August 31, 2011

Reusable Shopping Bags

I've been meaning to write this post for a couple of months now but been stopping myself from shopping (such a horrible feeling).  This weekend, I thought I'd reward myself since life has been stressful lately.

The last couple of years, I've ditched shopping bags from stores in favor of reusable ones.  They don't take up much space in my regular bag since they easily fold.

This Hello Kitty I Love Nerds bag reminds me of KittyVixen85's blog.  Pure cuteness!

With adorable designs, who wants to use boring paper or plastic bags from stores?  It always amazes me how much stuff each bag can carry - a lot more than one would think.  I even use them when I shop for groceries.

Leave a comment below if you ♥ reusable bags too!

August 30, 2011

Prestige Classic Khol Eyeliner

There are two types of eyeliners that I think should belong in every kit.  The first, a smudgeproof (or waterproof) one that provides definition and makes the eyes really stand out.  The other, a khol eyeliner - this type, you can smudge and is essential if you want to achieve a natural look.

I'm a fan of Prestige Cosmetics' Classic Khol Eyeliner because of the variety of colors available, the quality and affordability.

The eyeliner's firmness is just right for a khol pencil.  It's soft enough that it doesn't tug your eyelid nor does it feel scratchy.  But it's firm enough that it won't break with the lightest touch.

For contact lens users, this isn't irritating at all.  I've used it with and without lenses and it felt comfortable.  One should note, however, that this isn't waterproof so you wouldn't want to use this on your waterline unless you're going for the panda look. 

left to right: Black Brown, White, Wine & Black

To get a soft-focus look, take an eyeliner brush and fill the space in between your eyelashes.  Or you can skip the brush and apply it directly using the pencil - the line may look thicker this way so a bit of practice is necessary.  The result is a subtle, everyday look.  It's great for those who want to make their eyes appear larger.

When I'm too lazy to wear more than one eyeshadow, I take this and shade the outer corners of my eyes.  I then take a bullet brush to blend it in and soften the look.  The result?  A soft smokey eye.

I've been hooked for several years now and simply cannot go without this product.  What's your favorite type of eyeliner?

August 28, 2011

Paul & Joe Beaute Autumn 2011 Collection

My love for Paul & Joe Beaute products go beyond the adorable packaging - I love how luxurious they feel.  Their Autumn 2011 collection, has got me excited.  This collection is fun, colorful, sophisticated and vibrant - just likes its muse, New York City.

The packaging of the Lipstick C and Face & Eye Colors are from fashion fabric prints from Paul & Joe's 2011 AW Collection.

left to right: Soho, Uptown Girl, Lower East Side

Inspired by Manhattan, the Lipsticks are vibrant and elegant.  These are colors you can definitely use day or night.  The Face & Eye colors were patterned after the streets of Manhattan and are meant to make your eyes sparkle like the city's night sky.  I've tried this product from a previous collection and they feel so smooth on the lids.  Easy to apply, heaven!

top to bottom: 42nd Street, Empire State, Brooklyn Bridge

Paul & Joe never fails to include pretty pouches to their collections.

Come September, more products will be released from this collection.  These sparkly Nail Enamel are great if you want to stand out from a crowd or for fun a night out.  I've got my eye on Big Apple.

left to right: Downtown, The City Never Sleeps, Big Apple

The Pencil Eye Liners represent the glitz and glamour of NYC.  Great for a dramatic look, each are a must-have because of their unique colors.

 left to right: Upper East Side, Bleecker Street, Grand Central

Another source of inspiration are the Art Deco designs which are used for the rest of the products in this collection.  The Eye Color Palette features five colors which include a highlighter and blush.  One palette is all you need for either a day or evening look.  The formula promises to be just as smooth as other Paul & Joe products.

top to bottom: 58th & 5th, Chelsea, Central Park West

Lipstick M colors are feminine, captivating and charming.

left to right: The City, NYC, Gotham

The Creamy Powder Foundation has a soft-focus effect that visibly minimizes the appearance of pores and provides a natural look.  It applies smoothly, seals in moisture and contains Shea Butter which makes this product feel creamy.  Definitely something I want to try out.

 left to right: Alabaster, Cameo, Nude, Clear, Biscuit, Toffee, Fresh

Perfect for adding a touch of brightness to your skin, this Finishing Pressed Powder features a skyscraper inspired design.

