Ending 2013 in a Purple Haze…

Happy New Year!

Okay, it’s not officially 2014 here in Los Angeles, and I’ve still got a midnight yoga flow to commit to, but we’ve pretty much been celebrating all day.

For makeup… I dug into the Chanel Spring 2014 collection. I used it on me, twice, and on Shayla for her NYE night out.


Guerlain Lingerie De Peau (Dore 24)

Chanel Loose Powder (Dore)

Tom Ford Wicked Blush


Chanel Illusion d’ Ombre in Diapason (lids)

MAC Kohl in Designer Purple (waterline)

By Terry Ligne Blackstar (lashline)

Volume de Chanel Mascara


Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet In L’Adoree


Givenchy Teint Couture Foundation (Elegant Amber)

Bobbi Brown Pressed Powder (Golden Orange)

Tom Ford Wicked Blush


By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Ombre Mercure (lids)

Chanel Illusion d’ Ombre in Diapason (outer lid)

MAC Eyeshadow in Brun (crease)

By Terry Ligne Blackstar (lashline)

MAC Kohl in Designer Purple (waterline)

Volume d’ Chanel Mascara


Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in L’Adoree


Tom Ford Traceless Foundation (Caramel)

Tom Ford Wicked Blush

Gleam Radiant Powder in Rose Gold (highlighter)


By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Matte Black (lids)

MAC Eyeshadow in Seedy Pearl (lids)

Chanel Illusion D’ Ombre in Impulsion (lids)

MAC Kohl in Designer Purple (waterline)

Naimies False Lashes


Beaute Liqui-Gel Stain in Harlot

Illamasqua Gloss in Fierce

These are my final acts with makeup in 2013. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Chanel Spring 2014

Chanel-Spring-2014-beauty-look_Vanessa-Axente_photo-Solve-SundsboChanel released the new Spring Collection. Much like collections from Chanel in the past, this Spring Edition features a healthy mix of light and dark colors, with a distinctly ‘pink’ undertone. There is a little something for everyone.

Chanel_Notes_du_Printemps_spring_2014_makeup_collection3Chanel-Notes-De-Printemps-Makeup-Collection-for-Spring-2014-nails-and-facechanel-eyeshadowsI passed on much of this collection. The quad didn’t move me, and the blushes have too garish of an undertone for my liking. I put on Sonic Pink Lip Pencil… and lets just say it didn’t end well. So the must haves for me were the two Illusion d’ Ombres, and two of the Lipsticks.

La Diva Lipstick

L’Adoree Lipstick

Illusion d’Ombre in Diapason

Illusion d’ Ombre in Impulsion

No Flash

With Flash

I’m having a bit of trouble with La Diva Lipstick. It’s very drying. I have to wear a lot of lip balm under it to wear it comfortably. L’Adoree is incredibly flattering, and I find that it’s a lot more ‘rose’ than the dusky lavender color that I expected.

The Illusion d’Ombres are a lot more ‘multi dimensional’ than the camera shows. Diapason has a bit of a deep blue shimmer undertone that is absolutely gorgeous, and Impulsion is like looks like Fantasme blushed. Both of them swipe soft and true, and it looks like Chanel may have addressed that ‘dried up’ problem that they had with the last batch of Illusion d’ Ombres.

So far I’m loving my choices. I’ll road test them in the very near future… and take tons of pictures. Ciao for now!

Perfect Arches: Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow

Opinions on this  new addition from Make Up For Ever run the gamut. Some people love it, while others complain that the colors don’t work or it’s possible to look like they’ve drawn their eyebrows on with a Sharpie…

Put me down among those who absolutely love this product.

There are five colors… I ended up with the three darkest. #25 is an ash medium brown (looks like MAC Omega), #30 is a rich chocolate brown (looks like a warmer version of MAC Brun), and #35 is an ash black (looks like Suqqu Black pencil… which is actually an ashy green color).

They look horrid on their own, but in the brows they are absolutely marvelous. My personal preference is to mix #30 and #35. I’ve even worn #25 by itself (Burberry Oxblood FOTD).

This is my bare brow. There is no product in it at all.

This is what it looks like with MUFE Aqua Brow in #30. It’s still a bit on the ‘warm’ side for me, so I like to cool it down with #35.

This is the completed brow with #35 just dusted through the brow hairs. The combination immediately gives the appearance of thicker brows, and looks completely natural to the naked eye.

To help me with this look, I strongly prefer the Make Up For Ever #274 Brush. The dual ended spoolie/angled brush is perfect, and lets me get the job done in a single step. You can use any stiff angled brush, and I’d keep a spoolie around just in case you apply too much product.  Just run the spoolie through the hairs to break up the product. Works like a charm. You literally need a pin-head sized drop for both brows. A little bit of product goes a very long way.

You can even trick a shabby brow (like I did in the Burberry FOTD) by running the product through the parts you want to emphasize (like the arch) and popping a little concealer over the parts you want to hide.

