MOTW: The Chanel Series - Raffinement

The Chanel Series continues with Raffinement quad, which must be one of the most-used quad in my collection. The colors aren't unique or dupe-able, but the quality of the shades are that of Chanel: sparkly without being over the top, shimmery without being too frosty, pigmented without being too chalky, in short un raffinement

The inspiration of the look for this week comes courtesy of magazine sale from local Kinokuniya. Here, I found Maquia of past months half-priced; easy on the wallet and still useful for those of us who are not following trend.

One of the article features past Maquia cover-girl and their most sought-after facial feature. This one features Nozomi Sasaki, apparently a popular model/actress/songstress in Japan. 

Rough translation: please be aware that the color used in this tutorial is based on Sofina Aube Couture Designing Impression Eyes palette no 552. Other products used: Aube Couture Desinging Eyeliner BK701, Chanel Inimitable Extreme Mascara.
1. Medium-brown shade on the movable eye lids, layer more on the center of the eyes
2. Brown-beige shade over the width of the double-eye lid. 
3. Blend the eyelids with fingertips.
4. Tight-line upper lash line.
5. Extend the outer corner of the lash line.
6. Highlight the inner corner of the eyes.
7. Use the peachy-beige color on the outer 1/3 of the lower lid.
8. Apply mascara in fan-shape manner.
  • Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer in Bliss to give a sheer, luminous canvas. I found that as I age, I no longer go darker during the summer, despite of numerous daily trip to the local park with the Tod. Maybe because I've gotten very careful with my sun protection? I found Bliss still suits my skin quite well without looking pasty.
  • Chanel Quad Raffinement for eye look adapted loosely based on the above tutorial. I have hooded lids with somewhat deep-set eyes, so what I did was to sweep the sparkly champagne mid-tone all over the lid (no 1), then use the darker mid-tone to focus near the lash line (no 2). Light shimmery peach to highlight inner-corner of lower lids (no 6) and darkest shade to deepen the outer corner (no 7).
  • By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Frozen Quarts added to the inner corner of the eyes as well.
  • Charlotte Tilbury The Classic Audrey eye powder pencil; which I love, love, evident by the size of it, to tightline the upper lash line. This is, by the way, a total dupe of Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eyes Powder Pencil. Don't take my word for it, simply copy & paste these first four ingredients of CT eye pencil on Google search and see what pops out:
    Ethylhexyl Isostearate, Nylon-12, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax (Copernicia Cerifera Cera), ...
  • Le Volume de Chanel mascara, still going strong.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Love Glow blush to lend that hint-of-peach on the cheeks.
  • NYX Butter Gloss in -- what else? -- Peaches and Cream. The scent is atrocious but the color is lovely, especially for a drug-store gloss.

Speaking of eye makeup, I've only been using one brush for the past month or so to do my eye makeup; the Tom Ford eye shadow contour brush. It is super fast and effective as a lay-down brush, the tip is sharp enough as a smudger or for lining the bottom lids/along the lash line. I'd use one side of the brush for one color, the other for the next, then swipe the tip on the light highlighter color first before finally swiping it on the darkest shade for the bottom lid. If you can only get one Tom Ford brush, I highly recommend this one.

I wish you a happy, safe, productive week.


Happy Homemade Sew Along Day 5

Well, not much to write on Day 5. I was getting tired that this project drags on to more than a full-week instead of 5-day ordeal. In any case, day 5 was a bit uneventful. I sew the hems and inserted the drawstring, and voila, we have a hoodie.

I love that it is made out of shirting flannel; it is soft yet warm at the same time, perfect for those chilly Summer nights or transitioning into Fall. That also means the Tod can wear it right away, he actually cannot wait!

I wasn't sure how the Tod going to receive it, but he loves it. I think he was amazed that I made something out of a piece of fabric. Of course, he didn't see my work, otherwise, he would have want to sew it himself, but I told him that if he wants to learn how to sew, he can. In fact, some of the best designers are men: Karl, Valentino..


MOTW: The Chanel Series - Kaska Beige

First of all, I'd like to thank you from the bottom of my heart from an outpouring support over my last post. There are so many of you who reach out to me personally and I can feel the goodness of life all around me. Thank you, thank you. You are all an affirmation that life is abundant in kindness and in love.

Now that the weather is not as hot, I slowly go back to my MOTW prep. This time around, I saw lots and lots and lots of reviews of the new Chanel Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quad.... Tisée Camelia... Tisée Rivoli... Tisée Cambon... almost every single blogger feature one shade or the other. 

