April 19, 2014

Spring Cleaning | Second Chances

Happy Easter weekend everyone! Whether or not you celebrate Easter, I hope you're enjoying a lovely spring time weekend. I spent some time today doing spring cleaning, mainly sorting through my makeup, picking out things that I need to start using again, and throwing out ones I no longer want.

Among the "need to start using" pile are 3 products that I never really paid much attention to. They didn't make a strong enough impression upon first try and were soon chucked into my "forgotten" drawer. With spring cleaning I've decided to give them a second chance.

The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are my favorite pencil liners, so it was only a matter of time that I try the Urban Decay Liquid Liners. They've since re-packed the liquid liner into a sleek pen form (which I think looks much better), but back in the day their liquid liner came in this little pot & brush packaging. It's slightly intimidating only because it's very, very black and dries really, really fast. But with practice this is an amazing black liquid liner. Next is the Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick. For a while I really enjoyed using this on blemishes, until the Bourjois Correcting Concealer swooped in and dominated the concealer department of my routine. Between the 2 though, this Bobbi Brown one is still the winner when it comes to blemishes - it's tackier, therefore stays on better; and more yellow toned, therefore hides redness better. It's also great for chucking into your purse for mid-day touch ups on bad skin days. Last but not least, another concealer that made a disappointing first impression is the Soap & Glory Trick & Treatment concealer. It claims to brighten under eye circles by reflecting light, but in all honestly all I see is a shiny, greasy, awkward finish. To me this one is on its way out, but I thought I'd give it just one more try before tossing out an almost brand new tube of concealer.

Have you tried these products? Please let me know your thoughts!

P.S. More on the "throwaway" pile up next!

April 18, 2014

Perfect Match #1

First of all can we pause to appreciate the fact that it's the Thursday night before a FOUR. DAY. WEEKEND? Hurray for Easter! Hurray for being able to stay up a bit later to blog! Hurray for not having to unwillingly wake up to an early morning iPhone alarm tomorrow! After a much needed evening of cocktails and sweet potato fries, the celebration continues here on Blush & Brunch with the start of a mini blog series titled "Perfect Match," pairs of products that I think work so well together they're like ketchup and fries - they're more amazing as a pair.

First perfect match is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. I'll be honest upfront and say the star here is the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder - it's been a must-have for years now and I pair it with any under eye concealer I'm using. I find it does 3 things - it sets my concealer, it minimizes mascara/eyeliner smudging, and it brightens. It brightens not in a sparkly, ashy way, but more of like an extra oomph of concealer by hiding the darkness and puffiness. It's hard to describe, but everything just looks that much more put together with the powder on.

Applying the powder takes some practice - the best way is to take a fluffy eyeshadow brush (emphasis on "fluffy"), tap off most of the excess, then with a rolling action patiently go back and forth under the eye for an even application. You need the teeniest amount - applying too much may cause the powder to bunch up.

Next we have the NARS concealer. A much talked about product of 2013, to me the NARS concealer is worth the hype. It's creamy enough to smooth out over the delicate under eye area, but also thick enough to truly conceal and hold its color - that's a rare balance most "ambitious," multi-purpose type concealers fail to achieve. It's also very easy to apply. Doe foot applicator, followed by some ring finger tap tap tap action. Like the LM powder, the trick is to use the teeniest amount.

Pairing the amazing coverage of the NARS concealer with the flattering brightness of the LM powder is how I (attempt to) look all bright eyed and bushy tailed every morning! I've tried other setting powders, I've tried other under eye concealers, but honestly this has been my favorite duo of all time. What's yours?

April 13, 2014

Sunday Pamper with Dr Wu

I'm spending Sunday night with a doctor - his name is Dr Wu. I don't know much about Dr Wu, except from the fact that I think he is Taiwanese, but then he also might just be imaginary. But one thing's for sure, his sheet masks have become an instant favorite. The Dr Wu Microinject Hydrating Masks contain everyone's favorite Hyaluronic Acid, together with other scientific, good-sounding ingredients that I've never heard of. "Microinject" does sound a bit scary to me, but fortunately there is no injecting of any kind involved here. In fact this is the lightest, thinnest sheet mask I've tried, and is great for giving a boost of lightweight moisture to the skin. Probably not nourishing enough for the harsh winter, but now that the weather is warming up quite a bit, it's just what my skin needs. Completely unnecessary but also really lovely to use is the Melvita Organic Rose Floral Water (photographed is the deluxe sample), which I sometimes spritz on before or after the mask for that refreshing "ahhhhh" sensation. And it goes without saying that it smells gorgeous - like roses, roses, and roses.

Speaking of nice smelling products, I've also got the Body Shop Blueberry Lip Butter - which I apply generously before bed like a lip mask, and Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Souffle Body Cream - the most decadent body cream, ever. I have the mini size from the Christmas set of 4 minis which I've been sampling, and though all 4 are equally amazing, I think this would have to be my favorite scent. Taking my time to slather this on after a warm shower is my favorite way to wrap up the weekend.

