Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Awesome Product Alert: Revision Brightening Facial Wash

Freckles. I've had them as long as I can remember. And hated them for a very long time. Not to the point where I used lemon juice (that's what my friends recommended to me as a kid) but I never thought they were cute or becoming. Then I turned 12 and a guy at a theme park told me that some man was going to fall in love with me because of my freckles. I must've blushed furiously, stammered something and then walked away awkwardly as any tween would do if they were told such a thing. Of course it changed my whole perspective on freckles. I vowed to embrace them. And find a man to love me because of them.

Later as I entered my twenties and thirties, the freckles started getting worse and worse. I was dillengent about applying sunscreen but nothing seemed to keep the skin discoloration at bay. I met my boyfriend Paul and he got glasses after we had been dating for 3 years. The first thing he said when he put on the glasses was how he never noticed that I had freckles. Seriously? At that point, I was more than ready to give up on my freckles.

I've been searching for just the right brightening system to use on my freckles for a while now. I'm not a fan of hydroquinone since it can irritate your skin if you over use it. Instead I've been looking for more natural solutions for brightening such as White Tea, Licorice and Shitake Mushrooms. I tried brightening products from Aveda and Dermalogica, but I didn't like the smells and didn't see that much of a difference.

My boss Rita took one look at my face and steered me in the direction of Revision, a brand that markets itself to dermatologists. She recommended the "Brightening Facial Wash" and gave me a small sample to try at home. The first thing I noticed is that a little bit goes a long way with this face wash. I have noticed that about more expensive products that on a cost per use, they typically end up being cheaper. I started using a nickel size (what they recommend) but a dime size is more than enough. I loved the creamy consistency that turned into a foaming cleanser; to me that's the best of both worlds with the cream giving extra hydration and the foaming action doing an extra job of cleansing. The smell was one of my favorite parts of the cleanser, a very light orange scent that was neither too medicinal or acidic. The product washed off easily and left my skin feeling soft and supple, not tight the way that typical foaming cleansers leave my skin.

I broke my cardinal rule of not touching my face the first time I used it because my skin felt so soft. I've experienced mild breakouts from using the product because the alpha & beta hydroxy acids are unclogging my pores, but nothing compared to the other times I've used face washes with salycilic acid. I love the combination of ingredients: Glycolic & Salycilic Acid (exfoliation), Vitamin E (hydration), White Tea & Licorice (lightening). After about a week of using the product, I have noticed a small amount of lightening; already I love how different my skin's texture feels (more hydrated and smoother).

One last note on the packaging: Revision comes in all black packaging with silver lettering. I know, it's just a package. But to me, nice packaging makes a difference. Beauty products are all about the entire user experience. And I have to say, I absolutely love the Revision packaging. From the cardboard box that it comes in, to the simple black plastic bottle with the label stamped on (rather than stickered on which always looks so cheap to me). Also the fact that it is black is great since Paul and I are going to be sharing this face wash. Sometimes there is something to be said for unisex packaging (Paul Mitchell is a great example). So many men can't be bothered to buy their own beauty products and instead just steal their wives/girlfriends products. This is one product that I'm happy to have Paul steal since I know it will do such great things for his face too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Love of my beauty life: Target

Oh Target. Our love affair has been for so long. Since the days back in the 80s when my dad took me shopping there for my first clothing purchase as a tween (leggings) to today when I have to keep myself from spending more than $100 each trip, I've loved you so.

I especially love browsing the clothing and cosmetic aisles. Target is one of those fast fashion places to me, filled with disposable clothing and quick beauty finds. I also have a new buddy now, Sandi, who loves browsing Target almost as much as I do. So partners in crime we hit up the Target in Silverlake. We meander around for hours looking at cheesy, Donna Martin Graduates inspired fashions (if you get that reference you are a child of the 90s!) and searching for a compact to replace my broken one. I didn't buy any clothes but I did get an organic, refillable, green compact from Physicians Formula that smells funny (is it the fact that it's made from bamboo) but does make me feel better that it's refillable.

