11.27.2012

Autumn/Winter Ten-Item Wardrobe

Ten-Item Wardrobe

Ten-Item Wardrobe by declairelegenou featuring leather ballet shoes

I am a big fan of Jennifer from The Daily Connoisseur ever since I stumbled upon her blog. I've been always a Francophile but what appeals to me about her well-written blog is that she is also a mom young children, like me. One of the concept that she introduced in her blog and newly-published book is the ten-item wardrobe. Since her recent posts, I've been inspired to ruthlessly edit my closet and see if I can just live with ten-item wardrobe.

Granted, my daily life is pretty hectic with a toddler boy at the ready to climb, run and grab anything forbidden. In addition, PapaLorp is out 3 days out of 5, so shower and putting on makeup in the morning are luxuries on those days. I live in Seattle where the weather is rainy and gloomy most of the time, but we've been blessed so far with abundance of drier-than-normal weather, even some sunshine! My typical day consists of driving BabyLorp to play date/class of the day, followed by a stop in the local park, then back home for nap, eat, and some more play. People I meet are mostly other moms, teachers, people at cafe and such.

Above is a representative of my capsule wardrobe plus the extras that I use daily. I must admit, I hate clothes shopping -- I much rather shop for makeup. I'm not one who will hunt for bargain or get the latest trends (eventhough I admire those who do and wear them). I bought most of my items from J.Crew, Madewell, Banana Republic, anywhere clothes can be purchased easily online. 

  • A black cashmere v-neck sweater. The one I have is from J.Crew circa mid-90s, when they still made their cashmere sweaters in Italy (not China, as sadly many are made now). It was made from a tightly-spun yarn. It pills very little and it only gets softer after each wash. I hand-wash all my sweaters, saving $$ on dry-cleaning bills. I then de-fuzz the pills using an electric sweater shaver and they look as good as new.
  • Basic long-sleeved t-shirts. Your garden-variety kind. I got mine mostly from J.Crew, the thin, tissue ones, in black, grey, and navy.
  • A silk top similar to this one from Madewell. 
  • A pair of cropped tweed pants.
  • A pair of skinny jeans in medium wash.
  • A pair of boot-cut jeans in dark wash.
  • A puffer vest.
  • A navy peacoat, mine is just like this with tie-belt, J.Crew circa 2010.
  • A grey hand-knitted hat. Mine is a delicious blend of hand-dyed cashmere yarn with fluffy mohair. If you are a knitter, check out the pattern right here.
  • A camel hand-knitted snood/circular scarf, hand-knitted from a chunky camel yarn.
  • Skip-Hop Deluxe diaper bag: a utilitarian one without much frills. 
  • Two pairs ballet flats, one in camel/nude and one in black, both are in patent leather. As the weather gets colder and wetter, I will swap the ballets with a pair of Tod's driver, mine are in Navy.
The gap I have in my capsule wardrobe is a functional rain jacket. It rains so much here that a mere trench coat will leave me drenched. I need something more along the rain jackets from the NorthFace, but I feel it doesn't look as chic. I also need a pair of comfortable shoes that can stand outdoor puddles and rain, yet still look presentable indoor. A pair of wellies can look cute, but I don't think they look polished enough being worn indoor. Another alternative would be a pair of knee-high boots, but I have yet to find something that I like.

Notice also what's missing from my wardrobe: accessories. I wear very little jewelry for the obvious reason: the boy is a grabber. My accent pieces are usually my hand-knitted items (scarf, hat, or gloves), and most of the days, a nice color on the lips. Lately, I've been into the Burberry Velvets and my recent acquisition of YSL Glossy Stains.

That's pretty much my capsule ten-item wardrobe -- so far I've survived living with these items since mid-Fall. Do you have any suggestions on the items that I need? Also, I'm curious to know if you too have a capsule wardrobe in your collection, sort of your personal uniform.


11.25.2012

Aerin Beauty The Mini Lipsticks 04 Dahlia

One of cult favorite among beauty fashionistas is Tom Ford Black Orchid lipstick, perhaps made even more famous by Lisa Eldridge’s video here.

Being a fair-skinned lady, dark lipsticks tend to suck the life out of my face instantly. It is also high-maintenance, enough for me to avoid it like a plaque, especially with taking care of a toddler on the run. So, the idea of spending close to $50 for a lipstick at this point is a bit too indulgent.

