Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dior Addict Fluid Stick Swatches


I am convinced that Macy's negotiated an early exclusive on the new Dior Addict Fluid Sticks, because every other department store in New York City is left without till May. Even online, these are only available to Macys.com and Dior.com (for now). Since my e-tailer of choice is Nordstrom and retailers of choice are Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, I wrung my hands in frustration looking for them (BG and Saks generally get first dibs on new releases). But now, obsession sated!


Pardon the messy eyelinered-on numbers, but you can only do so much when guerrilla swatching! I tried on the five in the first picture, which consists of 373, 639, 689, 893, and 995. My initial thoughts are that they have a great lightweight formula but take a long time to dry down. A few blogger friends have reported stickiness, though I personally didn't find it so. In keeping with my general buying restraint, I only allowed myself to bring home 639 Artifice (side rant: why can't Dior just put the shade name on the tube?). We'll see if I end up hoarding more shades or regretting my purchase in a few days.

I would like to give a shout out to Michelle at the Macy's Herald Square Dior counter. She helped me sort the colors by number, even retrieving it from various displays, and let me swatch as I please. If you are looking to purchase the Dior Addict Fluid Sticks and would like to speak to an actual representative, or like me, just couldn't find it anywhere you looked, you can contact Michelle at 212-494-2797.

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's The Little Things


After procuring this candle, it took me one week before I tore the plastic wrapping off the box, and another before I took the candle out of its cardboard house and placed it by my bedside. Part of it was because I didn't want to mar the smooth pink surface and dirty the pristine white wick, but another part of me was like, Seriously? You spent $65 on scented wax?

I have finally lit the candle, and perhaps due to overblown expectations, I was not impressed by Diptyque Rosa Mundi. Once during a sample sale, I managed to snag a mini trio that consisted of Opopanax, Feu de Bois, and Oliban. When I burned those, the fragrance filled my entire room, while Rosamundi barely hits my nostrils a few feet away. When I do smell her, it's a pleasantly sweet, powdery rose.

But on days like today, after a loooong day at work, I look at the candles by my bedside – and this may be a little silly, because they are just candles, but each one holds a different meaning to me – and I'm glad I'm able to light this pretty little candle after all. Sometimes we do things that don't make sense because they make us happy, right?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Liquid Lipsticks Done Right: Shiseido Lacquer Rouge


This past winter may have been long and harsh , but the (grudging) arrival of Spring means COLOR. Let's take a moment to rejoice, and to celebrate Shiseido's wise decision in expanding its Lacquer Rouge line.


L-R: RD320, PK425, VI324

I was gifted three of the new shades when I attended the launch months ago. RD320 is a coral red, PK425 is a cool candy pink, and VI324 is a bold violet.

The Shiseido Lacquer Rouge formula is lightweight and comfortable to wear. I estimate the wear at 4-6 hours, after which it fades marginally. What I like is it doesn't stain the lips even though it is long wearing, and even better, non-drying. It is also not sticky and has no fragrance. With the palatable price point, I'd say it's easily one of the best liquid lipsticks in the market and I couldn't recommend it enough.

For the difference in formula between Lacquer Rouge and Lacquer Gloss, shimmy on over to this post.


VI324


PK425


RD320


To break the monotony of "deer in headlight" photos, here's a smile instead. Enjoy the weekend ahead!

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge retails for $25 and is available at Sephora, Nordstrom and Shiseido.com.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Guerlain Crazy Paris Meteorites Radiance Powder Compact (Holiday 2013)
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Look 1: Burberry Earthy Blush / Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324
Look 2: Addiction Cheek Polish in Rose Bar / Shiseido Lacquer Rouge PK425
Look 3: Addiction Cheek Polish in Fresh / Shiseido Lacquer Rouge RD320

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102


When I think about my skin, I always mutter a silent thank you to my mom for blessing me with good genes. All I need to do to keep it in shape is minor maintenance, comprising of a basic cleansing and skincare regimen. Thus, foundation is usually the last on my list of priorities.

I say that, but there are at least six different jars and vials of second skins sitting on my vanity, collecting dust. And when I heard whispers of a magical foundation from an elusive (at least in the US) Japanese brand, I decided I had to find out if the rumors were true, even if I didn't use foundation. The beauty blogger's curiosity kills common sense (and the wallet), if not the cat.


Opportunity strikes! A dear friend's visit to Japan enabled me to obtain the hallowed Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N, in shade 102.

I think this is a fantastic full-coverage foundation for oily skin. It's drying not in the sense that it sucks moisture out of my skin, but it would look dry without adequate prior moisturization. The trick to applying this foundation is to make sure your skin is moist when you pick up half a pea-sized dollop and dab it at the key areas of your face. Use both hands to quickly spread the foundation around. Once your skin dries, the foundation will no longer be pliable.

Also, while moist skin makes application infinitely better, wet skin does not. I applied it once after spraying on face mist and the foundation ended up swimming around unevenly.


Was it everything I dreamed of and more? I'm not sure. There is a definite learning curve to application – sometimes I treat it like a video game, racing against time to finish applying the foundation before my skin soaks up the goods (toner, serum, moisturizer). Perhaps it's due to this rushed application method that occasionally I would notice accentuated smile lines, like the foundation couldn't properly meld with my skin. Or maybe I am not used to the effects of foundation after all.

