Monthly Archives: August 2010

Beauty Products: 2010 Edition

One of the most common questions I get asked on a regular basis is which beauty products I use. Though I’m not obsessive with trying out new products, I do keep a regular routine and have quite a few favorites from a handful of brands.

Lip Products

First off, I discovered M•A•C makeup in middle school, back in the mid 90s. I remember getting my first ever lipstick in 7th or 8th grade and using it religiously until it ran out. I’ve always loved the faint vanilla smell and though I’ve gone through color shakeups (purple and later red in high school), I tend to use a few neutrals from M•A•C exclusively on an every day basis.

My days are very busy and there’s not much time for touch-ups; bright colors that can bleed or smear just aren’t practical. I like creamy, warm neutral lipsticks that aren’t too brown and don’t look too overdone with a smokey eye. And, I love gloss. A big Lipglass fan for many years, last December I discovered my new favorite lip gloss — Dazzleglass. It smells great, adds some amazing dimension to lips and lasts for hours. And, the shimmer is unparalleled.

I barely ever use lip liner but when I want a more finished look, I use M•A•C Subculture because it’s a neutral pink tone that blends and avoids the dreaded visibly lined look.

I used to wear red lipstick fairly often and still have L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in British Red, which is warm and really flattering. Whenever you see me wearing red lipstick in photos, this is it.

Not shown, but worth a mention: Vanilla Birthday Cake Lip Shine by Philosophy. The best smelling clear lip gloss I have ever tried. I am a huge vanilla lover and this totally delivers.

The Face: Eyes, Cheeks, Skin

Let’s start with blush. Too much and you look like a clown. Too little and you may appear….dead. I have really pale skin so I like a bit of warmth but I don’t want to look overdone. For a long time, I used M•A•C Sincere blush, but a few months ago, Margin was recommended and I like it even better. It’s more neutral, has a ton of shimmer and is highly pigmented — just a little goes a long way.

I’ve been using M•A•C eye shadows for about 15 years now. I own probably 20 shades but I have a few long time favorites. For the smokey eye I usually wear, I start with a no-name shimmery neutral shadow as a base. For the crease, I use Scene (deep gray) with Black Tied (a beautiful shimmery black) in the corners and finish it off with a Kohl eyeliner (M•A•C Smolder) or Prestige black liquid liner with a slight wing at the edge. And, when I want even more of an impact, I add a light dusting of Tiara loose eye shadow by Sugarpill onto my lids. It’s like liquid silver and everyone notices it because the pigment is really amazing.

Though, sometimes I just want a bit more impact on my eyes. I love M•A•C Atlantic Blue because it’s so much fun! But, my hands-down favorite for the last two weeks has been Poison Plum pressed eyeshadow by Sugarpill (which, in all honesty, has way more pigment than M•A•C). I went through a major purple eye shadow phase around 10 years ago and it’s back once again. I can’t get enough of it!

Not shown but worth a mention: I have a few limited edition M•A•C Mineralize eye shadows that I use all the time. They are amazingly shimmery and blend super well. Do you remember the Black collection from last year? I picked up Cinderfella (super shimmery black — even better than Black Tied) and Blue Flame (a multifaceted deep blue) that are beautiful.

For eyebrows, I use an angled brush and a tiny dab of M•A•C Mystery eye shadow (a dark brown) to add a dash of impact.

I’m not much of a liquid foundation fan. After applying moisturizer (I’ve been using Lancome lately), I put on concealer (I’ve used Studio Finish Concealer for about five years but recently got a sample of Studio Sculpt which I am liking even more) and then apply Studio Fix, which is a powder and foundation in one. Though it has a powdery finish, it covers nearly everything and makes skin appear silky smooth. Best of all, it can be applied lightly for a more natural look or layered slightly heavier for late nights and photos. Though I like Studio Sculpt, Gala swears by Make Up Forever concealer and I am considering giving it a try next. Have any of you tried it?

Though, like many of you, I’ve tried a number of mascaras including Maybelline Great Lash, I really do like M•A•C Zoom Black mascara because it builds up remarkably fast. And, it’s much less expensive than many of the other department store brands. It might be a bit heavy for some people, but I like a very mod, defined eye so it works for me.


Up until I was 28, I did very little to my skin and it stayed almost perfectly clear. Then, something changed about six months ago. Breakouts became more frequent and my skin became slightly more oily. And, my skin is very fair and sensitive, so I wasn’t sure where to turn. I finally decided to go back to my teenage skin routine — the simple, affordable and effective 3 Step Skincare system by Clinique. Though, it’s not quite three steps for me because I prefer to use a different moisturizer by Lancome.

When I’m too tired to wash my face, I reach for Comodynes Makeup Remover for Sensitive Skin wipes, which I first discovered at Trader Joe’s on a whim. If you have sensitive skin like I do, these are amazing. I’ve tried a few other brands and nothing ever works as well as these.