Comes Dahlia. From the same company which produces Tom Ford line, I thought this may be a good compromise, for now. Considering I’ll only wear this on occasions that I don’t really have (aka at home, when the baby is asleep, and I have time to play with makeup to de-stress), Dahlia Mini Lipstick from Aerin Holiday Collection is quite appealing to me.



This time, my camera was able to capture the engraved “AERIN” on the side of the barrel here. The engraving is there on all of the lipsticks.

As I mentioned here, Dahlia has the same creme formulation as previously-released Aerin lipsticks, making it comfortable to wear. It is rose-scented and goes on with natural sheen. It is quite pigmented, even with one swipe, as evident on the LH side swatch below. The RH side is done with four swipes, both straight from the bullet.




Creme formula also means it can be blotted down to a stain, or rub with fingers and patted gently on lips. Either way, the color payoff is quite good and the lack of opacity lets your natural lip color through, which makes it easier to wear. True to Aerin’s own philosophy, this vampy lipstick is one for those who doesn’t want to try out several shades out there. It is quite foolproof.

Here’s another swatch taken under the shade.


The only other dark, plummy lipstick that I owned close to this one is Burberry Lip Glow in Bright Plum, which is a tad brighter/redder than Dahlia. Here is the comparison, under direct sunlight:

Clockwise from upper LH: Aerin Dahlia single swipe -- Burberry Bright Plum 4 swipes -- Dahlia 4 swipes -- Bright Plum single swipe.
Notice how on the bottom two swatches, both lipsticks go on with a little bit of sheen to it.

THM: Love it! A vamp for all of us muggles out there.



There are bubbles in the air..

... there are bubbles on your hair!


BabyLorp was too busy popping bubbles to realize that.

11.22.2012

Thankful Thursday

... now new and improved, with pictures!

We the Lorps are especially thankful for this Thanksgiving Thursday for:


 Sauteed button mushrooms, with lots of butter, a sprinkling of thyme, salt, and pepper.


Hot cup of brown bean soup. Here it was, while simmering in the pot:


BabyLorp assembling his own bottle. And when he can wash his own bottles, my job is done, so I'm half-way there?


My two favorite boys at home, cooking me breakfast.


Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving from all of us at the Land of Lorp.






11.20.2012

Aerin Beauty Multi Color for Lips and Cheeks in 01 Natural

I have had this Aerin Beauty Lips and Cheeks product for a while, I just haven’t post the review since the baby hasn’t been napping long enough for me to write anything. So here goes:



This Multi Color Lips and Cheeks is part of the permanent collection, and it is designed to complement other Aerin Beauty products. So far, there is only one color: 01 Natural. I like it that the compact has a nice-sized mirror and comes with a functional drawstring bag (it actually closes!). The color is also quite foolproof; a mauve brown. On my cheeks (which is now slighly lighter than NC 20), it gives a hint of sophisticated reddish brown tint without being overboard.

Notice how wide the mirror is, it is very functional especially for cheek product application (so you can see your entire face, not just a smidgen of cheek!). On days when I can do to a gym, I just pop this in and a mascara and I’m good to go.

I found the product rather creamy instead of waxy (a la Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges), even more so on the lips. It actually feels like I’m wearing oil on my lips (which can turn out pretty drying at the end of the wear time). So, do layer on with lip balm of your choice, or do as I do, using Aerin’s own Lip Conditioner (reviewed here). Finally, it is rose-scented but perhaps the faintest of all the lips product in Aerin line.

Here’s the obligatory ingredients shot:


You may wonder how the color of this color translates on lips v.s. cheeks. Well, as I mentioned before, the texture is rather creamy/oily, almost, so it goes on quite sheer on the lips. It is definitely one of those MLBB color. The bold swatch down below may appear glossy, and indeed some glossiness translates as such on the lips, as well. Staying power is rather poor, perhaps 2-3 hours? I don’t keep track, honestly, and this is not the line of makeup for long-wear purposes either.

