Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fashion | My Favourite Stylish People

The thing about fashion is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. The world of fashion blogging has grew into a type of sinkhole that, quite frankly, you can fall in and never find your way out. I'm the type of girl who love a few key pieces and wears them to death but between making videos and attending events, variety is definitely a necessity. (Oh the horror of being caught in the exact same outfit twice!) So here are some of my favourite stylish people to inspire your (and my) wardrobe choices.


I don't exactly recall how I discovered Tricia but I do know that I completely fell in love with her the first time I stumbled upon her blog. Based in Manila (Philippines), her life, work and personal interests take her around the world from London to New York but it's really her sense of style that drew me in. Tricia has chameleon sense of style that goes from cool Japanese EMODA girl to grown up floral chic. She's the girl who will wear and can pull off sweat pants and high heels. Some of my favourite looks from her simple pieces with interesting colour choices that are classic but not too boring. 


Maybe I'm a bit biased here because I know Claire in real life but although her slightly androgynous city girl style isn't quite my thing, there's always one item she wears in every outfit that I would most definitely borrow. So I guess in a way, we do share some affinity to certain pieces of clothing but both of us would end up styling it in completely different ways. For those who likes a more simplistic modern style, you'll want to follow her around and maybe even hunt her down on Instagram. The extra sprinkle on top? She has a well curated but enviable shoe collection.


According to Wikipedia, Oliva Palermo is a socialite. Now exactly what that entails I haven't got a clue but whathever she's up to on a daily basis, she sure looks good doing it. I first discovered Olivia whilst browsing the pages of my favourite fashion magazines and while I know little about her personal life, her stylish outfits have appeared time and time again on the best dressed list. Olivia appears to be fundamentally an uptown New York girly girl but her way of mixing super classic silhouettes with modern colours and details impresses me every single time. And while not all of us have a socialite budget to splurge, the fact that her choices are often very basic, it's not hard to find more affordable alternatives. If there's one closet I'd like to invade? It'd probably be Olivia's. And this monochromatic fall outfit she was spotted wearing? I'm completely sold from head to toe.


So tell me, who are your favourite fashionable people? Do you take inspiration from style icons or fashion bloggers in your everyday wardrobe choices? Even better, drop me some links on who you think I should be reading! Until next time...


Monday, October 27, 2014

EVENT & LOOK | Shu Uemura Fall Beauty with Taca Ozawa

Last month I had my face painted with one of the most beautiful makeup looks anyone has ever done on me. The place was the newest Shu Uemura counter inside The Bay (Richmond Center) and the occasion was the celebration of their fall Brave Beauty Collection. For this special event, customers could sign up for a special makeover with Shu Uemura's national makeup artist Mr. Taca Ozawa and I was kindly invited as a special guest.

What really struck me with this makeup look was how well balanced everything was. It was bright yet soft, romantic yet the lashes added the extra drama that I love. And I would just like to yell at the top of my roof, can you believe how good my skin looks with the Light Bulb Foundation? 

While the colours may seem simple, Taca spent a long time slowly layering and blending everything together. With a quiet concentration, he'd put something on, step (way) back, ask me to tilt my head this way and that then proceed to pick up his brush again. There was something truly mesmerizing watching him work on my makeup. In fact, I told him I didn't want to see anything until he had completely finished and what a beautiful look it is!

The staff a the Shu Uemura counter were also kind enough to let me dig around some of their products and even shared with me some upcoming new releases like the latest edition to Shu's popular TSUYA SKIN brightening skincare range (below). As you saw in the video, I had a bit of a skin prep prior to the makeup application and the combination of products really plumped up my skin while leaving it soft and supple.

I still have much more to discover about the brand but I'm quickly learning that Shu Uemura is more than just their eyelash curler and eyebrow pencils. It's bursting with colour, creativity and new visions to be created. If you're interested in learning more about them, I've recently been catching up on a few of their creative videos from their Hong Kong Youtube channel. You can thank me later!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: FRESH | Crème Ancienne Ageless Complexion Treatment

This is the story of how I fell in love with a $300 face cream.

The romantic in me loves a brand with a few good stories to tell and FRESH seems to have many. This one begins with a Greek physician, Claudius Galenus from the 2nd century, who not only served the emperor but also concocted one of the first cold creams used to treat skin wounds and ailments. With this ancient recipe in hand so the journey begins...

