…And We’re Back!

As I tweeted earlier today, sometimes you just really need to take a break from blogging. For me, I needed a little “peace out” from blogging & the beauty community in general for a few reasons, some are not really appropriate for a public setting like the blog, but some are and they’re GOOD reasons! :)

I let you all know at the beginning of August that I was no longer working on Caboodles and that my contract was ended with the agency I was working with, thus putting me out on the job market again. Well, shortly after my birthday (which was 8/22), I got a call from an agency I’d been talking to for a few weeks offering me a job! I started right away, and it has been keeping me very busy and happy. I’m no longer working on a beauty client, which some may see as a sad thing. However, I have mixed feelings about it.

Ever since I got into marketing and PR I wanted to find a way to combine my hobby/love/passion for beauty with my passion for marketing and social media. But my experience with Caboodles helped me realize there are negatives with your job being in the category you love. I found that since I was SO immersed in beauty-related stuff all day at work, I was too over-saturated to have much enthusiasm for it once I got home and had products to swatch, etc. Also, when you’re doing what you love but having to do it for someone else and subject to someone else’s approval, it gets tough! Imagine if someone took over your blog suddenly and started telling you how and what to write – that’s kind of like how it was. It’s neither a good nor bad thing; it’s just how it is. One of my favorite things about being a blogger is this blog is 100% me. It’s my brand, and it’s an extension of myself.

I’m really excited for the future. My new accounts should be familiar names to most of you – Crystal Light and Country Time. I’m working from home, which is amazing, and really enjoy doing what I do. I’m able to do social media and enjoy my career while at the same time I will still have beauty and style as my refuge for “fun time”.

This was long. If you made it all the way through, hat’s off to you! If anyone has any questions about my job or whatever feel free to comment or hit me up on the twitter. ;) xx

Why I Don’t Do Disney

I was up latenight chit-chatting with Irene (aka @pinkiecharm) and Em (aka @EmWyllie) on Twitter tonight about bad MAC packaging. We agree that the Marilyn Monroe collection packaging is pretty creepy. We also agree that the Venomous Villains packaging was darn tacky. But there’s another side to my dislike of Venomous Villains – I do not do Disney. Here’s why–

[Read more…]

7 Deadly Sins of Beauty

This is one of those tag things that was going around on Youtube and I thought it would be fun to do it over here on my blog. I saw it done by amarixe <–go check out her video here.

If you aren’t familiar with the tag, it goes over the seven deadly sins and asks a beauty-related question to go with each one. I thought it was kind of fun.

GREED: What is your most inexpensive beauty item? What is your most expensive?

My most inexpensive beauty product is certainly something from Wet ‘n Wild, I’m sure. I have gotten nail polishes during their 40% off sales that were under $1. Overall I really love WNW polishes! Their Wild Shine Black Creme is my favorite black polish. For my most expensive item, that’s definitely my Clarisonic brush (which I know was over $150 eeep!). Totally. Worth it. I love it so much. It really helps with deep exfoliation and keeping my pores clog-free.

WRATH: What beauty products do you have a love/hate relationship with? What product has been the hardest to get?

I have a love/hate relationship with eyeliner definitely. I love the way it looks, but it’s the thing I have the most difficulty applying and also removing! For a hard to get product, oh gosh. That was Melrose Mood lipstick from the MAC Heatherette collection. It sold out EVERYWHERE it seemed. A really nice gal I know on MUA picked one up at her local counter for me and mailed it all the way from Florida. Funny thing is the color looks awful on almost everyone.

GLUTTONY: What are your most delicious beauty products?

One of them would have to be my body lotion by Kiss My Face. I have it in the Peaches ‘n Cream scent and it makes me smell like a giant juicy peach! It also softens and has AHAs in it for deliciously soft skin. Another qualifier is the bubblegum sugar scrub from LUSH. It’s literally delicious because you can eat it!

SLOTH: What beauty product do you neglect, due to laziness?

Loose pigments. I love them, but I rarely ever take the time to use them because they require a tiny bit more thought and effort than pressed shadows. Also any sort of lip product in a palette. I don’t like having to bother with a brush.

