Sunday, November 11, 2012

What's Your Quick-n-Dirty?

Penny here! Attempting to share something noteworthy. Since my mother's stroke in September my life has changed and will probably never again be the same. In the grand scheme of things I am most grateful for my faith, family, and friends who have kept Penny together these past few months.
Most days make-up and all things beauty are so irrelevant in my current world. But at the same time I realize how much they make me feel good...about myself...and about others (when they say my research was helpful in some way). So I today I thought...what about my current beauty routine IS relevant? Time and functionality I thought. Since my time is no longer my own as a caregiver; and someone who's 9-5 was never 9-5...I'm constantly racing against the clock to do something or be somewhere.  But when I have a few minutes to 'put on my face' it helps to start the day in a more familiar, less stressful way. What I find I need most for my new daily routine, are products that are multi-functional.
NARS the Multiple
  • NARS the Multiple ($39, Sephora) - a cream-to-powder multi-purpose make-up stick; can be used on eyes, cheeks, lips and body. See for a great tutorial. I like the color South Beach.
  • MAC Powder Blush in Buff ($20, MAC) - a soft neutral 'muted pinkish peach' matte blush that I sometimes double as eyeshadow and blush for a monochromatic look.
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 0L ($18, Sephora) - waterproof jet black pencil eye liner; easy to blend; long wearing; a staple for Penny.
  • Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry ($16, Bloomingdales) - a sheer berry pink lip balm/lipstick in one. This is a great lip color that I can throw on without liner a any time and look nice.
  • Mascara Mini ($10-$20, Sephora) - any mascara of your choice that is small enough to fit in your purse or make-up bag and can be applied quickly to top & bottom lashes; my current minis are Benefit's They're Real, and Lancome Hypnose Star...both were VIB gifts with an order from Sephora but they sell lots of great travel-size products at most Sephora stores.
  • They're Real Mascara
  • BB or CC Cream (prices varies; Target, drugstores, ULTA, Sephora)- for those who don't need a lot of coverage these are good one-step products. Beauty Balm (BB) creams are amped up tinted moisturizers, with skincare & foundation in one. Sometimes they are called Blemish Balm for their blemish control capabilities. I know folks who swear by NARS, Smashbox and Laura Mercier BB creams. Drugstore brands include Garnier, L'Oreal and Maybelline to name a few. Color Correcting (CC) creams are amped up BB Creams and the newest craze out of Japan and Korea. CC creams are said to have higher SPF, blends better with skin tones, and does more to even out skin tones.  Has anyone tried a CC cream yet? Which one? Penny needs a full-coverage foundation due to my melasma so I have not tried these products, but I am curious about the CC creams. Chanel and Olay both have CC creams.
Clinique Chubby Stick

Some of these products don't have multiple uses, but work so well that they are my 'go to' staples that I keep in my make-up bag. I'm looking for products that I can apply  without much thought and effort.

What's your quick-n-dirty product(s) of choice?

Be blessed. Be beautiful. Be GRATEFUL.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Famous FLOTUS Polish...Dupe?

Hey lovelies!

'I Don't Give a Rotterdamn'
Some of you may have seen the articles on the now infamous nail polish color that Michelle Obama wore during her speech at the DNC last week. Well, because Penny is Penny I actually noticed the lovely bluish-purpleish-gray shade the FLOTUS was wearing as she spoke. LOL! Penny is a fan of gray and it was sorta hard to miss. So it wasn't surprising that the fashion stalkers of the world would zone in on her entire outfit including her nails.

It was revealed not long after her speech that the First Lady's nail polish was none other than Artistic Nail Design Soak Off Colour Gloss in “Vogue”.  For those of you who like the color but may not want to try the gel nails or go through the hassle and expense, Penny came up with a list of regular polish in "similar" shades that you might want to try.

  • Caitlin (Zoya)
  • Skylar (Zoya)
  • Kristen (Zoya)
  • I Don't Give a Rotterdamn (OPI)
  • I Don't Have a Herring Problem (OPI)

I'm sure there are lots more out there from various brands but these are the ones I either have in my collection, or knew of off the top of my head. LOL! Let me know if you have a favorite gray/blue/purple color that you wear.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

'I Have a Herring Problem'

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What is your fav beauty tip?

