Friday, September 10, 2010

WANTED: Elin Nordegren's Black Buckle Boots

Found 'em... finally!

I first spotted Elin Nordegren (ex- Mrs. Tiger Woods) rocking these chic boots back in December 2009.  Apparently, they were the hit of Fall/Winter 2009... okay, so I'm a tad late on this trend. :-)

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

 Now, I can have my very own pair of Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots!
These are exactly like Elin's but no longer available at

However, Zappos does carry the boots in different colors and materials.
I'd go with the natural colored suede... it goes with almost everything!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Makeup Routine - Updated 8/6/2010!

Summer has arrived in full force!  In June, the Twin Cities had rain, rain and more rain.  So far in July, it's been all about the humidity. 

Change in weather also means a change in your daily makeup routine.  Summer makeup routines usually entail fewer products and lighter coverage, especially when you're dealing with the heat and humidity.

Here are the products I use for an everyday summer look...

FACE (in no particular order):
1 - MAC Studio Finish Concealer (NC35)
This concealer is used year-round to cover blemishes, scars, etc.

2 - Stila Convertible Color (Peony)
3 - NARS Blush (Torrid)
Both are used for the cheeks but not together.  I switch between the two blushers.  Torrid looks nice on tan skin!

4 - MAC Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder
The only powder I've used so far this summer.  Sets the makeup!

5 - Revlon Colorstay Active Light Makeup SPF 25 (07-Golden Beige)
Like a tinted moisturizer but offers a little more coverage.  I randomly picked this up at a CVS beauty sale for 75% off in January and it sat unused in my makeup drawer for 5 months!  I've been using it everyday since I rediscovered it last month.  (I think this color has been discontinued.)

6 - MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer (NW30)
Primarily used to conceal any darkness under the eyes.

7 - Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector
Picked up from the Cosmetics Company Store, I apply this to areas where pores are large and overexposed to minimize the look of the pores.  Definitely a primer for the pores!

EYES (in no particular order):
1 - Maybelline Great Lash Mascara (Clear)
2 - Clinique Brow Shaper (Shaping Taupe)
3 - Maybelline Define-A-Brow Pencil (Dark Brown)
If I must leave the house with one thing done, it'll be the brows!  Line with pencil, fill and set with powder, brush with mascara to tame brows.  Product I want to try:  MUFE Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector!

4 - Stila Smudge Pot (Black)
Always line the top lid and tightline with black gel or cream liner.  I also use MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack and Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Gel Liner.

5 - Revlon 12-Hour Colorstay Eyeshadow Quad (Coffee Bean)
7 - MAC eyeshadow (Satin Taupe)
A neutral color kind of gal, I use a combination of these colors to enhance the eyes.

6 - Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner (Black)
Purchased as a set with the Coffee Bean Quad, this is used to line the waterline for a more dramatic day-to-night look.

8 - Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Eyeshadow primer... what would we do without it?!  Primer is placed on the lower lashline and lid up into the brows (the brow pencil/powder stays put).

OMG... I almost forgot the lashes!

Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof (Black)
Recently rediscovered!  Another favorite is Clinique's Lash Power Mascara.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

And finally, the lips... I usually keep them bare except for lip balm.  Nivea, EOS, Carmax, MAC Tendertone... whatever is within arm's reach.

When I remember to do so, I'll throw on whatever gloss is available... whether it's Zoya Hot Lips, Milani Crystal Gloss or MAC Cremesheen Glass.

Does your makeup routine change with the seasons?  What is your summer makeup routine?

UPDATE:  My skin does not like the Revlon Colorstay Active Light Makeup!  I broke out along the sides of my face... ugh!  I've since replaced the Revlon with the L'Oreal True Match Foundation -- my HG foundation when I was in my early 20s.  So far, so good!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Helena's High School Prom

Oh, how time flies!  My beautiful niece, Helena, attended her senior prom last week and then she graduates from high school in less than 3 weeks!  I can't believe how grown up she is now... 18 years old and ready to take on the world (well, not really)! :)

As her only style savvy Aunt (J/K! LOL), I helped Helena get ready for the big event.  It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day (after several gloomy, rainy days) and the perfect night to PAR-TAY!

Helena and her prom date, Hnia.