PRIDE: What beauty product gives you the most self confidence?

It used to be concealer when I had issues with breakouts. I hated leaving home without it. But now that I have clear skin, I often leave the house barefaced. However, I really feel better about my overall look when my eyebrows are done. They frame the whole face and since I have dark hair it looks really strange when my eyebrows aren’t filled in.

LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?

I like nice eyes, good hair, and muscular arms/shoulders. I also really have a thing for tall guys. I’m only 5’3″, but pretty much every guy I’ve ever dated has been 6′ or taller.

ENVY: What items would you most like to receive as a gift? 

Who doesn’t love presents? I’d love getting anything beauty-related as a gift (ok well almost anything). For xmas this past year Mr. Boyfriend got me a bottle of eye makeup remover, which sounds silly and mundane but I love it because a.) it shows he was listening when I said it was the best and b.) it’s something I use all the time and every time I use it, I think of his thoughtfulness.

Life, Dreams, Etc.

Oh hello!

Remember me? I’m Alyson, and I used to blog here. Well, a lot has changed over the past few months, and my blogging has been sporadic at best. So, let me run down things quickly for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter (or just in case you missed some tweets that might have been meaningful amid the endless stream of thought-vomit).
November was spent mostly preparing for The Holidays, but also working. I was blogging furiously for Stylebell, which is a wonderful site you should definitely check out if you’re going to do any hair product purchasing, or looking for information about hair. At the beginning of December, Mr. Boyfriend and I hit a very rough patch. I don’t think it’s really all that appropriate for me to get into the personal inner workings of our 4-year+ relationship on the blog, so I won’t, but needless to say I place my personal issues with him before The Gloss Menagerie. I just wasn’t feeling much like blogging about makeup when I didn’t even think about it most of the time since I was so distracted with other stuff. He and I are working on things and they’re moving in a positive direction, though. :) A lot of you have said very nice things to me about it on Facebook and Twitter etc. and thank you so much.
Then The Holidays happened. And I got sick. It hit me like a ton of bricks on xmas eve– bronchitis. Woo! I am fairly severely asthmatic, so any sort of respiratory anything is always a concern. I was pretty sick and even had to visit urgent care (yeehaw) a few days after xmas. Luckily I was well enough by New Years to hang out with my bestest friend in the world a few times. She lives in Jerusalem and was visiting. Since she lives so far away I hardly ever get to see her or even talk to her in real time. Hanging out with her was super fun and amazing and I miss her so much already. (*waves* hi Sydney!)
There’s a lot of stuff in the universe, but there’s only one Sydney.

And THEN! I got a new job. It all happened very quickly; the company found me on LinkedIn and a week after I first called them back I started working for them! The interview/hiring process went by so fast if I blinked I probably would’ve missed it, but I’m glad I didn’t! I really love my new job, working a marketing and production co. The coolest part is the account I manage is Caboodles. Yes, those Caboodles. The cosmetic organizers you remember from the 80s. They’re still around and they make train cases, makeup bags, and those nifty acrylic organizer trays us makeup junkies love. So I’m fully immersed in beauty & fashion related goodness all day at work. I’m very busy, and still not 100% better (still coughing and sniffling every so often *joy*), but I love it.
Which brings us to today. Or rather, tonight. Since it’s almost bed time. I’m no longer blogging for Stylebell, which I am kind of sad about, but it was a matter of being stretched too thin having a part time job in addition to my new full time job. A girl’s gotta eat (and keep herself in lip gloss), and the new opportunity is one I just could not pass up. 
I’m still here; I’m still going to be blogging on The Gloss Menagerie in addition to my new gig (and another project I haven’t even told anyone about yet, ha!). I have some fun reviews coming up soon too, so be on the look out for those. 
But the point of this blog post is to say…
Since last summer I’ve been able to realize one very important dream: I can honestly say I’m a professional beauty blogger. I’ve reached a milestone goal, to be in a position to support myself doing what I am passionate about. There really is no greater joy, career-wise. I owe much of that to the amazing people I’ve met since I started blogging. The connections I’ve made and relationships I’ve formed have made my dreams possible. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for reading, tweeting, commenting, and supporting me & my little blog that has become so much more than something fun to pass time. 

