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.