Dress:  Tadashi (see Twitpic!)
Earrings:  Martin & Osa
Cocktail Ring:  ??? (Express or Banana Republic)
Shoes:  Nordstrom Rack

3-piece Suit:  Men's Warehouse

L'Oreal True Match Foundation ~W4 (just a tad bit to even out skintone ~ she already has great skin!)
VS Pro Camouflage FX Concealer Palette
Cargo Blu-Ray Pressed Powder ~ Med/Dark
MAC Mineralize Blush Duo ~ Light Over Dark
Rimmel Lasting Finish Mult-Tonal Blush ~ Pink Sorbet

Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil ~ Zero
NYX Smokey Eyes Palette
Coastal Scents 88 Warm Palette
MAC Fluidline ~ Blacktrack
Lancome High Definicils
MAC #7 Lashes

NYX Slim Lip Pencil ~ Natural
MAC Lipglass ~ Bada Boom

I only had 15 minutes to do Helena's hair... I'm no hair stylist, but I think I did an alright job. :)

She wanted a soft, romantic, undone updo.  We randomly sectioned her hair, twisted them back and pinned the ends underneath. 

I used lots of bobby pins (regular and mini sizes) and set it with Tresemme 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray.

(Picture of Helena's hair toward the end of the night.)

Helena said she had a great time (although they missed dinner and swung by Burger King instead) and received lots of compliments on her hair, makeup and dress (thanks to her Auntie! LOL).  I can't wait to do it again... 5 more nieces to go but I'll have to wait 6 years until the next prom!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tarte Cosmetics from Ideeli

A few weeks ago, Tarte was on sale at ideeli, a sample sale site.  With an in-store credit to spend, I decided to order a few items since they were great deals.  The order was placed on April 24th and I received the final package on May 13th (two sets were shipped separately).

Tarte Vitamin-Infused Lipgloss
, regular retail price: $21 each
Liquid Sunshine (nude) and R&R (plum) were sold as a set on ideeli for $14.  For reviews of the lipgloss, check out Sephora.

Tarte hEYE Impact Waterproof Creaseless Shadow/Liner Duos, regular retail price: $36 set
Also sold as a set in Bronze and Plum, these duos were $19.  I swatched these babies at work and I couldn't rub them off (even with a wet tissue)!  For half the day, I was stuck with makeup swatches on my hand.  I would say they are definitely smudge-proof.

Here's a swatch in natural light...

Bronze (top)

Plum (bottom)

Total regular retail price: $78

Total purchase price (including $10 shipping): $43

Total savings = $35!

Sample sale sites are great ways to shop luxury brands at a discount!  Sites that I've also purchased beauty products from include Gilt Groupe (another Tarte sale!) and HauteLook (scored an Emjoi Soft Caress Epilator for $47).  There are a ton of sample sale sites out there now.  Follow them daily as sales change every 24-48 hours.  Good luck!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oh, how I love Ulta!

I made several stops into Ulta over the past week to check out some goodies.  Armed with coupons and their weekly circular, I think I experienced some savings success (although I'm not quite as good as Nouveau Cheap or Er1ca).

Beauty trip #1:

Here's a breakdown of the goods...

NYX Eyeshadow Palette, regular retail price: $9.99
NYX palettes were on sale for $7.49.  I picked up the Smokey Eyes palette during this trip.

L'Oreal True Match Foundation, regular retail price: $8.99
L'Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base, regular retail price: $12.99
L'Oreal True Match Foundation and Studio Secrets Primer were on sale for 2 for $16.  I picked up the foundation in W4 and the Primer only comes in one color -- pink, which applies transparent.  I had a $2 coupon for each product (total $4), so I picked up both products for $12.

Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Hydrating Lip Care SPF 4, regular retail price: $2.99
Nivea lip balms were on sale for $2.54 each.  I clipped a coupon from All You magazine for buy one, get one free... that's $2.54 for two Nivea lip balms!

Total regular retail price: $37.95

With a $5 coupon from Instyle magazine, total purchase price including sales tax was $18.24.

Total savings = $19.71!

Beauty trip #2:

After watching Fafinettex3's video, I went back to Ulta for NYX's Jazz Night palette -- sale price $7.49 (reg. $9.99). 

I also picked up three jumbo eyeshadow pencils -- Cottage Cheese, Pots & Pans and Slate ($4.19 each).