Hello Beautifuls!
Last weekend I had the most wonderful time hanging out with some of the most positive, beautiful, smart, sexy, crazy, and fun-loving broads (term of endearment...LOL! ) that I know! It was great to see old friends, and equally fun to make new ones. I haven't laughed so much in a long time...thanks ladies! (I hope Guapo's allows us back. LOL)
While enjoying our nips and sips someone started going around the table and asking each one of us if we had any beauty tips. Not sure why but the conversation wasn't always "P-G" but I will keep it clean for Penny's audience. (Some of you are going...'I thought she said 'beauty tips'...what's not P-G about that?' You don't know my friends.) LOL!  Here are some of the interesting products and tips that were shared:
Sabino Moisture Block
Sabino Moisture Block
This is a great anti-humidity, thermal protection serum for those of us with natural hair, who occasionally want to wear straight styles (and keep our look for more than a day). Penny has written about Sabino's Lok & Blok a few times before and love that product. I found that the Lok & Blok was the first serum that actually tamed my hair and allows me to blow dry my hair straighter than any other product. Well Sabino Moisture Block is supposed to be the new and improved serum. The company website is the best place to order this product ($22 per 3oz bottle, but there is 30% off offer, and if you buy in bulk its much cheaper). According to the website it is great for African American hair and high humidity climates. It is shampoo soluble...which means water alone won't remove the product. I know folks that swear by this product and have used it in hot, humid places to put it to the test. Penny got her bottle today so I will follow up with pics after I use it. Please follow the instructions carefully because if you use too much of the product, it could leave your hair weighed down. There will be some trial and error to find the right amount for your hair so don't give up after one use. Check out the details at:
Bentonite Detoxifying Clay Mask

Bentonite Clay Mask
This is a really cool, inexpensive, all natural facial mask that you can do at home. It is a great detoxifying mask that leaves your face clean and smooth. It's especially good for acne-prone skin and large pores. There are two simple ingredients, bentonite clay powder and apple cider vinegar (or water). Both I bought at my local Whole Foods grocery for next to nothing. The instructions are simple to...equal parts powder to liquid. So I did one tablespoon, powder to one table spoon liquid to create a creamy paste. The first time I tried this mask I used apple cider vinegar (365 Organic Apple Cider Vinegar) and clay powder (Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay) which caused an unusual tightening sensation as the mask dried. After I rinsed off the mask my skin felt great!...smooth, clean, but not tight and dry. After the 2nd time I used it I noticed I had a slight dry patch (where I normally have eczema), and a pimple. I assumed it was the detox at work pulling the impurities to the surface. However, since I have combination/dry sensitive skin, I started using the mask with water instead of vinegar and it works just as well.
(read full story...)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Monster Mash (for the Guys)

I hope this post finds you all in the best of health and spirits. Today Penny's posting a little something for the fellas. Women can enjoy too, but I very rarely have anything for the guys on here (simply because I don't usually test men's grooming products...LOL) I wanted to share.

My beloved shared this item with me and I love it! I was so pleased with it I said I would post something on my blog about it. I was given a puzzled look. Why? Because it is not at all beauty related. But in true Mo fashion (not Penny; she's nicer than Mo) I said: "It's my blog so I can post whatever I want." LOL!   So here goes...
Monster iClarityHD Speaker
Many of you know that Penny LOVES her tunes! Gotta have my music at ALL times! So when I discovered the Monster iClarityHD Precision Micro Bluetooth (Portable) Speaker  I was quite curious ($58.91,

This little portable speaker has better sound (and volume) than any of the computer speakers, and iPod speakers I've owned! It is perfect for get togethers, the beach, a hotel room, car travel, teleconferencing on telework days, Skype chats, etc. Features include (as stated by the manufacturer):
  • Ultra-compact, high performance bluetooth speaker and speakerphone in the palm of your hand
  • Two 35 mm full range drivers gives you music incredible fidelity in the mid and high frequencies
  • Monster Passive Radiator Subwoofer for deep, clean and tight bass
  • Bluetooth 2.0 audio and digital signal processing for superior sound quality in a compact design
  • Compatible With iPad/iPod/iPhone & Macbook
  • Ultra-Compact, High-Performance Bluetooth Speaker Delivers Best-In-Class Wireless Stereo Sound
  • Built-In Microphone With Advanced Noise Cancellation Enables Clear Wireless Hands-Free Calling & Conferencing.
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Batteries Power Up To 5 Hours Of Play Time At Full Volume On A Single Charge
  • Also has an auxiliary input just in case you want to use with a non-bluetooth device
  • Range up to 33 FT
Monster ClarityHD Speaker
If you don't have an iPhone, no worries; as long as you have bluetooth capability, these work. There is also the Monster ClarityHD Precision Micro Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($59.15, Amazon). According to the Monster site, this item features then same things as the "iClarity" product:
  •  Optimized for Blackberry devices, smartphones, netbooks and notebook PCs.
  • Connects to iPod or any device with a 3.5 mm headphone port using a mini-jack cable (cable not included).
I have been getting my groove on! I simply turned on the bluetooth on my iPhone, synced the phone to the speaker, then selected my music, and rocked out! LOL!  I have not yet used it as a speaker phone, but have seen how that works. It takes about 4 hours to fully charge when you first get it. Read the instructions carefully too because you preserve the battery by turning the speaker completely off when not in use, even though you don't have to.
Some sites charge as much as $75-$100+ for this item so be sure to shop around. I got a great price on Amazon and free shipping as a Prime member.  If you want a more professional, high-end speaker, the online reviews said to check out the JamBox by Jawbone (which costs almost 3x as much).

