Saturday, November 12, 2011

Birchbox at Last

Today my very first birchbox came in the mail. I was super excited the day I signed up, I mean, who wouldn't love brand new products popping up in their mailbox like magic! I can't remember exactly what boxes I checked off, but I think I indicated I had some interest in makeup & skincare. So this is what came in: 

1)  Anastasia Bevery Hills:  Lash Lifting Mascara
2)  Befine:  Night Cream
3)  Kerastase:  Elixer Ultime
4)  Supersmile:  Professional Whitening Toothpaste
5)  Alex & Isabelle:  Classic Hair Ties

I was getting pretty anxious to get my 1st box, & I definitely wasnt disappointed.  The sizes are pretty much "deluxe samples".  The item I'm MOST excited for is the Kerastase.  The description is "A glam addition to your hair regimen, this conditioning oil hydrates, smoothes & sleekifies strands".  It regularly retails for $54, so this item alone makes up for the $10 a month price.  I cant WAIT for the next box to come in!  If you're not signed up, give them a try.

xoxo, Mia

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brand Familiarity & Goodies

With most jobs, there are perks. At Kaiser, there was always some event where we'd get pens, notepads, lanyards, squishy stress balls, etc... I absolutely loved those event days! Well, at Sephora, it seems like everyday is promo day!! One of the lovely & luxurious perks is that there is a wealth of products on hand for us Beauty Advisors to try out & test. One of my main concerns was my lack of "counter experience". There are a ton of high end products at Sephora that I generally would bypass & not even bother to test because I know I wouldn't necessarily want to drop THAT much money on a product. I'm pretty hyped that I have the opportunity to give some new products a shot & that I can get to know a variety of brands! So Ive made the decision to test out a new brand each week :)

This weeks testers: Bumble & Bumble and Murad.

I have this long, thick, color treated hair with a ton of baby hairs, frizz & flyaways... It could really benefit from some serious TLC! My top three items I was drawn to were the Creme de Coco Masque, Mending Masque and Straight Blowdry by B&B. I'm wishing for long gorgeous hair that people are drawn to touch... Ok maybe I don't want people to randomly touch my hair, but it would be nice to have someone ask me how I keep my hair so soft & healthy!

As far as skincare, I've struggled the last couple years. Throughout my teenage years, I never had any acne issues. Never really needed acne medicine. Then I hit my late 20s, and my skin has become a nightmare. My forehead totally breaks out, I used to have dry skin, now I constantly need blotters, and the worst, I have a ton of acne scars plaguing my face. I decided to give Murad a chance, after remembering a sample I had received a few months back. I picked up the Clarifying Cleanser, Clarifying Mask, Resurgence Age Balancing Night Cream, Anti Aging Moisturizer for Acne by Murad. I'm also testing out the Clinique Dark Spot Corrector as well to take care of these darn acne spots that have popped up in the last year.

I've been using the products for at least 4 days now, and I didn't take any "before" pictures for comparison, so I'll just have to take one now. So here is my face before bed... Washed, serumed & moisturized... Dark circles, freckles, red eyes, scaring & all. Sigh. When I run out of this set of samples, I take another pic before hopping on the next brand, and hopefully, there will be some improvement!

Off to get my beauty-sleep, Mia

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Picture Day at Stanford

The photog situation one of the Drs
Last week I was fortunate enough to work for Lucile Packard Children's Hospital & Stanford to update profile pictures. It was especially nice to see that other side of the medical world, because during the 6 years at Kaiser, I've seen hundreds of practitioner photos & profiles & just assumed they took their own photos & submitted it to their prospective jobs.

Call time was 7am... Have I mentioned how NOT a morning person I am?! One of the main indicators of how much you enjoy your job/line of work is your willingness to get out of bed for it. Guess I LOVE makeup!! No it's true. I love adding a little glam to someones day with a bit of lipstick & blush. 

One of the physicians 
 Many practitioners weren't too thrilled at the mini makeovers, but some were excited at the chance to feel like a movie star! Everything translated so well onto the screen & I'm sure everyone photographed beautifully! It really was like picture day at Stanford! From 8am until 430, roughly 57 practitioners came down to take their photos... That mean that Christine, Liza & I worked on 57 people that day!! They came in spurts of people, we had downtime in between, but it was an eventful day. The other nice thing is that it's not full faced makeup or anything ridiculous. It's really simple makeup, making the practitioners look like themselves, just a bit more relaxed & refreshed!

