Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beauty: My Makeup Tale

This blog had always been around writing about things that inspire me or get me passionate over fashion or style. Since then, I've realised that I've talked more about beauty recently than fashion. I am now more fascinated with new makeup and skincare, and the innovations and trends, and I find this is taking precedence over my interest in fashion lately.

It was during the hiatus on this blog that my makeup habits came to a cessation. I didn't know who I was wearing the makeup for, but it was not for myself. I started wearing makeup, partly to conform to those around me and partly to hide my insecurities. Needless to say, that separate blog never really kicked off.

When I revived this blog, I was a born-again makeup newbie.

I thought I'd share some of the items I've actually been enjoying that are relatively new to me, and some of the older finds from when I started regularly wearing makeup at the beginning of last year.

Maybelline had always been one of my favourite brands to go to for eye makeup, and it is still the same today. I used to wear their Falsies mascara and loved the false lash effect it gave me but second time around, I wasn't so keen. Nevertheless, Maybelline continues to put out good products for a strict budget.

  • Hypersharp liquid liner: Stila was my go-to liquid liner but I put it off in favour of trying cheaper alternatives. It turns out, I prefer the flexibility of a brush tip and I find it easier to control my flick when doing cat liner. This was a recommendation from a girl I met in line for a Mecca opening, so thank you!
  • Eye Studio Gel Liner: I enjoy the versatility of a gel product but it's mostly my laziness that deters me from reaching for my gel liner. It's the inconvenience of having to clean your brush after every use. However, if I have the time, I will use it.
  • Color Tattoo Metal in Barely Branded: This is the colour suitable for my base colour, hence I use it all over my lid up to my brows. It serves as a sticky base for powder to adhere to, but also gives me a quick look if I need to be out the door. This is perhaps my most loved product.
  • Instant Age Rewind Concealer: This is a good concealer for the under eyes and the ease of the sponge tip in application makes it quick to get that step done.
  • Color Drama Pencil in Nude Perfection: I enjoy the formulation of these lip crayons but I'm a little uncertain about how this colour looks on me -- not sure if that Kylie Jenner colour looks good. I would definitely look into more of these pencils when I whittle down my lip stash and want nice statement colours for a special occasion.
Other high-street products I enjoy:

  • Essence Lip Liners: These are AUD$2 for a pencil -- good value for a decent pencil because I don't use them often and it doesn't make any sense to splurge if I don't use them often.
  • Covergirl mascara: At the moment, I'm using the Clump Crusher but I found that I prefer the natural look that Covergirl's formulations give me nowadays. I don't have to worry about large flakes landing on my face, or smudging. 
  • Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in Nude Mauve: My favourite blush and my favour for it trumps my NARS blushes. I like how velvety soft the powder is and the finish it gives -- it's a subtle shimmer so it doesn't look flat. This is a little pricier on the high-street market but there are regular promotions, so it's not that bad.
  • Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks: A smooth and creamy formula, these are definitely one of Revlon's classics. Their current formulation does not contain any particular fragrance. My lipstick will need to be replaced soon -- I'm estimating I'll reach the end of the bullet by December. However, it will not likely be a Revlon because I have my eye on one of Rimmel's new Kate Moss range of nudes.
  • Australis Fresh & Flawless pressed powder: I enjoy the soft texture of this powder, though it kicks up a lot of dust. Fortunately, they've released a few shades to add into their dismal colour range -- from 3 shades to 6 that they now have. Their previous lightest shade, Natural, is what I have but it's a tad too orange. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Beauty: Blue Eyes on Fashion Week

I'm a little late for this since New York Fashion Week (S/S 2016) is old news. I'm loving the Spring 2016 blue eye trend. I know blue pops up here and there, but it was showing up a lot on the runway for the Spring/ Summer 2016 Ready to Wear.

From your subtle blue liner and blue mascara to the bold coloured thick liner/ cream shadow -- it's everywhere. The 70s are making it big on the runways, and that means makeup that channel the flower child, or the barely-there look. Every hue from the lightest blues to navy for a smudged grungy look (a la Marc Jacobs) were featured on the runways.

