Friday, June 28, 2013

June Favourites

I passed most of my month of June studying and worrying about exams but I did get away to attend a wedding and I bought a few things. Not too much makeup in this month's favourites because I've been sticking to products I know and trust. I've been trying to finish up products by wearing more makeup regularly. If you've got it, you might as well use it, right? Still, I haven't been feeling like changing things up and I've filled a little makeup bag to pick from, in an effort to use those products up. For base I keep going back to the trusty Skin79 BB Cream, which was one of the first things to feature on the blog. It doesn't provide a whole lot of coverage but it brightens the skin and actually 'blurs imperfections' in a very natural way that doesn't look like make-up. It's just so easy to use and forgiving- the shade match and consistency is effortless to work with.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Caudalie Must Haves

Caudalie is a must-try brand, which meant it was only fitting to to order the Caudalie Must Have set. Because I am a sheep. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Empties/Hitting Pan

Keeping a blog involves scuttling around the house finding good lighting, extra strain on time management skills and remembering to save empty products for empties posts. I'm pretty horrendous at all three, but worse at the latter. This time I finished a few products around the same time, remembered the practice of empties posts and took a photo to commemorate it. Ditto for the items I hit pan on.

Friday, June 21, 2013

More Real Techniques!

I placed an order on iHerb for these brushes during their 20% off Real Techniques sale a few weeks back but cancelled it because I don't need them. But what do you know, when a friend says she needs a new foundation brush because the Essential Foundation Brush from the Travel Essentials set just isn't cutting it anymore, it's just the push I needed to place an order, and throw in the remaining Real Techniques brushes that I've wanted for almost a year now. I already own the Core Collection, Blush brush and Stippling brush and use them every single time I put any slap on. Every time, without fail. Because I love them so much, I decided to try a few more and ordered the Travel Essentials set and the Expert Face brush. The Limited Edition Duo-Fiber Collection set is also available but I've heard mixed reviews about that so I gave it a miss.

Again, it was these persuasive posts (here and here) on Lena's blog that had me wanting the brushes and true to her word, they are so good! I find the Buffing brush to be great but it's a bit difficult to work around the nose and chin and the Expert Face brush fills that void nicely- smaller, shorter bristles and because it's cinched it feels denser. I was a little confused about the difference between the Stippling, Buffing and Expert Face brushes but in this video Sam demonstrates how to use the three brushes touted for foundation application.

clockwise from top left: Multi-Task brush, Multi-Task and RT Blush brush, Multi-Task and Ecotools blush brush, Multi-Task and Mineral Powder brush

The Travel Essentials set was a worthwhile purchase because I wanted a new blush brush- the Ecotools blush brush is good and serves me well but the tapered cut of mine is imperfect and the brush is a fraction too large. The Multi-Task brush is a happy medium- it's not as big as the Ecotools blush brush, not as long as the Real Techniques blush brush and not as small as the Ecotools Mineral Powder brush from the 5-Piece Bamboo Brush Set. It's a nice density- not so much that it picks up too much product but not sparse at all. It applies blush perfectly- I think I've got a dedicated blush brush here.
Although many people don't use the Essential Foundation brush and the Domed Shadow brush that come in the Travel Essentials, I would, which validates my purchase just that little bit more. I apply face masks with a brush and the Pointed Foundation Brush (from the Core Collection) that I've been using is a little ratty so the Essential Foundation brush, which is larger, is a nice change. I have a few go-to eye brushes but nothing for packing colour on so I'll try the Domed Shadow brush for that purpose and see how it fares. I think it's a bit too fluffy but I'll make it work- I'm not very ambitious with eyeshadow and often just sweep one colour on.

I've bought all but one of my Real Techniques from iHerb and if another 20% sale rolls around I may find myself picking up the Starter Set and Kabuki brush just for the sake of it. For first-timers, using the code OVO135 gets you $5 off orders under $40 and $10 off orders over $40. Real Techniques brushes are simply the best affordable brushes out there- they wash easily, they don't shed, the synthetic fibers don't drink up product or break off like natural hairs and the fact that the creator uses them in all of her videos helps people at home to learn the technique of using them. 