One of my favorite thing about Target is that they have different merchandise depending on the Target you go to. And we have such an amazing variety of neighborhoods in LA and a huge assortment of Targets within a 50 mile radius that you can find some unique items. My everyday Target is in Burbank, my fancier Target is in Woodland Hills and my Target to get cool stuff from is in West Hollywood, Ladera Heights and Silverlake.

What sparked this outpouring of Target love? An article I found today in The New York Times talking about Target and Manhattan:
I would love to visit all 9 Targets around Manhattan to see the diversity of merchandise that they have. I bet the Lower East Side Target is totally different (in a good way) from the Upper West Side Target.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I had to go to Sephora a while back to grab a Korres lip butter for a bride that I was doing. While I was there I was reminded of how inspirational it is to just walk around the store. They are always showcasing new things and fun brands. Sephora, like H&M, is a genius of fast fashion. Which is really just another way of selling us stuff that is fun for a moment and quite possibly disposable. They get us in the door frequently because we know that there's always going to be a shiny new thing for us to look at. For Beauty Addicts, Sephora is heaven. I don't really browse online at that much. Instead I like to look around a physical store when I'm in browsing mode. is for when I'm buying and I want to read reviews.

Here are some new things that I discovered at Sephora. They may be a couple of months old, but they are new to me. Plus they will be gone in a couple of months when I go back to Sephora to browse again. I've gotten good at limiting what I buy on these Sephora browsing shopping trips since I know that the shiny new things, while pretty to look at, aren't always that great. I tend to obsessively research beauty products on before I buy it so don't think that you can get me that easily Sephora! Well, maybe that stuff at the cash register might get me because it's so cheap. And super cute.

Pore-fector gadget: I love how the name says exactly what it is. I feel like this is Bliss' answer to the Clarisonic. Any try and buy it out there? Let me know how you like it! My clients love my Clarisonic BTW. I used it on a massage therapist the other day and she asked "What was that????" It feels like a mini-massage for your face!

Stay Don't Stray from Benefit: eye primer is my new obsession. I don't think you really need to use primer everywhere unless you've got skin that make-up slips off of. So really where you need primer is where you are putting the majority of your make-up: eyes and if you are going through an 80s thing like me cheeks too. I'm going to be doing a review of a couple of primers this week, but the bottom line is that I still haven't found my dream eye primer. I haven't tried Stay Don't Stray but the display caught my eye. I've heard a rumor that MAC Painterly Pots and Urban Decay eye primers are the best.

Tarina Tarantino at Sephora: I've always loved her jewelry. Truth be told, I think the make-up and the cases look a little tacky... I know it's one small step from glitzy to tacky with Tarantino jewelery. But that's what I love about her esthetic that it isn't too cheesy. What do you think? Have you seen the make-up? Cheesy or fun? Or both?

Tokidoki: This is the brand that they are pimping out at the front of the store. Totally Japanese anime vibe. Super cute. Kinda reminds me of Gwen Stefani early 2000s. But still, really cute. I love the packaging. 

Korres lip butters: this is actually what I went to Sephora to pick up. I love love love these things. I was introduced to Korres by my mentor Elissa who uses them for naturalistic beauty shots. I've used them for bridal when the bride doesn't want glossy and isn't too keen on matte. They are almost a lip stain with extra moisturizing powers. Try them out, usually Sephora has a deal with three for $20.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beauty School: wedding hair

Remember that last post about me being a lazy makeup artist? I'm even worse at doing my own hair. I can't be bothered for some reason. Unless it takes 10 minutes.  The funny thing is that now that I'm a make-up artist, I'm also required to do hair on occasion. And the funnier thing is that I love doing hair! It's kinda like having a real life Barbie to play with. I don't have a lot of fear when it comes to make-up or hair styling since it's so temporary. Make-up can be removed with an easy swipe of a wipe and hair styles can be brushed out. Now ask me to cut or dye someone's hair ... no way! Unless it's a pair of unruly eyebrows.