Swatches under the shade with natural lighting:


Under direct sunlight:



Finally, a comparison shot of other cream lip/cheek products that I have:



From L to R: Stila Convertible Color in Forget-Me-Not (I think dc’ed, but the perfect mauve for me) -- Aerin Beauty Lips and Cheeks -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink -- Stila CC in Camelia.

Below is the arm swatches of the above products, in the same order, under direct sunlight.


Forget-Me-Not is decidedly the most mauve among them all, but sheered out, it produces the same effect. So is Camelia. Powder Pink is definitely more rosy pink.

THM: Not bad at all, but not a must-have.

11.19.2012

Loving Right Now

Loving Right Now

I've grown accustomed to darker lip shades now. Somehow, it flatters my pale, sallow, wintry skin. Applied either as light stain or full-on, it is the perfect accessories and I hardly need anything else to look pulled together. These items are my everyday uniform lately; perfect for lounging at home, driving to play dates, or impromptu leaf-hunting in the park. Burberry Lip Glow in Bright Plum, Aerin Beauty Mini Lipstick in Dahlia, Chanel Joues Contraste in Rose Initiale, Black V-neck Cashmere sweater and Cropped Tweed pants (both J.Crew), London Sole Pirouette in Black Patent (here shown similar from London Rebel), Oversized Snood (my own hand knitted item, here shown similar from J.Crew), and Deborah Lippmann Modern Love on tips.

11.16.2012

Guilty

As a first-time mom, I read loads of articles about the guilt of motherhood, how to deal/avoid/cope with it, etc. But nothing prepares me for the experience of guilt itself. Neurotic, for the most part, because any sane adult knows that in order to care for your child, you must take care of yourself first. You cannot give that which you don't have.

BabyLorp's nanny comes once a week to give me some relief: do grocery, cook, clean, rest and prepare for the whole week full of craziness. Even though BabyLorp is pre-verbal, I know he loves his nanny from the way he looks and clings at the gate by the stairs when the nanny left for the day, or by the way he hums to the tune of the songs that the nanny sings to him ad nauseam. But again, nothing prepares me for the big fat tears that roll on his cherub cheeks when I left him to take some time off for myself. It seems selfish to let your own child cry, left alone prying his clutching hands from mine and passing him to the nanny's arms so I can go to a coffee shop, read a bit, or, like I did yesterday, went to a day spa.

Now, the spa itself is actually a tiny basement consists of a whirlpool, a steam room, a dry sauna, and a couple of shower heads. One toilet separated only by a curtain means I'm crossing my fingers I won't need to do my business while I'm there. It is all-women spa, which means, you get in naked. The spa is barebone minimal that the only possible way for your mind to get anything more exciting than boring -- and thus defeat the purpose of coming to the spa -- is by comparing yourself to the naked ladies next to you. Non, pas moi, bien sûr! Besides, it was only me and another lady as I came in right during lunch time.

As I soaked into the hot tub, my mind slowed down, and two hours later, I emerged cherub-cheeked just like the baby, sans baby in my mind. That's right, the 2 hours (+ $15 entrance fee) that I spent was very well worth it.

The day ended as it was before: BabyLorp clutching to the baby gate near the stairs while the nanny left, sad or perhaps bewildered why the fun time is now over. And me? My reserve tank is fully refilled, ready to take on another week full of BabyLorp. I told you it is neurotic. And those of you seasoned moms will say, yeah yeah, you'll get over it.

By the way, they did play Billie Holiday in the spa.


11.09.2012

Tweaking

You may notice that the layout of the blog has changed often lately, that is because I'm constantly tweaking for the overall look of this blog. I'm new to blogging, and I'm trying to implement some tips that I found here and there that I found on the internet. Meanwhile, I hope you have enjoyed the content so far.

Aerin Beauty Lipstick in Pout for Weekday

I feel this is a moot point to review something that is not available almost everywhere (certainly not from the Estee Lauder website itself). And no, I don’t think this item is in the same category as lemming-worthy Suqqu cheek brush, the unicorn of the makeup blogosphere that many lucky-but-cruel bloggers left us with puddle of drool after writing the review.

Nevertheless, I include this for completeness since I already took my precious time taking pictures, editing, water-marking, and selecting them for this post while I can do something else while BabyLorp is alseep -- you moms of babies/toddlers know what I’m talking about!!



