Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To BB or Not To BB

What if I told you there was a beauty product that combined a tinted moisturizer, sunblock, anti-aging cream, skin prime, and foundation and in addition would give you gorgeous skin? Start looking for your car keys ladies, because you're going to want to run out and get yourself some bb cream aka beauty balm or blemish balm, as soon as you finish reading this post. It is no exaggeration when I say bb cream is a game changer in the world of cosmetics and to put it mildly has revolutionized the way women put their makeup on. 

After Korean soap opera stars (they're huge all over Asia, think Justin Bieber-like popularity) started crediting their porcelain skin to bb creams, there was such an insane demand for bb cream that Asian cosmetic companies could not make them fast enough before selling out. It has now become such a world phenomenon that everyone from makeup artists to beauty bloggers and beauty insiders are buzzing about the amazing results.

According to the New York Times, German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek first designed the bb cream to help with the healing process of post-op surgical patients after laser surgery treatments. The bb cream was used to treat the common redness and inflammation that occurred in post-peel patients.

It is easy to explain the multi-tasking bb cream's meteoric rise to fame. Not only is it saving women precious time by taking away numerous steps in their daily beauty routine, but also saving them  money by eliminating the need to buy several different skin care and makeup products. Save time and dollar dollar bills? Sign me up yo!

All the hype and excitement around Asia's best kept beauty secret now have a few of the major American and European cosmetic brands releasing their own version of the highly sought-after bb cream. My favorite, Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, has SPF 35 making it the perfect sunblock for year-round protection from uv rays. It comes in five different shades that will give you up to eight hours of coverage. Definitely stick with the American version because unfortunately the Asian bb cream cousins often have skin lighteners because of the Asian fascination with "fair=lovely" skin.

Bb cream is destined to become a staple in every makeup bag and women everywhere will be wondering what they ever did before. By the end of this year, I am pretty sure every single makeup brand will have their own version of bb cream available. Just see what fits your skin needs best and climb aboard the wagon, there are plenty of seats and I hear there will even be a band playing. ;)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sephora by Marc Jacobs

Fashionistas everywhere will rejoice at the news that designer Marc Jacobs is looking to create an entire line of makeup under his label. Jacobs is collaborating with Sephora for an exclusive cosmetics collection.

In partnership with Sephora, Jacobs has begun the process of creating several beauty products. In WWD, Jacobs stated, "I see makeup, fragrance — everything, really — as an opportunity. The idea of choosing a color for your lip, or an eyeliner — it's just such a delight. The ritual of waking up and making those choices is something people really enjoy."

He is absolutely correct; for me, the process of deciding what shade of eyeshadow to pair with my lips and cheek color is my favorite part of putting on makeup. I love deciding whether I should go with my everyday look of neutral eyeshadow with heavy winged eyeliner (looks fab even when I am too lazy to put my contacts in and am rocking my glasses) or bold red lips for those days when I am really exhausted from pulling an all-nighter with the baby and just want people to stop asking me if I am tired ready to take on the whole world.

No stranger to the world of beauty, Jacobs has long been known for his fragrances both for men and women. Judging by his wild makeup looks on the runway, any makeup that has the Marc Jacobs stamp is sure to be bold and noteworthy.

Jacobs is without a doubt one of the most successful high fashion and commercial fashion designers around. While his haute couture designs might be out of reach for most of us, his more affordable Marc by Marc Jacobs line has handbags, shoes, clothing and accessories that have helped make him a household name across the globe. Makeup will be just one more way for fashion lovers to get a bit of the Marc Jacobs sparkle for ourselves.

Speaking of collaborations, I had a great time working with the lovely team over at Hijab-ista, Inc. Be sure to check out my guest blog "Maxi-ing Out" over at

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why So Syria-us?

With everything that has been going down in Syria, it has been hard to turn my attention to writing. The grim news coming out of Assad's deadly crackdown on the freedom fighters there has been heartbreaking.  The Free Syria movement has resulted in cold blooded brutality against the Syrian citizens by their own government. A chilling estimate of 8,000 deaths in just the past year; these are crimes against humanity the likes of which have not been seen since the genocide during the Bosnian War. Still hope is alive and the courage of the Syrian people who are fighting their oppressors is awe-inspiring. 