My friend James works at KMS as the Education Manager and he posted some new webisodes. Usually they are geared towards stylists, but this one that he posted was a bit more consumer friendly as in this is something that you could actually do on yourself at home. Of course the last two styles (a half-up do and an up-do) will look way better if you have someone to do them for you.

Here's the webisode:

The problem is it isn't always possible to have someone do your hair for you. Take this Saturday for example. I have a wedding that I have to be at in Malibu at 6pm and I'm done at work at 5pm. I'd love to get one of the stylists at work to do my hair but there just isn't time. So I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out an updo that I can actually do myself. Trust me there's been a lot of wracking. Then James posted his webisode. I was inspired to break out the bobbie pins, hair spray and teasing comb to see what I could come up with.

The first do on the webisode is a simple braid for a day time beach look. Cute, but not what I need for a night time wedding. So I didn't even attempt it although I might start wearing that look to work.

The second one is promising. My mom always says that I look good with my hair half up and half down. The back really turned out better than I was expecting.

I really like the third one. It's off to the side in an 80s sort of way. I've been big on the 80s fashion revival even though I think I'm about a year too late. It looks really messy which is cool when you are a guest at a wedding (and only if you are an avant guarde bride!). That seems appropriate since I did it myself. I might stick a flower in it to hide the bobby pins and the messy.


I'm glad I did a test run because I figured out that it really does take 10 minutes to do each of these looks. Definitely workable when I'm running home from work and throwing on my dress, make-up and hair so that we make it to the wedding on time. I'll post pics of the final look that I went with next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beauty School: wedding make-up

My second beauty school session was spent watching videos on bridal make-up. I recently took a class on bridal make-up while at IMATS. The make-up was beautiful but a bit too fashion forward for my brides. The women that I've done at Frenchy's sometimes want something a little more daring than the typical beauty make-up with with pin-up updos and hair dyed pink and blue to match the bridesmaid dresses. But most of them are happy with a subtle natural look.

One of the best things that I learned from the bridal make-up workshop at IMATS is to think of your bride as a character. Talk with her to see what type of character she wants to be for her wedding. And waterproof make-up is your friend.

I found a great Lauren Luke bridal tutorial on YouTube. This look is for a more adventurous bride, with purple in the crease and black eyeliner. I liked the drama of this look a little more than other videos I watched, plus it is a look that is easy to recreate if you have someone doing your make-up instead of doing it yourself.

My friend Reem from Esthetician School came over and we watched the videos together. It may sound silly but it was much more motivational to have someone watching and commenting on the videos with me than if I had been watching them myself. And the best part was when we got to practice on each other. I'd recommend that for everyone who wants to get better at doing make-up on other people not just watch the videos, but recreate the looks. Practice is such a big part of doing make-up, getting comfortable touching people's faces, knowing what to tell them when you need to apply mascara ("look over my shoulder" usually works the best), feeling okay to admit your mistakes and start over with a make-up wipe.

Here's a picture of Reem's work on me. She recreated the basic bridal look of Michelle Pham's with a little bit of the pop of Lauren Luke. I loved how beautiful the make-up looked on me but in the photograph it is a little washed out. That is mostly because I was using my iPhone's crappy camera to take the picture. But it's a good example of how when you are doing make-up for an event that will be photographed, it's better to have a heavy hand.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pour some sugar on me

Anyone a big fan of sugaring? In case you haven't heard of it, sugaring is a method of hair removal that is supposedly less painful than waxing because the sugar attaches to the hair and not the skin. Here's more about sugaring on Wikipedia. During traditional waxing, the wax attaches mostly to the hair but also a little bit to the skin, giving your skin a slight amount of exfoliation. But that's why whenever you get waxed you should wait about a week before you go to the beach or get a peel, since the skin is already a bit thin after the waxing.

