Friday, July 29, 2011

Last minute packing - one-week worth of makeup

This is a last-minute trip in every single meaning of it. I didn't plan to go nor bring full-face makeup. So I decided to go for no-brainer items. I tried to pick the most user-friendly products, basically as fool-proof as possible. You would obviously spot out many products I've raved about. I guess I love those so much mainly because they're gorgeous and easy-to-use.
1. Sigma travel brush set; 2. Dior Skinnude; 3. Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Set Powder; 4. Dior Healthy Glow Aurora; 5. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Nectar; 6. Lancome Pink Prevew (also for blush); 7. Laura Mercier Cherrywood; 8. Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle; 9. Guerlain Rouge G Orange Euphorique; 10. Urban Decay Primer Potion (travel size); 11. Dior 5-color quint Rosy Nude; 12. Armani Eyes to Kill #3 Purpura; 13. Urban Decay Duo Eyeliner 24/7 Whishkey/Zero; 14. Lancome Art Liner in Black; 15. Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara (travel size)

Right before running to the airport, I grabbed Armani Eyes to Kill #6 Khaki Pulse which is not pictured here. A review on these amazing eyeshadows will be up soon.

What would you choose to bring on 1-week trip? How do you decide what to bring?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Does Dior DiorShow Mascara deserve the hype?

In the past 4 years I’ve followed the brand, Dior DiorShow Mascara ($24.50 for 0.38 oz)  won the best mascara by several magazines every single year.
I do find the rather dry formula of DiorShow holds my curled lashes really well. It also adds decent volume to my lashes. No falls out I’ve noticed either. I personally prefer curling mascara to volumizing or dramatic mascaras. The latter feel heavy on my lashes irritating my eyes a bit. Drier formulated mascaras will lift my thin lashes up while the wetter counterparts will drag them down. So I’m ok with DiorShow.

What bugs me is the fat brush. Unless you have a hand of professionals, you will be likely to smug a bit of DiorShow on your lids. It clumps even after drying out a little. I don’t think it’s worth $24.50. At this price, many other types of mascara can deliver the exact results with more user-friendly brush (Lancome Definicils, anyone?). My point is why DiorShow got much hyped while others of equal quality and price don’t.
Is there a dupe? A sale associate at Sephora suggested me Benefit BADgal Lash Mascara. They have similar brushes though Benefit’s is slightly fatter, fuller and shorter. The formula is quite different though. DiorShow is more volumnizing, holds curls better and offers more intensity. BADgal, on the other hand, doesn’t clumps and looks more natural. 

Please share your dupe for DiorShow. And what is your HG mascara?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Classic & Classical - Pride & Prejudice – The Makeup

I found the natural makeup over of Keira Knightley rather hard to replicate. I want to capture her youth, smartness and charming beauty. Here is my take. Flawless matte skin. Rosy cheeks. Matte rosy lips. Wash of eye shadow. Thick fine lashes. 
 1. Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder; 2. Misha BB Cream as foundation; 3. Chanel Rouge Coco Madmoiselle; 4. Lancome Pink Preview as cream blush; 5. Benefit Box Powder Blush Coralista to set Pink Preview; 6. Inglot Pearl Eyeshadow 407; 7. MAC Soft Brown Eyeshadow; 8. DiorShow Iconic; 9. DiorShow Extase
How I apply these products:
- Apply a small amount of Misha BB cream for a flawless natural finish
- Set the BB cream with Laura Mercier Translucent setting powder. Use a light hand and small amount.
- Apply a light wash of Inglot Pearl Eyeshadow 407 - a pretty peach color on the lid. 
- Use MAC Soft Brown for the outer V and on the creases lightly. If you're fair-skinned, you can use Soft Brown wet for eyeliner. I skip eyeliner in this look. 
- Apply 1 coat of DiorShow Iconic to curl and define the lashes followed by DiorShow Extase for volumizing effect. 
- Dab Lancome Pink Preview on the cheeks, blend to the intensity you want then set it with Benefit Conralista;
- Apply Chanel Rouse Coco Mademoiselle on the lips to stain it first. Remove the excess by a tissue. Re-apply it lightly for pretty medium pink. 

I don't want to use all pink, though I try to stick with pink and peach family. All the swatches were overdone for the sake of the photos. 

What would be your makeup look inspired by Pride & Prejudice 2005 Movie?

Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 1
Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 2
Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 3

Classic & Classical - Pride & Prejudice – Elizabeth Bennet

Lizzie Bennet is no perfect but so rounded that everyone can relate oneself to. Her kindness, liveliness, quick-wittedness, and attractiveness shine through her journey of self-discovery and bringing up. Sometimes, she gets annoying but we still love that imperfection.
The first proposal. Angry and offended. She refused. Shocked and in pain. 
 At Pemberley. Staring at Darcy's bust. Pleasantly shocked mixed with admiration. Started to comprehend his true personality.
At Pemberley. Miss Bennet's shy and in love (for the first time). Her opinion on Darcy has changed. Looked at him with obvious affection. 
Lady Catherine: "Are you engaged to him?"
Lizzie: "I am not." In agony and sadness. Tears in her eyes. The man she truly loves seems farther away than ever.
With that to say, Miss. Keira Knightley exceeded my expectation and imagination.  I imagined her as Lizzie while reading the book. I think she more deserves the Oscar than just a nomination. And I don’t even like her as an actor (the Pirates of the Caribbean part III just kills Keira’s character stone death, anyone ?). She is nonetheless the ONLY Elizabeth Bennet to me. I don’t feel like she was acting in the movie. She truly turns herself into Elizabeth Bennet. I can feel Lizze’s “light and pleasing figure”. The chemistry between Miss. Knightley and Mr. Macfadyen add realness to the romance of their characters – Elizabeth and Darcy. Overall, well done Keira! I will be more looking forward to your new films. 
Dawn. Absorbed into Darcy. He proposed the second time. She cannot say a word.

Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 1
Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 2
Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 4

Review: Dior 5-Color Eyeshadow Quint Sunset Café – Eyeshadow and cheek highlighter

Sunset Café ($58 for 0.21 oz) is another classic 5-color eyeshadow quint from Dior Beauty. I found the color coordination and subtle shimmery texture make it a perfect go-to eyeshadow palette in the warmer months. It contains a shimmery pinky peach, a pearly pink, a satin medium brown, a satin taupe, and a frosty gold. Each shadow can be worn either separately as wash of color or certainly together. Both works well for me.
The pinky peach, gold and pearly pink can easily add a touch of glow on your cheeks when applied lightly. All shades glide on smoothly, stay put for more than 5 hours. Also, these colors are true to the pan. As other 5-color quints, it’s housed in a sturdy plastic case with mirror and 2 sponge-tipped applicators. Perfect for traveling!

Recommendation: Sunset Café can take you from day to night, from work to a fun night out, from home to the beach. It’s one of the most versatile palettes from Dior.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Classic & Classical - Pride & Prejudice – Mr. Darcy

At Rosing. Darcy could not take his eyes off Elizabeth.
Kind, warm-hearted, loyal, noble, strong, manly, but gentle and passionate in love. Tall, handsome, conveniently rich. Mr. Darcy is arguably THE man that every girl can ever dream of. I think whoever plays him would have to handle his sophisticated conflicts between his distant appearance and his gentle heart, and between his pride and his love for a woman of “inferior birth”. He loves Elizabeth for exactly who she is. Though he fought hard himself, he cannot conquer the desire for her. How romantic it is!
I think Mr. Matthew Macfadyen’s performance in the movie is beyond wonderful. He matched Darcy’s sensitivity, manliness, self-struggle and self-discovery perfectly. When I read the book, immediately did I see Matthew.  The chemistry between Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen makes their portrayal of Lizzie and Darcy so real. I like Collin Firth as Mr. Darcy too. It’s like a decent Darcy. Matthew Macfadyen, however, is the best Darcy in my heart, seriously. 
The first proposal. The signature Mr. Darcy's look. 
The ardent love in his eyes even after Lizzie's refusal. 
The first proposal. Angry. Heart-broken. In vain. Struggle to resist kissing Elizabeth.  
At Pemberley. Shy. His evident admiration. 
At Pemberley. His manner has softened considerably. 
His eyes read "I'm violently in love with you".
At Pemberley. The only time he smiles happily before they got married. 

Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 1

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: A touch of the sun - Guerlain Rouge G Blush and Smashbox Radiant Blush

These are easily my favorite blushes of all time. They give me a youthful healthy flush in very different ways.
Smashbox Radiant ($24 for 0.13 oz) has a fuchsia tint that when heavily applied gives you an after-exercise look. I tone it down by using very light hand. The result is a very natural pink, a healthy pink as a consequence of good fitness regime. Radiant has matte finish. Yay! I’m not a huge fan of NARS blushes for their obvious golden flecks.
Guerlain Rouge G ($67 for 0.28 oz) offers more dimensions and color variations due to its multiple color strips. I use the lightest shade on my cheekbones as highlighter. For an everyday look, I sweep through the palette twice in opposite direction, tap off the excess and dap the powder on the apples of my cheeks. If I’m in the mood for bolder cheeks, I pick up more of orange color strip. The sophisticated golden shimmer really promotes the glow on your cheeks. You can create endless color variation with this blush. It has a hefty price tag but I think it’s definitely worth it.
What blushes are you loving for the summer?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Classic & Classical - Pride & Prejudice - the Movie