Regular retail total for these four products -- $22.56.  I paid (including sales tax) $12.51Savings = $10.05

There was an Ulta Reward Certificate/coupon attached to the mailer that I had received -- either Level 1 reward or $3.50 off $10+ purchase.  NYX was on sale for buy 2, get 1 free (excluding the palettes).  Redeeming the reward during the NYX promo, I ended up getting three jumbo eyeshadow pencils for the price of one! 

Beauty trip #3:
I purchased nothing during this stop into Ulta, which was the 3rd trip in one week.  My mother and sister wanted to pick up a few things, so I just tagged along -- for moral support. :)

Now, I am officially banned from buying makeup until I have completed "Project 10 Pan" (finish 10 products before purchasing new products).  I've already failed miserably at this Project as I first started it on April 4, 2010.  It is now May 5, 2010. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Savings at Ulta

The other day I tweeted about major savings at Ulta.  It was a small haulage, but I saved buku bucks with a combo of current promotions and coupons.  This whole coupon clipping and shopping smart thing is really starting to pay off! LOL

Here's the breakdown of the products...

Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara, regular retail price: $4.99
All Maybelline cosmetics were on sale for 40% off.  The Clear Mascara (aka brow gel) was only $2.99

Revlon Colorburst Lipstick, regular retail price: $8.99
All Revlon cosmetics were also on sale for 40% off.  With a $3 coupon from a magazine, I picked up the new lipstick in Blush for only $2.39.  What a pretty color!

N.Y.C. Matte Bronzer, regular retail price: $2.99
Several N.Y.C. products were on sale and I picked up Sunny (the last one in stock!) for $2.39.  Numerous beauty gurus (including KJ Bennett) have raved about this bronzer, so hopefully it lives up to the hype.

Curel Continuous Comfort Body Lotion (13 fl oz), regular retail price: $6.99 each bottle
All Curel products were buy one, get one 50% off plus each bottle had an attached $1 coupon!  I ended up paying only $8.50 for both bottles (that's $4.24 each!).
Total original retail price: $30.95

With a $3.50 off $10 Ulta coupon (clipped from their weekly circular), the total purchase price including tax was $13.66!   

Total savings = $17.26!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sephora Spring Madness Sale

In case you didn't get the memo, Sephora is having a sale.

Online:  Use code MADNESS.
In-store:  Print this coupon.

Happy savings!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Successful Visit to The Cosmetics Company Store

A few weekends back, my sister and I made a visit to the local outlet mall (one-hour drive door-to-door!) with one goal in mind --
The Cosmetics Company Store (a.k.a. CCO)!

The CCO houses over-runs, discontinued or slightly damaged goods from the Estee Lauder family brands (Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins).  Products are marked down 20%-80% from retail.  It's paradise for a beauty junkie such as myself!

Our local CCO's shelves were fully stocked!  With so many products to choose from, I tried to be a smart shopper... it was a total FAIL!

Here are the products I ended up with during this trip...

Org. retail price: $22Savings = $7.25!
A permanent product of MAC's Prep+Prime line, this powder can also be found at
For a review, check out Musings of a Muse.

MAC Cremesheen Glass (top: Boy Bait; bottom: Partial to Pink) - $12.75 per lipgloss
Org. retail price: $18Savings = $10.50 total!
Also part of the permanent MAC line, check out KarlaSugar for watches.

MAC Cream Colour Base (left: Fresh Morning; right: Crushed Bougainvillea) - $11.75 per CCB
Org. retail price: $16.50Savings = $9.50 total!
Limited edition colors with the Emanuel Ungaro collection (Fall 2008). 
For a quick review of the whole collection, head over to Makeup and Beauty Blog.

And last but not least...

Org. retail price: $17.50Savings = $3.50!
Not great savings, but I was running low on eye makeup remover.  Lancome Bi-facil is my holy grail of eye makeup removers 
but it's $26 for the same size product!

Please note:  Savings calculation didn't include sales tax, which is 7.125% in that part of town.

Check out your nearest CCO for even greater deals!  Inventory is varies from store to store, but if you're looking for limited edition products or discontinued products (Prescriptives!), it's definitely worth a visit.

On another note...

I stopped into my local Ulta in search of the infamous Ecotools Bamboo Bronzer Brush.  They were completely sold out and have been for several weeks!  I wasn't going to leave empty-handed -- especially since I had a $5 coupon to use (check your InStyle magazine!).  So, I ended up with these...

