31 Mar 2009

Recipe: Salmon and Zucchini Fettuccine in Saffron Cream Sauce

(Enlarge pic for full yumminess!)

Here's a recipe I concocted this evening for dinner; I made it up on the fly but it was delicious! Italian fettuccine mixed with zucchini strips, with a salmon-lemon-saffron cream sauce. Here's the basic recipe if you want to try it out, I don't use exact measurements so this is guesstimating what I used. Recipe for 2-3 servings.

250g Salmon fillet, skinless
180ml light sour cream
250-300g good quality Italian fettuccine
1 1/2 tsp. powdered fish bouillon (stock) (use vegetable as an alternative)
200ml white wine
1 sachet saffron (about 3/4 tsp. or so)
2 small to medium sized zucchini
fresh parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
zest of 1 organic lemon (grated rind of lemon)
1 small white onion (finely diced)

1. Wash zucchinis and slice into long thin strips using a potato peeler, rinse and cut salmon into bite-sized pieces. Set aside and heat up a drop of vegetable oil in a medium frying pan, then brown the diced onions on medium-high heat until they become transparent.

2. Add white wine to the onions and let simmer until liquid is reduced to about half. Add powdered fish stock and add about 100ml water. Continue simmering and let the liquid reduce a bit again. Then add sour cream, saffron and lemon zest, turn down the heat to low and continue simmering for a few minutes, covered with a lid. Add salmon chunks and let simmer for about 6-8 minutes until salmon is fully cooked but still tender. Season sauce with salt and pepper as required.

3. Add fettuccine to boiling, salted water and cook following the directions on the package. During the last 3 minutes of boiling, add the strips of zucchini to the water with the pasta. Once the pasta and zucchini mix has finished boiling to the desired time, strain and add a small piece of butter to prevent sticking.

4. Serve sauce over pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy! Wine recommendation: French Riesling white wine.

30 Mar 2009

30,000 subscribers FOTD!

Yey, I hit 30,000+ subscribers on my Youtube channel! Thanks everyone. I wanted to do a really elaborate makeup look for it but I just didn't have time, so my neutral face will have to do. Pics were taken before I curled my hair, I'll be doing a hair tutorial using the Enzo Milano 1" curling wand soon. Click here if you want to see the video I filmed for 30,000 subscribers plus some update infos.

Revlon Colorstay Ivory foundation, Clinique Shimmering Tones Powder - Peach Bronze, Benefit High Beam, Ben Nye Contour Nr. 1
NYX e/s Trio Nr. 15 - Aloha, Mink Brown, Deep Bronze, MAC Fluidline in Rich Ground, Covergirl Lashblast mascara
NYX lipgloss with megashine - Smokey Look

I got these NYX products from www.shopcraze.com and yes, they do international shipping at very reasonable rates. Can you believe they are now starting to sell NYX products at a department store here in Switzerland for about 3 or 4 times as much? Ridiculous when you can order for much less online...

By the way I've had a few questions about my hair color, I'm sorry I really don't remember what shade I used last time. I usually grab a different color each time, I do remember it was some shade of auburn from L'Oreal...

26 Mar 2009

Sort of recent haul - discounted MAC!

Pictures of a recent purchase I made at allcosmeticswholesale.com for some MAC and Benefit. I get asked all the time where one can purchase MAC or other brands for cheaper than retail, and this site is it! I generally advise against purchasing MAC on eBay or other discount websites which are often rife with counterfeit items, but this site is legit. I found out about this website from Specktra and makeupalley.com with rave reviews from customers who confirmed the items were real, so I decided to try it out and yes, all my items are authentic. I purchased the MAC 109 brush, Benefit High Beam highlighter, MAC Dazzlelight pan, and MAC Flattering mattene lipstick (LE). Especially for customers outside of the USA, the prices will be extremely discounted, it's less than half of what I pay for MAC in Switzerland.
Here you can see a comparison between Dazzlelight and Shroom, both which are great highlight colors. However, Dazzlelight is far superior because of the texture - it's a buttery smooth Veluxe Pearl and Shroom is a horrible Satin. MAC's satin finish just doesn't work on me, and Shroom has just crusted up on me to the point where I can't use it at all anymore. The top layer is filmy beyond repair (I've tried scraping at it with a sharp knife), and it's the only MAC shadow I have that does this. Dazzlelight has much better pigment payoff and Veluxe Pearls are MAC's best finish.

