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Monday
Sep302013

Four New Mascaras to Try

Whenever I see a new mascara I get unusually excited. Will it really put the va-va-voom on my short Asian lashes? I've been testing four mascaras and it's been fun exploring the new formulas that have launched recently. Here are my results with a few brands:

For a polished look, Dolce & Gabbana's new Passioneyes Duo Mascara is a great option. Two coats will give a gentle curl without the use of an eyelash curler, but I'd still use one if you want a tight curl. It also lengthens, defines and separates beautifully. The volume is decent but not enough for a nighttime look. The lashes will also maintain a soft, lightweight texture as it contains beeswax and tapioca polymers. I didn't get any clumping as the curved brush picked up the right amount of product. I tried it in Terra 2, a deep chocolate brown, an ideal shade if you don't want intense black lashes. It also washes off easily, which is a nice bonus.

The Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl is a new favorite. It gave more dramatic length and volume (about 20%) than most mascaras I've tried so far. It held a good curl for most of the day and the curved brush grabbed most of my lashes. There is a tiny bit of clumping if you go beyond two coats but I can live with that. It also washes off easily and you shouldn't get any raccoon eyes. I just love the false lash effect! The subtle 264 Over Blue shade is a fall exclusive at Nordstrom. 

Tarte's new Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara aims to lengthen, curl and volumize lashes by 752%. The dual-molded brush is supposed to pick up the tiny lashes but I had a tricky time using it. I applied 2 coats and found the lengthening and curling results to be about the same as their regular Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara — perhaps I needed another coat? I'll probably stick with Lights, Camera, Lashes. Overall a solid, reliable mascara, but not dramatic enough unless you use 3+ coats or a lash primer. Curious? Try their Strike A Pose Limited-Edition Statement Lash Set ($19) at Sephora. It includes a deluxe sample of the new mascara plus a gold Picture Perfect Eyelash Curler. 

The Clarins Be Long Mascara does a great job at lengthening and separating my lashes without the false lash look — see my full review here

 

 For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Thursday
Sep262013

Hong Kong Cinema October 4-6

The third annual Hong Kong Cinema will take place next weekend (October 4-6) at the Vogue Theatre. Presented by San Francisco Film Society, expect to see HK movie icons Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau, Carina Lau and Aaron Kwok in this year's lineup. 

Carina Lau in Flora Lau's "Bends." Credit: San Francisco Film Society

Flora Lau's directorial debut, Bends, will be the Opening Night film. Featured at Cannes' Un Certain Regard, the understated drama explores the personal crises of a chauffeur and his wealthy socialite boss. To avoid heavy fines for violating China's one-child policy, Fai (Chen Kun) navigates a precarious plan to arrange for his wife's delivery in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Anna (Carina Lau) is trying to repair her financial situation as she assess the disappearance of her husband and money. Both Lau and Chen turn out superb performances as Christopher Doyle's beautiful, languid cinematography reflects the protagonists' oppressing reality under HK's glittering surface. 

Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng in Johnnie To's "Blind Detective." Credit: San Francisco Film Society

Johnnie To's Blind Detective seems like a fun comedy-thriller for a date night. Fans of Chow Yun-Fat and Sammo Hung might want to check out The Last Tycoon

Hong Kong Cinema
October 4-6
Vogue Theatre
3290 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, California

For more info and to purchase tickets: www.sffs.org.

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Tuesday
Sep242013

Pink Martini Get Happy

Beloved "little orchestra" Pink Martini debuts Get Happy, their seventh studio album from Heinz Records. Like previous releases, it boasts a list of notable guest performers, including Phyllis Diller, The von Trapps and Rufus Wainwright.

Storm Large's versions of "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" and "Sway" are exceptionally lush and sexy. I could play these tracks all day long and never get bored. Legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller's rendition of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" is so precious it practically plucks at your heartstrings — I dare you not to get verklempt as you listen to this special recording. 

Each of the Pink Martini members are wildly talented, but the inclusion of Ms. Large is a sizzling revelation. Whether they're sung in Farsi, Romanian or Spanish, she does proper justice to each and every song. Her powerful vocals are infused with so much fire that she conjures up a blend of Carly Simon and Connie Francis.

Credit: Holly Andres

"Get Happy" is on sale now at pinkmartini.com

For editorial consideration, a review album was provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Friday
Sep202013

Clarins Be Long Mascara & 3-Dot Liner

Fortified with Be Long Lash Complex, the Clarins Be Long Mascara and 3-Dot Liner promise to boost lash growth with regular use. As a part of their fall 2013 Graphic Expression makeup collection, these two makeup staples are going to be your new best friend.

Set at a 7-degree angle, the Be Long Mascara features a turbine-shaped brush to facilitate an easier application. The brush didn't pick up too much product so the formula didn't clump one bit. I did 2-3 coats but the effect is still very natural-looking. Overall it does a great job of lengthening and separating as well as holding a curl. It shouldn't cause any raccoon eyes, but I don't recommend wearing it to the gym. You'll also need an oil-based makeup remover to get it off properly. The average user may see an increase of 1.1mm after 4 weeks of use.

Due to popular demand, the 3 Dot Liner is now back in stock. The three-prong tip applicator gives precise control as it fills in the tiny spaces between each lash, dot by dot. You can even use the outer tip edge to create a cat eye. It gives the lash line a fuller look without making it look too made up. Like the new mascara, this eyeliner contains their new Be Long Lash Complex to strengthen wimpy lashes. It won't budge throughout the day either. 

Available at www.clarinsusa.com

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Wednesday
Sep182013

Zoe's Chocolate Co.

