Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The last day of 2011 is passing by. We have nearly 8 more hours of 2011 in Houston. It has been a year of many changes in my life. And while emotions take over me before NYE dinner, I pour my thoughts in a few bullet points as a way to say goodbye to an amazing 2011 and open the door for yet another amazing year - 2012.

We've recently moved from Southern California to Houston, Texas. It doesn't sound that appealing to my Californian friends :D (what can ever beat SoCal weather and dining? not to mention the makeup heaven(s) densely packed in SoCal blahblahblah). I must admit my obnoxious friends have a very good reasoning. But for my husband and I, Houston will be our home for a while (from a few years to a few decades). And Houston grows on me everyday. Once you make a place your home, it'll be your home.

2011 has to be the peak of my beauty discovery. Beauty blogs and makeup *gurus* top my daily to-do list. Reading and experimenting makeup products inspire me to create an archive for my passion, aka the Convenient Beauty. It nourishes my passion and improves my knowledge on a life-time hobby. It's an outlet for my creation. I'm sure you ladies know that feeling "I'm so excited about this eyeshadow palette, I must tell some one". And when my friends have suffered enough, I decided to document my little journey into the makeup world on this blog. It's been great fun so far!!

Edward Bess and Lisa Eldridge are the highlights of 2011 beauty discovery. Even though I read about Edward Bess 3 years ago, I resisted his magically alluring beauty line until 2 months ago. When my makeup collection was saturated with all trendy colors and flashy texture, a well-edited elegant chic indie beauty line of superb quality is a fresh air and in many ways, a life-saver for my makeup routine. 2012 on the Convenient Beauty will start with Edward Bess. You might know I have a few very favorite youtube *gurus* (I raved about them here). While I still love them, I must say Lisa Eldridge is a different class of makeup artist. Truly talented and humble. I feel so fortunate that a lady as accomplished as her makes videos on youtube!

I hope you had a great year. I wish you and your family a fascinating year forward when joys come every single day.

Happy New Year!!

Review: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips - Vegas, Riviera, Miami, Waikiki (Part 2)

I'm still alive and glad to be back online! As we move in our new home in Houston, I squeeze a bit of time to finish my post on the wonderful Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips (part 1 is here).

I'm really impressed with the fine shimmer, subtle color base and long-wearing of these products! The quality reaches a high-end standard, in my opinion. They don't really show up on my medium skin tone so I decided to swatch 2 separate sets, one as highlighters and the other as bronzers. Both were heavily swatched for the sake of pictures. I also tried to capture the shimmer under different light conditions. These shimmer strips are the hardest to swatch so far. My swatches just don't do enough justice. Anyway, I hope you find this post helpful and enjoy it :)

As bronzers - Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips have quite similar color base.

The color base don't show up as clearly, except Wakiki when swatching focuses on picking up the shimmer as highlighter. I personally wouldn't apply this much shimmer to highlight my cheeks. It's for the pictures.

Highlighters with warmer lighting
Overall thoughts. Truly drugstore treasures! You have to check them out. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pack for a cross-country road trip

Road trip is my favorite way of traveling! You can stop by any cute little town at any time you want. There  won't be that TSA's raising security level to orange (by the way, why don't they just forever fix it at orange so that they won't have to level it up (or down?)). There is no 3.4 oz limit in a one-quarter zip loc bag per passenger and no body scanning. Actually, you can stuff your whole makeup stash aboard. And that's what I'm doing - driving from California to Texas with two separate makeup bags, one for on-the-go and the other for the rest of my makeup. Here is a glimpse at the first bag.

Since I'll be driving through mainly dry warm weather, sunscreen and moisturizer are the must, as always. Eyecream, serum, lip butter and body lotion for sure. I keep my makeup simple and fool-proof.

Skin - Giorgio Armani Luminous Skin Foundation and Micro-Fil Loose Powder, Bobbi Brown Corrector in Peach, YSL Touche Eclat #8 and Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip in Miami

Universal-flattering lipsticks/lipgloss - Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick Exquisite, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Biatritz, Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipgloss Naked Plum, Edward Bess Lipgloss Satin Nude and Boots No. 7 lipliner in Nude (#20). These lipcolors go with all eye and cheek looks.