To make skin softer and smoother, check out the Facial Treatment Oil which is meant to provide moisture and combat signs of aging.  It has a citrusy scent that's quite relaxing.  Another one I am compelled to try out.

 All in all, this collection has got me interested.  See anything here you like? :)

August 27, 2011

Out & About Vol.3

The pictures aren't beautiful.   After all, it was taken at a construction site.  But look at what someone did to the hollow blocks.  I think I want to hire this person when it's time to have my house built.

Much love!

August 24, 2011

Majolica Majorca Themed Suite Package in HK

I was making travel arrangements last night and came across this special offer from The Luxe Manor in Hong Kong.  If only my travel dates fell within the promo period, I would have taken advantage of this - hey, when traveling, it best to experience something new, right?

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Manicure

When I was introduced to Shu Uemura's Eyebrow Manicure, I knew it was something I needed.  True enough, I use it on a daily basis especially when I want a no-makeup look.  Since it's waterproof I don't need to worry about the appearance of my eyebrows mid-day.

Aside from holding hair in place, as what most eyebrow gels do, this product also fills the brows with color.  You'll end up with a look that's more natural as compared to using a pencil or brow powder.  It's great for people whose eyebrows are pretty much defined and just have some tiny sparse areas that need filling out - in my case, a tiny spot near the arc.

The applicator is similar to that of a mascara except its smaller.  However, I think it would be great if Shu Uemura reduced this by half a centimeter - it'll make it less likely to go over eyebrows.  Or maybe I'm just clumsy sometimes and go over :)

For brunettes, Palm Beige 04 (pictured below) is the way to go.  You know what they say, don't get a color that matches your hair exactly.  Instead, pick something lighter.

What I find a bit strange is that the company's website doesn't have this product listed but it's not discontinued.  So you'll need to check out a Shu Uemura counter in your area or purchase it from an online retailer.  Either way, it's a great addition to your kit.

August 18, 2011

Cellex-C Hydra 5 B-Complex

Have you ever had skin so dry that it still flakes even after applying moisturizer?  That's happened to me in the past and using as serum such as Cellex-C's Hydra 5 B-Complex helps in locking in moisture.  The trick is to use it before your moisturizer to make your skin extra smooth and supple.  There are several kinds of serums available in the market that address various concerns.  If you have dehydrated skin, find one that contains Hyaluronic Acid.

Cellex-C's formula does not contain oil which means you don't need to worry about breaking out.  This was also very kind to my sensitive skin - no stinging, redness or irritation occurred.  A single drop is all you need and it's enough to cover the entire face.  Begin in areas where you have fine lines or wrinkles as these need the most moisture.  These days, my skin is less dry but I still continue to use this at night.  Sometimes I apply a moisturizer on top but when my skin is cooperative, I just use the serum on its own.

I reviewed a similar product in the past - Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Booster.  Both Cellex-C and Dermalogica work well and I can't say one is better than the other so it's really up to you which one you perfer.

What's your beauty secret to lock in moisture?  Do share! :)

August 16, 2011

Ziaja Phytoaktiv Day & Night Cream

This week, I thought I'd focus on skincare for sensitive skin that needs serious hydration.  I know that it's a challenge because at times, some products that moisturize may be too harsh and can cause delicate skin to flare up or break out.