These posts inspire me to give the oldies but goodies Chanel quads the love they deserve. If everything goes as planned, I will feature weekly MOTW using all of the Chanel quads that I owned, starting from this post today.
  • Chanel Kaska Beige Quad is perhaps one of the warmest quad in the collection. I don't know why it used to be my fave when the coloration definitely clashed with my skin tone. But, with the help of our friend Chanel Bronzing Base and a bit of coral cheek, it comes alive, accentuating the greenish bits of my eyes.
    I follow this diagram from Chanel for application on the "Intense Look," C = pearlescent bronzy shade, B = the matte shade and D = dark-mauve-brown shade. Don't forget A = the light gold shade on the inner corner. It is a lovely combo indeed!

  • Burberry Trench eye shadow as a base.
  • Le Volume de Chanel mascara sample -- still loving this one.
  • Chanel Bronzing Base, my fave bronzer, evah!
  • Still testing the Hada-Labo UV SPF 50 PA+++. This one has great potential, but not for someone with oily skin, I should warn.
  • Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW foundation, a nice wash of color that is a notch above tinted moisturizer in coverage.
  • Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya: a milky coral.
  • Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée in Poppy Paradise: a recent rave, can't help to get a mini of this ridiculously juicy, flattering shade of coral pink.
Not shown is the BB for Lips in Flush by BiteBeauty, another recent rave, which usually lives in my purse.

Have you used up any eye shadow quads? How long does it take? Is it something you use daily? I wish everyone a happy, healthy, wonderful week!


Talking to the Tod about Loss

Within the span of a week, our family has been through quite a bit of events. First, PapaLorp's car were involved in pile-up collision. While he was ok, and truly, it is the most important thing, his car was totaled. Second, the very next day, he also lost his job -- meaning the livelihood of our family. Since then, he has been home a lot, and the Tod knows something is up, even though none of us was ready to share with him what really happened.

First, how do I know that the Tod is impacted by this situation? His routine has turned erratic, he has become defiant in the littlest things that we ask of him, even his appetite is all over the place. My Even-Steven Tod seems confused and "unbalanced." I am unbalanced, myself. I have not had a time to process these events. But somehow, when you become a parent, you look after your child first -- I guess it is the survival instinct.

Between my husband and I, we've shared quite a great deal of life's ups and downs. We've been through lay-offs, job shifts, moves across the country, car wrecks, lost of properties, etc. We can handle them, we know from the past experience that life happens and life moves on. But to young children, even the slightest thing can throw off their sense of security.

I have been thinking a lot about how to share these news to the Tod; after all, he is a member of our family and he deserves to know. Many people would argue that a 3 year old child won't comprehend such life-altering events that even adults have hard time coping, but I beg to differ. I think children has the capacity to absorb and make sense of the life around them, and it is the job of the adults around them to help them makes sense of the situation so they can create a cohesive narration of the event (for more of this theory, I'd recommend books by Dr. Dan Siegel -- which includes "Parenting from the Inside Out").

So, I opened up a conversation with him this afternoon.

"Hi sweetie, do you notice that Papa is staying at home a lot?"

"Yes, are you going to work, Mama?"

"That's true, isn't it? When Papa is home, usually I go to work, right?"


Then silence. He knew something was up.

"What happened to Papa's car?"

"Do you want to take a look?"

I thought, Darn! I shouldn't have said this. What happen if he freaks out? But knowing the Tod, who loves anything mechanical, I knew he'd be curious. So, we took the short walk to where the car was parked on the street. The mangled debris, hanging headlights, squished engine all fascinated him immediately. He touched the dirty car, looked at the cables hanging out from the headlights, looked underneath the hood to see where the fluid was coming out. Then he said to me,

"I will fix it, Mama. I want to fix Papa's car and then Papa will be happy again."

Suddenly, my eyes got really hot. This amazing little soul feels that he can help and he wants to help his dad. I stood there, holding back tears as best as I could, tried to just be present to his comments and assessments.

"What happen to the car, Mama?"

"Do you want to know?"


We went back to the house and I explained to him, with a pretend play using his toy cars, how the car hit each other. I repeated this pretend play over and over and over again for the next few days. I also read that when the child is this young, their still-egocentric world tends to "blame" everything that is wrong onto themselves, even though logically it does not make sense for us adults, so I stressed the fact that he does not have anything to do with the broken car. "Cars are broken sometimes. It just happens. Then we fix them back, just like toys."

