Author Archive: Karen

#MBBTurns10: A Look Back at Some of My Favorite Interviews With Jerrod Blandino, Bobbi Brown, Sonia Kashuk and Carisa Janes

Published in: Daily Beauty

2008 with Jean Ford of Benefit Cosmetics

Just more reminiscing about the blog over all these years…

Again with the skinny brows and frosty brow bone highlight?? Please note it was 2008 when I took this picture with Jean Ford of Benefit, and it was *the thing* to do back then.

Back in the day, the official faces of Benefit were sisters Jean and Jane Ford, the original founders, and this pic was taken at a Benefit event in their Chestnut Street store in San Francisco.

During the interview, Jean took a jar of loose glitter and dabbed some on my lids with her fingers. Then when the interview was done, she gave me the jar of glitter to take home, and I stuck it in the pocket of the white coat I was wearing.

Side note: why did I own a white coat when I’m incapable of wearing white without getting it dirty??

Anyway, I put the jar in a pocket but then forgot about it…

It remained in that coat for years!

Actually, I think it’s still there.

Years later, after Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson (Jean and Jane’s daughter and niece) took over as the faces of Benefit, I interviewed Annie during their launch of Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation, and she was one of the nicest people I’ve interviewed over the years.

As was Jerrod Blandino of Too Faced Cosmetics.

Such a character!

Too Faced Cosmetics Co-Founder and Creative Director Jerrod Blandino in 2012

The second time we talked in 2013, I laughed so hard that I may or may not have snorted. We had some great advice about accessorizing and said something that still makes me chuckle. He said, “I always wear cardigans. That’s my signature. And I like diamonds! Listen, if I’m going to wear something, it’s going to be big, and it’s going to offend people.”


Too Faced Cosmetics Co-Founder and Creative Director Jerrod Blandino

You know I love a guy who isn’t too shy to accessorize

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MAC Unsung Heroes: 221 Mini Tapered Blending Brush

Published in: MAC Makeup, Unsung Heroes

mac 221 mini tapered blending brush

The MAC 221 Mini Tapered Blending Brush ($25)

If you spend much time with MAC-a-holics, the subject of convo routinely turns to 217s and 224s, and you know, I get it. I do. Both are fantastic must-have makeup brushes. They’re workhorses. But there’s another bad gal, the MAC 221, and it’s… Oh! Once you get a taste of this blending beauty, nothing else compares. It’s my favorite MAC eye brush of all time!

What’s an unsung makeup hero? For me, it’s an oftentimes underrated makeup morsel, a permanent collection product that scoots under the radar screen of many makeup lovers but regularly rocks my world. The long-running Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorites.

The 221, otherwise known as “the Mini Tapered Blending Brush,” is $25 and part of the MAC permanent line.

It looks a little like a cross between the 224 Tapered Blending Brush and the 217 Tapered Blending Brush. The brush head has the same tapered, elongated shape of the 224, but it’s thinner, and the tip has the domed shape of the 217, only pointier. Essentially, you get the best of both worlds with it. It’s thinner and pointier than the average crease blending brush.

mac 221 mini tapered blending brush 1

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you don’t have a lot of lid space from your lash line to your brow bone, like, if you have smaller eyes, or a crease (like mine) that isn’t very deep, as is the case with hooded eyes, you probably have to be very precise when you place your crease color, and the 221 allows you to place shadows exactly where you want them.

Because the brush head is also fairly fluffy, you won’t end up with areas on your lids where the shadow is dark and overly concentrated — which is a problem I have when I use precision brushes, like pencil brushes, to work in the crease or the outer V.

And did I mention that it blends and buffs edges with preternatural pretty power?

The 221 is also great for applying and smudging eyeshadow and liner along the lower lash line. Most brushes scratch at my lower lash line, but the 221 is softer than a Ragdoll kitty’s paw. The thin tip also means that I probably won’t take my shadow or liner too far down.

mac 221 mini tapered blending brush 2

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Brand Spotlight: Axiology Beauty

Published in: Brand Spotlight, Makeup, Product Reviews

axiology beauty lipsticks

Axiology Beauty Natural Lipsticks in Identity (left) and Devotion (right), $28 each

Avocado, coconut, oranges, grapes… Am I making a delicious smoothie?? Um, I wish, because I’m hongray right now, and, truth be told, my plumbing could do (haha) with a mega dose of fiber (TMI much?).

