Thursday, March 23, 2017

Makeup Brush Essentials: The Ones Every One Should Own & Their Uses


Brushes. They are so essential for a precise makeup application. There are so many styles available to beauty fanatics and makeup artists alike now and it can get really confusing. I mean which ones do you really NEED, right? I remember wondering this when I first got out of makeup school and I think it would have been really helpful had someone pointed me in the right direction. But in the end, through a lot of trial and error and hundreds of makeup looks later I feel I have got a great collection of brushes to rely on for any look I'd like to apply. Today I am going to get down into the nitty gritty and tell you exactly which brushes you actually need so that you can save your hard earned money but still get a flawless makeup application every time. I'll get into my specific favorites and let you know which brands and model numbers I like best in another post soon, in this one I want to focus only on brush types so as not to confuse anyone. Of course I could recommend you a hundred brushes, each to be used for different techniques of makeup application but this guide is meant to save you time and money so I really tried to narrow it down to the real essentials and multi purpose styles. 

1) A Foundation Brush- Everyone needs one of these. You can choose from the stippling style, a beauty sponge or even a painter style brush. The style I prefer on a daily basis is a large round buffer style brush.

2) A Large Angled Face Brush for Contouring, Setting and Applying any powder products to the face- A good one will give you a really sharp contour line but can also be very multi purpose and easily be used to apply blush to the cheeks, highlighter to the tops of the cheek bones and use the baking technique by applying and brushing away loose powder to sharpen things up. 

3) A Flat Shader Eye Shadow Brush- This is great for applying a cream shadow or shadow base to the eyelid before applying any powder eye shadows, it's also an important one for packing color all over the lid. 

4) A Fluffy Dome Shaped Eye Shadow Blender Brush- Blending is key in any eye makeup look and will give the appearance of the colors melding into one another perfectly. This is the eye shadow brush I could not be without because it can be used to softly apply color to the lid, blend different colors layered over each other or blend out the edges as well. 

5) A Small Pencil Style Eye Shadow Brush- Small, tapered and pointed on the end just as a pencil is, these come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your preference but they are most ideal for blending shadow under the lower lash line, in a more precise way in the outer corner of the eye or to create different types of eye looks with small detail work like the halo or a cut crease eye look. 

6) A Thin Eye Liner Brush- Straight or angled depending on your preference, this will be very helpful to a beginner or pro at getting a perfectly straight line every time and it will certainly be useful if you like to create a full on cat eye liner or just a small flick on the outer edge with powder, gel, kohl or liquid liner products. 

7) A Small Angled Brow Brush- This one is similar to that angled liner brush but it will be a bit smaller, a bit more stiff and more packed with brush hairs to fill the brows in very precisely with a powder or pomade product.  

8) A Lip Brush- This will be flat and ovaled at the tip. It can easily double for precise spot concealing but mostly it's incredible for smoothing spreading lip products into every edge of the lips perfectly. Of course there are those that can apply lipstick from a bullet with ease, but a lip brush certainly simplifies the process. 


Extras:

There are a few brushes that I  find extremely useful for more detailed glamorous makeup and personally use on a daily basis but I think are less necessary for those looking to achieve a simple every day look. I still want to mention them because I think to some they could actually be essential as they are to me. So here they are:

1) The Fan Brush- These come in a variety of sizes. I like a smaller one for highlighting with powder, liquid or cream highlighting products. 

2) A Blush Brush- Having one specifically for blush that fits the apples of the cheeks nicely wether straight or angled and smaller then the larger angled contour brush, having this additional brush will make life easier.

3) A Concealer Brush for Under Eyes- These vary as with the foundation brushes. Having one to specifically blend and meld concealer product into the delicate under eye area is very beneficial. There are small beauty sponges, small flat painter style ones and small buffer brushes which are the kind I personally prefer. Each one will fit into the under eye area easily also reaching the inner corners for precise blending without disrupting the rest of the makeup. 

I get asked about which brush styles I recommend quite often so I'm glad I was able to put  it all together in one post for reference! Please do feel free to leave your comments, questions and recommendations in the form below or send me a direct message on any of my social media platforms and I will gladly respond and try to assist you on the subject if I can. I will also try to do a post possibly along with a video to follow this one pretty soon with all of my updated makeup brush favorites  with specific brands and model numbers.