I am sure I’m probably leaving a few things out, but feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!

Readers: What are some of your favorite beauty products? What can you not live without? Do you have any recommendations for new products I should try?

*Header image by M•A•C

The Week in Pictures: 8.20.10

week in pictures

week in pictures

Photo by Zoetica

Zoetica just posted her Disneyland photos over at ChinaShop and I couldn’t resist sharing this one; sequined ears and 3-D glasses from Captain EO — the highest of high fashion! 😉

week in pictures

A few items that are currently populating my desk: Forever 21 cross necklace, Moleskine Colour-a-Month planner, Nixon Time Teller P watch, and an Anthro card.

week in pictures

Current inspiration: Lara Stone in this month’s issue of W.

week in pictures

I couldn’t stop at just organizing my socks….my tights were a tangled mess so I just sorted them as well. Team Virgo™ in full effect.

week in pictures

The framed silhouette I had made at Disney now resides on my desk. Desperately trying to keep the magic alive, perhaps.

week in pictures

This photo is from last week but way too funny not to share! Gala painted a questionable addition onto my middle finger while we were hanging out at American Rag. Charming, huh?

Peace, Love & Nubs,

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Advice #32: How Can I Get Back into Design?

ask nubby advice

I received a bachelors in graphic design a few years back, but have done hardly anything with it and have been working in an only marginally related job since graduation. My design software isn’t even up to date. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back into design lately, but I don’t know where to start. What would you suggest I do?

ask nubby advice


Life happens but really, it’s never too late to catch up. There are times when we get pulled in different directions or have to take another job that’s not related to our profession and that’s okay. Nobody expects you to be an amazing designer overnight. Possessing a willingness to learn and a sense of follow-through will help you with getting back on track.

Enroll in a Continuing Education Program

If you need a quick refresher, you’re in luck because quite a few art schools now offer Continuing Education programs. I am familiar with these because I was recently invited to review portfolios for design students in the program at PNCA. Many of the students I spoke with had already previously earned degrees in design or related fields and in the meantime, ended up in different professions, took time off to be stay-at-home parents or just wanted to refresh their knowledge and update portfolios.

These programs make a lot of sense when you really think about it. Many aren’t necessarily credit-based and the cost tends to be less expensive than traditional, for-credit programs. And, if you’ve previously earned a degree in design, it’s pointless to go back to school to re-earn the same degree again. Technology and software are always changing and if you’re hoping to re-enter the field after an extended break, one of these programs can provide the tools, motivation, connections and resources to get you up to speed with current practices.

Subscribe to Design Blogs

Become familiar with what your design peers are doing (for free) by subscribing to design-related blogs. Keep an inspiration folder on your desktop and collect images as you go (I upload my saved images into a private folder on my Flickr account about once a week).

Once you learn about a few blogs, a whole world will begin to open up as they link to others. A few good places to start (in no particular order) are: Smashing Magazine, For Print Only, Neusblog, I Love Typography, ISO50, Logo Design Love, Computerlove, Brand New and Brand New Classroom, Friends of Type, The Dieline and Design Work Life. This is just scratching the surface!

Take Online Tutorials

When I was in school, we weren’t required to purchase many books. Instead, we subscribed to, which I highly recommend. Providing an amazingly comprehensive selection of online tutorials, Lynda uses videos to teach you new skills. If you don’t understand something the first time around, it’s easy to re-watch the video again and again. Lessons are divided up by chapters and if you’re more advanced, it’s very easy to skip ahead. In the past, I’ve learned a lot of inDesign and Flash tricks by watching Lynda videos. Finally, the subscription options are really affordable, as low as $25.00 a month and allow you to access over 53,000 online video tutorials instantly. So much knowledge at your fingertips!

Test the Waters With Temporary Work

If you haven’t been in the design market for a few years, it’s hard to know what to expect and if you’re up for the challenge — will you enjoy the work, can you handle the workload, are you up to date with practices, do the clients interest you and do the hours work with your schedule? You can only tell so much from an interview. Many companies have been trending towards hiring freelancers as a way to test the waters, especially in this still shaky economy. This is beneficial for both parties because a freelancer can see if they like what the company has to offer with regards to work quality and culture; at the same time, the company can make sure that the freelancer is a good fit with the rest of the team.

When freelancing for a company that I am unfamiliar with, I personally prefer to go through placement agencies so that I have a liaison between myself and the business via my agent. Your agent can assist you with navigating unfamiliar or tricky situations and act as a confidant if any issues arise. They can also put in a good word if you really like the place and are seeking permanent placement. And, if things don’t work out for some unseen reason, there’s less of a loss for both sides. The company doesn’t have any contractual obligation…and, well, you don’t get fired.