No matter how many products I try, there are two brands that I always come back to.  Ziaja, a polish skincare brand, is one of them.  I read a magazine article back in 2004 which featured moisturizers and took note of this brand because of the good review.  As soon as I had the chance to hit the mall, I picked up a jar each of the their Phytoaktiv Day Cream and Night Cream. 

Phytoaktiv is made for sensitive skin and is said to provide intense moisture, smoothen and slightly brighten the skin.  It also claims to protect the skin from harsh environmental elements and strengthen capillary walls to visibly reduce broken capillaries and overall redness.

The cream itself is medium-weight and has a light powdery scent.  Most advise to use a pea-sized amount for the entire face and neck area.  With both the day and night cream, I found that amount too much.  What I normally do is take a small amount (half a pea, if that makes sense) and rub it between my hands to make it thinner, almost watery.  Then I would lightly pat the cream on my face and neck.  I'd just add a little bit more as needed.  It feels cool and instantly moisturizing on contact.  Again, I need to stress that you should not use too much otherwise your skin will look oily... although it will not feel oily.

Because you only need to use very little at a time, a jar lasts forever.  In fact, every jar I've owned hit their expiration date before I could even use up everything in it.  To ensure that the product never gets contaminated, use a small spatula (or even the plastic thing used to stir coffee) to scoop the product out.

I was skeptical about their claim of reducing broken capillaries but desperate that the same time.  In my case, the broken capillaries on my cheeks are huge and quite obvious that no amount of concealer will totally hide it.  After applying this religiously, I noticed that some (not all) small broken capillaries disappeared and the redness on my cheeks lessened.  It's not a magic potion that makes all the veins disappear.  Sometimes, only you will notice the improvement because it's so subtle.  I'm not complaining - in fact, I am quite happy for even just a small amount of improvement as I used to think it was a hopeless case.

I'm going to go a little off-topic here: if you really want your broken capillaries to improve, it's going to take more than just a face cream to do it.  It helps but if you continue to smoke, don't drink enough water and do other damaging things to your skin, then there's no use in applying a cream like this.  Now to get off my soapbox. :)

Two last things to note: my skin never brakes out when I use this and this is one of the most affordable skincare products I've tried.

If you want to know which eye cream works well for those who have ultra-sensitive skin in their eye area, check out my review of  Ziaja's Phytoaktiv Eye Cream.  It's very moisturizing and gentle.  Yes, I'm a fan!

August 12, 2011

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30/PA+++

When Clinique originally launched this product late last year, it was a travel exclusive that you could only get at duty-free shops in Asia, Australia, NZ and a handful of US Airports.  Now, these are available in Clinique counters - if its not available yet in your area, it will be soon.

click to enlarge

The formula isn't as thick as Face It HD Perfect BB Cream from The Face Shop however I still find it a bit difficult to blend because it dries up really fast.  I've tried using this with and without a moisturizer to see how well this hydrates the skin.  I'm quite pleased that I don't need a moisturizer prior to applying this as this doesn't flake.  I did notice some product cake on the side of my nose but it was a tiny line which I was able to remove by gently dabbing my finger on the area.

This BB cream lightly conceals - any dark scars or undereye circles still require some concealer.  I loved the fact that this was truly brightening and visibly reduced the appearance of my pores.  Other reviews say that oil-control isn't fantastic and that blotting is still necessary.  But based on my experience, I never had to blot.  Whenever I would come home from work, I noticed a bit of shine but it certainly wasn't an oil slick.  But then again, it might be the Olay Oil Minimizing Toner working it's magic.

without BB cream on the left, and with BB cream on the right

The only thing that displeases me is the color as its really light (with a pinkish tone).  On my hand, it looks like a match but since my neck & face are darker, it looks off when I wear it.  It's the same problem I have with other BB creams.  Clinique claims that this blends in with one's skin color within 10-15 minutes.  In my case, it took an hour or so... seriously, I don't have an hour to lounge around and wait for that to happen.  I wish Clinique would make one in a shade that matches my skin - if they did, I'd come back for more of this product.

