July 28, 2014

Clinique Chubby Sticks

Sometimes, impulse makeup buys are the best.

I was going through a long, hard week and feeling unnecessarily bummed about it. So on Thursday I stopped by the makeup counters after work to replenish some skincare products, and ended up with these 2 extra beauts that lifted my spirits. People say makeup is an emotional purchase, and if so, these 2 Clinique Chubby Sticks were definitely my happy purchases of the week. They're also my first ever makeup buys from Clinique, which make them extra special!

I have a terribly lame strange habit of researching impulse buys after the purchase. You know, to seek validation from the blogosphere, nodding along to reviews or shaking my head in disagreement. These 2 were no exception and so below are my thoughts...

Bountiful Beige is a nude, champange sheen with pink undertones; great as a base or to pair with my (excessive) collection of neutral cream eyeshadows (especially MAC Paint Pot in "Groundwork"). I've read online that some find the blunt end tough to apply with precision, but honestly that doesn't bug me since these cream shadows are made for an easy smudge-all-over-with-finger type application anyway. Bountiful Beige gives eyelids the perfect minimalist sheen; not as obnoxious as MAC "Bare Study" Paint Pot which is probably the most similar product to this that I own. For days I don't feel like wearing any eyeshadow (which recently has been almost every day), Bountiful Beige is perfect to add just that little something something.

Curvey Candy is a my-lips-but-pinker shade, and is one of the relatively new colors that Clinique has come out with. I like that this leans more on the visibly pigmented side, while still being the moisturizing balmy type lip product which I love. And above all I love the Curvey Candy shade - it's bright and "happy" while still being office-appropriate. Side note: I've noticed that Chubby Stick lip shades vary in pigmentation (Oversized Orange barely showed up on my lips), so definitely swatch before you buy.

With both the eye and lip chubby sticks, I find that it helps incredibly to rub off the surface layer of product, or just to warm it up a bit on the back of your hand. The chubby lip balm in particular, is much more moisturizing and creamy once your work off the initial waxy layer of product.

I've also tried Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains in the past, and would like to add that though packaged similarly, these are pretty different. Clinique Chubby Sticks are superior in formulation in my opinion. The Revlons are really a stain - the product is less creamy, less moisturizing, and has a slightly obnoxious minty scent. Clinique Chubby Sticks have more of a balmy texture, feels comfier on the lips, and have no scent at all.

If I did not already have more than enough neutral cream shadows to last me years, I'd definitely go for the Chubby Stick Shadow in Fuller Fudge next. These are just such a dream to apply!

P.S. Is anyone else slightly amused by Clinique's Chubby Stick names? Curvey Candy makes me chuckle every time. And Fuller Fudge? Oversized Orange? Ohhhh Clinique!

P.P.S Everyone please show some love to Stacey, a fellow blogger who's recently been thrown a curve ball but has been admirably positive and courageous :)

July 19, 2014

New In | First Impressions

I spent some money lately. #sorrynotsorry

The thing with not living in the US is whenever I read about something amazing, I need to hold off getting all excited about it until I confirm that I can actually access that product here in Hong Kong. The Bumble & Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish is a classic example. About a year ago the online beauty community was all over the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and the B&B Thickening Dryspun Finish. With fine and limpy pin-straight hair, both sounded like they'd be up my alley. Sadly both were unavailable here in Hong Kong. Fast forward a year later, a random stroll into Joyce Beauty and I caught eyes with the B&B spray. Heavenly celebratory jingles started playing in my head. A minute later I was walking out the store with my very own bottle.

It was love at first spray. I wish I were one of those put-together ladies who wake up 2 hours earlier to sip coffee, do some reading and leisurely get ready for work, but unfortunately being quite the opposite, this spray is a lifesaver for mornings I have literally seconds to do my hair. I toss my head upside down, spray a few streaks down my hair, work the product in, and TA DA! Flat, lifeless morning hair transformed into voluminous, blown-out looking hair. If you're a lazy girl in the morning like me, get this.

My other new purchase has not been as impressive. Benefit has been very aggressively promoting the Benefit They're Real Pushup Liner lately - game stalls, Instagram hashtags, hot guys dressed up as policemen... they're going all out this time. It's been so over-the-top that I couldn't imagine the product being anything but amazing. Unfortunately my first impressions so far have been that 1. it's time consuming to apply, 2. it's unforgiving, and 3. the applicator is unpractical. Thick, dry gel product through a rubber tip does not give an easy, even application. Yes it's very black, but there are tons of blackest-black options that are more user-friendly. Gel liner in pen form is like the best of both worlds, and I've been waiting for someone somewhere to attempt to make it a reality, but unfortunately this product has been a great idea poorly executed.