Coming Soon

Hey everyone… it’s been ages since I’ve updated this and I apologize!! I’ve been blogging like crazy for Stylebell though, so you should subscribe over there too! ;)

As you may have read on Twitter, the house is being remodeled. I’m switching bedrooms and the room I work in (since I work from home) is also being completely re-arranged! It’s a lot of work but it’s coming along nicely. It’s been really crazy around the house between boxing everything to carry it upstairs, going through boxes that were in storage, painting, cleaning, and more trips to Home Depot than any girly girl should have to take in this short amount of time. And it’s not done yet, haha.

My makeup/work area is mostly done being arranged but still needs a lot of organizing. I’m thinking when it’s all done I will do a quick tour of my storage and the general “makeup area” (it’s not a makeup room like some bloggers have since I share it with the boyfriend, hehe). I don’t know about you guys but I love room tours. Storage and organization is like porn to me practically, so those types of videos/posts are some of my favorites. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my video when I have that up and running.

And now…I have to go run and move a bookcase. A really. Heavy. Bookcase. Sigh. 

The Summer Dilemma – To Tan or Not To Tan?

Darling Mr. Boyfriend and I were talking tonight about how he hates my current bathing suit and how I need a new one. Regardless of his distaste for my choice in swimwear, I do agree I could use a new suit. I mentioned that I would like to find one that isn’t black, because I’m so fair-skinned. He suggested I hit the tanning bed, to which I responded with “I guess you’d rather have an orange girlfriend instead of a white one”. “You can be my big-breasted oompa loompa girlfriend” he said. But then I reminded him of someone who already is basically a big-breasted oompa loompa: 
It’s just that swimsuits leave you so…exposed. I went through a phase in my teens where I liked showing a lot of skin, but nowadays in my 20s I’m downright prude about it. Some of it, I think, has to do with being “soooo pale” as those around me would say. Wearing normal, every-day clothes it’s not quite so “in your face”. I still get the occasional comment about how I’m the same complexion as Casper, but when I shimmy into a swimsuit it’s like a whole other ball game because parts of my body that don’t oft see the light of day are suddenly on display. The other part of it has to do with hating my thighs. Not because of jiggle, because who doesn’t have a tiny bit of thigh jiggle anyway? (Afraid of jiggle? Just don’t do jumping jacks by the pool. Problem solved. No one jiggles when they’re laying out lookin’ cute anyway!) But because I am plagued with a couple of scars, and the remnants of old stretch marks in that area. 
The idea of getting a little bit of a tan sort of appealing for that reason – tanning just a little can help hide light colored scars, and minimize the appearance of *shudder* stretch marks. But tanning has always been a sensitive subject for me. I’ve posted before about how when you’re pale, people think it’s okay to offer you unsolicited advice about changing your skin color. No really. They do. But in summer, it’s almost as if they feel they are doing you a disservice if they don’t mention that you need “some color”, like not telling me would be the equivalent of letting a friend out on the dance floor with her skirt tucked into her panties. First of all, I know I am pale, thank you! And secondly, I didn’t ask for your advice. Sheesh, like I’m not already insecure enough without all my “bidnezz” out on display.
And then there’s the orange issue. No one wants to look like this. There are many colors of human skin all around the world, but orange is not one of them. 
So for this impending summer, I have some thinking to do. To tan, or not to tan? By the way, if I do decide to tan, it would not be in a tanning bed. I’d get spray tanned or something. But hopefully I’d come out looking more like this:
Golden, brown, delicious. ;)

40 Beauty Questions

This was a tag that is going around on YouTube, and I decided to do it in blog format because I ramble a LOT so it’s easier to write it than do a really long, rambling “um”-filled video. ;)
40 Beauty Questions

