1. Be Better at…Health.

    I’ve pledged my allegiance to butter many a time on this blog, but today, I’m introducing you to a new friend I made over the weekend.

    Coconut Oil. 

    I’d heard a lot of buzz over this stuff lately, and decided to do some research, haul my ass to Trader Joe’s, and take this jar of slick goodness on a date. 

    I think I’m in love. I haven’t used it in the kitchen yet, but I’ll tell you, my body is already thanking me for spending that hard earned (not so hard earned) $5 bucks.

    My first thought was…putting oil on my body is reserved for beachtime and I would NEVER put it this Exxon-Valdez oil spill of a face (too soon?). But after reading a lot of info on the interwebz, I tried it out. First, I dipped my proverbial toe in the water with using it on my legs after shaving. Result? My legs were smooth, supple, not greasy, and smelled lightly of a beach vacation. Not pissed. 

    Next up, I used it to take off my makeup and as an eye cream before bed. Now, it did feel super oily when I went to sleep, and I was uber paranoid that I would wake up with a face full of pimples. My coworkers might disagree, but I am simply glowing today. My skin felt fresh with no signs of coconut related acne this morning, and my legs still felt incredible. Lastly, I fell and scraped my knee pretty bad last week, yes I am a five year old child, and I applied some coconut oil on my wound before bed…my knee looks SO much better this morning, just saying…

    Here are some properties of coconut oil that make it fucking awesome:

    • Anti-microbial/Infection Fighting 
    • Anti-bacterial (kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum diseases, and other bacterial infections)
    • Anti-carcinogenic 
    • Anti-fungal (kills fungi and yeast that lead to infection)
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • An Antioxidant
    • Anti-parasitic (fights to rid the body of tapeworms, lice and other parasites)
    • Anti-viral (kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other viruses)
    • Infection fighting
    • Known to improve nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes vitamins and minerals more available to the body)
    In my www.research, there are a million cajillion uses for coconut oil but here were some of my favorites and some of the especially surprising:

    After Shave 
    Body Scrub – mix with a little sugar and insta-exfoliation!
    Diaper Salve 
    Eye cream – apply on the lids directly at night.
    Lubricant – an all natural substitute, but not compatible with latex.
    Makeup Remover – use with a Q-tip or cotton pad.
    Sun Burn Relief 
    Fitness - when ingested, coconut oil has been proven to jumpstart your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and raise energy levels!
    Allergies (seasonal hay fever)
    Cellulite - And all God’s women said “AMEN!”
    Gum Disease and Gingivitis-(use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums)
    Nutritional Supplement – melt and add to cooking or juices.
    Insect repellentmix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and brave the outdoors
    Seasoning cookware: great for cast iron pans!
    Moisturizing and cleaning leather products: hello, newly revitalized Fall boots!
    For a full list of uses, look here and here
    One warning…when you open the jar, it’ll look like hardened candle wax but the moment you put it in your hands it will go Alex Mack on you and instantly liquify!
    Let me know what you think when you try it out!
    Later bitches,
    Chinae

     


  2. 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

     


  3. Be a Better…Beauty.

    My 5 Favorite Products Edition:

    You know those stupid articles in girly magazines that are the “5 Essential Products a Girl Can’t Live Without”? Yeah, well. I’m doing one of those. But seriously, they certainly aren’t paying me or giving me free product to put this shit on my crappy lil blog…so you should probably listen. 

    1. Nivea Sun-Kissed Beautiful Legs: My Korean-Irish skin combo isn’t helping matters in the sense of looking bronze naturally. I’m somewhere between jaundice and olive, let’s call it Jaulive™. So I need some help, especially when nature’s been giving me the finger on the weekends with raining out my beach plans this summer. As a gal who’s tried every tanning lotion on the market, I can say that this is my fave for everyday use. There’s no weird smell, stays even, and after a few days of applying, I start to look like I’ve been outside before. The bottle says Sun-kissed legs but the rest of my body must be pretty dumb because it hasn’t seemed to notice that I’m using this all over. 

    2. Philosophy Supernatural: I find that most gals fall into two camps with foundation/powder. Either your face looks like the surface of the Moon, OR you look like a Geisha (the third camp is the naturally perfect skin like Giselle camp, and you can all go to hell). I think I’ve found the perfect medium, ladies. Supernatural kinda lives up to it’s name…It’s a light powder that gives perfect coverage without feeling cakey. I’ll never go backkkk.

    3. Ardell Lashes: Pretty much daily I get two questions: 1) What mascara do you use? and 2) Which way is Canal Street? So to address question #1…I DO love my mascara ( L’Oreal Voluminous), but my secret sauce is false eyelashes. Now, do yourself a favor and never buy expensive falsies. Trust me, I’ve been doing this song and dance for 10 years DAILY now…me and Dolly Parton, fighting the good fight out there. I usually buy Ardell lashes from the drug store and they work brilliantly.

    Here are the answers to the many questions I get when people ask about eyelashes so you can stop bugging me and I’ll be able to point you to this Q+A:

    Do you take them off at night? YES. I do.

    Do they bother you? Not at all, like my rule in life…if you are doing it right…it shouldn’t hurt too bad.

    Do you cut them? Yep! You’ll need to cut them lengthwise unless you’re Steve Buschemi.

    Am I going to look weird with them? I’ve embraced looking like a drag queen most days.

    How do I know the right ones to buy? Start with the more natural looking ones and then as you get used to them, you can move up to the RuPaul Big Leagues with me.

    How long does one pair last? 2-3 weeks if you treat ‘em nice.

    Will you help me put them on? NO.

    4. Make Up Forever Aqua Creamliner in Black: It’ll last you FOREVER and it stays put all day long, even through sweat, water, excel document torment, and oily face. Trust me.

    5. L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lipcolor in Beyonce Red: Now, I hate to admit that my favorite color is named after a soul-pop sensation but yeah, I’m over it. Beyonce probably had nothing to do with this anyway. This lipcolor will stay on longer than you want it to. Forget if it’s drink-proof, it’s makeout proof. I went ahead and tested this for you, dear readers, and yes.it.is. 

    Now, only if I could rub Beyonce Red on my legs and get Beyonce thighs.

    xo Chinae