August 24, 2014

A hiatus update; balancing in life's eagle pose

I know it's been an awfully quiet year this year with the blogging. I definitely owe this blog an apology, but also an update as to why I've been absent.

The analogy to what I will describe here came to me as an epiphany during yoga, as I was balancing in eagle's pose despite the heat, the internal battles, and the numbing pressure from the bikram instruction. Instead of fighting against it, I decided to let it be and allow my breath to take me deeper into the pose. If you have done a class of bikram, or yoga for that matter, finding balance is incredibly tough. The first half a minute into a balancing pose seems manageable, however, as you edge yourself lower or hold on to the pose for longer, it becomes awfully difficult to achieve the balance 'comfortably'. 

I don't know why it took me this long to figure out that finding balance in life is awfully tough. 

I admire mothers who are able to manage all the busy demands from work, the baby, and partner. It's a personal sacrifice more than none, to decide on what are the things that have to go... The easy ones to let go are obviously the little things that made you who you are and the 'me' time. 

Everyone wants to be happy. Although, to each person, happiness can be defined in so many ways. For me, I dream of a man who will love and support me, a fulfilling career, down-to-earth and sincere friends, a family who understands me rather than what cultural norms dictate me to be, and hopefully to build a family life. I fought hard to bring myself to a competency level that allows me to work internationally - be it an MBA, taking language classes 3 days a week, and pushing my limits at work that made me relentless in pursuit of a flexible international career. I fought even harder to be with a person I spent a good 3 years with and still dearly love, sometimes at the expense of clashing with my family strict values and putting my life on hold. I stopped going out for the most part, preferring to meet with friends who were attached or staying home on Friday nights. I was sure as well he was doing the same in Vienna, because trust were the only strings that were holding us together.

I reached a critical point after 1.5 years that I couldn't hold my balance together anymore. I was unhappy and not living my life 'now'. I struggled to find the time to keep up with my language homework, to keep up with the constant deadlines at work, to keep my household together, to find time to go to the gym/yoga, to have a healthy appetite, and to keep the passion alive between me and my ex during a long-distance relationship of midnight Skype calls. The balancing act was torturous and draining, and I found myself slowly giving up.

When times do get tough, the human will finds ways to break loose from the constraints. For example, I started to subconsciously find ways to achieve the sense of stability. I adopted a kitten, a very cute little Scottish Straight at that, believing that I was preparing myself to abandon the idea of relocating away from Singapore. I allowed myself to be 'less perfect', and lowered my standards for myself at work and personally. And finally, more recently, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend. I'm still crushed and sad thinking about him; for many reasons - but mainly we were so truly happy together and looked forward to tying the knot. 

The transition is still tough, but slowly relieving for me. I am learning to be kinder to myself, allowing myself to open myself up to someone new in my life, forging a closer embrace to my family's cultural values, and accepting a career that is a notch lower to what I've dreamt it to be. 

I stopped blogging because I found no happiness in beauty as I used to. While I still like to feel beautiful in my own skin, I don't get easily excited about new releases. Perhaps one day I may just close this blog and call it a day, but I'm not prepared to. This blog holds so many memories of me - from the times in Denmark and the different phases of my life. Behind the selfies and the plethora of beauty stuff, I can still go back and read behind the lines of each story to what I was feeling and doing that day. So it's not the end to this blog, and I want to continue to write as I used to, but with a lesser frequency while I find a new balance in my life. 

In the meantime, you could always check out my little kitty's Facebook here:

Thanks always for supporting me and this blog. 

June 28, 2014

A find! YSL Volupte Sheer Candy #12 Tasty Raspberry

Shopping under stress is a dangerous feat. Case in point: many new lipstick purchases, including today's feature: a YSL Volupte Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in Tasty Raspberry #12. I have always had a love-hate relationship with YSL. Their Rouge Volupte classic lipsticks are loved by many, but it applies patchy on my dry lips. Ever since YSL came out with the shine and candy formulas, I have fallen victim these luxurious golden bullets and have accumulated a fond stash. 

Tasty Raspberry is a muted sheer light pink with golden flecks of glitter interspersed. The shade is gorgeous enough to bring out 'your-lips-but-better', while staying soft and glossy on the lips - appearing more like a balm. The formula of the sheer candy lipsticks is super comfortable, similar to a lightweight gel, and fills in the dry lip lines making your lips look fuller. 

Don't let the sheerness of Tasty Raspberry fool you. I guarantee that this shade simply looks much better on the lips than swatched. 