I heard a pediatrician speak a couple weeks ago about her harrowing experiences when she travelled with a group of doctors from Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) to provide urgent medical care and relief for some of the 8 thousand displaced Syrians at several refugee camps situated in Turkey along the volatile Syrian border. I could barely hold back my tears as haunting images of the poor conditions of the camps and the refugee children screened during her heartfelt recounting of the humanitarian mission. The best part of her speech was giving all of us concrete ways we can help.

Here is what you can do to help:

-Pray for the courageous people of Syria.

-Donate to SAMS Midwest Foundation via
This group's main mission is to help fundraise and raise awareness about worthy causes in Syria and here in the United States. It solicits public support and contributions, sponsors fundraisers, and channels humanitarian aid in the form of financial assistance to help local NGOs in Syria.

-Contact your local congressman about supporting sustained and aggressive political & economic sanctions against the Syrian government and all other nations or people that are supporting the Assad regime.

-Publicize the systematic rape occurring in Syria to other people in your social networks; follow and RT #rapeinsyria

It was only when the devastating UN reports of over 60,000 rapes in Bosnia were publicized in the media that the world governments finally intervened there.

•Supported by Women Under Seige

May God have mercy on the women, men and children of Syria, Ameen.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

All that Glitters...

So four days into the New Year, I've decided it's time to make some resolutions. I have a couple personal goals involving temper and patience...too much of one and too little of the other is not a good mix, sigh. Lots of love to the husband who has the exact opposite temperament (good for me, not so much for him).

As far as my New Year's resolutions, first is simple enough: I solemnly vow to remove all my makeup before I go to sleep. I know, it's the #1 no-brainer beauty rule but of course being genetically blessed with fab skin as a teenager spoils you. I think I had less than 20 pimples total as a teenager. Wait!! Don't hate me just yet, I paid for all that clear skin. When I was preggo with my first son, little did I know instead of fab glowy pregnancy skin, I would get rocked with adult onset acne because of all the hormones. Ever notice no matter what symptom you have when you're expecting, the doctor tells you it's due to pregnancy?

After my pregnancies, my skin takes a while to calm back down. I used to just crash with my makeup on and wash my face in the morning. Now if I do that my T-zone will be covered in pimples (and bits of shimmer, you know I do love my glittery makeup). To make myself more proactive about removing my makeup, I treated myself to some Ultra Bland from LUSH Cosmetics. That stuff is greasy but the almond oil based cleanser really wipes off every trace of makeup on my skin from the layers of Zoom lash mascara to the MAC Black track gel eyeliner that really doesn't budge otherwise. It leaves my combination dry-oily skin feeling soft and clean.

--Quick tip, for those of you who live near an actual Lush store, always shop in person, the sales people are the friendliest and trip over themselves to give you free samples and advice.

My big resolution is to kick the post-pregnancy workouts in to high gear. I'm thinking of having one of my bff's be my workout buddy. She just had her fourth kid but she is one of those freaky celebrity type moms that can walk the red carpet two weeks after giving birth and everyone's like "what baby??" I'm soooo not one of those moms, as my two-year-old daughter kindly reminded me the other day. She asked me if she was getting another baby brother. I'll keep posting about my progress, hopefully writing about it will keep my motivation up to get fit.

Wishing everyone a Glam New Year filled with Love & Beauty!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Rambling

What a whirlwind holiday weekend! It was filled with one family party after another. Imagine doing this scheduling math: mom's side party, dad's side party, in-laws party, and then somehow managing to host a Bulls season opener party with friends in between after-Christmas shopping. I'm tired just thinking about it, but we got through it and get to do it all over again for New Year's weekend. Woo-freaking-hoo.

Anyways after several days of makeup and styling, I rediscovered some very MAJ love for products I have in my beauty arsenal.

Urban Decay NAKED 1 & 2

Talk about instant classic, Urban Decay took the neutral eye look to another level when they debuted the NAKED palette. For years I have been stockpiling Urban Decay eyeshadow palettes (I have 8!), everything from Book of Shadows to the Deluxe Shadow to the Ammo Palette. In each one, the neutral shades are the only ones I hit pan. This is why the fact that all the subtle variations of the shimmery eyeshadows I <3 have been gathered together in the NAKED palette and the NAKED2 blew me away. The possibilities are endless of where your creativity will take you with these palettes. It's like a box of the world's finest chocolates for makeup junkies, you don't know which to try first. So two of the most perfect eyeshadow palettes ever and what am I doing? I am waiting for NAKED3 because let's face it when it comes to makeup...greed is good.

