MOTW: Addiction AW'14 Tokyo Story

Rila Fukushima for Addiction by Ayako. Image from AFPBB
Sometimes I'm baffled as to why Japanese (or Asian) women eagerly adopt to the Western standard of beauty while many (from East or West) consider features such as porcelain skin, almond eyes, and full lips as beautiful. That, complete with the inspiration behind "Tokyo Story" (Ozu's movies are some of my faves, particularly "Good Morning") by Addiction is enough to get me riled up to copy the look for this week's MOTW. Granted, this is one of those fake MOTW, not suitable for school run and such, but this is what I do when I get a chance to play with makeup this week.

I ponder and ponder on how to make this look not looking like a pinup look. Case comparison: the impeccable Dita von Tesse.

Image from stylebistro
Certainly these two have a lot in common: red lips, winged liner, porcelain skin. But decidedly, the Japanese Beauty theme of Addiction favors softer brows -- both in terms of color and angle, unadorned lids and lashes, and wing at a gentle slope (which is so much more eye-friendly to droopy lids like mine). While the skin is porcelain, it is kissed with a gentle pink, almost as contour, and the lips are glossy, instead of the matte pinup, reminiscent of Japanese lacquerware.

I must say iPhone camera is really not that bad, considering my measly photography skill with the real camera, lol!

My version (sans any actual Addiction product, lame, I know):

  • Base: the flawless, velvety, porcelain skin is the key feature to this look. I came across this YouTube video of Addiction makeover to see what kind of base product was used. First, the Porcelain Skin Primer was used, much like Chanel Le Blanc if you have that. Then, Porcelain Skin Foundation, which is a powder foundation, was applied with sponge for a full coverage.
    I can already tell, this type of base makeup will age me faster than having a kid or two. So, I chose something that is more suitable for my dry skin. First, I applied a thin layer of Ettusais Base Control Yellow from ages ago (I'm sure they have came out with a newer version) -- it negates the natural pink/darkness that I have on my skintone and renders the skin more porcelain. Second, I mixed a dot of Becca SSP in Pearl with the highest-coverage foundation I owned, which is Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation. Third, a healthy dose of pin-point concealing, courtesy of the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage was warranted if I were to wear a bright red lips. Finally, the face is gently dusted with Paul & Joe Loose Face Powder, which itself is collecting dust, as I rarely need any setting powder. The result was a Noh-inspired base makeup without the actual caking.
  • Cheek: Ayako used two blushes: pale cool pink + light beige brown. I chose something in between: a light contour of Chanel JC Rose Ecrin, on the hollows towards the ears.
  • Eyes: a sweep of Burberry Trench, followed by a sheer wash of Almond for definition, just on the upper lids. A gentle slope wing is drawn using Coffret D'Or Liquid Eyeliner which I love love love: this liner dries glossy jet black, and the brush tip means it never goes dull like the felt-tip. I know Ayako applied mascara but I don't think mascara will add to the the whole feel of the eyes, which is all about the liner.
  • Lips: the lacquered red is another key feature of this look. Although the inspiration does not feature ombre lips, per se, I thought I'd throw it in there -- after all, a subtle ombre equals lip enhancement. I use Burberry Lip Cover in Oxblood to trace the corners of the lips and to outline, followed by FACE Stockholm Chili Flake to fill in the rest. I really love the combination of these two colors for an ombre: the cool, dusky, plumy tone of Oxblood really makes the orange-red in Chili Flake pop even more. A wash of Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss in Pink Lily is sheer enough to register the red gradation as I think a red gloss will overwhelm the whole look and wash out the ombre.
I hope you've enjoyed my version and inspired to recreate it. Wishing you a great week ahead!


MOTW: Burberry Beauty S/S15

As I tweeted earlier last week, it was a nice strategic move from Burberry to reach out to YouTubers/bbloggers to re-create their runaway look. Fashion shows are perennial distraction of my YouTube consumption, Burberry ones mostly for the talented performers that they feature (sorry, not talking about James Bay but more of Benjamin Clementine's performance on the Menswear S/S15 who gave me goose bumps).

And behold! I think I already have almost all the items in my collection to re-create the look, which is quite minimalistic and quick enough to do when you have a toddler hanging from your leg while you are trying to get ready in the morning. I think now I'm warming up to the idea of a little color on my skin. As I get older, I notice that a little color really gives that healthy "vibe" without piling on too much makeup.