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 Gigi.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Loreal Infallible Silkissime Liners

Loreal is one of the brands at the drugstore I can say I've delved into quite deep over the years. I've tried dozens of their liners, lipsticks, foundations and shadows as is reflected in my  past reviews. They have so many different eyeliners and mascaras to choose from, and every time I think I've tried everything they have to offer, they release something new! Did you know they even have their own range of face masks now?

These Silkissime liners are not new to me. In fact, there was a cobalt blue one I cherished and destroyed at one point, you may even recall me using it in a makeup tutorial or two. A few months back I decided to go for two more colors, one called Pure Purple which is a real royal purple and another in rose gold called Highlighter. With just 10 shades in the range, it wasn't too difficult to pick these out. 


Considering they are titled infallible I was expecting them to be really long lasting, budge proof pencils. That they are not.  My trick is to layer them with powder products so that they have something to adhere to. This really works to seal them in and keep them in place since they are overly creamy in formulation.They are indeed silky smooth pencils and go on super easily and they don't tug or pull on the lash line or waterline as they are applied either.  I'd hoped to use the rose gold one as a waterline eye brightening product but I've found that the don't last long enough in my waterline. For reference, I have pretty typical, non oily lid or watery eyes. They do very well under the lower lash line and on the upper lid, so I still get alot of use out of them. What makes these liners really different is that they come in different finishes, some are more matte while others are bright and shimmery and even metallic.



Although they glide right on and the color selection is stunning (I'm eyeing the teal and silver ones right at this very moment) I'm on the search for a liner creamy enough to apply to the waterline but a bit more budge proof once set. Something that has greatly interested me was a recent Marc Jacobs try that went on creamy, didn't move around and twisted up. Just the fact that it didn't need to be sharpened like these and most pencils do, set them apart from the rest.  That's still in testing stages though so I'll keep you apprised.


Do you own any of these specific Loreal liners? If you don't and your curious about them, they are under $7.99 online as well as at most local U.S. drugstores, so they are definitely worth a whirl!. 

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Easy Weeknight Chicken Piccata Recipe


Your weeknight chicken dinners just got better! Chicken piccata may look intimidating, but it's actually quite simple and packed with great flavors. It's not extremely high in calories either and could easily be baked instead of fried to lighten it up even further for those trying to keep it a bit more healthy. I was actually shocked by how simple in preparation but also easy to please this dish ended up being. Try it at home and you'll see. Here's my recipe:


Easy Weeknight Chicken Piccata 

Ingredients:

2-3  Large Chicken Breasts, Halved
1/3 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs 
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 Fresh Lemon
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Jarred, Capers

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Pound the pieces of chicken cutlet with a meat mallet until flattened quite a bit and set aside in a dish. Squeeze half a lemon over the pieces of chicken flip to coat. Allow them to sit in lemon juice.

3. Combine flour, breadcrumbs, brown sugar, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped very small, mix well and pour into a shallow dish. Remove  pieces of chicken from lemon juice and dip each one into the flour mixture, coating well on both sides.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium heat, lower a bit once sizzling. Drop each piece of chicken into the skillet and brown for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Once done remove to a 9X13 pan or baking dish and place in the oven for another 15 minutes or so or until completely cooked through on inside. 

5. In a sauce pan combine chicken broth and the juice of the other half of the fresh lemon. Heat it over medium heat until simmering, then shut the heat and allow to cool a bit and toss in the capers. 

6. Plate the chicken and pour the prepared broth over the pieces of chicken immediately before serving or serve to the side if you prefer.  Place the slices of lemon on the plate overlapping one another for a nice garnish. Toss some additional capers over the top of the chicken and add some chopped fresh parsley as well. 


I really hope you will give my Easy Weeknight Chicken Piccata a try! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what it was like if you do! Criticisms and advice are welcome too! And feel free to tag me on Instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

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GIGI.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Rose Gold Eye Makeup Tutorial (Video)


My looks are usually pretty smokey or colorful and sometimes a bit intricate with several shadows, brushes and steps. I decided to try and simplify that with this look while still keeping it glamorous with a bit of glitter. This look can be kept really natural without the glitter and lashes so keep that in mind if you decide to give it a try. See exactly how I got this eye look from start to finish in this weeks video linked here, or read until the end of the post where it will be inserted as always.



