Goodbye my friends…

Till we meet again…

This doesn’t have to be the end my friends; in fact, it’s far from the end, it’s a new beginning!

Please follow a new blog that I’ve created (hopefully becoming more than a blog??? hmmmmmmmm! the ideas are swarming in my head!). Those of you who follow this blog have no idea how much I appreciate you even sticking around for this one. I mean, do my words even matter? Do they even make sense? Regardless of my insecurities, thank you ALL so much for being a virtual fellow blogger taking the time to glance at the words I’ve sprawled across an inter-webpage as well as being a virtual friend (and some of you even RL friends!).

I recently returned from my annual/biannual trip to Ellada (Greece, for non Greek speakers), and went at a time that can arguably have been the apex of the political showdown regarding their financial crisis (at least I pray that was the apex… or rock bottom). But since going about every to every 2 years, especially since 2009, the start of the crisis, I’ve really seen the way the country has transformed. Some things for the worse but you know, some things have really changed for the better. And I’ve really seen the Greek people become a group of people that I can say now, more than ever, that I am SO PROUD to be considered a part of.

Returning to the States always leaves a pretty nasty taste in my mouth and I ALWAYS leave wanting more- NEEDING more, with my heart aching. This year was no different, but I felt a need to convert those depressed and pretty negative energies into something that I feel has great potential.

think positive. Its been my mantra for the last 3 years.

So if you, whoever’s still reading this at this point, can do me a SOLID and follow:

The Glam Greek 

It’s pretty much the same concept as Stratigista – but something about The Glam Greek makes my heart sing, more than Stratigista, but you can still call me that 😉

Love you all so much,

Stratigista: The Glam Greek

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What I told myself I wasn’t going to buy- MAC Matte Lipsticks Summer 2015 Launch

If I said I didn’t miss working at MAC sometimes, that would be a flat out blatant lie! I do miss it; the people I got to work with – they were creative and fun and (most of the time) we all clicked really well, because real recognize real! And oohhh the discount!! So the fact that I haven’t had my discount in a while along with the fact that the recent collections have been a total snooze fest – well for me anyway – I haven’t really bought anything new MAC that wasn’t in my current rotation.

Their most recent lipstick collection came out 1-2 weeks ago in store and therefore 3-4 weeks ago online and of course photos leaked before hand and I was less than amused.

MAC Matte Lip Summer Collection 2015 MAC Matte Lip Summer 2015

Which was a good thing considering I’m really not supposed to be buying makeup (I’m not doing very well on that…) and most of the colors are relaunches and/or permanent and/or I already have them. So I was like, “yawwwwnnnn- MAC, thank you for being so boring, I can keep my money happily with me :)”

But then I clocked in last weekend for a freelance shift. And the display was out, and people were coming in and drooling all over the pretty colors!! And so as I cleaned off one after the other for people to try, my veins started pulsing, my skin started crawling, my breathing quickened, my heart started beating faster and I broke out into a cold sweat. I needed a hit!! But I didn’t buy anything right away. I said to myself, if I can make it home, I’ll be alright- But I know myself and it only made it worse because then I couldn’t think about anything else! So I hit up my friend to ask her if they had any of the ones in stock at the MAC counter closest to me- SUCCESS!!

I ended up buying Whirl, Steady Going, Men Love Mystery, and Tropic Tonic (not pictured in the above swatches) and Silly (from the MAC is Beauty collection – but it’s matte, so…)

I’d say my No Buy is going well.. -_-

xoxo,

Stratigista

Check Check… Testing… Karuna Clarifying Face Mask

I often like to give myself a little “spa night”- where I steam my face (I boil a pot of water, stick my head over it and wrap a towel over myself and the pot to let the steam open my pores), wash, exfoliate AND apply a face mask, then use some sort of facial acid – glycolic, alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy – sometimes both AHA/BHA – hyaluronic, salicylic, etc depending on what sort of issues I may be having with my skin or what’s working best for my skin at the moment. Also keep in mind, I’m not an aesthetician, so I don’t REALLY know what’s going on with these acids EXACTLY except that they’re a deeper exfoliator, helping to slough away dead skin cells and help promote cell turn over as we sleep, etc. But if you come to me with skin problems, I can only suggest products to look into further review. Either way, I have a pretty set skin care regimen and swear by a certain clay mask concoction that I will share at a later date, because tonight is about the Karuna Clarifying Face Mask!