And if I don't feel too lazy tonight, I might paint my nails with Revlon "Whimsical." I associate lavender nails with Easter every year; it's become kind of an Easter ritual!

P.S. In case you're interested in meeting Dr Wu, he's easily found on Amazon.

April 12, 2014

You're (Finally) Mine

Probably the item that has been on my wishlist the longest is the Dior Rosy Glow Blush. I love the "Dior" embossed gorgeousness, the shiny Dior compact, and the universally flattering bright pink blush that looks like a natural flush after a light jog. Since my college days I'd swatch it every time I was at a Sephora or Dior counter, but just couldn't get myself to pay the USD$45-50 price tag for it.

I was at the Dior store today to check out the Dior Airflash Spray Foundation as a thank you gift for my aunt, since she saw airbrush foundation used on a Korean celebrity and had been asking me about it. (She's been feeding me for the past few months while I've been very busy at work, which I am incredibly grateful for!) Out of curiosity, I had the sales associate try it on me (and my mom too, as a second opinion). I was worried the spray effect would look overly perfect, looking flat and kind of creepy. But no - the Dior Airflash Spray Foundation is amazing! It has sheer but buildable coverage, and is so easy to use. I'd say this foundation is even more natural than most BB/CC creams - it's like a thin tinted moisturizer. She then finished off with a light dusting of the translucent DiorSkin Nude Glow Versatile Powder and Rosy Glow blush. Seeing Rosy Glow on me for the first time was what it took to seal the deal - I knew it was going home with me this time, together with the Airflash foundation for my aunt.

For the rest of the day, my mom and I walked around like morons staring at reflective surfaces and sporadically complimenting each other's makeup - "you look like a porcelain doll!" "No, YOU look like a porcelain doll." *Hands over pocket mirror* Yes, we were very impressed with Dior makeup.

I'm not a foundation type of girl so I'll probably not buy the Dior Airflash for myself, but I am this close to going back for the DiorSkin Nude powder compact. The whole DiorSkin Nude line is everything I love - sheer, lightweight, natural. Very good-skin-day type of makeup. The powder is light, silky and incredibly natural. I feel like I overuse the terms "light" and "natural" but honestly this powder is so like skin that I can't describe it any other way. It's almost invisible on the skin, but yet it gives a perfectly smooth porcelain finish. Sounds too perfect to ignore right?

... $50 says I end up caving and buying the powder in a week.

Have you ticked anything off your wishlist lately?

April 6, 2014

Weekend Reading (& Other Lovely Things)

It's been a weekend of catching up on Bloglovin and Pinterest, while looping the same few songs on iTunes. That's a weekend well spent I'd say. Here are some of my favorites.

I've been very into lifestyle and interior design blogs lately. I was a bit behind on The Private Life of a Girl, so I made sure to do a marathon-style read through of all her recent posts. I love Sophie's morning ritual, especially the scrumptious shot of her homemade sour dough loaf. Thanks to her I also discovered the Simply Breakfast blog, which I can't believe I have not known about before. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day and this blog captures it perfectly! More drool-worthy breakfast posts I love are Megs from Wonderful You's Breakfast in Bed and Lillian from Parisian To Be's Quinoa recipe.

In the beauty realm, Tiffany's Rosy Outlook has got me researching rose hued blushes and lipsticks all Sunday, and Daphne's review of Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes has me wanting to buy a second shade of these beauts.

One thing I've yet to share here is that my boyfriend who lives in Singapore is finally coming home for good. After over 2 years of working there, he has finally confirmed his relocation back to Hong Kong. I'm over the moon excited! With moving back comes apartment hunting. Hong Kong apartments are teeny tiny, but thankfully Pinterest has some amazing inspiration for small spaces. I've been clicking through images for hours, sending him ones I think he'd like for his new pad, and pinning ones I think are too pretty to forget.

Last but definitely not last, I watched Her last week. If you have not yet seen the movie, I highly recommend you do. It's very much my kind of movie - romantic but thought-provoking, sentimental but heart warming. The whole story develops through dialogue between the two lovers. I love everything about Her, the acting, the script, the music, and also the fact that it's set in the heart of Downtown LA, mixed in with scenes of (surprise surprise) Shanghai's Pudong business district to create a futuristic, utopian version of Los Angeles. One of the best movies I've seen, and hands down my new favorite movie since "500 Days of Summer," which was 5 years ago.

This is a movie that will resonate with each person in a different way. For me, it shows how love is strictly an internal, personal feeling that really no one else can get, sometimes not even the other person in the relationship. It's all perceived in your head, which in some way feels safe and secure, but at times can also feel incredibly lonely.

That was some ramble. I'll leave you with my favorite 2 soundtracks from the movie - Photograph, which is purely instrumental but does feel exactly like a photo of 2 love birds, and The Moon Song, which is just so perfectly dreamy and therapeutic.

I hope you had a good weekend, and are well-rested and energized for the week ahead!


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