Explaining a job loss is a different matter. The fact that adults go to a job, to earn a living, is a very abstract concept. The Tod has visited my husband's office and he always had a great fun there (which breaks my heart even more to tell him that he won't be able to visit the office again). My husband and I agreed that we need to somehow tell the Tod what happen so that his daily routine is preserve, even with the presence of Papa at home.

"So, Papa is at home now?"

"Yes, Papa is going to be at home for a bit now. Do you know why?"

"I think because Papa's car is broken"

Good thought!

"I think so. But what else?"

"Because Mama is going to work"

"Yes, Mama is going to work more now, and you will be at home with Papa for a bit. Are you going to be ok with that?"


"And Papa is at home now because Papa is all done with the X company. Do you remember Papa's X company office?"

"I want to go to X office again!"

"Yes, we had so much fun at X office, didn't we? Oh, I wish we can do so, sweetheart. But Papa is all done with the X company. Now, Papa is going to look for a new office to work at."

"A new office?"

"Yes, a new office."

"With an elevator?"

By this time, I know he's going to be ok. Elevator is his most favorite thing in the world, and we chatted about some elevators that we have rode in the past.

I expect the Tod will want to talk again about why Papa is staying at home and why Mama is going to work more often than usual. I plan to keep communication open and stay present with what he knows, what he wants to know, and where his interest lays.

In the end, talking about loss to my son has brought up a conversation deeper about his understanding of things, not so much about my agenda of what I want him to understand about the situation. I can't help to think of other tragedies going on in the world, and on how someday, he will understand them and want me to help him understand it all. I feel such privilege, honor, and immense responsibility washing over me.. who am I that the universe entrusted me with this precious soul?

But most unexpectedly, there was a strange peace that filled me that afternoon, when my husband came home with the news. We went out to eat as a pick me up, to cheer us up a bit. The Tod was pleasantly surprised that PapaLorp was home early; he skipped in between us as he hold tight to our hands. As we swung him in the air to the count of three, I could feel his palpable joy, I thought, wow, we are so blessed, so blessed that we can feel joy in the midst of loss. Truly, the tragedy makes the joy of life sweeter. I wish it isn't so. I wish I can always be mindful about the joy of life, as sweet as this is, without bad things happening. I wish it isn't so.

There are many helpful guides out there by experts on how to talk to young children about loss. If you have children, I particularly found the ones by Dr. Laura Markham helpful, along with books from Dr. Dan Siegel mentioned above. I hope that by sharing our situation, many will feel that sharing bad news with young children is not as daunting. Did you ever have to break a bad news to your children? How did your children take it? Or did your parents ever share a bad news to you when you were a child and how did they do it? Have you ever been in a personal tragedy that freed, rather than burdened you? How do you turn lemons into lemonade? Please share your recipes (lemonades or else) and your experiences below. I wish you and your loved ones well, where ever you are.


Happy Homemade Sew Along Day 4

Day 4 of Happy Homemade Sew Along is all about attaching the hoodie. There's a lot to be done and it took me two days to complete the task. Here's how I did it.

Attaching the hoodie itself onto the bodice was easy peasy. The hard part was sewing the neck facing: a piece of long strip to conceal all the seams and the elastic around the neck. 

Lots of pins and lots of turns were a recipe for disaster, at least for me. Then I remembered why I spent countless hours helping my Oma hand-basting; it is exactly to avoid such disaster and to produce a neater product.

Let's take a detour and talk about my Oma for a second. Among other jobs that she held in her life, she was a seamstress. She sew for a living to help out with the expenses of raising four children and an aging mother. Not only that, she loved everything that she did domestically that it showed through everything she made. She made my mother's wedding dress, all of my school uniforms (and my sister's and my brother's), an impromptu button-down shirt for the Tod from a salvaged broadcloth shirt, and everything she owned to wear. Even though all these things were available for purchase, she always said well-made and well-fit clothes worth a thousand bucks, and it is true. I remembered one time she planned to attend an event at the church that was of special importance. She and I went shopping for that exact dress that she had in mind. Of course, she found none of such dress. She then went home, flipped through a couple of Vogue magazines (they used to come with patterns in it!) --- I like this collar, but with this sleeves, not the A-lines skirt, but more of a swing, etc. etc. She drafted the pattern on a piece of newspaper, cut and sewn the dress. All in a day. In my mind, at least, there is nothing that Oma could not sew. She can reverse-engineer pretty much anything.

