Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ann Taylor Store Opening Event: South Coast Plaza

While I was visiting California, Kelly of Alterations Needed kindly invited me and a few friends to the new store opening event for Ann Taylor at South Coast Plaza. If you didn't already know, Ann Taylor has been a huge fan favorite of fashionable petites especially after their brand facelift a couple years ago. The brand has found itself a nice little niche in my daily "I'm a classy lady" wardrobe so I was very excited to see what was in store.

I had never been to a store opening event before so I didn't know what to expect but the outdoor venue at Noguchi Garden was festive, cute, and filled with handsome waiters and fabulously dressed women.

There were a few tables decorated with items from the Summer 2011 collection. Plenty of eye candy.

 There were also several lovely headless mannequins dressed in Ann Taylor's latest frocks and accessories.

One of the first ladies I spotted when I arrived was the always put-together petite, Kelly! Probably one of the most exciting things to find out is that we are height twins. Also, we both wore seersucker, blazers, hemlines at the EXACT SAME LENGTH (you know it's right when it's done twice) and even similar almond-toe heels. Love this girl! (P.S. If you are petite check out her blog Alterations Needed. It was the first personal style petite blog I ever followed years ago!)

Long-limbed cactus. We don't have cacti like this in the midwest but I saw TONS in Cali. You guys are sitting on a desert, masked by green things that pretend to be grass and foliage! So amusing! :D

Lots of ladies decked out in Ann Taylor gear as well. Gotta say, I think we may have been the youngest of the bunch there.

A few bridal and formal-wear mannequins.

A little wind-blown!

A sel-ca shot of me and my lovely photographer and dear friend Kassia

 Oh, and look who we found! It's the sexy-classy Wendy of Wendy's Lookbook! Love her color-blocking.

Seriously, I think this is my favorite shot from the entire event. It just makes me so happy for some reason! 3 dainty, almond-toe heels. ^__^ Wendy, I think I need a pair of purple suede heels right now!

I also spotted this incredible purple Hermes Birkin bag on one of the very stylish ladies in the crowd. My jaw went like this D: Ugh the color is so gorgeous! Droooooool!

The event was co-sponsored by C Magazine which had Zoe Saldana gracing the cover and looking perfect as usual.

Even our champagnes flutes with floating raspberries were feeling photogenic.

All the ladies together! Kelly, Wendy, my sister, and me!

Some yum yummies carried by the male model waiters. Seriously, who hired these guys? They were all gorgeous.

Our goody bags from the event! I love the illustration on this tote. Very chic!

One of the pieces inside was this ornate lace-inspired cuff which was thankfully adjustable and fit all of us. So pretty! I've already worn it a few times and it fits well with my girly x edgy wardrobe!

Reviewing some video with the girls. So much fun! And for the record, my white dress is from Ann Taylor. ;)

If you missed watching a snippet of this on my Cali Vlog, you can see it here and skip to 4:02 for the Ann Taylor event. :)

I hope you enjoyed another installment of my Cali recap! I still have many more to share so stay tuned and I'll talk to you soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Haircare Routine!

Some of the most frequently asked questions I receive have been about my hair; everything from the cut, color, and texture, to most of all my routine for taking care of it. Previously I did a post on my ombre dyed hair color here but I haven't really gone into depth about my hair in general before.

I've said this many times before, but I'm relatively low-maintenance with my hair with just a couple extra things I use to really boost the softness of the texture so if you want to hear about my whole routine you can watch below. :)

Products mentioned:
L'Oreal EverStrong Bodify Shampoo
Shiseido Tsubaki Damage Care Conditioner
Kao Essential Damage Care Rich Premier Shampoo & Conditioner (also here)
Kao Essential Damage Care Rich Premium Treatment (also here)
Excelsior Millenia Mud Reconstructor
Biosilk Silk Therapy

As I said in my video, I am not brand loyal to shampoos and conditioners. I have tried most drugstore lines and generally don't find a huge difference in the health of my hair between shampoos.