Eye makeup - Urban Decay Primer Potion (sample); Boots No. 7 eyeshadow trios in #20 Good Earth Stay Perfect and #15 Topaz Mineral Perfect;  sample mascaras- Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill, Bobbi Brown Extrem Party Mascara which is a really natural mascara; eyeliners - Urban Decay 24/7 Zero-Whiskey duo, Lancome Art Liner in Black.

Sigma travel brush set (not pictured)

Boots makeup remover wipes, Fresh Cleanser (not pictured)

P/S: I'm testing out Physical Formula and Boots No. 7. I'm having the feeling that these brands will bring me back to high-street makeup.

December has been extremely hectic as I'm relocating to Texas. I have so many wonderful goodies to share but forced myself to settle things down first. Blogging en route with free wi-fi at the hotels seems to be inefficient. Hopefully I can update again before New Year Eve.

Happy holidays xoxoxo


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips - Vegas, Riviera, Miami, Waikiki (Part 1)

Physicians Formula shimmer strips ($12.95 for 0.3 oz) look incredibly like Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks. That's more than enough to intrigue my curiosity for a while. I finally purchased 4 quads - Vegas, Riviera, Miami, and Waikiki during an Ulta sale and prepared for a return trip if unsatisfied. And I never returned to Ulta for these.

The shimmer strips are designed as a multiple - bronzer, blush and eyeshadow. Each quad contains 5 strips, neatly and sharply divided. It seems that they are carefully made although I spot some quads didn't look that nice, possibly due to manufacturing error. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips are housed in sturdy cases that surpass flimsy drugstore packaging. They look pretty and chic even though the transparent plastic will be scratched over time.

First thing first, are they good bronzers? Nope, not even close unless you scrub your brush into the strips and paint them literally on your face. The exception is Waikiki. Do they create healthy glow as promised? Absolutely yes. I did not expect such high quality highlighters that are comparable to high-end counterparts. All are highly wearable and easy to use. They match my skin tone perfectly and the shimmer is no at all overwhelming. They last through good 10 hours of running errand in the office. 

Waikiki is a almost dupe of Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Nectar, color-wise and texture-wise. The amount of shimmer, the peachy/coral undertone is right there. Waikiki is tanner than Bobbi Brown Nectar. It has the highest color-pay off among the four. Really impressive!

Miami, by the look, doesn't share anything with Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Pink Oyster nor Laura Mercier Rose Rendevous. However, the pinkish creamy glow is so similar to Pink Oyster and the undertone has the spirit of Rose Rendevous. I even love Miami better for its finely milled shimmer that nearly reaches the delicacy of Dior Star Diamond. Miami is my favorite of the bunch!

Vegas has the golden shimmer of Nars Albatros but doesn't own ivory color base, making it more wearable. Similar to Nars Albatros, it also looks too yellow on my warm skintone.

Riviera, while looks like a bronzed version of Bobbi Brown Pink Oyster, creates an understated glow of TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer when I swirled the pearly white strip more heavily.

The color base integrated in these strips are really sheer. The glow mainly come from the shimmer rather than the base. My MAC-109 (a dense brush) type of brush only pick up the shimmer and not a lot of color. So they do look considerably softer and different on my face from my hand swatches. Swatches of these lovely quads are on the way.... December has been extremely hectic month. I can't wait for the holiday!

Recommendation. Great highlighters but not good bronzers. For the price and a great job as highlighter and eyeshadows, I'd say it's a must-have. If you always want Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks or Dior Amber Diamond but on budget, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips are perfect alternatives.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Gloss Naked Plum

Naked Plum, I must say, is a very pleasant surprise. Even though I immediately fell in love with the delicate pink pearl while playing with it at the counter, the intense shimmer concerned me a bit. So once again, If it were not because of Sephora Friends and Family,  I wouldn't splurge on a sparking lipgloss. I'm glad I did.

