keeping up the mystique

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If you excuse me the long rambly post, I wanted to chat a bit about mystique. Or the lack there of, when it comes to your beauty routine, in a relationship.

India-Jewel (xojane) wrote a post recently talking about how for her, her extensive beauty routine would most definitely remain secret from any significant other ('How Much of Your Beauty Regimen Do You Hide From Your Partner?'). Rather than 'ruin the magic' she would keep up appearances because, well, that's what the other person was expecting when they started dating her right? Now originally reading this I didn't have much of a problem with her attitude because I have my own routine that I don't think is always the most flattering (skin masks anyone?) and if I don't feel all that cute covering up my zits then when would I let another person see all that? But ,as they often do, the comments below the article made me backtrack on some of my thoughts.

As someone's who not in a relationship it's hard for me to imagine my beauty routine as interesting per se, but according to a lot of people, men often view it that way (yes I recognize I'm generalizing, but I said I was responding to the comments ok?). I guess if I can visualize a relationship where each party finds the other sexy in sweats (a look I personally don't think is all that great on me), is it really that much of a step to see 'him' being ok with 'her' face being covered in green clay? I guess not, but it's a step. And in my brain I think I still see a difference between some admittedly goofy looking face treatment stuff and me putting on makeup. The eye work can be sexy, the application of false lashes can be different, but when I'm making my skin look like what I wish it could be? That is my covering my own insecurities and I don't think I'd want anyone witnessing it.

ooo sexy
Yes, yes I've read all about how men rarely - if ever - notice the differences in a woman's skin after applying makeup. But it almost doesn't matter if they notice because I notice, and the truth is I'm not doing it so much for them as I'm doing it for me. I guess that says it all now doesn't it? My routines are 90% for me, as I guess I've grown enough as an individual to care less what other people think. No I can't dye my hair purple because I work in an office and accept the limitations of that position, but when I'm doing my makeup I'm doing it so I feel pretty.

Except for those times I put on foundation to avoid those 'are you sick' comments. Fuck those guys. I'm not sick or tired, just slightly paler than I pretend to be. OK?!

Now India-Jewels progresses this argument to being akin to how once in a relationship she wouldn't be ok with 'letting herself go'. I admit to having my own judgey moments where I wish everyone would wear fun, comfortable, flattering clothing but even when I do that I can't help but acknowledge that my own use of the word flattering is subjective. That imaginary other person has no responsibility to me; they can wear whatever the heck they want to and I should keep my nosey nose out of it. I-J takes offense at one particular comment that looks to separate the two points and the whole reason for this post I guess is the fact that I agree with the commenter more than her. I-J choosing to judge the woman in sweats in Olive Garden as someone who's 'let herself go' should be recognized as subjective. I'm not saying she should immediately be perfect and never think badly of another person on the basis of looks ever, but there is, I feel, a separation between one's beauty routine and 'letting themselves go'. Each person has a different idea of how they think they look best and rather then undermining a solid article discussing her own choice when it comes to routines, I would have preferred she not gone the judgey route. I don't that being open about what you do to look/feel nice should be equated with 'letting yourself go'. If you feel good, your partner feels good, then everything's good right?*

What do you think? Would you hide your own beauty routine from a significant other? Do you ever find yourself judging others for 'letting themselves' go? I wanna know!

*I do not equate beauty routines with using the toilet. Sorry to let you down but I really really feel like the door should be closed for all that kind of business.

getting ready

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Now I only need maybe one more string of lights and another roll of wrapping paper!

HK Beauty Haul

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When a few days into my trip I realized that clothes were really not going to be my friend (shopping-wise) I decided that no one could blame me for a few beauty purchases. Most of these were picked up from ColorMix but a few I did manage to grab at a Sasa I visited before I left. Swatches will come later - it's cloudy in DC today - but so far I can happily say what I've used I love!

Face & Skin Care

 Bird's Nest Collagen Hydrating Mask / Herbal Anti-Acne Mask
(MBD store brand substitutes - they were super cheap so I said what the hell and tried them)

(I swear I saw BubzBeauty use something like this - I haven't tried this yet but supposedly you can use it to massage your face (and arms?) flushing out toxins and keeping everything toned. My friend was unimpressed but since it was cheap too I said screw it, lol)

Facial Cleaning Pad / The Face Shop Hair & Bath Scrub
(Again because of a BubzBeauty video, I wanted to get my friend this pink plastic face scrubby thing that's supposed to be super gentle and good for sensitive skin. After torturing a few sales associates who had no idea what I was talking about I settled on these two instead. I got the purple one for me too!)