What I do see a difference in is when I use an Asian conditioner versus drugstore conditioners from the US. I just find that even with drugstore-level conditioners from Asia, the product is richer and makes my hair noticeably softer. They also smell better, like floral candy, but I know that's up to personal taste. ;)

My hair is pretty typical among Asians in that it is made up of thick individual strands of hair and I tend to have quite a lot of it. Of course there are always variations of hair types among groups of people, but I just know most of my relatives and friends who are Asian have this type of hair compared to, for instance, my Caucasian friends who have fine or thin hair.

Because of my hair type, I like to use extra nourishing conditioners and treatments from my ears down to soften any coarseness the thickness of my hair might cause. Also, I prefer seeing an Asian hairstylist because they are more used to putting even layers in thick hair. If you think about cutting noodles, thicker linguine noodles will leave a bigger gap of space than if you cut and ate a thin spaghetti noodle. In the same way, thin-stranded hair is more forgiving when cutting layers

Some basic tips for haircare:

1. Shampoo all over, but condition only from ears down to prevent a greasy scalp
2. Concentrate conditioners at the ends and use a shower cap for deep-conditioning
3. Avoid letting conditioner lay on your skin since it could potentially cause acne (I tilt my head to the side)
4. Avoid or limit heat-styling for healthier hair
5. Before heat styling use a thermal protection spray

I also wanted to mention something that a few people may find funny. In Korea they say that if you are horny or think about sex often, your hair grows faster. I can assure you that, along with wet hair causing blindness, death, a shorter life, and several other tragedies mentioned in the Youtube video comments, this is also a superstition.

My best advice for growing hair out is simply not to cut it or trim off just the split ends! Other than eating a healthy diet and possibly vitamin supplements (I've heard prenatal vitamins work wonders on hair and nails) there's not a whole lot you can do to improve hair growth other than to wait. :)

I hope you enjoyed watching and, whether you are a haircare expert or a novice, you might find some of my personal hair experiences enlightening. If you have any hair questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer! Also, if you have any interesting hair-related superstitions feel free to share them as well! It's always fun to read about what others grew up hearing and if they are founded in any truth or not. ^_~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Haul: CVS and Walgreens Drugstore Makeup

Hello from Minneapolis! I've been spending the last couple days hanging out with my dear friend Eki here in her city just to get away from things for a bit. We've been having several conversations that are getting my creative juices flowing and of course also eating a lot of delicious food!

Since I have a little break before we head out to the zoo today to see the Japanese paper lantern festival, I wanted to do a blog update of my recent drugstore haul to CVS and Walgreens. :)

Products mentioned:
Covergirl Natureluxe Foundation in 325 Sandstone
Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Face Powder in Beige
Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer in Cream
L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base
L'Oreal HIP Eyeshadow Duo in 510 Electrified
Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara (regular Lash Blast here)
Milani Liquif'eye pencil in Black
Wet & Wild Mega Eyes Cream Eyeliner in Black
CVS triple sharpener (similar here and here)
Sour gummy worms :3
Wet & Wild Comfort Zone palette
Wet & Wild Color Icon blush in Pearlescent Pink

One of the items that I got that I've been sooooo lemming for for a while now is Wet & Wild's Comfort Zone 8 pan palette. The 8-pans can only be found at Walgreens and Walmart as far as I know but I seriously think it's worth the trip to pick this baby up. At $4.99 it has a lot of bang for the buck.

Here are my swatches. I will say that the texture is super buttery but also very prone to fallout since the shadows are so soft. In fact, I already dropped mine once and the pale taupe shade broke (cry) so I will have to see if I can press it back together. Overall, the colors are very vibrant and the pigmentation is impressive for a drugstore product.

Just because I'm obsessed with this shade, here's a closeup of my favorite color which you may recognize from my Wet & Wild Night Elf Palette look. It's a reddish brown with a strong green flash similar to Mac Club or Rock & Republic Lawsuit.

Next are swatches of the L'Oreal HIP Eyeshadow duo in 510 Electrified which has a gorgeous pale metallic taupe and a lovely deep purple to contrast it. The quality on these is excellent, which is saying something because I've tried other shades in the HIP line that I was less than impressed with.