Pout is the lipstick created for the Weekday Collection. It is the YLBB-nude type, not the nude-nude type: mauve rose for that polished look. Think of it along the line of NARS Dolce Vita, Bobbi Brown Brown, Burberry Nude Rose, etc. This color goes with somewhat conservative makeup look, a no-brainer for work and interviews, but the other day, I paired it with smoky burgundy-dark chocolate eye and contoured cheeks and I didn’t look as washed out as if I were to wear a nudey-nude.


Compared to Sweet Pea from the Weekend Collection, Pout is definitely more mauve. You’ll probably wonder, “Hmm.. I think I have something like this already in my makeup bag.” You are probably right.

There are lots of MLBB lipsticks that I owned in my stash and I didn’t bother swatching all of them or comparing them to Pout since I know it will just be the same variation of MLBB: maybe a little cooler, more mauve/rose/peach/.... insert any other adjective here. Sufficed to say it is 100% dupable, but that’s not why I bought this. I bought this because the texture is smooth and I grow to love the scent. Also, dare I admit that, sometimes, all of us buy makeup just because or maybe you need a pick-me-up wearing a new lipstick instead of the same old one that is just as good? Yeah, I’m guilty of all that.

Under direct sunlight:


From L to R: Aerin Beauty Sunday Morning lipstick -- Aerin Pout lipstick -- Aerin Multi Color for Lips and Cheeks in Natural (review to be posted soon).

Update: This is a comparison picture that I took during the rare sunny weather here. I compared it to my recent acquisition MLBB shade Burberry Lip Glow in Nude Rose.


Under the shade with natural lighting: Left is Pout -- Right is Burberry Nude Rose, here leaning peachier than Pout.

Aerin Pout lipstick is especially pretty topped with Aerin Perfect Nude lip gloss.

THM: frivolous-spending worthy, if you can find it. If not, then you can safely move on.

Aerin Beauty The Mini Lipstick 03 Lolabird

Lolabird is one of the lipstick that I have high hopes for. When I saw the picture of this at neimanmarcus.com and esteelauder.com, I thought this may fit the bill as pink-cranberry-type festive holiday lipstick.

As I mentioned earlier here, Lolabird is a matte, bright cool-pink lipstick with pronounced magenta/violet/purple undertone, so much so that at some angle, it looks ultraviolet (if ultraviolet can be detected by eyes) -- almost fluorescent if you will. It has quite a bit of white pigment and very little brown to it. As the result, the color just pops and bordering pastel (but not at all pale). This is one of those color you have to put on to see if it flatters your complexion. On my yellow-toned skin, this color jumps out due to the amount of purple in it. It looks actually quite bright on my mouth, and depending on the lighting, in not a good way. In indoor lighting with more warm casts, it looks quite a nice bright pink bordering fuchsia, but unlike YSL in a way that this one is not transparent and doesn’t seem to allow your natural lip color mingle.

Being a matte lipstick, I must say the formula is very comfortable to wear, in fact, more comfortable than Burberry Lip Velvets. It is still drying to the lips, but somewhat lighter feel than Burberry Velvets. It is scented with signature Aerin rose scent which is soapy, but quite pleasant. It lasts a decent amount of time (for me, that means lasts over a meal), and it leaves a stain behind. The ingredients are a bit different than that of previously-released Aerin lipsticks which were cremes. Here are the ingredient shots. On the left side is of the Mini Lipstick Love (ingredients the same as the old version Aerin creme lipsticks), and the right side is Lolabird.

Ingredients: Aerin Lipsticks Creme v.s. Matte
These two pictures were taken on the same day, in a matter of minutes. The cloud shifts around that day thus the differences in exposure.

The swatches. The only other matte lipsticks that I owned are from Burberry Lip Velvets, previously reviewed here and here. The Burberry shades are far more flattering to wear and I think will suit many different skin tones than Lolabird. Keep in mind, they are not exactly the same, comparable shade, nor I think there’s any comparable one in the Burberry line. What makes Burberry shades more flattering is their brown undertone, making the color more wearable once you actually put it on the lips.

Under direct sunlight:



From L to R: Burberry Lip Velvet in Rose Pink -- Aerin Lolabird -- Burberry Lip Velvet in Pink Azalea -- Burberry Lip Glow in Primrose Hill Pink (throw in just as a comparison for the formula: matte v.s. creme).