Benefit High Beam is a nice liquid highlighter, I love the sheen it gives but hate the packaging. It is packaged similar to a nailpolish, the handle leads into a nailpolish brush. Who on earth thought up this horrendous packaging? I hate Benefit's packaging in general, too fussy and not practical, so a big fat ZERO on the packaging. But I love the product! It's smooth and easy to spread and gives a lovely sheen, and can be blended out nicely. High Beam is pink based, whereas Benefit's Moon Beam is more yellow based.

MAC Flattering Mattene lipstick (LE) 
Flattering is a nice neutral shade veering into the brown cream tone, and I love the matte finish. It's not as drying as other matte lipsticks I have tried, but a lip balm underneath is essential. Too bad the Mattenes were limited edition, they are richly pigmented and great if you want matte lips.

25 Mar 2009

Running in Heels feature

Alice from Running in Heels was awesome enough to ask me for an interview for their online magazine! I had great fun answering her questions and am so happy about the opportunity.

Click here to check out the interview with me and their website!

I feel a bit like a celebrity now, lol! Only joking...

24 Mar 2009

Spring cleaning for my vanity!

My vanity area has been a complete mess for the past week or more, covered in dust, dirty brushes, and random crap just lying around. No wonder I haven't been in the mood to make any new videos, or try out any fun makeup looks. So I decided to tackle that bitch and give it a facelift and a thorough cleaning.


On the last image you can see my overflowing brush holder (I need to make a new one since I've acquired many new brushes since its inception), my q-tip jar, random mascaras, eyeliners and lip pencils. The three bottles are (left to right) spray toner, foundation filled into a pump dispenser, and MAC brush cleanser in a spray container.

Feeling much better already! Now I just need to tackle the laundry stacking up on the couch behind. :p

23 Mar 2009

Been feeling uninspired lately...

Been in a bit of a rut lately, personal things and Youtube. Things going on behind the scenes that is making me less and less motivated with Youtube, and I'm just annoyed with a few things in the overall YT beauty community. I guess I just do not understand why sometimes very dull and boring videos get 100,000+ views while other very informative and great videos from talented people get not even a fraction of that. Just my own opinion of course, but it's very discouraging. The most skilled and talented makeup artists on Youtube do not get the views or credit they deserve (I am not speaking about myself here.) Some of the best makeup artists on Youtube are rarely talked about, like Nireyna or ApropoMakeup or AprilJ0. (Go check them out!)

In a way I feel that Youtube is less about makeup artistry, but more about video production, which is very disheartening because I'm in this due to my love for makeup artistry. Youtube is a means to an end for me and my number one priority is improving my craft and coming up with original looks. There are many gurus on Youtube who are happy to do the same basic look over and over again just using different colors, but no real progress or diversity is ever seen. Is this what the audience wants to see? This, to me, is not the sign of a true artist.

I think I may take a break from Youtube for a bit and focus on things going on in my personal life, and get back my energy and inspiration for new videos. To me it's about quality, not quantity, and staying unique. I still have a couple of videos saved up but I have not felt the desire to make a new video in several weeks now. I may post the ones I filmed in the coming weeks though.

I hope you're all keeping well! Don't worry I'll be back on Youtube, I just need to take a step back for maybe a while and get back to a happy place. I'll still be updating the blog though.