Be blessed. Have beats.
DJ Penny ;-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Stuff

Hello Folks!
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. Penny's having a ball! :-)

Just felt like sharing some stuff. Stuff that I've been diggin' this season. What are some of your favorite summer finds?

Lip Stuff:
Vaseline Lip Therapy
As you know Penny is always trying a new beauty products. It's just what I do. LOL! Sometimes the new long wearing lipsticks and glosses can dry my lips, so I'm always looking for great lip balm. This summer I went 'ole school.' LOL! Vaseline Lip Therapy Lip Balm, Original (Target, $1.39) has been doing a great job keeping my lips soft and smooth. I wear it every night and whenever I'm at home. It is just pure petroleum jelly which helps to lock in moisture and keep you lips hydrated. What I like about it is that its not oily and shiny like regular Vaseline for whatever reason. The only con is that there is no SPF. So when I'm going out I tend to use my Bite Beauty Sheer Balm with SPF 15 under my lipsticks.

Eye Stuff:

Color Tattoo Eye Shadow
in Fierce & Tangy
Summer is my time of year to experiment with bright colors. Not just with clothing but also with make-up. After seeing the ads for Maybelline's Color Tattoo 24Hr Intensity Eye Shadow  this Spring, I just knew I had to try them! What fun colors! Of the 10 shades available I bought the following: Bad to the Bronze, Audacious Asphalt, Pomegranate Punk, and Tenacious Teal (Target, $6.99). Some shades have a slight shimmer and some are matte. I haven't used them all yet...a little apprehensive about the teal but might use it as a liner and not on the whole lid (although I love the look on the model).

Color Tattoo Eye Shadow
in Tenacious Teal

These shadows are long lasting and blend easily with my finger or a synthetic eye shadow brush. I have never been a big cream shadow person because I was always afraid of creasing but these apply smoothly and stay put (and I always use a primer).

Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam
Face Stuff:
During the hot humid summer months I realized that although I still needed coverage from my foundation, I didn't want to wear anything heavy. For the first time I tried foam foundation and I like it. Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation (Target, $10.99) applies like a liquid and dries quickly to a nice smooth matte finish. It is very lightweight so I don't feel like I'm wearing foundation and I like that it gives me buildable coverage. I followed the instructions and put the foam on the back of my hand; I then use my finger to dab the foam onto my face. I use my Sigma Beauty F82 Round Kabuki Brush or my Cozette S135 Contour Stylist  Brush to blend it into my skin. These tightly packed synthetic brushes buff my foundation to a smooth even finish. Some use a regular liquid foundation brush but I sometimes find those to be streaky.

Body Stuff:

St. Ives Purify Exfoliating
Moisturizing Body Wash
Whether I'm just showing more skin (ssshh!) or preparing my skin for self tanner, Penny believes in regular exfoliation; especially with my very dry skin. St. Ives Purify Exfoliating Body Wash (CVS, $4.99) leaves my skin smooth and soft daily. In the past I was unable to use any type of salt scrub without irritating my eczema. But this moisturizing body wash contains mineral salt and sea kelp and its mild enough to use every day. What's even better is that it is hypoallergenic, contains 100% natural exfoliants and no parabens. Now I'm curious about some of their other body washes like the Renewing Collagen Elastin Body Wash for dry skin, and the Triple Butters Intensely Hydrating Creamy Coconut Body Wash.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Skin 2012

Wass up?
Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. Penny's having a ball! But I'm also trying to enjoy it safely. Please be sure to wear sun protection at ALL times. I know its easy to just run out the door; or to think you won't get a nice tan if you use a high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen. But there is no room for skin neglect today. Skin cancer is very real and the sun can be very damaging. With the plethora of products on the market to protect your face, lips, body and even your hair from the damaging rays of the sun, there is no excuse not to wear some form of sunscreen...daily. Not just when you're going to the pool, beach or the family cook-out...but daily.

Hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and more seriously melanoma, should be enough to prompt you to protect yourself. Don't take Penny's word for it; check out the facts at:

Last June (6/22/11) I posted a message about the new FDA rules for sunscreen manufacturers. The following are some of the main points of the new rules (excerpted from
  • Sunscreens may be labeled “broad- spectrum” if they provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation according to FDA-sanctioned test methods.
  • Only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher may state that they protect against skin cancer if used as directed with other sun protection measures.
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPFs of 2-14 must display a warning that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.
  • The terms “sunblock,” “sweatproof” and “waterproof” are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels.
  • Sunscreens may claim to be “water-resistant,” but must specify whether they protect the skin for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Sunscreens that are not water-resistant must instruct consumers to use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
  • A company cannot claim that its sunscreen products provide sun protection for more than two hours without submitting test results to prove this.
(read full story after the jump...)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Water Recipe?

Hi All:
Penny thought it would be cool to try a new recipe...not my usual summer cocktail experimentation (LOL)...but instead a new way to increase my WATER intake this summer. Recently I caught a segment of the Dr. Oz show that featured nutritional coach Kym Lyon's 10-day Ultimate Plan to to Trim Fat for Good. The plan has four pretty simple steps. Step 1 is called the Fat Flush Water. Here is what I saw on the show and found on the Dr Oz website:

Step 1: Flush Fat
Fat Flush Water
To cleanse your system, Kim Lyons’ special 5-ingredient Fat Flush Water is simple to make and tastes great. Besides its main ingredient of water, the Fat Flush contains grapefruit that’s loaded with vitamin C to help your body turn fat into fuel. The tangerine increases your sensitivity to insulin, stabilizes blood sugar, and stimulates genes to burn fat. Cucumber helps you feel full and acts as a natural diuretic, which means less bloating and water retention. And lastly, it has peppermint, which is not only refreshing but also promotes better digestion and stomach calm. Make a big pitcher of Fat Flush Water every morning. The longer it sits, the better it will taste.

Fat Flush Water
Ingredients, per 8-ounce serving

1 slice grapefruit
1 tangerine
½ cucumber, sliced
2 peppermint leaves

Directions: Combine ingredients in a large pitcher. Drink at least one 8 ounce glass three times a day before each meal for 10 days straight.

Penny figured if I have to drink more water anyway, why not drink water that has additional nutritional value. So I got my pretty summer pitcher at Target ($5.99), bought the ingredients at Trader Joe's, and drank my new water cocktail all day yesterday. I'm still getting used to the taste as the longer the fruits and veggies stay in the water, the more it becomes flavored. If you're one of those people that puts lemon in their water, then this will be a breeze. (Or one of those people who like infused vodka...same concept. LOL). Some people make a fresh batch daily as recommended; some add fresh ingredients every other day. I doubt I will drink all of that water in one day so I may make a fresh batch every other day...we'll see how it goes. I do plan to drink more than the required amount, therefore I plan to take this water with me every work...on the road, etc. I'm really hoping this flush works and helps to eliminate/reduce the edema (swelling) I get almost daily in my ankles, and feet. Yesterday I think I was a bit dehydrated so even though I went to the bathroom a few times, it didn't really feel like I was 'flushing' my system. But I will keep at it and see how it goes for the next couple weeks. Let me know if you have tried the fat flush water before and how it worked for you.  Now if I could only complete the other 3 steps in the 10-day program I will be off to a great start this summer. LOL!

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Toxic Tips?

As a follow up to my last post (May 7) about nail polish I thought it would be a good idea to share some other, not so fun nail news. Penny thinks it's important for all to know the good and bad of the things we like to consume. What you do with the information is your business of course (goodness knows Penny has her own share of vices). LOL!

Butter London, Bright Teal
For years the 'dangers' of nail polish has been in the news, but it seems to be increasing in recent years as nail polish manufacturers create new (and improved?) formulas. Manufacturers are also creating more polishes and techniques that you can do 'at home,' so many may be skipping the hassle of the nail salon appointment, and exposing themselves to these dangers more frequently. So it's important to hear about the latest debate on the toxic chemicals found in nail polishes and maybe learn about brands to avoid. You might want to become an ingredient reader like Penny, and choose a less harmful polish since there are so many good ones on the market.