Karuna Clarifying Mask

I bought mine during the most recent Sephora VIB sale. I went shopping with a friend and as I was already about to drop almost $300, when my friend says, “Oh! I love these masks! They’re really great! And they’re only $8!” Which my initial response to that is, 8 WHOLE bucks for a DISPOSABLE face mask when I can buy a whole tub of clay for $6 at my local health foods store??? Then I was like, Meh… it’s the VIB sale and I’m already spending much more money than is normal and sane to spend on cosmetics, why be frugal now? (P.S. I’m not a good shopping buddy…) So I grabbed one and tossed it into my already swollen basket, and am barely trying it out tonight more than a month later. I’m also curious as to why it’s $8 and if it’s worth it. And as I sit here with it on, only 10 minutes after I don’t feel the tingle like I normally do with other masks, which I don’t think I feel too keen about. I also look like a masked murderer… who has opted for phyllo dough as a mask (Are we making tiropites in here?? #greekgirlproblems).

Karuna - Ghost Face Killa

Courtesy of Snap Chat

There’s also a pimple that I had tried popping which is throbbing underneath the mask instead of tingling and stinging into oblivion like it does with other masks. And it’s still sort of slippery, so I feel like I’m waiting for it to harden on my face a little more but its not… its just drying.

20150601_213631

This mask is supposed to be good for Problem/Acne Prone Skin (this girl right here!) – it’s supposed to Calm and Clarify by using the Shiso leaf – which a quick Google search reveals that it’s the plant that you typically see at Japanese restaurants to hold wasabi! However, it is also commonly used in cooking too because of its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This mask also contains ginger which is  a natural antiseptic and honey, which soothes that skin without making it too oily. This particular mask ALSO has hyaluronic acid and peptide, aloe vera and chamomile and Chinese Licorice and Vitamin B which aid in detoxification.

Directions say to start off with a clean face and then leave the mask on for 10-20 minutes or longer for a more intense treatment (which I NEED).

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No wonder the model never has the mask completely on the face- it’s scary AF!

It’s recommended to not rinse the face afterwards, but just rub any remaining serum into the neck and hands and leave whatever is left on the face to dry into the pores.

I left it on for about 30 minutes. When I took it off my skin felt minty fresh – did it look glowy?? Not exactly. But we’ll see in the morn!

Love,
Stratigista xoxo

Monday Night Murmurs

It’s currently raining cats and dogs- like thundering and lightning on a level I haven’t seen in a long time. This is actually the second time it’s rained like this this past weekend, and I find it so calming and comforting – and inspiring, that I had to sit my butt down and write.

I’m feeling pathetically broke after this weekend. I had been wanting to go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas for ever now and decided way back when that Memorial Day weekend would be perfect, but prices from all the way back in January were hella expensive but found an Airbnb house for 250 for a whole weekend whereas some hotel prices were that much for one night, so I thought, awesome! and Airbnb has had some great reviews and my best friend even stayed at one in NOLA and thought it was grande. So I found this one that even had a pool and such great reviews for such a good price considering it had been a holiday weekend and everything I booked as soon as I could! When we arrived on Saturday, there were flies all over the kitchen and the house REEKED of dogs. Like, Reeked!!! The Webster dictionary defines Reek as : “smell strongly and unpleasantly; stink.” I can’t think of a stronger word for reek, but if there is, please let me know because that word should be used here. I know plenty of people who have indoor dogs and they may have a slight dog smell, but this shit smelled so nasty!! It makes me gag just thinking about it and I’ve since been 12 hours removed from that house. The host also allowed smoking in the house which just made everything so much worse so it smelled of pungent dog and stale cigarette smoke. It was an outdated, tacky, pungent house and I’ve since learned my lesson. I may or may not do airbnb again, it all depends on how much you pay me. Then we went to Six Flags, which was hella fun!! I haven’t been on roller coasters in AGES! but since we didn’t buy tickets the day prior, since we were under a tornado watch for most of the previous night and the weather forecasted rain for San Antonio through the entire weekend, we decided not to buy tickets til the next morning which jacked up the price by $25. The price + the fact that the roller coasters weren’t ALL that thrilling as I remembered (possibly due to the overpriced amount I had to pay for entry) AND the frozen hamburger meal I paid almost $20 for – I was left with a mildly unpleasant taste in my mouth PLUS having to go back to that smelly house- I just wanted to be home as soon as possible 😦