NYFW S/S16 RTW - (From top left clockwise) BOSS, Marc Jacobs, Jenny Packham, Jill Stuart, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diane Von Furstenberg
My favourite was Diane Von Furstenberg's RTW runway show. Pat McGrath did a wonderful job on the makeup. It's probably all the glitter and the mix of blue and teal/aquamarine eyeshadow that made it a multidimensional look. It keeps it more modern than a flat one colour shadow look.


Blue eyes wasn't exclusively on the New York runways. It was featured in London and Milan as well. No surprise if Paris Fashion Week also features any hues of blue/green as we speak. Not as big as in NYFW but the 70s vibes is still prominent through clothing.

In Milan, Missoni went for the smudged vibrant look using a cream product. They went for a powder blue, a teal and a cobalt for blues. There was also an orange-yellow on the runways on some models.


In London, Jonathan Saunders featured a cobalt liner around the eyes and Roksanda also featured the blue eyeshadow look.

 In Paris (so far), Maison Margiela had a very theatrical blue eye look. Trademark Galliano there. The blue eyeshadow look had a wing -- hitting two birds with a stone. Dries Van Noten went for a sparkly/metallic vibrant liner look -- very fun.


Will you be rocking the blue eye trend next spring? Spring is already here for us in the southern hemisphere and I'm all for that blue look.




Sources: Getty Images or Indigital via vogue.com, vogue.co.uk; Imaxtree via fashionising.com

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Trend: Double Earrings, Ear Jackets and Ear Climbers

Ever since the Mise en Dior earrings were a hit, ear jackets and double-sided earrings have been on trend. The ones I find are right up my alley now are the ear jackets -- peekaboo earrings, under-ear earrings, front-and-back earrings are the other names I've found. Another variety of earrings I've been admiring are the ear climbers or ear crawlers -- designed to follow the curvature of the ear but only part of the curve, unlike an ear cuff that encapsulates the entire ear.

It's not a new concept to have an ear jacket to adorn an earring but it has been new to wear the jacket behind the earlobe. At first, I wasn't keen on these trends and thought it was tacky but I changed my mind. With the right pair, it could be sophisticated yet millennial-trendy.

Mise en Dior/ Dior Tribal Double Pearl Earrings

These were the earrings that changed my mind while I was browsing through trendy jewellery. I thought the marquise cut stones (acrylic of course) were very classy and everything is in good proportion. I loved how the stones fanned out under the lobe.
Cable Beach Under-Ear Earrings from Urban Outfitters Spring 2013 (no longer available)
I found some similar designs from Shinymix and Forever 21 but I'm fond of wearing sterling silver and higher karats of gold in my ears because I can be quite sensitive to cheaper metals. I found these plated sterling silver earrings. They're a little out of my price point though.
SHASHI Marquise Earring - USD$66 (here)
I'll continue looking for ear jackets, hopefully finding a design I like that falls within the price I would pay for trendy jewellery.

As for ear climbers, these I adore:

Urban Outfitters Delicate Rhinestone Ear Climber Earring - USD$20 (here)
You can clearly see I'm getting a kick out of marquise-cut stones. Again, they're a little out of my price range at the moment, especially with the exchange rate to AUD. In any case, I hope to find some earrings locally with designs I like just as much.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inspiration: The Age of Adaline

I've finally got the chance to sit down to watch this movie. The Age of Adaline offers so much costumes to admire -- bringing out the best of the vintage aesthetics. Definitely a film for the vintage fashion lovers.

The film follows the life of Adaline Bowman, who is perpetually in her 29-year-old physical form after a scientific anomaly involving lightning -- to be honest, I hated that aspect where they tried to ground the whole fantastical aspect of being forever young with science.

I bawled my eyes out when I watched the meeting between mother and daughter in the modern timeline. There was definitely a strange dynamic between Blake Lively and Ellen Burstyn (older Flemming) -- my favourite parts of the film were when mother and daughter were reunited.