Being Sisterly

I'm reposting this because a few months ago I accidentally [CTRL]+[Z] one too many times and somehow Blogger ate all the content from the post on my sister's grade 11 semi-formal. It was months ago (hence the old blog URL on the watermark) but I wanted to keep it on the blog for the sake of it.
So housekeeping rant over, I did my sister's hair and makeup on the 20th June and here are photos!
I love my sister. Three years younger than me, she stands about 170cm tall, model-thin and has monolids, really thick hair and her eyebrows are a species of their own so it was fun and crazy and there was a lot of laughing and panicking and running late.

Daphne and her gorgeous friend Shantel at the pre

Makeup mess

I used Face of Australia Face Base primer, Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation in 52 Vanilla and 53 Light Beige, Laura Mercier Undercover concealer duo in UC-3, Face of Australia Translucent Loose Powder, NYC Sunny Bronzer, Rimmel Santa Rose and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle. Her brows don't need touching. The eyes were a combination of Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette (Bootycall on the inner corner, Half Baked and Suspect on the lid, YDK in the outer corner and Busted to smoke it out with Tease to blend) and L'Oreal Colour Infallible in Tender Caramel on the lower lash line. I used Rimmel's ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Black and Bourjois Liner Feutre and the Kiss Me Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara to finish the eyes. She wore her own Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait.

We did wannabe-Alexa Chung waves in her hair with a Remington straightener, Tresemme Heat Tamer Protective Spray and Fudge Soft-Touch Anti-Frizz Iced Raspberry and Vanilla hairspray. The curls wore really well, and the photos below were taken when she came home after and they'd dropped nicely to look quite pretty and natural.

Her dress was $20 from Jacqui.E at DFO, her necklace was something like $3 from Lovisa and her blazer was from H&M. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hit of Hydraluron

If there was ever a time I was excited in Priceline (and wished my phone had Twitter/Instagram capabilities), today would be it. I'll set the scene for you: finished my final exam early, did a bit of damage to the bank account at Kit Cosmetics and Daiso before taking a gander at the latest Priceline sale and not only do they have the current skincare bag promotion- Indeed Labs has hit the shelves! This time with new additions: Eyesilix eye cream and Hydraluron hydrating serum. 

Apart from having the most wasteful packaging I've seen yet, Hydraluron is an exciting prospect and I'm happy to have another serum, especially one so highly regarded by the be-all-end-all skincare den mother Caroline Hirons, to add to the routine. This sets a new record in my ledger- three serums on rotation in three weeks. I weep for my finances. 
So if I just got it why am I posting about it? Why, to tell you lot to skip down to Priceline first thing tomorrow to get your hands on this little tube of hyaluronic acid goodness. All yours for $34.99. Now, if only we could get Pepta-Bright here too...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finals Week

The Happy Snaps have become a series comprising purely of what photos I've taken with my phone. Nevertheless, my month so far simplified into photos looks a little like this. 

1. Strawberry White Chocolate Crumble Magnum: killed two birds with one stone and satiated my rare craving for strawberry-flavoured milk and the perpetual white chocolate craving in one fell icecream swoop.

2. Maybelline spoils from Chemist Warehouse 50% sale. Meh cover stick and Bold Gold Color Tattoo, but I do like the concealer for brightening.

3. My view for the first half of the month. This is the night version- the day version has a mug of green tea and crackers instead of the chocolate. Actually no, keep the chocolate.
I do enjoy dark chocolate too, but white chocolate just happens to be what I've taken photos of. Don't judge me! In my mind white chocolate is akin to a caramel latte as an indication of juvenile tastes- black coffee and dark chocolate are more mature, respectable choices. Forever a kid at heart.

In two days I will be free! I'm doing my sister's semiformal makeup on the 20th so look forward to a post on that. :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Steamcream: Japonisme Tin

In my attempt to switch to more natural products where possible, when I finished my tube of Nivea Soft I traded in the Nivea habit for a tin of Steamcream instead. The mineral oil, or paraffinum liquidum, in Nivea Soft put me off using it, especially after watching this video:

After that reality check, I decided to trade in my nasty skincare for more organic products. Steamcream is very open and honest about what ingredients they include and why. I ordered mine (this is the Japonisme tin that was an ASOS exclusive) from ASOS during the 20% UniDays sale but you can also get it from FeelUnique. It used to be available at Kit Cosmetics but I haven't seen it instore lately.