Brand: FRESH
Product: Crème Ancienne Soft Cream*
Range: Face Mask, Soft Cream, Infusion, Elixir, Eye Cream
Size: 100g (30g size also available)
Price: $328CAD/100g , $164CAD/30g
Details: No parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, GMOs or petrochemicals.
Availability: Sephora, Fresh online and select Fresh retailers.
Would I (re)purchase: YES! (As soon as I make this type of money)

Crème Ancienne was originally introduced by the brand in 2003, Crème Ancienne Soft Cream is the modern interpretation of this centuries old formula. While the original launch produced an exceptionally rich product, the newly reformulated version was made to be more adaptable for all skin types. With a goal to preserve the history of this product and due to the delicate process of its creation, this cream is actually made by hand by monks in a monastery. Why monks you ask? Allegedly in ancient times, if a product isn't made by a monk then it was considered witchcraft!

Housed in a heavy white jar stylized with archaic motifs, the new Crème Ancienne has a light scent, is rich yet soft to the touch and has an unique bouncy texture unlike anything I've put my finger on before. The consistency is very creamy and smooth but its easy to put on too much so my favourite way to apply this is taking a small dime sized amount, rubbing it between my fingers until it almost disappears and then pressing it onto my face. There shouldn't be any greasiness left behind but skin should feel supple yet balanced.

Having used this as part of my daily routine for almost 3 months, I am thoroughly smitten. I knew it was something good after the first week but I wanted to hold off to see if it was just initial infatuation and to this morning I still look forward to putting this on my skin. 

Now I'm not certain I have that many years behind me to see this as an serious aging product but the name Ageless Complexion Treatment is actually quite fitting. What I noticed with Crème Ancienne was an immediate smoothing of my skin texture as well a noticeable firming/lifting effect which has promoted me to use this on my neck and decolletee as well. This perks up my skin, makes me look awake and fresh all in one jar. In fact, I haven't even used a serum in at least 6 weeks. 

What I also love is the fact that this kept my skin in good balance all through the late summer and early fall season, for combination skin like mine, it's hard to find a single product that get's everything done. With its simple ingredients (see end of post), I'm inclined to think it's the beeswax that's helping to seal in the moisture yet I've never used a beeswax based product like this that doesn't feel like a suffocating mask. Best yet, I'm happy to report that there's been on breakouts, clogged pores or any other adverse reactions. In short, it's hard for me to pinpoint a specific target area that Crème Ancienne treats but there's not doubt that is improves the overall feel of your skin.

Look, I'm not going to convince you that you must have this $300 face cream but I will tell you that you should definitely try it if you ever get a chance to grab a sample or see it as part of a skincare set. What makes Crème Ancienne so special is a combination of high quality ingredients that many have come to expect from Fresh but also its unique texture, the way it balances the skin and gives you just that little bit that unspoken something special to your skin in a form that's easy to use even for those who prefer the simplest of routines. I can see this as a beautiful luxury gift and in fact this would be a perfect men's skincare product. Personally, I shall indulge in every last dollop of this cream and it would most definitely be a repurchased item when I make the type of money to afford this on a regular basis.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: The Original Beauty Blender Sponge

Rarely has a makeup gadget caused a thundering response the way that this little pink sponge has done. The Original Beauty Blender needs no formal introduction. If you've never seen the real deal then you've most definitely encountered various spin-off of the "magic" foundation sponge. Now days, these sponges come in various shapes, sizes and price points.

Brand: Beauty Blender
Product: The Original Beauty Blender
Price: $26 CAD
Availability: Sephora, Beauty Blender online
Would I repurchase: Only at discount.

The Beauty Blender is the reinvention of an old product redone with modern technology. Simply put, it is a makeup sponge that is generally used to apply liquid or cream foundation products. Its tear drop shape was certainly unique on the mass market at the time and it's claim to produce an air brushed finish without the muss and fuss of complicated tools made professional results accessible, even for the makeup novice.

Packaged in its own dashing plastic display box (which also doubles as a drying stand of sorts), the Beauty Blender is designed to be used damp by wetting the sponge completely under water, squeezing out any excess and then squeezing it further between a towel. A fully dry sponge is about the size of a medium egg while a probably towel squeezed damp sponge grows almost twice as large.

Then, with a few dots of foundation applied to the skin, the sponge is pounced on the skin for a seamless blend of your liquid foundation, concealer and even cream blush. This method is designed particularity to avoid stroke marks that can easily be left behind when using a brush and with a little practice of the right motion, large areas of the face can be done much more quickly than a traditional flat shaped brush. 