August 11, 2011

Swatched: TBS Honey Bronze Lip Nectar in Honey Bunch with Red Lipsticks

Fellow blogger, Kari of Pretty Owlsome, wanted to know what The Body Shop's Honey Bronze Lip Nectar in Honey Bunch looked like when worn with red lipstick.  A valid question as it just SO ORANGE!  Below are swatches, just click to enlarge ;)

First, we have Honey Bunch combined with a cool-hued red.  I used Chanel Rouge Allure Emotive.

And this is what it looks like with a warm-colored lipstick.  I used MAC Hibiscus which is a Creamsheen from their Surf Baby Collection.

August 10, 2011

Chanel 525 Quartz Le Vernis Nail Colour

When I first read about the Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour line up for Fall, I was blown away.  So much so that I called the store and had a bottle of Peridot reserved as I love colors that are somewhat apple greenish.  Then I changed my mind and had them reserve Graphite instead.  I told myself: since I wear black polish all the time, I should get something close to that.

The day the collection arrived, I was able to try out Peridot and Graphite - I wasn't too thrilled.  Don't get me wrong, they are lovely colors and I wasn't disappointed.  I just wasn't giddy.  You know what I mean?

They didn't have a tester for Quartz so I asked to just see the bottle.  When I did, I knew this was the color to get.  And so that's what I came home with, not the other two I originally wanted.

Quartz is a beautiful metallic taupe color and among the three, I think this is the most wearable as it transcends the season and can be worn anytime by anyone.  Besides, I never owned any nail color in this shade and it's good to wear something different, right?

For the nail color addict, Chanel is quite a treat as it dries quickly, you don't need to apply multiple coats to get the color to appear and it stays on for a long time.  Based on my experience, I only saw a teeny tiny chip after a week.  And that my lovelies, is why Chanel's nail color is legendary.  Aside from the fact that the colors are always pretty.

Sorry, I didn't swatch this time as my nails are super short and I'm just not happy with how they look right now.  Maybe next time ;)

August 9, 2011

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Lip Nectar

Summer is over (or about to end, wherever you might be) but if you can't let go of the laid-back look, then you might like the Lip Nectar Moisturizing Lip Gloss from The Body Shop's Honey Bronze line.  The two shades will look great for those with real or fake tans.  I have neither but it's not stopping me from using these sparkly lippies.

I'd say these are medium weight as they are not watery nor sticky.  The texture is just right that it stays on for a decent amount of time.  In lip gloss terms, an hour is decent already.  There's a bland caramel (I use caramel because it's nowhere near honey) flavor that quickly fades.

Honey Bunch is bright coral with gold, green and red (the last two are hardly noticeable) flecks.  It's highly pigmented and can be worn on its own but it tends to settle in the lines of my lips.  Personally, it's too orange for my liking that I don't wear it alone.  I prefer pairing this with MAC's Hibiscus or any red lipstick.

Honey Beige is almost transparent with gold flecks and it may be my imagination but I do spot some blue and red in there too.  It gives a really nice shine to the lips when worn alone, it can also be worn on top of any lip color and this will look good on anyone.  Among the two, this is my favorite because of its universal appeal. I haven't had the chance to use any lip gloss like this that I am still deciding if I should get a backup or scout for something similar.

By the way, The Body Shop should really double-check the spelling on their labels *shakes head*

August 5, 2011

Burt's Bees Raisin & Merlot Lip Shimmer

A little over a year ago, I was looking for lip color that I could fit into a clutch. I was attending a wedding that evening and did not want to carry anything bulky.  And so I purchased Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer merely hours before the event.  Not sure about which shade of red to wear on my lip, I got both Raisin and Merlot as these were very affordable.

Merlot and Raisin

Both have a sheer, somewhat shiny color and Burt's Bees signature strong mint lip balm flavor (with the tingle too!).  Merlot is a cool hue that's berry-red while Raisin is a warm, dark red-orange shade.  I like both colors very much and to be frank, can't remember which one I chose to wear at the wedding.

