Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Mascara Wonderland

Mascara is definitely my desert island product. If I were to have only one cosmetic for the rest of my life, it would be mascara. Not only do I have sparse, droopy Asian lashes, they are very short too. I definitely got the worst eyelash genes, no doubt about it.

As a result, I am very fond of fiber and "volume" mascaras. Unfortunately, very wet or heavy formulations make my lashes droop, so the formulation has to be just right. I curl my lashes with a Shu Uemura eyelash curler before mascara application, and with a heated eyelash curler afterwards.

I must admit that my top mascaras are all Japanese, but I also have some European brands (and Tom Ford) that I'm quite fond of. More on those later.

My personal favorites, from left to right:

  1. RMK Separate Curl Mascara: It does everything, and holds a curl like it claims. My No. 1 Japanese department store mascara which is available from Amazon for $24.99. Waterproof.
  2. Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Fatal Blacks WP: This lengthens my lashes dramatically, but you must follow up with a heated eyelash curler. Available on Amazon for $33.04. Amazon is actually cheaper than a Japanese department store, where this mascara retails for over $50.
  3. Dolly Wink Volume Mascara: Another fiber -based Japanese Mascara, which does a brilliant job of thickening your lashes. Sometimes I layer this on top of another mascara. $22.74 at Amazon.
  4. Majolica Majorca Gorgeous Wing: Another classic, with a brush applicator rather than a comb. Gives you long, swoopy lashes. $18.99 at Amazon.
  5. Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus: This is probably the best known Majo Majo mascara. This comes with the comb applicator which is a bit fiddly, but delivers definition and length. $24.00 at Amazon.

Two more excellent, fiber-based Japanese Mascaras: Majolica Majorca Lash King and Fiberwig Extra Long Mascara. I bought these in Tokyo, but you can purchase them at Amazon. Lash King is $22.99 at Amazon and Fiberwig Extra Long is $19.88, also at Amazon. There will be differences between the Japanese and U.S. packaging, but it's the same product.

My favorite drug store mascaras are all by L'Oreal. I love the Volume (called Voluminous in the US) Million Lashes in regular, waterproof and extra black; and Lash Architect 4D (a European product) which is a fiber type mascara. All do the job, at an excellent price.

Three more favorites: Tom Ford - great for length and precise definition; Make Up Forever Smoky Lash, for that sooty-eyed look; and YSL Shocking Mascara in No. 3, an eye-popping violet.

As far as European department store brands go, I like Lancome mascaras. I have Hypnose drama, a volume-type mascara, in a purple shade that was only offered in Europe. I recently picked up the Alber Elbaz limited edition versions of Hypnose Star and Hypnose Doll Lashes. Star is a volumizing mascara, and Doll Lashes give you spidery, defined lashes.

I hope you enjoyed my little mascara tour.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Intel Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #42

 I was one of the lucky lottery winners that got to attend the Intel-sponsored Girl Geek dinner at the Intel Museum in Santa Clara. It's an amazing place, and if you can't visit in person, there are on-line exhibits for you to enjoy.

Intel is a Valley legend and the entire history of the company (and tech!) is encapsulated in the museum exhibits. 

No tech museum would be complete without a specimen of the first, the original IBM PC! Age disclosure: my first work PC was the version with a hard disk drive - things had moved along a bit by the time I graduated.

 There was an extended demo center with AIO/Gaming, Perceptual Computing, Cloud Video Encoding, Intel- powered phones/tablets, and  Ultrabooks. Organizers from GAINS (Girls Achieving in Non-Traditional Subjects - a Santa Clara School District program to support girls in pursuing tech careers) were there with a very informative display.  It was all interspersed with buffet and treat tables.

Intel's event catering was amazing - above, a candy station spelling out the company name in lucite candy containers.

Cake Pops in Intel Blue continued the company theme.

The panel topic was  “Pushing Boundaries in Technology” in our local communities and around the world. The speakers were all amazing senior women from several different areas of the company: Research Labs, Channel Marketing; Quality Assurance; Human Resources and Manufacturing. Message of the day: push through your fear and take risks. Women's careers are like a jungle gym, not a ladder (ref. Sheryl Sandberg).

Of course, there was the requisite goody bag, which I'm going to use as a makeup bag!

If you live in the Bay Area and work in Tech, I really encourage you to attend these dinners - this is a great opportunity to network and meet other women in Tech - in fact, I made a new friend that night - she works for a start-up in Palo Alto.


Friday, June 28, 2013

My Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm Box and Recipes

Thanks to my blogger buddy (@Mona26 on Twitter) and a lady from the Shasta-Hanchett Neighborhood Yahoo Group, I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm Box from High Ground Organics in Watsonville, California. The Farm delivers produce and flowers for 36 weeks—from mid March to mid November. The season is divided into four 9-week sessions, but you can sign up at any time if there is room in the program. Deliveries are made to the houses of CSA volunteers from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto. You can pick up your box from numerous locations.
High Ground is now offering a winter session, which is a bi-weekly delivery from the beginning of December through the end of February. There are a total of seven deliveries through winter.

High Ground Organics is certified organic by CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers).  California has State laws for certifying Organic products. Every week, you get a newsletter telling you about news from the Farm and what's in the current week's box. I pick my box up on Wednesdays from a volunteer in the Rose Garden neighborhood, about 1 mile from my house.

