October 31, 2015

Makeup Swaps for Fall

Fall is still not entirely here in Hong Kong - the weather is neither here nor there, with the occasional summer heat still on for a few days in the week. Even so, it's full-on fall mode in my head and I've begun swapping out the summery products in my daily makeup bag, and replacing them with more fall-appropriate hues and textures.

On the lips, I've swapped out my Dior Fluid Stick in "Rieuse" for the Dior Addict Lipstick in "Tribale" - its similarly-coral, but less-bright cousin. I'm smitten with Tribale especially because its incredibly hydrating. It really is not in any way less moisturizing or nourishing than lip balms. I also appreciate its perfect balance of bright and natural, which helps me feel somewhat appropriate slabbing on coral lips long past the summer months.

On the eyes, I've put my obsession with the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in "Copper" on hold, and instead have been reaching for the Maybelline Color Tattoo in "Bad to the Bronze," or the unphotographed Tom Ford Cream Eyeshadow in "Spice." The former is a forever staple, but I use the latter much more sparingly as it was limited edition and so amazing (though I'd point out it's the kind of "limited edition" which gets re-released every now and then... so keep an eye out).

Last but not least, I've been going back and forth with my trusty Laura Mercier Mineral Powder, and my (very beaten-up) NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. I tend to reach for the NARS way more in the fall/winter, as I find its provides great moisture and radiance to the skin in the drier months.

What have you been using for fall?

October 12, 2015

The Magic of MAC Soba

You probably overlooked MAC Soba eye shadow. I did too. It looks ordinary and probably seems much too similar to your other neutral eyeshadows to warrant much attention.

But there is some magic in MAC Soba, I tell you. Not only does it create the perfect born-with-it eye contour, it also works so perfect on the nose - so perfect that I now use it almost exclusively for this purpose. I take Soba on a fluffy eye shadow brush (the NARS #43 Wide Contour Eyeshadow Brush photographed is my current go-to), and tap off the excess, and apply just that teeny bit onto the sides of my nose. Boom. Instant nose lift. 

Soba is such a great blending shade, and has surprisingly beat out all my other bronzers/contour powders in the "nose contour" department. Got fair skin and want a slightly taller nose? Soba is the one for you my friend.

What is your favorite contour shade?

October 1, 2015

Hello October | Little Goals

Hello October, or as people at my workplace like to call you, Q4 2015. I am so happy you're here. 2015 has been such a roller coaster ride, that by now I am just very excited for the anticipation-filled remaining three months of the year. I've set three little goals that I help I'll be able to stick with till the end of the year, through all the craziness, excitement and chaos.

After almost 20 years, I've started playing the piano again. I love the piano, but had quite an unpleasant experience as a child, thanks to an impatient, insensitive, scary piano teacher - smacking and shaming children is not the way to nurture an appreciation for music if you ask me. Giving up on piano halfway is one of my biggest regrets, so I am very happy to have finally picked up where I left off. Now as an adult, I get to choose the music I like (Yiruma's songs are my current favorite), and actually enjoy practicing and perfecting every song.

I also want to take better care of my eyes. 10+ years of contact lens use has definitely taken its toll! I've found this Rhoto Eye Moisturizer to be very good. It's a thicker, minty eye drop formula that is marketed as a bedtime "eye moisturizer." It is said to repair and nourish the eyes overnight after contact lens use. I'm surprisingly sold on this seemingly gimmicky idea, as I do notice my eyes feel more hydrated and refreshed every morning. Now I just need to get myself to wear LESS contact lenses overall so my eyes can really rest and repair.

Last but not least, the coming months are going to be full of photo-worthy moments. I plan to make full use of the Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1 that Alan got me for my birthday. It's a better alternative to the traditional Polaroid camera, as this one allows you to choose your best shots and print them off your smartphone. Genius idea if you ask me.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2015?

September 28, 2015

New Favorite Lipstick | Dior Addict 'Tribale'

I've been all about this lipstick all weekend.

Meet Dior Addict Lipstick in 'Tribale." Dior has reformulated its Addict line, now presented as all-in-one lipsticks with moisture, shimmer and shine. These are said to have the top coat (or gloss) built in, as seen in JLaw's sultry #shinedontbyshy campaign. All the newly launched Dior Addict lipsticks are permanent, including four iconic shades promoted in this relaunch. I of course went straight for the peachy-orange one - 'Tribale.'

'Tribale' is a gorgeous, pearlescent, slightly sparkly coral. It's my-lips-but-peachier. It's that just-bitten-lip-look. It's that wide-eyed-bushy-tailed, healthy complexion enhancing shade. It's amazing. If I were a lipstick (lol did I just say that), I'd be 'Tribale.'

It's difficult to explain why I'm so in love with this shade - it's just right in all ways. It's not too in-your-face bright, yet just bright enough to not be chalky or pale. It's a rosy, peachy, healthy color with just the needed amount of glossiness. It's also so comfortable on, feeling just like a lip balm. I honestly have nothing but good things to say about this lipstick - it just ticked all the boxes. It only took me seconds in the store to decide that this was going home with me.

Not to mention the improved packaging - the magnetic closure with the satisfying click, the distinctly embossed "Dior" on the tube, and the silver tube with multi-colored sheen. It's just all so dreamy.
As a sheer shade, 'Tribale' will look different depending on the original pigmentation of your lips. I looked up swatches but none are like how it looks on me.  I therefore attempt to show here what it looks like on my lips. You know that I love a lipstick when I do this, which I'm usually always lazy about (and terrible at).
I apologize for the terrible lip swatch. I hope this gives an idea but still I'd highly recommend checking these out in person. Major obsession going on, if you still cannot tell!

September 27, 2015

Ombre Cake | Vanilla & Berries

 If we exclude cookie cakes and pies, this is the first time ever that I've baked a full sized cake. I know - how did I wait so long? Layer cakes are so fun and easy to make, that I now feel the need to experiment with variations of this. I actually baked these two weekends in a row, both times ombre-ing my cakes to give them an extra something something. The possibilities are endless!

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were trying to find the perfect bridal shower cake for our bride-to-be Crystal. We finally decided to (attempt to) make one ourselves last Saturday, which turned out to be an amazingly fun afternoon. We used Martha Stewart's simple layer cake recipe to make both the cake and frosting, except we ombred the frosting so that it was a gradient of Tiffany blue to pale cream. We were very happy with how it turned out - it matches the color of our bridesmaids dresses!
This weekend I decided to use the leftover ingredients to make another cake for a Sunday tea time with family. I went with light pinks this time. On top of ombre-ing the frosting, I also ombred the cake layers, and covered the top with berries to balance out the pink.

I love these ombre cakes - these are so easy yet look very put together! I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned along the way...
On the recipe: The recipe quantities will leave you with quite a lot of frosting leftover. That happened both times for me. And if you want, you can cut down on the sugar of the cake - I used 1 cup of sugar instead of 1.5 cups. However you can't cut down the frosting sugar content much really, as the frosting has to reach that specific consistency to hold its shape

On the frosting: Always, always prime your cake with a crumb coat. For the ombre, apply the darkest shade on the bottom third of the cake, and work your way up with the lighter colors. Blend the colors together by going around the cake with a frosting spatula or straight knife. It's easier to ombre the frosting than the cake layers itself - with the cake you need more distinct colors as baking will mute the colors a little
What's your favorite cake recipe?


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