4.29.2013

Update on Burberry Beauty Transition

By now, I'm sure you know my love for Burberry Beauty line: the understated, chic, yet easily wearable line. Last weekend, I visited my favorite Burberry Beauty counter to learn that some of my favorite items are all out of stock. What gives?

Turned out that Burberry Beauty is transitioning from old packaging to the new one. All the current products bearing "Inter Parfums" label will be sold until they are all gone. They will not be replenished until the new packaging launch sometimes in the Summer 2013. No information yet on the new products in terms of color selection, textures, etc. My trusty source doesn't think that Burberry will discontinue popular items like Fresh Glow (in fact, they will add more to the Fresh Glow collection with a powder version of it), or shades like Pale Barley, but from what I understand everything is still kept under wraps.

It was a misunderstanding on my part*) that Burberry products will be produced by the same manufacturer as NARS or Shiseido as implied on my previous post here. Not having a business/management background, I am still learning about the behind-the-scenes of beauty industry. Apparently BPI will manage the brand in terms of distribution and marketing, whereas the actual production of the product will be "in-house." The new packaging will bear "Burberry" as the manufacturer, not "Inter Parfums" as it is printed on the boxes now. The same goes with Burberry perfumes.

So, if you see any of your favorite Burberry items sold out, they will eventually arrive in new packaging (possibly new textures? colors?). As for me, I'm stocking up on some of the staples I know I will use, the ones whose color and texture I grow to love. A few that are in my list are Fresh Glow, Trench eye shadow, Sheer Concealer 01 Light Beige, and Peony Blush.

Finally, if your local Burberry counter does not have the product that you would like, just give them a call anyway and they may be able to locate the item in another store.


(*My commitment is to provide as accurate of information as I can to you, readers. Should an error happen, please do not hesitate to contact me. We are all constantly learning from all sources of information and mistakes do happen. My sincere apology for any confusion this may have caused.

4.25.2013

Dior Lilac Colorvision v.s. Essie Bond with Whomever: A Spot On Dupe?

I'm loving my Dior Vernis more and more lately. The brush, the color, the finish, and the new gel top coat practically seal the deal.

I saw this beautiful Dior Lilac Colorvision Vernis (reviewed here by Sabrina) but couldn't find it at my local Sephora (only a cruel teaser of tester, but none in stock). What's a girl to do? Hunting for a dupe, of course! And in the course of dupe hunting, one can get really lucky to find a spot on one. So spot on, I wonder if anyone could guess which one is which.

Here are the pictures (not as good as Sabrina's but please click to view larger version):

Dior Lilac Colorvision #398 v.s. Essie Bond with Whomever, which one is which?

Please mind the application, my toddler only sleeps half-an-hour at a time.

Any guesses yet? All of them are topped with Dior new gel top coat.

The middle finger is the Dior, the rest are Essie. Now, when you click on the picture, you can see some cracks especially on Essies. Don't fret yet: these fingers were done a full week before I found the Dior tester at Sephora. Yes, the ones with Essies are a full week old!! Still no tip wear, only slight crack that is mostly invisible.

I used to hate Essie's formula and no nail technicians I know would recommend Essie (they much rather use OPI or CND). But I'm actually seeing a great improvement, especially with this one. It is still on the thinner side, but more self-leveling and applies more evenly. The fact that it wears for a full week without tip wear is a testament to the formula -- perhaps also more to the Dior Gel Top Coat. I saw no shrinking with this top coat + Essie combination. Kudos to Essie!!

The only tiny difference that I can tell between the Dior v.s. Essie version is that Dior has micro sparkle that makes it that much shinier in daylight. Still, the sparkle is not visible under most lighting, both appears a solid creme. But for those who can't get the Dior, the Essie one is a very good, spot on dupe in terms of color and formula.


4.18.2013

Empties: repurchase or not?

I came across this charming youtube video from Graine de Houpette: Produits terminés - à racheter ou pas. This is one of French vlog that I follow and I found her channel quite charming. In any case, I thought I'd follow suit for several products that I've used up so far.