The latest is news is that some brands have been 'mis labeled' and that harmful chemicals do exist in their polishes. Those most susceptible to their dangers (which could include cancer and birth defects) are the nail technicians and anyone working in a nail salon. A study was done in California by the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) that showed several brands said they were free of the toxic chemicals but still showed trace amounts of them. The DTSC is recommending that all nail polish companies be required to disclose all of their ingredients. However, polish manufacturers say the report is misleading because the FDA allows these chemicals in small doses. (read full story...)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tip Top Tips

Hi all:
Penny decided to take a break from talking techniques to share some interesting tips about keeping your tips in tip top shape! At brunch today with some of my lovely lady friends we started talking about nail polish and how to get a long-lasting manicure (sans a gel manicure). As many of you know Penny has a penchant for manicures and pedicures. Yes...every two weeks it's a must. I'm a little fanatical about it too. If I break a nail that's an emergency trip to the nail salon (9-1-1)...that same day. LOL! If I choose a color and don't really like it a few days later...that could be a trip for a polish change. Fanatical I said. LOL! So that explains my over 40 bottles of nail polish in my 'at home' collection...don't judge. :-) You see, there are definite advantages to taking your own polishes to the nail salon:

Gouda Gouda Two Shoes-OPI
(courtesy Fashion Polish)
  • You always have the color you want to wear. NOTE: You should take your own top coat and base coat as well.
  • You don't have to worry about contamination (i.e. bacteria infections, etc) NOTE: You may want to purchase your own manicure/pedicure kit for hygienic purposes as well.
  • You don't have to worry about the polish getting thick and polish thinner being used (which sometimes alters the wearability of your polish).
That last point brings me to the real discussion today. Wearability. More specifically top coats. Penny has had acrylics or silk wraps for many years so my polishes last long without showing too much wear. However, I have noticed that all top coats are not created equal. By the way, I have researched the wearability of polishes on natural nails too, so this information is for all. (read full story...) 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Talking Techniques - Part 3b

Hello all.
So let's continue our discussion about eye make-up techniques. once again its almost a month since my last post (3/25) and since I began this piece. So sorry for the delay. My last post covered eye shadow to the 10th power. LOL! So let's complete the eye by talking eyeliner, mascara and maybe a little about faux lashes. We might throw in some brow talk too. Let's get started...
Eyeliner is hot these days! The trend is to use bright colors and/or create a winged shape or cat eye. Of course trends aren't for everyone so let's start with the basics of eyeliner application. As a general rule, the thickness and intensity of the eyeliner should correlate with the size of your eyelid—the larger the eyelid area, the thicker yet softer the eyeliner should be. The smaller the eyelid area, the thinner and more intense the liner should be.  If your lid doesn't show much, you might want to skip the eyeliner, use lots of mascara and use a deep shadow to enhance the shape of the eye. Understanding the shape of your eye, as mentioned in the last blog post, not only helps with eye shadow application, but with liner application as well. Eyeliner can help to give the illusion of wider eyes or make eyes look smaller. It can be dramatic or simply enhance the eyes and eye color.
Eyeliner Styles
Penny has smallish eyes with hooded lids, and I still wear eyeliner with every look. I don't have lush or long lashes so the liner gives me the perfect amount of intensity & brings out my eye color. I love a smokey eye look but realized that it makes my eyes even smaller. So I learned different techniques that allow me to use liner to darken my lash line without concealing my already small lid. Although I think the winged liner look is hot, I don't have the right shape eyes to pull it off.  So on most days I use the technique from the first look (top left) in the diagram; or the more natural look on the top right. I rim my entire eye if I'm doing a smokey eye or just want my eye color to pop.
(read full story....)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Talking Techniques - Part 3a

Hi all:
Once again its been too long since I've said HI! Sorry but 'life' keeps interrupting our party. What's a girl to do? Believe it or not, I started this post over a month ago (sigh).

Well today I'm going to continue with my "Talking Techniques" series and talk about the eyes and eye shadow. There is so much on the topic I'm going to have to do a sequel on eyeliner and mascara application. All from Penny's experience of course. Hope it helpful.