I must have tough skin since I've never really had a problem with waxing. Also my hair is fine so waxing tends to hurt less. But there are plenty of waxing horror stories that have been told to me about the skin near the eyebrow tearing (skin is thinner on your face, underarms and nether regions) or having to let the skin chillax a couple of days after getting a particularly sensitive body part waxed since it was so raw and red.

Sugaring is an interesting option for those of you who are sensitive to waxing. On the wikipedia website they have a recipe for sugaring that I might try out. I've always dreamed of being a kitchen witch that is an esthetician who cooks up her own beauty recipes in the kitchen. In my dream I magically discover the key to some beauty problem that has plagued me for years, bottle it and sell it for a gazillion dollars. The reality is that I don't even like regular cooking so I'm not sure why I think I'm going to be a cooking superstar when it comes to beauty products. Maybe it's the aspiring skin scientist in me.

Check out this article that I found on talking about sugaring vs. waxing. And let me know if you've had a good or bad experience with either sugaring or waxing. I think, like most things in life, it depends on you and your body type. Waxing can work for some people, sugaring is better for others. The most important thing is to talk about this with your waxer to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible during what, let's get real, is not a very comfortable experience. We are ripping hair from the roots here people!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beauty School: Smokey Eye

It's now easier than ever for women to connect with and learn from each other. My absolute favorite technology innovation is how many women are uploading make-up tutorials. It's an extension of an idea that I've been toying around with for years - what do you do if you don't have an older sister or a gay best friend to take under their wing and show you the beauty ropes? For many women, the alternative is to check out YouTube for make-up tutorials. Here's a great article from CNN on self-made beauty stars.

One of the most famous make-up video stars today is Lauren Luke. She went from posting videos on YouTube to starting her own cosmetic line at Sephora. I love the democratization of beauty! I don't think Lauren would have had as good a shot at starting her own make-up line ten years ago. Or at least it would have taken her twenty extra years to get to that level.

As a baby make-up artist (as my mentor likes to call me) and a lazy make-up artist, I need to get up to speed very quickly on some basic and not so basic looks. I could spend money on going to make-up school, but alot of people who've gone to make-up school have let me know that it wasn't worth the investment. So I've decided to take one-off classes from manufacturers like M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown, classes at Naimie's Beauty Supply Store, classes at trade shows and finally, watch free video tutorials online. Did I mention they were free? Yeah, that's totally the best part. I love free education!

Here's a tutorial that Lauren did on a basic smokey eye. What I find fascinating is that she didn't spend a crazy amount of time blending. The crease and the lid color are very separate. Blending is one of those things that I've had to work on as a make-up artist. But maybe I don't need to stress too much!

Here's a more dramatic smokey eye. I love this look. I practiced a smokey eye once on a friend and did something like this. My friend thought it was too dramatic. I think I'm all about the drama though since this look appeals to me much more than the first smokey eye.

Here's a really extreme dramatic smokey eye. Lauren calls it her "Kim Kardashian" look. Maybe it sounds silly to reference pop culture, but I've had more than a few directors (who are typically male) use pop culture short cuts like "I want a Real Housewives of OC look" to let me know what they are going for. So thank you Lauren and your video tutorials for helping us recreate the look of celebrities. Plus I think the snoring pug in the background of some of her videos is charming! I can see why she has such a tremendous following.

If you want to follow Lauren on YouTube, here's her channel "Panacea81". I'm making a goal of watching 30 minutes of videos a week and blogging about it so check back here for more tutorials from Lauren and other video make-up stars that I find!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Lazy Make-up Artist

The fact that I'm truly a minimalist when it comes to my own make-up was the biggest barrier for me to see myself as a make-up artist. I'm not a morning person, as much as I've tried to force myself to become one. So when it comes to getting ready in the morning I'm lucky if I have time to blow dry my roots and do a little schrunching of the hair. Forget about stuff on the face. I never leave without sunscreen and moisturizer but anything else use to be too much for me. And so I lived with the idea that because I didn't wear make-up on my face how could I possibly be a make-up artist.

