Celebration Makeup: My 23rd Birthday


Photo by: Alexandra Folino

23. It’s not the biggest landmark birthday by any means. But for some reason I felt like this birthday marked a big change for me. Let’s start by saying: I’ve never felt a deep connection with my astrological sign. I know the idea of astrology can be a rather divisive topic, and I even have to say that I myself don’t necessarily believe in it either. But when everyone else has pulled out their zodiac signs and moon signs and what not, I’ve never been able to relate.

You see, I’m not really a leo. Sure, I can have a dramatic flair from time to time, and I’d like to consider myself a leader. But outwardly confidant, dominating, blunt, spontaneous, and egotistical? Not so much. Despite my prior feelings, somehow the past year has made me grow stronger in the positive aspects of this astrological sign — and I’d like to say I’m now a stronger, more vibrant person. And with that, I’ve become someone who’s not afraid to rock a bright, fun eye look. Even yellow.

So that’s exactly what I did for my birthday makeup look this year. Below, check out how I achieved this bright and sunny eye look in a few very simple steps.

Before getting to the eye makeup, I did my usual face makeup: Too Faced Born This Way foundation, a little Nars concealer on some blemishes, Glossier Cloud Paint cream blush in Beam, Urban Decay Naked Skin cream highlighter, and NYX Micro Brow Pencil.

To prep the eyes, I went over the entire lid with a taupe. Next: with a windshield wiper motion, I gradually began to deepen my crease with a warm caramel brown. Then, I packed on a bright, matte yellow all over the lid, again gradually building up color until it was to my liking. With a clean brush, I blended, blended, blended to make the crease and yellow lid transition smoothly. I then grabbed a little bit of the taupe and caramel color, together, and placed that under the eye with a pencil brush. To finish the eyes, I popped a sparkly, champagne color on the inner corners and blended into the yellow (ever so slightly).

To finish the look, I added a thin line of MUFE brown Aqua XL liner and Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara on top and bottom. Et, voila. That’s it! Sure it’s not the craziest most glam look in the history of birthday makeup, but I’d like to say I’ve become someone more comfortable with flaunting a bright yellow eyeshadow. And for someone who loves the color yellow as much as I do, that’s a pretty exciting thing to say. So here’s to 23: may this year bring me even more confidence, so I can play around even more with my makeup. What’s next? Glitter tears? Black lipstick? We’ll just have to wait and see 😉

Speckled Podcast: Snake Venom with Ed Myers of AMNH and Simply Venom

Podcast, Skincare

Welcome back to Speckled! This week we’re exploring the exciting world of snake venom. To help us learn a little more about this mysterious ingredient and the logistics of venom, we first chat with Ed Myers, a postdoc in the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History. We then discuss snake venom in beauty with Simply Venom co-founders Dr. Monica Lilore and Dr. Milija Milic. Is this ingredient as dangerous as it sounds, or is it an anti-aging powerhouse changing the future of beauty? Listen to find out!

For more information about Simply Venom, check them out on social media @simplyvenom and at

Subscribe and listen to the podcast on iTunesSoundcloud, & Stitcher.

You can also check out Speckled on Facebook and Instagram @speckledblog

Produced by Jorge Estrada
Art Illustrated by Leyan Xu

June & July Beauty Favorites 2017


This summer has been so promising in the beauty front. Maybe it’s all the new launches that have been popping up from brand to brand, but I have a feeling it’s something more: Despite throwing the occasional morning tantrum when I can’t find anything to wear in a sea of clothing, I honestly think I have a newfound self-confidence that has helped me blossom in the beauty realm. This year, I’m not afraid to flaunt my natural hair texture: it’s wavy, it’s messy, it’s slightly frizzy, and, you know what, I love it. I’m no longer trying to fight it. I’m also not looking to hide my natural beauty with too many products. It’s summer, and the less product there is to melt off my face, the better. That’s why I’ve taken the time to simplify my morning makeup routine and go for more easy products that don’t take too much time and enhance my natural features. Summer is all about embracing your natural glow, right?

Bumble and bumble Don’t Blow It (H)air Styler for Thick Hair

Last summer, I decided to put away my hot tools until the weather cooled down. And this year, as soon as the days got longer and the temperature remained stagnant in the 80s, I knew I had to do it again. In fact, I’ve only used a hot tool on my hair twice in the past two months: once to add very sparse curls when I went out for my best friend’s bday party and the other time to test a product for work. Otherwise, I like to stick to my daily no-heat hair routine, and this product is definitely what helps my hair look more like a subtle bed head rather than a complete frizzy mess. A long time ago, I tried this product in the original formula for fine hair, but it’s really not that effective for someone with thick wavy frizz. This thick formula is SO much better (and you can betcha I’ll be picking it up once I finish this bottle). I like to distribute it from mid-shaft through the ends after my deep conditioner and before my mousse. Curious about my hair routine? Hopefully a more detailed post will be coming very soon!

Flower Beauty Shimmer & Strobe Highlighting Palette

I cannot (will not) put down this highlighting palette. I’ve tried so hard to go back to my other favorite highlights, but I can’t. NOTHING COMPARES. The palette features three shades: a blue-toned pink, a champagne and a light yellow-gold. And while all three colors are endlessly gorgeous, I have to say that the champagne is my HG highlight for summer. Did I mention it’s less than $15 at Walmart. This palette is so underrated, I cannot even begin to explain my love. Just try ripping this palette out of my hands. I dare you.

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo in Bad To The Bronze

I’m ridiculously late to the game with this one. I’ve heard YouTubers, bloggers, Instagrammers, and friends rave about this eyeshadow (in this specific shade) for way too long. But finally, I decided to jump the gun and just buy it. I was having a moment of weakness in the beauty section at Target, and I ended up buying too many things I didn’t need. But this eyeshadow was the best of the lot. If you’re looking for a subtle eyeshadow that you can literally dab on and go, this is your one, true love. It’s nicely pigmented so you can add on a single dab for something barely-there, or you can pack it on for an intense bronze smoky eye. This shadow does no wrong. And it’s been so great for summer days when I don’t have to patience to do too much eyeshadow (ie every day).

Glossier Cloud Pint in Puff

I was SO skeptical about this blush when it first launched. I thought it was such a rip off for the size of the product. And I had tried so many cream blushes that I thought it would just be like every single other one out there. Boy was I wrong. This blush will last you FOREVER. It’s so incredibly opaque — all you need is a single dot of blush for each check. It blends out flawlessly with fingers or a beautyblender. And, in all honesty, I can’t imagine using any other blush during the summer. I even wear it to the beach or on low-key days with only BB cream.