This week's Summer Squash and Avocados!

The Newsletter provides recipes for your produce, like the Squash recipe, above.


The Mokum Carrots are incredible this week, as is the fresh Basil.


Above a recipe for fresh pesto straight from the farm.

The Strawberries are so sweet and fresh - not like those horrible, tasteless ones from the grocery store. The scallions are quite pungent, too.

Also included in the order were two Romaine hearts.

A lot of people have asked for my Superfood Stew recipe, so I have provided it below. Enjoy!

Recipe for Super Easy Superfood Stew


8 oz (500 g) 85% lean organic grass fed beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon turmeric

1 can chopped organic tomatoes with chillies
16 oz Organic Beef or Vegetable broth
16 oz (1 lb.) Organic heirloom tomatoes (any tomatoes you like really)
Small packaged dried Porcini Mushrooms
Large Can of Black Beans (optional, or you can add whatever beans you like).

2 bags Trader Joe's Organic Super Food Pilaf with Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, Kale and Carrots (If you don't have access to Trader Joe's you can make your own). Here is the package, below, for your reference.


Brown the Onions in 2 tablespoons organic cooking oil of your choice. After the onion is softened, add the beef and brown. Add the spices when the beef is almost browned, to cook off the raw taste.

Add the two bags of Superfood Pilaf, stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes.

And that's it!

Hope you enjoyed today's food post.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two Evenings in Chicago


Last week,  I took a business trip to Chicago. My client is situated right in the middle of downtown Chicago, in the old Sears Tower. It's a short hop on the "L" to the Magnificent Mile, otherwise know as Michigan Avenue, above.

On the way to Michigan Avenue from the "L" station, there's a rather large Nordstrom Rack.

Water Tower Place is a large and popular shopping center on the Mag Mile, anchored by Macy's.

Water Tower Place gets it's name from the historic Water Tower, right in it's shadow.

Water Tower Place is gorgeous after dark.

Water Tower Place shopping center has an open, futuristic layout.

I loved this gigantic Clinique Chubby Stick at Macy's!

I had dinner at Wow Bao, a fast food place specializing in Bao and all kinds of rice and noodles.

I had the spicy peanut noodles, a Kung Pao Chicken Bao and a BBQ Pork Bao. Delish!

Hershey's Chocolate World is around the corner from Water Tower Place - YUMMY.

 I had to stay in a hotel out by O'Hare because all the downtown hotels were full, but it was not a bad ride on the "L".

My second evening, I headed out to Nordstrom at the Shops at North Bridge. I had an appointment at the Spa Nordstrom for a massage and eyebrow wax.

While I was waiting for my appointment, I perused the Chanel counter and picked up a Mysterious Nail Polish.

I salivated over the delicious coral-colored Fit Flops in the shoe department.

Although I don't have the lifestyle for it, I still love to gaze at the lovely Louboutins!

I loved this "Stegosaurus" clutch.

I had a fantastic massage at the Spa Nordstrom - the eyebrow wax was not so good - I was missing a strip of skin!

On the airport shuttle, you could tell I was from California - shorts and Fit Flops in a sea of suits.

I loved this tunnel at O'Hare - very artistic.

I was supposed to fly to Houston this week, but mercifully, the meeting was moved to San Francisco!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Product Smack-down: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Polish Strips vs. Maybelline Limited Edition Color Show Fashion Prints Nail Stickers

Today's product smack-down is a contest between Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Polish Strips and Maybelline Color Show Fashion Prints Nail Stickers. Alas, the Maybelline Nail Stickers are limited edition, but still available on and eBay.

The Maybelline nail stickers come on a single sheet along with a plastic cuticle stick and nail file. You simply peel a sticker off and press it on your nail. You file off the excess and you're done. If you want to tuck a bit under your cuticles, you can use the stick.

The Sally Hansen nail stickers come in individual packets, one per hand. A wood cuticle stick and nail file are also provided. The Sally Hansen nail stickers come with a "protective' plastic film, which proved to be highly irritating and difficult to remove - more on that later.

The dazzling array of limited edition patterns from Maybelline really caught my eye. I especially liked the lace textured stickers, above, purchased from

I'm wearing the Cheetah print this week - you can see what it looks like, below:

I'm really loving this Cheetah print!

I also purchased a "Wild Reptile" version from Amazon, which I haven't tried yet.

I can't wait to try "Resort Couture".

My favorite Maybelline Metal Prisms design, above.

This is Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Polish Strip in "Beat You to It".  As I mentioned above, the strips are covered by a plastic "protective film" which is difficult to remove and results in tearing the nail polish strip when removing the plastic. The Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strip is also much thinner than Maybelline's and is easy to damage during handling. Worse yet, the adhesive dried out in two the packs I bought from Amazon - but the seller is sending me replacements. I am hoping the replacements will stick to my nails. I also applied a layer of top coat to the Sally Hansen nail strips, but my "manicure" lasted only 3 days as opposed to 7 days with the Maybelline nail stickers - which did not require a top coat.

Bottom line, I would buy the Maybelline Nail Stickers again, but will pass on Sally Hansen - not worth the money.