I love this shade! I think its one of those go-to lipsticks for the office, for the stroll down the park if you will, and those - 'I don't want to appear too 'dressed up'. A shy and always-appropriate lipstick. And I'm pretty sure you know, deep down, that while the orange tangerine/fuschia pink matt lips may be the 'in' thing right now, we all sensible ladies secretly crave a soft and understated lip. Surprisingly though, I have had some difficulty finding sheer glossy MLBB lipsticks as of late. If you have some recommendations, pop them in the comments box below. 

On my face, I have on Lancome Visionnaire foundation (I need to review this soon), Chanel soleil tan de Chanel, some shades from the Urban Decay Vice Palette, Guerlain meteorites (old formula), and Giorgio Armani ETK mascara. 

Thank you all for continuing to read my silent blog. Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend and I'll catch up with you again next time. 

June 3, 2014

Dior Summer 2014: Diorskin Nude Tan Transat Edition Highlighter

I fell victim to another highlighter purchase last week. This time Dior held me captive while I wiggled my hand under department lights checking out the dimensional shimmer from the Diorskin Nude Tan Transat Edition Highlighter. The rope-like pattern embossment is to die for; I had a difficult time making the initial first swatch. While I usually avoid golden yellow highlighters, I think this shade is light enough to make you drive down to the shops for a nice swatch fest.  

This limited edition highlighter comes with a kabuki brush that surprisingly feels soft to the touch. 6.5g of highlighting goodness is nothing compared to the likes of Chanel, MAC or Laura Mercier, but since when did I ever finish a powder based blush or bronzer or highlighter anyway? 

I've been using Transat for a week now and honestly, I'm not crazy about it. It's nice to have, but it's definitely not a must have. My usual run of the mill highlighters are usually pinkish or pearlised white, because they truly enhance my cheekbones and are distinctive under any lighting situation. Golden highlighters get lost into my yellow-based skin tone. Although that said, darker skinned girls will love this. If only Dior made this available at all US Dior counters, as it was an exclusive to Saks.

The texture of the powder is soft, but not overly. I use a hakuhodo pointed tip brush, one that is fluffy that it picks up just enough powder to allow me to reapply several times to create the right sheen. The shimmer is fine and pigmented on finger swatches but using a fluffy brush makes application build able and fool proof.

I'm glad to say that I don't quite have anything like Transat in my collection. The closest cousin would be Dior's Amber Diamond, although Transat is definitely more yellow rather than amber in tone. Nonetheless, on the cheeks, amber diamond has a slight blusher appearance, making it gorgeous alone. 

Transat alone on the cheeks feels quite incomplete and requires a cheek blusher. I like my highlighters to nicely reflect light at most angles, and Transat didn't quite do it for me. Here are some close ups. 

Overall, I would say that Transat is one of those items you either love or 'like' depending on your skin colour. For me I am still on the fence, even after a week of use. I like my highlighters noticeable and bright, and Transat was in my opinion too subtle for my yellow undertones. Darker girls will adore this while lighter fair skinned girls will probably find it 'meh' in passing. I feel that this is a product for collectors - the embossment is gorgeous and the pal gold shimmer will look fabulous with anyone darker than NC35.

Some of you may be wondering where I've been... Where should I start?
  • I have a new job that requires me to work late nights. 
  • I had overseas friends for the weekend.
  • I am taking up additional language classes, making me the most boring fart on weekday nights.
  • I am going more regularly to the yoga studio, so the last thing I feel like doing post-workout is a full face of makeup. 
  • I've started a home improvement project and weekends are left for errands. 
And in my spare time, I go shopping. For makeup! 

So I have a huge backlog as usual and hardly any time to blog. 

But I still try. And so I hope you give me credit for that. :-)

I met a new friend during my little spree at Tangs 12%. Hi Grace! It was really nice to meet you and hope to see you again sometime. 

May 18, 2014

Better late than never: Guerlain Rouge Gs Provocative

It has been a long while since I've felt this relaxed on a Sunday evening. I have completely surrendered to the dreaded Monday and just told myself to enjoy whatever blissful free time I have now. Trust me, it's a luxury to have this kind of time and sheer relaxation. The weather in Singapore has been horrendously hot, with temperatures soaring up to 37 degrees. I even bead sweat in shopping malls and air-conditioned rooms. So finally today's rain cooled off the island and made me ever so in a good mood to put on makeup. In my life, makeup comes in as a necessity or as fun playful things. Lately, it's been nothing but work work work, and my makeup reflects the utter boring and exhaustion I feel daily. 