Now, to the naysayers: Please keep in mind that Make Up For Ever began as, and primarily remains a pro-based company. That means there can be a bit of a learning curve with some of their products. Is it simpler to use a pencil (Shu Uemura and Anastasia make wonderful versions)? Yes. It’s even cleaner to use eyeshadow to shape a brow. But this is a whole lot of product, that can be mixed (I can hear David Hernandez yelling BE AN ARTIST!), matched and manipulated to go further than any pencil or powder. It’s genius. Give it time, practice, and I bet you’ll be likely to change your tune. 🙂

You can find out more about Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow HERE.

Last (Head)Stand of 2013

So…I can do a headstand.

Middle of the floor, no wall, no help… ON MY OWN! It just kind of happened. Yesterday, our sub told us to practice inversions. She was very ‘free’ about it, no rules… just do what comes naturally. I went into crow, dropped my head, adjusted my core, and my legs went right up! At first I thought it was a fluke, so I came back down and tried it again. Perfect.

Still unconvinced of my newfound stability, I visited Naimies (primarily to tell my friend Hillary that MUFE Aqua Brow really does work), and showed it to her. She clapped and high fived me…


I can’t believe, after 6 steady months of really trying to get up there, I managed to do it. Slow, steady, rock solid. My teachers had warned me about ‘throwing’ and trying to ‘pop’ up into a headstand. They kept telling me that I have to respect all of the positions in between and learn to hold them steady. One of my teachers told me that ‘throwing’ the body up into a head/handstand is very indicative of what’s going on inside the mind. If you’re so worried about the end result that you don’t respect all of the steps in between, you may never make it.

Now I gotta go show my friend Nickee. She is gonna spit.

Lip Service: Burberry Lip Cover in Oxblood

Burberry got it right. Most companies who try to release a dark maroon lipstick always end up going too far one way or the other. The color is either too light, or way too dark and goth looking. But Oxblood rides the fence between the two, making for a very wearable lipstick.

I kept the rest of the face very simple, to really let the lip color shine. This formula is highly moisturizing and wears pretty much all day. I reinforced the lip line with Chanel’s lip pencil in Rouge. The colors are almost identical. This is such a comfortable formula, and the pigmentation level is fabulous. The color is balanced enough to suit a wide range of skin tones. I’d say that unless you are uber pale and not a fan of dark lips, pretty much anyone can wear this color.


You can find out more about Burberry Lip Cover in Oxblood HERE.

Eat Up: Stella Barra’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I’ve had these amazing cookies before. I’m not a fan of pumpkins or pecans, but believe me when I tell you that these are RIDICULOUSLY good. So when Daily Candy decided to put up the RECIPE for these babies, I had to share!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with White Chocolate, Cranberries, and Pecan Brittle
Makes about two dozen

1 c. room-temperature unsalted butter
1 c. granulated white sugar
1 c. dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. dark molasses
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1½ tsp. orange zest, finely grated
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. dried cranberries
½ c. pecan pieces, toasted
Pecan brittle for garnish (recipe follows)

1. Cream together butter and sugars in mixer using the paddle attachment.

2. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and scrape down the bowl.

3. Add pumpkin puree with vanilla, molasses, and orange zest. Mix until incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt, and spices.

5. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture on low, scraping down the bowl until the flour mixture is incorporated.

6. Add remaining ingredients and mix just until evenly combined.

7. Portion the dough using a 2-oz. scoop and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.

8. Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake an additional 5 minutes.

9. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle each cookie liberally with pecan brittle.

10. Return cookies to the oven for 1-2 minutes, until the brittle has melted slightly into the top of the cookies. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Pecan Brittle

½ c. pecan pieces, toasted
½ c. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

1. In a sturdy pan, caramelize the sugar until amber brown.

2. Turn off the heat, add the pecans and salt. Stir to coat.

3. Immediately turn out the nuts onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and allow to cool completely.

4. Once cooled, pulse in food processor until brittle is broken into fine pieces.

Stella Barra



Shahada’s Little Helpers: Skin Peels

Ever since I was introduced to peeling (earlier this year), I’ve been aware of other products that are not as strong but do amazing things for regular skin maintenance. I’ve come across two products that easily rise to the top of the list:

This is sooooo good! First of all, it smells like pumpkin pie. 🙂 Second of all, it’s organic and just about all of the ingredients are perishable. That means you HAVE TO USE IT! Store it in a cool dry place and get it on your face on a regular basis. I use it every couple of weeks for a nice ‘pick me up.’ It’s such a lovely treatment for the face. The strength is only 5%, but there’s still some tingling if you’ve got a more sensitive skin. This, I’m told, is completely normal.

I have to say, I’ve never come across something quite like this. Unlike regular peels, which you have to leave on for minutes, this one only takes SECONDS to activate. You read that right. It take FIVE SECONDS to activate and the you roll off the dead skin, and rinse it off. So freakin’ easy, that it’s almost scary. I used it the first time and freaked out at the results. My skin was so smooth. It’s almost one of those ‘too good to be true’ kind of products. But it really does work. And it’s really gentle. I was surprised at how my skin was not even remotely irritated afterwards. And you can’t beat the developing time. Five seconds is utterly fabulous.

These two items have thoroughly impressed me. I love the low irritation levels on both, and the prices are complementary ($46 and $44, respectively). I haven’t done a deep peel in months, and with this as regular maintenance, I’m thinking that I won’t have to.

Here’s to facing the holidays with a ‘clear’ outlook on skin… and life.