I find this to be especially usefully for blending thicker/creamy products that can cake up easily if not spread evenly over the skin. The Beauty Blender makes it easy to apply a thin layer of product at a time and is excellent for quick layering in problem areas such as dark circles or a blemish patch. The pointed end can be used around the eyes, edges of the nose and other facial contours so it's been my go-to product when I'm short on time.

Now having attempted a few blending sponges from other brands with less than satisfying results, I was eager to finally try the Beauty Blender just to see exactly what was the crucial difference. The answer? It all came down to the material. The Beauty Blender is non-latex but does have a rather porous foam like surface with a suede feel. It's very easy to squeeze yet restores its shape immediately when you release it. So while many products have a similar shape and function, its indeed the proprietary material of the sponge that makes the real difference. 

My only concerns with this product is that it's very slow to dry. Even when I leave it sitting in its container stand, it could be a full day or two before it returns to its fully dry form and that worries me due to potential bacterial growth. Also, sponge itself is very delicate, meaning if you squeeze it too hard in your palm, chances are you are going to nick it with a fingernail and I've heard plenty of laments over a ripped new Beauty Blender.

In terms of function and ease of use The Original Beauty Blender delivers impeccable solid results. When pressed for time, its a great one product wonder that applies and blends your product all in one go. I've used it successfully for liquid foundations, cream foundations, cream blusher and concealers and what has really impressed me is the sponge's ability to make layering products so much easier. I often have a hard time blending concealer without it caking up and this makes the task easy and flawless. If you're a frequent traveler, this one tool will replace the need for multiple brushes. Personally, I am still reluctant to pay full price for the Beauty Blender as I can (albeit with a little more time) achieve the same result using my other tools. The price point coupled with its unhygienic potential makes this just short of a perfect product for my normal everyday use. However if neither of those things concern you then its absolutely a high performance beauty tool worth trying.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Beauty Tutorial | #bravebeauty Fall Look | Shu Uemura

Beauty takes courage.

This year I had the great pleasure of discovering the world of Shu Uemura and not only have I fallen in love with some of their products but even more so, I am madly in love with the spirit behind the brand. 

For Fall 2014, Shu Uemura released the Vision of Beauty Vol. 1 - Brave Beauty Collection, a tribute to women as modern day warriors. Some say that women wear makeup as armor to protect ourselves; sometimes from the outside world, sometimes from our own insecurities but with this, makeup can also give us strength.

I sat at my desk with all the palettes open and stared at them for along time. Colour matching in makeup is not my forte by any means and there are colours that I never reach for voluntarily in my everyday routine. But then I thought to myself, what would the braver alter-ego of myself wear? If I could paint a self portrait of myself in a different time or a different place, how would I do it?

She would be lush, slightly untamed, decadent but not fussy yet romantic at heart. With this, I decided on a contoured green and orange eye look reflective of the season. The Green Palette in this collection has a warm golden undertone which looked like golden leaves tinged with the breath of autumn. The rest of the face I kept fairly neutral but of course I couldn't pass on those lashes. And yes, this girl I'm painting...she would definitely have a Monroe piercing.

  • SHU UEMURA | The Lightbulb Foundation*
  • SHU UEMURA | Stage Performer BB Perfector*
  • SHU UEMURA | Brave Beauty Eyeshadow Palette | Orange*
  • SHU UEMURA | Brave Beauty Eyeshadow Palette | Green*
  • SHU UEMURA | Brave Beauty Rouge Unlimited | Beige*
  • SHU UEMURA | Brave Beauty Lasting Soft Gel Pencil | M Green*
  • SHU UEMURA | Brave Beauty Satin Radiant Stick | Light Pink*

L-R | BB Perfector | The Lightbulb Foundation | Satin Radiant Stick

L-R | Green Palette "GR4, GR2, GR1" | Orange Palette "GR6"
Lasting Gel Liner " M Green" | Rouge Unlimited Lipstick "Beige"