Now for a full list of products & brushes used:


Brushes:


If you liked this video please let me know by giving it a "thumbs up". You can also subscribe to my youtube channel here

 

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Fashion: Skeleton Face Painting For Purim & A Mini OOTD


Being a makeup artist, I am intrigued by all kinds of makeup looks from smokey eyes to cut creases, glittery metallic eyes and everything between. There is one kind of makeup that totally fascinates me and blows me away, but I have only dipped my feat it in a little bit so far. It's theatrical and special effects makeup, completely changing the face with paint and wax and appliqu├ęs. I've watched dozens and dozens of tutorials on youtube from Nicole Guirerio to Desi Perkins, Jordan Hans etc. etc. and I am in awe of their incredible talent every time. The Purim holiday is a fun time to dress up in costumes and give gifts to family and friends. I love celebrating it! Last year, I painted us into werewolves and although it turned out beautifully it was only my first time trying any special effects face painting so there was a lot of room for improvement and it was a real learning experience. This year I came across two fabulous special effects makeup tutorials, one by Jordan Liberty and another by Alex Faction- both of whom are incredible artists and I knew I had to try my hand at it. Watching those tutorials back now, I know my work doesn't compare at all to the originals but I am still very proud of how it turned out and I know I will only continue to grow from here and get better and better at it as I practice. My family dressed up as skeletons. I face painted our 7 year olds face in a similar fashion to that of my husband. My husbands face painting took about 2 hours, and this was after practicing it twice a couple of weeks in ahead of time. There was so much detail involved and it really taught me a lot about contouring and highlighting in a whole other aspect. My own face took abut 2 hours as well. I started by applying my regular face of makeup,  mixing my foundation with a glowy primer and adding a lot of extra highlighting power for more of a theatrical glow. I contoured heavier then I usually do as well. I then started creating the shape for my eyes and nose with a brown eyebrow pencil, and filled those in with black gel eyeliner. And then I went across both of my lash lines with white eyeliner. adding a wing on the outer adges and a silver glitter liner over the top of that, finishing that off with some basic mascara.  Then came the lengthly detail work of applying the gold nail heads all along the lower edge and side of my black eye circles which I dipped into clear eyelash adhesive, allowed the glue to get tacky and then adhered to my skin. I added some to my forehead in a triangle shape with two ovals at it's side and added a couple in a triangular tear drip coming down from those ovals under my eyes. I then added all of those tiny diamond/silver rhinestones all the way around my eyes until the nailheads and added a couple imbetween those on my  cheeks. Using the same gel liner I contoured my cheeks in thick black angles to mimic hollow cheeks of a skeleton. The last detail was drawing on the teeth. I started by drawing lines down my lips all the way along as the roots between my teeth. I drew the teeth in with that same white liquid eyeliner used on my eyes and then dotted each tooth with one of those silver/diamond rhinestones at it's center. It was time consuming and hard work but it was the most fun I've had with makeup all year. My husband is already brainstorming ideas for what he'd like to be painted as next year, we all had a really great time dressing as skeletons. 

To finish off my look I bought a silver blonde 25 inch synthetic human hair mix wig with dark roots and waves already in it and a lace front which I trimmed to suit my head that I purchased from a local beauty supply store. Although I'm very much a natural brunette, I loved the look and I think you can expect to see it on in some of my hair tutorial videos in the future, the opportunities are endless when it comes to long wigs like this one. The costume was easy, I found it online on amazon and walmart both. I was thrilled that it was along sleeve t-shirt with silver bones printed on it because this meant it was going to keep me warm and that I wouldn't have to wear a shell underneath it. The leg pieces actually were leg warmer style and weren't actual leggings. So I just wore my regular black leggings and pulled them over top which was quite perfect, they ran from my thigh to my ankle. I have had this chiffon black skirt with gold glitter from Double Header for years and it was just the thing to throw over top of my leggings. Lastly, I finished it off with my GC Shoes Zarra Black Short Booties with Gold Zippers up the side purchased from DSW at the start of this season. Of course I also got a manicure to work with the theme. I chose to go for a powder silver chrome color that gets layered over a black gel, it didn't last quite as well as I'd hoped and started chipping the day I got it done, but it was still fun! 

I had an absolute blast dressing up as a metal skeleton for the day! Let me know what you think in the comments, I love hearing your opinions!









