Bookshelf #3

I haven’t had a huge amount of time to sit down and read lately, so I thought that today, I would show you what has been piling up on my bedside table.

My book piles are always divided into two categories – work and fun.For work, I have some L.A.-centric novels and non-fiction books that I’m excited to work through, the first one being Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries, which tells the story of a Mexican immigrant getting into conflict with the officials over a truly strange misunderstanding.

Books Los Angeles

The second (non-fiction) book is L.A. Noir by John Buntin, which takes a look at the crime fiction genre in L.A. through the lens of real life events. Then, there’s James Frey’s Bright Shiny Morning, which comes highly suggested and takes place in the Hollywood scene.

Bookshelf 3

On my ‘for fun’ reading pile there are only two novels as of now. Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch has been sitting on my bedside table for quite some time now, but the hefty page number and the alleged slow start have made me a bit hesitant to get going. This might be one to save for a vacation or a long flight.

And finally, I recently picked up Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers. The amazing title drew me in instantly and I think this one got out on my radar via a few bestseller lists, so I’m hoping for something good.

So guys, what’s on your ‘to read’ lists as of now? Or have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know!

My Real Techniques Picks

Real Techniques brushes have been around for a good while and have really made a name for themselves in the beauty scene. Coming at an affordable price point with great quality, these make-up brushes were bound to become a hit and I myself have tried a fair few of them.

Real Techniques

I can’t say that there has been a real dud in the collection as far as I’ve tried it out, but there definitely are several brushes that have stood out for me.

The first two came in a set of special dual fiber brushes (actually a set of three, but the eye brush is pretty forgettable), and they are the Duo-Fiber Face Brush and Duo-Fiber Contour Brush.

Real Techniques Duo Fiber Face Brush

The face brush is one that I love for applying bronzer as it does not pick up too much product, which is integral for bronzing, and disperses it nicely and effortlessly. The sparser white bristles make it super easy to blend out any harsh lines.

Real Tqchniques Duo Fiber Contour Brush

The contour brush is my favorite for powdering my t-zone and under eye area. Since I do prefer my face to look slightly dewy, I never usually apply powder all over and this small brush makes it easy to hit just the right spots without going overboard. Just like its bigger counterpart, it blends the product easily and makes it simple to avoid cakeface.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

For foundation application, my weapon of choice is the Expert Face Brush. I haven’t touched any other foundation brush since I got this and I use it for every type of base product. It buffs out bases easily without soaking up too much product or leaving behind streaks. This is also great for creamy cheek products, so I might have to pick up another one solely for that purpose.

Real Techniques Setting Brush

Finally, the Setting Brush is a great one for under the eye. I like to blend out concealer with this little guy as it fits nicely into the area and makes it so very easy to quickly hide my dark circles. I also find that I tend not to go too heavy with concealer when using this brush as it buffs out product so nicely that you really don’t need a lot. My only gripe with this brush is that it has gotten slightly scratchier after multiple washes and it’s not as soft as it once was.

Other than that, since these are synthetic brushes, they wash extremely well and have held up nicely, even with permanent use. If you’re looking to build your brush collection on a budget or are just starting out with make-up, these are an amazing place to start.

Coral Lips for Summer

Even though the weather is miserable right now, summer is just around the corner and a failsafe way to inject a bit of warmth into the make-up routine is going coral on the lips.

I have a few picks that sit firmly in the coral category and are all very similar in tone, but formula-wise, I think there’s something here for everyone.

Coral Lips

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in 18C – This one is a beautiful creamy pinky coral with great pigmentation. Since it is a lip pencil, it does dry out the lips slightly but it makes for an extremely long lasting option for summer and topped with a nourishing lipbalm (I like using Nuxe Reve de Miel for its matte finish), it isn’t too uncomfortable on the lips.

Nars Lodhi – Color-wise, this is almost an exact match for the MUFE pencil, but it is a lot creamier in formula. For my tastes, it even is too creamy, but it has a gorgeous satin finish on the lips. The pencil for makes it easy to touch up, which is definitely needed as it wears off kinda quick due to its soft formulation.

MAC Watch Me Simmer – This was a limited edition shade a few years back, but I thought I would still include it as MAC like to repromote popular items, which this certainly was. It is a touch more pink than the previous two colors and packs a lot of punch with its Amplified finish. It does have a slight sheen and sits comfortably on the lips, but make sure to carry the lipstick with you as this might need a little touch up after a while. It’s a gorgeous color though, so give it a shot when it comes out again.

Maybelline Color Elixir in Alluring Coral – I’ve talked about this one before, but for summer, this gloss is a winner. It’s nice and opaque, so you really get some color out of it, but the stain left behind after the gloss has worn down is what I actually love the most about this Maybelline number. While it is a true color, the stain pulls a bit more pink and just looks effortlessly pretty on the lips. Seeing as this is available at the drugstore, I would recommend this gloss (and the whole line) wholeheartedly, especially if you love a bit of shine.

Bobbi Brown Rosy

With summer just around the corner, I have really been into brighter lip colors. One that has been especially beautiful to wear is the Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color in Rosy.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color Rosy

As the name suggests, this is a light, sheeny formula that glides onto the lips effortlessly and doesn’t dry them out at all. However, since it is a more hydrating lipstick, it doesn’t have the best lasting time but this is one of the colors that really doesn’t need a mirror for touch ups.

Bobbi Brown Rosy

It is a sheer formula, but since the color is a vibrant warm pink, it still packs a punch and really brightens the face. It is a lot subtler than a full on red or pink, but makes for an amazing everyday pop of color for when you’re not feeling a nude on the lips.

The range of shades in the Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color collection is huge, so I am very tempted to check out a few more colors for the summertime, but for now, I think am set with this beautiful rose shade.

MAC Warm Soul

Even though I am firmly stuck in a bronzer appreciation phase right now, there is one blush that is a summer staple for me – MAC Warm Soul.

MAC Warm Soul

Part of their Mineralize collection, this is a beautiful baked blush with a good hit of shimmer. The shade is a reddish, warm beige (doesn’t that sound strange…) that warms up the face and adds a bit of summery, bronze-y glow without the need for many additional products.

I’ve had Warm Soul for a few years and I reach for it time and time again as soon as the weather warms up. As it imparts a beachy, sunkissed look, it’s not one for the colder months, but with the subtle sheen, it is perfect as soon as the sun comes out.

The MAC Mineralize blushes might not be the softest blushes on the market, especially when compared to the similar offerings by Hourglass etc., but I do think they are well worth their money. If you are looking for a new summer blush, Warm Soul is a pretty failsafe way to go.