Skin Care Questions
How many times do you wash your face each day?   Once or twice.
What type of skin do you have?   Combo-to-dry.
What is your current face wash?   Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser or Philosophy Microdelivery Wash, or the Target knock-offs of Ponds’ Wipes.
Do you exfoliate?    Yes, as my skin isn’t that acne-prone but it is clog-prone.
What do you use to exfoliate?    Either my Clarisonic or Philosophy Microdelivery Wash. The fake ponds wipes are kind of exfoliating too, since they’re textured.
Do you have freckles?    Yes! I like them. 
Do you use eye cream?    Yes. I use Eye Wonder by Vasanti Cosmetics.
Do you/did you have acne prone skin?    I have in the past, but right now it’s not really acne-prone except sometimes during TOTM. Yay hormones.
Did you ever use proactiv?   Nope. I was pretty tempted to in the past when my skin was breaking out, but never got around to it. I am still curious about the refining mask since I’ve heard good things about it as an emergency spot treatment. Sounds like it’d be great as a TOTM zit rescue.
Makeup Questions
What foundation do you use?   If I’m just putting something on in a hurry, MAC Studio Fix since it has the fastest, easiest application. Special occasions I use MUFE (either HD or F&B). I have lots of other foundations around from various reviews that I use occasionally, but those are the ones I go back to again and again. On other people I like to use L’Oreal True Match, American Beauty, Purely Cosmetics, or MAC.
Do you use concealer?     Goodness yes. MUFE Full Cover is the best spot concealer. I also love Eve Pearl salmon concealer for under-eye, and Stila Illuminating Concealer for under-eye too. 
Do you know your undertone color?     Mhmm. I’m the poster child for pink undertones. Even pink undertoned people look at me and go “oh wow, you’re really pink”. 
What do you think of false lashes?    They look awesome, but are sorcery I have yet to master.
Did you know you’re supposed to change mascara every 3 mo?    Yup. I don’t always do this, but I know I should…I’ll keep a mascara around if it’s something I don’t wear very often.
What mascara do you use?     Right now I’m using a couple of NYX mascaras (Propel My Eyes and Fly With Me) interchangeably. They’re both just okay. I’m not loving either one that much. I was going to review them, but they are just “meh”, so here’s my review: “meh”.
Sephora or MAC?     I can’t choose a favorite, geez. 
Do you have a MAC pro card?     Yes I do.
What makeup tools do you use for makeup application?    I use brushes and sponges, and occasionally my fingers. I prefer sponges for liquid foundation, whether it’s a beauty blender (totally awesome), or a plain ole’ wedge sponge.
Do you use base/primer for eyes?/face?    I always use some sort of base for my eyes unless I know I’ll only be out for a couple hours. I’ll use MAC Painterly or a MUFE Aqua Cream, or sometimes Urban Decay Primer Potion. For face, I have been using Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Illuminator thingy. I don’t know if that’s really a primer but it’s in their Smooth Operator line so I’m gonna go with yes.
Fav eyeshadow?    I don’t know if I could choose one single favorite, because I can’t even think of a favorite brand. I like MAC, Urban Decay, It Cosmetics, Wet ‘n Wild, MUFE, NARS, Stila… see what happens?
Do you use pencil or liquid eyeliner?    I skip eyeliner a lot actually. But I like pencil because it’s easy.
How often do you poke your eye w/ an eyeliner pencil?   Not very. I’m much more likely to poke myself with a mascara wand or an eyelash comb (which BTW HURTS really bad so don’t do it!).
What do you think of pigment eye shadows?    Really pretty colors but not as convenient to use as pressed shadows.
Do you use mineral makeup?     Sometimes yes. I have a bunch from Purely Cosmetics that is really really good stuff. 
What is your fav lipstick?    I’ll just go with my favorite brand, which is MAC. 
What is your fav lipgloss?    MAC, I guess? I actually don’t really have a favorite lipgloss. I mean I have favorite colors but as far as formulas go, I don’t know. I’m feeling kind of “whatever” right now. There are a lot that I like, such as Revlon Colorburst, Urban Decay Lip Junkie, ELF, NARS…
What is your fav blush?    Rock ‘n Republic blush in Spank. It’s the most perfect pink ever.
Do you buy makeup on ebay?     Sometimes. You have to be VERY careful because of all the fakes out there, but it can be done successfully.
Do you like drugstore makeup?    Some of it. I like Wet ‘n Wild a lot. I like a lot of drugstore mascaras, too.
Do you go to CCOs?    Not very often. The one near me is decent. But usually I just get my stuff straight from MAC since I have a pro card. If I go to the CCO it’s actually more expensive! Unless I am getting something in special packaging (pro discount doesn’t work on special packaging stuff).
Did you ever consider taking makeup classes?    Yes, and I still might.
Are you clumsy w/ putting on makeup?    Only when I rush and do things without thinking (that’s when I end up getting stabbed with an eyelash comb…sigh).
Name a makeup crime you hate.   Bad eyebrows.
Do you like colors or neutrals?    I tend to stick more towards neutrals on my eyes with brighter colors on cheeks and lips.
Which celeb always has great makeup?    Hayden Pannetierre, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian
If you could leave the house using just one makeup item, what would you use?   Eyebrows filled.
Could you ever leave the house w/o any makeup?    Sure, I do all the time.
Do you think you look good w/o makeup?    I think I look okay? I don’t look that different with/without makeup.
What is the best makeup line?    Can’t choose. I like so many. It’s a beauty blogger hazard. :)
What do you think of makeup?    Um, it’s awesome of course. It’s fun. It’s a means of self expression. And it’s pretty to look at, touch, smell, etc.

