Today's Nails, Tonight's Treats

11.30.2012


As much as I love red nails during this time of year, there are some occasions that require a more understated look. Today I wore a combination of two polishes I had never tried before: Essie's "Eternal Optimist" with Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Nail Color in 180 "Disco Ball" on the accent nails. It's difficult for me to find nudey-pink polishes that work with my skin tone (Essie's famous "Mademoiselle" and "Fiji" just don't suit me!), but I really like the look of "Eternal Optimist." Under natural light, it's a rosy nude; under artificial light, it appears more beige. It's very subtle alone, and the glitter accent nail adds a barely-there touch of festivity. Do you wear nude polish? If so, I'd love your recommendations!

And now, to celebrate the start of the weekend, I have a couple of treats from Lush! The first is a "Golden Slumbers" Bath Bomb that contains lavender and chamomile and promises to lull you off to dreamland. I've never tried it, but it smells soothing, and the bits of sprigs and herbs look intriguing. Then there is "Sweet Lips" Lip Scrub. In case you don't already know about Lush lip scrubs, they're sugar scrubs that exfoliate your lips and smell (and taste) delicious. This one has a chocolate/vanilla flavor and contains nourishing castor oil. It polishes your lips to create a smooth canvas for lipstick. This is a yummy under-$10 indulgence, but if you don't want to spend the money, just create your own from sugar and a bit of olive oil. Or google "homemade lip scrub"... there are tons of recipes!

It's the most wonderful time of the week(end), everyone, so enjoy!

Art for Lunch: Good, Bad or Ugly?

11.29.2012


At lunchtime today, I took a quick trip to an art gallery. Galleries are one of my favorite quick getaways... I love the open space, the muted voices and the feeling of not knowing exactly what to expect when you turn the next corner. But when it comes to "modern art," I am of two minds. Modern art can be inspiring, evocative, intricate, shocking and clever. But it can also leave me feeling underwhelmed, blank or like I'm trying too hard to make it work in my head. I once took a group of students on a field trip to the Tate Modern in London. They were most unimpressed at the art that (in their words) "anyone could do." This kind of art (usually) aspires to touch upon something deeper than its superficial simplicity. But its success is very subjective. 

I snapped these photos of works by an artist named Jeffry Mitchell. His influences are eclectic and include folk art, Chinese sculpture, Russian Constructivism and watercolor. The pieces in this exhibit were a strange mixture of childish, kitschy, classical, cute, ornate, nonsensical... I'm not going to pretend I know what's going on in them!  I guarantee that some of you won't like it. But I'd love to know what you think. I'm not sure about it myself, so you can be honest!  

Dress Me Up // Polka Dots

11.28.2012

As promised. Many thanks to all of you who read and commented on my last style post! The likelihood of my purchasing any of the items above is slim to none, but if given the opportunity I would have so much fun creating an outfit based around any of them, especially the sequin top from J. Crew or the Bill Blass vintage cocktail skirt! What do you think?

November Favorites

11.27.2012


NUXE Melting Cleansing Gel: Despite the name, it's more of a cream than a gel, and it does not foam, which makes it a great cleanser for the winter months. I usually cleanse once with it in the morning and twice at night (to remove makeup); it takes makeup off very well and smells like roses! 

Laneige Water Bank Essence: I purchased a few products from Laneige earlier this month and have been using them regularly ever since. Laneige has quickly become one of my favorite skincare brands. This product has a lightweight gel consistency and is used day and night underneath moisturizer to help your moisturizer sink into your skin. It works particularly well under tinted moisturizer, which is sometimes not hydrating enough by itself. I plan to review of all of the Laneige products I'm using soon; let me know if this interests you!

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: Although it's not the most exciting body cream because it's fragrance-free, it has cured my dry and itchy skin. It contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid and is very affordable.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Pure Color Lipstick in No. 31 "Rose Fusain": I've decided that if I could wear only one lipstick for the rest of my life, this would be it. Neither too bright nor too dark, this rose-fuchsia color is suitable for both day and night. 

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Matte in No. 010 "Wine Not": I've also been loving this dark red lip color, which is less versatile than the YSL one but makes a dramatic statement. I suggest pairing it with very minimal eye makeup. It would be great for a holiday party!

Maybelline Color Tattoo in No. 35 "On and on Bronze": And speaking of minimal eye makeup, this eye shadow is perfect. Dabbing a little on the eyelids with a sweep of mascara makes an easy but polished look. 

Euphoria by Calvin Klein: I received a handbag-sized bottle of this perfume last Christmas as part of a fragrance sampler, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It has notes of pomegranate, persimmon, lotus blossom, orchid, amber, cream and mahogany.  It's sweet and potent, and it brings back good memories of last year's holiday season. 