Now to the costumes. Blake Lively wore many costumes from different eras of the 20th century. Of course, I had my favourites.

1940s Gown and Coat


1950s Cardigan


1960s Headscarf



Modern Day Vintage

I was particularly envious when she pulled out her train case when she was on the run, and what I think was a doctor's bag as a weekend bag. It really tickles my adoration for the vintage aesthetic. The movie is beautifully filmed, so if you haven't seen it, consider it a night in.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Event: Sydney Tea Festival

Last Sunday, I attended the Sydney Tea Festival. The Tea Festival is an annual event that allow tea enthusiasts to indulge in a day of tea-tasting with established brands and shops down to the indie online stores, browse through ceramics and homeware or participate in some tea ceremonies and other workshops.

I first heard of it last year but I had just missed it and was sorely disappointed. Luckily, I hadn't missed this year's and I made it a date with my friends. I saw a gathering of Lolitas there too, to which my friend asked me why I didn't show up in my gear. I've kind of moved on -- I still have my attachments to certain Lolita aesthetics but I'm not wearing my clothes anymore.

I got there about lunchtime, so it was very busy. When I left, it was probably busier because it was a struggle to even get to the counters. I had to restrain myself, so I kept myself to a budget. The prices of the teas were definitely pricier than what most people would pay for. Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to taste teas that I've never tried before.


I stumbled upon a stall that sold chai tea in a terracotta cup for $2 -- which would've been the smarter choice to buy that than to pay $4 for the designated tea taster cup at the doors. They still made good souvenirs.


Some of the stalls had wonderful displays, and other stalls sold adorable tea cosies. I bet many of the knitters there took photos so they could knit it themselves! (Hello Ravelry.) My friends and I hanged around for about an hour before we went off for a late lunch at the CBD -- they weren't as keen as I was and left without having bought any teas.



Mr Tea, the tea cosy
I was looking for non-caffeinated tisanes and teas -- these are my preferred kind. I just picked Calm from Tea Amo (cute name; sounds like 'ti amo', which is 'I love you' in Italian). Apparently, you can find this brand in the David Jones Food Hall as well. I was particularly interested in the I AM INFUSION stall but I didn't bring enough money to buy a cannister of I AM BRAINS tea -- maybe next year. I loved how citrusy it was.


If you're a bigger tea enthusiast than I am, you'd probably enjoy this. If you haven't caught word of it, I don't know where you've been so write this into your list of things to do next year.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Beauty: Skincare Haul

Recently, I've ran out of my skincare basics. I've felt the need to venture out and try new items. I wanted to make sure that I had established an informed opinion on these products, so this took a little longer than expected.

This is what I bought from the most recent 40% off skincare deal in Priceline:



Moreish Liberation Foaming Cleanser: It's not too harsh and drying for my skin and it has a pleasant citrus/fruit scent, most likely from the lemon extract. I try to be careful around any skincare with citrus -- phototoxicity is a risk and it's an irritant. It's up to people's discretion and in my case, I won't purchase it again because I want a cleanser to be free from any potential irritants. It comes in a bottle with a pump, and also a clamp for the pump mechanism -- very handy. One thing to note is that the only ingredient that they advertise as organic is the argan oil. It can be a little misleading. I might consider their pure argan oil next. 

People for Plants Pomegranate, Burdock, Shea Night Cream: This has been OK. Nothing remarkable but it serves its purpose as my night-time moisturiser. It's not too greasy although it does feel a little heavier and thicker than I normally use, which takes some time getting use to. As I'm acne-prone, the coconut oil brought on red lights but it seems my skin had a problem with it, even after two weeks of use. What brought red lights was the use of alcohol -- near the bottom of the list but still there. That's enough for me to move on after I finish this tube.

I like that it comes with a pump and a cap to go over it -- very sanitary. It's not scented, so the product itself smells a little like plastic/cardboard. This moisturiser's great for normal/combination skin. It might not be moisturising enough for those with very dry skin. This would be a good addition for anyone who will only use organic products -- it is 89.4% organic certified. 