  • Burberry Fresh Glow; mine is in the original shade, not the honey shade featured, mixed in with a tiny, pin-head size of Eve Lom Radiance Lift Foundation sample in Honey (a sample that keeps on giving!) to warm up the skin.
  • Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW foundation in Petal, a shade darker than what I'd normally wear. This one is a sub for the new Burberry Fresh Glow Foundation, which I suspect won't have a good match on my skin tone. However...
  • Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer in 01 Light Beige has been my staple product since it was launched.
  • Burberry Light Glow blush in Earthy for cheeks & lids, which are prepped by a wash of Burberry Eye Shadow in Trench.
  • Supposedly one of the key feature to this look, apart from the honeyed skin, is the bare lashes. Well, no offense. The model, YouTubers, and bbloggers are at least 10 years younger than moi and at my age, I simply can't have my lashes bare. A pinching curl & a swipe of Le Volume de Chanel mascara will do.
  • Not having the Burberry Lip Cover in Ruby does not send me scouring the internet to purchase it pronto.. but rather, I followed my intuition in that I already have something similar in my stash, and less stinky (yes, Burberry, please de-stink the lip products and I will love you forevah, thanks) Tom Ford lipstick in Cherry Lush.

The Cherry Lush does look pristine, doesn't it? Well, only from the front; I use lip brush with mine and get the color from the side. I do wonder if anyone out there does this with their lipstick. One of these days, I'll swipe it right off from the bullet, for sure. I love this color and I may as well enjoy it, like daily.

Wishing you all a productive week and happy first day of Autumn!


Thankful Tuesday

  • Lisa Eldridge's new Plum Chic tuto. C'mon, let's be honest, who's with me? Every time she released one, I scour my makeup stash to re-create the look.
    My version (clockwise from upper left): Burberry Bright Plum blotted as berry-bitten stain, Charlotte Tilbury Love Glow for pink with gold-glow, dark, clear aubergine shade from my vintage Stila Toile Collection mixed with aubergine tone from Chanel Kaska Beige, Pixi Endless Silky in Oyster Glow (had this forever, use this for inner corner of the eyes, now makes a great contrast liner) smudged with the pearly beige shade from Kaska quad, Burberry concealer 01, Maybelline the Falsies, Bourjois healthy mix serum foundation.
  • PapaLorp's new job! I used to think that I'm pretty mindful about our living arrangement, but not having a steady income for a while takes that mindfulness even a step above. 
  • The Tod's back to school; bitter sweet, really but glad that he's adjusting well and thankful for the time he is at school.
  • With school comes meeting with friends new and old.
  • Time for myself for shower & write this post.
  • A slice of Tres Leches cake.
  • Chestnuts on our sidewalk.
I wish you all a great week ahead. Please share with us your gratitude for this week/today!


Goodbye Summer

A little end-of-summer convo that I had with the Tod, inspired by Mie's post here.

How old are you?

Where do you live?
At home

Who is in your family?
Mama, papa and me!

What's your favorite color?

What's your favorite food?
Peaches (he was eating peaches at that time)

What's your favorite drink?
Ice water

What is your favorite toys?

What do you want to do when you grow up?
I want to ride elevators!!

Who's your favorite friend?
Mama, Peppa and George.

What's your favorite thing to do?
Blowing bubbles

We will miss rolling around on the green, green lawn, ice cream and waffle cone, green juice and cold soba we often had for dinners. I hope you have had a blessed summer as we did.


Hada Labo Masks Recap

I hope you have enjoyed my reviews of the Hada Labo masks. They can be found here:

  • The moisturizing Gokujyun
  • The "whitening" Shirojyun
  • The carrot-flavored Gokujyun Alpha

I forgot to mention, all Hada Labo products are now easily available through their online shop here. A few helpful tips about using paper masks in general:
  • Pull the paper apart at the cut-junctions prior to opening it fully
  • Squeeze out the fluid left in the pouch and spread it on your neck and chest
  • Take time to smooth out the air pockets from the mask
  • Don't put too close around the eyes, small creases and fine lines on your eyes act as channels and will draw liquids into your eyes
  • Don't throw away the pouch, put your used mask into the pouch and discard along with it to prevent tangling up in case the garbage is being rummaged by unsuspecting pets/small children
For those who live in Seattle, Chinook book regularly has two coupons of 20% off for any one item in Uwajimaya gift section (Health & Beauty included). Do check it out and take advantage of this offer to try out these masks.

Are you hungry for more Hada Labo? Recently, I tried all three of their sunscreens!! Yes, they made sunscreen, although not available at the online shop (they are available from amazon.com).

