Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Attending my 1st International Makeup Artist Tradeshow (IMATS) in Pasadena, CA

As a child I've always appreciated using different medium to create my artworks. I was trained to use watercolors and pastels, but I especially loved painting my masterpieces with oil colors as it seemed the most versatile in creating new colors and developing textures with a paint brush.  So, the transition to using a face as my new canvas is the perfect evolution to my artistic background.

I heard about the IMATS (International Makeup Artists Trade Show) through several youtube beauty gurus and was fascinated by their stories and how far they had travel to attend. Little did I know that this annual event is hosted each year literally in my backyard! So, this year I decided to take the plunge and check it out for myself.  


Two Word... BREATH-TAKING

I was completely blown away by the attention to detail and was just captivated by the live demonstrations.  Combined with the amazing costumes-- un...real!



This trade show is also an amazing avenue for aspiring professional make-up artists to make their debut. The "Battle of the Brushes" is a student competition focused on transforming individuals into fantasy characters and complete with a live catwalk. (I was most excited about this part of the trade show!)

This year's theme was "Wizard of Oz" and many of the entrees were insane (!!!) and looked as if they came straight from the movie set. The entree below took home 2nd place.


While this joy old fella took home 1st prize!  I know it doesn't appear that he's wearing much makeup but believe me, I'm sure the contestant spent hours perfecting this look! 



And of course what trade show would be complete without checking out some new products? And let me tell you... I've never seen so many different beauty products under one roof! There were many mainstream products that included US staples like MAC, Bobbie Brown, Stila etc to international sensations like Gorgeous Cosmetics (Australia), and Hakuhodo (Japan) to newly launched companies like J. Cat Beauty

I promise I will share my IMATS haul soon! It's just taking forever for my videos to load onto youtube! It keeps crashing on each attempt- Geez-la-weez!   



     





This trade show was pretty amazing with all the live demonstrations, educational workshops, and fabulous makeup products, though I will say that the ticket price is a bit more than I'd like to admit. I believe for presale the tickets were $40-$45 and on the day of it's $50, which sounds like a lot and trust me I pondered about buying a ticket over a one month time span before actually reserving mine.

However, the good news is that many of the products featured were sold at a discounted price ranging from 20%-50% off their retail price. Additionally if you're able to wait till the end of the day on the last show day you can get some of the products up to 80% off because vendors don't want to take everything home. So, if you're eyeing on an item but the price tag is too high, wait till the very end and if it's still there they will probably give it to you at a price-point that you're more comfortable with.



What kind of event would you be willing to spend money on to attend and what's too much?





Yours Truly,


Irene


BARGAIN ANNOUNCEMENTS: If you follow me on facebook you'll get the latest scoop on coupons, discounts, and freebies galore :) So be sure to follow if you're not already!


*Coffee Bean (1/30/13): FREE COFFEE OR TEA
Our Free Anniversary Blend coffee and Anniversary Blend Tea Day is our way of saying "Thank You" to our loyal customers for 50 great years! 
When: ALL DAY Wednesday, January 30th 
What: Enjoy a FREE regular sized Anniversary Blend coffee or Anniversary Blend Tea* 
Why: To help us celebrate our 50th Anniversary
*Corner Bakery (first week of Feb): FREE AVOCADO & SPINACH PANINI- You just need to pick the location you want to snag this freebie from, and the date and time. RSVP here.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Newport Beach Restaurant Week- The Counter Custom Built Burger

Newport Beach Restaurant Week Review continued! So our second destination was a bit more casual than our first steakhouse trip, but still a three course gourmet meal nontheless!  It's called The Counter Custom Built Burger and my high school BFF's had been raving about this joint for ages, stating that it was the best burger joint around- simply because of the customization and exotic ingrediants selection. Read my extensive Yelp Review for the details.
 
       
 
So based on his enthusiastic recommendation, my husband and I decided to go check it out. Unlike most of the other participating restaurant in Newport Beach's Restaurant Week, this restaurant did not take reservations and was extremely casual.  There were many families dining on that Friday night and it has somewhat of a Johnny Rockets/Ruby's feel to it so definitely a spot fit for the entire family.
 



While traditionally patrons customize every aspect of their meal, The Counter created three pre-set burger choices with all the fixings, appetizers for fellow diners to enjoy.  We were also given the option to select a really healthy appetizer, a Kale salad with crumbled feta cheese, or a fatty's dream burger accompaniment, parmesan cheese french fries. But onward to the main attraction!

Here's my burger, an organic bison patty topped with black-eyed peas, corn, soft-ripened brie, on ciabetta bread with a side of dijon balsamic dressing. Mmm...

