3.31.2013

.. but we'll be back!


Spring has finally arrived here in the Land of Lorp. We are spending most of our days outside, enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms and the abundant sun. We wish you a Happy Spring, wherever you are.

3.27.2013

Thankful Tuesday



... yet today is Wednesday! Well, better be late, but never forget that we have lots of things to be thankful about this week:

  • Spring finally arrives in Seattle! Hello cherry blossom (hopefully will visit them this weekend).
  • ToddlerLorp showing interest in other children, animal, and blooming into toddlerhood.
  • PapaLorp's new job.
  • Good homemade meals.
  • New tin of White Peony tea and honeybush tea to try nightly.
  • Breaking out into spring outfits.
  • A time to be thankful & grateful.
Please share with us your gratitude today.

3.24.2013

Confession of a Blush Addict (and How to Donate Used Makeup)

Update: How to donate used makeup? Scroll down to see comments below after the post.

If you have been following my humble little blog for a while, you will notice my pride (read: bragging) of keeping my makeup stash small. Well, Lent is the time for repentance and without further ado, I confess my biggest sin of being a blush addict..

Makeup Tray: Ikea

At the height of gluttony, I have a drawer-full of blush. Thankgoodness that heavy burden has been lifted from my shoulder, only to be replaced with another equally heavy burden of keeping the stash as minimal as possible.

My "minimalistic" stash of 32 blushes. Does a girl really need that many?

Peachy Pinks:


Clockwise from LH side: Aerin Sweet Pea -- Stila CC Lilium -- Horizon de Chanel Spring 2012 -- Becca Guava
The workhorse of all blushes in my stash, peachy pinks flatter my yellow-toned complexion. Sweet Pea is a touch cooler and better on the lips than Lilium, Horizon is the only one which has shimmer. I use Becca during summer when I want something really waterproof.

Neutral Pinks:

Chanel JC Rose Initiale -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge Powder Pink
In neutral pink, I keep one cooler shade of Rose Initiale and one warmer share of Powder Pink. I guess I can get away with just one, but I cannot resist the sophistication of JC.

Cooler Pinks:

From L to R: Bourjois Cendre de Rose Brun -- Canmake Cream Cheek no. 10 -- Burberry Peony. Middle: Ettusais  Cheek Puff ca. 2002 in Guava

This group also works very well on my yellow-toned skin, depending on the look I'm trying to achieve. I've been using the Canmake blush a lot. It is quite stay put & very creamy on the skin. Cendre de Rose Brun is a beautiful fresh pink, lovely pop for extra girly look. The Ettusais is hardly functional -- it is a powder blush inside a cute puff. The idea is you shake the puff and the powder will come out. I keep it for sentimental value since I got it from a trip. The Burberry Peony is my second pan. Yes, I love it so much, still do.

Roses and Reds:

Clockwise from LH side: Bourjois Rose Ambre -- Stila Forget Me Not -- Burberry Cameo -- Chanel JC Rose Ecrin -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge Pink Truffle
I'm not sure why I don't have more of these group, but the few that I have is quite good, I think. Forget Me Not is a windburned shade for Fall, great paired with khaki eyes. Cameo is just a tad plumier than Forget Me Not -- I know it doesn't look like so on the picture. Rose Ecrin is pale dusky-pink rose, perfect for smoky eyes. Pink Truffle is great on lips as well as on cheeks, it is pinker than the Stila. Rose Ambre is a great terracota red, while Forget Me Not and Cameo are more cooler rose-red.

