Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Cover Girl Lash Blast Luxe Mascara

I'm officially obsessed with finding the best drugstore mascara.

After my unfortunate failure with Maybelline One by One Volum' Express, I asked my followers on Twitter about their favorite mascaras...Cover Girl's infamous Lash Blast won by a landslide!  I really needed to toss out my Maybelline mascara because I was sick of having to hold my breath every single time I applied it (yes, it reeks THAT bad), so I picked up these two Cover Girl Lash Blast Luxe mascaras (available in four shades) in Black Royale and Black Cabernet during a BOGO 1/2 off sale at Walgreens.  Apparently the four shades are supposed to compliment your eye color, but I just chose whichever colors tickled my fancy.

From the start, I was very impressed by the brush.  I've never used a mascara with a brush head like this, and I could already tell by the densely packed bristles that this mascara would grab every single lash.

Application of the mascara was very smooth and easy, but one of my biggest gripes would be the humongous packaging!  Is this really necessary?  I'd like to start carrying around mascara in my makeup bag for my purse, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to find a smaller packaged mascara to fit with all my necessities...

If you can notice in my pictures, the mascara also has a hint of shimmer to enhance your peepers...I don't think it makes much of a difference, but it's an interesting touch.  As for the product's claims of "mega volume", I would vouch for some volume after adding a couple more coats than usual.

If you're looking for an excellent drugstore mascara that gives great definition, length, and some volume with a little extra work, definitely give Lash Blast Luxe a try!

And it doesn't smell either =]

Naked lashes...I actually went to work without mascara today
After two coats of Lash Blast Luxe mascara in Black Cabernet
(please excuse my unruly eyebrows)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Daily Yummi: Sunday Brunch at m.henry

5707 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60660
Neighborhoods: Edgewater, Andersonville

Lobster & Shrimp Eggs Benedict with house potatoes...AMAZEBALLS!
Out of This World Breakfast Bread Pudding:
creamy vanilla & egg custard brioche bread pudding,
topped with warm peaches & blackberries
Mango & Sour Cherry French Toast
Fannie's Killer Fried Egg Sandwich:
toasted sour boule layered w/two over medium eggs,
applewood bacon, sliced plum tomatoes, gorgonzola,
& fresh thyme and served with house potatoes

Daily Yummi: The Cheesecake Factory

My all-time favorite dish from The Cheesecake Factory: Chicken Piccata
White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake - tastes every bit as good as it sounds!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Maybelline One By One Volum' Express Mascara

I'm definitely someone who would rather have defined lashes than clumpy lashes.  I was attracted to Maybelline One by One Volum' Express mascara because of its claim of "clump-free volume," but I'm sad to say, I'm slightly disappointed.

One of my favorite mascaras is Maybelline Full and Soft mascara, so I was hoping that this one would deliver on its promises.  When I first opened the actual mascara container, I noticed a distinct smell...YUCK!  I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but it's definitely not pleasing to my senses.  Honestly, I have to hold my breath every time I apply this mascara because I find the scent so repulsive.

At first glance, I already knew I liked the brush.  I could tell that it would produce defined, numerous lashes, but I wasn't too sure about volume...

It took three coats of this mascara to create the slightest increase in volume.  As of late, I haven't been wearing any eyeliner because I find it time consuming when I'm in a hurry, so I'm really looking for a mascara that will pump up my lashes without sacrificing definition.

However, I do find this mascara very useful in defining every single lash of my bottom lashes, and after curling my lashes, it did make my lashes appear longer.

Le search continues for the perfect clump-free volume mascara!

Nekkid lashes
Three coats of Maybelline One by One Volum' Express mascara

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daily Yummi: The Bongo Room

Thanks to my brother, I had my first taste of the creative brunch dishes at The Bongo Room at the age of's been a delicious love affair ever since.

BLT Benedict: two toasted English muffins topped with poached eggs,
applewood smoked bacon, baby spinach, tomato, & basil-pesto hollandaise sauce
served with hash browns
White Chocolate Pretzel words.
The Bongo Room has two locations: one in Wicker Park (the original) and one in the South Loop, so if you're ever in the area, definitely stop by!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daily Yummi: Chicken Empanadas and Cookies & Cream Kiss Cookies

My mommy's homemade chicken empanadas...
TO DIE FOR.  The flaky crust melts in your mouth!
Cookies & Cream Kiss Cookies
YUM =]

TREND: Spring Awakening - College Fashionista

During my recent trip to California, a student reporter from Ithaca College in New York for stopped me and my girlfriends at The Grove for an interview and impromptu photo shoot!

Check out the article, and don't mind my ugly feet...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

February Favorites

I want to thank all my blog readers (who are mostly my friends) for checking out my blog!  I've received some really good feedback, which only motivates me to keep this thing going and to blog more religiously.  I never thought that I would have over 500 page views...thank you!  I'll be doing a nice giveaway for my readers once I reach 1000 hits =]

I know it's already the second week of March, but I was on vacation in California last week (foodie pictures coming soon) so I didn't have a chance to blog about my February favorites.