Primark Fleece Pajamas: These pajamas are the result of a random act of kindness in the blogging world!  When I mentioned here on Ellalogy that I was looking for fleece pajamas like the kind Primark carries in the UK, Elle (who has a blog you should visit here!) emailed me and offered to send me a pair! She even took pictures of all the different kinds she found in the store so that I could choose the pattern I liked best. This was such a good early holiday present... thank you so much Elle! I've been living in them as much as possible :)

Hydration: Bottled coconut water is slightly overpriced hydration, but I've been trying to keep hydrated all month, mostly by drinking a lot of plain water and herbal tea.

John Baxter, The Most Beautiful Walk In The World: I'm currently reading this, which has allowed me to live vicariously through someone else's Parisian adventures. In this memoir, Baxter describes Paris through the "literary walking tours" that he gave while living in the city. It is humorous, relatable and informative. 

This is the first monthly favorites post I've done, and if there's interest I'll plan to make it a habit! What things did you enjoy this month? If you have a favorites post, link it below!

On The Dot

11.25.2012


A small part of me associates polka dots with Minnie Mouse and a ladybug costume I had when I was seven. Because of this, now that I need to act like an adult, I'm more of a stripes kind of girl. But this season I purchased my first polka-dotted item in a long time: the sweater I'm wearing above, which was a cheap and cheerful spur-of-the-moment find from Forever 21 during a sweater sale. You can find it online here; it's one of the warmest I own. I paired it with a few items I've had for a while: a white scarf from H&M, a Betsey Johnson bracelet and crescent-shaped earrings that were a gift from my brother a couple of years ago (doesn't he have good taste?!). I like the fact that the mini pompoms on the scarf and the tiny diamante dots on the bracelet miniaturize the large dots on the sweater... but maybe I'm just going dotty! On my nails I'm wearing Nail's Inc. "Victoria" with OPI "The World Is Not Enough" sponged over the top. As usual, excuse the messy hair. Now I'm excited to find more polished ways of wearing polka dots. So much so, in fact, that I am currently making a lust list centered around dots. It features a polka-dot sequinned top... yep. I'll share it here when I'm done! Anyone out there a fan of polka dots? I'd love to know how you wear them :)

I hope you've all had a great weekend! I did a tiny bit of holiday shopping downtown, listened to Christmas music (I'm trying not to overdose on it!), caught up with friends and relatives, and received an early holiday present (more on this later!). And if you haven't already, feel free to enter my newest giveaway... it's the post below, or click here!

Holiday Giveaway: Deborah Lippmann Polish! [Closed]

11.23.2012



Meet the latest object of my magpie tendencies: Deborah Lippmann polishes. I love the colors (especially the shimmery and glittery ones!), the formulation and the fact that the polish is carcinogen-free. I've been successful so far in resisting the temptation to purchase another bottle for myself this season, but to celebrate the holidays here on Ellalogy, and to say a huge thank you to my readers (and to have an excuse to visit the counter again soon), I am giving away a bottle of Deborah Lippmann nail polish in the color of your choice! You can check out the amazing color selection on the Deborah Lippmann website here

If you'd like a chance to win, here's what to do:

To enter: Follow this blog publicly on Google Friend Connect and leave a comment below with your email or a way for me to contact you if you win! 

For optional extra entries:
- Follow this blog via Bloglovin' (+1) ... do this here!
- Follow me on Instagram (@elliemarjorie) (+1) ... do this here!
- Follow me on Twitter (@ellalogy) (+1) ... do this here!
- Mention this giveaway in a blog post and include a link to the giveaway! You can use the image above! (+1)

Leave a comment for EACH ENTRY - this is extremely important so that each of your entries is counted separately and you have a better chance of winning!

This giveaway is open internationally and will end in three weeks on Saturday, December 15th at 12:00am, when I will choose a winner via random.org. One of you will be receiving an extra holiday present! Good luck and lots of holiday love and cheer to you all!

YSL Lipsticks // My Lipstick Trials

11.19.2012


There's something satisfying about the mark that lipstick leaves behind on a coffee cup. It's a stamp of femininity and extravagance and a silent way of marking one's territory - one that says, "That's my Starbucks, not yours, honey." No coffee cup kiss is better than one from a YSL lipstick. The three YSL lipsticks I own are my most indulgent and favorite makeup items, and as superficial as they might be, they've become an essential aspect of how I like to dress up.

When I first started wearing lipstick, I experimented with nude lips, a trend that looked easy, subtle and elegant on others but made me look slightly ill. My first high-end lipstick was MAC's Angel, a bluish pink that leans toward the nude side; this looked awful on me but I kept wearing it because it was famous. The moral of the story: just because it looks good on Kim Kardashian does not mean it will look good on you. I finally relegated nude lips to the list of things that I can't pull off, a list that also includes equestrian-style boots (if only I were taller!) and anything with an empire waistline.