Naked Plum, together with the rest of Bobbi Brown high shimmer glosses is a great (and clever) addition to the brand. They sure remains loyal to Bobbi's spirit - simple, wearable, and flattering. Yet, they break through that subtle sometimes flat color spectrum and delivers a more fun and glamorous Bobbi's beauty.

Naked Plum ($23 for 0.24 oz) is a mauve brown with pink pearl shimmer; thanks to this color combination it's such a subtle wearable shade yet still offers a glamorous pop of glitter and color.  It looks great on my warm tone skin and flatters that cool-toned sale associate at Bobbi Brown counter.

Texture-wise, Naked Plum is non sticky, which is very comparable to Chanel Glossimer ($28.5 for 0.19 oz) in this regard. It stays on for at least 4 hours. For this quality-quantity-price combo, I would go back to Bobbi Brown more often than to Chanel.

This blur picture captured the subtle pink shimmer of Naked Plum
Recommendation. A holiday party, definitely yes. A fun night out, hell yes. A special occasion that aims to capture the attention of a specific person of interest, possibly yes if kisses aren't involved. A working day, nope, IMO. 

Review: Holiday manicure - Inglot 179

Inglot 179 (if only there's a memory-friendly name) ($10 for 0.13 oz) is a very pretty coppery bronze. While the shade is not particularly unique, the shimmer really sells the shade well. Not only is the shimmer superb-fine, it doesn't leave streak mark as you paint. The shimmer blends well with the base color, creating a smooth, even and sleek finish. Arh, I just love it! Although warm, Inglot 179 is surprisingly universal, good for summer, fall, holiday even spring when you want to jazz up your outfit. 

Pictures taken on day 5, running errands to work. Pardon my dry hands, didn't have time to put on hand cream:(. Note the chipping on my ring finger. 
Inglot nail polish wears well for 4 days any chipping detected. The brand claims their nail polish formula organic, safe for pregnant women. Well, this information can't be verified until you see the effect and that's when it'd probably be too late. But I do feel more comfortable with all the scents of Inglot nail polishes, no harsh smell that Essie or OPI sometimes have. 

Bottom line. A very easy to wear shade that works year-round. 

A side note. Inglot probably has the least appealing name for their products - numbering. We tend to embed a sassy name much faster in our mind but too racy names (eh hem NARS) could be too much. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lancome Friends & Family Sale 20% Off

* Free standard shipping on any order until 12/25/2011, no code needed!

Friends and Family starts 11/28 through 12/02/2011. 

Review: Holiday Manicure - Butter London The Full Monty

Butter London The Full Monty ($14 for 0.15 oz) is such a holiday-appropriate shade. A pure golden shimmer that screams holiday! I wore it for Thanksgiving. Love it!

It goes on opaque for 2 coats. As other Butter London nail polishes, The Full Monty has very smooth texture. Each application is a thin coat that glides on easily. The golden shimmer though very visible is finely milled and sticks on my nails evenly. The shimmery shades are always more forgiving for newbies  to applying nail polishes.

The Full Monty chipped slightly on the second day but that was it. No more chipping until day 5 while half of Yummy Mummy faded on day 3. Even though The Full Monty is a pretty common and predictable golden shimmer for holiday, it is beautiful. It compliments warm skin tone very well. Highly recommended!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

shu uemura Black Friday Sale 20% off 2011

Yay, shu uemura is on sale until 11/29/2011!!!

Keep in mind though, this brand ships from Canada so it may take a while. But at least, we can still access to the brand. 

Review: Kiehl's Abyssine Serum

Kiehl's Abyssine Serum ($45 for 1.7 oz) is a light weight but concentrated anti-wrinkle serum. I'm currently on the third bottles in the last 6 months. Not having wrinkles yet, I can't tell whether it helps to prevent them. But it hydrates and smooths out my skin. I apply Abyssine twice a day before the daily moisturizer. My skins is much smoother with this serum than without it. When I travel to humid regions, I don't even need a lotion or moisturizer. Abyssine Serum is hydrating and nourishing enough to maintain a smooth and even skin.

Highly recommended!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Kiehl's Avocado Eyecream

Kiehl's Avocado ($27 for 0.5 oz) is a moisturizing eyecream as it claims. It's thick, very creamy and extremely hydrating. At the same time, it is so comfortable on my eyes. I've worn it on my brow bone and it didn't crease my eye makeup. And you just need a teeny tiny amount for each application.

