Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorite Books of 2013

My favorite books of 2013…and this is my list…those books that impacted me this year.  I tried to lean heavily toward those published in 2013 but added a few others.


Detroit an American Autopsy by Charlie Leduff

Antifragile; Things That Benefit from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
by Daron Acemoglu James Robinson

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy
by David Nasaw

Get Your Child to the Top by Megan Lisa Jones


Reamde by Neal Stephenson 2012

The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Troubled Daughters Twisted Wives by Sarah Weinman

This Side of Paradise By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender Is the Night is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Monday, December 30, 2013

My favorite beauty products of 2013

My favorite beauty products for 2013.  These are not the best products...just the ones I keep reaching for and that come to mind.  Should I do videos by product type (ie. Top palettes?).  Most are 2013 releases but since I've never done a favorites of the year video I threw in a few others.  And I tried to avoid including only sold out and limited edition products!

Please provide feedback and let me know if I should do related videos.

Urban Decay Naked 3
Too Faced A Few of My Favorite Things
Arabian Oud Kalemat (https://akafkaesquelife.wordpress.com/category/fragrances/arabian-oud/)
Laura Mercier Just Bare Naked Mini Lip Glace and Luxe Stickgloss collection
Hard Candy Glow All the Way in Doll Face and Glamazon Bronze
MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Superb and Double Definition
Kat Von D Lockit Longwear Foundation
Lancome Makeup Remover
Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2
MAC Metallic/Frost lipstick in Show All and Pre-Rafaelite
MAC Retro Matte Lipstick in Runway Hit
OCC Metallic Lip Tar in Zhora and Black Metal Dahlia
MAC Stroke of Midnight Nude lip bag
Tom Ford Black Orchid perfume
Urban Decay Foundation brush
Revlon Colorburst lip color in Whimsical
MAC Archie's Girls Blush in Cream Soda
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Rose Gold
Smashbox Legendary lipstick in Legendary
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Matte Brown and Nude Pink
Urban Decay Moondust eye shadow in Space Cowboy and Zodiac
MAC Extra Dimension eye shadow in Zestful, Extra Silver and O[alesse
Stila Stay All Day Illuminating Beauty Balm
Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Rush
MAC Fluidlines in Stares & Speculation and It's Physical
Smashbox Waterproof Shadow liner in Blackest Black and Black Gold
Smashbox Brows to go
Lancome Le Crayon Khol in Black Ebony
Urban Decay Shadow Primer Potion in Sin
Bare Minerals Steam eye shadow
Philip B Katira Hair Mask
David Evangelista Scrub Shampoo

Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2 and Vice 2…using the blues to get a look...

Pretty, vibrant…but workable...

Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Glossy Stains Rebel Nudes in Fuchsia Fugitive (109) and Fuchsia Tomboy (104) Review

Love these both.  What's the difference?  Watch and find out.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The App Generation by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis

The App Generation by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis is a short book that packs a lot into those pages.  Gardner is the Harvard graduate education school professor famous for identifying the multiple forms of education, specifically beyond linguistics (valued pre-19th century generally) and logical-mathematical (valued more today).  He is a huge influence on my thinking and, to my mind, one of those people who can think past accepted ideologies to really forge new and important paths.

I was therefore excited to read his new book, written with co-author Katie Davis.

But I want to digress for a minute.  I grew up in and out of Silicon Valley and worked in the tech industry so I do know something about apps.  I also am very skeptical of their true impact and importance, viewing them more as a diversion than a central area of importance.  I watch my kids and think they benefit more from technology than are harmed and I really hate reading about how these new generations are lesser from technology’s impact.  They are also empowered and self educating (at least my kids are).

But when a groundbreaking Harvard professor (whom you respect) focuses on appa, even I need to take a look.

And I’ll try to be somewhat brief as I hate writing long reviews, being someone who doesn’t read them.

First, Gardner and Davis have taken on more than apps and technology and the related impact of them on today’s younger generation.  This book is written in a somewhat light and conversational tone but the actual contents are groundbreaking.  Apps are definitional not an encompassing term.

The authors suggest that generations will no longer define themselves by historical events but rather technologies.  New generations will then potentially define themselves as separate earlier.  Ideology also has a place…but the new technologies share ideologies so much faster and effectively.