Notice how Lolabird stands out, making the Pink Azalea very muted in color -- in fact, Lolabird is more azalea than Pink Azalea, if that makes sense!

Again, under the shade with natural lighting:

THM: hold off and try at a local counter if you can before you decide if this is the magenta for you.

Aerin The Mini Lipsticks from Holiday Color Collection ($30 each) is up at neimanmarcus.com and esteelauder.com.

11.08.2012

Aerin Beauty The Mini Lipstick. Swatches and A Mini Review.

I found myself liking Aerin Beauty products lately. Not only the colors are natural and wearable (read: boring to some), but also the rose fragrance grows on me. The lip products are relatively comfortable to wear. The lipsticks are meltingly smooth and the glosses are rather un-tacky. There are no doubt dupable products, and certainly anyone can find something similar to suit the budget, but I really enjoy wearing them so much. I have added a lot of items in my collection which I will review one by one.

I watched this video interview about Aerin explaining her collection as a well-edited one, geared towards women who keep up with trend but don’t want the hassle of choosing from so many different trends out there. In my opinion, this excludes those of us who are die-hard make up fan as many of us already talk about collections before they are even released. So, is this why I found a dearth of review of Aerin Beauty products in the blogosphere out there? Anyhow, as holiday season is upon us, I thought I’d review the Mini Lipsticks from the Holiday Color Collection.

First off, I only purchased 3 of the 4 lipsticks offered. I was chatting with a beauty consultant at neimanmarcus.com and she mentioned that the first shade, 01 Winter Rose, is shimmery and since in general I don’t like shimmer on my lipstick, I passed on that.



Notice from the box, it says the Mini Lipstick. Well, how mini are they?


On the LH side is the Sunday Morning lipstick from previous Fall collection, and on the RH side is one of the Mini Lipstick. It is mini in its height. It is 2.25 inches (56 mm) from top to bottom, compared to 2.5 inches (63 mm) of the old lipstick. The base width and length are the same. Another difference between the old lipstick and the Mini Lipstick is the weight. The Mini Lipstick is more lightweight compared to the old one. I reviewed the old lipstick here, and mentioned that the weight is mostly on the cap, so on the Mini Lipstick, the top is now a more lightweight plastic with the same gold embossing.


The bullet is full size, though, the same as the old lipstick. LH is Sunday Morning from earlier collection, and RH is the new Mini Lipstick Lolabird.


Here’s the trio shots that I purchased.

Now, the swatches. I was surprised to find out that one of the Mini Lipstick, Lolabird, is matte. Both Love and Dahlia are the same sheer creme formulation as the old lipstick collections. There are differences in the ingredients between the matte and the creme formulation and I will review it in future blog post. With Winter Rose's shimmer formulation, I begin to think that Aerin is branching out the lipstick range and perhaps testing the water with this collection.

Under the shade with natural sunlight:

From LH to RH: Love 02 -- Lolabird 03 -- Dahlia 04.

Love is a sheer, sheer nude. Upon initial swatch, it is even more sheer, more caramel/brown in tone than Sunday Morning, making Sunday Morning significantly more pink & alive. Although it is sheer, on my semi-pigmented lips, it gives the look of foundation/concealer lips due to its white pigment. As a reference, my facial skin is NC 20 now, and this is swatched on the inside wrist, which is even paler.

Lolabird is bright blue-based pink with strong fuchsia undertone. Under direct sunlight, it even looks somewhat fluorescent violet from some angle. It is matte and quite pigmented and can be blotted down to a bright magenta stain. I think this will look stunning on darker skin tone.

Dahlia is a transparent creme wine. Think of it more as merlot wine than burgundy/bordeaux; quite plummy and cool, as opposed to oxblood. On my fair skin, it looks somewhat vampy, and I think with the right lip pencil (perhaps those with a tad browner undertone), one can turn this into a vampy color. I found the color transparent, yet buildable at the same time. Could this be Black Orchid alternative for the faint of heart?

Note on the above picture, how sheer Love and Dahlia are, and Lolabird is quite pigmented matte.