CHI Hair Straightener

The clouds parted and glorious birds began to sing, the first time I used a CHI hair straightener on my frizzy hair. My hair went from its usual poufy self to the glossy shampoo commercial hair I had always dreamt of. There are so many more affordable ceramic plated straighteners on the market now, but my loyalty is with my CHI. Let's keep it real, wearing hijab means that I get to be lazy when it comes to styling my hair more often than not. The husband is forced to look at the messy bun look (the messy is usually not on purpose) day in and day out. But every once in a while, when the planets align and all three of my babies (4 including the hubs) give me ten minutes to myself, I'll CHI myself and then bask in the compliments. "Oh God, is it our anniversary?" "How come you don't have that ball on your head anymore?" "Look I can run my fingers through your hair Momma" "ahhh-cooo" (the newborn). Hmmm, we may have to work on the fine art of complimenting in this household. ;)

Monday, December 19, 2011

All-American Muslim Girls

What does a home improvement store have to do with Muslims? Well unless you've been out occupying your local neighborhood Wall Street, the fact that Americans of all faiths are standing up to bigotry by corporate America namely Lowes has been everywhere in the news.

Lowes bowed to calls from a fringe radical group in Florida Family Association (FFA) to pull advertising from TLC's newest reality show All-American Muslim. The group sent letters to corporations pressuring them to pull their ads because, in fact, showing every day American Muslims doing normal mundane things like playing high school football, juggling their kids and work, worrying about being in your 30's and still single was not in their words, an accurate portrayal of how Muslims really are.

Now if TLC showed Muslim women being forced to veil or play a subservient role in their household, then I'm pretty sure the FL group would have no issue with the stereotyping of the "backward foreigners". Instead you have women like Nawal nervous about giving birth for the first time or Suehaila trailblazing her way across the Michigan political scene while wearing hijab.

In one of my favorite scenes, Fordson high school football coach Fouad Zaban accompanies his wife and daughters to a scarf store for some back-to-school shopping. He watches as his preteen daughter learns trendy ways to tie a hijab. His wife worries about watching her little girl grow up looking different than the other kids because she covers her hair. But as we watch the fabulously styled scarf-wearing women in the show, it's clear that looking different hasn't held them back.

Everyone from Russell Simmons to Jon Stewart has criticized Lowes for their very unAmerican act of discrimination and intolerance. Simmons actually backed his opinion with cold hard cash and bought out the ad space vacated by Lowes and Kayak(dot)com for his RUSH credit card. Stewart ridiculed the FFA group for their criticism of All-American Muslim in a hilarious tongue-in-cheek sketch demanding for a boycott of Lowes because they sell everything needed to make bombs. In this time when Islamophobia is so rampant, Simmons and Stewart are, without a doubt, heroes for standing up for Americans who happen to be Muslim.

All-American Muslim isn't controversial because it's a typical reality show where participants get drunk and sleep with each other. Just the opposite, it shows ordinary people living their normal boring lives in small town America. They have family dinners, they argue with each other, they go to their high school football games, and they try to balance kids, work, and life. Gee whiz would you look at that, Muslims are just like everyone else. Who knew?

Photo courtesy of: Adam Rose, TLC via GANNET

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Got My Eye(liner) on You

I finally restocked my makeup brushes during one of Coastal Scents' recent sitewide sales. I got 3 of my absolute favorite brush "Destiny Precision Angled Liner" from them because of course it's the one brush I always manage to misplace. They call it the angled lip liner brush, but I love using the angled taklon fiber brush to apply my gel eyeliner.

With my notoriously shaky hands, applying eyeliner used to be the one part of my makeup routine the I would dread. But ever since I started using the angled brush to line my eyes with MAC's Blacktrack, I love wearing eyeliner all the time now.

The brush is so thin that I can get a subtle line that easily pushes the product between my eyelashes. Also because of the convenient bend in the brush right at the tip, it is easy to see what I'm doing. I can make perfectly even thick lines for a more dramatic evening look and wing out the edges on both my eyes. The bristles are so soft on this brush, that I can even use it to put the gel eyeliner on my waterline inside my eye when I want my entire eye rimmed.

I'm sure there are more expensive angled brushes out there, but the Coastal Scents brush is such a bargain and it makes applying gel eyeliner easy for a novice or an expert. You can use this brush to put on eyeliner on with confidence to complete your gorgeous eye look every time.

UPDATE: This brush is on clearance, buy one for your sisters, best friend, etc. I have two amazing sister-in-laws (or is it sisters-in-law? whatever, my brothers' wives) who will be getting one!