 
And my husband's Red Angus Burger (the traditional burger with a twist) topped with gruyere cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, carrots and roma tomatoes. Definitely a solid burger.  
 

And finally dessert, my favorite part of any meal! Two soft chocolate chip cookies with vanilla bean ice cream and a salted carmel tipping sauce. Delicious and if anyone knows me will know that chocolate chip cookies are the way to my heart.


Overall this was a very pleasant low key experience with bold flavors. So if you're looking for a burger joint that's one notch above traditional diner food then you should pay them a visit.


What's inside your perfect burger?



Yours Truly,

Irene

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thrift Haul- Kitchenware, Juicy Couture, Betsey Johnson + Video!

So last month I was super bummed that I missed first dibs at Restords $5 grab bag warehouse sale, because I overslept *sad face*, but this month I was able to not only wake up early enough but also bring a family member to join in on the hunt.  Check out my yelp review for more info. We scored some major finds at this event and I was quite surprised some of the treasure we scored.  Aren't those three kitchen items below cute?     


I'm totally digging the girly flowers on the scalloped plate above as well as the rich orange bowl in front as I've already used both on multiple occasions this week. The blue pot is also a great find as there's never an available pot to use at my house!  Come check out the video below to get a better look at these items and some of my other scores :)   

   

In the clothing section I scored a pair of ballerina pink Juicy Courture sweats. I absolutely could not believe that someone would want to get rid of these. Major score and I gladly stuffed this in my grocery bag.


Now onward to the items that I purchased from the boutique!

This adorable yellow crocheted shrug is a beautiful Betsey Johnson piece and I can't wait to wear it in the spring!  I think this was originally $7.50 but I got it half off because the tag qualified as an item that was half price!  I believe it was all orange and white tags for that week. 



I somehow forgot to mention these two items in my video but decided to show all my readers these awesome accessories. I love the gold trim on black triangular earrings and the dual Pearl strand on the right is just a fun way to dress up any outfit. I'm totally digging the green balls :)


I love thrifting, it's always an adventure. I guess the excitement is what keeps me hungry because you never know what you're going to find.  This store is having another $5 grab bag warehouse sale next week (Saturday February 2nd) so if you're able to crawl out of bed you certainly will be in on a real treat!

What kind of items  attract you when you visit a garage or warehouse sale?



Yours Truly,

Irene
  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Newport Beach Restaurant Week Dinner Review: Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

It's that time of year again!! It's Restaurant Week in gorgeous Newport Beach, CA and let me tell there are some pretty fancy-shamancy restaurants here that I have been dieing to try. *drools*

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term Restaurant Week, it's when baller restaurants offer a 3 course prix fix meals (at a more affordable price) so that the average restaurant connoisseur can enjoy fine dining at it's best.  Each participating restaurant has the choice to offer lunch and/or dinner and fall in the $20, $30, or $40 price bracket. Sounds tempting huh? And with over 70 restaurants to choose from it's difficult to pinpoint which spot to hit up, though I had been eyeing on two spots that one of my best friends had been raving out.


Black Tie attire was not required, but why not get all dressed up?! I rushed home to get all dolled up for this night and wore my favorite Cynthia Steffe dress, which I snagged for more than 60% the retail price new with tags! Additionally many of the makeup products I used that night were also items that I purchased this past weekend from IMATS so stay tuned on that upcoming post. But... onward to our star!

This post will feature our first destination--Flemings Prime Steakhouse (Yum!) and lets jump right in!

We began our meal with the Fleming House Salad, which is a beautiful tossed salad with candid walnuts and cranberries. A beautiful piece of artwork and tasty too!



Well... actually we began with fresh bread accompanied by two delicious spreads. The right is a parmesan cheese and cream cheese blend and the left a sun dried tomato concoction. Both were so flavorful and delicious. This photo actually reflects our second helping! We couldn't help it, it was sooo tasty :)


And now the showstopper.... the filet minion cooked medium rare.  Beautifully seared on the outside and tender on the inside.  Both my husband I ordered this and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The item on the left is some type of potato cake, which was nice surprise considering we weren't expecting it.


We were each given a side choice, so we decided to get one of each and sample them. Here's the oh so garlicy garlic mashed potatoes.


And the side of grilled asparagus...


But to my surprise, my favorite item of the night was the dessert. The Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee was out of this world! Definitely safe room for dessert because it is light but decadent all at the same time. And combined with their home-made mascarpone cream (not pictured), it was heavenly.  


