I don’t know what I’m even doing with these post titles anymore. Sorry. Maybe I should call them all, like, Outfit Post NumberWhatever and save myself the extra brain bandwidth. Do you know those days when you just end up staring at your computer screen for 10 minutes only to realize you lost your train of thought 9.5 minutes before? Yeah, it’s one of those days. On the plus side, I think this was a cute outfit which probably deserves a better blogging effort on my part. Tough break for Cute Outfit; life’s unfair like that.
In case you’re hungry for details — yes? let’s pretend — everything here is old but remixed in a totally new way. Well, sorta. I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged this exact outfit before, except with a different blazer, and not even that long ago. But the blazer makes a difference, and this definitely looks fresh and new. (Just go with it.) It’s a cool blazer, and you might be surprised to know that it’s Liz Clairborne. That’s a, well, “mom” brand, isn’t it? I mean, I’m a mom so it should not surprise me that I would like something from LC, and yet it kinda totally does. My inner monologue goes something like this:
Me: But I’m not a regular mom! I’ve totally heard of Acne and Reformation and 1/3 of my closet is Aritzia. I’m a cool mom!
I feel like I was writing about skincare and make-up yesterday, but in fact it’s been over 8 months … which explains the slight change-up in my routines. I still get lots of questions about this on a regular basis, so this is probably a good time for an update. Before we start, you can revisit my previous skincare post (January 2017) here, or my old make-up routine (May 2015) here.
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I am at an age now when make-up can only do so much to help me on my quest to satisfy my vanity; proper skincare (and rest, diet, and genetics, but that’s a whole other story) matters a heck of a lot more. The bare minimum I would recommend to anyone in my late-30s shoes is: retin-A, sunscreen, and a basic moisturizer. If you wear make-up, you will also need a cleanser of some sort. If you have prescription coverage, this basic regimen can be relatively inexpensive, and you’ll be set. But if, like me, you want to delve a little deeper into the skincare world, well … read on.
There are a lot of great, free resources out there if you are starting this journey without much prior knowledge. This blog is definitely not one of them, but I recommend forums like r/skincareaddiction and r/asianbeauty. They are a mine of information, which should guide you to selecting the products that work best for your skin and budget.
So let’s talk about mine for a moment. As I’ve mentioned before, my skin is relatively low maintenance. My main issues are fine lines, dryness, uneven tone (with a tendency to pinkness), and the occasional bit of acne. As for my budget … well, I am cheap. I have paid for some expensive procedures (like microblading) in the past, but I am generally reluctant to spend a lot of money on skincare or make-up products. Luckily, these days, that is not a barrier to getting your hands on great products.
As my previous post indicated, when I started to get interested in skincare, I used a lot of Asian products; they are inexpensive and effective. The downside, for me, was getting them. They are readily available on Amazon, for the most part, but I found the shipping times to be wildly unpredictable. After waiting for months on end for products to arrive, I gave up. Around the same time I was getting frustrated with that, I discovered The Ordinary line of skincare — and never looked back. These products are even cheaper, and I can usually get them within 2 weeks of ordering them online. And they work great!
I have ended up with a substantial collection of their products — at under $10 per bottle, it’s easy to go a little nuts — which I use depending on what my skin feels like it needs at any given time. My loose schedule looks something like this:
I still use the Biore Watery Essence sunscreen, as I have an bottle of the old formulation left. The last time I purchased a back-up on Amazon, I think I ended up with the new formulation. When the time comes, I will try it and see if I like it. If I don’t, I may try this Shiseido sunscreen next. A quick note: I feel like I need to add a moisturizer directly under the sunscreen, otherwise my make-up really dries out over the course of the day. I should also mention that I wait a minute or so in between applying each product so that it’s not one big goopy mess. I probably should wait longer, but I haven’t got time for that in the morning.
Speaking of moisturizers, CeraVe is my go-to. I bought a huge tub of it months and months ago, and it is not even half empty. It gets the job done very well.
My oil cleanser is this Softymo Speedy Cleanser. I buy it from T&T, a local Asian supermarket. It’s not cheap ($18/bottle) but it works like a dream; sadly, I can’t find it cheaper elsewhere locally, and I don’t like to take my chances with international shipping because I go through my bottles fairly quickly (4-6 weeks). I will say that, post-cleansing, I stretch out my routine over an hour or so; while I read or Netflix, I go through the sequence, allowing each product to dry fully on my face before applying the next. Sometimes, I throw on a Tony Moly mask into the mix.