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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Glasses, Eye Infections & Lenses, My Vision Story


Before I turned 20 I had perfect vision. Looking back on it now, I completely took it for granted. It was after my first son was born 7 years ago that was driving my car and ended up on the curb without realizing it ( Don't worry no one was hurt). So I got my vision tested. It turns out having babies can effect your vision greatly, why I do not know until today. The doctor gave me a pair of glasses at the time and I began wearing them for driving and when watching movies etc. It was only a couple of years ago that I started feeling like I needed them more consistently throughout the day when trying to see something further away. The doctor recommended I wear lenses so I tried them and fell in love with the simplicity of it. I've never had any trouble with them in all of my years of lens wearing until this year. In the past few months, I have gotten back to back eye infections which are extremely irritating to me because I end up stuck in glasses for weeks at a time, administering drops twice a day in hopes of eradicating the infection only to end up with one again a few days later. I recently found a new eye doctor who I love (Thank you Dr. Shipper!). She walks me through everything and patiently explains all of the answers to my questions. My original prescription recently changed as well, this may have something to do with the birth of my second child almost 2 years ago, but I wouldn't know. I had an old pair of frames I would use at home when watching something in bed or driving carpool in the morning and they were so worn out that they were starting to slip down my nose, irritate me behind my ears and just weren't very in style at all anymore to say the least. Once we settled on my new prescription Dr. Shipper helped me select the perfect pair of glasses to suit my face. I tried dozens of pairs and ended up with two I really loved. I came to a decision to go for an aviator shaped grey/blue pair ("Dark Denim" although to me their a charcoal grey) by Penguin called "The Princeton."  I love their shape and how they are slightly over sized and a bit more round while not overwhelming my small eyes or causing my face to appear overly round. They are extremely comfortable too. I've begun wearing them daily until I can start up with lenses again. Hopefully I can find a solution to these eye infections fast. I've thought about doing laser eye surgery many times and I still plan to do a consultation at some point, but I'm not going to say that procedure doesn't scare me a little bit- it certainly does! I would just love to wake up in the morning and not think about putting in lenses or glasses, just walk out the door and see perfectly again. If any of you have experienced eye infections or laser surgery please do leave your tips, tricks, advice and words of wisdom in the comments below because I can certainly use some help right now. Oh and if you or anyone you know is looking for a new Eye Doctor in the Brooklyn area, you will love Dr. Shipper, she's located at 1167 East 32nd Street and her phone number is 718-951-1926  you can also follow her on instagram here as well: msod33 to see all of the new stylish frames she gets in.



This post was not sponsored, I just wanted to discuss my whole vision experience and recommend whatever I could to all of the other glasses and lens wearers out there. 

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in Shade 5


I have several great foundations that I rely on on a daily basis. There are just 2 as of now that I reserve for special occasions when I want my skin to look absolutely flawless and photograph perfectly. You've surely heard by now about my great love for Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation but now I've recently discovered a comparable one in this Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. At 64 dollars, a bottle of this stuff has to be used in small increments only when absolutely necessary or it could become a pretty expensive situation. I love when brands offer more then just a handful of shades and undertones. This foundation is available in dozens of shades to cater to every women from those with fair skin and neutral undertones to deep skins with red undertones. This also means the shade 5 works well for me in late winter and early spring but a shade to suit my tan skin in the summer and early fall wouldn't be difficult at all because there is nothing worse then finding your favorite foundation, only then being able to wear it 6 months out of the year. 

It took me a while to finally get myself one of these. It's just hard to know sometimes if a product is overhyped because of it's high end brand name or if it's actually just that good. I tried several samples from Sephora before finally adding it to my cart. If you watched my Purple Metallic Eye Makeup + Full Face Tutorial video then you would have seen this foundation in action and you would have been able to deduce exactly why it's everything I could ask for in a foundation. It's medium coverage but easy to build up without getting evil cake face. It blends out so smoothly and feels so lightweight once applied. It's certainly not matte but not overly glowy either in finish so it would suit a variety of skin types. It lasts for 8-10 hours on me but doesn't look bad at all as it begins to wear down. I think the detail that I love most about it is the fact that my skin actually looks like optimized skin with it on and I barely need more then a pump and a half to get the coverage I need. I've had this bottle for about 6 months or so now and have yet to run out of it. I'm trying my best to keep it around as long as possible before having to go purchase another one. I highly recommend this foundation to anyone who's photographed or attends special events often and would like their skin to look like skin, only smoothed out and better then typical skin. If your looking for a day to day foundation, I'd tell you to just stick with what's available at the drugstore. Loreal offers a whole bunch of great choices that work for those purposes. 