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Serum and Trial Set: I've heard a lot of hype around the products from Indeed Labs and thought it was a good time to try them out. I finished all the serums I owned, so what better time to start with a new one? With dehydrated skin, Hydraluron seemed like the perfect match and I enjoyed using it, even as far as picking up the full-size.

The texture's a little sticky. It's mostly hyaluronic acid and doesn't offer any other benefits but I'm not keen on serums that offer multifunction and anti-aging benefits -- probably not a popular opinion. Anti-aging skincare includes antioxidants but not all antioxidants are stable and my 30mL tube of serum will probably outlive it. I'd rather just layer two different serums or take in antioxidants via my diet and slather on sunscreen.

In the morning, my skin feels plumper than usual but only time could tell whether this is worthy of being a staple in my routine. Most signs point to 'no' -- it's affordable but it's no budget friendly option and I'd rather spend my money on a vitamin C serum, and just opt for a hydrating moisturiser.

As for the other trial samples of Nanoblur and Snoxin, I didn't care for them. I hated Nanoblur as a primer because it made my foundation roll up and cake. Snoxin seemed like it would be a useless addition to my skincare routine.

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask: Finally, I have my hands on an Antipodes product and I selected this mask. This has a herbaceous citrus and vanilla scent -- very beautiful. When you slather on this product, it's quite emollient like a moisturiser. Once you leave it on, it starts feeling sticky against the skin. When you wash with warm water, it's not stripping and feels quite gentle. I can't justify the money to have it regularly in my routine but if I have money to spare, I might consider it again.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beauty: Makeup Brushes

Brushes are vital to good makeup application. Investing in good quality brushes is the best thing you could do to improve your makeup.

Two months ago, I bought a couple of budget brushes. I wanted to look for affordable brushes that didn't compromise on quality for the price. I wasn't very happy with the brushes I got from Royal & Langnickel, last September at IMATS.

I had purchased an Ecotools and a Real Techniques brush off of iHerb (my referral code is RBN281, in which you can use this for a discount if you're a new customer; $5 off if under $40, $10 off if $40+).

I've only used the Ecotools fan brush thus far and it's been one of the most versatile face brushes I own. I use it for a sheer layer of pressed powder all of the face and powder highlighter over blush and other areas of the face. You may also use it for bronzer and contour.

This is the brush I haven't used: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. I hope to use it for mineral foundation when it gets warmer.

I made a purchase for Zoeva brushes as well.


I grabbed a few brushes that weren't something I had in my arsenal:
  • 310 Spot Liner
  • 228 Luxe Crease
  • 222 Luxe All Over Shader

I also grabbed a brush for a friend, who bought the 234 Smoky Shader (left), which was roughly the shape of my MAC 239 (right). The difference is that the tip of my 239 is flatter whereas the Zoeva is more domed.


The Zoeva brushes offer a range of natural/synthetic mix bristles and vegan Taklon bristles. I've recorded my observations after a few washes and how the application was:
  • 310 Spot Liner - Brush held its shape after washing. No shedding. Very thin so it's ideal for tightlining. I definitely would recommend.
  • 228 Luxe Crease - Bristles frayed a little after a wash. There was little shedding but that's expected of the natural bristles. It's not as soft as it could be and it's a little prickly. Not really necessary when I've got two blending brushes that work for me.
  • 222 Luxe All Over Shader - Easy to sweep shadow all over the lid as a base. Little shedding after first wash. Decent brush to have.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Project: Moss Stitch Blanket (Free Pattern)

For a little while, I had been working on a moss stitch blanket as a gift. With all the leftover yarn from my bag of FibraNatura Lima, I decided it was enough to make a small blanket to cover the lap of an adult, or used a baby blanket. The project I used this yarn previously for was a knitted turban headband that you can read about here.

All there was left to do was to get started. The moss stitch is very basic and all I had to do was cast on enough stitches for it to be wide enough and go. At first, I was worried about whether I'd have enough yarn to finish it off but as I progressed, it seemed pretty clear that I would be able to finish it with the dimensions I had in mind. 