Last but not least, I picked up this bright red-orange scarf from Zara, on sale for 50% off. Hong Kong summer weather is way too hot for scarves, but malls (and my office) blast the AC all year long, so a big shawl/scarf definitely comes in handy. I love the print against the turquoise blue and violet accents, and how it's soooo s w o f t. :)

What's your latest purchase?

July 12, 2014

Bring on the Heat | Summer Everyday Products

You think you know heat, until you've lived in Hong Kong. It's really hot here. It's like what you experience in a sauna - very humid and slightly suffocating. Pair that with a very densely populated city of sky scrapers and you're basically living in an oven. Sweat is an understatement - you're sticky all over, the moment you step out of the shower every morning. Needless to say most makeup doesn't work like they're supposed to, and instead leaves you looking worse than if you've went out bare faced.

That was an extreme description, but ask any Hong Kong girl and I promise they'll tell you it's not exaggerated!

After lots of (painful) trial-and-error, I've finally found some products that I find work well in this climate. It's like the ultimate makeup product test - if they can work their magic under such extreme conditions, they'll work anywhere!

I've been skipping eyeshadows most days this summer, and instead reaching for my MAC Paint Pot in "Groundwork," a fool proof mid-toned brown. It's barely visible on the lids but gives just that a little dimension. This stays put and does not crease when layered on top of the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base.

Ettusais Lip Essence has been my every day lip gloss AND lip moisturizer. I've raved about it in my last post so I'll keep it brief. But on days I want a slightly brighter lip (which I especially like pairing with a defined brow and mascara-only eyes), I've been layering the Ettusais Lip Essence on top of the Etude House Dear Darling Tint in 02. It's a bright red, gel-consistency lip stain that smells like Welch Grape Juice. Think Benefit's Benetint, but more blendable. Slightly drying but the Lip Essence makes up for that.

Leaving the best for last, my long time favorite Laura Mercier Mineral Powder is the one product that I find actually works better under a bit of heat and humidity. Throughout the course of the day, the natural oils of the skin reacts with the powder to decrease cakiness, and up the dewiness. I tend to apply just a very teeny amount of this but that's really all your need for the naturally healthy-looking complexion.

Sorry for the very sporadic posts... 11-12 hour work days have been getting the best of me! I'm trying to get back into the blogging routine as I've discovered quite a few new favorites lately, so wish me luck!

July 2, 2014

Something Only Lip Gloss Addicts Will Understand...

I've found it. I've found the perfect clear lip gloss.

That probably makes no sense to the majority of the world's population, but to all you clear gloss lovin' gals out there, you know exactly what I mean.

Meet Ettusais Lip Essence, the signature product of this Shiseido-owned beauty brand.

has SPF 18 PA++,
strikes the perfect gloss/moisturizer balance,
has a non-sticky yet substantially nourishing formula,
looks naturally glossy on (no in-your-face shiny or broken-glass type of look)
and actually sinks into lips leaving them baby soft (instead of just sitting there as a layer of goop).

It's all those wonderful things one looks for in a gloss AND in a chapstick combined; something many products claim they do but few really deliver. But yes, turns out you can have it all. 

I've been wearing my Lip Essence all day every day since my birthday in June. (That's a lot of "days" in one sentence. Can you tell how smitten and excited I am with this?) I've also been applying a thick layer of this on before bed as an overnight lip mask for days my lips feel chapped or sensitive. Surprisingly this works even better as a lip mask than any other traditional cream/balm formulas I've tried.

And let's not mention the variations of adorable, limited edition packaging (artist collabs, Sanrio collabs, fashion brand collabs... Google-Image it!) that Ettusais comes out with every now and then.
There are several variations of this, including an extra nourishing version and tinted color glosses. I've yet to try those and probably won't in a while as I am very happy with the original.

Ettusais is available on Sasa.com, which ships globally.
For those in Hong Kong, Ettusais has an adorable counter at Hysan Place, and can also be found at select Watsons drugstores.

Move over Dior Addict Lip Maximizer, sorry to say but you've been replaced!

June 24, 2014


I celebrated my birthday this past weekend.

It was perfectly laid back yet eventful, my kind of weekend. Brunches (of course), cakes, candles and treats pretty much sums it up. My besties Christy and Crystal spoiled me with my first ever Diptyque candles (photographed above), a gorgeous trio of minis. I know it's going to take me a good while before I'll want to burn them... they're too pretty!

I spent most of my birthday relaxed and sans makeup, enjoyed an *epic* homemade brunch with heaps of guacamole, toast, eggs and salsa, watermelon and blueberries, (a.k.a. my favorite foods all in a meal!), and spent an afternoon by a beautiful poolside with Alan, swimming, reading, and just being lazy bums.

The day ended with ice cream, which really should be a thing. Birthdays ending with ice cream.
Thank you for all the birthday wishes!

Cake, anyone? :)


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