Have you given any of this foundation a try? What did you think of it if you have? If you haven't do you plan to? 

 Let me know in the comments form, I absolutely love hearing from you!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Tips for Weekly Dinner Menu Planning & Shopping List Writing


In a post back in September titled "My Tips for Keeping Life Organized" I got pretty personal and talked about how chaotic things can become when you leave things messy and disorganized. Many of you seemed to really like that. I've lived in it and I know how much happier I've become since getting things in order. A large part of being healthy and having things around me running smoothly is my weekly menu planning and shopping list writing. Whenever I discover new ways to optimize my system and get things done in a simpler, quicker way I like to tell you all about it because sharing is caring right? But for real, I do really care about helping my readers out!

Here are my tips:

1. Pick a day of the week and ideally narrow down a specific time slot for writing a menu and food shopping list. For me this is Sunday in the early afternoon when my eldest is still in school and the little one is napping. Quiet time where I can focus on just this one thing means it get done quicker and with ease. 

2. Make a recipe binder, folder system or something similar. I went into great detail about my recipe binder a couple of weeks ago but here's the gist of it- a basic binder filled with clear sheet protectors for recipe print outs, magazine tear outs and even general jotted food ideas. When it comes time to sit down for my weekly plan session all I have to do is flip the binder open and between that and the Pinterest app on my phone I'm all set for meal inspiration. 

3. Look through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you are stocked up on and what you can prepare using ingredients you already have. While doing this you will also notice the basics you are out of and avoid mid week runs to the grocery for items forgotten originally.  


4.  Download this free printable one week menu planner from simpleorganizedliving.com/ andreadekker.com and print at least 15 copies so you'll have one for at least every week for one whole month and extras. Save the download on your computer or in your email to print more copies when you need them. Store the blank ones in your recipe binder for safe keeping and keep the one you've filled out for the week at the front of the binder so you can easily reference it throughout the week. You can simply write this information out on your own or print another style meal planner, they are easy to find on pinterest. I personally really like the way she has it laid out on this one with a space for the dates and lines to write in meal plans for not just dinner but breakfast, lunch and snacks as well. I stick to planning dinners only since we tend to eat the same things for breakfast, lunch and snack over and over around here. If you are someone in your family is trying to eat a certain amount of calories planning those other meals as well will be ideal. The fact that the ingredient list is on the same page makes things neater as well. All you need to do is transfer the ingredient list to your master shopping list to take with you when you go to the grocery.

5. Keep it interesting. We all get into that rut of preparing the meals we're used to often. Try something new and change it up. You'll be proud of yourself and you'll impress the eaters in your home at dinner time. I like to keep to a rule of 2 dairy based meals,  2 meat based meals and 2 non- dairy, non-meat meals centered around fish or vegetables. This is not only healthier with a variety of nutrients and vitamins to nourish you and yours, but also keeps  mealtime from getting boring. 


This week, pick a day with 25 minutes to spare and do some meal research, looking through pinterest, facebook and magazines for recipes and dishes you think you and your family will enjoy. Pull out your menu sheet and colored markers/pencils if it helps you visually like it does for me. Then grab your choice of smoothie, coffee or tea and turn on your ideal music for relaxing. Sit in your favorite spot and write out all of your dinner ideas with a main and side for each day and then add all of your ingredients onto a shopping list. Just don't forget your list when you head to the grocery, too many times I have to ask my husband to send me a picture of my shopping list because I forgot to bring it with me. When getting dinners ready throughout the week you will notice how much easier it is to cook it and have it ready in a timely manner when all of the brainstorming is already done in ahead of time and all of the ingredients are already conveniently in your home, stocked in the pantry and fridge.  

I am still learning so many great techniques for creating a meal planning system as I go along but it's no longer my most dreaded time of the week, but my favorite. I will certainly share more as I learn. I hope that these tips will be helpful to someone. Please share your own suggestions on the subject in the comments form, we can all use some inspiration, I'm sure! 

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Gigi.
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