The Netherfield ball. They unconsciously formed an intimate connection through sarcasm. 
It was the first to wake me up in the morning, also the last to bring me sleep at night. My mind fixed on it, craving to see it everyday. My heart races.  My heart skips a beat. I was completely absorbed into it. Now that I recovered a bit, I can tell you. It is Joe Wright’s 2005 movie Pride & Prejudice. Watched it 20 plus times. Scrutinized the actual movies scripts for countless number of times. And now after 2 weeks, my affection for the whole Pride and Prejudice theme are so solid and lively that it intrigues me to write a Pride & Prejudice post series. For better for worse, I decide to let my emotion go, even into cheesy expression of my thought. Who cares. I'm in love with this movie. 

I don’t think there will be ever an adaptation that can be as good as the book. We, readers, have the immense imagination and freedom to interpret Austen’s narration. It was written in a formal language while the emotion and passion still shine through vividly. Pray, how on earth did Miss Austen manage to do so? Nonetheless, the 2005 version truly lives up to my expectation.

The movie perfectly paints the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy. I feel what I imagine from Jane Austen’s book - the passion, intense pride and prejudice, most ardent love, ultimate scruples, irresistible affection and strong personality. I love Joe Wright’s “close up” approach. The facial expression is priceless. I think he did an especially great job on casting. Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen are the ONLY Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy I see. The chemistry between these two really lifts up the whole movies. The way they look at each other, pray, just melts my heart. I screamed out loud after the dawn scene when Darcy proposed to Elizabeth the second time. How ridiculously romantic and cute! Seriously, I feel like a teenage girl spotting Justin Bieber or Robert Pattinson on the red carpet. Although the motivation is completely different, the exhilaration of witnessing something that beautiful and sweet really refreshes my mind. Oh, and the classic romantic pleasant music! How wonderful the color of the movie! Everything is perfect! LOVE!  
Darcy: "You have bewitched me body and soul. And I love, I love, I love you. And never wish to be parted from you from this day on". 
Elizabeth: "Your hands are cold". She happily accepted his hands. Yay!

Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 2
Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 3
Pride & Prejudice Obsession Part 4

Review: LUSH The Sacred Truth Face Mask

Sacred Truth Mask ($5.95 for 2.1 oz) claims to brighten complexion with greentea, white wheatgrass and papaya. It also contains softening ingredients like free range eggs, linseed oil and shea butter.
First thing first, does it do the magic? Well, I don’t have major skin problem, just need to even out my skintone and brighten it up a little bit. My skin feels smoother and looks more even as soon as I rinse off the mask. But that feeling doesn’t last long. I guess it’s how your skin looks like after any good treatment. After 3 weeks, all in all I don’t see much of a brightening effect. It just feels clean. The mask is a bit tart too thick for my normal to dry complexion.

Is it convenient? Yes and no. The mask lasts for 3 weeks of 6 uses although you can use it every day. It’s really gentle. I think it’s a good deal for your budget. Imagine you make this mask yourself. All the ingredients would have costed you more than 6 bucks, plus they won’t last for 3 weeks. You have the luxury of a fresh handmade product, which is also a burden if you don’t live close to any LUSH stores. You would have to repurchase it every 3 weeks since you can’t stock it up in advance.
After 2 uses
Recommendation: This mask is gentle enough to use frequently. It would be better on drier skin but will work fine on other skin types.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Accessorize-up: Knot stud earrings

Jewelry is meant to glam up the outfit. Well put-together brings the look to whole new level. But first and foremost, I need to feel comfortable in my clothes to be productive. I can’t dig through my closet every morning either. If you have the same motto, you probably also own a set of “go-well-with-everything” jewelry. Knot stud earrings are so in style now but I feel like they’d never date. They’re sleek, chic, and simple but still add a touch of girly flair to your outfit. Plus you’re less likely to invite troubles like the dangles’ ripping off your ears. Totally work-appropriate.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

IMATS LA 2011 Haul – Part 2

I attended IMATS mainly for Inglot. It’s a well known Polish cosmetic brand for a few decades. In the US, Inglot stores are still available exclusively to only several states. Inglot counter offered 30% discount at IMATS. What a deal! I got 10 eyeshadow palette for $36 after tax (Pasedena local tax is 9.75%). It comes with 10 separate single eyeshadows of my choice and a palette. They grabbed the two similar brown shade *sign*, hence I have 9 different shades. 