21 Mar 2009

Latest Lemming: Mint Mojito nailpolish by Orly

(FYI: Lemming means the latest beauty product craving you have!)

I was browsing on makeupalley.com today and saw these amazing pictures of a soon-to-be released nailpolish from Orly: Mint Mojito! The latest trend is mint green nails. MAC released Peppermint Patti with the Sugarsweet collection, rumor has it Chanel will be coming out with a mint green as well, and now Orly is following suit.


LOVE IT!! Have to have it. MAC's Peppermint Patti is wonderful too but I refuse to pay that much for nailpolish. Mint Mojito will be released with Orly's Tiki Time collection.

Below: Some pictures of mint green nails spotted during a Chanel fashion show. Click for full size.

19 Mar 2009

Nailpolish Haul and China Glaze update

Remember when I blogged about the upcoming China Glaze Summer Days collection? I said I would let you know when the collection becomes available. Well you can now order it on head2toebeauty.com and transdesign.com if you're interested!

I talk about my recent nailpolish haul in this latest video, I will try to get pictures up of my haul as soon as I have some good lighting again with daytime sun.

15 Mar 2009

I made a yummy beef stew!

I was in the mood for some rustic comfort food last night so I made a lovely beef stew. This was my first try making this particular kind of stew and I loved it! The flavour was so rich and scrumptious, my man gave me a huge compliment. But then he's always happy when I cook something "wholesome". :)

I used THIS recipe but made quite a few changes, if you want to try it out. I added a can of chopped tomatoes, chili powder, tomato paste, a splash of red wine, and changed the water to beef stock. I also added more garlic and Worcester sauce, some dried thyme and rosemary, and 3 stalks of celery. Once I did all that, it was delicious. This is a good basic recipe that can be added to as desired. Delicious and the meat was so tender!

Let me know if you want to see more cooking or other off-topic (non-makeup related) posts on here, cooking is my other passion and I actually think I'm quite good at it, if I do say so myself! Hehe...

12 Mar 2009

Spring Colors: Green and Coral makeup tutorial


I decided to do a very colourful spring look using green, coral, and pink! I hope you like this look.

Products used:

Face: Alima mineral foundation N1 Chiffon, Nars Desire blush
Eyes: NYX Jumbo eye pencils in Milk and Horse Radish, 120 color eyeshadow palette from eBay, MAC Solar White e/s, Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara, L'Oreal black liquid eyeliner, Ben Nye black pencil eyeliner, MAC Brow pencil in Spiked
Lips: NYX Femme lipstick, MAC Lychee Luxe lipglass

Review: Essence mascaras

In a recent video I talked about these mascaras from Essence, a very inexpensive drugstore brand here in Europe (it's a German brand.) Even drugstore makeup can be a bit pricey in Europe with some mascaras from Max Factor running to around $20 USD a pop, so Essence caters to the lower-end price spectrum and is popular with teenagers.

Essence Volume Boost Base Mascara

I had high hopes in this drugstore fiber mascara base, because of how inexpensive it was and how much I have heard about fiber mascaras. A fiber mascara is essentially a mascara that contains small fibers inside (I don't know what the fibers are made of), which stick onto your lashes to add length. They are very popular in Asian countries but are largely unknown on the Western beauty market. Some high end fiber mascaras include Fiberwig and Kanebo. This one by Essence was dirt cheap so I was very excited to try it out.

Sadly, I was unimpressed by this. This product made my lashes very brittle, and while the fibers seemed to add length, they also made them very uneven, almost bumpy looking. It was very hard to coat the lashes evenly with mascara after. This mascara base is white and it didn't dry clear, so it was hard to fully cover up the base with a black mascara. It did add volume but it also made my lashes look really bumpy and just not....smooth and luscious. It also did nothing for waterproofing or at least smudge-proofing; I didn't feel like my mascara performed any better with this on. In fact, I think my mascara looked better without this product on!