Funny thing is when you start networking with other make-up artists, you find out that they don't wear much make-up either. I wonder why that is. The two who I met recently who don't wear a lot of make-up look great with and without make-up. Maybe they don't have an interest in playing up their looks; they'd rather focus on other things, like playing up the looks of their clients. Maybe they like the natural look. Or maybe they don't have time like me.

I've just started to play with make-up on myself again, after a ten year absence. When I got to college I was introduced to the wonders of eyebrow plucking and M.A.C. make-up by my best friend Dale. I worked on my look for a couple of years, including post-college first jobs. Then I got to a job that consumed everything in my life, got a boyfriend who doesn't really care if I wear make-up or not and just fell out of the habit. But now I'm back on track because my own face is the best place to practice new looks. I struggle a bit since all my good make-up is in my kit. And as soon as I figure out something that looks cool on me, I want to throw that make-up into my kit and use it on clients.

Currently on my own make-up table I've got stacks of colorful loose eyeshadows that I collected from all my broken shadows, the glitter platte from NYX, mascara, lip gloss and two things if I'm feeling really ambitious: black pencil and blush. I also have a bunch of primers that I'm testing out for Painted Ladies, plus moisturizer, sunscreen and a combo concealer, foundation, powder that I got at the drugstore. I tend to focus on creating a nice canvas with skin care products and then do something fun with my eyes. Lips and cheeks just aren't my thing so they are always the first thing to go when time is an issue.

If you're wondering if my make-up table is always neat and organized, I decided to post before and after pictures. I try to straighten it up once every couple of weeks, which allows me to go through and get rid of the stuff that I'm not using, and take the stuff that I really love and throw it in my kit.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Letter to my 20-something self (yeah it's another sunscreen ad)

On NPR today, I heard about a young women named Cassie in her twenties asking her friends in their thirties and forties to write letters to their 20-something selves in order for her to be inspired/know what to do with her life/know what not to do with her life. The letters are collected here on her blog. It reminded me of that episode of Sex and the City, "Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty Something Women" At the time it aired, I was smack dab in the middle of my twenties, about to hit the quarterlife milestone of 25. I didn't identify with Carrie and her friends at all. Now, when I watch reruns of "Sex and the City" on TBS, I cringe at how much I identify with Carrie and her friends. And how little I paid attention to their warnings while I was in my twenties. Dammit.

So my dear Cassie, as much as I'd love to say that you are going to learn so much from these letters that you will never make the mistakes that we made throughout our twenties, I'm sorry. I just can't say that. Unfortunately, you need to go through the stuff in your twenties, and thirties and forties and beyond, in order to build the totally awesome woman that you are supposed to be. Plus I'm almost a little afraid that your social experiement might rip a hole in the space time continuim, so please be careful with all this knowledge. Like Marty McFly careful.

Except I'm really not kidding about the sunscreen everyday thing. That's the type of mistake that doesn't build character. It just makes you look all wrinkly in your sixties.


Dear 20-something Ilana,

Hello from your future self! Isn't the internet a miracle? Someday it will be everywhere. Take a break from it every once in a while. And no you don't need to have internet on your phone. 

First things first, you need to start wearing sunscreen every day. And I'm not talking just about on your face. Hands and decolletage. Repeat after me. Hands and decolletage. You probably don't even know what the heck decolletage is but trust me you will someday. It will have freckles and annoy you because it's a different color than your face. And this is not just because you start working as a skin therapist (WHATWHATWHAT?) in your thirties.

Second, Proactiv is awesome. Not everything that you buy off of TV is going to be as awesome (NADS, Shamwow, Magic Bullet) but sometimes things work out. It's kind of a metaphor for everything that happens to you in your twenties. Not everything, most definitely, but a couple of things are totally awesome. You are going to kiss a lot of frogs and then meet a prince. You're going to be stuck in a crappy job but meet some friends that you'll have for life. You're going to get into a car accident but end up buying your first car all by yourself.