Don’t Tell Me What To Be!

This post is inspired by a thread on MakeupAlley tonight. The poster was telling about how she was visiting her local Chanel counter and was told they are (or have already) discontinuing the lightest shade in Vitalumiere foundation. She asked why that was, and the sales associate said she’d look into it. The result she came back with shocks me. Chanel says they are discontinuing it because they don’t have any pale clientele. Their suggestion for those who will now be out a foundation shade is “to tan a little”.
As a pale girl, I cannot even tell you how many times I have been told that I need to get a tan. People like to offer this advice all the time, completely unsolicited. When I show my pale legs in a skirt, people will remark that it’s time to break out the self tanner. In high school it was less subtle. I was asked if I ever go outside. Am I a goth? A vampire? Seriously. Growing up pale in California makes you a total anomaly. I once visited the emergency room, and the doctor asked my mom “does she look pale to you or does she always look like this?”
Pale girls, how many times have you had your makeup done by someone who wants to suggest bronzer, or a darker foundation to “give you a little color”? Chances are if you’ve ever had your makeup done, you have had this experience. 
Angry goat is very angry.
What really gets my goat about this, is how is this socially acceptable, and yet if you were to tell someone they need to lighten their skin tone that is racist/bigoted/completely unacceptable. Why is it acceptable to have someone telling you or making you feel like the color of your skin is somehow strange or not okay? When did we get there again?
If you ask someone “would you ever make a negative comment about the color of someone else’s skin?” most people would say no. They just don’t think of suggesting someone get a tan as being disparaging. We’ve gotten to a place where it’s acceptable to tell someone they are too pale, whereas if that same Chanel associate had suggested her client use a skin lightening cream because no foundation were dark enough for her, I’m sure the customer could get her fired (and if not, well, do I need to even go there?).
What I’m getting at here is nobody likes to feel like an alien in their own skin. I wish more people realized that it is embarrassing, rude, and hurtful to make these comments. I wish more makeup artists would ask before just assuming we don’t like our skin color just the way it is. I believe makeup should make us feel good about ourselves, and how to be the best “us” we can be with what we have.
Does this issue ring home for you? Regardless of what color your skin actually is, has anyone ever made you feel less than because of it? What about in the beauty industry? Tell me your experiences! I’d love to know.

Fess Up – Are You A Snob?

A conversation with the lovely miss Yuliya (aka cutiegingerbread on Youtube!) on Twitter inspired me to take to the blog to get more feedback and opinions. Are you a snob? By snob, I mean product snob, lol. Please don’t get me wrong I’m not judging or even using snobbery as a negative term for the purposes of this post.

Are there certain beauty products where you feel the cheap stuff just won’t do? I don’t think being a product snob is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes what works for one person just doesn’t work for another. I’m just curious as to what your experiences are.