In conclusion: If you're curious about fiber mascaras, give it a go as it's so cheap, but overall I wasn't impressed with this at all.

Essence Lash Mania mascara

This is essentially trying to copy at least the packaging of Dior's Diorshow mascara, and it has a similar fat brush as the Diorshow. But I think that's pretty much where the similarities end. I do not own Diorshow so I can't say how they compare, but overall I wasn't impressed with this mascara. It did have a very nice deep black color and I didn't have any problems using the wide brush, but it didn't do much for my lashes. This mascara was just OK. Not horrible, but not wonderful. I have better results with Covergirl Lashblast or Max Factor 2000 Calorie. Once again it made my lashes very hard and brittle, and sort of clumpy looking. This did nothing for separating and defining the lashes, and it was hard to do my lower lashes with the fat brush. The mascara also flaked after a period of wear.

In conclusion, I guess if you're on a super tight budget then give Essence mascaras a try, but there's plenty of other drugstore mascaras out there that are just better. I don't think I will foray into Essence mascaras again.

9 Mar 2009

Hair Tutorial: Textured Bedhead Half Updo

In my previous Vamp inspired makeup tutorial, I had quite a few questions from viewers asking me how I did my hair. I'm honestly not one who spends a huge amount of time fixing elaborate hairstyles, I much prefer simple and effortless looks that remain stylish but don't require a lot of patience. I also don't have many hair tools to my disposal, so I make do with a crappy hair dryer and a crappy iron for now.

This half updo hairstyle looks chic and modern, but is very simple to do, especially if you have naturally wavy hair to start with. I love having wavy hair; although it can be a pain sometimes to tame, it really is the most versatile hair texture to work with. Having layers for this look is also very useful.

Tools and products I used:

Teasing comb
Large round brush
Bobby pins
Wella hairspray (drugstore variety)
Sebastian Molding Mud (hair texturizing pomade)

Try it out and let me know how it turns out!

6 Mar 2009

HD beauty products - a gimmick?

Seems like the cosmetic industry has caught onto the newest fad - HD cosmetics, apparently designed for high definition television. But is HD makeup just a gimmick? We've seen Makeup Forever garner a lot of success and notoriety for their HD foundation and HD powder, and seems like many cosmetic companies are catching on: Writing HD on the packaging will result in consumer hype and sales.

But I think I've seen it all now: Check out this blog entry by alllacqueredup.com about HD nailpolish by Sally Hansen. I mean really: HD nailpolish? Made with liquid crystals?? Oh, come on! This just bugs me as much as those shampoo adverts with their pseudo-science like "nutrilium" and all that garbage!

I am not fooled by the HD packaging of cosmetic companies, because they ultimately promise no better results than other high quality products. HD-labeling does not an excellent product make. It really has a lot to do with the application method, that is why airbrushing has become so popular for television, film and print media. Now I'm not saying that these new HD products are not good, I've heard a lot of glowing reviews for the HD line from Makeup Forever, but I just want to warn people not to buy into the hype. Buy a product for its quality, not for the labeling alone that promises a lot but might not be any better than other "non-HD" products out there.

What are your thoughts on HD cosmetics? Share them in the comments!

5 Mar 2009

Tutorial: Vampy gothic inspired look

As you may have read from an earlier post, I've been reading (and have now finished) the Twilight book series. You can check out what I thought of the whole series by clicking here. I know there's been a lot of Twilight inspired looks posted on Youtube, so this is not a Twilight look. I started with the idea of vampires and then just drew inspiration from that - a dark, vampy, gothic type of look, but still keeping it modern and not too over the top. I guess this is how I envision myself to look if I were a vampire! I used gothic-makeup elements of black eyes and deep blood red lips. I also tried to do my hair in a vampy style, whatever that means! On the black and white photo I have added some effects in Photoshop to create a slightly spooky mood. I hope you enjoy this look and try it out yourself!

