Monday, October 20, 2014

The "Alphabet Cheek Dictionary" MOTW: T is for Orange

Just when I thought we've finished visiting the bizzaro world last week, this week's feature is even more, well, bizzaro. "T is not for Orange, Ma. T is for Tiger!" I think the Tod is right, although tiger is often orange-looking. Oh well, who am I to argue with a three year old? To further the bizzaro-ness of this look, I think the "orange" they are referring to is more of a coral for my taste. What do you think?

The Tuto

This "cheek look" starts from the under eyes area, which at first glance seems to appear introspective (?) (想定内) yet the juicy orange turns the look coquettish. O.k. I have to admit, this translation is a bit outlandish, but I think the look is supposed to be the playful-yet-shy-innocent type.

Directly on the under eyes area, draw a horizontal line using medium-size blush brush (the model uses something that very much look like an elongated-version of SUQQU blush brush), approximately the corner-to-corner width of the eye. Next, draw a vertical line on the middle of the cheek, using the side, narrow part of the blush brush.

The featured blush is Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée Face Color Rose 102 (mini), with alternatives from Elegans Cosmetics, Shu Uemura (Silk Cushion Blusher in Orange Quartz) and Lunasol. 

Finish the look with gradation of shimmery brown (Estee Lauder Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palette 28), black liquid liner (Majolica Majorca BK999), and sheer orange gloss (RMK W Crayon & Gloss Lips 05).

Products Used

  • Tom Ford Quad in Enchanted palette needs a bit of love so I use that. In reality, perhaps this palette is a bit warmer than inspiration EL palette, but I like the contrast of slightly cooler-eye to offset the warm cheeks and lips. Note, on the model, the eyes are lined both top and bottom (maybe bottom slightly smudgy using the darkest shade from the eye palette).
  • Lunasol Liquid Eye Liner, mine is in brown-black, paired with the Little Witch Mote Mascara, my fave tubing mascara (hoarding every single drop of this!).
  • RMK Mix Color Cheek in 02 Coral has the top orange bits that fits the look.
  • NYX Butter Gloss in Appel Strudel is perhaps a bit too milky, but it has that peachy look that I need.

My Impression

Whoa, this look does not work on me at all! Something about drawing the T-shaped coral right underneath the eye makes me look like a clown, er.. a bizzaro Mama Lorp, perhaps? I try blending it more into a triangular shape, still does not work. The closest that I can achieve with this look, keeping the spirit of cute-innocent-coquettish is placing the blush on the apples, slightly higher up than I'd normally do.

I guess I'm not that innocent, but it does not mean you can't rock this look! See it for yourself and if you do decide to try this one, maybe an instagram?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Breakfast Porridge

There's nothing better in a chilly Autumn morning than a bowl of freshly prepared breakfast porridge. The Tod, especially, since it affords him an independence of choosing his toppings and the inevitable consequence of freedom to eat only the toppings. Steel cut oatmeal is our favorite but my version today is made crunchier with addition of quinoa and amaranth. I follow the ratio of 1:3 of grain to liquid, with any combination of grains I have on hand.

A time-saving tip for a busy mom like me is knowing when to hover around the stove and stir; not the entire 25-30 minutes of cooking time, but only for the last 5 minutes, when the grain has turned sticky and has more potential to burn on the bottom of the pot. Before then, just stir the pot every 5 minutes or so while keeping your little ones happy. In the end, perfect porridge is achieved without much elbow grease or accidents happening in the living/play room.

Toasting the grains take an extra 5 minutes at the beginning but it is so worthwhile. It really elevates a regular, oat-mealy porridge into something quite fragrant and earthy. I toast my grains dry but I think you can use a pat of butter, too.

Finally, don't skip/skimp on the salt. I use 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but many will find this too salty. I adore the contrast between the sweet maple syrup, the tartness of the fruit and the saltiness of the porridge. A little bit of salt will turn your porridge from just ok, to WOW!

Breakfast Porridge with Steel Cut Oats, Quinoa and Amaranth

makes a pot enough for one hungry family

1 cup of grains (I chose 1/3 c of each steel cut oats, quinoa and amaranth)
3 cups of liquid (milk, or water, or in my case 1 1/2 cups of each water and whole milk)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoonful of salt.

If using quinoa, wash it thoroughly under running water to get rid of saponin (a substance that coats the quinoa and makes it taste bitter).

Toast the grain over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until it turns a bit golden and smells nutty. This step also helps to dry the quinoa which we just rinsed.

Once toasted, pour in the liquid, crank up the heat to high. Bring everything to boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes to desired doneness (we like our porridge crunchy, so I stop around the 25-min mark) -- stirring occasionally & judiciously.

Topping ideas include:
Brown sugar, maple syrup, a bit more milk to thin out the porridge or cream to make it richer, fruit compote, figs, honey.. practically endless. We used up our last precious homemade peach compote that we canned earlier in Summer.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The "Alphabet Cheek Dictionary" MOTW: J is for Coral

The J-Coral look is perhaps the most no-brainer look in the series but with a little bit of a twist. Again, we see flip-flop placement of (colored) blush in lieu of highlighter in the J-section area around the cheek bone up toward the temple -- a doppelgänger of the red blush on the cheek hollow from last week's look. Bizzaro universe, indeed!

In Bizzaro Seinfeld, did Elaine probably wear her blush as contour and highlight?

The Tuto

The soft-coral blush (Chicca Flush Blush Powder in 05 Peach Mission, other alternative products included matte-peach from THREE, Ipsa and RMK) on top of the cheek bones creates the air of healthy "charm." Continue blending the blush upward towards the temple to give a more "lifted cheeks" effect by accentuating the J-curve.

The tutorial features powder blush using medium-sized, stubby cheek brush, not unlike Tom Ford's blush brush (although the tutorial does not specify the kind of blush brush used). 

Start in the center of the cheek, from the highest point when smiling (I assume this would be the apples), glide along the cheek bone upward. Then resting the brush on the temple, brush lightly in short strokes near the hairline.

Shimmery golden wash on the moving lids (Addiction Beauty 3AM eye shadow, from Eivissa Dream collection 2014), pinky-shimmer on bottom lash line (Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Sea Shell), slight-winged eye liner and a nude mouth (MAC Close Contact lipstick) finish the look.

Products Used

  • Burberry Eye Shadow in Pearl White is used as an all-over base, along with Burberry Eye Liner in Midnight Ash. In retrospect, I could have used the golden-shimmery champagne shade from Chanel Mystere quad on the upper lid and By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Frozen Quartz for the bottom lid, but I think, again, the point of the look is not the eyes but the healthy-looking cheek.
  • Chanel Joues Contraste in Espiegle, the perfect apricot-coral (as opposed to pinky-coral) for this look. Note that the look is achieved using matte/non-pearl blush, I think JC has somewhat of a low-wattage pearl which fits the bill.
  • Aerin Lipstick in Sunday Morning is my go-to nudy peachy lip.

My Impression

An easy, very wearable look, despite the bizzaro placement of blush on the highlighter area. Definitely give this a try!