And now here I am!!

Memorial Day – it’s one of my favorite American holidays, it’s not as cliche as Independence Day, because half the time, we don’t really understand the whole American Revolution, but Memorial Day really hones in one those who have actually fallen in the line of duty for our freedoms! It puts all of our petty little complaints into perspective, especially all those “First World Problem” shits we like to joke about – we wouldn’t be able to hashtag First World Probs without their sacrifice and to those soldiers, I’m eternally grateful. And as much as I hate that people focus on “all the great sales” that Memorial Day can offer, I have to admit that these holidays bring some great sales and kicks off the summer season! So when I got home today, I jumped on the 40% off EVERYTHING Express Sale because I had seen some really cute things for Greece!! But then House of Lashes was having a 20% off sale and then Macy’s cancelled part of my ABH order because things were on back stock and then the vendor contacted them that they wouldn’t be receiving any more… um… WTH?! So I was going to order from the actual ABH website, even though I should be on sort of a “No Buy”…

HOL Mem Day Sale

But then I was like, wait a freaking minute! I just bought some HOL falsies from their Easter sale and stocked up on Sirens and Sweet Romance which are my favorite lashes they carry and haven’t even freaking touched them!!! And then the liners I had to cancel from my Macy’s order are colors I already own or colors that companies like Inglot already carry for $4 cheaper than the ABH one AND are not just limited collections! So I closed out of those web pages and put my abused credit card away and I feel okay right now… I’m grappling with the torn feeling of not buying those liners and missing out on something, but honestly, I can’t wear bright blue on a daily basis and the orange/yellow ones are colors I already own and have not touched since I bought them in January. It really makes no sense to spend money I don’t have on those things, but the true junkie in me is going through some heavy withdrawals- I almost feel like Tricia from Orange is the New Black, Season 1.

Details on the products that broke the camel’s back on my “No Buy” recently coming up- til then…

xoxo

Stratigista

Hello? Is Anyone Still Out There?

Hello!! (hello… hello… hello… echo… echo… echo…)!!!

If anyone is still out there, I appreciate your sticking around and still having hope on this blog of mine. Man, this is some serious work and truth be told, I kinda like being lazy. When I get home, I like to take my bra off, my pants off and watch some Netflix (maybe read if I’m feeling classy, but lately my classy scale’s been a 2)

As soon as I get home

So unfortunately, blogging has been the last thing on my mind the past 3 months 😦

Also, because I just get so gosh darn hard on myself, I feel like my pictures are shitty (besides the fact that I got a new camera), i feel like my content is not worth it and I just feel like I’ve been doing this for so long, and for what? Nothing. The market is saturated with bloggers, makeup artists, and beauty junkies that I’ve been grappling with whether I should even be spending time on this stuff. I even took screen shots of pictures that have been featured on Instagram for things and I’m like, I spend so much time and money on quality and lighting and making sure my background looks decent and these sorts of pictures make it for a FEATURE on some really well known pages?!