In order, here is the Milani Liquif'eye Pencil in Black, Wet & Wild cream eyeliner, and Maybelline Mineral Power Concealer in Cream. This concealer is way too light for me, although it was the darkest shade available at my CVS.

Finally, here is the Wet & Wild blush in Pearlescent Pink and Covergirl Natureluxe Foundation in 325 Sandstone. It looks light here on my hand but it actually matches my face fine.

I don't want to go too far into detail with everything since I will be giving my full thoughts when I have my monthly Hits & Misses at the end of the month, but as far as first impressions go I was pretty happy with most of the items I bought. Hopefully I will still feel that way after using them for a while! ;)

I hope seeing actual swatches of the items were helpful if you were thinking about picking these up. Let me know in the comments if any of you have tried anything I bought and your opinion on it since, good or bad, it's always helpful to get more insight from the community. ^_~

Now I'm gonna go get ready to see some elephants, monkeys and beautiful paper lanterns! :D Yeah!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Visit to the NYX Headquarters!

One of the most thrilling things I had the opportunity to do while visiting California in June was to drop by the NYX Cosmetics headquarters. As many of you probably know, I am an old-school, die hard fan of NYX makeup and it was the first brand that I actually collected. It seems crazy to think about but in a way, NYX ignited my fire for makeup in the early days of my beauty blogging!

In other words, seeing this sign at the top of the building was a bit surreal!

I apologize ahead of time for the insane number of pics but seriously, Kassia is a wonder photographer and there was too much eye candy to share. ^_~

Here's just inside the front doors. The lights above were pretty!

Here I am sitting on the red "interview" couch with Evegail for my interview for NYX's Youtube channel.

A close-up of the wall behind us. Just looking at this makes me smile. :)

Greeting the new NYX Slide-On pencils for the first time. Oh goodness yes! I brought them all home with me and I will do swatches and yes, I love them. ;)

Finally after waiting for some important business people to do actual business in the showroom we got to take our peek in...

Aaaaand WABAM, makeup for miles! Is your jaw dropping yet? This was only one half of the room!

My sister and I were getting our swatch on while Evegail dutifully wrote down things that we wanted to try. (Such patience. I don't even know how many crazy girls she's had to shuffle through here while we all go giddy over gobs of makeup.)

Swatching my FAVORITE Black Label lipsticks. :D

Here I was trying out a Grinding Blush which was so nicely milled and shimmery.

I definitely picked out a few new things that I had never thought to try before, like their HD primer which is what I was looking at here.

I am in love with this glitter palette. I actually didn't have any of NYX's infamous glitters and I was kicking myself for never playing with them before. This palette has so many colors and makes messy glitter SO EASY to use. I can't wait to bust this baby out for a sparkly tutorial. :D

Look. At. How. Happy. How happy? Stupid happy. ^_______^

This is me trying to convince Evegail to let me move in permanently. Pleeeeease?

Okay, so maybe I didn't convince her but she was still sweet enough to pose with me. We kind of match! Curled hair, striped dress, and blazers. Yesssss!

Before we left we also met Tony Ko, the founder of NYX Cosmetics! Isn't she drop dead gorgeous?

Sadly, I had to finally gather my things to leave but not without a ton of incredible memories and a few quick heart palpitations to send me on my way.

Final pic outside the front doors. I'll miss you NYX Los Angeles!

Thank you soooooooo much to Evegail and everyone at NYX for being incredibly sweet and accommodating during my visit to NYX. I am such a super-fan of the brand and it was just a dream come true to basically get to see everything, and I mean everything in the entire NYX lineup. The only thing I would change is that next time I sincerely promise to meet Sir Bruce Barkalot in person. ;)

What a photogenic cutie!

I hope you enjoyed traveling along with me to NYX's headquarters. It's so fun to relive the memories through vlogs and photos so I hope that comes across to you too. :) If you thought the photos were amazing, please let Kassia know in the comments below and follow her blog as well!

More Cali blog posts to come...

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