1. Be a Better…Beauty.

    Make-Up Basics Edition:

    Most of us are adult people, and need to be looking that way as well. As hard as it is to roll out of bed 5-10 minutes earlier, the cost of looking like an adolescent or a bridge troll is not worth it people. One of the most common topics that I get asked about in girl land is how the hell to look amazing, but not put too much work into it. This topic seems elementary and mundane but I assure you, if you aren’t doing these beauty tricks…you should be. 

    Basic Make-Up Tricks and Tips:

    -Concealer Cocktail: When I see girls with dryed out, concealer-caked patches of skin on their face, I want to cry big Tyra Banks tears. There is no reason to have tectonic plates of Maybelline on your mean mug, ok?! Here are two tricks for concealing: 1) Put your base/powder/tinted moisturizer all on first and THEN apply your concealer. By putting it on first, you are probably using more than you really need and that’s making you look very Tammy Faye Baker. 2) With a small concealer brush, mix your concealer with a tiny bit of your moisturizer before applying…this will thin it out and make a flawless application, leaving out the flakey, cakey alternative. A great concealer set to try: Make Up Forever’s 5 Camouflage Cream Pallete No. 1.

    -Cheek Color Always: I know a lot of you people skip your cheeks in the whole morning battle, Girl vs. The Clock. This is a huge mistake. If there were 3 things I would never skip, they would be: cheeks, mascara, and brows. When you don’t balance your cheek color to the rest of your make-up, you look like a preteen. You really might as well not wear a bra and make-out with a boy (who may or may not be in Show Choir), behind the Computer Lab at school. The preteen thing especially comes into play when you apply thick eyeliner and the rest of your face is pale and very Johnny Depp circa Edward Scissorhands. Get the most bang out of using a bronzer/blush combo to contour your cheeks and then add a pop of color. Cheek color is one of the quickest things to apply, so no excuses, play like a champion. My favorite line of cheek colors is: Make UP Forever Powder Blushes.

    -White Power (this sounds racist): We’ve all had those mornings where you look in the mirror and you see Gary Busey. It happens. Sometimes an overload of soy sauce/salt (bloated), too much vodka (haggard), or a bout of the stomach flu (deathly) can seriously affect what your normal face looks like. This happens to me about once a week (see: this morning). What to do? Chug two glasses of agua pronto and then get out the white/cream eyeshadow or shadow-stick. Adding a little splash of white right below your brows (lifts the eye) and right near your tear duct (opens up the eye), will help you fake a full 8 hours and 2 less vodkas. PROMISE! My favorite white shadow: MAC White Frost.

    -GO Kit: Spend some time figuring out what goes in your make-up emergency kit. This should include 5 items that you could grab and go and still look polished as sh*t. Now that you’ve picked your gear, buy an extra set of all 5 and store them in a mini-bag, that travels. This way, when you get unexpectedly whisked away for an impromptu tropical vacation, get stopped to be on a reality TV show, or are just f*cking late to work, you have everything at arms length! Also, this kit is perfect for those after work dates or happy hours that require attendance right after work…you’ve heard of day-to-evening dressing, now do that same thing to your face. (It needs it). Another great idea is to get some good/larger samples to stock your Go-Kit, a favorite beauty sample company I like is Birchbox…which gets delivered, straight to your door monthly. 

    -Pick Your Weapon: I saw a girl on the subway yesterday…smokey, sultry eye make-up, amazing bright cheek color, and saucy, red, matte lips…and yet, it was SO SO wrong. This is where application, no matter how good, is only as good as concept. Think about what you’re wearing clothing-wise, or what facial feature you want to accentuate, and JUST punctuate that one. Otherwise, you WILL look like one of the children from Toddlers and Tiaras.

    If you want to do a smokey eye, keep the rest of your face neutral (though still polished and accented) and try a nude gloss instead of pairing it with a colored lip. When trying a highly-pigmented (see: bright and thick) shade of lipcolor, make sure you keep eyes simple and wear a cheek color that compliments the shade of lipstick ( if you are doing a warm red lip…steer clear of blush with a cool pink tone, etc). One of my favorite looks this season is a bright, punch of color on the cheeks, simple but exaggerated black liner (top lashes only, for a 1950’s bent), and a light gloss. So pretty and SUPER easy.

    -Bronzer: Everyone looks better with a little. No, you don’t have to change your race but if sunkissed and healthy is not a look you like, I don’t want to be your friend. Even you need some, Anne Hathaway/Renee Zellweger/Uma Thurman. (If you are Anne Hathaway, Renee Zellweger, or Uma Thurman and you are reading my blog, I sincerely apologize and you can go bronzer-less and I will still adore you) My favorite bronzer: NARS Bronzer in Laguna.

    -Filled-In Brows: OK, if I ran for political office, this would be one of my core issues. BROWS. (Yes, this is also why I should never run for political office) Filled in brows get a really bad wrap these days…I blame the Chola community (which I have a particularly strange fondess, for). Every person (EVERY PERSON, ARE YOU LISTENING) should be filling in their brows and setting them with wax or brow mascara. The only way to look perfect polished and finished is with a groomed brow. Gals get scared of filling in their brows for a lot of reasons, but I venture to say, that will the right product, you’ll preach the gospel of brow maintenance one day too. Most people should invest in a good brow powder. It’s the most natural way to fill ‘em in and most powder comes with a wax to set your eyebrows as well. Here’s a good option: Lorac’s Take a Brow.

