Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Hairstyle & Now I Need New Lip Color @nyxcosmetics @LOrealUSA

Long hair, don’t care. That’s a silly phrase my friends and I throw around fairly often. Long hair is a typical trait for hula dancers. I wouldn’t say it is a requirement to wear one’s hair long as a member of a halau (hula school) but let’s just say our kumu (hula teacher/master) would look disapprovingly upon one of us walking into class with a new pixie hairstyle. Many of the Gracious Ladies with short hair own hair pieces such as fake buns or clip-in extensions and dub these accessories their “hula hair.”

My real hula hair had gotten rather long in 2014:


With all that hair, my morning make-up routine consisted of carefully emphasizing my eyebrows, a thin application of eyeliner and two coats of mascara, plus eye shadow and tinted lipbalm. I usually went very natural with my eye shadow but applied it every day nonetheless. Once I had updated my hairstyle with bangs (see pic below), I felt like my make-up also needed a change and became obsessed with finding new lip products and color.


This pic is a selfie of me, as I walked out of the salon with my brand new bangs. The lip color in this pic is just a quick swipe of MAC Creamsheen “Crème in Your Coffee”. After my haircut, I felt like I had lost five pounds of hair! My daughter said she almost didn’t recognize me when I walked out. I was so happy with the change, as evidence in my big cheesy smile. My new look was fresh for 2015 and I felt like I actually looked younger. FYI, I refer to bangs as “budget botox” for women over 40.

When I got home, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that my face looked out of balance. The bangs across my forehead looked very strong and I needed a bolder lip color to even out my new look. First, I turned to NYX Cosmetics. The founder, CEO and Creative Director of NYX Cosmetics is an Asian American woman named Toni Ko. One interesting fact is that Toni K. was in her twenties when she launched this line of cosmetics. Last year, I attended an awards luncheon for female entrepreneurs sponsored by NAWBO-LA, the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and Toni K. received a Leadership Award. When she walked on stage, it struck me that Toni was young and Asian American. This may be a shock to some people but for me, seeing successful business women who are young and Asian inspires me. And the fact that her cosmetics are always held at affordable prices appealed to me, as well. Truthfully, I always looked past drugstore cosmetics because I felt that the quality would never hold up to department store products. But, seeing Toni K. at this event convinced me to give her cosmetics line a chance. In doing a bit of research, I also discovered that NYX Cosmetics is certified and acknowledged by organizations, such as PETA, as a cruelty free brand. NYX is committed to producing 100% cruelty-free cosmetics. NYX does not test any of its raw materials or finished products on animals. So NYX is affordable, richly pigmented and social responsible? Take my money.

A blurb from their website: “NYX Cosmetics, named after the ancient Greek goddess who ruled the night, uniquely offers a permanent collection of special-occasion makeup in addition to a solid selection of every day basics and on-trend shades.  Known for rich pigments and high payoff in products is what places NYX in its own class and distinguishes the line as a leader in the massive color cosmetics industry.

The ultramodern and stylish packaging fused with the huge selection of highly pigmented colors continues to catch the eyes of many hip and sophisticated makeup gurus and has become a fave in their kits.”

My first purchase was a set of three NYX Lip Butters in “Licorice”, “Pops” and “Big Cherry.” This set seemed like the perfect introduction to NYX lip colors because two of the lipsticks were strong, bold, statement colors and the third was an everyday very wearable natural/pink color. NYX Lip Butter have a smooth and creamy texture, like sweet churned butter. That means they didn’t last through my slurping up a bowl of ramen but they do have a soft texture that does not dry out my lips. I have found that highly pigmented lip products tend to dry out my lips and in the colder winter months, I need lots of moisture.

Here you can see the three colors (Licorice, Pops and Cherry Bomb) on my arm. The Cherry Bomb color doesn’t pull as blue-red on my lips, probably because of the melanin in my natural lip color.


“Licorice” debuted on my lips with lovely and supportive feedback from friends.  The color is a deep merlot color and it worked perfectly for Winter, I really liked the contrast with my untanned olive skin.  This shot shows my hair pulled back and eyebrows filled in, because old make-up habits die hard.


The only criticism I have for NYX Lip Butters is that they aren’t long-lasting and sometimes, I need a lip color that I don’t have to reapply or worry about throughout the day.  If I am presenting on stage at a conference, the last thing I want to fuss over is my make-up.

So I decided to scour the drugstore for a long-lasting lip color and found L’Oreal Infallible Lipstick.

LOreal-Infallible-Group  I tend tobe wary of any two-step lip color application process.  It just seems like too much fuss and mess.  First, the color is applied with a lipgloss type applicator, sort of like painting your lip color on to your lips.  Once the color has dried completely, you must slick the attached balm over it. Apparently, to maintain the rich color, all that is required is to reapply the balm throughout the day.  And the balm has a very light texture and super glossy finish, which made me like this product even more.  I purchased a faintly shimmery plum color called, “Violet Parfait” and the color was gorgeous.


The true test would be to wear the color on a normal day filled with snacking and hydrating and maybe even working out.

This is a shot of “Violet Parfait” on my hand. The color remained there, even after I washed my hands with soap and water. Now that is long-lasting! Perhaps the color is not “infallible” but I am impressed with the combination of high-pigmented long lasting color and super fun glossy balm on top.



My second purchase is a bold, black cherry/wine color with a touch of metallic sheen in it, so it doesn’t look flat, called “Cherry Noir”.


This color needs to be carefully applied and I’m going to try to find a lip liner to use with it. If you a make a tiny mistake applying this color, you will walk around with lopsided lips all day, not the most professional look for a woman in Corporate America to rock.