I've been using it twice or trice daily and I can see the under eye areas are much improved. My concealer glides on easily and doesn't set into my fine lines. One jar like this last for about 10 months making $27 such a good deal.
See how the cream blends into my skin so smoothly?

If you're looking for a generally good eyecream, Kiehl's Avocado got you covered. And I found that's the only target of this eyecream, no anti-wrinkle, no erasing dark circle or or depuffing your eyes. If you want a nice cool eyecream to depuff your eyes, put it in the fridge the night before. Anything cool will reduce the puffiness.

Bottom line. Highly recommended! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smashbox Friends & Family Sale 20% Off 2011

Smashbox has now joined the crowd. 20% Off and free shipping on US orders. This offer expires on 11/28/2011 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Please head to this link for full details.

Happy hauling!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yves Saint Laurent Holiday Sale 20% Off & Free shipping

It seems that every band has a good sale in November! I finally will lay my hands on Touche Eclat.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Kiehl's Holiday Sale $20 off a $65 purchase

Many of you might probably receive a personal coupon accompanied by three extra coupons for three of your friends. Kiehl's is having an one-time deal - $20 off a $65 purchase online and in store (not valid at Kiehl's counter within department stores). This festive sale ends on 12/31/2011. 

Kiehl's is my absolutely favorite skincare brand, so I'm more than excited for this sale. I've only reviewed several Kiehl's products on my blog so far but I've used quite a few of their products since 2010. I'd like to throw out some shopping ideas for this sale in case you're new to the brand. Reviews on these are coming up.

1. Super Fluid SPF 50 (I swear by this sunscreen)
2. Avocado Eyecream (my daily eyecream)
3. Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic (my friends love it!)
4. Abyssine serum (very nice serum)
5. Panthenol protein moisturizing face cream ( I love this rich nourishing moisturizer)

Enjoy shopping!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: Laura Mercier Eye Color Sable and Lacome Color Design Volcano

Laura Mercier Sable ($22 for 0.09 oz) and Lancome Volcano ($18 for 0.05 oz) are beautiful taupe greys. Laura Mercier Sable is the lighter version of Lancome Volcano but is more shimmery. The first possesses powerful yet sophisticated teal shimmer that strikingly resembles to that of Chanel Prelude. Don't be concerned with this shimmer in Sable since it's very subtle and elegant.

Both have silky soft texture but Lancome Volcano feels more powdery and less smooth than Laura Mercier Sable. The first has similar texture to a typical satin MAC eyeshadow, whereas the latter is buttery smooth like a Urban Decay deluxe eyeshadow.

What I found really disappointing are the mediocre pigmentation and short wearing. Both look awesome on top of Laura Mercier eye basic at first. They fade so quickly that by the time I finish my full face makeup, half of the pigmentation is already gone. The only patch of color that stay put after 8-hour wears is the part layered on top of an eye primer and a creamy base like Bobbi Brown gel liner or Urban Decay 24/7 pencil.

On a more positive note, Laura Mercier and Lancome single eyeshadows are housed in sturdy case that would travel well with you. The first has a mirror for touching up on the go.
Bottom line. Gorgeous wearable color, decent texture and reasonably priced. As much as I love the color and fine shimmer, I wasn't impressed with the longevity and pigmentation.  It's a tough call to whether spending time with products that don't completely win my heart. But I decided to review these two eyeshadows anyway since some of you might find their flaws negligible. So check them out! Both are easy to pull off for everyday simple looks. 

Classic & Classical

Dior Cruise Collection 2012 - French classic (photo by Dior)

November has been excitedly rolling through. This months I'm celebrating the classic French style. Dior's released a short film "I found my love in Portofino" featuring 2012 Cruise Collection. Absolutely stunning was Jac Jagaciak. I'm so inspired to go back to simple, chic, sophisticated, classy makeup

My obsession this month has been the Lisa Eldridge. Her signature look is described as flawless, natural and fresh. Her videos are sweet, concise and easy-to-follow. Lisa's immense knowledge and passion in her job shine through. Professional but real and down on earth. I *adore* her French-inspired valentine look. And she is on youtube!! How many celebrity makeup artists spend time teaching on youtube? How cool is that!