Maybelline Define-A-Brow (Dark Brown)
Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quads (Natural and Charcoal)!

Buy 2, get 1 free promotion + $5 coupon = $7.80.  That's $2.60 each!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Benefit Cosmetics Deals

Feeling the Benefit Cosmetics itch as I have been?! 
Last week, I stumbled upon some great steals & deals at

Girls' Night In!!! - $33.60
Org. retail price: $48.  Savings = $14.40!
Three full-size products plus a brush, collectible magnets and a cute bag to throw everything into!  Total value $82!!

Full-Finish Lipstick in La La Land - $9
Org. retail price: $18.  Savings = $9!
Still available at Sephora for the original retail price.

 High Beam - FREE!!
Orig. retail price: $24.  Savings = $24!!
I received High Beam for free using a discount code I found on RetailMeNot.

On another note, I went shopping with my mother at a local designer outlet store, and I found a pair of navy blue Hunter rubber boots for only $37.50

However, I passed on the offer.  Reflecting back, I probably should have purchased the boots, which are originally $115.  Darn!

Photo Credits:  Benefit Cosmetics, Zappos

Sunday, March 14, 2010

TAGGED with 40 Beauty Questions!!

After reading the tag on the blogs of PicturesqueMakeup and Lollipop26, I thought I'd get into the "tag" action as well.  You may know me a whole lot better by Question # 40!


-How many times do you wash your face daily?
Twice... sometimes three -- once in the morning, once in the evening and in between with a makeup remover wipe.

-What skin type do you have? (dry,oily,combo)

-What is your current facial wash?
Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel... and Proactiv when I'm out of Dermalogica.

-Do you exfoliate?
Yes, several times a week with Dermalogica Microfoliant.  I also use the Clarisonic to cleanse my face every other day. 

-What brand do you use?
Dermalogica, Clinique, Aveeno, Proactiv... a little of everything!

-What moisturizer do you use?
Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer

-Do you have freckles?

-Do you use eye cream?
Yes, Clinique All About Eyes and Dermalogica Total Eye Care.

-Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
Ugh, yes.  It was worse when I was a teenager.

-Did you ever have to use Pro-activ?
Yes, in rotation.


-What foundation do you use?
Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Matifying, Revlon Colorstay (Combo/Oily), Revlon Colorstay Mineral Mousse

-How about concealer?
MAC Studio Finish (NC35)... for undereye circles I've been rotating -- MAC Select Moisturecover (NW30), It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye (Tan), Eve Pearl Dual Salmon Concealer (Med/Tan)

-Do you know your undertone color?
Yellow... although someone else may say Neutral.

-What do you think of fake eyelashes?
I love them but they are a hassle... always feels heavy on my eyes.

-Did you know that you are supposed to change your mascara every 3 months?
Yes, I was anal about keeping track of my makeup collection... even went as far as creating a spreadsheet!

-What brand of mascara do you use?
Clinique Lash Power, Urban Decay Skyscraper Multi-Benefit

-Sephora or MAC?
Sephora... and TJ Maxx! LOL

-Do you have a MAC Pro-card?
No, I'm not so much a MAC-phene... however, it's become quite the hobby!

-What makeup tools do you use in make up application?
Brushes, cotton swabs, fingers!

-Do you use make-up base/primer for the eyes?
Yes, rotating between Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin.

-For the face?
Clinique Pore Minimizer in certain areas.

-What is your favorite eyeshadow (color or shade)?
MAC Satin Taupe

-Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner?
Pencil but preferably gel.

-How often do you poke your eyes with an eyeliner pencil?
Whenever I'm not careful... it's not a good thing.  Everyone should be careful when working around the eyes!

-What do you think of pigment eyeshadows?
I have numerous pigments/loose mineral eyeshadows and I haven't touched them in months.  Messy and a little expensive (Naked Cosmetics -- I'm talking about you!).

-Do you use mineral makeup?
Does the Revlon Colorstay Mineral Mousse Foundation count?  Liquid form.  Otherwise, none.

-What is your favorite lipstick?
I don't wear alot of lipstick because my lips are a little more pigmented than the average.  However, I do have plenty o' lip balm... Carmex (in a tube) and MAC Tendertones are my favorites!

-How about lipgloss?
I don't do a lot of lipgloss either!  When I do, it's NARS Chihuahua.

