scent.  In addition, it has just the tiniest amount of shimmer that acts as a pick-me-up glow.  My favorite thing about "That Gal" is the binding properties it has.  It really has the staypower that it takes to make liquid or stick foundation stick all day long.  In combination with the glow, it makes for a very nice product that will work with liquid or powder.  The only problem with it is that it is quite expensive for the amount you're getting (.37oz for $28 - whereas most primers run about $30 for 1oz).  Great primer, but not that much bang for your buck, and believe me when I say it goes fast.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

This is one of the bestselling primers on the market, and for good reason.  It has an incredibly smooth, silky feel to it, almost as if it has some kind of silicon in it (I'm not sure if it does).  Since it has such slip, I'd definitely recommend this for people who have dry skin or people who use mineral and/or powder makeup.  It might be a bit much with liquid foundation paired with oily skin. It has a luxurious feel to it and at times a little heavy, so depending on your skin type you might want to use this at night only.  Smashbox also has this primer in a light version, which is one that I have not tried but have heard good things about. 

MAC Skin Base Visage

This is currently my favorite primer and the one that I am using.  This primer comes out of the pump in a cream form, stark white with little flecks of light-reflecting shimmer inside of it.  However, when you smooth it onto the face, it loses its cream quality and becomes much silkier and lighter than one would expect.  I like it because for my combination skin type, it is not too oily or too light, and it really smooths out my imperfections.  Great for daytime or nighttime use, and it keeps my dewy glow allll day long.  Love it!

Amazing Cosmetics Anti Aging Face Primer

This is a new brand that Sephora just begun carrying, and I have to say for good reason!  The consistency of this primer is almost identical to the Smashbox primer, however this formula is paraben (preservatives that have been linked to health issues, although that is a controversial subject) free, fragrance free and moisturizes well also.  If you have sensitive skin, this would definitely be a primer to check out.  This one also has a very silky and smooth texture.  I usually wear it at night, since it can be a bit heavy as well.

MAC Face Protect Protection Visage SPF 50

This isn't a primer that I have yet tried, however I am already in love with the idea!  I've been having a really hard time finding an everyday sunscreen that isn't like smearing Vaseline or KY Jelly on my face, making me break out and turning my makeup into yet another oil slick.   I know how important it is to wear an everyday sunscreen (even if it's not a sunny day), so I refuse to give up on my efforts!   This could be the miracle product I am searching for and as soon as I buy it I will be sure to update on this post.  I already love MAC's basic primer, so keeping my fingers crossed on this one as well!

Make Up Forever High Definition Primer

This primer was a bit too light for me, but I imagine it would be great for darker skin tones that tend to be on the oily side.  One thing I liked about this product is that it spread over my face very evenly and easily and it has a nice smell.  In addition, it pairs with Make Up Forever HD Foundation perfectly (which I have heard repeatedly is awesome but have only tried once-with this primer in a sample).

I hope these primers help all of you put your best, freshest face forward to seize the day!  If not, keep looking, as there are a TON of options out there and this quest is definitely worth the effort.