Mini ASOS haulage

The consistency is a cream, but it's so light that it breaks down and melds into the skin upon contact. It's not a whipped texture either, but it's not gel-like. It smells predominantly of lavender, and a bit herbal but not overwhelmingly so. I've been using it on my cheeks and dry patches everyday and I like it. It sinks right in the skin and leaves it feeling moisturised and plump immediately- much like Nivea Soft did. Nivea Soft worked well for me and if it weren't for the realisation of the amount of crap we're putting on our faces each day I'd still be using it but I find the natural way is just as good. I don't see the harm in having small amounts of those crap ingredients in makeup as those products aren't formulated to absorb into the skin. Washing them off thoroughly is part of my routine, but when it comes to items like serums and moisturisers I'd prefer for them to be natural, and since that term has become so generic I'll clarify: organic. 
So now I'm using an Antipodes cleanser and serum in conjunction with the Steamcream and they're working great for me- I haven't broken out from the abrupt switch and although it's only been a few weeks I can see slight changes in the brightness of my skin, which I attribute to the Antipodes products since they claim to be skin-brightening and I haven't been eating exceptionally healthily or getting much sleep. I'm still using some products that I think are worth the chemicals, like La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo and Hada Labo's SHA Hydrating Lotion- post on each of those due soon- but the other products in my routine like the T.N Dickinson's Witch Hazel toner, Tea Tree Oil and Lush Grease Lightning are all-natural which is good.

The gimmick that Steamcream is using to brand themselves- apart from the 'infused with a shot of steam' thing- is the limited edition collectible tin- the quirky, artistic designs sell themselves. With Steamcream's aim to keep everything biodegradable and natural and freshly handmade, the tin is a great idea because you won't want to throw it away. I think it's a great step in the direction away from the artificial side of the cosmetics/pharmaceutical industry. I'll definitely use up this tin and if I do repurchase, I look forward to buying another pretty design.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stress Less

1. My future two weeks. Swotvac over, it's clobberin time.
2. PM skincare arsenal- running out of Estée Lauder ANR so bought a new serum. Will let you know how it goes. Also, repurchased Effaclar Duo. Post due soon. The schmancy tin is Steamcream- still trying it out.
3. The usage levels tell the tale. Love/Indifference.
4. Fluffball. 

OD-d on sugar with buy-one-get-given-one-free-from-videostore-man pint-size tubs of Ben and Jerry's. Sadly they were gone before photo session could take place. Phish Food and Half Baked? Can't say I could have chosen more apt names for the exam season even if I tried.
Happy long weekend/Queen's birthday! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Most Used | Nail Polish

Sharing my most-used nail polishes today, but I don't have very many because I don't wear nail polish all the time. I like it, but don't wear it often for two reasons:
(1) The process smells awful and takes forever to dry and I always start pottering around when the top coat's still wet, so it ends up smudging;
(2) I'm very particular about the colours that look good against my skin tone.

I still don't paint my nails on a regular basis but I almost always have a colour on my toes. It makes me happy. 
PS: Excuse my awful nail swatches- most of my mind is still in the land of protected national parks and sustainable development. Painting my nails requires a degree of concentration that I cannot afford at the moment.

l-r: Cinderella, Heart of Glass, Scarlet, Bubble Bath 

Scarily large photo of Speck-tacular flakie top coat over Absolutely Shore

Essie Absolutely Shore
Hands down my favourite nail polish shade ever. It's such a pretty pastel seafoam that's worth the three coats needed to reach opacity.

OPI Bubble Bath
A simple, sophisticated, less-is-more, go-with-anything shade for any occasion with the trusty OPI formula and brush. Weddings, dinners, business meetings, sunny days, gloomy days, cocktail parties. OPI Bubble Bath can do no wrong.

Ulta3 Scarlet
Classic red, opaque in one coat (though I do two for good measure), for a mere two dollars. 

Face of Australia Heart of Glass from the glitterati collection (Limited Edition)
This milky glitter is gorgeous. I only got it recently so it's not technically a most-used but it's already a favourite. The FOA limited edition collections have varied formulas- it's very hit-or-miss and the few polishes I bought from the Barbados collection were disappointingly sheer. There aren't many milky glitters on the market- the only one I remember seeing from an Australian brand is Australis Milky Way, and this is much prettier. The red hearts, bars and glitter particles in the pale pink base are gorgeous. For $4.95, this is incredibly good value.