Another look, under direct sunlight:


Love and Dahlia look shimmering (and no, it’s not shimmer, it’s just the sheen catching direct sunlight, pardon my picture-taking skill) compared to Lolabird, which is flat and matte.

The only other swatch that I found is from Makeup and Beauty Blog here, as a comparison on different skin tone. I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini review. Next up, I plan to do comparison swatches of each shade, weather permitting.

11.04.2012

Fall Back

With the extra hour of daylight saving time, I was able to:

  • Cook BabyLorp's food for the week
  • Cook my food for the week
  • Cut BabyLorp's hair (his first hair cut, ever!) --> saves me $30
  • Do his diaper laundry + de-funk it using Funk Rock
  • Put on Karuna Hydrating Treatment Mask, courtesy of Birchbox October.
  • Write this blog entry.
What do you do with the extra hour?


11.01.2012

Oeuf à la coque et son mouillettes



One of the luxury in life is a breakfast well made -- especially after post-Halloween sugar coma of last night. Oeuf à la coque is on the top of my list as my ideal breakfast: it is simple, satisfying, gloriously rich yet delicate at the same time. The perfect egg has soft cooked delicate white with meltingly rich golden yolk inside, thoroughly heated throughout and ready for bathing the mouillettes. And the mouillettes, the little fingers themselves are buttery crunchy on the outside and airy spongy in the inside, ready to mop up the yolk to the last drop. A sprinkling of sea salt and pepper is all it takes to complete the moment of a simple pleasure to begin the day.

The ingredients are rather simple: a piece of toast (Pain de Mie preferably), a pat of butter, and an egg, as fresh as you can get.


There are lots of recipes and variations on cooking soft-boiled eggs, but I found the following tips to be most helpful:

  • Use room temperature egg. Room-temp eggs will cook more uniformly, and allowing the eggs to reach room temperature before boiling them will prevent the eggs from cracking while being lowered into boiling water.
  • Use pan size according to how many eggs you are making. Seriously, this one tip helps avoid a lot of heartache/half-cooked eggs.
  • Time it and hover around the stove while boiling the eggs. Timing how long you need to boil the egg becomes trickier with the more eggs you boil, but I found that four minutes is the magic number, up to four large-size eggs being boiled at one time, to produce the right doneness.

One last piece of detail: I live at sea level, so if you live in higher altitude, please adjust accordingly (trial and error is not that bad especially if you or your family members love eggs).

Let’s begin. First, boil your water. If you forgot to take out the egg from the fridge beforehand, set your egg on the counter while the water is heating. After the water comes to gentle boil, slowly lower your egg using a spoon so the egg is fully submerged. Notice I use a small pan for a single egg.


When the timer goes off, take the egg from the stove and immediately run it under cold tap water for about a minute or so. Don’t run it too long or the egg will become too cold. Running under cold water will make it easier for the egg shell to be peeled from the delicate white. Set your egg aside, inside kitchen glove/egg cosy/folded kitchen towel to keep warm.

Next, prepare the mouillettes. Cut the crust from the toast, and cut the toast into little batonette, preferably small enough to insert into the opening of the once-cracked egg. Here, I cut it  into six.


Take a pat of soft butter. If you are like me and don’t have soft room-temp butter lying around in your pantry, pop the butter in the microwave for oh.. 30 seconds or so or until slightly melting and soft. Brush the melted/softened butter on the toast, preferably on all four sides if not two. This will allow a good control of how much butter is on the toast so the toast won’t get too soggy/dry.


Bake the toast fingers in the oven (or toaster oven in my case) at 350F for about 5-10 minutes.


While baking, watching them carefully so to allow them to brown nicely and evenly. They should come out golden brown looking like this:


How to enjoy Oeuf à la Coque is as important as preparing it. I’m sure you’ve seen such contraption as this to cut off the top of the egg. This is when you will use it, if you have one. If not, just tap carefully around the pointed part of the egg.


Scoop the egg white from this top-part bits, le chapeau, and enjoy it with a touch of salt and pepper.


Dip a toast finger into the liquid golden yolk, season, and repeat.


Finish off with scooping the last bits of the egg whites. What to drink with this delicacy? Why a freshly brewed cup of darjeeling tea, of course. The astringent, muscat-y flavor of the darjeeling cut through the richness of the yolk, making it a perfect marriage.