The 2014 Beauty "Haul"

Ho ho ho, I hope you all have had great Christmases and Santa was kind. As we are approaching the end of the year, I guess no beauty blog is complete without reviews of new beauty purchases. Since my family has been keeping me quite busy, I haven't been able to sit down and properly ponder about my purchases throughout 2014, so let's cozy up and join me as I review these new products that I purchased throughout the year.

Keep in mind, some of these products has been featured in many of my previous posts or even discussed in MOTWs, so please bear with me for any duplication (I will try to link previous posts on each product as I have time).

Charlotte Tilbury

CT is one of the brand that I thought I'd buy more once it landed in the U.S. but the lack of in-person availability detered me from venturing further, since I was especially interested in her base products (turned out most of them are pink-neutral based, so I think I can pass). 

The Classic Powder Eye Pencil in Audrey is a repurchase from the original one that I bought direct from U.K. (which also cost an arm and a leg compared to this one). If you are a regular to my blog, you know how I feel about powder pencil liner. I used up one Audrey already, I love it, I use it almost if not daily. It is a dupe of Elizabeth Arden powder pencil but alas, as EA is not as readily available, CT is it for the convenience.

Colour Chameleon in Amber Haze is perhaps the only color you need if you are thinking of buying either the Dolce Vita or Golden Goddess palette, especially if your makeup collection is quite extensive already. This key color is that sparkly, shimmery bronze which coordinates nicely with browns, taupes, and beiges you have already in your collection. I never have any shadow creasing problem, so I can't vouch for the tenacity, but sufficed to say, this one lasts until I take it off at night. The bronze has a slight reddish tone that brings out the green in my hazel eyes, which I quite like. Since the day I got this (which was back in early December), I have this and Audrey pencil in my purse for a quick bronzy-smoky look that applies in two minutes. 

Filmstar On The Go in Breakfast at Tiffany's is supposed to be the side-kick to the Colour Chameleon mentioned above. Well, half-sidekick. The blush is lovely: it is meltingly dewy and the slight milky apricot really is a fresh alternative to my go-to pinky-peach blush. It is also rather comfortable and flattering worn as lip color (on top of some balm/gloss, but not by itself) with its MAC-like vanilla scent. The texture is less waxy than Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouges but not as soft as say, LMdB Creme Fresh. Perhaps almost similar to Stila's Convertible Colors.
The shadow is another story.. sufficed to say, it is rubbish. I never have any shadow creasing problem due to dry skin, until this one, which managed to crease and migrated, so bad that it accentuated every folds on my eye lids. I also don't think shadow primer will solve the problem as the shadow is quite emollient and made from a greasy base (think of RMS shadows, all of which also crease badly on me, but with even more slip). Now, to be fair, the color is quite lovely, I'd say a tame-er version of the Amber Haze with less sparkly shimmer, and it can, theoretically, be layered for more intensity. Sadly, sadly, it does not translate well. Do peruse other blogs, I am most certain I'm not the only person who have the creasing problem with this beauty.
So, if you think $55 worth a small stripe of cream blush, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, you can safely pass on the whole Filmstar On The Go collection. 

By Terry

My relationship with by Terry comes in phases. Sometimes we get along well, sometimes we don't. The two that I purchased in 2014 turned out to be loves. I've written before about the Ombre Blackstar in Frozen Quarts; it proves to be a worthy successor to my beloved Chanel IdO in Emerveille. The color on this one is a little cooler than Emerveille, but applies easier and dare I say better than IdO. I've reached for this many times throughout the year, definitely the staple product for a little something on the eyes on the days when I need something fast. The Cellularose Blush Glace in No 1 Rose Melba is also a winner; good-skin-in-a-pot type of product. A tiny bit patted on both cheeks gives a dewy sheen and lovely pinkish glow, again, for those days that I need something fast. The problem with this is the strong, soapy, rosy scent, which thankfully tends to go away quickly -- the very same soapy-rosy scent is the reason why by Terry and I will never get along in the lip product arena.


Rieuse (above) and Tiny Pink (below) are the two Fluid Sticks that I managed to purchase in 2014. The soapy scent is the only downside to the otherwise stellar lip products. I've worn these two many times, and either one of them actually resides in my purse for a quick touch up. I've been really tempted to jump the gun on some other colors but somehow these two have kept me satisfied. 