Our "work" area
The funny thing about the shoot, is that it crossed my 2 lines of work. Physicians & my love of makeup. One of my coworkers, who happens to be one of my favorite MUAs to work with as well, stated it perfectly: I know they're doctors, but in my head, I think they're just another model! Lol, and if you've ever had conversations with any doctors, you know how adamant they are that you address then as such! I've gotten a lot of "I didn't go through ___ amount of years of school for nothing, young lady!" several timed while at Kaiser!

Anyhow, I didn't happen to take any close up photos of actual physicians, but I did take a few general shots to share :) Thank you again, to everyone that continues to check in on my makeup adventures. I love hearing other people's stories & hopefully some of you enjoy mine as well!

The view of the atrium 
The view up from the atrium 

Til the next flash, Mia

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Whole New World

The Sephora Handbook
Today I'm coming to you from BART (bay area rapid transit for any of you non-bay folks) on my way home from my second day at The change happened quick & barely left any time to really think... But I did it! I left the comfort of Kaiser to follow my dreams of transitioning to the beauty industry. The nice thing is, it's a position at corporate, not necessarily the freestanding locations. So my official title is a "beauty advisor" at! I'm excited & horrified all at the same time. It literally is a whole new world to me. A lot of the new hires in my group have worked several beauty counters and/or are cosmos or estis. Me, I've done fashion shows, photoshoots, corporate shoots, magazines & weddings. Today we navigated the sephora website a bit to familiarize ourselves with possible customer issues & everyone knows about this fragrance & that skincare brand... It's a bit intimidating! One of my fav things we've done so far is rummage the product cabinets. New products here & there, holiday sets, product favs... It's like every girls dream!!

A Quick Pic as I walked down the Hall
The other thing that's fairly new to me is the absolute structure they have set up for scheduling. For 6 years, I've had the ability to come in within a time frame, take lunch whenever I feel like, work at my own pace as long as the projects were completed within the time frame... No one completely depended in me coming back from break before they could take their break. EVERYTHING is scheduled in at sephora! Breaks are stacked, so you have to wait for your coworker to come back before you can take yours, tardiness is monitored closely... Sigh. I mean, I'm sure I could benefit from the structure, it's just new.

Another thing that's gonna take getting used to is working in the city.  I'm an East Bay girl deep down to the core. I thrive in warm weather! I'm lovin the layers of clothes & experimenting more with scarves & jackets, but whew, layers can be your BFF or worst nightmare!! Because of where my job is located, I'm lucky enough to be able to BART in. Commuting on BART can get crazy. Today I was lucky enough to get a seat on the ride home, however yesterday was a complete different story. Mind you, I'm 5'0" & can't exactly reach those bars on top... Although some trains have the little loopies that extend it. So I get my hands on one, in a train so packed you feel like a sardine! I had on a jacket, scarf, tanktop with another top on top of that, all while in heels. Smh, I was sweating. Not ok. Lol, just another bonus to commuting!

All in all, I love the move I've made. I'm excited for the opportunity to do what I love in an office environment that I'm sure I can still utilize all the other skills I've obtained through the years. Exciting!!! I'll be sure to update soon on how things are going :)

xoxo, Mia

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nothin' Better than Family Time

Over the weekend, I had a few makeup gigs, but more importantly, I had the chance to celebrate my aunts milestone birthday with all of our loved ones!  I wont mention her age, because, well, lets face it... women dont generally shout their age from the rooftops!  But I will say that my family has great genes!  Its not all genes though... my aunt takes phenomenal care of herself!  Take a look & enjoy the recap of our night!  Photos courtesy of Kathy Armas & Jenelle Armas :)

A evening brought to you by "M"
3 of my aunts that havent aged a single bit!
I forget what we were lol'ing about
My girls & I
The bday gal & her bffs (Myrna, Cheryl, Antoinette)
Emily, Trina, Mims, Me & Jassy - the ladies in the fam
My pops (middle) w/ his siblings (Earl, Cheryl, Glen, Kathy, Jenelle)
My aunt Cheryl, Trina & I
Jassy & GG (Great-Grandma Linda)
My silly family!
Me, Camille & Trina <3 Cousin Love

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Daughter the Super Model

A few weeks ago, my daughter had the opportunity to model in a fashion show that I was working.  It was the very first time she walked the runway & I've gotta tell you, she's a NATURAL!  The show was a benefit for at-risk youth in San Jose.  Call time was 7am, so she had to be there along side me & the MUA's and all the other models.  She had to sit & wait for hair & makeup, wait back stage and do a few run throughs.  All in all, it was fantastic!  Her first thoughts after the show, was "I cant wait for the next one!!"  

