Monday, March 31, 2014

My Favorite Beauty Products March 2014


YSL Kiss & Blush coral and fuchsia, MAC Patentpolish, Urban Decay Gash, MAC Altogether Peachy collection, Armani Rouge Ecstasy 400, Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Snow Peach and Jungle Peach, Estee Lauder Envy Lipstick and Armani CC Cream.

YSL Beauty Kiss & Blush Corail Affranchi Review, Swatches and On


Lovely and softer than the orange (and more even in application).


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Nude, Fuchsia and Peony


Like a melted lipstick and absolutely not like a gloss!!!  A better wearing La Creme.



With In the Buff La Creme added...

MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil Berry Bold, Go for Girlie Kittenish Innocent Patent Pink Pleasant Revved



In this video I show 8 of the MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencils:  Berry Bold; Go for Girlie, Kittenish; Innocent; Patent Pink; Pleasant; Revved Up; and Sultana.







Friday, March 28, 2014

How do you pull yourself together...in life....?


I heard Charlotte Beers speak earlier this week.  She was the head of Ogilvy & Mather, ceiling breaker and former Undersecretary of State.  She just came out with a book titled I’d Rather Be In Charge.

The point she made which stuck with me is that most of us don’t do the necessary research on ourselves.  While we’re the most important asset we each have, we rarely spend time getting to know who we really are.  And she said that when we’ve been backed up against a wall and going through our toughest times is when we show our truest self.  We need to get to know ourselves then use that asset which is who we are.  And that essence is what sets us apart.

I woke up not feeling together this morning.  Then I had to pull myself together because I had things which I had to do.  So I was already thinking about these types of subjects and am considering writing about them.  How do we pull ourselves together?  We all make mistakes; have lapses in judgment; eat, drink or shop too much; yell when we shouldn’t; run into bad luck; get screwed over; and the like.  Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy, while other times that role falls to life or another person.

She also said to learn how to speak by reading poets.

So I’d love to ask…if anyone has any answers:  how do you pull yourself together?  And how do you do the research on yourself, get to know that self and then use that strength to pull yourself together and be your best self?

Urban Decay Gash Revolution Lipstick Reviews and Swatches


A stunning deep red with rosy micro-sparkles.





Urban Decay Electric Pressed Pigment Palette Review, On and Swatches


So very, very pigmented….





Sunday, March 23, 2014

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag Book Review



The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag is a charming and intimate book.

At the heart of the story is the house in question.  Magical, literally, it's been a refuge for women needing to find themselves and rebuild their faith in what they can accomplish.  And it's been standing for about 100 years.  Referenced during the book are many famous women who've lived in the house and who stare down from photos.  I'm getting a little tired of books that incorporate famous people from the past…but the device actually works in this book in that we sometimes all need a role model to encourage us to reach higher.

We switch between the perspectives of four women.  Alba, brilliant, has failed at the Ph.D program at Cambridge under mysterious circumstances.  Peggy, who runs the house, is getting older and needs to find her replacement.  Carmen is a glamourous but mysterious older women.  Greer is an out of work and aging actress.

What I loved about the book is how these women do find a new and better path for themselves and become comfortable with who they are as people.  Life can beat you down; they rise.  The story is completely mystical and thus a little unrealistic, with ghosts and a living house.  But the point of the story is spiritual and so the author's device works it's own magic.  Perfect.

Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman Book Review



I love historical fiction.  I always have and always will.  What I most adore is being dropped into a time and place and living through believable eyes.  The ultimate imaginative experience, in my opinion, when done well.

Jean Zimmerman does her time travel well in Savage Girl.  She does add a modern twist in that her main female character, the savage girl later named Bronwyn, is a 21st century heroine.  The novel is more accessible with a modern character in a past time but some won't be comfortable with the contrast.

The story is narrated through the eyes of a medical student and perhaps murderer.  Our narrator is the son of a wealthy family who adopts Bronwyn on a trip out to Virginia City.  Was she raised by wolves?  By indians?  We have no idea at the beginning of the book.  Swept up by this rich but eccentric family, Bronwyn is deposited smack in the middle of New York high society in the late 19th century.

Such a decision was made by both kings and the rich many times over and the resulting true stories very often resulted in tragedy.  Why do some "civilized" people feel such an urge to tame "savages"?  Bronwyn, as could be expected, has a mind of her own.  And men are being murdered seemingly after she smiles at them.

Is Bronwyn the murderer or is her adopted brother taking the fall for her?  That twist I won't give away.

I really loved the historical detail and interesting characters.  Parts of the story are forced but they do support the story line (so suspend disbelief).  A lovely book and I enjoyed walking through the twists of this mystery as executed by a skilled author.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in Purpura 3 and Khaki Pulse 6


Stunning!  Fine and multi-dimensional shimmer



Giorgio Armani 503 Cheek Fabric Blush


Soft and stunning with the faintest of shimmers.