Asian Haul

Had I been more organized and without the Tod, the size of the Asian Haul could easily occupied half of my carry-on suitcase (can you tell I still kick myself in the rear for not buying more?). Of the few that I managed to purchase, the Lunasol Skin Modelling Liquid Foundation is almost used up. I love the consistency and the coverage: so thin yet so potent with a good punch of pigment. It layers extremely well with the sillicon-loaded sunscreen that I use, and the yellow-tone hits just the right note. It does not come off until I remove it (but then again, my skin is dry so I never have problem with makeup worn off before the end of the day). My shade is OC02, which fits my summer skin (maybe NC15-20?). I don't think Lunasol is that well-known for its foundation but if the middle-of-the-road Japanese foundation is this good, I can only imagine the quality from the tuna brands such as Suqqu or Addiction. Lunasol Sand Natural Eyes in 04 Cool Sand is from their Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Those who are looking for a pigmented quad will be disappointed with this one, as this only yields an ethereal, shimmery veil of color (read: sheer!). But, I think it is the intended look of this whole collection so I go with the flow. The sparkling top-right taupe (bottom-left on the picture above) color actually layers well with the Burberry shadows that I owned, so I sometimes put that as a topping which gives my otherwise-boring look a little something-something. 
Innisfree Eco Tint in Camelia is a lip-and-cheek product that I regret not purchasing in more colors. As a lip tint on its own, it is drying, but top the stained lip with balm and it stays put almost forever. The gel consistency allows ample of playing time and the scent is minimum. Moreover, the price was right for a product of this performance (I forgot how much exactly, barring currency rate and all, but I remember I was surprised on how inexpensive it was).
SkinFood Good Afternoon Honey Black Tea BB SPF 20 PA+ is another stellar Korean product. It has that signature Korean movie star dewy-finish, great coverage, and texture. Such a shame that product this good has to be heavily and artificially scented. I wouldn't recommend this on oily, or perhaps oily-normal skin, but it goes on smoothly on dry skin.


Josie Maran Coconut Water Color Cheek Gelee in Poppy Paradise has been a staple product during summer month. I love the cooling sensation, the sheer, super blend-able gel application and the cheery coral pink color. The small pot is quite hard to dip in, I use a thin spatula to get product out and I already hit pot with this one. 

NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg is a present from Santa. I will write a separate post on this.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, blessed New Year of 2015. 


Adios, Adieu, Arrivederci!

The Tod and I are embarking on our latest airplane adventure tomorrow. I forecast no improvement on the blogging front, but we just want to wish you all the warmest, blessed Holiday Seasons.


The Makeup-Addict Tag

I am continued to be humbled and flattered that my fellow bloggers considered my tiny blog to be worthy of a tag -- thanks to Monika from Rocaille Writes, whose blog has more substance and beauty than mine, now I am officially inducted in the Makeup-Addict tag.

First of all, even if it does not seem like it, let it be known that I am a makeup fan, an addict if you must, yes! I enjoy makeup, I love makeup, I love playing with makeup and makeup enhances my life. These collections really elevate my otherwise bland days into a daily reminder that life deserves the best of me. I cherish putting on makeup in the morning, playing with various looks, pouring over glossy editorials to look at makeup trends, techniques and geekeries. Makeup for me has been quite a metaphor/journey in life; maybe someday I will write a blog post entitled "Makeup as Spiritual Journey."

'Nuff said, let's get on with the goodies! Pardon dim lightings, these pictures were taken at night.

1. Which product do you still keep buying more of despite having plenty in your collection?

What is the gateway drug to any makeup brand? Lipstick/lipgloss, of course! 

Ironically, I don't wear lip products all that much: I eat on the run, I kiss the Tod lot, heck, I even drink from his water bottle sometimes. Lipstick ring on a toddler's flip top bottle? Yuck!

Most of the time, I stash my lip product in my purse to be worn maybe. The majority of the colors are nudes/browns/pinks/mlbb. Something vampy/magenta may be nice for a certain look, but it may also send the wrong message to the preschool teachers -- thus the futility of stashing more trendy lip products.

All my lipsticks fit in one Ikea Dragan box. The top tray consists of lipsticks I wear most regularly in rotation.

2. What's the one product you can't live without?

Brightening concealer makes me look awake and not half-dead. I like the Clinique Airbrush and Burberry Sheer Concealer (either or layered together).

3. Favorite makeup brand?

Having been around the makeup block, I consider myself equal-opportunistic makeup buyer: drugstore, dept-store and anything in between. You can see my collection is heavy on Chanel and Burberry, but as of late, I have not bought anything from these two lines -- in fact, no new Chanel/Burberry purchase for almost a year. I certainly would like to venture out to new brands, I like to explore new technologies, textures, color palettes, etc. My favorite makeup brand is yet to be discovered!

4. How big is your makeup collection?

For those of you who are a frequent, I've boasted many many many times that my collection is tightly curated. Truth be told, my collection is nowhere near austere. In fact, it is quite bountiful.

Now, to the boast, or what I've been poorly try to convey, the excitement. I am very happy to be where I am right now makeup-wise because my collection used to be ginormous. I was one of those who would contemplate hauls with no ends, easily spend four-figure amount annually in makeup, and then agonize about what to do with the 100th nude lipstick that I just purchased.