Whenever I visited her house to spend the night or the weekend, she would have loads of things for me to hand-baste. Shirt collars were the perennials, along with hems, ruffles, puffy sleeves, etc. I spent hours and hours hand-basting that my eyes are used to the 0.5 cm intervals between the stitches. Hand-basting help hold layers together so you can machine-stitch neatly, and I am thankful she drilled that to me. 

Now, after all that, did I learn? Nope... I stubbornly use pins to attach the first part of the neck facing -- as evident on the picture above. And gosh golly.. it was such an acrobatic twist! It didn't look that bad on the picture above, but I encountered some sharp turns and such, I managed to poke myself with a pin. I also had to stop every one inch or so to make sure I sew all the layers. What a P-I-T-A. I called it a day, that was the end of day one.

The next day, lesson learned. I hand-basted the second part of the neck facing. What a breeze it was to sew, Oma would be so proud of me..

Ta-da! Neck facing attached and looked professional, thanks to hand-basting. We are homestretch, folks! Next time, we'll have a hoodie to wear.


Thankful Tuesday

Lots of things to be grateful lately.. in no particular order:

  • Cold dinners; mostly consisting of cold tofu, salad of tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and cold soba. Even more delicious is hearing the Tod's sound of slurping.
  • The Tod saying, "I want to spend time with mama!" while tugging at my hand.
  • A working car with working AC -- always grateful for that, especially in hot weather like this.
  • Iced coffee and iced green tea from Yamamoto Yama (both sweetened and unsweetened are as good).
  • A time to shower this morning.
  • Bubble blower!
  • The Salal berries we enjoyed this afternoon, right from our own sidewalk (blackberries are just a few weeks away now!).
  • Delicious, moist, chocolate birthday cake with chocolate mousse & chocolate ganache from Bakery Nouveau.
  • A job that has allowed me to spend time with the Tod at home. It is easy to complain about the money I don't earn, the missed opportunity, and the worries of being on the lowest rank of the corporate feeding chain -- and it's easy to forget that the trade off is truly priceless. As my favorite Bono quote says, "What you don't have, you don't need it now."
Maybe it is your child, your spouse, your friends and co-worker. Maybe it is your meal, your time alone, your unexpected finds. Gratitudes shared = gratitudes multiplied, so please share yours with us! I hope you have enjoyed your summer so far with your loved ones.


How do you clean your synthetic brushes?

Another brush bites the dust. And the title is posed as a question and not a rhetorical one. How do you clean your synthetic brushes?

I love my Real Technique brushes: they are synthetic, meaning can be used with many mediums, they perform very well, they are multi-tasking, and they are of good quality. Good quality? I still think so, considering the cost (this is not Koyudo, Hakuhodo, or Chikuhodo we are talking about), even after the demise of the above well-worn Stippling Brush.

I got this one about three years ago. It is one of the most well-used brush in my collection for foundation blending and cream blushes. With synthetic brushes, oil-based makeup seems to cling onto the fibers and the product can get trapped deep in the middle/base of the brush (especially if the brush has been used for a long time). So, occasionally I use my cleansing oil to loosen up all that build up before washing it thoroughly with water and soap. I do this every other day, slightly more often during the cooler months.

It started with just a little tuft. Later on, a bigger chunk of hair came off.

So, am I too harsh with the brush? I have the feeling that the cleansing oil is the culprit. Here's why.

I am skeptical about "dry upside-down or at the angle" advice because, as we all have learned in basic science, water will travel towards the ferrule by virtue of capillary actions. The tiny space between two fiber hairs is so minute that it provides the capillary action. In fact, I'm willing to bet that capillary action is how liquid products travel and accumulate into the middle of the brush and further down the ferrule.

To reinforce my argument about the cleansing oil as culprit: I use to dry my brushes right-side up (i.e. the fibre on top, handle on the bottom) in a cup. All of them, including the Sonia Kashuk ones, which clocks almost 10+ years. The ferrule of these brushes were subjected to longer term of exposure to water with capillary action and gravity. Yet, they are still functioning, the ferrule still intact with little shedding as the time goes by. Only when I learned about the "proper" way of air-drying brushes that I started to lay them flat for drying (but then again, capillary action still happen, it happens regardless of the direction of gravity). On the other hand, you may have noticed that cleaning natural fiber-brush is easier than synthetics; all I have to do is shampoo and condition, no cleansing oil needed. My synthetic brushes have to endure cleansing oil insult, on top of water+soap, thus the theory of cleansing oil as the culprit of the weakening ferrule.