When I get a zit, I usually dab it with either a teeny tiny bit of retin-A or some CosRx Sol A solution before bed, and it’s usually either entirely gone or substantially reduced in size by the morning.
My “everyday” look hasn’t really changed much in years, as far as my appearance goes, but I have been playing with some new products lately which I have really grown to love. The biggest change has been a switch back to powder foundation. I used to use Bare Minerals in my late 20s, then switched to liquid foundation (L’Oreal) about 5-6 years ago. More recently, I found that I was using a finishing powder for that “blurred Instagram filter” look, and started to wonder if I could simplify things by going back to a powder foundation. My dermatologist’s spa sells Jane Iredale make-up, so I decided to give that a try as opposed to going to Sephora for Bare Minerals — I am the queen of convenience, and I also like to make my life easier by avoiding temptation as much as possible. Sephora is “danger, Will Robinson” territory for me.
Long story short, I LOVE my Jane Iredale foundation. It offers the perfect amount of coverage and line blurring, and it helps to even out my tone. I bought the re-fill package, and skipped the compact. It comes in a plastic tray which has traveled with me without issues. It’s not inexpensive at around $50, but it last for 3-4 months.
For my under-eye area, I use the Essence Colour Correcting Say No to Dark Circles (oof!) concealer stick first, then the Maybelline Age Re-Wind concealer on top (then powder). I also use the Maybelline concealer on and around my nose for extra coverage.
On my eyes, I have recently started using the Tarte Tarteist Pro To Go shadow compact. It was a birthday splurge at, where else, Sephora. I have stepped foot into that store exactly one time this year, and came out poorer for it. I do love the quality of the Tarte eyeshadows though. They are very pigmented and go on smoothly. All of the colours are too dark as “all over” colours for my everyday face, so I use them only in the crease of my eyelids. For “all over” crease colour, I use one of the shades from an e.l.f highlighter quad (which I can’t seem to find online). Yes, I am that pasty. I love the wide pans in this compact, by the way.
I touch up my microbladed eyebrows using the same Essence eyebrow pencil I have been using for the past couple of years. It’s cheap and it works fine. Here’s a link to Amazon, but ignore the price; you can get it for $3 at the drugstore.
Since getting the Bambi eyelashes of my dreams, courtesy of the EyEnvy serum, I have stopped wearing my old crayon eyeliner. Combine with my eyelashes, I found the thick line too overwhelming for daytime. I did recently splurge on a Kat Von D Tattoo eyeliner (see above) which I use from time to time to add a veeeeery thin line on my upper lashline. I am waiting for a special occasion to try a proper cat’s eye. So far, it does seem to be better than most liquid eyeliners I’ve tried before. The pen hasn’t dried out immediately, and it has good pigmentation and staying power. I am not sure I want to spend $27 on eyeliner on the regular, but we shall see.
As for mascara, I still use my trusty L’Oreal Voluminous though I have branched out to new versions of it. I use two different mascaras, which yes, is ridiculous, but eyelashes are my obsession. First, I use the Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt. I find that it separates my eyelashes nicely, and adds a good, thick-but-not-too-thick base layer of colour. I find that more than one coat of this mascara leads to gloopy results, so for the next coat, I use the Voluminous Lash Paradise. This one builds colour nicely without clumping even after 2 coats. Yes, I do add up to 3 coats of mascara, especially on the tips of my lashes, because they are very feathery and almost invisible otherwise. This is not for the faint of heart, for sure, but I’ve got it down to a 2 minute science.
While I wait for my first coat of mascara to semi-dry, I add a little bit of blush. This is a new addition to my make-up routine. After switching to powder foundation and running out of my old Benefit blush, I kinda gave up on finding a replacement. When I was at Sephora, the birthday gift I received included a mini Tarte blush (similar to this but small) which happens to be a great colour for me. So I’ve been using it, sparingly, most mornings. Like the eyeshadows, it’s very pigmented, so I recommend applying with a light hand.