My relationship with makeup now is a healthy one: I don't feel the need to rush out in getting new stuffs, I thoroughly enjoy the stuff that I have, and when I'm finally done with an item, I don't feel the hesitation to let it go. With the makeup that I own, I can recreate/create any look that I want yet never feel deprived. All the items that I have are the best quality that I can find (barring Suqqu or other unicorns out there), and the colors suit my skin tone. Imagine you have all that in your collection -- wouldn't you feel excited, too?

Dresser from Ikea (old), about 26 by 14 inches, with 4 drawers.

5. And how do you store it?

All my collection fits in one of the drawer of the above-pictured old Ikea dresser. The few things that do not fit are the lipstick box, three cups that hold my pencil items and brushes, and a Paul & Joe loose powder box.

Makeup organization for me has been divided into two great eras, that are, my friend, before and after the Tod (see opening picture above). As you may know, toddler + makeup = DISASTER! Let us dissect this even further.

As you can see, there is method in this madness. Behind Dr. Sear's Baby Book, The Wonder Weeks, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (don't laugh, this book saved my life!), and the stack of ladies magazine is my makeup, camouflaged where the Tod cannot see. This fortress of makeup is further reinforced with a perimeter moat filled with toys and other toddler supplies which hopefully enough to keep him busy while I put on the actual makeup. The result: minimal makeup casualties with maximal peace for everyone.  

Below is a recreation of the before picture, when everything was still nicely accessible to me. This is not real, in real life, the dresser is turned into the makeup fortress seen above.

The bamboo organizers are from Ikea (old-discontinued, sadly). Clockwise from upper left: my vintage Stila collection, odd-sized eye products (Tom Ford quad, Dior quint, various Japanese-brand eye palettes, BB gel liner pots, Chanel IdOs, various decanted items). The old Jo Malone box that house all the Chanel quads and JCs are in the middle of the drawer, followed by Burberry eye singles (also housed in the said Jo Malone's box lid), base products, lip glosses (my least organized pile), odd-sized lip/lip-cheek products (Becca Beach Tint, Maquillage Crystalizing Lip compacts, etc), and finally the blushes

From Left to Right: A votive holder from a Scandinavian designer housed skinny brushes for eyes and face, a Delft Blue Tulip Vase holds pencil items, and a Bonne Maman jar contains face brushes and eye lash curlers.

6. How many items of makeup have you got in your handbag at the moment?

For those of you who have been following my MOTW, that is pretty much what I've got in my makeup grab bag. I put on my makeup on the run, which is outlined below.

7. If you could raid another blogger's stash, who would it be?

While I'm with Monika (I'd love to raid Kate's unicorn stable), I may just save some plane ticket money and fly over to the East Coast to visit Bellyhead instead. With the most admirable Suqqu collection this side of the pond, she also has her own herd of unicorns of Surratt and sizable brush-goodies, not to mention that the Tod will be thoroughly entertained by her two lovely little Bellies and the plentiful of wildlife around her home. Then, maybe, just maybe, after all that makeup playing and raiding, we could all head out for some good ol' fried chicken somewhere in the neck of the wood... 

8. How long does your usual makeup routine take and how many products do you use?

Gone are the days when an uninterrupted chunk of time is available to me to put on a good, decent makeup. Those of you with small children will know that the minute you say, "Mama needs to use the bathroom" they will cling to you like bricks, more like monkey-bricks that move and try to prevent you to do whatever it is you are trying to do.

So, I prioritize. I leave the house with at least base makeup on: skin care + sunscreen + maybe foundation. If I can entertain the Tod a bit longer, then I put these on, in the following order:
  • undereye concealer, maybe a bit highlighter to make me look more alive
  • eye shadow base/wash
  • mascara
  • eye liner 
  • cheek color
  • complete the eye makeup look
  • lip color

Whatever step I cannot put on at home, I put them on in the car after I reach my destination but before I get out. Usually, I finish putting on my makeup after I drop off the Tod at his preschool -- many days I do school run/errands with only sunscreen on. Hey, at least I'm 100% presentable at pick-up time, right?

9. Have you ever bought makeup knowing you wouldn't use it?

I used to, but not anymore. I have some makeup that I keep without any intention of using it frequently and those are my vintage Stila collection. Maybe if I come across some old Stila item, I may consider purchasing just for collecting. 

On rare occasions, I purchase back-ups. These are items that is an absolute staple and often discontinued. In fact, I only have 3 back-ups and I do count on using these.

Revlon ColorStay In The Buff (discontinued, a nice, pink-toned neutrals), Paul & Joe Poudre Libre (because I don't live near any place that stocks P&J), Maquillage Crystalizing Lip Compact (also discontinued).

10. Tag a few other makeup addicts to do this tag! 

I'm tagging GummyVision and Bronzer Bunny! Look forward to the posts from these lovely ladies.