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. 
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