This kind of good mood lends me to bright lipsticks that have sadly been forgotten in the back of my makeup drawers. I have two Guerlain Rouge G's, and these lipsticks are hefty bullets weighing like gold bars. It took me a long while to realise how truly luxurious the formulation is; always thinking that I was paying for the packaging. Sliding these pink butters across my lips is like sliding the volume up when cruising with awesome loungey jams along the express way. If you love driving (and lounge music), the feeling just gets better and better as you cruise and cruise, and this is how I would describe these Guerlain lipsticks. Pure heaven. 

Forget that this shade - provocative - is limited edition. Because I am so pathetic at keeping up with my blogging schedule. Better late than never... eh? If you're bothered to read more, this deep fuchsia pink has the right level of blue that makes the teeth look white. MAC lipsticks generally make my lips peel within 10 minutes of application, but these Guerlain Rouge G's are like serum for the lips. There's no feathering, no peeling, and wear time is decent even after eating or drinking.

If you happens to have a horrid Monday, take a peek at the Guerlain counters because they have introduced some yummy summer shades - an orange, pink, and deep wine red. All these new shades make me weak in the knees. 

Thanks for reading and hope you have a better Monday than me. 

March 28, 2014

Very Berry-Licious Trio: Burberry, Chanel and Dior

Ahhhh... Gorgeous day today in Vienna. Sadly I will be returning back to Singapore this weekend.

Berry lips. I am simply not courageous enough to take it out to the streets. But I did one fine day. Did I get looks? Indeed. I don't think it's quite the fashion to sport the outstanding lips here in Vienna, despite the city being renowned for aristocracy and what not. My biggest mistake in my adventures this time round was my lack of skincare arsenal... leaving my skin feeling extremely dehydrated and unhappy most of the time when using some kind of base product. And we all know how important it is to have plump hydrated even complexion with any sort of dark/red lipstick. Dry patchy skin plus red lips just makes me look old. 

Three things that made it to the post today:
1. Burberry Oxblood Effortless Kohl all over the lips as my first base
2. Chanel La Desiree Rouge Allure on top
3. Dior Ensorcelante glossing especially in the middle

The combination is breathtaking in my opinion. Dior Ensorcelante (even the name itself) reminds me of blood. While it is pigmented, I think this combination with the red underneath makes the lips look even more vampy. I mean, truly vampy. I didn't have to worry about the horrible looking lip line at the end of the day. Chanel La Desiree obediently stayed on and on. 

Burberry Effortless Kohl in Oxblood is a complement to the infamous Oxblood lipstick itself. I don't think too highly of the lip pencil. It's matte. And that's about it. I don't like that you need to find a specific sharpener and Burberry does not provide you with this (unlike Chanel or Dior). The shade matches well to Chanel La Desiree.

Though, Burberry Oxblood lipstick is a must-have. If you don't already own this lipstick, I think you better go grab it. It's really good. And much better than Tom Ford Bruised Plum. I should do a comparison of this with Chanel La Desiree soon. 'Soon'. :-)

Everyone knows that red lips are not the easiest to maintain throughout the day - you know, the touching up and paranoia of reddish teeth. I did however underestimate the importance of good skin. Notice my dry skin around my lip? I hate it. When I get back home, I'll be sure to rally myself into a strict regimented routine of hydrating masks, balms, and nourishing creams. 

In case you're wondering too, I'm using Holika Holika Luminous Silk BB Cream above. It's quite good.

Time to enjoy the sun here. Visit Europe in Spring - the whole continent blooms.

I hope you're having a good one!

March 26, 2014

The Elephant Palette

Hi everyone. I've been absent from this blog for some time now. I just got back from my Norway trip, spending a total of 10 days travelling south of Norway to meet one of my best friends and upwards to Tromso, a snowy Christmas town with a population of only 135,000.  I will be writing more about this trip soon but I wanted to quickly put this post up on a look I did yesterday featuring the Chantecaille Elephant Palette, the only palette I brought with me on my one-month holiday. Each season, Chantecaille releases palettes that supports animals by sending proceeds of its sales to conservation groups (for this Elephant palette 5% of proceeds go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust). 

Chantecaille, as we all know, is not the most accessible or affordable brand. However, it's also the lack of accessibility that makes me want their products even more. I confess that I purchased this palette just for the packaging alone and for the company's social responsibility to the environment. 

Although these miniature elephants seem gorgeous at first sight, I found the colour pairings slightly odd. The rusty red-brown and green didn't look like an obvious pairing at first, so I have been using only the light ivory, cool-brown and camouflage deep green on my latest looks. 