Peaches and Corals:

Clockwise from top LH: Stila Camelia -- Burberry Tangerine -- Chanel JC Espiegle -- Giorgio Armani no 10 -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Sandstone Pink -- Shu Uemura Glow On Blush in Tranquil Pink -- Canmake Cream Cheek no 5 -- Stila Gerbera. Middle: Ettusais Cheek Puff in Apricot.
Whoa! Just when I think I've got other colors in manageable size, this one is out of control. Who doesn't love peach blush? Only two of them are shimmers, the Shu and GA. Tranquil Pink is really not pink, it is quite pinkish peach with the most beautiful golden glow. While Camelia and Sandstone Pink may look like dupes, they are not. They are so different on: I can use Sandstone Pink as cream contour, Camelia has enough red in it to pass as a blush on its own. I thought the Canmake may be a good dupe to retire Gerbera.. not so. Again, both are so slightly different on as evident on the pan.

Brights:

Clockwise from LH: RMK Mix Color Cheek in 02 Coral -- Giorgio Armani Fresh Berry Palette no 1 -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink -- Stila Orchid -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Raspberry Pink -- Stila Fuschia
Self-explanatory. Orchid is the most beautiful plumy hue that translate into flushed cheeks. The RMK may look deceitful but it is very pigmented coral. Notice, almost all of my brights are cream for ease of blending.

Bronzer and contour:

LH: NARS Orgasm/Laguna Duo -- Burberry Earthy
Again, another self-explanatory group. Missing on this is my other bronzer, which is Bourjois, the chocolate-look-alike kind. I'm a bit ambivalent about bronzer on my face; somehow I love embracing my paleness, even in summer time. Earthy goes on as contour (sometimes even on lids). I don't know why I'm still hanging on to the NARS. Honestly, I don't care much about the shimmery Orgasm, and Laguna doesn't do that much except when I need to look a bit bronzed.

The ones that didn't make it (but showed up on recent reviews):
  • Aerin Multi Color for Lips and Cheeks in Natural: I feel this color is a bit too muddy and lack.. certain direction. I like my blush to fill in the gap for what I'm lacking. This one doesn't really fill any need nor the color unique enough to retain.
  • Aerin Multi Color in Freesia: too much fall-out shimmer, lovely on the mama, not so on the boy. This one will go to a very happy lady.

So, can we pare this stash down even further? Which blush should I get rid of? Ideas? And also, where and how do you get rid of used makeup? Recently, I found a place that accept makeup donation. If you are interested, let me know and I'll put the info on this page.

3.19.2013

Thankful Tuesday

A few things I'm thankful about this week:

  • Despite of the challenges of toddlerhood (they are called "terrible two" for a good reason), I enjoy BabyLorp (or the-now ToddlerLorp) very much. He continues to delight and surprise me in many ways.
  • A time to paint my fingernails (and still no chip on the second day, a miracle!).
  • A new spring-time scarf.
  • Some clean clothes for tomorrow.
  • A friend expecting a new baby anytime now.
  • Playdate with friends last weekend.
What are you thankful for today?

3.13.2013

Burberry Beauty License finally goes to...

... BPI. According to my trusty Burberry counter manager, the same company that have distributed and manufactured NARS and Shiseido will take over Burberry Beauty (and possibly perfumes?) starting in April 2013.

Should we be thrilled? Or should we stock up on whatever's left on the current products made by InterParfumes? Personally, I've never been wowed by NARS eye shadows. They are really hit-miss for me in terms of color and texture. So, I may stock up on some of the eye shadows since Burberry with InterParfumes has been very consistent in its texture and quality. Lipsticks? I'd be over the moon if they'll get rid of that parma violet smell of Burberry lipsticks... much like those of NARS and Shiseido's.

Speaking of Burberry, our local Nordstrom is having a pre-sale for the trend show event on March 23rd with wonderful gifts for purchase of $150:

  • Full-size Lip Glow in Golden Peach (I have this shade from last year, wunderbar)
  • Full-size Eye Shadow in Pearl White (also have this shade from last year, a workhorse)
  • Sample Burberry BODY fragrance (not too crazy about this one to be honest)
  • Sample card of Fresh Glow (another wunderbar workhorse)
  • Burberry cosmetic bag (plether bottom with plastic top, pretty basic)


If you are interested, you can reach Nordstrom Bellevue at (425) 455-5800 and ask to speak to Angie at Burberry Cosmetics. I get ZIP from mentioning this to you guys, just passing out info and good words.