One area I’ve seen a lot of snobbery is brushes. Like many tools of various trades, brush prices range from the sublime to the ridiculous. I do agree that having good quality tools is important to excel at your craft, but there comes a point when you absolutely can’t tell me that you need brushes that can cost $100+ each. And you can’t tell me that there is enough about a brush that costs that much to justify it costing that much more than a similar, cheaper brush. Spending insane amounts of money on brushes won’t make you into a celebrity makeup artist. I feel like to some degree you either have the talent/technique or you don’t, and your tools don’t matter if you don’t have it. It’s trainable; you can acquire the skills, but don’t try to compensate for lack of skills with expensive equipment. I’d see this sort of thing all the time when I was growing up around horses. Shiny brand new boots and saddles do not a great rider make.They’re not even always the best, anyway. When I was taking lessons, my favorite saddle was my trainer’s ancient, beat up old Stuuben. It had been an expensive shiny thing at one point, but those days were long gone. ;) Most professional makeup artists will tell you that there is no need to spend tons of money on things for your kit, and I completely agree. A talented makeup artist can make beautiful art without expensive brushes.

While I think being a brush snob is silly, I do acknowledge I am a product snob in some areas! For example, I have turned into quite the hair care snob. I will use cheapo $4 Revlon Colorsilk hair color no problemo, but when it comes to shampoo and conditioner, no way will I be reaching for drugstore stuff anymore. I have found a couple that are exceptions (like Alba’s rainforest line, and Organix’s acai berry argan oil shampoo), but the vast majority of drugstore shampoos and conditioners just do not compare to the high end ones I’ve tried. At long last I’ve found my holy grail combo in Alterna‘s Caviar line. And just like real caviar, this shit’s expensive. A set of caviar moisture shampoo & conditioner will set you back $62 at Sephora. Ugh. But I have to admit my hair has never been softer, smoother, or more manageable since I started using the caviar moisture shampoo & conditioner, and also some of the styling products. I know using these won’t ever make me look like a supermodel, but at least I can have good hair.

So how about you? What are you a snob about?

Blabbing About Bags

I was browsing the mark. website (filling up carts is a pass time of mine… sigh, I know.) when I came across this bag:

Now, I’ve never been that into tassels and fringe really, but this bag just looks so cute to me for fall. And the color palette (more so the green) and industrial-looking hardware are so on trend with the military-inspired fashions we’re seeing everywhere these days. Cute, no? This bag is sort of on the big side. It’s 14″ long, 10″ high, and has an 8″ handle drop. So it’s decently sized for holding a wallet, makeup bag, etc. 
Speaking of makeup bags, I’ve been eying this little cutie on the mark. site ever since it came out (which was a while ago). I just have so many makeup bags that I haven’t really had a good excuse to buy it, haha. But just look at how adorable it is!
Another reason why I haven’t purchased it too is I haven’t even been carrying a makeup bag recently. I know that must shock you. Don’t most beauty bloggers seem to have a small Sephora’s worth of makeup on their person at all times? I recently sidelined my big Coach tote in favor of a tiny little bag from Forever 21, and I’m kind of loving the freedom of having a tiny purse again. Does that sound weird? I’m sure I’ll go back to the Coach bag (after I give the leather a good cleaning!) and I’m sure I’ll carry larger bags again in the future, but for now my shoulders are loving the break! When I say this purse is tiny, I mean TINY. Here’s a comprehensive list of everything in my purse when I go out:
– wallet (granted, it’s a big wallet)
– phone (it’s an iphone so it’s quite flat!)
– lip balm (Softlips Pure in Chai!)
– lip gloss or lipstick I happen to be wearing that day (right now Viva Glam Cyndi lipglass is in there)
– keys
– key & lock for the lockers at the gym
– occasionally headphones (crammed in there), also for the gym (I use my phone as an ipod)
That’s it. And it feels great. However, that tasseled bag is really calling to me. Do you guys think I will cave? :)
Where do you stand on the purse spectrum? Little bag? Big bag? What’s in your bag?

Both the Tasseltastic bag and the zebra print makeup bag can be purchased at my mark. e-boutique.