I'm so incredibly thankful for the opportunity she was given by Eddie Cotillon & crew.  In addition to his phenomenal photography skills, he's been absolutely wonderful in providing advice, opportunities & guidance on insight to "the industry".  Its rare that you meet such genuine people that will really be assets to your life & he has truly fit that description.  Here's looking at so many more ventures to come, not only for my career, but Mailynas as well!

xo, Mia

FAME: Young & Reckless

How LAAAATE am I on this one?! Well, lets just say that the show was Sept 17th... I'm way behind on blogging the events I've been a part of!  This show was an important one for me for 2 reasons.  The first was the look.  It was the first show that I've been able to do more than just "beauty".  The look was a fun punk/goth look.  Extremely heavy on the eyes.  The second reason... I've been to Bobbi Vie's events before because my friends always have booths (Breezy Excursion, Fully Laced, City League, Petals&Peacocks, Booger Kids... I really could go on for DAYS)... but this time, I was there for me.  It truly is something else to be a part of the event in your own right.  I got to be more than just "J's lady" for the festivities!  

Despite a few power glitches that added the new skill of "makeup using iphone flashlights" to my resume, the event was fantastic!  LOL, just imagine all the models wanting to charge their phones, fans to cool off the little rooms filled with all the models, a tattoo gun, the hair room w/ all the flatirons, curling irons & blow dryers, all of the regular lights AND the Fully Laced crew with their flood lights!  Gotta love the Fully Laced fam <3  But seriously, every 3 mins, the lights were going off!  Being the pros we are, we handled it & the models rocked the stage!  It was great meeting new MUAs & networking with such amazing people!  Thanks again Ivadell & Bobbi for giving me the chance to work the show!  Here's a few of my favs that I grabbed off Bobbi Vie's site & even more pics here courtesy of  P. Szeto Photography.  I'll try to link up more pics on my FB, but who knows how long that'll take!

Ryan of Breezy & Vicki of Petels&Peacocks
Jon of Fully Laced

Monday, October 10, 2011

Style at its BEST

I wouldn't say I'm the MOST stylish girl on the block, but I WOULD say that we keep it fresh. With that being said, I introduce you to my daughter Jassy & her new Yo Gabba Gabba swag.  For as long as I can remember, shes been a Yo Gabba fanatic.  That's her 2nd pair of Foofa kicks... the ones from last year are too small, but still sit in her room.  Not sure how many of my readers are YGG fans, or even sneakerheads, but I just had to put it out there.  In this pic -----> shes rockin her new yogabbagabba x vans in her pink tutu with her 2nd foofa. I don't think I'd ever wear the pink foofas that she got, but the 2nd pair we picked up yesterday was the all black w/ the character outlines... those, I just might wear... to the YGG show in November at least!  Be sure to pick up a pair for your lil ones while they're in stock!
XO, YoGabbaGabba Mama

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Proper Skincare = The Most Gorgeous YOU

Lets be honest, as a kid, "wash your face" probably meant you splashed your face with some water real quick & wiped it off on a towel.  As you got older, maybe you grabbed that soap on the side of the sink & worked up a lather.  Once you started using makeup, you most likely scrubbed away what you could see or even slept with your makeup on.  Ok, I'm guilty of it all.  But what I've learned & truly practice now, I hope, is saving the years I've mistreated my poor skin.  For years, I thought I didn't need to do THAT much for my skin, because hey, I'm young.  WRONG.  The day I noticed even the slightest bit of "crows feet" I had a fit.  So here's a few tips I never got or perhaps blocked out from my mom...

1) Wash your face.  Simple, right?!  Every morning & every night.  Take off every single bit of makeup, no matter how tired you are or how great you look.  Even if you don't wear makeup, wash off the oils & the pollutants from the air & environment.  Don't even get me started on Eyelash Mites

2) Moisturize!  I hear it all the time... "I don't use lotion because my skin is oily"... WRONG!  You have oily skin, wash your face, strip it of moisture & don't replace that moisture.  So what happens?  Your skin thinks its dried out & over-compensates on the oil production, making you even MORE OILY!  A good rule of thumb is "anything you take out, put back in".  Sounds a lot like the "what goes up, must come down", right?!

3)  Be gentle with your face & use "upward" motions.  Pulling & tugging is hard on your skin.  Gravity is already trying to take it down, so lift it up, baby!

4)  Stay hydrated.  Channel your inner Adam Sandler from "WATERBOY" & drink up!  Drinking enough water is important for regular function & to flush out any toxins you may have.  If all you're drinking in coffee & soda... well, I really don't KNOW how bad it is for you because I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I know it cant be good!