    OK, enough beauty-related rambling for today…hope this solves some of your make-up woes and if you have specific questions, send them to me at bebetterblogger@gmail.com or send me a tumblr message and I’ll answer them right here!

    xo Chinae


  2. Be a Better…Communicator.

    (Part 2 from yesterday…) Pick-Up Artist LADIES Edition:

    So…I am around A LOT of women in my life, that and I am the proud owner of my own girly parts. Between Simultaneous-Period phenomenon conversation, and talking about how we are going to make a million dollars to fund our desire for a beach house with exactly 3 shirtless cabana boys… I get to overhear and take part in a lot of talk about the men folk and of course some mild bitching.

    Here are some of the most common things I hear regarding men and the pickup process:

    -“Guys never approach me!” (not with that attitude they don’t)

    -“What’s there to talk about with a stranger?” (umm…hello…you’ve never met. this is going to be the time where you have the most to talk about)

    -“They probably are just out for sex and nothing serious…” (oh c’mon, let’s not renew our Manhaters Magazine subscription so quickly)

    -“Can I turn flirting into a bar, into an actual date?” (it can and DOES happen…they may turn into a crazy person though…I can’t guarantee this will not happen..and it’s more likely than not)

    -“I think men are intimidated by my strong personality/good looks/job/etc…so that’s why I don’t get picked up” (false. unless you are Heidi Klum, and if you are Heidi Klum and you are reading this blog…tell Seal hello.)

    -“How do I chat up a guy without him thinking I’m desperate?” (If you are desperate, it’s obvious whether you open your mouth or not…it’s like the smell of freshly cooked bacon to a vegetarian (smells good but wouldn’t put it in their mouth for a million)

    SOME TIPS AND TRICKS to Expert Lady Game (minus the game playing):

    -Problem: Poor Positioning….If you are sitting in the corner of a six person booth, no drink, stuck on level twelve of Angry Birds on your iPhone or talking to your friend in an intense convo about how no one “understands who you really are”…no guy is going to talk to you. Not because you aren’t pretty, or interesting, or because they’re nervous…but because you’ve positioned yourself as inaccessible. This isn’t American Gladiators. They should not have to fight Nitro and Storm with pugil sticks and then hand-bike their way over a foam-filled trench to get to you. 

    -Solution: Guys are lazy. If you are a single gal, you’ve gotta learn pick-up positioning. Instead of sitting in the corner of the booth, let your married friend sit there (she is having regular sex), and sit at the edge of a table and face the flow of traffic (this gives the maximum amount of eye to eye contact possible and if the guy does want to approach you, he doesn’t feel like Storm is giving him the stink eye for leaning over her to try and offer you an adult beverage). I think the best place to post up is near the bar….now don’t be one of those annoying people who (at a busy place) are saddled up to the bar but are pretty much requiring you to do the choreography from the Bump and Grind music video to be able to order my Absolut on the rocks (two limes). 

    Another easy positioning thing is to open your body up to the main part of the room or who you’ve got your eye on… even if you are seated at a table with people, angle your chair toward the center of the room, I don’t know think NASA has done any research behind this, but speaking from trial and error…it works.

    -Problem: No One is Approaching You…Well the mentality that men should be the only one’s making first contact is absurd. If this your thought process.. (fast forward 30 years), you’ll be sharing a bowl of Cherry Garcia ice cream with your hairless Persian cat Mr. Weebles, watching Designing Women re-runs in your Lot’s o’ Coverage cotton undies. Now look,  I’m Southern and I do believe men should make the first move to ask you out but we are talking about striking up a conversation while you’re out…you aren’t inviting him on a romantic Parisien vacation.

    -Solution: Get over your insecurity and talk to someone. Buy a guy a beer (wouldn’t that be shocking?). Introduce yourself. Be bold…and I can guarentee most guys will think its insanely refreshing to not have to handle all the dirty work and you’ll probably gain major points for being confident enough to make the first move. 

    -Problem: Conversation (What the heck do we talk about?!)… Alright, so he came up and offered to buy you a drink. He has dimples. Sh*t. That’s distracting. He sorta looks like that Werewolf kid from that vampire movie I never saw. I wonder if his abs look like that Werewolf’s?….. OK YOU MUST SNAP OUT OF IT. This is the time that you have everything in the world to talk about so make the most of it. You’ll probably get to the stage where you are both 85 and are just staring into space over the dinner table but that time is not now. Engage!

    -Solution: Get your brain in the game. Come up with your go-to questions for these times when you are all flustery due to the potential of Werewolf Abs. Think about what you’d want to be asked…be original and don’t ask Yes or No Questions, you’ll feel dumb when they answer and you have to ask another question making you feel like a tube-top-wearing Regis Philbin on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Be really good at talking about a couple of topics so you can hop right on over those uncomfortable silences. 

    Also, keep it short. Excuse yourself, say you loved talking and that you hope to talk again, and go do something else, if he comes and finds you to continue conversation..you’ve made it to BONUS ROUND!

    -Be a little mean sometimes. This is my typical mode of operation. Keep it playful but a few little jabs can let them know that you are interested and they’ll usually respond with a zinger right back. Let’s be honest…we all can use reverting to 3rd grade hair pulling once in a while.

    Three Cheers for Summer Love,

    xoxo Chinae