Third, you really should start writing everyday. I know this sounds cliched but when you finally start in your thirties, it's the most wonderful fulfilling life changing thing you could ever do. And can you imagine where you will be in your forties if you start writing every day in your twenties? Pulitzer! Academy Award! Or maybe just a working writer. Which would be an amazing accomplishment because in the future, books will turn into digital disposable commodities just like music. Yeah, I said music. Don't worry about how you don't buy too many CDs since they'll be dead and gone in less than a decade. You should, however, buy at least one CD from the following bands if you really want that prince to swoon: R.E.M., Roxy Music, The Police, U2 and especially the Beatles .

Finally, I know you laugh your ass off when Scott Peterson shows you his "blog" in 2000 which basically is a boring looking website where he posts pictures of his travels around the world. Stop laughing. Start blogging. That can be your excuse to write everyday. Maybe try writing about working as a stripper. Or pick a cookbook that you like and do a recipe everyday for a year. You could even write just simple little paragraphs about all the crazy shit that your parents say. Any of those choices might land you a book/movie/TV deal.

xoxo Thirty-Five year old Ilana.

IMATS Inspiration continues!

The L.A. Weekly visited IMATS and took some amazing pics, courtesey photographer Star Foreman.

You can check out all the pics here. I've posted a couple that I really love:

Glitter Therapy: IMATS 2010

I attended my first IMATS (International Make-up Artist Trade Show) on Sunday. I've gone to hair trade shows for the past five years while working for a hair manufacturer and spa shows as a working esthetician, but this was my first time at a show purely focused on Make-up. The energy was more colorful and exciting and fun than spa shows, with people in character make-up all around the show floor.

Most of the big manufacturers were there right up front like M.A.C and Make Up For Ever. The booths were packed from the moment I entered the show to the time I left.

Other popular booths were NYX and Dinair airbrushing.

I was more surprised by the manufacturers that I didn't see or the ones that had tiny booths where they weren't selling products (Urban Decay). Although to be fair big manufacturers like Bobbi Brown and Jane Iredale decided to be part of Naimie's booth (a large beauty supply store in Studio City). Still it made me wonder if this show is seen as more of a consumer event from the manufacturer's perspective.

The interesting thing is that I don't necessarily go to shows for great deals on products. Shows are more about seeing what the latest product news is, getting inspired by looks and other beauty professionals, and picking up a couple of items that I'm missing from my kit or my spa room. It just so happens that I can get the products on sale at the show, with the real convenience coming from the fact that they are all located in one place. And if I get a great deal that's just icing on the cake!

Bright Colors
I saw bright colors (YEAH!) at both M.A.C., Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and on a model being painted at Make-up Forever. I love that color is making in-roads. I've always been a fan of wearing all black with brightly colored accent pieces and colors on your face. Right now I'm working with orange bangs and yellow that frame my face and using either purple or teal on my lids.

One manufacturer, Naked Cosmetics, was touting the fact that one pot of product could be used wet or dry, on the lids, cheeks or lips and even on nails. So I guess technically this product is a 5in1. Another manufacturer was selling "The First ever 2 in 1 oil blotting papers and bronzer".

Glitter therapy
Glitter seemed to be everywhere at the show but maybe that's just because as a glitter lover I saw it everywhere. But I did capture this sign from a manufacturer that sums up my love of Glitter: Glitter Therapy. Sparkles make me smile. Plus have you noticed that other people smile more when you've got glitter all over your face? Glitter seems to be making the move into a more controlled version as eyeliner and away from an all-over glittery mess on your lids. I did buy a glitter palette from NYX and played with it yesterday as a liner. I think I'm more into it as a shadow. I probably just need time to get used to the more subtle look, if you can call a line of glitter on your lid a more subtle look.