Eye Shapes/Looks
Before applying eye shadow you should determine what shape of your eyes. I know it sounds like a bit much but it makes sense when you think about it. Different eye shapes require different techniques. In my research for this post I came across this diagram which I thought was pretty helpful. Below are the various techniques described (which I also hi-jacked off the Net. LOL)

Average: Apply contour (darker color) along lash line, then along crease for a V-shape. Blend the application. Create a wedge at the outer corner using an accent color. Line upper and lower lashes.

Wide Set: The emphasis is on the inside half of the eye above the crease. Apply contour shade along lash line from inside corner out, then back along crease to inner corner. Add an accent color in a small wedge at outer corner, being careful not to extend beyond the edge. Line upper lashes from corner to corner, adding a little lift at the outside. Line lower lashes and gently smudge.

Close Set: The emphasis is on the outer half of the eye. Apply contour shade along lash line and in the crease, starting above outer edge of iris, extending beyond outside corner and up. Blend the application. Make a large wedge at outer corner with the accent color. Line upper lashes from inside edge or iris past outside corner of eye. Emphasize mascara application on outer lashes.

Deep Set: The key is to lessen the shadows on the inside corner and make the brow bone area look less recessed. Apply more base color at the inside corner of the lid. Apply contour shade out along lash line and in along crease, stopping just above the inner edge of the iris. Add a little more color under lower lashes from inside edge of iris to outer corner. Add accent color lightly along crease, blending well. Line upper lashes from inside corner to just past outside corner, lower lashes from outside corner in to just below the pupil, gently smudging.

Prominent Lids: The key is to contour below the crease to draw attention away from how much lid is exposed and to emphasize the upper lash line. Add contour shade over entire eye socket, blending carefully. Apply accent color along lash line from inside corner to slightly past outside corner, then in below crease instead of along it. Line upper lashes from inside corner out, with the line getting thicker at the outside corner. Line lower lashes, then gently smudge upper and lower line application.

Hooded Lids: The key is to use color to make it seem as though more of the lid is showing. Apply contour shade on lid from corner to corner, extending slightly above crease, and under lower lashes, working from outside corner to inside edge of iris. Apply accent color close to lash line above center of pupil and blend outward. Line upper lashes corner to corner, lower lashes from outside corner to inside of iris. NOTE: Keep in mind that the wider the liner above the lashes, the less lid you will see. Penny has hooded eyes so to open up my eyes I started lining my upper water line (where the lashes come out of your lid) instead of above my lashes.
(read full story....)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Talking Techniques - Part 2

Hi all:
I apologize for the delay in bringing you Part 2 of Talking Techniques. My paying job had the nerve to actually get in the way of my blogging. LOL! This is a continuation of my previous post about make-up application and techniques. Hope it's helpful.

L'Oreal True Match SPF 17 ($10.99)
There are many foundation formulas and many ways to apply them.  I recommend asking a make-up professional for the best formula to suit your skin type and needs. Since Penny has dry/combination/maturing skin I often use cream foundation in the winter months and liquid in the summer months for lighter coverage. Right now I'm using Cover FX Cream Foundation. I use cream because it provides the best coverage for my melasma (dark patches); has great staying power, and doesn't feel heavy. In the warmer months I might use Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 or L'Oreal True Match liquid foundations. TIP: Always blend foundation from the center of the face outward. Be sure to blend well around the hairline. If you get any in your hair simply wipe away from the face with a towel.

I always set my foundation with powder. That keeps my foundation in place all day and gives me the matte finish I want. Right now I'm using MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish Natural because of its light texture and even wash of sheer color. Translucent powder or white powders tend to make me look ashen (especially in flash photography). I used to use a big powder brush to apply my finishing powder but recently picked up a tip online for applying it with a powder puff. The reason for this is because brushes can sometimes disturb the make-up underneath with the dragging motion used to apply the powder. While using a powder puff allows you to press the powder into the skin, keeping your foundation in tack. I simply tap the puff on the back of my hand to shake off any excess before lightly pressing it onto my skin all over. Be sure to check for even application.