 KOSE Q10 Eye Mask
(Who doesn't want nicely moisturized eyes? The package itself is actually missing because I'd already used a set by the time I took these pics, lol)

Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil
(I've used this for a while and love it. I saved $4 - $5 buying it HK so I was happy!)

INSETA World Spirit Make-up Removing Lotion
(I was actually going to purchase the Bioderma make-up remover (it looks exactly like this) because the Pixiwoo sisters have raved about it. The sales associate was quite insistent though that this Italian brand was better (and since it was cheaper I said ok, lol).)

Click below for Make-Up!

if only

I'd wear this kind of thing everyday if I had a choice about it. We'll see how long (if ever) it takes people at work to notice that while these are burgundy they're still technically jeans.

Sweater & Jeans: The Limited ~ Top: J.Crew ~ Shoes: Nine West ~ Bag: Hong Kong Street Market


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I'm thankful for so much this year; the friends I have, the new friends I've made, and the privilege to live my life on my own terms (for the most part).

In a time when so many people are suffering, from war and natural disasters, I am especially thankful to be safe and warm and know that tomorrow I'll wake up and be able to continue my life as usual.

I wish the very best to you and yours, however you're spending this day.




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What the heck DC! I leave for a week and come home to dark skies and cold temperatures. Brrr.....

Jacket: No Brand (bought it in HK) ~ Sweater: Ann Taylor Factory ~ Corduroy Skinnies: Banana Republic ~ Boots: Nine West

Asia Travels: Hong Kong!

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As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I recently spent some time in Asia and let me tell you - it was awesome! I've always had an interest in East Asia but the price ticket (after much stalking I got one for $1100) has been a deterrent. I'm not good at delayed gratification ok? Saving is something I'm working on getting better at but with the help of my tax return last year I was finally able to make it happen.

Even better for my budget I stayed with a friend of mine from college. Her and her family were completely wonderful in letting me invade their house (and their TV during election coverage) and I don't think I could have stayed so long or done so much without their generosity.

 Regina's cousin, Me, My Friend Regina

Often described as having the most beautiful skyline in the world, Hong Kong was a blast to visit. It's very English friendly, with almost everything repeated in English which makes independent traveling much easier. Plus everyone I spoke to in a professional capacity was just nice - I'm big on just asking when I don't know what I'm doing so I pay attention when people are open to it. Oh and the exchange rate isn't bad either, about USD $1 to HK $7.8.

Hong Kong at night

I'm going to do another post on our sojourn to Taiwan, but in Hong Kong it was all about the shopping (& the eating, but that was true everywhere). I feel like everyday there was a new street market to see and new stuff look at. It's great for chotsky's but not so ideal for clothing; the cheapest stuff you can't try on and I am not built along the typical Asian lines. After a somewhat disappointing first try (biggest problem? My arms surprisingly enough) I just stuck to everything random that caught my eye. I mean, if I couldn't/didn't have to be sensible with my shopping then hey - I wanted everything else instead!

Buy & Try: J.Crew

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Since for the life of me I cannot find a size 14 in store, for this latest round of 'sale off a sale' at J.Crew I picked up two blazers to try. I definitely think this was the way to go because now not only do I have an idea of how they fit I have a new one to add to the closet!

Schoolboy Blazer, Watercolor Blue, Sz 14, $104.99

Verdict: Keep. I loved the feel & color of this blazer plus I can see it working for all sorts of outfits, at work or in life.

Hacking Jacket, Autumn Coral, Sz 14, $140

Verdict: Return. The color was nice but the fabric of this blazer, the double serge wool, didn't look as nice in real life (especially when compared to the schoolboy). And while the longer length would be nicer on someone taller than me I can't get over the feeling that I should be hopping on my horse to ride off into the sunset.

Oh and the reason there's not a pic from the back?

Awkward surprise face right there. Nice.
THE FREAKING BUTTON CAME OFF. ON A $140 BLAZER. J.Crew. WTF. This is not ok and believe you me I'm gonna be keeping the receipt for my schoolboy just in case something goes wrong. You can't charge me (or anyone) this much money for something that falls apart! Shame on you.