The color swatches on my hands were taken without applying the glossy balm. The shine reflects so much that the pictures wouldn’t be able to show the color very clearly.

All in all, I love the NYX Butter Lipstick for the creamy texture that it kisses on my lips. And the L’Oreal Infallible two step lip color really lasts, even through a morning of two cups coffee or a sweaty workout after a long day at work. Each meets a different need in my quest for highly pigmented lip color. And because you can purchase them at the drugstore, trying out a variety of colors won’t hit your pocketbook too hard.

An interesting fact I discovered while doing a bit of research for this post, NYX Cosmetics was sold to L’Oreal in the Fall of 2014. So I’ve inadvertently kept my lip color purchases in one corporate family.

Thanks for reading. One last beauty tip I will share… I use coconut oil, from kitchen, as my overnight lip moisturizer now. A teeny dab, applied before bedtime, helps me wake up with smooth and kissable lips in the
morning. And a random fact to go along with that tip, if I want “Jim” to kiss me, I shouldn’t wear any lip color at all.


Adios 2014! Aloha to a 30 for 30 Challenge @YI_Mag : What One month of Yoga is teaching the DiversityNerd

2015 arrived with a whimper.  My December felt so jammed-packed, all I did for the last few days of 2014 was try to sleep in and watch movies with my daughter.  In November, I ran the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon and suddenly, Thanksgiving arrived.  With Thanksgiving happening so late in November, I felt as if I had a lot less time to rest or prep for all the activities leading up to Christmas. And before the big introductions would happen, the halau was a whirlwind of activity.

400 pounds of kalua pork needed to be bought, prepped, cooked, shredded and distributed for our annual Winter fundraiser.

I jumped on a plane for an overnight business trip to Plano, TX, the first of many because the company who I have been employed with for over 16 years is moving all HQ locations there.  We will be neighbors with Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Frito Lay and FedEx.

Months filled with countess hours of singing and dancing rehearsals led up to the Christmas show “Mele Kalikimaka ‘Ia Oe”.

The halau also danced in a Daniel Ho concert that turned out to be a huge collaboration with about eight other halau.

When we got back to LA, my daughter spent the weekend with her dad and his family, as a late Christmas celebration. i sipped on a library wine from Leal, their 2006 Carnaval Meritage.  The website description makes me giggle:  “This masterful meritage of Bordeaux varietals is based on very deep and classic Léal merlot. While enjoying this wine, you will find nuances of baked raspberries, leather and just right measure of oak. The Merlot marries perfectly with the Cabernet Franc and Malbec to give the wine a plump and polished palatal feel. The finish shows perfectly integrated tannins balanced with fruit.”  This winery became one my favorites several years back, when the local grocer at Star Market introduced me to Leal Vineyards.  He said their red blends were divine and at the time, they were priced at about $20/bottle.  Also, they don’t do wide distribution or mass production and their motto is something like “phat wines. low pretense.”

When my daughter came home, we had two short days left to play tourist in So Cal.  What else could we do except hit the La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA and Disneyland?  We got some culture and saw Mickey Mouse, that’s a mighty fine way to spend the holidays together.

A few days before New Year’s, my cousin sent me a link for the “30 for 30 Challenge” by Yoga International.  She is a yoga instructor and practices daily.  I have taken three classes and have not gotten serious about my yoga practice.  However, as I turn my attention and focus back to martial arts, I see that yoga will allow me to increase my physical flexibility and mental patience.  I kicked off 2015 by spending 30 days practicing 30 minutes of yoga.

Day Five focused on the Root Chakra – Muladhara Chakra and the element “Earth”

Today’s yoga practice was about discovering where I had holding patterns (tension) and asymmetries in my body created by unregulated emotions such as the need for control, or fear.  It helped me see where I have “holding patterns and asymmetries” or, as I interpreted that statement, “tension”. For example, I felt my jaw remain tense even as I tried to relax into the simple “easy pose” called “sukhasana”. I had to consciously release the tension in my jaw and allow my mouth to relax. I felt like an ass but I kept breathing through it. No one is with me as I practice so I shouldn’t worry about being perfect for what I look like. That’s an important part of yoga, right?  This can also be caused by any repetitive motions: sitting at a desk, assembling a vehicle, pulling pints, or any other job task that is repeated over and over.

Given what upheaval is happening at work, it did not shock me to discover that my body is all kinds of asymmetrical right now.  These 30 minutes allowed me to see how I hold my body asymmetrically, usually because of emotions or stress. Emotions are not a negative thing but I know that not expressing my emotions causes physical pain or sleeplessness for me.  That is something I have been working on and “Jim” has played a huge part in helping me feel safe enough to do so.  No longer do I hold things in and run or punch them out.  Now I can actually talk to “Jim” about my feelings about anything and everything.  He helps me process the millions of thoughts and emotions that run through my head every day.

What am I learning?
30 minutes feels HELLA long
Yoga teachers work my nerves if their voices grate on me or they touch their students too much or if they sound monotone and boring.

Even as of Day Four, I can feel my muscles being stretched and worked in different ways from my usual exercise routines. My karate stances feel stronger already. My shoulders and triceps feel leaner.  As I develop more patience, I think the yoga will make me a better martial artist and allow me to breathe through the frenetic pace of change at work.  This year will be turbulent and filled with turmoil and tears.  But I am prepared for you, 2015.  Bring it.

Humility is crucial to this study. Patience is important. Breathing is key.

Just like in karate, as my late Sensei always said, the basics are everything.