Finally, from the design point of view, if I were a brush designer, I would choose a ferrule glue that is somewhat impermeable to water or maybe withstand regular cleaning with water. I can understand if water-based glue is chosen for natural fibers -- some organic solvents can eat up keratins/organic proteins. If the fiber is synthetic, however, the more reason to use oil-based glue as it does not jeopardize the integrity of the fibers and the glue is more durable than water-based one. Oil-based glue + cleansing oil = dissolution. Maybe I'm wrong, these are all just hypotheses.

This is a reason why I'm a bit weary about investing in fluffy foundation brush (the perennial fave such as the ones by Sephora or Louise Young Super Foundation Brushes), I can already imagine the foundation build up in the middle of the brush that will be harder to clean as the time goes by.

I'd like to hear and learn from your experience & tips, especially from brush experts/afficionadas. Please leave your comments down below.

Real Technique reached out to me and offered a replacement brush right away, without me asking. Thank you, Real Technique!!


Humble Drinks

This coffee does not look cold. In fact it is warm, a leftover from this morning.

How's the weather been where you live? Today was an inferno at 90 F here. Yeah, really. And for that, nothing's better than a little bit of iced coffee. When I was in Taipei and Singapore, I noticed the abundance of canned coffee and tea drinks, much like our equivalent of Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper. Canned coffee? Can't be good, right? After all, I came from Seattle, the Starbucks capital of the world if not the self-proclaimed coffee capital of the universe. 

Dun dun dun!! I do wonder if there's an actual Starbucks inside the mothership.
Well, these humble drinks proven me wrong. You see, coffee hold a long tradition in South East Asian countries, Singapore included. They are some of the producer of coffee in the world. The Singaporean has their own Starbucks version of Kopi Tiam and coffee is served with meal. They are so readily available that we enjoyed them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

We enjoyed this Kopi as part of rice porridge breakfast (sadly only the you tiao/油條/Chinese donuts are shown).

One of the most popular chain of Kopi Tiam in Singapore is Kiliney. I think we went to several Kilineys when we were there, including the one at the airport, but we often frequented the Moms and Pops ones near hotel place as well. Kopi Tiam stalls are practically everywhere, I started to think that this may be the Singaporean/Malay version of afternoon tea, sort of a place for a bit of a snack and pick-me-up. 

A typical assortment of beverages in a Kopi Tiam,
clockwise from lower left: Milo, Soya Bean Drink, Kopi "O," Kopi "C."

At Kopi Tiam, Kopi (Malay for coffee) comes in several variety; Kopi means coffee without anything in it, Kopi "O" means coffee without anything in it but sugar (O = nothing, zero -- I know it does not make sense, I think it should be called Kopi "S" = coffee + sugar, and Kopi should be called Kopi "O"), Kopi "C" means coffee with sweetened condensed milk (my favorite). These suffixes also applies for tea, which is usually brewed super strong.

The Soya Bean Drink tastes just like soy milk flavored with pandan leaf or almond extract, it was truly delicious. Milo is dubbed as the "National Children's Drink" in Singapore -- cheekily mentioned by a lady who served it to the Tod; it is a chocolate and malt mixture, with some vitamins thrown in that can be mixed with milk. It is so tasty, not too cloyingly sweet, unlike the super sugary Nesquik counterpart that is available in the U.S. 

Somebody was hooked on Milo!

Of course there are other things in the menu at Kopi Tiam. I often ordered Horlicks as well, another rendition of malted drink like Milo, sans the chocolate. 

The food? Oh gosh, where should I begin. Breakfast is an assortment of toasts with traditional fillings like kaya, or more "western" fillings like jellies and peanut butters, along with soft boiled eggs on the side. Lunch usually comprises of local dishes such as Mee Siam, Laksa, Nasi Lemak... this can make a whole other blog post on its own.

Sure, there are Starbucks when I visited Singapore, but I think they won't replace these traditional establishments anytime soon. I saw how the locals were proud of it, frequented the many Kopi Tiams during lunch time and even had some take-outs after work. Someday, when the Tod goes back to Singapore when he's all grown up, I hope he will find the same traditional Kopi Tiam stalls are still burgeoning everywhere.