Pay Attention to your Portfolio

As a designer, if you end up in a long-term gig (design-related or otherwise), it’s easy to get too comfortable and neglect your portfolio. We are all guilty of letting things slide at some point. Though, when you take too much time off, it becomes increasingly difficult to catch back up. For this reason, I try to set aside a chunk of time every six months to refresh the look and contents of my book. This is your key to finding steady work, whether it be freelance or permanent. And, if a few years slip by, your book runs the risk of becoming dated and falling behind the competition.

Where should you begin? If you feel too overwhelmed to take on the challenge by yourself, a continuing education program can help you get up to speed. If you lack the budget and time, most agencies and design professionals are willing to set aside 15 to 30 minutes to give you a quick round of feedback as long as you’re polite and clear about what you are looking for (an informal portfolio review, not a job!) If you’re in need of some portfolio tips, pay a visit to two of my previous posts, 7 Tips for Creating a Print-Based Portfolio and Creating a Killer Portfolio Discussion.

Readers, do you have any recommendations or further resources for someone who would like to re-renter the graphic design job market?

Link Love: 8.19.10

link love typography

link love


• Design is History is an online library that was created as a teaching tool for designers just beginning to explore graphic design and as a reference tool for all designers. It provides overviews of a wide range of topics rather than an in-depth study of only a few.

• Do you struggle with success envy?

• Gala reviews her stay at the Palihouse Holloway, the hotel we resided at during out LA visit last week.

• Designer and blogger Joy of Oh Joy! has just written a book, Creative, Inc. that “gives the 411 on how to be a successful freelance creative and covers everything from creating a standout portfolio to working with clients to navigating the legal issues of starting a business.” I’d love to get my hands on this one!

• Jane of Sea of Shoes shares a list of her favorite beauty products with us.

• Which fashion career is right for you?

• Have you heard of the All You Can Jet Pass that JetBlue is offering for a limited time? “Enjoy unlimited travel from September 7 to October 6, 2010 with our All You Can Jet Pass, now with two great options! Use your AYCJ Pass for business, for pleasure, to visit your favorite cities or to meet with a client. You might as well just do it all. With more than 60 cities to choose from, and for just $699* for the AYCJ-7 and $499* for the AYCJ-5, it’s a deal you can’t pass up.” Wow!

• At seventeen, I was engaged to a man I had never met. Such a compelling story!

5 classic handbags that are worth the investment.

• Jack of all trades, mater of none. Designers, read this. Do you agree? Disagree?

• The offerings from Bird by Juicy Couture are actually pretty cute.

link love

• The Animal Print Shop features prints of photographs by Sharon Montrose and everything is so beautifully designed.

Disneyland 2010

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

Exactly one week ago, we came, we saw and we conquered Disneyland. Though I’d been to Disney World three times in the past, I’d only been to Disneyland once previously (last February) and since it was during Spring Break and overly crowded, I didn’t feel like I’d gotten the full experience. This year, I was on a mission to cover as much ground as possible.

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Gala and I on the way to Disney

Gala and I were joined by Amy, Kevin, Zoetica, Danielle and Joel. On the way to Disneyland, we killed time in the car telling crazy mom stories (I think Gala and I were mostly speechless), listened to Zo’s account of a burn victim who befriended Michael Jackson and oh so much more…needless to say, the time passed really fast.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

On the Tram!

When you finally make it to Disneyland and find parking, the Disney experience doesn’t start QUITE yet. Once you’ve trudged across the parking lot, It’s necessary to stand in little single-file lines and wait for the tram to pick you up and shuttle you to the front entrance.

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N is for…..Nublet.

Then, when you finally make it to the front entrance, you’re greeted by monstrous, brightly colored letters spelling out C A L I F O R N I A. Of course you have to stop and pose with all of your besties.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

Gala, Zo and Amy all took turns posing with the letters. Cute, huh?

We’d barely entered the park when we decided that it was time for ice cream. I love Disney because it’s an excuse to act like a kid again for a day, eat piles of junk, buy ridiculous trinkets and then go on a bunch of rides.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

After ice cream, we came upon Esmeralda. Zo, Gala and I all decided to get fortunes. Needless to say, she wasn’t very friendly. My fortune read:

You were born under a star that should have made your life a pathway of roses, but it has not been so because you trusted in others who are not real friends, but seek only to use you for selfish ends. You must get wise if you want to be happy. The time is soon coming for you to make your mark in life; improve the chance. Beware of a man who has dark hair and wears a good deal of jewelry. He is a false friend. Later in life you will be more fortunate and acquire a great deal of property. You may have a little hardship in managing your property. Relatives will prove rather harmful.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

I thought that this was Disney! Why all the doom and gloom, Esmeralda??! I think Zo’s fortune was the only one that wasn’t so bad. Gala and I were bemused (and slightly shocked) by ours. There goes the happiest place on earth!