After many more lipstick trials and a lot of indecision, my first YSL purchase was the Rouge Pur Couture Pure Color Lipstick SPF 15 in #31 "Rose Fusain." It provides a fairly full-coverage satin finish and lasts for ages. I received the Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain #10 in "Rouge Filtre" as a present and was so impressed by the finish that I purchased the Glossy Stain #14 in "Fuchsia Dore" last summer. The glossy stains are my default lip product for any special occasion. They are as pigmented as a lipstick with as much shine as a gloss, and they stay on even after a long multi-course dinner. The best way to apply them is to layer one thin coat on top of the other; don't blot your lips together too much until the color sets. 



Each of these colors is very buildable and can be much deeper than the swatches suggest - #14 becomes especially dark when layered. If you haven't tried a bold lip, don't be afraid! Start with colors from the drugstore, see which ones you like, get others' opinions and start marking those coffee cups.

What lip colors do you like to wear? Have you tried YSL lipsticks?

Dressed In Holiday Style

11.17.2012

The following things used to be on my list of "things not to do": wear faux fur, paint my nails with bold glitter polish, and drink Starbucks holiday drinks before Thanksgiving. I've violated all three this weekend. What can I say... 'tis the season for a bit of rule-breaking, and I am a little too excited for all things cozy, twinkly and Christmasy! I found this faux fur scarf at Nordstrom (online here in three different colors); it is extremely affordable and one of the softest items of clothing I've ever owned. I had been eyeing a similar faux fur collar at H&M, but after seeing it in person I decided on this one instead; for only a couple of dollars more, it doesn't have that tacky fake-fur feeling and is as cuddly as a teddy bear! As for the finger bling, yesterday I painted my nails with Essie's "Raspberry" topped with Deborah Lippmann's "Happy Birthday" on two accent nails (because I couldn't stop at just one!). "Happy Birthday" reminds me of twinkle lights. Painting my nails is something I'm not very skilled at, but they say practice makes perfect, yes?



We stepped into Starbucks this afternoon and it suddenly felt like the weekend before Christmas rather than the weekend before Thanksgiving. Holiday music, a mini tree and plenty of gift ideas for coffee-lovers.  If you're looking for a lighter version of "Christmas in a cup," I'd recommend a tall americano with a bit of steamed milk and a pump of gingerbread. ^.~

Have you tried any new holiday trends this year? What is your favorite?

Korean Food and Skincare

11.15.2012


Today it was time to get in touch with my Asian side ^^... by doing a little bit of Korean-style shopping and eating! We found cuteness overload at H Mart, a Korean-American supermarket chain with a huge grocery store, a food court and smaller, more specialized shops. Cute cases in point: aprons and cookies.



I was excited to visit a shop called Amore. As far as I know, Amore is kind of like a Korean Sephora. I had never been to one before and I don't know a whole lot about it besides the fact that the company has produced a line called Amore Pacific which is ridiculously expensive and sold at select Sephoras and online here. I found a few more reasonably priced brands in this little shop. If you like girly and colorful things, you'll feel like a kid in a candy store here...

Korean skincare is something I've always wanted to try, but I don't know a thing about it. Luckily, a skincare consultant had helpful advice. In order to figure out what my skin needed, she used a blue-light device and a little strip of paper called a "sebum-oil indicator" across various parts of my face and then uploaded the results to a computer. Sound gimmicky enough to you? I had never seen this technology before and was skeptical, but the results were exactly what I predicted: my skin is very dehydrated, and as a result it over-produces oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. I left the store with a couple of things to try from the brand Laneige (which means "snow" in French). They'll be replacing the things I've run out of since my last skincare post, so we'll see how they work!



All I can say right now is that the packaging is pretty! I also found a few cheap thrills. Koreans make the best socks and notebooks!


We ate dolsot bibimbap: rice, veggies, meat and a fried egg served in a hot stone pot so that the rice becomes slightly crispy at the bottom, along with spicy gochujang sauce.



We left with full bellies and (in my case) a renewed obsession for the colorful things I loved so much as a kid when I lived closer to my Korean relatives!

Do you shop at Asian supermarkets?  Have you tried Asian beauty products? If so, tell me which ones you like!

Candid Camera: Seven Things About Me

11.14.2012



Some bits and pieces from today. Some are old standards and others are a little atypical for me. 