What not to post on IG What not to post on IG II

And then I was like, get it together Maria! So I promise to get back in the swing of things, even though I’m on a “NO-BUY” because I have an incessant need to buy more and more unnecessary makeups! Le sigh…

toodle-loo beauties!! ’til next time!

xoxo

Stratigista

“Whatever… I don’t even really like Valentine’s Day” Nails

Valentine’s Day has never been a holiday that I’m crazy about. Except for all the hearts and pink and red which are some of my favorite things – but it’s just so overly hyped and there’s so much pressure on everyone and everything! Not to mention it’s incredibly invasive as to what your relationship status is, or how someone is in a relationship! I hate when people ask me what my Valentine’s Day plans are, and their look of disbelief (and then sorrow) when I reply that my man and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day; as if something is wrong with us, or maybe he doesn’t love me enough and I deserve a man who’ll treat me better on Valentine’s DAY. And that’s just it. It’s a DAY, one little day in February where everything is overpriced and too crowded while the very next day you can get a bouquet of roses for $12 instead of $48 and chocolates are a fraction of the cost of what they were just 20 hours before. It’s a bit ridiculous. All that really matters is that my boyfriend and I aren’t for things that are too hyped and decide to opt out of silly Valentine’s Day festivities, and especially that it’s on a Saturday this year, we’ll be hanging out on the couch with a pizza. Sounds pretty solid.

Anyway, I’m opposed to most things VDay, but when it comes to the Pinks, Purples, Reds, Glitters etc, you already know i’m a fan! Especially if you follow my Instagram. So I pulled out some festive colored nail polishes.

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L-R: Nutri Nail Clear Coat with Green Tea Antioxidants, Milani Ruby Jewels, OPI Brides Bouquet, and this little sample nail polish I got from Sephora

I use the clear coat as a base and a top coat. Then I did two accent nails. Spoiler Alert: the little one on the far right is tinted.

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I’m not a fan of how this turned out. I’ll have to try the tinted glitter polish without a white base coat. Oh well. Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!!

xoxo

Stratigista

Apologies and a “Sorry Not Sorry”

Regarding my last post…

When I pick up shifts at MAC and someone asks me how to carve out brows, Ima punch them right in between their sad little brows! I must apologize. YouTube has caused a lot of headaches for makeup artists everywhere, and I mean true makeup artists. Especially when at MAC, it’s frustrating when girl after girl after girl after girl comes in with a picture of some flawlessly FILTERED chick with a bangin’ cut crease that probably took two hours to complete the whole face and she asks how to do it, THEN asks you to do it ON them, then they’re ilke, “Oh, ew it looks bad” or “Oh! That takes so long!” Um. Yeah, no shit. You know YouTube videos are sped up most of the time, and edited and parts that take too long are deleted… so it doesn’t really take 17 mins and 34 seconds to do a whole face. Sorry girl.

But while we’re talking MAC, their primers have to be some of the worst that I’ve ever tried. And TRUST! I’ve tried A WHOLE LOT!

MAC Prep+Prime Natural RadianceSo the website says that this is perfect for oily skin; it’s gel based, which is something to look for when you’re oily as cream based products under makeup can increase oil production and give a really dewy look, but if that’s not something you’re going for, maybe avoid that? It does say that this is a hydrating product. This is good. Oil production can sometimes – more often than not – be caused by a lack of moisture on the skin. So it’s important to hydrate the skin with creams, moisturizers, WATER, a good cleanser and vitamins. HOWEVER- if this is supposed to hydrate and control oil production, please do! I feel like too many ladies come in to MAC looking for an answer and I have to point them over to the two primers they carry pretending that I love them and I don’t. Then I started to feel bad, like I wasn’t giving Natural Radiance a fighting chance. And my manager was really Gung Ho about me trying Oil Control Lotion + Natural Radiance and falling in LOVE. So I ended up buying a full size of the Natural Radiance. Meaning that now I’m stuck with a WHOLE bottle. I use. I’m using it because I’m trying to get rid of all of it so I can peacefully use my other primers!

Despite not being in love with that primer, it does make your makeup look really smooth and honestly blurs out imperfections so that when makeup is applied on top, it looks velvety smooth. Now if that same effect would happen withOUT all the oiliness, I’d be much more pleased and satisfied with this product… Unfortunately I’m not.

