Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Pacific Coast Highway and an Antidote to SoCal Dryness: Sephora Rose Mask!

Long time no blog! We reached Los Angeles yesterday evening, after a two-day drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. On the first (and more scenic) day, we covered the PCH from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo. The drive included lots of opportunities to pose for windswept photos on sand dunes:


And a breathtaking "historic" bridge built in 1932 (California has an interesting sense of what constitutes "historic"):


We stopped for coffee and a strawberry-banana smoothie at a cafe perched high in the cliffs of Big Sur. See those tiny white umbrellas in the distance?


Some pretty wildflowers nearby:


We ended the drive with some elephant-seal watching. Seals are strange creatures. You'd think they'd feel sorry for themselves, forced to undulate awkwardly across the rocky beach, but they seemed to be doing just fine. This photo severely underrepresents their massive size (the males weigh about 5000 pounds):


We arrived in San Luis Obispo in time for the "farmers' market," though my personal opinion is that anything involving funnel cake and a bouncy castle is a street fair, not a farmers' market. The street signs in SLO are printed in an eye-catching, if not immediately legible, quasi-Celtic font that's supposed to recall the city's Spanish colonial heritage. For me, alas, it recalled Tolkien's original illustrations for The Hobbit. Google revealed that the font, called Bitstream Libra, was recommended by a Cal Poly professor for public signs. He protests that he never intended it for street signs like these:


Central California is very sunny and very dry; if I lived there, I'd probably devote one day a week solely to moisturizing. You'd think that a coastal town like San Luis Obispo would be humid, but by the time we got to our motel room, my face felt desiccated. Luckily I'd brought relief, in the form of a mask I'd picked up at Sephora for $6 the day before. The Sephora house brand makes several of these face masks, each for a different purpose; this one promised "ultra moisturizing and brightening" properties.


It was the first time I'd used a fabric face mask, but the directions were simple: unfold, press onto face, leave on for 15 minutes, remove, and massage excess product into skin. The mask was made of a thin white cloth soaked with a clear, mucus-like, rose-scented substance. The fragrance was mild, natural, and very pleasant. Pressing the cool, clammy sheet onto my face made me a little squeamish, but I wanted to get my $6 worth, damn it. The mask seemed to be made for someone with a bit more face, especially around the forehead. Admittedly, I have a small forehead (my boyfriend calls it a "threehead"):


Post-mask, my skin looked luminous and poreless, even under the fluorescent lights of a Best Western motel room. $6 well spent, I'd say.


The next day, we visited the wine country outside Santa Barbara. Despite serving as the backdrop for the film Sideways, this area gets less tourism than the Napa/Sonoma region, which means that wine tastings are much cheaper--and the views are just as spectacular.


We arrived in LA in time for drinks at a rooftop bar with extraordinary views of downtown. I might have to hand in my Northern Californian credentials, because I kind of want to live here. It's my first time in LA since the age of eight, and the city is exactly as overwhelming and surreal as I imagined it would be. This was my view while I sipped a grapefruit-and-vodka cocktail called, I kid you not, the "Lolita":


Oh, right: this is a beauty blog. The effects of my mask had lingered throughout the day, leaving my skin nice and soft. I was glad I'd dressed up and put on some lipstick before heading downtown, because the female Angelenos at the bar knew how to apply a cat eye and a matte pink lip. Everything was expert and precise. I felt like an amateur--which I am, really. Albeit an enthusiastic one.


(Eyes: NARS Lhasa eyeshadow over Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe; Maybelline One by One mascara. Cheeks: much-faded Illamasqua Zygomatic. Lips: Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin.)

10 comments:

  1. Ugh. That lipstick and dress combo is just too good. Stop it. ;-)

    I love your 'threehead' and your awesome 'halloween mummy' picture! I'm glad the mask worked out well, too. I'm always a bit skeptical about masks, but I'm not sure why - every single one I've ever tried has done at least *something* positive, even if it wasn't quite as hyperbolically amazing as the wrappers tend to claim.

    But then - what is, in beauty?

    Back on topic, those travel photos are really lovely! I am burdened by copious amounts of envy, although this mood is mitigated slightly by the fact that my pajama leggings have cartoon Star Wars characters all over them, with (in what I think is the masterstroke here but is probably more an accident of stitching) C3PO's head appearing, Kilroy style, out of the crotch (gusset?) seam. Front and centre. :-D

    I have no idea why I just told you that, but I have not had, perhaps, as much sleep as I ought (even by grad student standards). On that rather bizarre note, I should probably go to bed!

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    1. Gotta say, I'm particularly proud of the dress/lipstick combo. Emerald green and coral look so great together. :D I haven't tried many masks in my life, but the first two I used, both potted masks from Lush, broke me out. And my skin isn't terribly acne-prone, either! So I was wary of the Sephora mask, but it worked beautifully. That said, *any* amount of moisture would have felt great after the drive, so who knows.

      Dude, you went to Dubai and got to try all kinds of Middle Eastern makeup! I still have residual envy of that trip. Those pajama leggings sound awesome; the only garment I have to compare is a pair of fuchsia pajama shorts with Valentine's conversation hearts printed all over. As I recall, my mom bought them for me on sale after Valentine's Day (and you thought I couldn't get any cooler...).

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  2. I enjoyed your trip photos so much! I have not done the Pacific Coast hwy drive in far too long. I like all the small towns and restaurants that dot along the way and all the incredible vistas. That is truly a breathtaking view. I've also visited SLO but don't really that weird street sign lettering. :D I guess they do things their own way.

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    1. I do think the street signs are very charming! It's nice to discover these little quirks of towns you've never visited. We also stopped in Monterey, but stayed only long enough to visit a Chipotle, alas.

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  3. Gah, your skin is ridiculous! And I need every tiny millimetre of those sheet masks because my forehead is twice the size of yours. Faces are funny.

    Sounds like a lovely drive and trip all around. While winding around the coastal road, I was surprised to see all the little buildings and restaurants tucked into the hills and mountains. We passed by one that was supposedly a big deal, but I recall neither where nor the name now.

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    1. I envy your forehead! I wish I had slightly more face real estate. I couldn't believe how well that mask worked--I really want to try Sephora's other sheet masks now.

      The drive was indeed lovely, and I like LA far more than I thought I would (being a San Franciscan and all). I'd be happy to live here, at least for a couple of years, though I'd definitely have to learn to drive. It's ridiculous how much time I've been spending in cars in the last few days...

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  4. That mask sounds so tempting, but yeah, the feeling of sheet masks kinda makes me squeamish. And I totally thought of LotR when I saw those signs!

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    1. For some reason, what bothered me was that the substance was clear instead of milky. I'd been expecting a more conventional lotion, and to get what looked like snail slime instead was...disturbing.

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  5. I saw those masks and was curious about them, but $6 seemed steep for a sheet mask. It sounds good though! I'll keep that in mind the next time I need to hit free shipping or something, haha!

    And that cafe. I've been there! I'm pretty sure.

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    1. Is $6 expensive for a sheet mask? I'm so unfamiliar with masks that I'm not sure what price is reasonable. I guess $6 is pretty steep for something you can use only once, though--I mean, you can get a pretty good lipstick for $6...

      That cafe seemed to be pretty famous! The parking lot was completely full and we had to park down the slope and hike back up.

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