Brave Beauty False Lashes | Brave Beauty Face Studs

  • On clean, moisturized skin, start with a thin layer of BB Perfector to smooth skin and give a slightly luminous finish. With a damp sponge, apply The Lightbulb Foundation from the center zone of the face and blend outwards. The foundation itself is quite creamy and I used an extra layer to cover any obvious spots and trouble areas. No concealer here.
  • Shade cheeks with a neutral, slightly rosy blush. Then I added the Satin Radiant Stick in Light Pink along the high points of the cheeks, on the chin and on the cupids bow of the lip.
  • Apply GR4 shadow all over the lids from lash line to the brow bone, contour the eyes from the inner corner towards the center and also from the outer corner towards the center using GR1 while leaving the center bare. Blend GR2 into the socket line in a rounded shape, connecting the darker inner and outer corner. Now this technique is easier done on those with a more prominent socket contour but if you don't, it's easier to create a uniform contour on both eyes by tilting your head back slightly and looking down into your mirror.
  • Line the lower lash line all the way around with Gel Liner Pencil in M Green and go over the lash line again with a mix of GR1 and GR2.
  • Using a dark matte shadow, create a fuller shaped brow with a gentle rounded lift, tapering off at the ends. I also used a bit of a brow pencil to get the ends sharper and to smooth out the top and bottom line. I also attempted to shade a bit of GR1 onto my brows as well.
  • Here I popped on the amazing hand made lashes from the Brave Beauty collection, featuring a full, lush style accented with a silver trim and feathered ends.
  • On the lips goes the Rouge Unlimited lipstick in Beige which has a creamy finish and a hint of shine.

I must admit I was absolutely terrified that this will turn out into a muddy mess but the key to this look is to take it one step at a time, using a clean brush for each colour and blend the edges carefully for a smooth gradation. The eyeshadows were easy to pick and blend while having great adhesion for a seamless look. And can we just oogle for a second at how the silver trim on these lashes catch the light so beautifully in photos! 

Looking at these finished photos now, I find that makeup both creates and reveals our inner and outer selves. Whether this is your everyday look, a photoshoot look or just your alter-ego look, remember that beauty takes courage and I'm rooting for you.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beauty Tutorial | JetSet to Paris with Revlon & WIN!

Paris oh Paris.

There's always been a certain romantic duality about this city, the warm nostalgia mixed with an ever evolving modernity that makes this the perfect place for getting lost in the old or discovering the new. That's exactly how I feel about this JetSet into Fall beauty look that Revlon has challenged me to recreate.

Taking inspiration from some of the world's most iconic cities, Revlon's artists have designed and paired a JetSet beauty box to help you create a perfect fall look with just a few key products. My look was Pucker up in Paris, featureing a neoclassic double winged eyeliner look with a rich deep berry lip.

  • REVLON | Colourstay ShadowLinks*
    • Petal, Greige
  • REVLON | Colourstay Skinny Liquid Eyeliner* | Blackest Black
  • REVLON | Bold Lacquer Mascara* | Blackest Black
  • REVLON | Colourstay Moisture Stain* | Parisian Passion
  • REVLON | Colourstay Gel Envy Polish*
    • Sure Thing, Blackjack, Diamond Top Coat

  • Start with a soft matte foundation and conceal any obvious blemishes.
  • Apply Petal eyeshadow over the entire lid, blending up to just under the brow bone. Sweep Greige from the inner corner of the eye outwards along the crease and blend. If you don't have an obvious crease (like me) then just take the colour up to about halfway up the lid from the lash line so it's visible when you open your eyes.
  • With the Colourstay liquid eyeliner, draw a thin line along the upper lash line and extend it past your outer corner.
  • Create a double wing by adding an extra "flick" to the outer corner, this one lifting upwards.
  • Glide Parisian Passion onto lips for a bold and moist finish.
  • On the nails, use Blackjack on every nail and leave one accent finger to paint Sure Thing. Seal it all with a coat of Diamond Finish Top Coat.

The key to this look is minimal product but maximum impact, using strategic colours and lines to create an eye catching makeup look. I kept the brows strong but with a soft arch (no sharp lines here) that balanced out the darker lip. Cheeks could be left bare or lightly shaded with a neutral powder blusher. Lastly, I chose a light but lengthening pair of false lashes to give a little extra impact without taking away from the liner.

Ready to take-off for a little Parisian indulgence of your own? Revlon is giving away a Pucker up in Paris Jet Set into Fall box (with all the products you see here) to one of you reading this right now! 
  • Drop by my Instagram account and "like" THIS Revlon makeup photo of mine and leave me a comment saying "enter me" so I know you read all the requirements.
  • I will draw a winner from the list on Sunday, October 19th.
  • Winners will be announced and contacted via Instagram.
  • Open to all Canadian residents 18yrs or older.
Good luck to everyone!