That said, this foundation is perfect for photography. I will not hesitate to use this for a wedding, for example, because it will stay on all day and in the immortalized photos I will look like I have Photoshopped skin. If you'll excuse my bout of vanity, I am in awe with my skin in the photos I take for the blog, so much so that I actually find myself wishing that my skin looked like that in real life (which to be fair, it probably does. I recognize that I may just be far too critical of my real life self, i.e. scrutinizing my face an inch from the mirror).

Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102 retails for something like $110 at the cutthroat ichibankao.com.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Guerlain Crazy Paris Meteorites Radiance Powder Compact (Holiday 2013)
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Burberry Earthy Blush
Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324

Monday, March 24, 2014

Two Purples from Shiseido


Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324

Did you know my favorite color throughout my adolescent years was purple? I gradually moved on to maroon, then white, to refusing to name just one shade, but I will always have a soft spot for mixing red and blue.

I'm not sure what reignited my fervor in purple, but it is all I want to put on my face now (a stroll through Saks last weekend yielded an arm full of purple swatches). For eyes, I've been revisiting this Rouge Bunny Rouge trio; for cheeks, Clinique Plum Pop. For lips, two shades in particular have snuck into my rotation of products: Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324 and Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306.


Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324

Lacquer Rouge VI324 is, I quote the Sephora description, a bold and sexy violet. No sparkles. Lacquer Gloss RS306 is violet with a tinge of rose. Also no sparkles.

The biggest difference between the Lacquer Rouge and Lacquer Gloss formula is the amount of shine you get from the products. Obviously, the latter is wetter. While it makes sense that Lacquer Rouge would have more coverage, don't write off Lacquer Gloss either. The first layer goes on semi-sheer, but two layers yield some mighty pigment. I prefer the Lacquer Gloss formula because it's lighter and feels more comfortable on my lips, and it's arguably more pliable.


Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306

Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306

Along with color, I'm rediscovering other old favorites, like Burberry Earthy Blush used above. Many lighting setups ago, I called it my go-to contour shade. While I no longer sculpt with Earthy (well, I no longer sculpt, period), I find it to be a great barely there blush that accentuates my bone structure just so.

Also, I'm really digging the smudged out cat-eye look lately. So simple and quick, but makes me look infinitely more made up.

Shiseido Lacquer Rouge and Lacquer Gloss retail for $25. They are available at Sephora, Nordstrom and Shiseido.com.

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Suqqu Balancing Eyebrow Palette 01 Moss Green
Suqqu Frame Fix Cream Foundation N 102
Le Metiér de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer Shade 1
Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer in Delicate Pink
Guerlain Crazy Paris Meteorites Radiance Powder Compact (Holiday 2013)
THREE Flash Performance Eyeliner Pencil 08
Le Metiér de Beauté Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Burberry Earthy Blush
Shiseido Lacquer Rouge VI324
Shiseido Lacquer Gloss RS306

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ushering in Spring with flowers from Clinique


Maybe "eternal" is a little too strong, but looking at how the Clinique Cheek Pops have been holding up at the rate I'm using it, I'm pretty sure the petals will only disappear when I'm close to hitting pan.

Clinique has been absolutely on point with its makeup innovations of late, and these new-for-spring Cheek Pops take the cake. They are housed in sturdy clear plastic containers, making them great everyday travel companions. The texture is a little out of the ordinary. I would call it densely packed powder, since it takes a bit of work to pick up the pigment with a soft blush brush. The swatches below were made with fingers: one single hard swipe for Plum Pop and Peach Pop, two hard swipes for Ginger Pop.


L-R: Plum Pop, Peach Pop, Ginger Pop

Ginger Pop is a neutral red blush, and what I suspect would flatter the majority of skin tones. Peach Pop is a shimmering coral. In the swatch, it looks like NARS Orgasm without the sparkle. Plum Pop is the cool plummy pink blush I never knew I was missing. Again, it looks scary in the swatch, but on the cheeks (see below) it is quite demure.


Ginger Pop. Look breakdown here


Plum Pop. Look breakdown here

While they come off as almost too bright on my arm, these shades are flattering and can look very natural when applied to the cheeks. While finger application works fine in a pinch, I prefer building up the color with a blush brush. The blush lasts all day on me, though the color is slightly faded by the end of the day.

Clinique Cheek Pops retail for $21 and is available at Clinique.com, Sephora, and Nordstrom.

Full disclosure: This entry contains sample products sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration. This entry also contains affiliate links.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How to have a crackling fireplace in an NYC apartment


When I was young, I eagerly awaited the arrival of Mid-Autumn Festival every year – not because I wanted to hang up pretty paper lanterns, but because my mother would allow me to gather the dried twigs and leaves in my backyard and create mini campfires out of them. Even though Malaysia is a tropical country (average temperature is 32C/90F), I fantasized about bonfires and fireplaces and making s'mores. Now, as an adult in an actual cold country, I still become giddy when I hear the crackling of burning logs.

So how could it be that I only recently found out that wooden candle wicks are a thing? I was fortunate to be gifted an Alex and Ani Four Leaf Clover Large Candle, but I barely noticed the pleasant scent (notes of juniper, fig, and moss) when it was lit because I was too busy cooing at the soothing crackle.

This revelation has changed my whole approach to candles. I can have a mini fireplace in my bedroom! Why have it any other way? (Alright, who am I kidding? I will forever still want those Diptyques.)


via Gilt

A chance tweet alerted me to DayNa Decker (apparently a purveyor of candles with wooden wicks) candles on Gilt. And then I realized that Gilt actually has tons of candles on sale. I went a little crazy on the "Add to Cart" after that...

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