Importantly, buried in the back, and the key point of the book, is that today’s mix of technology into education is just dumping the old media on kids in a new way.  Since the educational system is so slow to change, these incremental “improvements” might actually make the system worse - but be hard to correct.

The authors then point out that the new technologies make drawing out and developing multiple types of intelligence easier.  Yet those changes aren’t being implemented in education but rather in the collaborative and creation based “apps” that allow kids to make something.  And kids do create in massive amounts online, then share their content (both through apps).

Are these apps limiting creativity and defining options such that they hinder rather than enable innovation?  Perhaps the process is too new to identify.  Gardner and Davis see both the upside and the risks inherent in the massive social and educational changes new technologies have bestowed.  But they do point out that we can all continue, and indeed must continue, to educate ourselves in and out of school.

To end, this book tackles education from a new angle.  I get frustrated with the pat analysis and easy solutions I read…most of which I dismiss.  Education is too often reformed within the confines of what exists and ideologies which are assumed to be true but are too often just retreads of popular myths.  I don’t agree with all of this book.  But many of the issues it tackles and conclusions it draws are too new to be substantiated with concrete and demonstrable data.  Still, someone needs to take a stand and look at the problem from new angles (it’s only the future of our children and country at stake).  No better duo than Gardner and Davis.

And, some of the stories are really more anecdotal than substantive.  Perhaps that compromise was to broaden the potential audience.  It didn’t work for me; the book did despite that decision.

Another groundbreaking work from Howard Gardner.

Friday, December 27, 2013

MAC Magnetic Nude Fluidlines Review: Chilled, It's Physical and Our Secret

This formula is stunning…long lasting…but glittery.  I really like these three colors…..

MAC Cosmetics Extra Dimension Skinfinish Review: Magnetic Appeal, Superb and Fairly Precious

I love this product!  I did find MAC's color descriptions slightly off….

MAC Cosmetics Magnetic Nude Collection Review: Magnetic Appeal, At Dusk, Chilled, It's hysical and Morning Rose

Such a pretty collection.  Review divided into three videos as UPS lost one package for two days...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette Review

Stunning palette.   Neutral and so usable.

Too Faced La Creme in Jelly Bean Review

Vibrant and so pretty!

Seven Deadlies, A Cautionary Tale, by Gigi Levangie Grazer Review

Seven Deadlies is a warning.

Cautionary, absolutely!  Perry Gonzales is a Hispanic teen from a lower income single home attending an elite Los Angeles private school.  She also tutors more privileged but less focused kids and helps them onto better paths.

Each section is defined by a different kid and a different kid.  So gluttony obviously deals with a teen who overeats, etc.

I love the concept.  Really clever, as is the writing.  Levangie is brutal in her analysis of what sets people apart.  She can also both pick at weakness while showing empathy and warmth.  The book works.  Not a long or deep read, it's just plain fun.

In the end Perry herself succumbs to a deadly…though the book is a little unclear if she's tutoring or the one in need.  And then comes the shocker in a letter from her mother.

Full disclosure…I've met Levangie and admire her whit and talent.  She always shines and this book provides a slice of that magic.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review of You Disappear by Christian Jungersen

You Disappear by Danish author Christian Jungersen is interesting.  And I mean that as a compliment.

I'd never heard of the author so I did a quick online search.  You Disappear is his third book, a bestseller in Denmark and both won and was nominated for numerous awards.

The basic story is anything but simple.  Mia's husband Frederik is an esteemed and even loved headmaster of a local school.  He's also a workaholic and womanizer who mostly leaves her and their son, Nicolas, much of the time.  Three years before the story starts he begins to change positively, coming home earlier and spending more time with his family.  Mia begins to believe that she finally has the marriage of her dreams.

Until he's diagnosed with a brain tumor.  And a massive fraud he perpetrated is uncovered in which he bet the school's entire financial net worth in market trades and lost it all.  Liability attaches both to him and Mia as well as many of the board members, their friends.  The school's future is at risk.  Mia is left wondering when she ever really knew her husband and whether the upswing in their marriage was tumor induced as his behavior changed neurologically and not because of her.

Mia must now struggle with losing everything, a mentally unstable husband and a hostile community.  Will Frederik go to jail?  Will he get better?  Can she cope?

