Saturday, January 31, 2015

Event: Friend's 21st

Last week, I attended my friend's 21st. It was a large group of mostly her family members and only a few of us friends turned up. We were allowed to borrow and wear saris, which I thought was a treat. Her mother opened up her vast wardrobe of saris to allow us to find one to wear for the day. Cloth of many hues, little details like metallic sequins or beading -- it was all wonderful to look at. We all got to appreciate the beauty of the sari.

I think the experience opened me up to more things than I expected. It brought up how unsatisfied I am, being so disconnected with my own culture. In the recent years, I've gained some interest in Chinese culture and with the help of the worldwide web and Youtube (in particular), I am able to get in touch with it. The only thing I am most dissatisfied with is that I cannot speak my language very well or read. It will be something I have to work on.

It also made me realise how much fun it is to wear statement jewellery. I definitely don't have earrings like the birthday girl but I shouldn't fear bold pieces of jewellery.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Trend: Semi-Precious Jewellery

Semi-precious stones are making it big and have been for a while. They can be made to look more expensive than they really are. Jewellery made from semi-precious stones can be found in certain fashion jewellery chains such as Lovisa but I personally prefer to hunt them on etsy or storenvy.

Some people believe that crystals have metaphysical properties that can heal the physical ailments and the soul. With jewellery made of semi-precious stones, you can have the aesthetic appeal as well as the healing properties!

I also have a small collection of tumbled stones. Since I can remember, I've always been fascinated with stones and though I question their ability to heal, I often use them as good luck charms. The thing that I love most of all is the little imperfections, the crystal formations and the layers of the stone. They give character to the stone and make them one of a kind. I find it calming to have a stone with me in an exam so I would never be without my blue lace agate bracelet.

I have been eyeing some necklaces from HempStones. My best friend showed me one of their pieces after I told her that my most worn piece of jewellery was the hemp cord bracelet with semi-precious stones I purchased a few years back. All products made by HempStones are semiprecious stones wrapped with hemp cord, a strong and durable plant fibre. HempStones is also Australian, so that's a bonus for my fellow Australians, because you're supporting an Australian designer.

HempStones: Amethyst Necklace with natural hemp
I have also been spying on the bracelets made by Holistic Habits on etsy. I have bought some stones once. Sarah has a good eye for detail in finding special, one of a kind stones. She also has a youtube channel focusing on a holistic lifestyle, natural skincare and makeup, and vegetarian recipes. I think her bracelets are beautiful and you can get yours custom-ordered if the listings aren't up.

Holistic Habits: Sodalite & Angelite Gemstone Meditation Bracelet
Do you have a favourite stone? How would you like to wear your semi-precious stones?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

'Round the World: Strega Fashion

'Strega fashion' is a term coined by shortcuttothestars or StregasForest of Tumblr -- the origins are unclear and it is often disputed. Strega is 'witch' in Italian. Similar to Dark Mori (branch of Mori Girl), it shares a similar aesthetic in that clothing is loose fitting and drapes over the body and mostly dark colours are worn. It is argued that Strega's roots are purely European, sharing the same influences used for Mori (a comprehensive history can be found here). There are no strict rules with this fashion except that it should be inspired by folklore and fairytales, witches and witchcraft.

Source: shortcuttothestars
I am intrigued about this fashion but I'm partial to Dark Mori, mostly because I love the use of natural fibres and the layering technique of Mori. Strega doesn't offer enough guidelines for me to enjoy being part of it. Strega and Dark Mori happens to demonstrate the fine lines when labelling fashions.

Dark Mori. Source: unknown (found here)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Style: Nail Polish Collection

These are my nail polishes. It is a modest collection that I've accumulated over the years. I've had other nail polish shades I have since thrown out when they had dried up or simply was a fuss to apply. These just happen to be ones I've kept.

It was only when I photographed all my nail polishes together that I realised that I had an affinity to certain colours: vampy plums and reds, the subtle neutrals and mauve and polishes leaning towards green or blue. The nail polish I've had for my wish-list for a while is OPI's Russian Navy, which falls into the colour scheme that I've unconsciously set for myself.

The oldest nail polish is the Maybelline Colorama in Vampire Seduction, which I actually haven't used in years. I've kept it as reference, I suppose because this was the first nail polish I wore that made me feel empowered. Prior to that, I wore clear nail polish because I was in primary school and it was against uniform. Chanel Rouge Noir was my most used nail polish during my later teens because it made me feel like a million dollars and even more empowered than the Maybelline.

The nail polish I received the most compliments on is the Butter London British Racing Green. It also happens to be the one my sister likes to pilfer. I don't mind because I have more than enough nail polishes to last me years and years of use, if they didn't have a shelf life or dry up.

It's no surprise that the vampy colours or dark colours empower me but when I don't feel like anything in particular, I stray into the neutrals. My favourite of the neutrals is Essie Mademoiselle because it's no-fuss and has been by go-to for a while but the ones that makes me feel prettiest are Essie Ladylike and Essence Dare It Nude.

I don't think I follow any particular trends on nail polishes, aside from when dark nail polish is trendy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beauty: French Pharmacie & Korean Skincare

How about new skin for the new year? The whole appeal of the French Pharmacie brands are that they're a slice of luxury but without the high-end prices. They've been quite trendy in the past year and have been available in various pharmacy chains in Australia for the past year or so.

The French woman is often idealised as a flawless, natural beauty with a je ne sais quoi. In the international market, the allure of these brands is that you can have access to what a typical French woman use. Among the cult classics of the French pharmacie are Avène, Bioderma, Nuxe, Klorane and La Roche Posay. Caudalie and Vichy are ones I have yet to find in store but are sold in online boutiques.

I've only tried the products that have gained a lot of hype amongst makeup artists and beauty bloggers alike. Most of them work just fine but there are cheaper copy-cats out there that work just as well or alternatives that suit me better, or that it just doesn't seem necessary. For me, the only thing I would not be without is the Nuxe potted lip balm ('just right' formula for me). As for the others, they're nice to have but I'm probably going to go for the alternatives.

A few years ago, I dipped into the Korean skincare/cosmetic fad and while I still continue to use some Korean skincare, the overall experience was lukewarm. Generally, you get what you pay. I've had good experiences with Laneige and Missha because I find they aren't as heavily fragranced. Cheaper brands such as Tonymoly, Etude House and Skinfood are brands I have found to be quite gimmicky. They offer cute packaging but a lot of the products I've tried from them just don't cut it for me.

The French pharmacie brands are now more accessible to me than the Korean brands, thanks to the pharmacies that stock them now. Korean brands, however, are easily accessible online.