It is designed to be a very quick knit but I took my time. 


I debated whether I wanted to line the blanket with fleece or not. It was heavy enough as it was with the wool. In the end, I decided against it. 

Moss Stitch Blanket

What you need:

  • Bulky Yarn, 12ply (I used FibraNatura Lima in Ecru) - In total, I used (insert metres and yards)
  • US 10 1/2 6.5mm circular needles or straight needles - I used 35cm straight needles but that meant I had it bundled up on the needle. Highly recommend using circular needles.
  • Yarn needle or tapestry needle (to tidy up tails)

Instructions:

  1. Cast on 101 stitches (make sure you have an odd number of stitches if you intend to alter the dimensions).
  2. p1,*k1,p1* throughout (repeat stitches between the *)
  3. Bind off when you reach your desired length. Weave in the loose ends with a yarn needle.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: Stila's Eyes Are the Window (to the Spirit)

For a while, I had been sceptical of eyeshadow palettes, fearing that there isn't much value to be had when there are the few dud shades that you'd never use. Finally, I got my hands on a neutral palette -- pushing aside all the Urban Decay Naked palette releases because they weren't right for me.


I've succumbed to the Stila Eyes are the Window palette in Spirit because it fulfilled all the things I looked for:
  1. A balance of cool and warm neutral shades
  2. Subtle shimmer and some matte shades
I'm too much of a fan of colour to stick to a purely neutral palette, so Spirit was the best out of all the palettes offered in this range. I've had this palette for about a month now so I could discuss about them.

The Eyes Are the Window range come in attractive metallic packaging, in which Spirit comes in a copper-tone lid (or rose gold, as it is marketed). It's not only aesthetically pleasing but also quite practical. It comes in a compact size, has a large mirror and magnetic closure -- good for jet setters or anyone on-the-go. In my case, I can do my makeup by the window to ensure I don't look like a clown when I step into daylight.

Inside the palette, there is a plastic slip that had a quote printed on it. A nice touch in my opinion. Spirit's palette came with a quote from Leonardo da Vinci:
Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.


The palette consists of mostly shimmer shades, with two completely matte shades. I found the textures of the lighter colours very smooth but as they got darker, it wasn't quite as buttery. It's not a problem because it makes blending a colour for the crease a little easier when the shadow's harder.

The colours of the palettes are as follows:


Chinois and Puppy are the two completely matte shades -- very powdery and chalky but they're okay to work with. Pigalle and Espresso have microglitter and look shimmery in the pan but when applied with a brush, it goes on like matte -- a little powdery but better to work with than the complete matte shades. The very shimmery shades are Kitten and Oasis, more glittery and metallic than the rest.

My favourite colours are Kitten and Chinois for all over the lid (your choice of a shimmery or matte base), Oasis for inner corners, Golightly and Jezebel for the lid, and finally, Espresso and Pigalle for the crease.

I think it's unnecessary for a girl to have more than one of these neutral palettes though, so if you already have one, you should give this a pass. If you've been extremely picky and didn't like any of the Urban Decay's Naked range, this may be a good alternative.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Beauty: Miss Dior Le Parfum

Miss Dior Le Parfum is the newest addition to my perfume collection and I'm officially going to be on a low-buy for the rest of the year for all my skincare, cosmetics, makeup and fragrances. I've had my eye on this fragrance for over a year and have debated in my head countless of times until I finally went out and bought it with a friend, who also wanted and loved the fragrance.


I have been holding onto my sample of Le Parfum for a while now, using it sparingly and whenever I wanted to be reminded of the scent, as well as taking a spritz from the counter every once in a while. This flanker of Miss Dior is the only one I like so far, aside from the original Miss Dior Cherie. While I do enjoy the original Miss Dior, I'm speaking of Cherie and its evolutions.


It was an expensive purchase but like with any perfume, it's an investment. The more quality oils and the more concentrated, the pricier it is. Miss Dior Le Parfum oozes sophistication and sensuality with the rose and warm amber notes but still maintains that modern girl backbone that comes from the Miss Dior Cherie 2011 by Francois Demachy.