Although the colors are lovely, they faded quickly.  Whenever I would wear this product, it lasts up to half an hour tops.  If you're looking for color, this is definitely not your best bet as you will need to frequently re-apply.  But if you're not the type to wear lipstick everyday and just need it for a quick photo session, this will work.

As a lip balm it worked well in making my lips feel smooth and moisturized.  Instead of purchasing this, I think I'll stick to Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm as it does the same thing without the color.  I can just apply a sheer coat of lipstick on top of it and I'd get the same effect.

Has anyone else tried this?  What did you think of it?

August 3, 2011

Olay Oil Minimizing Toner

One Sunday, I was having lunch at my parents' place and Voodoomommy called me to her room.  She gave me a bottle of Olay Oil Minimizing Toner.  Apparently she didn't read the label (see, it's genetic) and just bought it because she needed a toner.  The thing is, she has dry skin and using this is probably not the best idea.

At first I had no plans of using it because I was told to use only an alcohol-free toner.  I changed my mind because my t-zone has been out of control since the beginning of this year and I always had to carry some blotting paper with me no matter where I went.  I would find myself having to blot at least twice a day at work - it felt really gross.

Since I did not want to irritate the more sensitive and dry parts of my skin, I would only apply this on my t-zone and neck.  Like most toners I've used, this is really good at catching dirt that most cleansers can't.  What surprised me was that even if it contains alcohol, my skin did not feel dry, tight or itchy after applying the product.  In fact, it takes a moment to dry - when I'm in a hurry, I fan my face to make it dry faster so I can move on to my next skincare step.  I accidentally applied some on my cheek and I looked like a tomato.  I might just use this every other day instead if my t-zone starts getting irritated.  So far it's still okay.

After two weeks of use, I noticed that my t-zone was less oily.  And I realized it when I went through an entire day at work without having to blot my face.  This stuff is freaking amazing!  This toner contains Witch Hazel which is supposed to help fight.  I can't tell if it does that for sure because what I have isn't the normal type of breakout (I'm back on antibiotics).

Although I have a toner that's alcohol-free and use that all over my face, I will still continue to use this on my t-zone because it really, really works. 

August 1, 2011

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil

One time, I was hanging out with friends and wore shorts... someone called me Snow White.  People say I should get a tan but the thing is, aside from my fear of sun damage, my skin turns from red, into a gruesome shade of grey.  If not for that, I'd go out there and get me some color.  Don't get me wrong, I don't even consider myself fair.  I just look pale sometimes.  It's weird.

I could get one of those self-tanners except that I don't know how to use it and cannot risk looking like this at work:

When I'm ready, when I'm ready.

For now, I'm happy with the Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil that I got from The Body Shop.  I was hesitant at first because of all the shimmer but once applied, it's gives a nice glow without too much shine.  The color is very subtle which is a comfortable transition for me.  I use it even if it's been raining like crazy these days because it gives my skin a healthy color.  It's also very moisturizing.  Below, I applied some on my arm.  Can you see the difference between my real skin color and after I put some oil on it?

When things come in bottles, I associate it with too much product spilling out.  It happens when I use foundation or anything in liquid form.  In this case, there's a small plastic thing (what is that thing called?!) that regulates the amount of product.  Some reviews I read, people complain because it doesn't dispense enough oil.  I am thankful because it prevents a big mess.

This Simmering Dry Oil has a somewhat strong Monoi scent (dervied from gardenias) which may or may not appeal to you.  It depends - if you're into girlie, summery, floral scents then you'll like this for sure.  Although the scent fades, it's still noticeable and lingers until you take a shower.

Of all my after-summer purchases, this is my favorite.  In fact, I bought a second bottle.

Have you spotted this collection from The Body Shop?  Anything in particular you like? :)