Monday, October 27, 2014

The "Alphabet Cheek Dictionary" MOTW: W is for Pink

Phew, after recovering from the bizzaro blush world of last week, the W for Wink, er.... Pink is an unexpected conclusion to this ABC series. Again, the theme of using a blush for something else other than a blush, such as highlighter, contour, and in this case bronzer, continues.

The Tuto

The playful and cute alternative to bronzer: this technique mimic the placement of natural tan, where the sun hits the face. Use matte pink powder blush to achieve this look, i.e. NARS Blusher 4039 New Attitude (a cherry blossom pink). Alternatives include Paul and Joe Face Color CS 089 Azalea, Les Merveilleuses Ladurée Creamy Cheek Pot 103 and Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact N 07 Sweet Primrose.

From the highest point of both cheeks, trace a U shape, then connect both on the bridge of the nose.

Swipe on grey-gradation shadow on the upper lids, brown liner on the bottom lashes and pink lipstick to round up the look.

Products Used

  • Burberry Complete Eye Palette in 01 Smokey Grey is the only Burberry quad I owned and perhaps the most underused eye palette in my collection. The shades themselves are quite lovely and I'm glad that I can use this palette for at least a week straight with this look. Not shown but also used is Burberry Eye Shadow in Pale Rose (discontinued), a pearly pinky base.
  • Chanel Le Crayon Yeux in Gris Scintillant, a sparkly grey liner that is stunning paired with matte greys of the Burberry. If I were to stay true with the tuto, I'd also line my bottom lids with taupey-brown liner like LMdB Champagne pencil, for example. 
  • Maquillage waterproof comb mascara (discontinued).
  • Since the look is all matte-matte, I think a nice slick of YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in 17 Encre Rose will give it a bit of a twist.
  • The blush! Oh, it is a vintage Ettusais circa 2002.. Guava is actually a shade of pure baby pink. Alternatively, I can use something like Burberry Peony or Chanel Blush in Tweed Pink.

My Impression

I would think that using bronzer in W-shape across the bridge of the nose would produce a more natural result than baby pink but the opposite is better for me (I don't tan, I burn whenever the sun hits my face and thus the pinkish-reddish burn in the W-shape). The cool grey eyes offset the saccharine baby pink and giving it a slight rock-chic edge, it is surprisingly tomboy & yet sweet at the same time.

The end! I've had fun preparing this series and I hope you have gleaned some tips/tricks on achieving the perfect cheek look for this Fall. Adaptations? Well, I can tell that I'll be wearing this W-rock-chic look for a bit, and the J-look is great translated into deep russet blush of the Fall.

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.