Colors in the collection:

305 Nude peach
502 Nude rose..beige undertone…very soft
503 Rose Bronze..the one with shimmer and it's a golden micro shimmer
506 True warm rose pink
507 Medium vivid blue based pink
509 Strong magenta

503 below



Sephora + Pantone Universe Orchid Radiant Paint Gloss Trio


Gorgeous, pigmented and usable!



Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eye Shadow in Gold Blitz 5 and 24


Pretty…sparkly…a little black…



Too Faced Lip Injection Color Bomb in Never Enough Nude, Coral Pop and Bee Sting


Softer and sheerer formula.  Does sting….but does it plump?



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Bosnia List by Kenan Trebincevic and Susan Shapiro


So how often do you get shot at as you walk through the streets near your house?  How often are you unsafe and fearing for both your own life and those you love based upon your religion?

We keep saying never again but we keep letting it happen (the worst case ….among many…being Syria right now with over 5 million children directly impacted…through death, displacement, starvation, fear for their lives and the like).

Yes, I'm a strong supporter for books like The Bosnia List.  Our narrator, Kenen, is but ten when the Bosnian war starts.  He survives and escapes to America with his immediate family, barely.  But he struggles with guilt among other issues…that he was too young to effectively fight back.  So he goes back..with a list of things to do.

No surprise but some of those who committed atrocities are doing more than fine.

Revenge is a great basis for a book.  Understanding is a deeper one and this one achieves that.  Painful at time….look at the topic.  This book is still a personal take on a tough subject and I recommend it.  And the writing is stung, distinctive and illuminating.

A Novelist's Perspective On What Happened To The Missing Malaysian Airplane Flight MH370


The below is a work of fiction based on an actual event...

