In the Nude (lipsticks, of course)

Next on my perpetual quest for lovely lippies: nude. It has taken me a while to get aboard this trendwagon because I’m not about the pale, wash-me-out, crack-abuser look. However, I found out that there is a wider definition of “nude” that allows for more flattering options. In fact, during my extensive research for the right color(s) to flatter my skin tone, I came across an acronym that apparently other South Asian ladies like myself look for: MLBB (My Lips But Better–cute). ¬†This read my mind because I really do like the color of my lips already–a light mauve overall and slightly darker on top–but I want lipstick because it’s A. to add a little color, and B. just fun to wear! I turned to YouTube once again as my guiding light into the overwhelming unknown of lip products. While it definitely provided a starting place, the majority of gurus are of different ethnicities slash skin tones than myself. For example, one of my new favorite people to watch is ItsJudyTime who is Philippino, and thus a lighter yellow-beige hue than I am. I tried out her Revlon Lip Butter-Creme Brulee recommendation but sadly it just didn’t go. That’s when I turned to Google (“best nude lipstick for Indian skin”) and found dozens of blogs and articles by desi girls who I could better relate to. Several brands and colors kept popping up as I sifted through the blogisphere so I felt well-equipped to march on into Ulta and find my perfect nude lip. Specifically, I was looking for Maybelline Color Sensational in My Mahogany,¬†the alleged Holy Grail of flattering MLBBs for brown girls everywhere.


Round-up of what I’ve used in this post. I’m holding the NYX lip gloss to show off the cute bow detail on the lid. Bottom L-R: MAC “Verve”, L’Oreal “Toasted Almond,” NYX Matte “Sienna,” and NYX Matte “Whipped Caviar.” Holding NYX Lip Gloss and Essence Lipliner “Natural.”

…alas, it was not to be found. The other names I had carefully picked out beforehand also turned up empty so I had to start my hunt over, almost from scratch. I was determined to walk out of that store with at least one (two, three) fabulous nude shade, non-negotiable when there’s a BOGO half-off going on. Commence crazed fast-pacing through the drugstore aisles, “sneakily” swatching every contender on my left wrist. After a solid 45 minutes (how time flies at that store), I had a Matisse of nudes on my arm, trying to imagine what the colors would look like on my lips by straining to hold up each shade next to my face in the little mirrors available (ridiculous image to be sure). My mom finally convinced me to just go ahead and physically try on the lipsticks because there was simply no other way to be sure (don’t worry, I cleaned them off after if I put them back!). Luckily, I ended up with 3 lovley lippies completely different from what I thought I was looking for, but fit the bill beautifully.

Without much more ado, here are my nude picks (pun may or may not be intended) Note: I will go ahead and give a slight apology for the following attempts at modeling–must have been a subconscious projection of my excitement for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show airing that night. My only shot at being an Angel, arright?:

First off, NYX’s Matte Lipstick in Sienna. I was, and still kind of am, on the fence about this orange-tinted brown shade. Normally, I wouldn’t dare to go orange but after trying this on a whim, it’s really not bad. The gall of it actually adds to the appeal because orange doesn’t tend to be as popular as the go-to pinks and browns (hello, hipster). I try to wear this one out as much as possible in hopes that it will grow on me more–which it has–and my mom keeps on squealing about how flattering it is on me. So looks like this one’s a keeper.ImageI would wear this for casual outings with light makeup, i.e. eyeliner and light bronzer, because the orange is already POP for me.

Next is NYX Matte Lipstick again in Whipped Caviar. This one also wasn’t a first choice for me because I had seen YouTubers try on the Matte line and not be keen on this shade. It looked too Jersey Shore pale pink when applied (don’t know if that makes sense). Surprisingly though, I really liked it when I tried it out myself, as evident by my increasingly silly expressions below. It is a little lighter than what I normally go for, but just muted enough to not cross the line into grenade territory (see previous Jersey Shore reference).ImageI think this color could work for day or night looks because it’s a fun pink without going overboard, and you can go a little heavier on the eye makeup than you could with more intense lipsticks.

For the last of my newest purchases, I got L’Oreal Color Riche in Toasted Almond. This was an unexpected pick for me because, this was nowhere on my aforementioned hit list. However, this one actually overshadowed a couple of the other candidates with its rich pigment and just-right taupe-y brown. This is a definite MLBB for me, and my mother’s squeals confirmed.ImageThis one would be an everyday hitter for me. It adds a little sophistication from when I want to look like I am too mature for pinks (obviously the last picture would negate that image). The shade can withstand heavier makeup or add to a lighter look.