That the book is written from a woman's perspective by a man is nothing new.  Jungersen really does pull it off but I think perhaps in part because Mia takes an analytical and logical approach (when she can) to the crisis.  Joining a support group and actively researching mental and brain issues, including damage and illness, Mia learns and rationalizes.  But Jungersen is skilled enough to add nuance and variety to her coping and thoughts.

I'm not sure how I would handle my life falling apart in such a manner.  In this book we meet a number of people dealing with like crises.  And it's hard to read at times.  Jungersen weaves articles and the like about the brain, theory, research and more into the narrative and the information works, adding context.

Great book.  Nuanced and thoughtful, it also really held my attention beginning to end.  Sometimes the hardest writing is of exactly this sort - where we drop into someone's everyday world as they try to hold it together.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Makeup for recovery and success, or, women helping women

I don’t ever appear in public without makeup let alone youtube.  But I want to do a recovery makeover for all those who’ve suffered and are on the upswing.  Entering the world vulnerable is something we all must do sometimes.  To do better.
In my early teens I read Estee Lauder’s biography and in it she said that one sign a woman was recovering from a traumatic event was that she got re-interested in her appearance and bought makeup, especially lipstick.  So estee lauder created the gift with purchase and tried to always include a bright lipstick in any giveaway…to boost her women customer’s self esteem.  I remember that comment always.
            Recently a confluence of events really got to me.  I’d already been wanting to do a video on makeup for recovery.  Young or old, most of us have something to recover from.  Then I saw a cancer patient makeup video in which the patients were surprised and photographed when made over in an over the top manner.  A good start but it misses the everyday impact a more realistic makeover can have.  Tim Draper funded a mom entrepreneur scholarship for his Draper university online program in entrepreneurship, in which I recently participated,  and I was interviewed about it.  Then came the article saying women don’t want to be ceos. 
            Women want to be coes.  Women are ceos.  I’m a survivor too and just not ready to talk about it.  But I did grow up in an abusive home and then slogged it out as a rare female in technology investment banking.  I learned to keep my mouth shut, suck it up and play within the system
            But now I have something to say.  And I’m saying it in makeup.  The products I’ll be using are all from companies founded, run by or – in an excessive way – supporting women’s rights or other rights.  Women ceos and founders.   And I’m naming names.
            How does makeup help us recover and face the world from strength?  Watch and find out.  I’ll keep this somewhat brief as I hate long videos myself.  I have papers to keep my names straight!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stila Smudge Crayon in Smoke, Dazzle and Midnight Blue


Stila Warehouse Sale December 2013 Los Angeles

Crazy...but why didn't I buy more...

Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson

This book is mostly great.  Sir Ken Robinson discusses changing the education and bringing in more creativity well.  Polished, knowledgable and absolutely correct he describes the past and how we fell into our mess of an educational system eloquently and in an interesting tone.

I loved that part of the book.

But is it only me...but I get lost in the action items or other prescription in books like this.  Is creativity and education only for success in a job or is there also the element of crafting a complete person?  Just asking.

Still, overall, this book is among the top five on education that I've read.  It's mostly interesting... a huge feat in the genre.  And it explains how we got where we are in greater depth, accuracy and sophistication than most of it's competitors.  A worthwhile read.  And please see the video.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kat Von D Poetica Eyeshadow Palette Review, Swatches and a Look

Another purple look….blendable and softly flattering shadows….

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Making Masterpiece by Rebecca Eaton, a Viking Book

I spent a lot of time in Britain growing up.  My dad is Welsh and his parents owned a farm there while I was a child.  And I spent every other summer there, walking the fields and eating Cadbury chocolate.  That time was magical.

And so was Masterpiece Theatre.   I read (too much) and love the British influence as I grew up steeped in it.  The (MT) stories are deep, with background beauty and fabulous acting.  Life comes alive in the vividness of a narrative.

Rebecca Eaton was executive producer of the shows for 28 of its 42 years on air.  What I love best about the book is how she melds her personal narrative with that of the show and participants itself.

Media impacts us.  But it impacts us on a personal level.  Which is what this book impresses upon us.  The show was underfunded, had many "dads" and did more with less.  It excelled but within the context of those engaged in making it work.  Sometimes stories do matter more than production.  Eaton explains why.