-What is your favorite blush to use?
NARS Lovejoy and NARS Deep Throat.

-Do you buy your makeup on ebay?
Yes, when I can score a good deal (Lancome Bi-Facil).

-Do you like drugstore makeup?
Love, love, love!  So convenient and so affordable!  CVS is the place to shop!

-Do you go to CCO's? (cosmetic company outlets)
Yes, I can kill two birds with one stone with the 45-60 min drive -- the CCO and my gal pal, Mrs. G. Fitch, are within a mile of each other!

-Did you ever consider taking make-up classes?
Yes, Faces Etc. in Mpls.

-Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
I've probably looked a bit clownish at times, but no one's ever said anything! LOL

-Name a makeup crime that you hate.
Super line-thin eyebrows.

-Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick,eyeshadow) or neutral ones?
I'm a neutral girl... may I be a little afraid of color?  Maybe...

-Which celebrity always has great make up?
Jessica Alba (thanks to Lauren Andersen!) and Kim Kardashian (thanks to Mario Dedivanovic!)

-If you could leave the house using just ONE make up item,what would you use?
Brow pencil/powder... I overplucked as an uneducated teenager so now I'm paying for it as an adult.

-Could you ever leave the house without any makeup on?
Sure... in the event of an emergency such as a house fire! LOL

-Do you think you look good even without any makeup on?
No, period. LOL

-In your opinion, what is the BEST makeup line?
Premium: Make Up For Ever
Drugstore: Revlon

-What do you think of Makeup?
Oh, the wonders of makeup... it's an art... can really transform a person from natural and light to vampy and dark.  It's called L O V E!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beauty Bargains @ TJ Maxx

Hi, everyone.  My name is Mao and I am a Maxxinista. :)

I love TJ Maxx!  Who doesn't love great deals on clothing, shoes, home decor and so much more?!  TJ Maxx has become go-to place for high-end beauty bargains.  Because the inventory is constantly changing, I stop into my favorite location at least once a week (only 10 minutes from the office!).  Over the past few months, I've scored some pretty sweet deals...

Clarins Summer Fever Sun Palette (Spring/Summer 2008) with SPF 20 - $12.99  (Love the sunflower!)
Original retail price: $35Savings = $22!

NARS Deep Throat blush/Striptease lip gloss Set - $24.99
Original retail price of NARS blush: $26.  Original retail price of NARS lip gloss: $24Savings = $25 or one free lip gloss!
For a quick review on this set, check out this post by Makeup by Ren Ren.

Original retail price: $15.  Savings = $9! 

Clinique Brighter, Smoother Skin Set (left) - $29.99
Includes full-size bottle of Turnaround Concentrate Visible Skin Renewer (reg. $39.50), trial size of discontinued Turnaround 15-Minute Facial and a trial size of All About Eyes RichSavings = $10+!

Clinique Eye Refresher Set (right) - $19.99
Includes full-size jar of All About Eyes (reg. $28.50), travel size of Take the Day Off Makeup Remover (reg. $8.50) and a trial size of High Impact MascaraSavings = $17+!

Back in September, I also picked up three sets of the Korres Body Butter Trio for $6.99 each (reg. $24.50)!  Savings = $17.50 each for a total of $52.50!

I encourage everyone to hit up their local TJ Maxx in search of similar deals.  Inventory does vary from store to store.  Happy bargain hunting!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jessica Alba's beloved black boots!

I came across photos of Jessica Alba in these black harness boots several weeks ago.
Since then, I've been trying to figure out...
who, what, where and exactly how much?!?

Photo credit:  Buzz Foto

Well, folks... S U C C E S S... I've found them!

The only problem is...
the boots will set one recessionista (ME!) back over one thousand buckaroos...
as they are made with love by Prada.

With an original retail value of a whopping $1,350... Prada's black calfskin harness strap rubber lug boots can still be found at Bluefly for $1,080!!

Only a few sizes remain... none of which are mine.

Photo credit:  Bluefly

The boots may look so plain, but on Alba -- they look so plainly gorgeous!

Photo credit:  Splash Online

Photo credit:  Just Jared

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake near Haiti

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those are affected by the recent earthquake near Haiti.

Please text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross. The donation will appear on your next mobile bill and 100% of the donation will go towards American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.

For more info, please visit the American Red Cross.