Damn you InStyle!

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I want this too. Poop.

Sale Alert! Extra Savings from J.Crew -

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With the love I have for the brand growing (despite its somewhat exorbitant price tag) I wanted to highlight J.Crew's current 30% off sale price promotion. I wouldn't say that anything is 'cheap' cheap, you'd probably get a better deal in store, but here are a few of the items I picked up to try. Use code 'MUSTHAVE' at checkout to save your own 30%!

P.S. - I specifically avoided anything final sale because the price point is just too high for me to buy anything without trying it first.

Prices reflect the 30% off savings (I know - I cried a little too)

What's in my (makeup) bag? (Travel edition!)

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You're probably not gonna believe me, but I brought like nothing makeup wise to Asia. I just didn't want to deal with it. I was going half way across the world, hopefully bringing back some cool stuff, and even my neurosis about the state of my skin wasn't enough to make me pack in the items, lol. Instead I brought one small makeup bag, a few items to play with it, and a few brushes to make it all happen.

Looking back to how I used it all I'd have to say that despite a few longings for purple eyeshadow I had everything I needed for a chill 'weekend' look. There were also a few items there to create a more dramatic look but I didn't end up sampling the HK nightlife.

If you're about to go on a trip I'd definitely recommend checking out your routine and seeing the possibilities for streamlining. I'm never gonna be the girl who only has enough makeup for one bag, but for 9 days? This didn't suck.

1) Perfekt Skin Perfection Gel in Rich
2) MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC42
3) Giorgio Armani Blending Blush Duo
4) MAC Blot Powder in Medium Dark
5) elf Blush in Candid Coral
6) Milani Eyeshadow Quad in 01 Touch of Brown

The Perfect Skin Perfection Gel is pricey (SO PRICEY) but I like what it does. It doesn't cover imperfections so much as impart a slight tint that livens up the face - along with mattifying everything while being water resistant. Combined with my MAC concealer and powder, I don't think I ended up with sweat face, so I'm happy. 

This Milani quad is a powerhouse (when I remember I own it). The colors are super flattering and it contains the first shadow highlighter I ever fell in love with. The matte tan is great for shading in the crease area and the dark brown does double duty at the lash line to create a smokey effect.

1) Revlon Colorburst Gloss in Papaya
2) Tarte LipSurgence natural matte lip tint in Lively
3) Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour Extreme Lengthening Mascara
4) Pysicians Formula Eye Booster Liner
5) L'Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner
6) NARS Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

A combo of well worn  favorites here. Each of them can be used to create a variety of effects (especially the two liners) so I was very happy to have all of them with me. I can't say I that I like the NARS primer more than my tried and true UDPP but it does the job and sometimes that's all you need.

(top to bottom)
Ecotools Blending Brush
Giorgio Armani Flat Eyeshadow Brush (travel size)
Ecotools Powder Brush
Mascara Spoolie
Crown C433 Pro Blending Brush
Ecotools Slanted Eyeliner brush
MAC 219 (limited edition)

And last but not least, there are the brushes. Mostly picked for functionality, the combo was very helpful while I was gone. It might not have covered my ever want and need but again - travel is about doing the most with the least so....I'm happy.

What do you think - could you have survived 9 days with the little pouch of makeup you see here? What are your must haves?

movie ready

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(And it was cold enough for this)

Trench & Shirt: Old Navy ~ Sweater: J.Crew ~ Jeans: The Limited ~ Rain Boots: Marshall's

Oh and Frankenweenie? Definitely worth the price of admission - check it out yourself!

DC made me do it

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(I swear it was warm enough for this)

Jacket: Forever21+ ~ Dress: J.Crew ~ Boots: Steve Madden ~ Belt: Gap

autumn layers

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Top: The Limited ~ Cardigan: Ann Taylor LOFT ~ Jeans: Gap ~ Scarf: Zara

*As of 6:10am this morning I'm no longer in the U.S.! After a couple hours in Canada it's Hong Kong all the way until Nov 11th. I am a bad blogger and only have a couple posts ready to go so please bear with me. I promise I'll post pics/updates if I can but I'm not bringing my laptop with me. Wish me luck!