This palette costed me $83. A little cray cray but until you calculate the $/g and $/pan, you'll understand that it's not too bad compared to many other brands. Each pan weighs a whopping 3g, twice larger than a standard MAC eyeshadow at 1.4g. These shadows will last you a whole lifetime with continuous use. 

My favourite shade of the quad would have to be Grasslands, a deep mossy green, almost passing off as a dirty leafy green. I think this shade will look great for smokey green looks. I'm still on the fence about Red Earth, a rusty red-brown; it's not a colour I usually gravitate to. Ivory is a lovely soft shade that applies more like an all over lid colour to give your skin some evenness. I noticed very little shimmer and slight sheen, despite it being categorised as a highlighter. Iron Ore, a liner dark brown would probably be the odd-ball of the palette that applies quite dry and not as smoothly as I would like it to. 

What I do love about the Chantecaille eyeshadows are how well they look on the lids even though they swatch poorly on the hand. Here I applied an eyeshadow base to help the colours pop more. I suppose this is the in the theme of French cosmetics being quite soft and ethereal, rather than the heavily pigmented shadows that can be quite hard to blend. 

In summary, I'm not overly won over by the Elephant Palette. I love the fact that this palette has a unique concept dedicated to different animals each season, but I was left wanting more oomph or pigmentation from each of the shade. If you like very soft washes of colour on the lids, then Chantecaille eyeshadows may be the one for you. 

The palette is still available on Space NK (click here) for a 50% discount at 37 GBP in case you're still hoping to get your hands on this cool bargain. 

Thanks for reading and hope you're having a good week wherever you are. 

March 6, 2014

A Healthy Ethereal Look with Dior Rosy Glow

I must admit that I have been blissfully ignorant of many of the makeup musings/trends over the past year or so. I have perhaps fallen a little behind on new makeup releases because I dread having to dig for space in my crowded drawers. I am quite proud of myself for taking my makeup addiction to this level of self control. Trust me, it's not easy. I just love makeup and I have a hoarding habit that puts all those televised hoarder junkies to shame. The only moment of weakness I had recently was when I picked up the Dior Rosy Glow Blush (001 Petal) during my recent dash through the duty free terminals. I blame this purchase on several YouTube 2013 favourites videos (especially Hapagurl8 - she's beautiful and can always trust her product recommendations), although, I am so glad I came to know about this product because I am now completely smitten and utterly obsessed with my cheeks.  

From what looks to be another Nars Desire hot pink blush that I so detest because of its' intense pigmentation, Dior Rosy Glow does quite the opposite. Instead, it imparts this stunning pink flush which can be built up gradually on the cheeks. It's perfect really and just in time for spring.

Dior describes the shade to be unique to your skin - meaning that the shade may look differently on you. 'Rosy Glow intuitively adjusts to the moisture of each skin to make the cheeks blush with delight, as if revitalised with a breath of fresh air. Its ultra-fine powder texture and it's irresistible rose fragrance offer a moment of pure indulgence with each application'. 

Looking at the different swatch photos online, Dior Rosy Glow does seems to genuinely impart different tones of pink on different skin tones. On me, it gives an soft bright pink flush that literally melts on my skin. There is zero powderiness or harsh blusher lines, making Rosy Glow a great everyday blush. 

I paired a generous application of Dior Rosy Glow today with a nice thick winged eyeliner and nude lips (Tom Ford Spanish Pink).

Overall, this is a stunning blusher and I believe it would look great on any skin tone, ranging from light to dark. The brightness of the pink helps the blusher shade stand out and yet the shade is subtle enough to literally melt into your skin giving an overall natural flush. 

A great invention by Dior. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you're having a good week. 

February 27, 2014

An Amazing Find: The Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser

Aesop has really captured my attention lately. From its' beautiful arrangement of classic apothecary bottles and amazing scented aromatherapy, it is little wonder the brand has catapulted into an international cult favourite. I adore their body care products and splurged many times into their luxury body balms and soaps. Apart from the Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask, reviewed here, I have not ventured into their skincare range. On my last little whirl of Tangs Singapore on a boring hot afternoon, I purchased the Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser - a bottle that claims it's right to stand as a centre piece on my bathroom sink... just on looks alone. 

Here I have mine in the largest bottle, sized at 200mLs, and priced at S$67 - double the price I would typically allow myself to spend on face cleansers... For reference, my favorite IPSA cleanser is about S$38 and Vichy is no more than $30 in pharmacies. 