Have you been following the Burberry licensing story? What are your thoughts on this? You can read tidbits of Burberry license agreement saga here and here.

3.11.2013

New Hair Toys

Hair care is something I've focus on recently. My hair has always been naturally thin, flat, yet glossy and straight. I don't perm nor color my hair. 

On normal days (read: a 10-min speed shower + hair wash while ToddlerLorp is outside, flushing the toilet for the n-th time or trying to eat the whole roll of toilet paper) I wash my hair, condition, blow dry it to about 50% and let it air-dry. During luxury time when I've got coverage of someone looking after the toddler, I style my hair as explained below.

My overall goal is to maintain glossy-looking but voluminous hair. Some of the things that have helped me: 
  • Using a moisturizing shampoo (in addition to conditioner) to maintain the glossiness of my hair. I've used Kevyn Murphy products (Hydrate-Me Wash and Hydrate-Me Rinse) but need to branch out for some other shampoo/conditioner combo that will give my hair more volume. Volume and moisture seems to be opposite end of the spectrum in haircare because too much conditioning will weigh down the hair. 
  • Investing in a good professional hair dryer is a must, especially when styling hair daily. Professional hair dryer has the right amount of heat and speed to dry the hair quickly and efficiently. Right now I'm using Sedu Revolution Pro Tourmaline 4000i (got this at folica.com for approx $120 after discount coupons/code).

These are the new items I got during Lisa Eldridge's promo code for HQhair, a company from UK (but for some reason ship their product from Sweden, at least in my case). 


Kerastase Nectar Thermique.

This is designed as a leave-in conditioner that is applied on towel-dried hair. I applied only about a dime size or less on my shoulder-length hair, focusing just mid-length to end. I think it is more than enough as too much product will weigh the hair down. It leaves my hair silky soft and glossy. It does reduce the appearance of dry ends & flyaways. Again, the key is to use this product sparingly.
Compared to my standard Phyto 9 Cream (which I also use as a leave-in), Phyto 9 is more versatile as it can be used as a grooming cream after blow drying. Also, I like that Phyto 9 is unscented (Nectar Thermique is heavily scented but somewhat dissipate after blow drying).
THM: not must have, but nice product nonetheless.

Percy & Reed Mini Volumizing Travel Pack.

I've never heard about Percy & Reed before Lisa mentioned it in this video. Reviews of their product are available across the blogosphere, but the products are not readily available in the U.S. This travel pack is quite generous in size and the variety of products offered (six all together). 

First, I love the illustration, it is very English, down right to the font and logo. Second, the scent is very fresh with masculine twist: sharp bergamote, vetiver, perhaps a bit of rosemary, love it! 