Just for funsies I decided to model a couple of colors I already owned because I felt it fits within this shade range. The first is a NYX High Shine Lip Gloss in a peachy pink that I bought a few days before. The last one is MAC in Verve, which I got earlier this year after it was part of the wedding reception look a MAC girl did on me. I realize this isn’t exactly nude but it’s still in the warm, brown family and is perfect for fall/winter.ImageEasy to see that this gloss had me feeling extra girly and Angel-like. Here, I paired this over a nude-ish lipliner base (Essence in Natural). I am normally NOT a gloss person–it’s sticky and usually kind of teenybopper to me–but done right, I can dig it.ImageAw yeah, I’m feeling super vampy in this shade. The lighting here doesn’t show how dark the color really is, but rest assured, it’s a rich mahogany-burgundy tone that will make you feel all kinds of sophisticated. This shade is more brown than the wine-like Bordeaux I bought recently. I see this on a classy night out or looking to impress in a high-brow coffeeshop/library (No? Just me?).

It’s a wee bit sad how much I look for opportunities to wear lipstick, but you can’t deny how it puts a little more pep or pomp in your step.

PS: Guess what time it is? Time for me to get a better camera (phone)! The less-than stellar quality of my iPhone 4 cam paired with the bright daylight kind of whites out my face and makes the lip shades look more similar than they are in real life. Just trust my words to help paint the picture on this one, guys.)


A Warm Cuppa

When the Ice Queen blows through, masala chai will do.
Texas doesn’t do snow–we do ice. Overnight. Luckily, there’s an accidental box of instant masala chai in my kitchen cupboard, and this is the perfect kind of morning to try it.


A Warm Cuppa


The seasonal triple threat of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday is finally coming to a close. As I write this, I think of how ironic (hope I’m using the term correctly) it is that the day dedicated to humbly counting one’s blessings–food, family, friends and the like–is immediately followed by a weekend devoted to accumulating as many physical goods as your wallet will stretch to allow.
When I saw this commercial for JCPenney’s Black Friday sale, my reaction was immediate and utter disgust. The family had barely finished their Thanksgiving meal when a chorus of retail-happy carolers shoos the mom to drop everything and run to the store with a poisoned rendition of “Deck the Halls” (it doesn’t even sound catchy–‘shop shop shop shop shop, shop shop, shop, shop?’). Sadly, the urge to buy stuff seems to have overturned equaled the desire to spend time with loved ones.
Now, I appreciate a good sale just like any other shopaphile, but I’ve never been tempted to risk my life (a little too literally) in the running-of-the-bulls rush through store doors, or camp out on the cold streets when I could be sleeping under my blankets at home, especially for discounts that are little to no better than ordinary sales during the rest of the year.
In a disturbing trend, many big-name stores have backed up Black Friday into Thanksgiving day to capitalize on consumers’ apparent bloodlust for sales. Turkey dinners are cut short not only for consumers, but store workers who are forced to put in hours on what should be a day off.
Giving to others and being thankful are all well and good until sweaters get marked down 20%.
I guess the juxtaposition of gratitude and greed is even more jarring after recent disasters like Hurrican Haiyan. Thousands of people have lost their lives or had entire homes ripped off the ground, resorting to looting in some cases just to survive…and we’re wrestling each other for a cheaper tablet we just “have to have?” No, we cannot always live comparing ourselves to those less fortunate, but a little perspective is called for.

Advertising is a scary-powerful tool and that’s really all Black Friday is: a marketing mammoth that hypnotizes millions of shoppers to spend spend spend. Yeah, yeah, this all reeks of conspiracy theory and hippy logic, but you gotta admit there’s a big dollop of madness around the whole deal. The idea of buying more is injected into images of family togetherness and holiday tradition, turning it into a tradition itself. Admittedly, I have friends that participate in the chaos in varying levels of intensity, and heck, I’ll even drop by if Sephora’s offering any goods, but I’m just putting my two-cents in on the insanity. I am also well-aware that I’m not the only one ragging on Black Friday but I’m telling you, this commercial really upset a blog out of me.

I could rant for hours on the vomit-inducing nature of consumerism in the country, but this is already running a little too long than I’d have patience to read on any other blog. Bottom line: put down the shopping bags and linger on the free, warm fuzzies of the holiday season–I promise that BOGO on boots will be back in a few weeks.

*Video does not belong to me, found it on YouTube and copyright belongs to JCPenney blah blah please don’t get me in trouble*