During the month of February I decided to steer clear of all beauty counters so I could save my pennies for worked, because I didn't buy a single thing!  I'm still in love with my Urban Decay Naked Palette and my MAC Pro Longwear Foundation, so I haven't even felt the need to buy anything.  I am planning to do a little shopping later this week, so stay tuned...

Onto my February Favorites!

KORRES Shower Gel
My skin is very sensitive especially during the winter months, and I've found that most drugstore body cleansers are too harsh and drying for my skin.  When I do use a moisturizing, creamy body wash, I break out!  After my lack of successes, I started to realize that maybe I need something more natural and gentler for my skin.

In addition to the KORRES Lip Butter that I received as a freebie from RueLaLa, I also picked up this KORRES Shower Gel in Basil Lemon ($13-$19.50, available at Sephora & other online retailers).  I'm a huge fan of basil and lemon, so I knew I had made the right choice when I chose this scent.

As I mentioned in my review for the KORRES Lip Butter, all KORRES products are environmentally friendly and use active natural extracts for the best results.  I know the price may be a little steep for a shower gel, but believe me, it's worth it.  After my first use, I noticed that I no longer have those annoying, dry, itchy patches on the back of my arms, and my skin is still moisturized even without applying body lotion!  I never thought a GEL could be so moisturizing, but I'm sure the product's all-natural and gentle ingredients also play a major part in its effectiveness.  Most drugstore body washes contain a broad list of chemical ingredients that can irritate the skin, so I'd rather splurge on something that won't require me to purchase buckets of body lotions and creams.  I do still follow up with my Aveeno body lotion, and I'm left with the softest skin ever.

Sephora now offers the KORRES shower gels in value-sized pump bottles for $19.50, so I'm definitely picking one up when my smaller bottle runs out.


Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion
I know I've said a million times before how oily my skin gets, and I swear I'm not exaggerating.  But even though I have oily skin, it's still important to moisturize because lack of moisture only stimulates the skin to produce more natural oils.

I purchased Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion ($9 for the tube / $13 for the pump bottle, available at Target and other drugstores) on a whim because I threw out my tub of Cetaphil cream.  I hated the feeling of sticking my fingers into the jar every sanitary can that be?  I knew there had to be an alternative, and since my facial skin is acne-prone, I decided to stay with Cetaphil because all their products are fragrance free and non-comedogenic.

For someone with oily skin like mine, the words "ultra hydrating" and "for dry, sensitive skin" are enough to scare me away from a product.  However, I found that my previous experiences with facial moisturizers did not leave my skin hydrated, and the product felt like it was sitting on top of my skin and not sinking in.

I'm happy to say that this is my HG (holy grail) facial moisturizer!  It sinks right into my skin and doesn't leave my face feeling greasy and disgusting.  A little bit goes a LONG WAY, so I'm sure I won't have to repurchase for a while.  If I have any dry patches of irritation on my face, this clears it right up.  I even turned my brother and my sister Jillian onto it, and they both love it!


DUO Eyelash Adhesive
My very first blog post was about Model 21 Eyelashes, so you can tell that I'm a huge fan of falsies.  When I first started using false eyelashes from the drugstore, I would use those little tubes of glue that would come with the lashes...and it STINKS!  The Ardell lash glue seriously smells like fish - and believe me, I'm Filipino...I know how fish smells like.

I saw that many YouTube gurus used DUO Eyelash Adhesive ($6, available at most drugstores), so I threw out my fishy glue and headed to the drugstore.  I purchased the dark tone glue based on a recommendation from hollyannaeree.

Although the glue has a slight smell, it's definitely not as pungent as the Ardell lash glue.  I'm really glad I chose the dark tone glue because it dries to a dark finish instead of leaving any white glue residue on my eyes.  It doesn't dry out easily and my lashes stay put for hours on end.

It's very important to make sure you don't leave this glue in cold temperatures!  With my last bottle, the whole tip broke off and some of the glue hardened because I left my makeup bag in my car amidst Chicago's freezing temperatures =[ I can't live without it so I had to pick up another bottle.

That's it for my February favorites!  Hope you guys have a good hump day...I'm so ready for the weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Drugstore Makeup Brushes: EcoTools

Let's face it: I'm a post-undergrad student that owes a fortune in loans, so the last thing I should be spending my money on are expensive makeup brushes.  I would LOVE to own some makeup brushes by MAC someday, but I just don't have the heart to throw down that much money for a single brush...I could use that money to pay some of my bills!