I went to the Make Up For Ever class on Bridal make-up. The educator showed us a vision of the bride of the future, which was very inspirational but not very practical for the make-up that I'm going to be doing on my brides. Maybe I can convince at least one bride this year to go with dark plum eyebrows, bright pink lids and a dark dramatic crease. The one tip that I thought was helpful was how the educator emphasized using waterproof make-up. Even if the bride isn't crying up a storm, she's probably sweating, especially during summer weddings. Make-up down the face due to tears or sweat doesn't make for an ideal bridal moment.

There was also a beautiful bridal fashion show that Dany Sanz from Make Up For Ever created, showing bridal make-up and fashion throughout the ages. I'd love it if women started coming to me with period bridal dresses and asking for 60's inspired bridal make-up. The Make Up For Ever educator did encourage us to think of the bride as a character, and get to know her personality to help create this bridal character. It got me thinking that it might be nice to have my brides fill out a questionnaire so I can work with them to better develop their bridal character.

My two favorite brides were from the 90s and the 70s.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hair Down There

Now that I'm an esthetician, that seems to be the number one topic of conversation, the hair down there. People love talking about it, sometimes to giggle and be embarrassed, sometimes to legitimately ask me questions about a topic that is a double taboo - hair removal and your nether region.

The biggest thing I've noticed about Brazilians is the amount of psychologizing that you need to do with people. I took a class on eyebrows and the teacher mentioned that most people will come to you with eyebrow baggage. So true! Of course I've noticed way more baggage when it comes to Brazilians. Women just aren't as comfortable with our junk as guys are. It's more than just the obvious fact that their bait and tackle is out for display and we've got to grab a mirror to get up close and personal with our lady bits.

There seem to be a thousand different ways to refer to the area down there. I've tried out: vagina, lady bits, junk, crotch, vajayjay and whoha. Lady bits usually gets a smile and then the women relax a bit. Vagina makes people tense up, like they've entered a doctor's office.  Vajayjay is too silly. And junk and crotch are just too much for women, although men are cool with me calling their junk junk.

Speaking of, I still haven't worked out my brazilian technique on guys. I know once the guys start trying it out they will really dig it. But they just need to get over the thought of trying it out. There is so much fear about the pain level that usually doesn't manifest itself. 9 time out of 10 people say "Wow that didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would!" Which is great because it shouldn't hurt too much. The skin down there is a little bit more sensitive than other areas, but I think it's mostly the vulnerability that we feel that leads to the idea that it's gonna really hurt.

In case you are trying to figure out the differences between waxing, shaving and nairing (please don't ever do that to your lady bits!), I found a great article that compares and rates the different methods of hair removal. Of course I'm a little biased... they did rate waxing the highest. But that's because it really is the best hair removal option out there, besides laser. Laser is great if you have the cash and the right skin type/hair color - it works best on fair skin and dark hair. You should also know that it doesn't permanently remove the hair. It does the same thing as waxing, that is, thin the hair so that it doesn't grow back as much. Depending on your skin type and hair color, you may be able to get the same results from regular waxing as you would from laser at a much lower cost.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Painted Ladies

I'm making more of an effort to blog every day. The first suggestion that I read about is to link to other sites. Yeah, why haven't I been cruising the internet for beauty advice and inspiration?

My first stop is Painted Ladies. It's a beauty blog that syndicates some of my posts. Probably not this one since this post is all about Painted Ladies and if you are already on the site you don't need to read about it. LOL. But for the people that are reading Beauty By Ilana, it might be nice to know more about Painted Ladies.

First things first, Painted Ladies is run by an awesome woman named Sheila. She's collected a bunch of beauty mavens from around the web and is sharing their stuff, along with being a beauty maven herself. Sheila's got a pretty cool project running on Painted Ladies where she is doing 365 days of eyeshadow looks. I love blogging projects because it's a great way to have something to inspire you to get off your butt and write. I came up with a blogging project based on Kevyn Aucoin's Making Faces that I haven't quite gotten off the ground yet. So I totally applaud anyone who can actually do a blogging project on a consistent basis.