None of these Hada Labo masks reviews are sponsored.


Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Mask

In the final installment of Hada Labo Masks, I present you my most favorite mask from the line, Gokyjyun Alpha.

This mask, thankfully, contains no alcohol. Indeed, although it has the same refreshing gel-feel, this one feels a bit richer. I'm not sure what's the claim on this mask, but there are obviously two derivatives of vitamin A in this one: beta carotene and retinyl palmitate.

A bit of a detour about vitamin A. Beta carotene is a form of vitamin A that is also called "Pro-vitamin A," in that it has to be converted into retinol/its dervative before it can be used by the human cell. The conversion happens in liver (in the case of mammals). The liver converts beta carotene to retinol derivative and store them for future use. Retinol and its derivative is toxic if ingested in high amount, beta carotene is not (that's why a rabbit can eat pounds of carrots without getting OD-ed). So far, evidence only points out to retinol derivative as the topically "useful" derivative of vitamin A -- it is taken into the cell to increase cellular turnover. Beta carotene in this mask is practically useless -- the skin is lacking the enzyme needed to convert it into the useful form. It does not mean that beta carotene has no topical activity -- I think one paper I came across studied beta carotene use in acute sunburn.
  • Slight yellowish tint to the mask, due to the beta carotene
  • Slightly fragranced? I detected a hint of waxy smell
  • Feels v. thick and moisturizingly rich
  • My favorite among the sisters, although again the effect does not last overnight
On the next installment, I will close with a recap of these Hada Labo reviews.


Thankful Tuesday

We had a relatively calm weekend here at the Land but so much sweet gratitude, in no particular order:

  • Peaches-- the kind that were ripened on the tree, with heady perfume and so juicy, the juice runs down your elbow when you eat them.
  • The equally delicious chuckle of the Tod being mischievous with his friend, playing fort at a recent playdate.
  • Sweet, sweet rosy cheeks of a four-month-old. 
  • Equally sweet, sweet smell of babies, I mean, really, they just can't stink, can they? (unless they poop, I guess..)
  • The light on the Tod's eyes when he saw his green beans shrub finally came to fruition. What an honor it is to be there in such life-affirming discovery as this one -- to witness this with my son is truly priceless.
  • The Tod and PapaLorp saying, "Thanks for the dinner!!" when I finally cooked a pot of Kimchi Nabe. My family eats lots of kimchi, perhaps a record-breaking kimchi consumption in the block.
  • A basket full of the above-mentioned peaches, courtesy of a friend's family orchard.
Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am -- I may not live a large, grandiose life, but my small life has brought me so much joy. My cup is overflowing and I'm sending it all to you. May you all be blessed where ever you are.


Spaghetti Carbonara

We eat a lot of bacon here at the Land. Pas moi, the boys. Whenever we go to Farmer's Market, our luxury treat, we'd hunt for fresh eggs, bacon and peaches. Then we'd have a nice bacon-rich breakfast and we'd make Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner.

Unlike the un-fussy Risi e Bisi, which does not discern between frozen and fresh peas, Carbonara is very snobby in terms of the freshness of ingredients. The ingredients are so simple, it hardly needs any recipe at all and you need to use the best ingredients available. Our twist is a garlic clove which the Tod devours readily.

My version will feed a hungry adult and a hungry toddler. As always, if you prepare it the way I outline below, you will have a meal ready in 30 minutes.

You will need:
One egg and one yolk, a handful of parmesan cheese and more to serve, lots of freshly cracked pepper, 4-6 oz of bacon (about 4 slices of thick bacon), 1 clove garlic, 6-8 oz pasta.

Bring a pan-full of water to boil the pasta over high heat. Mix egg and yolk with parmesan cheese and pepper, set this aside. Slice the bacon, lightly crush the garlic. Heat a sauteuse over medium heat, render the bacon and the crushed garlic clove. By this time, your pasta water would have been ready and throw in your pasta. Cook the pasta until al-dente according to the package while keeping an eye on the bacon. The bacon is ready when it is thoroughly rendered and slightly colored, with the garlic turned aromatic. Turn the bacon pan off while waiting for the pasta to cook.

Once the pasta is cooked, transfer it onto the waiting bacon-pan, reserving the pasta water. Over very low heat, toss to combine and pour the egg mixture. Keep tossing and adjusting the consistency of the sauce using the reserved pasta water -- the sauce should be glossy and creamy, coating each strand of the spaghetti.

We served ours with lots of freshly ground pepper. Buon Appetito!