I must say the palette is heavy but very durable. To open the palette, you need to slight the cover pan. The magnates hold the palettes and the eyeshadows strongly. It’s much harder to open it vertically as we usually do with an eyeshadow palette.

The pigmentation, texture and application of the eyeshadows are outstanding. They all glide on my lids and stay put all day. I only picked up one matte eyeshadow since I found their matte formula is quite chalky for my taste. Other girls shopping at IMATS went to Inglot mainly for matte texture though.
I love Inglot eyeshadow much better than MAC’s. A single eyeshadow pan from MAC is priced at $11per 1.5 g compared to $4.5 to $7 per 2.7g of square pans and $4.5 to $7 per 2.5g of round pans in Inglot collection. I found the quality of MAC’s eyeshadows fall short many times due to their poor color payoff and short wearing. I attempted to love MAC many times but failed unfortunately. The only advantage I can see from MAC is they offer a million new collections throughout the year. Inglot’s product range is, on the other hand, very extensive.

Even though this 10 palette might be cumbersome for travel, it’s definitely heavy duty and will survive through turbulence or falling on the floor. I highly recommend you check this brand out. 
Please click here for IMATS LA Haul Part 1.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

IMATS LA 2011 Haul – Part 1

My heart jumped when I saw Bobbi Brown counter at Naimie Beauty Center. They offered a 40% discount on everything. Who on earth would resist such a sale? I stocked up Cobalt Ink gel eyeliner, Sweet Nectar rich lipcolor SPF 12, a face blender brush (swoon) and a back up for my Nectar shimmer brick.
The Cobalt Ink gel eyeliner ($21 for 0.1 oz) really lives up to my expectation. It’s truly one of Bobbi Brown’s signature products. The color is very true to the pan and stays fresh all day. I don’t detect any fall out, no smudges, once it sets it stays put. The texture is very smooth and glides on effortlessly. I used to swear by Stila smudepot. But this gel is much smoother. Hands down the best gel eyeliner I’ve ever tried.
Another best selling product from Bobbi Brown is obviously shimmer brick ($38 for 0.4 oz). I couldn’t resist Nectar. I think it’s her best shimmer brick. It offers very soft sheen, not too shimmery. You’ll have a subtle peachy/coral glow that can be either highlighter on deeper skin tone for a blush on fair complexion. Naime ran out of Rose palette, which drove me nuts. And I refused to replace it with Pink Quatz. Now I want to shoot myself for not grabbing it.
I also splurged on the face blender blush ($45). I’m so glad that I used the discount on this brush. It is designed for shimmer brick but I found it rather too large for highlighter. It works really well as a blush brush or bronzer. But does it worth $45? No. Period. I would pay $20 for this brush, which is closed to what I actually spent on it.
My latest lipstick obsession is Bobbi Brown rich lipcolor with SPF 12 ($22 for 0.13 oz). While I’m not really amazed with the color range of this line, I really like the smooth creamy texture, the strong pigmentation and SPF factor. Sweet Nectar is a universally shade but it would flatter warm tone better.

IMATS LA Haul Part 2 will feature my happiest purchase: a customized Inglot palette. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dior Diva Gift

Ladies, I have great news! My Dior Diva arrived last week that is moons earlier than expected. I prepared myself to get it no sooner than mid-August, i.e. 8 weeks of anxious waiting. Guess what, it came after 2 weeks since my submission!
So much for my excitement, here is the gift for 250 points. I spent $250 and get a full-size Dior Extase mascara in Black ($28), a deluxe sample of Dior Capture Totale, and a Dior black pouch. I was dying to try Dior Extase for quite a long time but wasn't brave enough to break away from my Dior Iconic. This fulfills my wish. 
If you are a diehard Dior fan, you probably have heard about Dior Diva Program. Basically, you purchase Dior products at authorized retailers (full list here). You then save the receipts. One dollars spent equals to one point.  The points are counted before any discounts so no worry, you can still fully enjoy those Sephora sales! When your points reach 100, 250, 500 or 1000 within 12 months, you can submit your receipts and claim the respective gifts. This program is open to US and Canada residents only. All purchases therefore must be in US or Canadian dollars. You need to sign up for a Dior Diva account on
I’d like to share some tips that might have made my claim go through as fourth times as faster than many other people’s I know. The key is to make the processing job easier for the person who handles your redemption.
#1. Make sure you have enough points for the desired level of redemption;
#2. Organize your receipt in chronological order;
#3. Highlight name of the Dior products and their prices to exclude any confusion for number of points on each receipt;
#4. Fill out the redemption form clearly and neatly;
#5. Email their costumer service after submission.
Dior Diva program will send you a note as soon as they ship your gift. Have fun shopping! 
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