Wait, where were we? Oh, canned drinks! Right. 

I spoke to my sister, who works for in fragrance & flavor industry (I can't reveal the name of the company, but if you are curious, it starts with a "G" and it is the number one company world-wide that hold the marketshare of fragrance & flavor). She said that canned coffee like these are about.... 80-90% flavored to enhance the natural coffee aroma. The processing of coffee beverage pretty much destroys anything that resembles brewed coffee, plus, the good coffee is, of course, a bit expensive to use in commercial products. While she cannot vouch whether her company made the flavoring for Pokka, she can definitely say that Pokka is quite good compared to some other coffee-flavored drinks that she tried in her career thus far (and she has designed quite a few). 

Of course, nothing compares to the freshly-brewed iced coffee in your own backyard.

What's your favorite summer refreshment? Until then, stay cool, everyone!


Happy Homemade Sew Along Day 3

Glorious, half-baked hoodie.
This Day Three of sew along was actually stretched to three days. I thought I was ready to sew, right? Well, not so fast.. more prep-work is to be done.

Not shown is the time I spend ironing hems on both sleeves, front and back part of the hoodies. It has to be done in order for things to look neat. This prep work took me about a day, when the Tod was taking his nap.

O.k. finally I am ready to sew. The first step is attaching the sleeves onto the front bodice. Easy peasy. Since this is a garment, I reinforce the seams with zigzag stitch like above. I wish I have a serger, but I think this will do for now.

This is one sleeve attached. Rinse and repeat on the second side and also on the back side of the bodice.

After attaching the sleeves on the bodice, I seamed them together. Here it was still pinned before sewn. Onto the sewing machine it went, and zigzagged.

What happened after this was quite a disaster. No doubt, I didn't even think of documenting it with my camera. Two button-holes needed to be sewn on the bottom of the bodice, where the drawstring would go. Alas! My machine just ate up the fabric and it jammed right down into the plate. It took me a while to get the screwdriver out, clean up the plate, and assess the damage. It made a big hole in lieu of a proper buttonhole. I did reinforce the fabric with iron-on stabilizer but apparently it was not enough.

Lesson learned but it was too late into the night. I called it a day, it was the end of day two of Day 3 Sew Along. So much for the auto-buttonhole function. Phew... 

The next day, I attempted to machine-sew the second button hole, this time re-reinforcing the fabric with extra stabilizer. Second time was the charm, but damage was still done on the first button hole. I had to hand-sew the button hole, and thanks to the many hours that I helped my Oma, somehow it came to me like riding a bike.

Despite of disaster, I am very proud to have salvage the damaged button hole -- yes, I know it looks nothing like the machine-sewn but at least it is usable and neat. There is something to be said about the value of hand-mending/sewing. This is actually a premonition for the future installment of the Sew Along series, where my ability to hand-sew is called upon again.


Summer Beauty Finds

Summer Beauty Finds

Summer Beauty Finds by declairelegenou featuring josie maran skin care

I found myself slowly branching out from the familiar brands that I know. It's a good thing, right? Many of these products are not new but I think worth a mention. All links are not affiliates, just for your convenience.

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

I was gifted a generous sample from my SIL, an enabler and a beauty junky, who herself is also a member of Makeupalley. This one rocks! If you have dry skin like me, but need something along the line of Becca SSP, perhaps a lower-wattage version, you need to look no further. A little goes a long way, and the ingredients are all natural, I even put it on my lips. It goes on super sheer and glides like buttah on even layers of makeup underneath. Honestly, I think this will replace my Becca SSP, should it ever get used up.

Another perk, RMS also comes up recently with a bronzer, which, along with the Lip2Cheeks, is on my to-try list. And oh, this layers incredibly well with...

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

When I swatched the disappointingly non-existent Burberry Fresh Glow Blusher, it reminded me right away of something I tried before; Josie Maran Cheek Gelée. I had a pot of this a while back, but I think I passed it on to a family member or even donated it. I remember the color being very good but perhaps dupe-able with so many cream blushes in my collection.

Well, hello again! I now remember how lovely the texture is: very gelée, cooling and sheer. Unlike the dismal Burberry Blusher, this non-shimmery blush is packed with a bit more pigment and it stains, meaning it stays put for a long time (not that I ever have problem with makeup not staying put). Perfect for summer when splashes and sweats are unavoidable. The finish is definitely glossy (read: greasy). Yes, I'm not kidding, it is a shiny slick of oil on your cheek. If this is not your thing, do skip, but I'm loving my pot of Getaway Red (true red), I plan to stash more. For the summer, JM is also running two exclusive shades at Sephora: Vacay Rose and Island Pink. Both are lovely and so are the other colors that are permanent.