The classic silhouette mermaid dominated Zac Posen Ready-to-Wear Spring Collection 2012.
(photos by

Giorgio Armani Beauty Holiday Sale 20% OFF & free 2nd-day shipping

What is the deal? 20% off plus 2nd day shipping with any $75 purchase
And the code is..... GAHOLIDAY1
Good until..............11/24/2011 the sale is still going on as of now. I'm waiting for the customer service confirmation on the end date. 

May I recommend some of my very favorite Giorgio Armani goodies?
1. Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows (Purpura, Khaki Pulse, Rock Sand, Blast of BluePulp Fiction)
2. Luminous Silk Foundation (reviewed here)
3. Eyes to Kill Mascara (reviewed here)
4. Micro-Fil Loose Powder (reviewed here)

Or you may browse through Giorgio Armani label in the post for my other reviews of the line.

Happy hauling!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: MAC cream color base Hush and Cream

Subtle glow seems dominate the holiday season this year. It inspires me to re-discover my two MAC cream colorbases that I love to use as highlighters - Hush and Cream.

Hush is special in its own way. Fair-skinned beauties will be able to use if for cheek highlighter at ease. It's a light soft peachy pink that goes well with all kind of blushes or can be laid as a base to intensify the blush color. Having a medium skintone, I don't find it flattering on my cheeks since it almost matches my skintone with just a hint of warmth. However, I have loved Hus to highlight my brow bones for cool-toned smokey eyes. The warmth of the peachy pink balances the coolness of the eyeshadow, bringing more light to the look. It's sophisticated thanks to the sheen and the almost exact match with my skin. I love it!

Cream on the other hand works well as both eye and face highlighter. The creamy color compliments my warm undertone well. It has teeny tiny bit of golden shimmer that further enhances the sheen on my skin.   It's certainly warmer than Urban Decay Yeyo 24/7 pencil but both has equal sheen. Also, Hush provides a more subtle glow than the other two.
Both Hush and Cream glides on quite evenly. The pigmentation is sheer but buildable. The downside of these cream colorbases lies in their texture. In the drier months of the year, they aren't that friendly in application. Cream becomes really chalky and textured. While Hush works slightly better, it's not a whole lot smoother. I've found Urban Decay Yeyo creamy year-round. It definitely beats the texture of MAC cream colorbases, 

Hush and Cream wear well for good 4 hours on my normal to combination skin. For a cream product, that does it for me. MAC cream colorbases is retailed at $17.5 for 0.12 oz.  

Overall thoughts. I like Hush and Cream. I have to acknowledge the fact that there are other excellent cream highlighters that offers natural sophisticated glow, an expensive-looking glow I should say. Note though, all locate at a few price scales about MAC cream color bases. For a decent highlighter of reasonable budget I think these are good candidates. Recommended!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: Giorgio Armani Micro-Fil Loose Powder

Setting powders have always been an issue for me second after finding a perfect foundation. Most of the time they dry out my skin, wash out the warmth in my complexion or just make me look chalky. I want a flawless finish (sure who doesn't) but natural. And I know it must be loose powder for that natural finish. My search for a good loose setting powder seemed like for ever until I discovered Giorgio Armani Micro-Fil Loose Power. The powder comes in three shades that are creatively named No 0, No 1, and No 2 ranging from very white to light beige. The powder ($49 for 0.53 oz) is a very finely milled translucent powder. I picked up No 2 that is not completely translucent but has a light beige undertone and subtle shimmer. The shimmer is a toned-down version of Guerlain Meteorite Compact Powder shimmer.

I love that the powder is truly hydrating. I've been using it since the summer and now we're heading to drier months. I never had any patchy area on my face. It's not chalky nor washes out my complexion (medium warm undertone) like Laura Mercier translucent loose setting powder.

The result is flawless and very natural. Problem solved!
Highly recommended! A must-have for me!
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