August 17, 2014

Pre-Serum | Melvita Plumping Radiance Duo

This is probably the most overdue review ever. I remember waiting and waiting for the Melvita Plumping Radiance Duo to launch in stores since I heard Caroline Hirons mention it in a video a few months back - this rose floral water and rose hip oil bi-phase concoction sounded too intriguing to ignore! The relaxation of a rose water spritz combined with the hydrating, regenerative properties of rose hip oil? Genius!

I snapped the above photo the very day I brought this home in May, anticipating a few weeks of testing and then a review. Fast forward 3 months later, I've forgotten about the review, until this week I was faced with this:
All gone, in a little less than 3 months. That definitely takes the award for being the face mist/spray I used up in the shortest amount of time. As I've broken into my second bottle of this today, I think it's finally time that I post this looooong overdue review. And by the looks of that completely empty bottle, you can probably guess how this review is going to pan out.

I love this stuff.

The Melvita sales girl describes this as a pre-serum, which supposedly plumps the skin, enhances radiance, and balances moisture. I've never heard of a pre-serum, although I've recently been hearing more and more about skincare layering - the idea of adding additional targeted steps to your skincare routine instead of piling on one thick and heavy does-it-all cream. I like the idea (and secretly enjoy taking my sweet time patting on one toner/serum at a time), so the idea of a pre-serum got me hooked. Anyone know of any other pre-serums out there? :)

After going through the whole bottle, I'm not sure I see any added radiance, but the light yet effecting hydration is instant and spot on. For those with oily/combination skin, this is a great middle-ground product if you've been yearning to hop on to the facial-oil-wagon, but have been concerned that full on oils are too heavy. Quoting Goldilocks, this one is just right. It's the perfect boost of luxe, rose-scented moisture without feeling too greasy. On the flip side, it does quite a fine job of balancing oiliness throughout the day, which is why I've been using this in the morning. I find this nicely compliments my morning skincare routine, since my morning serum of choice for about a year now has been the La Roche-Posay Effaclar K, which is functional, but not quite hydrating.

Big thumbs up Melvita, this is AMAZINGNESS! *stands up and slow claps*

(Side note: According to the instructions on the bottle, you're supposed to spritz this onto your palms and pat it into skin. No way. Isn't the fun of such sprays that ahhhhh refreshing sensation you get from spritzing this directly on? That's the whole point isn't it? ... I'm just going to pretend I did not read that.)

August 3, 2014

Eat Pray Love

Last month my family and I went on a weekend trip to Bali, Indonesia. The main idea was to spend some quality time together, since we're usually tied up with our jobs, scattered in different cities. There's a rumored curse that unmarried lovers who travel to Bali together will break up shortly after. I know. What!?!?!? I have no idea where this came from, but scarily enough this has consistently happened to people around me. The superstitious freak in me was secretly quite grateful that I was traveling there with family instead.

Curse aside, Bali is beautiful. It's a spiritual, happy part of Indonesia, surrounded by the Indian Ocean on the south and filled with grand, breathtaking temples, big and small. For those who read the famous "Eat Pray Love," you'll remember that Bali was her "pray" destination. And perhaps because of that, beyond the sunshine and beaches, I (perhaps subconsciously) felt a sense of tranquility and bliss. The trip was the perfect balance of relaxation (bargain beach massages. every. day.), recharge, and reflection.
Have you been traveling this summer?

July 31, 2014

Things I Love | July

The weather has been unbearably hot this month. The good news is I've discovered a few new gems that are minimalist and heat-friendly. So here goes another list of minimal-themed favorites...

The Diorskin Nude Compact is the sheerest powder/foundation ever. It's the lightest among the range of Dior powders, and was used on me a few months back as I was out shopping with my aunt for foundation. It's definitely not one for those looking for coverage, but if you need just that little something to set everything and mattify your skin, this is lovely (and so luxurious!). I'll have a full review of this up soon!

I've also finally tried NARS Deep Throat blush this month. Mine is a teeny eyeshadow-sized compact that came as a gift with purchase. It's pinker and looks silkier on my skin than Orgasm. To me this is the definition of good ol' traditional blush that goes with everything. I've been reaching for it on mornings when I need to add some life to my (7am) face.

Victoria's Secret PINK Pretty & Pure body mist is everything I want in a summer scent and more. Going with the minimalist theme, I have not shown much love to my perfumes and instead have been generously misting this Jasmine/Pink Lemonade concoction on every day. It's sweet and girly, and definitely a spring/summer type of scent.

For lips, the 3 products that have been on rotation are the Body Shop Blueberry Lip Butter, Ettusais Lip Essence, and my new favorite Clinique Chubby Stick in Curvey Candy. The name "Curvey Candy" still cracks me up every time I reach for this!

My pre-bedtime book of choice this month has been "Eleanor & Park," an endearing and sweet teen novel that transports you back in time to those innocent, genuine school days. It's definitely a nice balance to hectic work life, and makes for the perfect easy read for summer time. If you liked "The Fault in Our Stars," this one will be up your alley.

Last but not least, my weekend footwear have been these Steve Madden "Sanddy" sandals (available online here), which I got on sale a couple weeks ago. The double straps are so comfy to walk in, and the minimalist (that word again) design goes with everything. My next purchase in the sandal department will probably be Birkenstocks, especially since I've been stealing my brother's a lot lately!

How has your summer been? Are you into the dolled up or minimalist look lately?

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?


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