5)  Get some sleep.  A well rested body feels great!  While we sleep, our bodies are healing from the crazy day... So take advantage, because it really IS Beauty Sleep!

6) SMILE!  Its truly the key to beauty.

I've been extra busy lately, but I'm going to try my very best to bust a few blogs out this week & post some pics of all the events I've been working.  Til next time, Mia

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Making A Difference: Embrace Fashion Show

As I get older, I realize how much I appreciate my life, the opportunities I've been blessed with & the importance of giving back.  Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the Embrace Fashion Show put on by the ladies of Embriven, Dora & Athena, along with JVC.  The show was a benefit against human trafficking.  It felt great to be a part of something so big.  There are movies out there (Taken // 2008)& tv shows that touch on it, but its easy to forget how very real it is.  So many people give me "the face" when I say I'm a Makeup Artist, but I do try to use my MUA powers for good sometimes too!!
We started prep for the models around 1pm & pretty much worked all day until 6ish around the models between different "stations" for hair, eyeshadow, liner, lashes & face; as well as run-throughs & changes.  I'd have to say it was extremely efficient to each take a task & be "the master" of it for the day.  My task, you ask? I was the flasies MASTER!  The continuity was great & we work amazingly as a team.  Like usual, heres a few shots & the video of the actual show, but for more, check out my facebook page!

Til next time my lovlies, Mia

Photo credit to Ms Liza Santa Ana <3

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Insight on My World

I happen to be "reminiscing" about the good ol' days with my pal & decided to peruse my old myspace account (that I havent touched in well over a year!) & came across the blog post I did back in 2007 when Mailyna was granted "her wish" to go to Disney World her kindergarten year.  It made me remember her kindergarten year today when I ran into another parent at the "ice cream social" at Mailyna's school & we chatted about our kids being in the same classroom this year & remembering when they were little kinderbabies.  So heres the article that from 2007, that ran my baby on  the front page of the Daily Review.

Straight off Myspace:

Below is the article ran in Sept 8th's Daily Review about Mailyna.  Make a Wish is real & does great things for kids who truely deserve a little bit of sunshine in their lives.  I'll be forever greatful that my daughter was giving such a wonderful opportunity...


Fairview girl gets trip to Disney
Foundation provides vacation for 4-year-old suffering from disease
By Karen Holzmeister, STAFF WRITER

Almia Armas and her daughter Mailyna Mayate, 4, in their Hayward home Thurs. Sept. 6, 2006, are going to Walt Disney World in Florida with the help of Make A Wish foundation. Mailyna suffers from a life-threatening blood disease.

FAIRVIEW — Mailyna Mayate resembles a little princess in her pink-spangled gown, rhinestone tiara and wand sparkling with pixie dust.
The 4-year-old feels like one, too.
In late August, she started kindergarten at Stanton Elementary School in Castro Valley. On Sept. 16, she turns 5. And, she was asked Thursday, "Mailyna, what are you doing Saturday?"
"I'm going to Disney World," she said, giggling before collapsing in a fluffy heap to work on Cinderella and Little Mermaid puzzles.
Yes, at 11 a.m. today, a lim-ousine is taking Mailyna, her mother and her grandmother to San Francisco International Airport.
They'll fly to Florida and stay five nights at "Give Kids the World" Village, a resort in Kissimmee, where Mailyna will eat at the Gingerbread House. They'll also have passes to four Disney theme parks, Universal Studios and Sea World in neighboring Orlando.
A special trip for a special little girl?
Yes, and the fulfillment of a special wish by the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation for a child who has undergone more physical turmoil in her short life than many adults.
Mailyna suffers from thalassemia, a life-threatening blood disease. Her body cannot produce red blood cells.
She has had blood transfusions every five weeks since she was 6 months old. Just before her first birthday, a port — or small reservoir — was implanted in her chest for the transfusions. It lasts five to seven years before a replacement is necessary.
If her body temperature exceeds 101.5 degrees, Mailyna is hospitalized for three days for antibiotic therapy. She has liver biopsies yearly. She's currently not a candidate for a bone marrow transplant, which could introduce blood-forming cells into her body.
In addition, Mailyna takes medication every day to reduce the effects of iron overloads on her body caused by the transfusions. The oral medicine is a blessing, said Mailyna's mother, Almia Armas.
Until a year ago, Armas had to prick Mailyna's arms or legs with a syringe at bedtime, so that medication could pump through her daughter's body overnight. The child's limbs grew hard and callused, and it hurt her to walk.
Now, looking at affectionate, effervescent Mailyna, you would never know she is anything but a normal child.
"She is normal," Armas insisted. "She plays, swims and dances Tahitian dances. She loves to go camping and to the snow, to work on the computer and to take pictures with my camera."
In part, Mailyna accepts her illness "because she knows nothing else," explained her grandmother, Eileen Armas.
Love and diligence account for Mailyna's quality of life.
She lives with her mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle near Don Castro Regional Recreation Area. Mailyna's father is not involved in her life, Almia Armas said.
The family has good medical coverage, in part due to Armas's employment and insurance plan at Kaiser Medical Center in Oakland, where Mailyna is treated in the pediatric hematology department.
"I wouldn't trade my life for anything else," Almia Armas, 25, said as Mailyna cried "Mommy!" and leaped into her arms. "She's my world."
And, for five days, Mailyna's world will be one of princesses and heroines whose names she reels off affectionately and quickly:
"Aurora (Mailyna's middle name). Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. Snow White. Ariel. Belle. The Little Mermaid."