Sinful Colors Cinderella

This caught my eye when I spotted it in Lena's rendition of Jen from frmheadtotoe's Christmas nail tutorial. (Looking back, hers looks like a completely different colour to mine. I blame lighting and camera settings.) It's the prettiest shade of robin's egg blue with iridescent microshimmer shot through it. I absolutely love this, even though the formula takes at least three coats to be opaque. For $4.95 this is well worth it. Now that Sinful Colors is being introduced in most shopping centres (Kmart, Priceline, Target, etc) I'll definitely take a better look at the other shades.

Australis Speck-tacular

This flakie glitter top coat is a great bargain for the three dollars I paid for it- it appears in yellow in the bottle but the iridescent glitter flakies are suspended in a clear base. I've seen most people paint it over a black base, which looks lovely, but I think it looks just as good over a pastel base.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

I wouldn't paint my nails if I didn't have this. When applied just as the nail colour is dry to the touch, it seals it in and after two minutes I can type or move around without fearing the polish will smudge (sometimes it still does, because I can't sit still for two whole minutes). It dries very glossy and extends the lifespan of the nail polish. Interestingly, it smells nice. And it lasts for ages, so you get your money's worth.

Revlon Colorstay Base Coat

This is a recent addition but I think it makes a difference to the lasting power of the nail colour painted over it. I bought it on sale without thinking twice and it's proved to be a very good base coat- the wider brush makes application a breeze and I don't experience any staining.

Back to the land of environmental management and local/regional planning codes! Hope you're all holding up okay, all the best for your exam prep, or anything else you're undertaking for that matter! Leaving you with this little piece of creativity:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Trivial Ten

Since my days are currently filled with exam preparation, say hello to scheduled blog posts! Here's ten facts about me to shake up the beauty focus of the blog. Ten facts + pictures from Europe (Switzerland, Italy, Germany) and Uluru.

clockwise from top left: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II from the end near La Scala | Sunset from a trenino (little train) car window | Lugano City | Nara ski park chair lift | the 'Little Italy' quarter at Europa Park in Germany | Walking next to Lago Lugano (Lugano Lake)

Uluru l-r: sunrise, sunset

clockwise: Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay (CBD and Fullerton Hotel), Nanjing Massacre Memorial

2. I learnt Italian for 4.5 years in high school (long live that sturdy old State High!) and although I learnt Chinese for around 10 years my Italian is better than my Chinese. Chinese comes more naturally but my Italian vocab is better.

3. I'm addicted to green tea. I have at least one mug of organic green tea every day.

4. I have a huge sweet tooth. It wreaks havoc with my skin but I can't control it. I've been known to eat an entire block of chocolate in one day. I share it around but I end up eating most of it.

5. I'm Singaporean-Chinese and almost all of my family is still living in Singapore. I lived in Darwin, Thailand and Singapore before moving to Brisbane. I've lived in Brisbane for 10 years now. I love travelling- I love flying, I love seeing new places, hearing different languages and taking lots of photos like the tourist I am.

6. I stayed in Switzerland for two months on Italian language exchange and it was so much fun- I highly recommend studying abroad. While my exchange student was spending her two months in Brisbane we flew to Uluru for a short holiday. Uluru is one of the most memorable sights I've ever seen- a best-seen-in-person experience. We didn't climb it but we did the 10km walk around it and it was great.

7. I like making cookies, cakes and Italian food. Homemade pasta and chocolate chip cookies are inward triumphs of mine. Well worth the effort.

8. I waste far too much money on drinks- Zarraffa's or Easyway/Chatime bubble tea. I always order a White Chocolate Fusion at Zarraffa's, but at bubble tea places I can't stand milk tea so I always order flavoured green tea or a sorbet with jelly or pearls.

9. I had a side fringe for years but have grown mine out for the past year and won't cut a fringe again. Tricky business, side fringes.

10. I constantly say I'll give up sugar or dairy and lose five kilos and get fit and healthy and it's always something I'll 'start tomorrow'. 

A pensive quote that I gleaned from my ENVM2200 lecture catch-ups:
Here is quote from the “No Impact Man” (by Colin Beavan)
“....I see that when I get what I want, my want does not go away, it just turns to the next thing. In some ways it’s incorrect to say, “I want this” or “I want that.” It’s more correct to just say, “I want,” in the same way as we say, “I ache.”... I wonder if, understanding that wanting is at the base of human experience and that it is not alleviated by fulfilling the capricious desire of the day, I might perhaps allow myself to get off the hamster wheel.”

I thought 50 facts was too much especially when it's not video-blogged so ten was neater. If you blog, do share ten facts about you- it's always nice to get to know the personality behind the blog!