I’m reading the list of ingredients on a box of Axiology Beauty Lipstick, and it’s making my tummy rumble…

Candelilla Wax, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Organic Avocado Butter, Organic Grape Seed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Elderberry Extract, Sweet Orange Oil, Neem Seed Oil; May Contain: Iron Oxide, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Manganese Violet

Axiology is a cool little company out of Bend, Orgeon, which is a town I visited many moons ago… What’s up, Bend!?

Anywho, they craft luxury organic lipsticks.

Yup, just lipsticks. And everything is vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO and doesn’t contain any synthetic colors.

The first time I read the ingredient list on the box, my brain was oh-so-happy to avoid the dusty folds where all of my former college chemistry now hides, since I recognized a lot of the ingredients from cooking.

There are lots of edible-sounding things.

axiology natural lipstick boxes

Neat boxes…

The ingredient list reads like a smoothie recipe at a posh juice place.

I dunno… I think I’m hungrier than I thought. If we were zombie apocalypsing (not a word) right now, and I desperately needed a boost, I’d grab one of these Axiology Lipsticks, put a little on my lips, then eat the bullet and keep running.

Side note: I totally forgot to watch The Walking Dead last night! What the what!!

Sheer-to-medium coverage

There are 22 shades, and they’re $28 each, which is right in line with Bite, NARS, Laura Mercier and Hourglass.

There are tans, browns, some funkier blues and purples (even a black shade that looks Robert Smith-y!), but you know me. I had to get all up in some nudes first!

Um…that sounded dirtier in print than it did in my mind. Whoops.

I’ve tried Identity, which is a pearly cool pink with a slight hint of lavender, and Devotion, a pearly rose tinged with brown, and if I just apply one layer, they’re a little sheer, so I like to build them up to medium coverage with two or three layers.

They layer well up to three layers. More than that and they start pooling in my vertical lip lines, but if it happens, I just pat them down with a finger.

axiology lipstick identity

Axiology Lipstick in Identity

Soft and creamy

The thing I love most about these lipsticks is how they feel! When I rub the bullet across my lips (I’m doing it right now with pink Identity), it feels like this one time I was cooking with coconut oil… You know those big-@ss jars you can get at Trader Joe’s?

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Published in: Daily Photo

Even though I think love should be celebrated every day, I don’t mind that February 14 is the designated day to say, “Hey, love! πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’— You’re pretty awesome.”

I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with Ms. Connor Claire, who’s dressed in head-to-toe hearts for the occasion, and her big brother Tabs, of course. Later tonight, El Hub will pick up dinner on his way home, because I’m craving Puerto Rican food… Nothing says “I love you” like fried 🍌 plantains, LOL!

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The Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Lip Duos

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews, Tom Ford Beauty

tom ford shade illuminate lips

The six new Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Lip Duos, available now, $60 each

Brand new TF cream shadows! πŸ™‚

Just kidding. They aren’t cream shadows…but they look like they are, don’t they?

I can’t be the only person out there who thought that these new Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Lip Duos were actually cream shadows. In fact, I may or may not have tried one of them on my lids (FYI, I don’t recommend doing this, although, off the record, it was kind of fun!).

Are these cream shadows or what??

Tom’s new Shade and Illuminate Lip Duos look like eyeshadow duos, cost about as much as his eye products (they’re $60 each), and they even come with little sponge applicators.

Thing is, they aren’t for ‘ze 😍 eyes… No, these are for ‘ze πŸ‘„ lips!

Tom ford whipped up a new formula called “powder gelee,” which I think might be fancy talk for a cream-to-powder lip formula, for these swanky six, all of which are new for spring 2017.

Tom Ford’s powder-gelee formula features emollient oils and a blend of polymers that provide rich color release and adherence.


tom ford impulse

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Lips in Impulse

These duos go on creamy but dry to a velvety matte finish. I think they look a lot like the Chanel Velvets, but they feel lighter than Chanel’s do to me, which I wouldn’t have guessed possible, because the Chanel Velvets feel sooo barely-there noticeable.

If you don’t like to feel like you’re wearing lipstick when you are, I think you’ll like how these feel.

tom ford nikita

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Lips in Nikita

Next-level highlighting and contouring

Tom Ford is BIG into contouring, with darker colors to sculpt and create angles, and lighter colors to accentuate and draw the eye to the high points of the face. It’s a structured, architectural makeup aesthetic, and it’s the kind of aesthetic these duos are designed to bring to lips.

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