Overall this experience was delicious and the epitome of how food ought to look and taste. However, I was very disappointed in the customer service. Perhaps they were understaffed as Restaurant Week does tend to draw a larger number of consumers to the business and the ratio to wait staff may not increase for that timeframe; however I expected more considering quality service goes hand in hand with quality food.

Our waitress was non-existent and it did take quite a while to get our food (especially between our salad and entree). But unlike most restaurants where someone would provide waiting customers with a status update on the food preparation, our server did not and only appeared when we ordered our food, received our steak and at the end to give us a check.  Honestly, we're not really that needy but I felt more obligated to tip our bus boy as our glasses of water were always filled and he actually brought out most of our food!

Nevertheless I would return to celebrate for a special occasion because the food is that good and a fantastic value for restaurant week promotion. A filet minion usually costs the same amount as the restaurant week deal itself ($40 per person for the dinner special). So to get an appetizer, side, entree, AND dessert for the price of an entree is a steal!  I guess you can't have it all, but thankfully our customer service experience was the exact opposite on our next fine dining trip, which you'll have to wait to find out where we went :)


What type of restaurant would you want to explore with a discounted price tag?



Yours Truly,

Irene

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

IMATS OOTD + Youtube Beauty Guru DivaDarling23

Oh my goodness!! What do you wear to an event like the IMATS (International Makeup Artists Trade Show)? It was my debut appearance, so it was of utmost importance to make a statement!

Obviously everyone there is going to be put together and fabulous, but I was up to the challenge and here's what I came up with.   Bright vivacious colors galore (!!!) with rich solids as a base and nude stockings and flats. I knew that the trade show would be enormous, so I made sure to wear comfortable shoes.  A total must, don't let anyone tell you otherwise! 


I decided to go with a conservative silhouette and used thrifted accessories to brighten up the outfit. My colorful 100% silk Oscar De La Renta Scarf is a show piece on it's own, but tied with my vintage gold earrings and a genuine alligator belt it just looks complete.

And I'll let you in on a little secret. That skirt is actually a halter top dress that I just folded inward to make into a skirt. Crazy hun? And I have my belt to ensure that it didn't fall off. It was a success! So don't be afraid to try to wear your outfits in unconventional ways, you'll be surprised in how you can completely change your outfit my thinking outside the box!    


Turtleneck: Uniclo, New York NY
Forever 21 dress (folded-inward): New York, NY
Oscar De La Renta Scarf: Orange, CA (Thrifted) 
 Genuine Alligator Belt: Uptown Thrift Store, Pomona CA (Thrifted)
Vintage Gold Earrings: Assistance League of Irvine, Irvine, CA (Thrifted)
Nude Flats: Johnston & Murphy Outlet, Las Vegas NV 
Emerald Ring: Santa Ana, CA

And what show would be complete without bumping into another blogger/youtuber! Ben Green of DivaDarlingChic (Twitter: DivaDarling23) is a highly sought after fashionista & beauty guru, AND a complete sweetheart!  Ben doesn't know if but he played an instrumental role in me purchasing the Cortex 4-in-1 back in 2012.  His youtube video was thorough and sincere, so I decided to take the plunge and make the purchase. Best decision ever!  No more regular curling iron for me!  The wand works magic on my normally flat and boring hair.  Thanks Ben for spending a few minutes to chat with me and stay fabulous! :)       


Now you're probably all thinking about the convention itself and what I purchased. Well.. you're going to just have to wait for the next post! I bunch of TON of make-up products, some high end and some from more affordable lines and I can't wait to put together a youtube video and blog post to show ya'll. But in the meanwhile hang tight!


What would you wear to a high profile event?


Yours Truly,

Irene

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's in my DVF purse? Burberry, L'Occitane, & More + Video!

I love bags, but I've always been curious about what people put inside their bags over the bag itself. So today I decided to post photos and a video of what I carry on a typical day when I go thrifting. I carry slightly different things on a normal work day, but you'll have to wait for my next post to see that :)

Here's my favorite Diane Von Furstenberg bag that I snagged for $30 at Lucky Shops New York (usually hosted in October by Lucky Magazine. Here's 2012's info) back when I was in grad school. This bag was a part of a charity fundraiser initiative so the proceeds benefited a good cause. I believe that year the beneficiary was Aids Research.


Mr. Banana is my multi-functional pencil and make-up bag that I carry everywhere.  Inside he's carrying two lipsticks, one in a rich red wine color (Color: Gash, Urban Decay) and a soft nude (Color: Fairest Nude, Loreal- clip $2 off any Loreal cosemetics coupon from Target here), and two pens. One pen is a lip liner from Victoria's Secret and the other is an actual blue ball point pen for me to scribble notes or sign autographs (just kidding about the later one).