Mineral (Powder) Foundation
Powder - Powder foundations are applied with a cosmetic puff, sponge or brush. Many come with their recommended applicator. Powder foundation can be layered to achieve the coverage you seek. Keep in mind that if you use a sponge applicator you should wash it often.  Mineral powder foundations have become very popular and often require that you use a brush to apply (buff) them into the skin. Mineral foundations are said to be best for people with easily irritated  skin. "What makes mineral makeup different from traditional makeup isn’t the ingredients it contains, but what’s left out. That list, for many leading brands, includes preservatives, parabens, mineral oil, chemical dyes, and fragrance. These are all possible causes of irritation, one reason many dermatologists recommend mineral makeup."  (see complete article at: Penny has not used a powder foundation in a while but thinks it works well for younger women, and/or  those with oily skin types. There is no need to "set" this foundation since it is already a powder and could look cakey if too much is applied.
Cream - Cream foundations are applied with a sponge or foundation brush. I use a Beauty Blender ($19, Sephora) to apply my cream foundation because I like the even finish. For those of you not familiar, a Beauty Blender is simply a pink egg-shaped sponge that shrinks when dry and becomes larger when dampened. Wet the sponge with water and squeeze out the excess. The sponge applies cream smoothly and evenly with a dabbing motion. Foundation brushes can sometimes leave streaks where a sponge gives more of an airbrush finish. There are other blending sponges available that
Blender Sponges
cost less and are said to have the same effect. I have not tried any other brand.

Liquid - Liquid foundations are applied with a sponge or foundation brush. But I actually like to apply mine with my finger tips. LOL! Simply dot your face with the product and then blend it all in with your finger tips. Again, remember to blend outward and blend well around the hair line. A sponge is good if you want light coverage as some of the product will soak into the sponge. I also use a foundation brush with my liquid foundation since it is a lighter consistency and doesn't tend to get streaky. Some like a 'dewy' finish to their make-up where liquid foundation is often used as a base because of its lightweight texture. Then mattes and highlighters are used to achieve a dewy, natural finish.

(read full story...)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Talking Techniques - Part 1

Often times I get questions about "how" to apply make-up. Or someone will say, " I don't wear eyeshadow because I don't know how to put it on." So Penny thought it was time to do a more detailed post about application and techniques. But first let me share my disclaimer: "Penny is not a professional make-up artist nor do I play one on TV." LOL! Please get a consultation from a pro as I've found there are often 'many' right ways to make-up application. Most importantly...HAVE FUN with it! Don't stress over your make-up. Take your time and PRACTICE!

I feel like every time I wear make-up it's an experiment of some sort, even though I have been playing with products for years. LOL! I have had many free make-overs and consultations with professionals. And I spend lots of time online watching YouTube tutorials. I also pay attention to my own facial features and search online for tutorials that address my personal challenges (i.e. small eyes, hooded eye lids, maturing skin, dark circles, eye liner run, etc).

One way to apply foundation.
What I wanted to share here are not only techniques that have worked for me, but also advice I've come across from my numerous hours of research. Remember, this is not about choosing the right foundation for your skin tone, or the right color eye shadow to compliment your eyes. This is about application and some of the things we may not have thought to try.  I like to say "I'm putting on my face" when I'm applying make-up. Not because I'm trying to disguise myself in any way. But because I like the transformation I see when I use my make-up to enhance my natural beauty. Make-up is another accessory for is not is just what I like. Although I honestly feel more inclined to 'put on a face' the older I get since my skin has changed over time. For me it's still a fun adventure though. I hope it can be for you too.

MAC Face Brushes

First you have to make sure you have the right "tools for the job." Finger tips are some of Penny's best friends, but I also have quite a few make-up brushes and other applicators I use regularly. I have found that with the right tools it doesn't matter if you're using expensive or inexpensive cosmetics; you will get a nice look. Most of you won't like to hear this but it can be a costly adventure if you don't build your make-up brush collection slowly. Good make-up brushes can be expensive. There are duplicates out there that get the job done at a much more reasonable price, but it is all trial an error. So sometimes I try to decide it its worth me buying a $30 brush that will last me half a lifetime with proper care...or a $10 brush that I would have to replace 3 times in half a lifetime. Up to you. LOL! Also keep in mind that brushes have multiple uses, and that the best collection consists of natural hair brushes, as well as, synthetic brushes. Natural hair brushes are said to be best for powder products. Synthetic brushes are a bit more multi-functional because they can be used with both powder and cream or liquid cosmetics. Keep in mind that they are definitely not all created equal, so you might have to shop around. If you have any brush and the bristles are falling out a lot, then its probably not well made and/or hasn't been cleaned in a long time. Your brushes also should not feel scractchy or rough on the skin.

Cozzette Starter Brush Set ($161)
Learn what the brush is used for before you buy it. Ask the make-up rep or go on YouTube...someone there will tell you. LOL! Penny's personal favs are by Bobbi Brown, MAC, Sephora, Laura Mercier, and, Bdellium Tools (although I'm still building my collection). Other lines I plan to try soon are Cozzette, and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC). Check previous posts for some cheaper brands like Bdellium Tools, Sigma, and Sedona Lace. If you're looking for an inexpensive starter kit, try EcoTools found in your local drugstore and at ULTA. 