So looks like Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer is still in the lead for favorite primers.

xoxo,

Stratigista

Friday Night Rant

I was, groggily, reading an article yesterday on Refinery 29 (visit article here) as I lay in bed shortly after my morning alarm went off trying to wake myself up, about YouTube Trends/Instagram makeup trends. Refinery 29 is one of my favorite online outlets for fashion, beauty and more, but it’s like most fashion magazines that focus on “Effortless Style” whether that be in clothing/shoes/makeup/hair- whatever. So this article choses a couple of their writers/editors and invites Nick Barose – a celebrity makeup artist who got his start as assistant to Kevyn Aucoin and clients include A-List starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Eve and Lupita N’yongo (are you imagining their signature beauty styles? no? do me a favor and google it for me and study their consecutive “no makeup makeup” looks will you?)- to do some overdrawn lips, over the top lashes, carved brows, contour and an uber colorful color cut crease. As I read this in bed, I found it pretty funny and agreed to it some. Because honestly some of these trends are way too over the top and like the article mentions, there are SO many of the same tutorials over and over and OVER again that it’s hard to find any sort of originality these days on the insta or the yootoob!

So I went about my day not really thinking about it, then as I was about to take of my makeup for today (neutral very warm browns with a pop of royal blue underneath the lower lashes, with Ardell Demi Wispies and a nude lip) and didn’t want to wipe it off because it was so pretty!! (Yes, sometimes I really REALLY like my makeup okay?) and I thought about the article that I had read yesterday.

Just to set thing clear, I support all makeup artists, and I appreciate everyone’s work!!! But… BUT… and as much as it pains me to say this, I found the work of this makeup artist for the editors of Refinery 29 to be sub par! It takes just as much talent to beat someone for the makeup gawds as it does to make someone look absolutely perfect and flawless AND NATURAL at the same time.

And maybe I’m being over sensitive to an article that is supposed to be silly in the first place, but before I add any photos, the trends that were chosen were made to ridicule these trends in an overly extreme way. The only one that I found aesthetically pleasing albeit the “extraness” of the color, was the overdrawing of lips. I really enjoy myself a nice overdrawn lip, and while it is pretty 90’s, especially when done with a brown liner… an overdrawn lip, or a lip drawn just outside the natural lip line can look really nice! The others were just out there and nothing someone on YouTube or Instagram would put together and if they did, I can guarantee it would be in a much more tasteful way with seamlessly flawless blending and technique- like the over the top lashes and frosty lipstick?? First of all, no one who actually uses falsies on a regular basis would use lashes like the ones he did and frosty lipstick? Don’t you know that MATTE IS IN?!! Like, duh. The cut crease and contour? I know I came to life once I bought the MAC 217 brush; someone should’ve gone in to buff that shiiiiii out. And super carved brows with WHITE concealer is not the out- thank goodness, but the article mentions an ombre brow, the brow he did not the beauty editor was far from ombre.

Take a look:

Refinery 29 - Overdrawn Lips

I honestly don’t see anything wrong with this…

Refinery 29 - Contour

Yes contour has gotten out of hand, but this contour is just tragic.

Refinery 29 - Cut Crease

Who even highlights with yellow anyway? And that crease needs to be blended out.

Refinery 29 - False lashes and Frosty Lips

Again with the crease- blend please!!! And no one who honestly enjoys fashion and beauty would wear color that does not suit them, I think most people who do these Youtube tutorials have a good understanding with their color schemes.

Refinery 29 - White Carved Brows

First of all, this says it’s supposed to be an ombre brow. And two, you can’t just carve out brows without plucking a bit first. So…..

Okay, and I get it. These are supposed to be silly and editorial, especially that cut crease with the too high crease and yellow highlight, but I’m not too sure how much the artist is being silly. I don’t know his style or if he was purposefully trying to make it look bad or if he really doesn’t know how to do makeup like that but in a  classy and tasteful manner. I know Youtube is a ridiculous place, but do you think a majority of the people go TOO overboard with the trends? Okay, there are a lot. But respectable makeup artists do not go over the top as such, and if they do, it’s blended well and perfectly executed.