P.S. At Sephora's mortar & brick store check out line, this also comes in mini pot size for $13 (I believe?)

So, BiteBeauty. I've seen this product popped up here and there, notably from my blogger friend Gummy and I'm quite skeptical still. I mean, lipsticks are a dime a dozen right? I admit I was wrong. This one is a surprising suggestion of a Sephora SA. Remember my mission to replace the entire wardrobe of the stinky Burberry lipsticks? I ask her for something that has a consistency of a lip balm, with decent pigments, and non-scented and she selected a couple of things for me to try. The name sounds like a gimmick, but the product performs. It is a bit more pigmented and a bit more opaque than the uber-hyped Fresh Lip Balm, quite moisturizing, has SPF and not stinky! It even tastes a bit sweet & maybe with a bit vanilla thrown in there. I have been wearing the shade Flush for almost a week now. A caveat: if your lips are pigmented, this probably won't show up as this is still on the sheer side. On me, Flush freshens up my lip color into a juicy melon pink. 

I plan to wear these three products for the next week, so think of this post as an MOTW + mini-review thrown in. Wishing you a great week & stay cool!


Random Samples Review

Recently, I've got several samples worthy of my curiosity, so I went ahead to give them a try. I don't know if sample reviews are of help, but at least I'll post these here for my own sake (in case I feel the need to purchase the full-size products).

Eve Lom Radiance Lift Foundation SPF 15

I elicited here that I received the wrong shade of this foundation. Honey 12 is the second darkest shade, whereas I'd normally wear 2nd lightest shade. But, I've made a great use out of this for contouring. The shade Honey is a bit on the golden side, but that is perfect for contouring/adding depth into selective area. A little goes a long way, but I'd say the coverage is a bit toward medium rather than full. Texture is wonderful, reminds me of Bourjouis Healthy Skin/Healthy Skin Serum: thick-sillicone-based but yet creamy enough. Lightly scented, the finish is radiant as it says without one of them nano-micro-shimmer particles. If I'm so inclined to find a good replacement for my current foundation (which I think I will!) I'd probably try a sample of this first. P.S. It does contain alcohol, like very minute quantity mid-way the list there.

Goldfaden MD Bright Eyes

No ingredient list disclosed (boo!). One night, as I kissed the Tod goodnight, he said, "Mama smells nice." I sniffed myself: normally everything I use is unscented, especially skin care. Alas, this is scented. Noticeably scented, yet not-so-noticeably reducing any of the dark undereye circle that I have. Truth to be told, I don't have dark undereye circle, the sunken look is courtesy of aging, lack of sleep, and shrinking adipose tissue that used to amply pad my once-youthful skin. With that said, the cream goes on very nicely -- bordering that gel-type consistency. But beware, if you wear any silicone-based foundation/sunscreen, this will cause your foundation/skin care to ball up.

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint Sunscreen SPF 20

I appreciate that Jouer gives an expiration date on the product. I don't know if the full-size product also comes with an expiration date. It is super helpful. This one is truly luminizing, with decent light-medium coverage that is akin to BB cream. Texture is light & spreads out very nicely over silicone-based sunscreen. Alas, the deal breaker is the luminizer; unlike the above-mentioned Eve Lom, this one is a definite micro-pulverized shimmer particle, similar to Becca SSP. I mean, I love Becca SSP but not for all-over-the-face use. Sad, sad.. otherwise this is a good contender to Chantecaille Just Skin.

Eve Lom TLC Cream

Ah... this one is truly a must-try or must-see for dry skin people. Notice the third ingredient is beeswax. Yep, it is waxy, even more waxier than Creme de la Mer. Waxy also means little slip, so warming up between the palms of the hand is helpful. This cream is not as hydrating as it is protective: it is the last, occlusive barrier that you'd put on top of layers of moisture layer cake underneath. For e.g. in my routine, I'd tone with 2% BHA, followed by serums (currently PC Super Antioxidant and Skinceuticals CE Ferulic), followed by a dose of Hada Labo Hyaluronic Lotion, then a layer of nice cushiony cream (currently Kiehl's - sometimes mixed with oil), and then, this one is the rolled fondant topping on the the cake to seal in all of those juicy goodness. It does contain fragrance, albeit faintly. That's why it is not a must-buy, but rather a must-get-sample from the counter before buying.