  • Klorane Shampoo with Almond Milk.
    I got this one from a promo at diapers.com/soap.com and gave it a try. The shampoo is very milky and mild. It does a decent job cleansing my hair, which can be greasy at the roots (I shampoo my hair every other week since I have oily scalp and fine hair). Sometimes, I feel I need to do a second shampoo to get rid of particularly heavy styling products. It is lightly scented that dissipates quickly. I think it's ok, but it is SLS-based. I've been meaning to try non-sulfate shampoo/conditioner, so I probably will reuse my existing shampoo (I'm trying to use up Lush Seanik now).
    Verdict: not.
  • Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Shower Gel in Grapefruit.
    Second ingredients in this shower gel is cocamidopropyl-based surfactant, so I thought it would be milder than most of the SLS-based shower gel. Not so. Also disappointing is the fragrance: it is quite stinky and chemically. Could I be getting a bad product? In any case, the bottle is huge, the value is quite reasonable, it cleans well both body and hair in a jiff.
    Verdict: maybe repurchase but another scent/unscented. 
  • CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion.
    Recommended by a dermatologist I know, I've been using this lotion faithfully. This is my holy-grail body lotion: unscented, non-irritating, and the moisture seems to last better than some of the thicker lotion. Coria Laboratories, the maker of CeraVe, also produces prescription topical creams/ointments, so I know they must have a good R&D behind the formulation.
    Verdict: repurchase.
  • Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser.
    It is a thick cleanser that lathers mildly. It does remove light makeup but it leaves my skin feeling dry. I much rather it be unscented, the scent is so artificial, it's a bit revolting, but I guess natural ingredients can be stinky so perfume is needed to mask it.
    Verdict: not.
  • Resist Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer with SPF 25 from Paula's Choice.
    I enjoy PC's products in general. They offer good value, much researched ingredients, non-gimicky packaging and shipping is super fast since the office is just a stone throw away from where I live. I was in search of physical block sunscreen during the summer. I just have to accept that physical block = a quite thick cream in order to disperse the zinc oxide/titanium dioxide properly. After all,  these are dense particle that must be suspended in equally dense vehicle. That, or you need a silicone-based water emulsion that you shake in a bottle with little pebbles inside. This thick sunscreen feels rather tacky (minimally tacky if powdered) but does a good job protecting. I didn't get burned at all during the summer and there were times when we spent the whole day outdoor. I appreciate that it is unscented, but the twist-off cap on top is certainly unnecessary.
    Verdict: maybe. I have another chemical block sunscreen coming, hopefully I won't have any reaction to that. If so, I may have to come back to this until I find a suitable replacement.

4.11.2013

Spring Uniform


Spring Uniform


My uniform (read: wardrobe) has been pretty constant since the beginning of Spring. I just grab a fresh set of underwear and t-shirt and and go with what's on the closet which is pretty much what you see above. They are not the exact items that I own, but the best representation that I could find at polyvore/internet. Many of these items I've owned for years. For example, the navy cashmere sweater that I owned is from J.Crew circa 1998. The Marinière top is from Petite Bateau that I bought 13 years ago, although I really need to find a replacement for this since this is quite old and has shown signs of wear and tear. The white jeans and blazer are from Banana Republic circa... years ago. These items are timeless and can be worn over and over again, regardless of seasons or years. They are truly core staples in my wardrobe.

Accessories are always minimal. My scarf is a Paul & Joe with similar feel to the J.Crew one above. I'm still loving my nude Eddie flats. The new addition of nude Kate Spade Cobble Hill Ellen carries the essential such as wallet, makeup bag, cell phone, and car key. Since the Toddler and I love our local park, a pair of Vans is a must, especially for walking on muddy ground. I keep a pair in the car so I can change in a whim, should the Toddler fancy a run. 

Makeup is still a no-makeup look with Spring palette and a splash of bright color. Burberry Mallow Pink was a gloss that I passed numerous times before finally caved in: nothing has the most perfect bright, vibrant, pink-bordering-coral color. When it is windy out, I pull out my Burberry Field Rose Lip Mist as a wash of moisturizing rose-pink lip. Revlon In the Buff was sadly discontinued -- it is a nude palette leaning slightly pink, perfect for Spring. Aerin Sweet Pea gives the perfect pink flush on the cheeks for the season. Finally, Chanel Tendresse is a staple nude-pink on my tips since it came out years ago.

Not shown is the perfume. Spring is a perfect time to bust out gorgeous florals. I've been wearing lots of orange blossom fragrances lately. Also not shown is the essentials such as rain jacket, trench coat, and a pair of wellies.

For those of you who are not familiar with "Ten-Item Wardrobe" please flock over to The Daily Connoisseur's website. This concept really liberates me of keeping up with the trend and mindless consumerism, while looking chic and timeless at the same time. In my case, I wish the same can be said with makeup, but I'm definitely working on it.

What are some of your favorite things to wear this Spring?