Miss Dior EDP and Le Parfum are siblings. Le Parfum's the older sister, the sophisticated individual who still knows how to have a little bit of fun. EDP is the younger sister, a sweetheart but a little bit of a Plain Jane.

I miss the original Miss Dior Cherie these days. The spirit of Christine Nagel's original will forever live in my heart but Miss Dior Le Parfum is next best. It has the remnants of the warmth and sweetness of the original.

In my opinion, there's only one aspect that Miss Dior Le Parfum trumped over the Nagel original and that's how smooth the fragrance is. Perhaps the Nagel was too complex for my teenaged nose but while I loved the popcorn, caramel and strawberry leaf notes from the original, the fragrance didn't win me over. It was a tad too sweet for my teenaged nostrils but I liked it enough to consider it as a potential birthday gift for myself. These days, I wish that Miss Dior still had the sourness of the strawberry leaf. That was my favourite part but back to Le Parfum.

If you ask me, Miss Dior Le Parfum is the perfect date night perfume when you just want to be a little bit romantic and feel a bit classy.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Event: Red My Lips 2015

Red My Lips is an organisation that runs a campaign every April to raise awareness about sexual violence. This year, I decided to take up on that challenge and wear red lipstick for the month. I invited one of my friends to join me because she loves red lipstick and could contribute to a cause. It also would push me to use some of the red lipsticks I own and finish off my Chanel.

I only had three lipsticks that I would consider "red":

I have yet to complete this challenge as the month is not over but so far, it has been a difficult endeavour.


Everyday
Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Monte Carlo (62)

Easy to put on when you just want a little bit of colour. This is not a true red, more like a strawberry-pink/red. I wore this most of the time.

Day Out / Happy Medium
Lipstick: Illamasqua Maneater


Great colour if you like something suitable for day time. It's a classic cherry red. Formula's a little dry but that is what I expect from a completely matte lipstick. I like it best when sheered out but I can build it up for night.

Bold Day Out/ Night Out
Lipstick: Lime Crime Velvetines in Red Velvet

I'm not a huge fan of liquid lipsticks. Great if you want instant opaque colour but I like the versatility of an ordinary lipstick bullet, where I can build it up or sheer it out. It's a must for dates and this was the one I wore to Fashion Week.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Event: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Sydney 2015 - The Innovators

I was invited to see my friend's collection in The Innovators earlier this week and to support her. I thought it would be nice to share with you the photos from my view.  Her collection was under the eponymous label 'Onticha'.

Yeah, no crisp fashion shots here since it was all taken with a mobile phone camera. I wasn't even in my best outfit -- I came along with something I wear on a regular day. The only thing different was the makeup: my end-of-year ball makeup because one of my friends loved the look that she wanted to see it in person. Nevertheless, it was an exciting event because it was my very first experience of a fashion week. Also, I got to see my friends all glammed up for the event but I wasn't going to sacrifice comfort for fashion. Something I rarely ever say to myself but I knew it was a trek to the venue, especially on 4" heels.
My two glamorous friends, all dressed up to support Onticha. I had to get their shoes in the shot.
The designer's in the middle.
Here are some photos I took of the place:





Here's some snippets of my friend's collection:










There were quite a few pieces from other designers that I really enjoyed and thought it would be nice to share:

Mat Lee
Jai Saunders
Jack Huang
Jai Saunders
I've been a little hesitant to show this photo since it's so blurry but if you can catch Jack Huang's first piece on a photo gallery somewhere, it definitely speaks for itself.

Jack Huang's opening piece
After the show, some staff were handing out goodie bags to everyone around and it contained some sample-sized products from Redken and a tube of Papaya Ointment, which can be used as a lip balm because it has a lip applicator. It also contained a portable phone charger, which I thought was a very thoughtful gift, especially for the tech-savvy fashionistas going around all day.

I enjoyed the experience very much. I saw some familiar faces of prominent fashion bloggers and even Jessica Mauboy (Australian singer).