Basic tools of the trade: Cosmetic sponges (various sizes), powder puffs, all-over powder brush, blush brush, eye shadow blending brush, eyeliner brush, angled eyebrow brush, and clean hands. :-)

  • Tip #1: To improve the life of your make-up brushes you must keep them clean, and be gentle with them. Your brushes should not appear as if they were in a fight with your face. LOL! Depending on how often you use your brushes, once a week or once every 2 weeks would be good for cleaning. Use a make-up brush cleanser (Sephora Brush Shampoo, $6-$14) or regular baby shampoo.
  • Tip #2: Take baby steps. If you don't plan on spending some quality time in the mirror with your make-up, figure out what your 'go to' look is and focus on the tools you need for that look.
  • Tip #3: Also keep in mind that around the holidays you might be able to get multiple make-up brushes, often in travel sizes, at a better price than purchasing them individually. Keep in mind that some people say that the brushes in the gift sets aren't always of the same 'quality' as the regular brushes. It might be best to make the purchase in-store so you can compare for yourself. If you order online, check the return policy before you purchase.  MAC currently has a kit called the Make it Perfect Brush Kit Essentials for $49.50 which includes five (5) special edition travel size brushes; 3 for eyes and 2 for face. 

Prep & Prime:

Be sure you're starting with a clean, moisturized palette. (Leave a comment if you want to know what Penny uses to cleanse). Wash and pat dry your face. Add your moisturizer and/or sunscreen. Let that sit for one minute to make sure your skin care is absorbed before applying primer. Although make-up primer might be a new concept to some, I have found it to be a necessary part of the process. My make-up (especially eye make-up) stays on so much better when I use primer. There is usually no creasing or smudging of my make-up. I'm not one to re-apply my make-up several times a day, so staying power is important to me.

Penny's Primer Picks: For eyes - Too Faced Shadow Insurance, Urban Decay Primer Potion. For face - Smashbox Photofinish Primer, and Make Up For Ever (MUFE) HD Primer.

Since there is so much to share regarding make-up techniques and tools, I broke this post up into separate parts. More to come on applying foundation, eye shadow, etc. Keep reading...

** Please see the rest of this write up in my next post, Talking Techniques - Part 2.**

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Exciting Nail News!

Hi All!
It's no secret that Penny has a penchant for nail polish. (More like an addiction but no intervention is needed as yet). LOL! Well, I had to share this latest news about a great deal from my favorite brand of 2011...Zoya. See my previous posts about why I love this brand.

For 2012 Zoya is offering everyone a chance to try TWO nail polishes of their choice, for just the cost of shipping and handling. They have over 300 colors to choose from; something for everyone. This offer excludes the two new 2012 Spring lines (True & Fleck) that are only available for pre-order. That means all you pay for 2 bottles is $6.95 for Standard shipping (5-9 days), or $8.95 for Expedited shipping (3-5 days). Either way its a steal of a deal with Zoya polishes being $8 a bottle. And if you're a bit of a polish fanatic like Penny, you can purchase an additional $25 or more and get FREE shipping.  Here is the message I got from Zoya today:

In 2012 we want everyone to try Zoya and add some new color to their world.

So from now through 1/9/2012 11:59 PM ET we are going to let you try
any* 2 bottles of Zoya Nail Polish for FREE on ZOYA.COM.  

All you pay is the standard shipping charges.

As a bonus, you can purchase an additional $25 or more of Zoya or Qtica products and get FREE Shipping Too!..Bonus!

Use Code: ZOYA2012  

Please see the complete official instructions and terms & conditions on our blog:

*Promotion Excludes True & Fleck Effect Collection Colors

I'm all over this deal! Yes...of course Penny already ordered. LOL! What about you?

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Penny (and I) wish you all continued blessings in the coming year! Although life can be challenging at times, I always remember something my great grandma used to say..."every disappointment is a blessing in disguise." So even if you don't always feel blessed...know that you you are loved and alive! I pray for a healthy year for us...a year that is more prosperous than the last...and one that gives us the peace of mind to start and end each day positively. True beauty comes from within.

Thank you for your support always! Penny will continue to do her part to share her musings from the beauty world. Please continue to read my blog, share it with friends and family; encourage them to subscribe, and leave lots of comments.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.
Be you!