But before you judge me to be a crazy spender, let me say that Aesop is a brand that sucks me right in because of their genuine scents. In my personal opinion, Aesop has ingeniously created my version of luxury fragrances encased in different skincare/bodycare utilities. For someone who adores fragrance, it was just a matter of time. 

The Aesop Amazing Cleanser contains mandarin rind, ylang ylang and lavender stem. True enough, the soap emits this awesome mandarin scent that almost sends my brain winding down into pure relaxation. A small amount goes a long way - budding up into gentle soap suds with a small amount of water and gentle rubbing. 

With no better way than putting the cleanser into action, I wanted to see how it fared under makeup 'heavy' circumstances. Here, I have smeared a lovely dose of waxy MUFE intense rouge and Chanel stylo yeux eyeliners that are rather resistant to normal hand soaps. 

As you can tell, the cleanser failed to remove every last trace of the lipstick, however, did a fairly decent job on the eyeliners. Given that the lipstick chosen is of the waxier sort, supplementing your pre-cleansing routine with a cleansing oil would guarantee much cleaner skin. All in all, I have been really enjoying the Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser and have been looking forward to my AM and PM cleansing routine just because of it.

An amazing find? Absolutely! 

February 23, 2014

Weekly Stash Shopping #1, Reviews, Hair thoughts

First of all, put that credit card down. 

As difficult as it may be to prevent hauling new spring and summer collections, I feel that my collection has gone way out of control. Some bloggers have long started their project dents, or project 10-pans, or project use it ups. Instead of restricting myself to rules I can't seem to stick to, I would like to use this year to reuse products I've forgotten about. Call this Weekly Stash Shopping where I look into my troves of makeup treasure to bring out products that are surprisingly wonderful... 

YSL Pure Chromatics Eyeshadow Palette in #5 
This is a palette that performs best under wet application and partially the reason why I have hardly used this in the past. The colours included here are gorgeous though - a bright pink, coupled with a taupe, dark charcoal, and a light frost. It takes a little bit of trial-and-error to figure out what each of the applicators included in the palette are used for, especially the small spatula. I find that the best way to use this palette is to use the spatula applicator and dip this little guy with water and scrape just a little bit of product and apply the shade directly to my lids. YSL Pure Chromatics really beef up their shimmer factor compared to many other brands I've tried. 

Chanel Rouge Allure Laques #79 (discontinued)
When Chanel first released these Rouge Allure Laques, I picked up three shades all at once. I loved the opacity and how hydrating they feel on the lips. I used them even when I was on oral Roaccutane treatments that made my lips horribly chapped. I have this shade in #79 which is a mandarin red and absolutely wearable for everyday. 

YSL Touche Eclat Foundation BD40
I'm down to the last month of the YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, which has become my favourite foundation for 2013. It's dewy, light-in-coverage, and gives my skin a gorgeous healthy look. Although I have become fairer compared to the BD40 shade that I was initially matched to, I am still drawn to the formula and texture. 

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
A primer to help soothe any dry skin. I don't notice any increased longevity to my makeup when using this though. 

Gransenbon Blush #2
I picked this single Gransenbon blush many years ago when they were still available at the pharmacy next the isetan scotts supermarket. I think this brand has long been discontinued because I was scouring through the pharmacies in Tokyo about two years ago but could not find them. These affordably priced blushers have the quality of higher end blushers and they're incredibly easy to work. If you know where they're sold, please let me know. 

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
A matte bronzer that I've been using to contour and add a bit of colour to my temples. As boring as this bronzer may be, this is the one I usually like to go to if I need something safe, especially when coupling it with a brighter/intense cheek shade. 

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara
Thoughts here

Chanel Stylo Yeux Black Shimmer 
Water resistent and absolutely perfect for the water line. No other eyeliner compares.

Paul & Joe Eye Gloss N #01
A yellow sparkly eye gloss in a shape of a lipgloss applicator. I believe the originals have long been discontinued and I am a huge fan of these. I collected all the shades available. That's how much I love the Paul & Joe Eye Glosses. 

I'm itching to get something done with my hair. It's been 4 months since my last cut and the style has stayed lovely since (credits to Rise @ Gemmil Lane - a Japanese salon in Singapore). Much of the curl from my last perm has disappeared so my hair is starting to misbehave on days. Other than the 'itch', my hair is the healthiest it has been. I keep chemical processing to a minimum, apply daily leave-in conditioners, and drink tons of H20 everyday. I still lose hair by the bundles and I attribute this to my intense yoga work outs. What do you think I should do? Keep it naturally straight or perm? 

Thanks for reading!

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