This book brings (famous) people and events together and makes them both digestible and fun.   Making stories is messy, personal and unpredictable.  Reading about the process is just plain exciting.

But let's not forget the importance of this book and the work behind it.  Media evolves, faster and faster.  But good stories linger.  What is a good story?  Eaton knows.

I loved reading the personal narratives in the book as we learn how producer and show co-exist.  The book is enchanting, provided you're interested in the topic.  Eaton is a great personality with a lot to say and I'm so thrilled to have met her, even if only in a book (hint, hint)

But fast forward to today, if you're trying to understand quality content.  You just found your source…ex hype.  Please report back if you read this book!

Absolutely recommend this book!  Loved it.

Maybelline the Elixer Nude Illusion and Glistening Amber On and Reviewed….

Love the product but not these colors...

Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics Number 9 Review and Look

Expensive but worth it!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives edited by Sarah Weinman

Okay, I dropped the ball on this book.  I read it, agreed to review it…then didn't.  It came out late summer and I fell behind ….this dropped through the cracks.

It is an excellent book!  I loved every story in it.

The book was compiled and edited by Sarah Weinman, the news editor for Publisher's Marketplace.  She essentially - in this book - curated a selection of stories by women thriller writers published between around 1940 to 1970.

The stories range widely but all have an underlying psychological thriller theme…and can be creepy.  More often, a woman (or man….but mostly women) makes a bad judgment calls and pay for it harshly.

A girl leaves home and family only to get a surprise when she returns years later (only, shocking though it is, she isn't really surprised).  Another troubled young woman takes crazy action to prove her love.  One woman, thinking an ex-flame will wreck her marriage, makes a miscalculation that ends in death.

Most of the authors in this book aren't household names though some were quite successful during the time they were writing and publishing.  Others, like Patricia Highsmith, are still well known.

An excellent book.  An excellent holiday gift.  Light and engaging, yet sophisticated, reading.

Bite Beauty Best Bite Set Review and Worn

Steal fro $25.  Must have…if you wear bright lips.

Coastal Scents 88 Palette, Blush Too and 22 Brushes...

Surprisingly good quality given I paid just over $35 including shipping and tax for it all!

Urban Decay Naked 3 Review, Swatches and Worn - My Favorite Naked

My favorite for the undertones.  Not just rose-gold but mauves and purples too!

Lancome 2013 Holiday Collection Classic with Train Case Review, Worn and Swatches

Surprising color choices.  Great deal.

Laura Mercier Just Bare Holiday 2013 Mini Glace Set (Sephora Version) Review and Worn

So nude…if that's what you're looking for.  I love them.

Lancome 2013 Dramatic Holiday Collection with Train Case Review, Worn and Swatches


Benefit Luv It Up Holiday Palette 2013

Sparkly but pretty.  Soft.

Maybelline the Elixir in Fuchsia, Raspberry, Hibiscus and more…review and worn

I adore these…and they aren't limited edition...

Maybelline Color Tatoo in Matte Brown and Naked Pink Review and Worn

Too gorgeous.  I lucked into these.

Lipstick Queen Hall of Fame Review and Worn

Very pretty.  Mixed?

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lipgel in Showstopper Worn and Review

Vivid.  Lovely.

BareMinerals Crystallized Full Face Collection 2013

Great set!  So usable.

Anastasia Lavish Palette 2013 Look and Review

Lovely and warm colors.  Great tweezers.

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope Lipstick in Private Party Review and Worn

Stunning but bold!

Laura Mericier Luxe Stickgloss 2013 Review and Worn

Nars Guy Bourdin Lipstick Review and Worn: Full Frontal and Future Red

I bought a backup for Full Frontal!

Mugler Addict Box November 2013

I'm liking but not loving this subscription box….

Nars Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette Review and Worn

Love this palette…despite the imagery...

Lipstick Queen Lip Nouveau Review


Lipstick Queen Endless Summer Lipstick in Stoked Review

Pretty…but ….not my favorite...

Laura Mercier Artist Palette for Eyes Review 2013


My first haul video….CVS, Maybelline and more

Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in Jilted, Naked, F-Bomb, Native, Protest and Catfight