Personal Disclaimer: I am sorry that in the paper they printed my statement that her father is not involved... while he is not a constant in her life or actively involved the way my family friends & loves ones are, he does see her occassionally & I have no doubt that he loves Mailyna very much, so I am sorry that everyone who has read it will perceive him in that light, regardless of whether or not the statement is true.  So to her dad, I'm sorry.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


One of the biggest indicators that you've "made it" in Hollywood is having your own scent.  A-listers all over the world have partnered with companies to create their own signature scent, the latest being the new Mrs. Kim Kardashian (Humpheys).  Earlier this month NY Daily News reported the Kim Kardashian would be releasing 1000 bottles of a limited edition wedding fragrance called "love" for her wedding party, guests & 799 bottles to be sold to fans.  Such an amazing gift to her wedding party that will bring all those feelings of happiness & love every time they wear it.  So whats my point?  Well, I can give you that same feeling!!  

No, I dont have the secret recipe for "Love" by Kim K... but I CAN help you or anyone you know create your very own scent just like she did!  I'm now a part of a company that specialized in allowing you to create your very own scent.  Its a simple process of taking a whiff of an array of base notes, heart notes & top notes, listing your favs & putting them together to fit you & only you!      The moment I created my own scent, I knew I had to share this concept with all the lovelies in my life.  I'd love to help brides do the same as the new Mrs Humphreys & create that long lasting memory in a bottle!  

I mean, its not exclusively for brides, I've created scents for women of all ages.  From my little cousins to my mom & sister.  Men, women, doesn't matter.  Everyone loves to smell nice!  You may think that something like that would be ridiculously expensive... but I'd gladly shell out $35 for a personalized bottle of my own pure oil, no alcohol or water added, parfum!  Thanks to Ms Christine Pacifico & Angie Ayala, anyone near me can enjoy "Mia'mour".  Credit to my mama for naming my signature scent!

So if you'd like to create your very own signature scent, you know where to find me!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catching Up

Its been so hard keeping up with everything thats going on... I'm just about a month or so behind on updating. Thankfully, my fellow MUAs are much better at taking pictures and I just spent the main portion of my evening reviewing & posting pictures.  I've had the opportunity to work with 3 of the most gorgeous & talented Makeup Artists around & every moment has been amazing!  I dont want this blog post to be extremely picture heavy, but I'll post a few & link my FB "fan" page that has all the latest.  

Last weekend we had the opportunity to train under Denison Entertainment with the fab George to learn some of the hottest special effects work being done in movies today... heres a few of us trying our "acting" skills after we worked our magic with the makeup!  Special thanks to Christine Pacifico Paul, Darren Denison & George for putting together this amazing class!

Ms C's bullet wound by Liza

The Fab 4 showing off our dramatics

My work on the beautiful Patty
A couple of weeks ago, we had the chance to be a part of the Make Up For Ever Road Show that debuted here in San Francisco at the beautiful W Hotel.

Christine, Patty, Michael  Devellis, Mia & Liza
michael devellis
The morning of the MUFE Road Show, we also provided our services for the Pistahan Parade for the Heavenly Ice Cream Float

Christopher Castillo & Malou Hipolito
Photo Courtesy of JB Adkins
A month or so ago, Liza, Oksana & I helped out on promo pics for Bay Area Fashion Week, coming up in September...

Various Models for Bay Area Fashion Week
Photo Courtesy of JB Adkins

Hopefully that enticed you to want to check out the full picture sets on my Facebook Fan page... & please dont forget to click "like" & share my hard work!  Thanks for reading & supporting my MUA dreams!

hugs, Mia