Lady Million is one of my favorite perfumes; it might be cliche but it just smells so romantic. The pearl earrings used to be my mom's; she handed them down to me before I went to Italy a few years ago. I am a terrible nail-painter but lately I've been inspired by Traci from drinkcitra and other amazing nail artists here in the blog world to try something different. I used OPI's In The Shadows with a tiny bit of OPI's Bring On The Bling on the tips. The latter was an old polish that has become gloopy so I don't think I'll be using it again, but this was my first attempt at glitter tips and I definitely want to try it again (polish suggestions welcome!). I usually avoid rain boots, but when walking Eva in wet weather, they save the day.

In other news, a little while ago I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely Elle from Lipstick and Lace! I want to thank her for thinking of me, and please go check out her blog - she is so friendly and has great beauty tips! I'm supposed to tell you seven things about me, so here goes:
  1. I am a small child at heart. I love Disney movies, balloons, cookies in the shape of animals, teddy bears, mini-size foods etc. 
  2. I have (multiple) nicknames for everyone in my family. 
  3. I didn't know what "YOLO" meant until very recently. Now the acronym seems to follow me wherever I go. (In case you're urban-dictionary-illiterate like me, it means "you only live once.") This even happened: a girl I tutor jokingly proposed that she would answer a question on her college application with "YOLO." Apparently, "YOLO" is controversial (see this article) and some people hate it. Admissions officers probably do. Do you?
  4. I'm shy, but I've learned to disguise my shyness, mostly through traveling and forcing myself to step out of my comfort zone.
  5. I am half-Korean and I would love to travel to South Korea someday. 
  6. Most people I know are either dog-people or cat-people. I love cats and dogs equally, and this results in a mini existential crisis.
  7. I need to clean the entire bedroom floor now because we're having the carpet cleaned tomorrow. I may or may not stuff everything in the closet. (I will.)
There are so many amazing bloggers I could nominate for this award. To name a few: Rachel at Blush and Brunch, Georgia at Life at the Coop, Mishelle at Mishelle's Sleepy TimeWanischa, and Jessica Choy. And if you're reading and you have a blog, I nominate you!

PS: Don't forget to check out my giveaway and enter if you're interested in winning the software I use to create my blog images and more! You'll find it in the previous post, or just click here

My Memories // Giveaway [CLOSED]





Some of the most important events in my life have taken place far away from where I call home. I rely on photos to tell my stories to friends and relatives. When I was offered the chance to try the My Memories Suite* digital scrapbooking software, I discovered ways to turn these photos into something more creative and personalized. 

At first, the word "scrapbooking" made me slightly apprehensive. I've never scrapbooked before, and I prefer to present my photos in a fairly minimalistic manner. I'm not a huge fan of cartoon-ifying photos with embellishments, and (as the website will suggest) that is one thing you can do with My Memories. But don't be fooled; the software offers so much more. It has enabled me to create photographic keepsakes that are true to my style, and it has enhanced the way I create images for my blog.

If you want to know more about this software and have a chance to win a copy for yourself, keep reading!

Sephora: Wish List // Gift Guide

11.12.2012





-  a   f e w   o f   m y   f a v o r i t e   p i c k s   f r o m   S e p h o r a  -

Some of these products I've tried and loved; others just look enticing or sound promising. All of them would make great gifts, and any of them would be more than welcome to reside on my dressing table. The images are from the Sephora website; each product is linked in the list above. I put the photos together using a new and extremely user-friendly software program, which I will tell you about later this week! There might even be a giveaway too, hint hint!

What would you pick?

On Instagram 1

11.11.2012

pastries | new pajamas | with eiffel tower print

election night pizza party | chocolate sorbet... and wine | bad hair day
these red shoes have seen many cities | carpet of leaves | Thai food
christmas ornaments | at the gym | possible winter boots?
snoozing as usual | kisses wrappers | banana bread
new NUXE | a hilarious read | hello
Instagram @elliemarjorie 

This week's "week in pictures" is this close from turning into "week in food." A lot of eating happened, and I conducted a baking experiment: truly decadent cookies called "Spicy Smooches." You'll find the recipe in the post below; thank you to everyone who has left comments! I watched more TV than usual (The Avengers, election night updates, many episodes of Sherlock). I've also been devouring the book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, who as you might know is an actress, producer and writer of The Office. There are more than a few similarities between her childhood and my own, and pretty much every page makes me laugh out loud. I finally purchased new pajama shorts. Embarrassingly, the only pair I had left was from high school. I am still searching for long fleecy ones like the kind Primark carries in the UK - if you know where to get some in the US, tell me! I shopped for something else too, but it is top secret and I can't reveal it just yet. I drank a lot of water and herbal teas in an effort to follow through on my hydration goal here. And Eva started hibernating... jealous.

Are you counting down the days until December? I am!
 

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