My used and abused eyeliner brush,
blackened by years of MAC Fluidline
My search for inexpensive makeup brushes began my sophomore year of undergrad.  With the advice of one of my roomies/best friends, I went to Target and picked up a set of EcoTools makeup brushes.  I was impressed with the quality of the brushes; none of them shed or smelled funny.  But after some time, the packaging lost its appeal (the brush roll became dirty very easily) and I was no longer interested in most of the brushes.  I still use the eyeliner brush because it works very well with my MAC Blacktrack Fluidline, but the rest of the brushes are stored away with my unused beauty tools.

Fast forward two years...

I don't like using the little sponges and puffs that come in makeup compacts, so I was searching for a sleek, compact, INEXPENSIVE, and good-quality kabuki brush that I could tote around everywhere.  It was definitely love at first sight with the EcoTools Recycled Retractable Kabuki Brush ($7-10).

Like all EcoTools brushes, this brush is made from recycled and sustainable materials.  The retractable case is made from recycled aluminum and it looks great pulling out of your purse.  Not only does it look expensive, it FEELS expensive.

"You fancy, huh?"
A little beat up by my purse, but it's still a beaut!

The bristles of the brush are super soft and tightly packed to provide you with the best even coverage.  I use it for finishing my makeup in the morning and touching up my makeup during the day (I really need to buy one for my purse and one to keep at home).  I would definitely freak out and quickly buy another one if I ever lost it.  The brush washes wonderfully with no shedding, and it doesn't lose its shape either...I feel like it'll last forever!  I try to wash it as much as possible because it's definitely my most used brush.  I'd take this kabuki brush over any other expensive brand any day.

The next EcoTools brush in my beauty arsenal is the EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brush ($10).  All other drugstore blush brushes I've used in the past failed to impress me, so I was on the hunt for a great blush/bronzer brush.  I was originally planning to only purchase this brush after I read a stellar review for it, but I purchased the bronzer brush and the kabuki brush together because Ulta had a BOGO 1/2 OFF sale.  The review was true to its word, because this brush is amazing...special thanks to Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog!

Like the kabuki brush, the bristles are super soft and densely packed for maximum color pay-off.  I use this brush for my blushes, highlighters, and bronzers, and it evenly distributes the product with no blotchiness.  I don't find it great for contouring, so I usually just use it for all-over color.

EcoTools can be found at Ulta, Target, and many other drugstores, so pick up these brushes and save the world at the same time =]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

FREE Target Beauty Bag!

It's getting late, but I had to post this before I go to sleep!

Target is currently offering a FREE Beauty Bag filled with samples & up to $25 worth of savings =] I just registered for mine, so sign up quickly because limited quantities are available!

To get in on this deal, click here.

Review: Skin 79 Super+ Triple Function BB Cream (Hot Pink)

This review has been a long time coming...

For months, I debated whether or not I wanted to venture into the world of BB creams.  I have sensitive, acne-prone, very oily/combination skin and it's always a big risk for me to try new foundations, tinted moisturizers, etc.

When I first heard about BB creams, I was intrigued by their claims of wrinkle prevention, skin tone improvement, and sun protection.  BB creams are very popular in Asia for their skin whitening properties, but for a light-skinned individual like myself, I'm not too concerned with making my skin any whiter than it already is.

I've seen a couple reviews on YouTube and other beauty blogs, so I decided to try Skin 79 Super+ Triple Function BB Cream in Hot Pink ($29, available at and other online retailers).  This particular BB cream seems to be a favorite among the beauty community, so I thought, why not?

The consistency of this BB cream feels similar to that of a tinted moisturizer, but it definitely makes my skin less oily.  My previous experiences with tinted moisturizers had left my skin an oily mess and the product would quickly melt off my face.  I'm still searching for a good tinted moisturizer for oily skin, but this product could possibly be an alternative.

I think every skin product should have a pump like this!
This BB cream stays on my skin all day, although I do experience some breakthrough shine and oiliness.  However, it's nothing that can't be fixed with blotting sheets and MAC Blot Powder.  I apply it with my fingers after smoothing on my prescription acne medication.  At onset the BB cream appears to create a grayish cast to the skin, but after the product oxidizes it blends seamlessly.

One of the major cons of this product (and BB creams in general) is that it only comes in one shade.  Some BB creams are available in a variety of shades, but usually only three choices at the most.  As previously stated, BB creams are geared towards the Asian population, so I don't recommend BB creams for darker skin tones.

Size comparison with an OPI nail polish bottle
I absolutely love the packaging because it comes in a very hygienic pump, and I don't even need to use a full pump to cover my whole face.  Although there isn't a lock on the pump, it travels problem-free!  I recently traveled across the country with my BB cream and it didn't spill at all so I didn't lose any product.  Each bottle contains a whopping 40g of product, so I'm sure one bottle will last me a long time.

If you're interested in BB creams, check out these videos from missglamorazzi & frmheadtotoe.

Hope everyone is having a happy Sunday!  WE SWEPT THE HEAT! =]