Do you find sample reviews helpful? Show me your sample reviews & I'll hop over there.


Happy Homemade Sew Along, Day 2

Day two of Happy Homemade Sew Along is all about cutting fabric and getting ready to sew. As any of you sew may already know, sewing is spending the majority of time preparing to the actual stitching the fabric together. There are lots and lots of prep work that the pictures below cannot reveal.

One major prep work is washing and ironing the fabric you intended to use. This is quite major, because the fabric can shift and when it does, somehow one needs to dampen the fabric and give it a good tug here and there to restore it. This is more important when the fabric has repeated print, such as the plaid flannel that I'm using.

The above picture may not look like much, but folding a fabric to match the pattern can be quite tricky, especially on fabric like flannel that is super clingy. In fact, so clingy that it does not slide past each other.

After matching, time to pin pattern and cut. I usually pin the pattern on. I know some people use weights but I found it to be quite cumbersome as I am left-handed. Somehow, I feel the pattern placement is done by those who are right-handed and I always come to an awkward point of cutting. I do use weights (like my handy exercise weights above) to help me pin the pattern on the fabric.

Remember the pattern for the kangaroo pocket that I drafted? It did not include seam allowance, so I added here on the fabric itself. I've decided to use the kimono fabric as accent pocket -- I was wrong to think it was made out of wool as it came out nice & unfelted after hot wash & hot dryer. This plaid one will be the lining of the pocket.

Second most-time consuming part of pattern cutting is transferring all pattern marking onto the fabric. I also try to transfer the seam allowance, just as guide. That yellow chalk roller-pen from Clover rocks! Seriously.. I will never use the triangle chalk anymore. 

The work went all night long, this was the result. Can't wait for Day 3 when I will do some actual sewing.


MOTW: It's Gettin' Hot in Here

The heat today top at 92 F. Oy vey.. am I still in Texas?? I know, I know, I much rather live in Iceland/Nordic countries than somewhere in Florida, where my good friend from school swears is the best place on Earth (no offense, D :-)). In any case, I have not been putting much makeup lately. When the heat is intense outside, I skip foundation, thick concealer, and focus more on layers of antioxidants, vitamin C, and sunscreen. Notice, not even a mascara; I now realize that sometimes that undone look is very youthful & unexpected, especially for the summer.

  • Hada Labo UV Creamy Gel and UV Moist Emulsion
    I'm currently testing various Japanese sunscreen that I can get from amazon.com Review will be forthcoming. Sufficed to say I like the Moist Emulsion better. I supplement with the Creamy Gel for when it is super duper hot, like today.
  • Chantecaille Protection Naturelle Loose Powder SPF 46
    So, has anyone out there find a good solution to reapplying SPF throughout the day? I'm not talking about reapplying when you are pool-side, with nothing but margarita and bikinis on. I'm talking reapplying with full makeup that you put on since the morning. Well, I haven't. I resorted to this instead. I know this powder won't give me a full SPF 46, but at least some. See, I normally wake up v. early, around 5-6 AM, and go right away getting myself ready before the Tod wakes up. That's when I put on my SPF lotion. By 8-9 AM, the time we get out of the house, whatever sun protection agent would have been degraded some (especially if you follow the rule of applying every 2 hours), but I really don't have the luxury to put on makeup after he wakes up. So, I put on my Uniqlo UV Cut Hoodie while driving (yea, I've gotten that look of "Nice fashion, lady!"), put on my hat, or dust this powder all over, generously. My son loves the outdoor. and I need to protect myself. This is a good compromise for now.
    If you have a better solution, I want to hear it.
  • Chanel Bronze Universelle/Bronzing Makeup Base
    To add some color on my pasty skin. Think of this as a "replacement" of the foundation and concealer. A bit of bronzer goes a really long way.
  • Jack Black Lip Balm SPF 15
    Goes on surprisingly matte! Try it & see if you agree.
  • By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Frozen Quartz.
    This is a replacement for my much-loved Chanel IdO Emerveille, which has crumbled and now exists as few small pebbles inside the pot. Frozen Quartz is in the same pinky family but is a tad cooler and sparklier than Emerveille. Like Emerveille, I love that this doesn't budge either.
  • Becca Beach Tint in Watermelon
    A staple blush for the summer.
Stay cool and stay pretty!