Plus, I'm pretty inspired by Sheila's 365 Days of Eyeshow. Eyes are my favorite thing to do on myself and people. Maybe it's because I'm eyebrow obsessed so I've always created a great frame for the eyes. Or maybe it's because I love my eyes (even though they are too close together) over my cheeks (what cheeks?) and lips (what lips?). Or maybe it's a deeper meaning because eyes are the window to the soul.

Check out Painted Ladies and let me know what you think. My favorite section is the Ask The Artist section where make-up artists link to blog posts and tutorials. There's even a friend of mine Norma Blaque listed on the page! And someday my blog links will be listed there too!!!

PS It's my first day of daily blogging. Just in case you are following my blog, what that is really going to mean is I'm going to shoot for blogging 5 days out of 7. That's daily to me. I need at least two days off. To veg in front of the TV mostly.

Daily writing

Writing every day was one of those habits that I tried to resist for years. Decades really. I've known since I was 9 years old and first fell in love with Stephen King that I was going to be a writer. But for some reason I didn't want to do that writing every day thing. Even though I read somewhere that's what you needed to do to be a writer. I still didn't want to do it. Procrastination. Fear of not having anything to say. Or what I would say was crap. Or I should only write when I'm inspired.

Funny thing about writing is that you aren't always inspired, meaning what you write at first isn't always inspired. Most people know this, and full-time writers who get paid to write know this down to their core. It took me creating a contract with my mom committing to sending her one chapter a week for an entire summer for me to realize that not only do I have to write every day but that every day writing might suck. Then you do a magical thing called editing. I wrote every day for 13 weeks and finished a 77,000 word first draft (about 1,000 words a day). Two years later, the final draft (at least the most final draft right now) is at about 100,000 words.

I'm getting to the point when I'm going to start quering my young adult fantasy novel. I should have done it weeks ago but I was struggling a bit. Not necessarily with the query letter but with the idea of a bunch of agents rejecting my novel based on my query letter. And not really with the idea of rejection based on a query letter but on the bigger fear of what if they request a partial (part of my novel) or a full copy and then reject it? Oh god. That just sounds awful even typing it.

So instead of sitting around and worry about rejection, I've decided to start writing again. It feels good and terrifying to start up the daily process of writing. That's 1000 words a day for 15 weeks (yeah that's right I've upped the ante) to crank out a second novel in the series. But along with my 1000 words a day goal, I'm going throw daily blogging into the mix. I've loved blogging on beauty for the last six months, which surprised me. I knew that I liked writing, but I'd had two unsuccessful blogs in the past where I couldn't sustain weekly posts. There's something to be said for writing on a topic you really care about. Apparently Trader Joe's and Inspirational Quotes wasn't enough to get the creative juices flowing.

I got lost down the rabbit hole of the internet today and stumbled upon a blog by writer Penelope Trunk that was interesting enough for me to open up and read 35 million of her past posts. One that really got me going was Penelope's Guide To Blogging. It doesn't say anything about regular blogging, but that's sort of implied. You gotta have content for people to want to visit you often. Although digging deeper down the rabbit hole I found this article on really easy instructions for how to start a blog. My two favorite are 5. Practice Practice Practice. and 6. Ignore Your Lack of Readers. So I'm going back to my daily exercise of writing every day which now is going to include a morning Beauty By Ilana post. And I'll ignore the fact that no one is reading except for my awesome cousin Allison! And sometimes my mom.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Design Portfolio

Examples of my design work:

Wax ad for Frenchy's

Full Menu for Frenchy's

Wax Coupon for Frenchy's

CD cover and back cover artwork for Dialtone's debut album, "No Hang-ups"

Flyer for Dialtone

Flyer for Dialtone

EP Cover for Dialtone

T-shirt design for Dialtone

EP Cover for Dilatone

Ringtone ad for Dialtone