Last but not least, lips. I have nothing exciting to recommend here. I am still working through my old stash of beloved (and discontinued) Rimmel Colour Rush lip crayons. I haven’t found a single other lip product to take their place, though I do quite like the following 2 products. L’Oreal Infallible lipstick in Rambling Rose looks like a lipstick but goes on almost like a crayon. It dries semi-matte, and has really good staying power. The colour is quite pigmented, so it’s a good alternative for a day when I want a bold-but-not-red lip. Wet ‘n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Lipstick in Give Me Mocha is another product I quite like. It’s a brown-leaning pink; the formula is a matte lipgloss. Decent staying power, though not as good as the L’Oreal. I have also bought another tube of Clinique Black Honey, but I don’t find myself reaching for it too often. After my Rimmel lip crayons, I find it a bit too sheer and smear-y; the colour is still a classic, though.
And, since pictures are worth a thousand words and all that, here is my before and after. Yes, this is the first time I’ve put my naked face on the internet so y’all better catch it quick before I inevitably regret my decision.
Questions? Product reccs? Hit me up in the comments.
What I’m currently watching is Being Human — the UK version, naturally. But I will save my thoughts on that for next week, because this week we need to talk about Misfits. Every so often, there comes a show that takes your expectations and just blows them to smithereens, and that’s what happened with Misfits and me. A friend of mine recommended it, and while the premise was not necessarily something that intrigued me — it sounded a bit cliche, to be honest — it was a British show, and I am always willing to give those at least a one-episode shot. Well, that’s all it took. One episode, I was hooked. Before the same night was over, I had binge-watched 3 more. And then again the next evening. And so on. I haven’t been this sleep-deprived, or so in love with a show, in a long time.
The best way I can describe the premise is as the bastard offspring of The Breakfast Club and Heroes, except with a wholly British sensibility. Which is to say, irreverent to the nth degree. The plot follows 5 young adults, each of them a misfit in his or her own way, who meet on their first day of community service, get caught in a bad storm, and acquire strange new powers. What they go on to do with those powers, over the next 3 seasons (there are 5 in total, but I haven’t watched the last two yet) will never be what you expect. What does it involve? Lots of swearing, sex, drugs, and gore. The show has a mordant sense of humour, but it’s also laugh out loud funny.
The storylines are bonkers (in the best way), so I won’t bother trying to explain them, but let’s talk about the characters for a minute. As in any good John Hughes movie, the “ASBO 5” start off as archetypes: the jock (Curtis); the hot girl (Alisha); the tough girl (Kelly); the weirdo (Simon); the joker (Nathan). But there are layers to each of them, and the show does an amazing job of revealing them slowly without turning maudlin or losing its sarcastic bite. The cast (main and supporting) is diverse and excellent across the board. Each of them left me convinced that they were their respective characters. Based on my own experiences as a painfully shy introvert prone to over-thinking, I identified the most with Simon. But I also hard-core loved Kelly and Nathan. The latter, in particular, walked a very, very fine line between being endearingly off-the-wall and being just, well, a total d*ck. I would imagine that’s a tough thing to play, so kudos to the actor. It helped that he had the best comedic lines, and the chops to deliver them convincingly. After Nathan’s departure at the end of season 2, I really felt his absence (even though I also enjoyed his “replacement”, Rudy) and it seemed like the show never quite fully recovered. I loved season 3 for other reasons, but the team dynamic was weaker.
So, yes, let’s talk about this now:
For Game of Thrones fans out there, Simon will look familiar. Listen, if you had told me last year that I would find myself cheering for Ramsay-effing-Snow to get the girl — any girl, EVER — I would have laughed and laughed and probably puked in my mouth a little. And yet, by season 3, there I was, ugly-crying my makeup off watching Simon Bellamy, romantic hero. I won’t say more about the Simon-Alisha plot except that it’s basically one of my fave fictional love stories ever, and it is an example of incredible character development. Even if you don’t come to the show with Ramsay baggage like I did, Simon starts off as an utterly unpromising character; the creepy weirdo that everyone overlooks or forgets, literally. You can almost see that, at the beginning, the writers toyed with the idea of sending him to a dark, Ramsay-esque side. Instead, they took him in the complete opposite direction, and Simon ends up being the closest thing to a real superhero that this show gets. He is also possibly the sweetest TV boyfriend ever written; if his relationship with Alisha does not warm the cockles of your heart … well, you have no heart. So, yes, friends; Misfits is the show that gave me a Iwan Rheon problem, and I have zero shame about it. As Nathan would say: Save me, Barry!
Have you watched Misfits? Join me in the comments and let’s geek out together.
P.S. I haven’t had time to read anything in weeks, but if you have book recc’s, please send them my way.