I don’t know why I’m getting so upset. I suppose that I really like a lot of these trends, but I do them in a way that’s wearable in quotidian life… And perhaps because I get defensive. I’ll wear as much makeup as I want and participate in as many trends as I can without looking utterly and completely clown-like.

Guys, it’s time for bed, but take a look at the article and maybe you’ll fell close to how I’m feeling right now.

xoxo

stratigista

http://s3.r29static.com/bin/entry/c85/x,80/1303196/image.jpgimage.jpg

Haulin’ ‘Round and I’m Gettin’ it

Does the hauling really ever end though? I go to Walgreens to pick up my BC Rx, I stop by the beauty aisle for a new lipstick. I’m stuck in traffic and my favorite beauty supply store is at the next light, I’m going to be sitting here for a while, I might as well stop and pick up some fresh pairs of lashes while the traffic dies down. Omg, I just got a $3.50 off of $10 at Ulta! Ulta is on my way home! I go to Target for shampoo, and they have just restocked their NYX products… You know how that goes right?

Anyway, I spent most of my New Year’s day at home because the weather was awful (much like today actually – drizzly, misty, dark, grey and COLD) but wanted to get out of the house for a bit, so I grabbed a couple of things to start my New Year off right 🙂

NYD Haul

As you can see, mostly new products and a mix of high end and drugstore. Only 3 things are repeats, so I’m excited about trying these beauts out for the first time.

Cleansers

I had asked Santa for this Ocean Salt scrub for Christmas, but never got it, so I was like, um hellur, I need my exfoliator! And I’ve heard NOTHING – BUT NOTHING – but good things about this Purity cleanser from Philosophy. This is actually the smaller bottle, goes for about $28, not bad considering my MAC Green Gel Cleanser that I use for my morning skin routine is about $35 for the same amount of product. The bigger bottle of this is $34 I think. I’m finishing up my Green Gel Cleanser, but once that’s done, I’ll report back with my thoughts on Purity.

Brushes

I want ALL THE BRUSHES! I actually went out with the intentions of picking up some EYE brushes. But do you see any eye brushes here? (Minus the Real Techniques setting brush, which I actually use for blending and setting under eye concealer) No. Face brushes. I got another Beauty Blender, because duh, you can never have enough. And this one comes with a little Beauty Blender Solid Cleaner – which I LOVE), a Real Techniques setting brush and a large powder brush, the Tarte Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush, and a Duo Fiber highlight brush by I.T. Cosmetics. This one feels super, super soft, however, I had bought a travel size kit of the I.T. Brushes and was a bit disappointed.

Makeup

So the ABH Brow Wiz is a repeat, this is my 3rd one, and I hardly ever cheat on my Spiked brow pencil from MAC, but this is quickly becoming my go to! Uh oh, sorry Spiked! And the Rimmel lip liner in Natural is another repeat. This is literally on of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE lip liners. Of. All. TIME!!! It’s the perfect nude really. It’s kind of ilke Boldly Bare from MAC but for like $2.99.

And I’ll be trying out the Cover Girl 3 in 1 Stay All Day Foundation, the Maybelline Fit me Concealer and these Eyelure lashes. So be ready for some following posts on my thoughts. And if you ever find my last blog called Stratigista from blogspot, I’ll be bringing back my series called, the Mascara Chronicles – where I try out different mascaras, and share before and afters. Because I’m always like, are mascaras really like… relevant and shit? Idk. But I picked up this YSL Babydoll Lash mascara. So I’m hoping it was worth the hefty price tag.

Stay warm snuggle bugs!

Love,

Stratigista

2015 – I’ve Got a Feeling

5 days into the new year and I’m slacking on my posting! Although, in all fairness, I had been planning to post a couple of different things… but I just never got around to it, so…

Either way, I just wanted to pop in and say I made it through the holidays! Feeling 10 pounds heavier and  my bank account 10 pounds lighter. Normally I feel pretty or anxious about a new year, but this time around I feel excited! I’ve got a good feeling about this coming year and I hope you stick around to check out some highlights with me.

2015 is Game Time

Love,

Stratigista