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

We started our Disney adventure by visiting the Haunted Mansion. Then, Gala bought a bubble gun and the rest is history. She was a total gun totin’ maniac, shooting at everything and everyone.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

After a few rides, we paid a visit to Captain EO. I hadn’t seen the full film since I was in Disney World back in 1992 so I was super excited when I found out that it had been reinstalled. Zo and I are both mega MJ fans and were totally swooning the entire time. That costume! Those moves! The cute little critters (we collectively cracked up every time he called for Hooter). So campy, so 80s, so good.

Of course, after every Disney attraction you visit, you’re conveniently thrust into a gift shop with related merchandise. No experience is quite complete in America without a little capitalism thrown in for good measure!

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

If you’re visiting Disneyland, the teacups are an ABSOLUTE MUST. Though they look relatively harmless, there is a steering wheel in the inside of each cup that you can use to make it spin really fast….to the point of complete dizziness. Zo, Gala and I shared a teacup while Amy, Kevin, Danielle and Joel piled into another.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

We walked and walked and walked for what felt like hours and gorged ourselves on jumbo pickles, massive corn dogs and pizza along the way.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

As it started to get dark, we decided to make our way over to the other side of the Disney theme park, California Adventure.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

I was completely caught off-guard when we ended up in the middle of a parade resembling a full-on rave. Dancers in bright, baggy clothes had faux hawks, drinks lit up, a live deejay made his way through the crowd and there were glow sticks everywhere. Pretty awesome.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

As we made our way over to the Tower of Terror, I kept thinking to myself, “Isn’t this the ride that malfunctioned like 10 years ago when my mom was on it and everyone got hurt? Nah, couldn’t be.” Haha. It SO was. I had no idea what to expect and didn’t secure my belongings very well when suddenly, the ride took off, thrusting us upwards at least 10 stories in a matter of seconds, only to drop us again. I’m fine with getting knocked around on roller coasters but the feeling of completely having the bottom dropped out from under me was pretty shocking.

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Hahahhaaaaaaa. Look at our faces! I’m holding onto Gala for dear life! SAVE ME!!!!!

After the Tower of Terror, we tiredly made our way back through the still ravin’ crowd and paid a visit to Indiana Jones. This was by far my favorite ride of the day. Flying through caves in the equivalent of a dune buggy on tracks, it was a pure jolt of fun and a great way to finish off the night. We were soooo tired. So so tired.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

Zo and I, tiredly camping outside of the men’s restroom

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you’re falling asleep and just want to go home…you still have have to make your way back to the tram, which takes you back to the parking lot…and then find your car.

disneyland la 2010 nubby twiglet

Back on the tram…..we just want to go home!

Disneyland was so much fun and I really feel like I got the full-on experience this time around. It makes for a long day so make sure to eat a good breakfast and wear practical shoes! If you want to play dress-up, pack a pair of more comfortable shoes along in your bag because I guarantee that you’ll need them.

Disneyland is way more magical if you surround yourself with magical friends. Everyone I came with was upbeat and ready for the challenge and that helped contribute to an awesome day I’ll never forget.

*Photos by Gala, Amy and me.

Until next year,

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The Typofiles #69: Maxfield

w magazine typofiles typography

Maxfield is an upscale, slightly mysterious mini department store in LA that carries the absolute best selection of avant garde fashion. I picked up one of their business cards last week and was impressed with the very crisp, simple, minimal design.

All of The Typofiles can be viewed here.

Dr. Sketchy’s Website Overhaul

A few weeks ago, the brand new Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School website that represents all of the worldwide branches went live.

Front Page, Dr. Sketchy’s Site

Over the holidays last year when Molly Crabapple commissioned me to redesign her blog (which was coded by Star), I presented two separate ideas — one in a subtle grayscale theme and another in the Dr. Sketchy’s trademark deep red and gold. Site

Molly decided to differentiate her personal site from Dr. Sketchy’s (her business) by choosing the option with a muted color scheme. The second theme ended up getting brought to life many months later when she hired me to redesign the Dr. Sketchy’s website. Though the colors differ, many of the design elements between the two sites are very similar, purposely tying the businesses in the Molly Crabapple empire together.

Details, Dr. Sketchy’s Site

The site is pretty advanced — each post on the main page is called out by location. This is a much needed feature since Dr. Sketchy’s has branches in over 100 countries worldwide, sprawling across five continents! Conveniently, a user can also click on a map (above) to locate their nearest location as well.

It’s been a pleasure working with Molly Crabapple and Dr. Sketchy’s once again!

Note: While I did the site design, I did not do any of the coding. Above images are from my PSDs so there may be slight differences.