4.06.2013

FACE Stockholm for J.Crew Lipstick: Peony Pink

J.Crew strikes again, this time with bright, vibrant pink for Spring.


I read up a little bit about FACE Stockholm and I grow to like the company. It is still owned and operated by a mother-daughter team, and they value personal interaction with customers. Not sure how that translates in real life since I've never been to any of their boutique, nevertheless, the story is quite charming.

Peony Pink is no shrinking violet. It is a bright, neon pink with slight violet undertone in some lighting. The lipstick goes on creamy with semi-matte finish, but I found it quite drying after a few hours of wearing. It is of medium-high opaque pigment and it leaves a nice stain afterwards. It does not have any scent which I appreciate.

With trend-color lipstick like this, I like something that is pigmented so I can wear it in a few different ways. Lately, I've blotted it down to a stain and put the Aerin lip balm on top for a nice sheen. Sometimes I muted the color down using milky-pink shade gloss or beige gloss. I've also layered it under sheer coral lipstick to change the color a little (something along the line of Chanel Rouge Coco Shine). Finally, it actually looks quite good full on, straight from the bullet, especially under the unflattering indoor lighting.

The left-hand swatch is done in one swipe, the right-hand is done in four.

Under direct sunlight

Under shade

THM: a nice color to update your look for the Spring.

FACE Stockholm for J.Crew lipstick is available at local J.Crew stores and jcrew.com for $20. Check out my other review of J.Crew lipstick here.

4.05.2013

"The challenge in life is to make music from what remains."



I heard this haunting quote from Itzhak Perlman while listening to local public radio today. They were talking about death and sorrow. You can read the full transcript here (by the way, if your local public radio is also having their Spring drive, I encourage you to consider contributing and supporting this wonderful community resource!). 

With abundance of life around us, Spring is naturally a time to reflect on the cycle of life: birth and death. Sadly, in our society, there's a dearth of frank discussion about these subjects. Is it taboo? Too gross? Is it just too morbid? Well, I promise you that this post is neither morbid nor deep/enlightening.

I've always been fascinated with the subject of birth and death. It is often said that there is similarity between the two. Here, I share with you a few that I know to be true:
  • Older person are more child-like than their younger self. Most of them loves to indulge in things that matter, perhaps because they've denied those very things all their lives.
  • While in labor with BabyLorp, I could hear from the fetal heart monitor that his heart rate went slowly down, down..., down....., and stopped. With each push and contractions, his heart rate would go down and eventually stop, only to bounce back up. PapaLorp panicked the first time he heard the heart beat stopped, but the doctor reassured him that it was normal and part of birthing process. Parallel to the dying process, the heart rate also slows down then goes back up, then slows down, and then up, etc. The cycle repeats many times before the heart eventually stops.
  • These cycles, both in birth and in death, can happen in a matter of hours, or days, or even weeks. Yes, looking back, I was in labor for a week before BabyLorp's arrival, blissfully unaware, only to think that the little twitches were nothing more than annoyance.
  • My first experience of death was in the third grade. My grandpa was the color of pale yellow and grey in his open casket, lined with aluminum, the kind old-fashioned ice cream containers were made of in ice cream parlor. A guest in the wake said to me, to cheer me up, that he'd probably turn into ice cream. I knew it wasn't true. 
  • As in birth and death, one knows it will end eventually, one doesn't know when or how. When I was pregnant, I knew I'd give birth eventually, but when and how, I didn't know. I suppose the same thing happen with death.
  • To love someone for life or to have a child means also to be willing to accept the possibility of witnessing their death as well -- up close and personal. Perhaps this is the true meaning of, "till death do us part?"
  • The most traumatic death I've ever experienced was that of my beloved dalmatian, Doudou. I wasn't there with him, and I never knew to this day the details of it. All I knew was snippets from my mother and my brother that it was quite gruesome. It has lived in my mind as the worse kind of death. Then one day, I dreamed of Doudou coming to me, all healthy and happy, and the next day, I learned that I was pregnant with BabyLorp. 
One of my favorite quote about birth, death, and life is from Eckhart Tolle. "Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal." Somehow, I know this to be true.

I welcome you to share your thoughts on birth, death, and life.

4.02.2013

Billy Liar


Most of us perhaps knows Julie Christie from Doctor Zhivago, but it is one of her earlier role as Liz in Billy Liar that captivates me. Julie plays a carefree young woman who got tangled with a man who never grows up. The film is quite funny yet poignant at the same time. 

Is there any movie that you like before the actor/actress in it become famous?