I also carry my favorite and first Burberry purchase- my purple plaid sunglasses. I purchased this sometime in college and it was my first major splurge.  I absolutely love these!  
 

And here's another purple item, surprise surprise... If you haven't guessed it already purple is my favorite color. So when I saw this fabulous Ted Baker patent wallet I knew I had to have it. It has Irene written all over it.  It has multiple compartments and a ton of card holders, which I defintiely take advantage of!


Lastly, I carry some type of hand sanitizer, lotion and of my course my purple iphone.  I carry hand sanitizer because I like knowing that my hands are clean and so I can munch on food without worrying about what I touched beforehand. Unfortunately, hand sanitizer also leaves your hands really dry, so I have been using hand cream from L'occitane en Provence. My godmother gifted me the Hand Cream Trio set for Christmas and I love how it makes my hands feel velvety and luxurious.  And I never leave home without my phone, that would be just silly :)  


I also carry women products that are tucked away in the back of my bag as back-up for an emergency and car keys (which I neglected to mention in the video below but...Come check it out and be sure to "like" it)






What do you carry in your purse when you go shopping?


Yours Truly,

Irene


Bargain Announcements
*Baskin Robbins: Every Wednesday until the end of March. Treat yourself and a friend to a B1G1 2 scoop sundae for free. Be sure to check if your ice cream shop is participating. Here's the press release  for more info. 
*Restord Thrift Shop: This awesome thrift shop is having their $5 Grab Bag and will be celebrating their 1st year anniversary next Saturday (Jan 26th)! Go and get a chance to score a chance to win raffles and gift cards! :) Check out my yelp review!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free Movie Costume Exhibit at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA

There's something special when you watch a movie set in a completely different time period, but it's completely magical when you can see the cinema's costumes up close and personal.  The Bowers Musuem in Santa Ana, CA is currently hosting an exhibit entitled "Cut! Costume and Cinema" which is absolutely stunning and mind blowing.  I had the opportunity to check it out for free on January 6th, as admission is FREE on the first Sunday of each month thanks to a generous endownment by Target.

TIP: The next free Sunday will be February 3rd and March 3rd.  Be sure to check it out before the exhibit is cut on March 10th. 

Here are a few of my favorites costumes on displays, but I sincerely encourage ya'll to take a look in person if you're able to.  Enjoy!  


My jaw dropped when I saw this little red number. It's such a statement piece and I looooove all the ruffle detail on the bodice and skirt. LOVE! 



Everyone loves Johnny Depp and who doesn't love Pirates of the Caribbean?!


I had no idea that this these costumes were award winning! But with all the attention to detail I wouldn't disagree!

 

And wow check out the dresses from The Phantom of the Opera!  I never noticed all the flower details before. It's crazy how much time and energy the costume department must put in each outfit!  


I've seen The Phantom of the Opera on broadway a few years back, but never had the chance to see it as a movie. Can anyone vouch for it?


Now every one of these ball gowns have to have a solid foundation piece and from the looks of it, it looks pretty heavy, but I guess beauty is pain.  I can't imagine having to wearing all that underneath and  act like a lady!  


Which costume is your favorite?


Yours Truly,

Irene  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Banana Republic Checkered Jacket & Maggie London Dress OOTD

I thrifted this checkered print Banana Republic blazer back in the Fall at Women Helping Women for a bargain. Just $10, but after trying on multiple outfits on multiple days I actually had a very difficult time to styling it since it seemed to really bring too much darkness to any outfit or it clashed greatly.  So, before the end of 2012 I vowed to try to find at least one way to pair it and this is what I came up with, so I hope you enjoy :)    


I paired this jacket with a bold black and white giraffe print Maggie London dress (also thrifted). While some may be timid to pair patterns with patterns, I feel that when the patterns are different sizes they complement each other well. Additionally the white in this dress helps bring a lightness to the overall outfit.   


I also added this lovely collared shaped necklace that's embellished with rhinestones to help glam up the outfit.  I snagged it at my local Ross for just $15!!!  I just love sparkles :)


OUTIFT 
Banana Republic Jacket: Women Helping Women (Thrifted)
Rhinestone Collar Necklace: Ross 
Maggie London Dress: Women Helping Women (Thrifted)
Black Tights: Club Monaco Website
Black Rampage Flats: TJ Maxx

Without the jacket this ensemble can hold it's own as it has a very sleek and classic-ness to it, which is right on trend right now! Wearing contrasting colors is huge on the runway and you really can't go wrong with black and white.


What colors will you be rocking out in 2013?



Yours Truly,

Irene