(As an aside, I wish I had the opportunity to film all my videos during daytime, the video and the pictures come out so much better, and capture the makeup more accurately. *sigh*)

Click the images for full size

Products used:

Face: Ben Nye concealer, MAC Studio Fix foundation, Ben Nye White eyeshadow (for added pallor), Ben Nye Contour Nr. 1, MAC Blushbaby blush
Eyes: MAC Untitled Paint as a base, black gel eyeliner (eBay), Ben Nye Graystone eyeshadow, MAC Carbon eyeshadow, generic false lashes
Lips: MAC Blot powder, MAC Velvetella lipliner, Nars Scarlet Empress lipstick, NYX Chaos lipstick, NYX Grape lipgloss, MAC Style Minx lipglass (limited edition from Heatherette collection)

3 Mar 2009

When nailpolish orders go wrong...

My order from head2toebeauty.com arrived but one of the polishes (Misa - Blue over a Boy) decided to have a heart attack mid-flight I guess, and puked up all over my other bottles. :(

Never had something like this happen before. I'm trying to get H2T to replace at least the exploded bottle, the picture of the other bottles was after my rudimentary clean-up attempt using polish remover.


2 Mar 2009

Review: The Brush Guard

I recently had a chance to try out a new product called The Brush Guard, and no joke, I love it! Basically they are stretchy mesh tubes that fit around the bristles of your makeup brushes by sliding them into the tube starting from the handle, then pulling it over the bristles. I have never seen a product like this before, since it is really for a niche market, but these are very useful for any makeup artist or consumer.

The main reason I like them is because they help to dry your brushes in their original shape, which totally eliminates flyaways. In a recent video I did on brush maintenance, I said that I used to wrap my brushes up in toilet paper while drying so that they would retain a dense shape. But the Brush Guard is a lot easier to use, helps the brushes dry faster because of its mesh design, and is also more environmentally friendly because they can be used over and over again. I have been using this product for a few weeks now and I give it two thumbs up. They are also very inexpensive! I would recommend the variety pack to start out with.

Please check their website (click here) for prices and shipping! They also ship internationally at a low cost.

Ask Me Beauty: Too much product on the lips?

When you wear lipstick or lipgloss, what do you do when it starts migrating towards the inner part of your lips and forms a line where your lips meet? Is it an indication that my lips are too dry or that I applied too much?

The way you describe it, especially with a line of product forming where your top and bottom lips meet, sounds like a classic case of too much product applied. However, the easiest way to correct this problem is by blotting! I use a piece of tissue paper, and carefully press it against my lips. You can also make an "O" shape with your mouth, stick your finger in your mouth and then pull it out, that will remove excess product from the inner side of your lips, which will also prevent transferring the lipstick to your teeth. With lipgloss, just apply less, focusing on the center of your mouth.

This is how I prepare my lips if I want super long wearing lip color using lipstick and gloss:

1. Exfoliate your lips using a damp washcloth or a toothbrush
2. Moisturize your lips with some hydrating lip balm, allow to sink in and remove any excess
3. Use a bit of translucent blotting powder before applying lipliner, this will help the lipstick stay in place
4. Apply corresponding lipliner and fill in the entire lips
5. Apply lipstick on top
6. Blot with a kleenex
7. Optional: Dust a bit of translucent powder on the first layer of lipstick, then apply a second coat of lipstick
8. If you want gloss, add a small amount to the center of your lips and spread, you don't need to pile on the gloss, a small amount is entirely enough.

That should have your lip color locked in place for several hours at least, depending on the quality of the products used. If you like wearing just gloss, you don't need to slather on 5 layers, you just want your lips to look glossy, not covered in a gooey film. Using a lip balm before applying gloss also helps it to spread evenly without having to pile on lots of product. I hope that helped!

If you have a beauty related question and need advice, please email your question to askmebeauty@gmail.com The best questions will be published on my blog, your anonymity is guaranteed.