Using a blend of Swiss chocolate and local ingredients, Zoë’s Chocolate Co. is run by third-generation chocolatiers. They do not use any preservatives or additives in their recipes.

I got to try a signature assortment of their chocolates recently and was quite pleased with the seasonal Apple Pie flavor. Filled with local apples, caramel and roasted pecans, it was almost like eating spiced apples and pancakes on a crisp autumn day. Other favorites included the Sesame Tahini Crunch, Caffe, and Fleur de Sel Liquid Caramel truffles. The Dionysus Baklava had great flavor but was a bit too sweet for me.

I also sampled their Espresso Bar. It was not as punchy as I would expect but if you like milder flavors you may enjoy it. I'm guessing the Hazelnut Bar or the Sports Bar would be more to my liking. 

To see more chocolate flavors or gift boxes, go to www.zoeschocolate.com

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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Monday
Sep162013

Vince Mixed Media Leather Trim Skirt

Mixed media pieces are totally in this fall and Vince has a few choices to consider. I'm particularly interested in their Mixed Media Leather Trim Skirt. It's got all the feminine elements of a tradtional pleated skirt, but the black lamb leather side panel gives it enough edge to make things interesting for the office and evening engagements. 

Alas, many sizes are sold out but Nordstrom should carry the same style in more sizing options. To see other mixed media pieces go to www.vince.com

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Thursday
Sep122013

Fresh Beauty Looks for Spring/Summer 2014

Many beauty looks from NYFW emphasized a natural, flawless complexion. Fresh-faced ingénues swept through the runways with soft whispers of blush. In many instances you might have seen a casual swipe of mascara and not much else for the eyes. If there was any color to be found, it was on the lips

If you're blessed with great skin the minimalist look is all you really need. Alexander Wang went one step further with their "raw beauty" style during their S/S 2014 presentation. NARS created a nearly-bare face with only moisturizer, concealer and brow gel. Lashes were given a curl, but there was no mascara at all. 

NARS for Alexander Wang S/S 2014.

Rebecca Minkoff S/S 2014 had warm hints of pale roses. Stila worked on this ethereal look with semi-flushed cheeks and a light pink lip. The brows were strongly shaped yet retained an effortless vibe. 

Stila for Rebecca Minkoff S/S 2014.

Sunday Riley had a polished, modern face for The Row's S/S 2014 show. Sunday Riley Blush in Blushing and Modern Lip Color in Bare Honey were used for the color palette. To brighten up the eyes in an easy way, swipe a light thin coat of The Influencer Mascara on lashes and brows. 

Sunday Riley for The Row S/S 2014.

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Wednesday
Sep112013

Hair Braids for Spring/Summer 2014

Braids were popping up at many New York Fashion Week shows. Rebecca Minkoff's S/S 2014 runway show had inspiration from Frida Kahlo's iconic hairstyle. To learn how to make the braid crown, see how-to photos here

Hairstyle from Rebecca Minkoff S/S 2014. (Credit: Stila)

Naeem Khan S/S 2014 also had a variation of the Frida braid trend.

Credit: Naeem Khan/NARS

Diesel Black Gold kept it simple with a classic French braid. Redken Creative Consultant Guido loosened the hair around the models' faces a tiny bit to keep it feminine and romantic. 

Credit: Diesel Black Gold/RedkenDiesel Black Gold S/S 2014. (Credit: Redken)

Paola Hernández had an edgy version — a "mohawk" braid with sleek, straight locks on each side of the face. 

Paola Hernandez S/S 2014. (Credit: Redken)Credit: Redken

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Sunday
Sep082013

Bold Lips for Spring 2014

Bold lips reigned at New York Fashion Week. Rag & Bone teamed up with Revlon to show off bright orange lips during their Spring/Summer 2014 show. 

Credit: Revlon for Rag & Bone Credit: Revlon/Rag & Bone

NARS presented dark cherry lips for the Helmut Lang S/S 2014 show. To replicate the color selection, use NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Golshan and/or Het Loo. 

Credit: NARS/Helmut LangHelmut Lang S/S 2014

Christian Siriano and Hourglass Cosmetics had a soft, diffused coral for their models. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Muse was used for the look.

Credit: Hourglass/Christian Siriano

A look from Christian Siriano S/S 2014.

Here's another example of the orange lipstick trend — NARS picked the vibrant red-orange for Creatures of the Wind's S/S 2014 collection. To replicate the satin textured ip color, use Heat Wave Semi Matte Lipstick or Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil with a bit of clear lip gloss. 

Credit: NARS/Creatures of the Wind

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Friday
Sep062013

NARS Transvaal and Mozambique Eye Paints

NARS just launched Eye Paints, a collection of long-wearing gel paints that you can use for highlighting, lining and layering. I imagine most gals would use these paints primarily as a bold eyeliner, but the color pigmentation is intense enough to double as a gorgeous cream eyeshadow.

You only need a couple of layers to get a luminous, smoky lid. Used as an eyeshadow, there is some fading after 6 hours. As an eyeliner it would last far longer. I'd use a flat brush to layer it on before blending it out with my ring finger. Depending on your skill level and the look you're going for, you'll have work fast as it can set quickly.

Mozambique Eye Paint.

I tried Mozambique, a flattering dark olive green, and Transvaal, a cool slate grey. Both had a pretty matte and lightweight finish. Other than Black Valley and Mesopotamia, these are probably the next most wearable shades so they're good for the office environment. 

Transvaal Eye Paint.

To learn how to use the Mozambique Eye Paint, watch the video tutorial here

To see more shades and to buy, go to www.narscosmetics.com

For editorial consideration, review samples were provided by the brand's PR representative.

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