  • Bountifully Bouncy Volumising Shampoo.
    Rinses clean and leaves my hair clean. I only shampoo once and it seems enough to remove the excess natural oil from the scalp and other styling product (I normally use very light mist of Bumble and Bumble Prep and Thickening Spray, with Phyto 9 afterwards). It does lather quite nicely. I use about a quarter size for my shoulder-length hair. You may need more as my hair is quite thin.
  • Bountifully Bouncy Volumising Contidioner.
    The third ingredient in it is the same main surfactant of Kerastase Masquintense. It rinses clean yet leaves the hair very silky: you know, the feel of a good conditioner when you rinse your hair and the hair just naturally flows with the water, no tangle that you have to comb with your fingers? This one is it. This conditioner is on the lighter side, but still, it makes my hair "flows" with the water without any tangle/knots.
  • Smoothed, Sealed & Sensational Volumising No Oil, Oil (for fine hair).
    This one is a peculiar product: it claims to smooth the end and add volume to the root. The direction says to use 1-2 pumps from root to end on towel-dried hair. To me, this translates as some type of heat-protectant (the ingredients after alcohol is silicone). I use one pump and it doesn't really add volume to the root. In fact, it makes for a greasy root the second day, so I just use this from mid-length to end. 
  • Abundantly Bouncy Volumising Mousse
    I love this product! It adds a flexible hold to my hair without the greasy feeling. I use about a large walnut size, concentrating on the root, using a hair comb to distribute it. I'm not sure if I've tried any other mousse recently, though, so I can't really compare.
  • Reassuringly Firm Session Hold Hairspray
    I also love this one. It really adds a flexible hold without being crunchy. Again, I use this sparingly, just as a light mist at the end of blow drying. It does help extend the styling to the second day.
  • Superstar Supersized Bodifying Cream
    I'm not particularly amazed by this. I think this is marketed as a combo of styling + grooming product. The more you use this, supposedly, the more hold you get. Well, I only use a dime size to start with, and I think I get more styling hold from using the mousse. This is a good alternative if you don't like mousse texture, I guess. I have to experiment with this a bit more to contrast/compare, but so far I've got good combo from the mousse + hairspray and very pleased with the result.
THM: I'd recommend this kit to those who are curious about the range. My next try is the Mini Moisturising Travel Pack.

Percy & Reed put up lots of video hair tutorial -- here's one of them.





3.06.2013

Pinch O' Pink

Just in time for Spring, let's be honest, how many pink blushes do you have?

Clockwise from LH side: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink -- Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Pale Pink -- Canmake Cream Cheek no 11 -- Aerin Beauty Multi Color for Lips and Cheeks in Sweet Pea -- Stila Convertible Color in Lilium -- Aerin Beauty MCLC in Fresia.
A picture under direct sunshine, same order as above:


... and the same order under the shade:


A girl can never have enough pink blushes!



3.03.2013

Aerin Beauty Lipstick in 03 Tulip (from Aerin Beauty Garden Collor)

The last item from Aerin Beauty Garden Color Collection that I purchased is the lipstick, 03 Tulip.


This color is not available at my local Nordstrom Aerin counter, so I have to order it online. I was hoping that this color would lay on the pink spectrum of beige-pink: so many beige-pink lipstick out there are more beige leaning ever so slightly pink. For spring, I thought a pinker lipstick would perk up my mood in the so many grey days that still linger here.

As it turns out, the color reminds me very much of Chanel Rouge Allure 89 Gracile (my staple beige-pink lipstick) but this one has fine pink and gold shimmer particle in it so when the light hits, it looks somewhat cooler pink. The shimmer is not too visible, overall impression is quite creamy, but one can see shimmers under direct sunlight. Is this what one may consider as satin finish? While I love the formulation of Aerin's previous lipsticks, I found this one to be a bit drying. 

Here's the swatch under the shade of a gloriously sunny day (I didn't know why was I at home at all!):

From L to R: Aerin Beauty Lipstick 03 Tulip (four swipes) -- Chanel Rouge Allure 89 Gracile (two swipes)

Notice how Tulip is a lot sheerer than Gracile. Same order, under direct sunlight:


You can see the shimmer on Tulip, translating more like a cool-toned sheen, versus the utterly cream Gracile.

Finally, ingredient pictures:


With so many beige-pink lipstick in my wardrobe (one is one too many) any new addition to my stash has to: 1. fill the gap in terms of texture, color, finish, etc. and 2. be absolutely impecable & of good enough quality that I want to wear it for many years to come. This one sadly, Tulip doesn't fit in any of those categories.

THM: standard, rather drying beige-pink lipstick, YMMV so choose what you need.

3.01.2013

The Obvious Paris Collections

I've followed Obvious State since its name was Little Brown Pen, and I've always admire Nichole's photography and enjoyed reading her blog.

Recently she posted on her blog that she'd like to know which 4 combination of pictures readers would choose and who can't resist such temptation of mixing and matching the numerous wonderful pictures that she has at her shop here.

Here is my pick.. there are so so much more, I just don't have the time to play with them all.