            Losing a 777 commercial airliner carrying 250 people is a great story.  Add further details, that the plane’s navigation system was reprogrammed to head in the opposite direction from its scheduled route, that the co-pilot signaled good night and all was well after that change took place, that the systems meant to signal where the plane was were turned off, and we get quite a mystery.  And the plane is still missing after a week.
            We also know some sinister realities.  The plane likely reached 45,000 feet, higher than the 777 safe flying range and an altitude likely to kill passengers.  The pilot was a member of Malaysia’s opposition party and had been at the trial the previous day when their leader was sentenced, many believe unjustly, to prison.  The pilot had a flight simulator in his house.  He and the co-pilot were Muslims.  Not that all Muslims are terrorists but Al Qaeda is a Muslim terrorist group that likes to target airplanes and a high level Al Qaeda terrorist, currently in custody, has claimed credit for the attack.  And that two Iranians were flying on stolen passports and with tickets purchased with cash by a shadowy Mr. Ali (who has since disappeared in Iran) in corrupt Pattaya, Thailand.
            Theories abound.  The plane escaped radar detection by tailing a Singapore Airlines plane.  There was a catastrophic event on the plane and the pilots lost their ability to function.  One of the pilots used it to commit suicide.  It was shot down by another country’s military as it strayed into their airspace.  It was hijacked.  Many of these theories can both be supported and debunked.  Why no distress call?  Why fly in the wrong direction for hours?  Why no demands from whomever did it?  And most of all, why aren’t the governments involved, especially the Malaysian government, more forthcoming with information and more willing to share?
            So let’s look at this problem differently.  Instead of listening to those in the aviation industry, who want to comfort us, or the journalists, who are honor bound to follow all leads, let’s look at it from the point of a novelist.
And, to provide some context, I’ve written two novels about terrorists in which one perspective in the story is a terrorist’s.  Thus, I’ve tried to plan plots from that point of view.  Captive came out a few years ago and has been downloaded over 600,000 times.  Escape, its sequel, will be out in a few months.  Terror strikes are unpredictable but they do follow patterns.  Anyone planning a big strike is a risk taker, visionary and able to see beyond the obvious.  They also do painstaking research, as this missing plane clearly demonstrates.
            First, I wish I’d written this story but no one would have believed it.  Indeed, it’s utter genius…making a large commercial plane disappear.  The planning is staggering and the plot was executed seamlessly, including little details like turning off tracking when crossing from Malaysian to Vietnamese waters.  And knowing that Malaysian authorities wouldn’t be on their toes when it happened (but to defend them for a minute, such events just don’t happen so this really was totally implausible to those monitoring the plane).  But while I didn’t write it I can imagine a possible story line.
            So what can we surmise?
            At the most basic level someone wanted a plane and they still have it.  They most likely don’t care about the passengers’ lives…no one who hijacks a plane has passenger safety as a main goal.  And by flying at an altitude that would likely kill those without facemasks the perpetrators probably solved the problem of 250 angry passengers.  By flying at 5,000 feet did they perhaps parachute out and achieve one possible end – that of embarrassing the Malaysian government?  Perhaps.
            I doubt it.
            Someone was flying the plane, unless we believe it was on autopilot.   Anyone who agrees to hijack a commercial plane isn’t thinking about their own personal safety.  No, they are on a larger mission.  One or both pilots?  Seemingly, for a number of reasons it’s likely that one or both was involved, willingly or not.
            Did the fact that they were Muslim matter?  Absolutely!  It doesn’t automatically label them as terrorists but it might make them more receptive to help, either willingly or by being coerced.  I love the detail that the co-pilot was recently disciplined for letting two women into the cockpit.   Now that sort of tip…that perhaps the co-pilot was lax and not guilty…is something only a skilled writer would add.
            Inherent in any such plans is the reality that things go wrong, even in the best-laid plots, and the plane could have crashed regardless of intent.  But I’d want the plane if I were writing this story.  Thus my goal wouldn’t be to fly off course for seven hours only to nose dive into the Indian Ocean.  And if the pilots were somehow involved they might be able to land that plane.
            So how do you land it?  That’s actually easier than you think.  Yes, those countries with rogue populations (of terrorists or the like; Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran) are also very heavily covered by military radar.  Landing unspotted would be tough.  Sure, one military unit could have shot the plane down.  But would there not have been some sort of communication first?  Would they hide it?  Given what happened on 9/11, that our military was getting the okay to shoot down a hijacked commercial plane, doing so isn’t the end of the world.
            Well, we just found out that Thai military radar tracked an object that could have been the plane (that day) and only just told Malaysia now!  Turns out they weren’t asked for that specific information.  So, seemingly, to get information questions will need to be phrased “did you shoot down this specific flight at this specific time and location on this actual date.”  I still don’t think the plane was shot down by any country’s military.
            Let me tell you how I would write this story.  The plane is being flown somewhere and heads into Thai airspace.  Thailand is a somewhat orderly country but its northern most region is part of the Golden Triangle, a lawless crossing of Burma, Laos and Thailand through which many things are smuggled.  I’d head the plane to Laos.  With enough planning, and this plot took a while to put in place for such breathtaking execution to occur, an airfield could have been built.  Laos is mostly jungle with a repressive government, basically no press and little communication (or education).  The Laotians probably don’t know a plane is missing; most haven’t seen planes before and wouldn’t have anyone to report such a citing to anyway.  The country is rife with corruption and dirt poor.  Bribing someone there would take little.  For $20 people could be hired to cover the plane with brush.
            And Laos is but one example, by the way.  There are other rural areas in the region with few communications ability, virtually no literacy and room for a runway. They would have been landing early morning and mostly in the light in Laos.
            While we think the plane flew for about 7 hours, even after no longer being tracked in detail, the signals indicating such seemingly came at about one hour intervals.  With the plane on the ground, I’d remove that tracking device and put it on a car or, better, a boat.  No one was looking for a boat then (they weren’t even looking for the plane a few hours in as dawn was breaking).  If the perpetrators knew how to disable so many tracking systems and hijack a plane they could probably handle the technological details of this option.
            I’d keep that boat going for a while then drop the tracking device in the ocean or bury it.  I’d also bury the dead passengers.
            Now I have a plane.  Which still has some fuel and can sit for a while.  Now, I’d use it to make a really big statement.  Every time someone tells me that my theories, or books, are crazy, I point out that the people who did this act are not so bothered by such distinctions.  They know they don’t need to succeed. 
            Terror isn’t about succeeding at any specific act it’s about doing what has happened here…striking fear in people’s hearts.  Making them question what they thought was safe.  Sure, planes crash but they don’t disappear.  This plot is an A already; use the plane or even get it off the ground again and it gets an A+.
            No, they don’t need a plane to detonate a nuclear explosion.  But would a military shoot it down over their own country if warned that it was carrying such?  We all know, or can find out, that many nuclear “bombs” are missing since the cold war and the smaller ones can fit in a suitcase.   Why not put one on the airplane and fly it to…wherever…?
            And I’d let the speculation about the flight continue until I was ready.  Providing any information beforehand only helps authorities find me and figure out my further plans.  How far can a gassed up 777 go?
            And the Chinese?  They have their own problems with Muslim dissenters and non-Muslim ones too.  And I’m not blaming this plane jacking on Muslims…I’m only raising the issue because the pilots were Muslim and a high ranking Al Qaeda operative has claimed his organization is behind it.   I think this plane grab was an opportunistic one and not meant to target China at all.  These organizers were non-state, despite the sophistication of the plot.  Most nation-states wouldn’t risk a plane grab and definitely don’t want to make China super angry for little benefit.  I could be wrong on this point but if someone wanted to target China there are much better ways (for example on Chinese soil).
            So, given where we are now and what information we have, that’s how I would write the story.  My backup plots are an assassination of someone important on the plane and a zombie takeover.   But this mystery story as it stands is perfect.  My heart goes out to the passengers, crew and families who are learning the hard way that fact is stranger than fiction and has a bigger real world impact.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sephora Pantone Color of the Year: Orchid: First Impression, Mini Review and Swatches...


Ok…I didn't bite on the orange or jade green but I do like this one.  Not for all coloring!!!