Current Favourites

Current Favourites

NIKE platform sneaker
nordstrom.com

NARS Cosmetics beauty product
$47 - liberty.co.uk

Lately I’ve been using some items frequently and I figured it’s time for a new Current Favourites post. So, here goes:

  • Tarte Cosmetics Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush – Sometime last year, I asked the fiancee to get me this brush from Sephora. It has now become my favourite foundation brush in the whole world. I don’t say this lightly. I have sensitive, acne prone skin and applying foundation is my secret to leaving the house looking presentable. This brush buffs foundation like nobody’s business – it works wonderfully well with liquid foundation  with medium coverage. I hadn’t been using this often enough but recently, I rediscovered it and have been loving it.
  • Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara in Noir – I read about this mascara recently and decided to get it when I was traveling, at duty free (like most of my makeup purchases). It has a flexible wand and application is a wee bit tricky. I usually remove the excess at the rim of the tube or dab it against a clean tissue first as I’m not a huge fan of clumpy lashes. But on application, it’s really pretty. This mascara does not smudge, flake, or run. I don’t think it is marketed as waterproof but it lasts all day on me.
  • Swatch Deep Shine Green – The fiancee got me this when we were in Paris last Fall. There’s a Swatch store on Champs Elysees and we went in for fun and came out with a watch each. The glitter in the strap is a nice detail. I’ve been wearing this a bit lately and I love the silicone strap. It’s so comfortable you barely notice it.
  • NARS Sheer Glow in Macao – I got my first bottle of NARS Sheer Glow about two years ago I believe. It was a balm June afternoon, the fiancee and I were in Liberty of London perusing NARS cosmetics. OK, I was looking at the NARS products and he was dutifully standing nearby being all patient and supportive :) I asked the makeup artiste to apply it for me and the shade was perfect. You gotta love NARS and his beautiful colour range. So, I got a bottle of this and since then I have finished it and got a second bottle. While clearing up my apartment recently (more on that later) I rediscovered this bottle. I have a few bottles of foundation that I rotate with depending on the weather and the primer I’m using (and how naughty my skin is that day) so I don’t always use this NARS. That said, it is a beautiful foundation with a nice medium coverage. It blends very well and sets properly. I do use a setting power (either a NARS or Laura Mercier, sometimes MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish) and it lasts a full work day on me. My skin has changed lately, becoming more dry, and this foundation really gives it life.
  • Nike Dunk Sky Hi Wedge Sneakers – I know, I know, Wedge sneakers are a bit too hyped up and common ever since Isabel Marant designed hers. I won’t lie, I was thinking they looked a bit weird until Sheena on Twitter mentioned that she got the New York limited edition version. I was a bit curious but didn’t feel like splurging on the limited edition version, so I asked the fiancee to try to get it while he was in the US. I contemplated ordering it online but he was leaving soon and said it might not be a good idea. So on a whim, I sent him a link and he managed to find some spare minutes to dash into the store and pick it up. When he came back to Norway and I met him the next day to pick up my ‘stash’, I was shocked to see it in orange. I had asked for the black version. It seems the link I gave him showed the orange version (gah!) but once I put them on – I was in love. These shoes are quite comfortable for work. I wouldn’t wear them for a full day out as they do sometimes rub against my little toe, but just for going to work and coming home, they are perfect. I’m tempted to get the black pair, but we shall see.
  • Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarers – I love Ray-Ban because they are really comfortable and timeless. But, in Norway, Ray-Bans are not cheap. I was lucky enough to spot this pair in a mall in KL (Bukit Tinggi I believe?) and it was on 40% discount. I hadn’t bought a pair of sunglasses since 2011 so I figured it was time. I tried on two versions of this sunglasses: a slightly smaller one and a bigger one. I think these are the 52mm ones. I *might* be wrong but I know I always buy what they call the “Medium” sized ones. My frame is black rubber and the lenses are green tinted. They are extremely comfortable and do not really colour your view. You just get less glare.

Current Favourites

Current Favourites

Acne fringe scarve
975 NOK - farfetch.com

Giorgio armani
180 NOK - giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com

Bobbi brown cosmetic
270 NOK - harrods.com

Smashbox
165 NOK - smashbox.com

Here are some things I’ve been crazy about lately:

  • ACNE Quebec Royal Blue/Navy Scarf – I usually buy myself new winter accessories every winter if I’m not going to buy a new coat. (Technically, I have been scouting around for a new coat but I haven’t found one that fits well enough to justify the expense.) But seeing as I didn’t get a coat so far, I got a better scarf than what I would normally buy. This scarf is ultimate luxury. It’s 100% wool and feels so, very, comfortable. When I wear it, it feels as if the words “cold” and “neck” will never co-exist in a thought, in my mind. That is how comfortable it is! I wear it almost every day, to decrease it’s cost-per-wear. It helps that it goes with my camel jacket and my black down jacket.
  • Bioderma Crealine H2O – I’m sure you’ve heard about this makeup remover before. It’s the bee’s knees. I wear eye makeup about 3 to 4 times a week. Even if I don’t wear eyeshadow, I still use eyeshadow primer to keep my mascara from smudging. Normally, removing my eye makeup is a bit of a time consuming task but I persevere because it needs to be done and I’m a clean freak. That said, with the Bioderma makeup remover, I can sit on the couch with 2-3 saturated cotton pads and remove my eye makeup slowly, without any rubbing or tugging. I don’t even need a mirror as I know it will remove almost everything. I usually use a cotton bud soaked in it to clean my waterline and lashes, but even that is easy to do as the makeup remover does not irritate my eyes or my contact lenses at all. I always use a separate face makeup remover because I like a good oil cleanser, but in a pinch, I have used this before and it’s been pretty clean. I do rinse my entire face with facial cleanser later though – clean freak, remember? :) I bought 3 bottles of these in Paris. I’m going to have to go hunting for it online when I’m finished. I hope that day never comes though :( Shipping to Norway is expensive.
  • Bobbi Brown Long-wear Even Finish Foundation – When I was in Seattle, a couple of months ago, I got a sample of this foundation. I thought 6.5 Warm Almond was a really good match but I didn’t have time to wear it there so I brought the sample back home and forgot about it. Before I went to Paris I was going through my sample stash and then stumbled upon this. I used the sample three times and loved it. So I bought a bottle in Paris and have been using it ever since. It blends very well and lasts throughout a work day. I use it with various oil-free, mattifying primers because I always use a primer. If you have combination/oily skin and want a long wearing foundation that won’t oxidize, with a semi-matte finish, this is a good buy.
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow Acqua collection – I’ve been using this eyeshadow in #24 recently. I love it so much I sometimes wear it for two consecutive days. That’s very out-of-character for me actually as I usually rotate my eyeshadows a lot. I love wearing a different product everyday. But, the look I get with this eyeshadow is just too beautiful to not use it. I usually wear a primer and a base, but because Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows are long-wearing, I can skip the base and just use a primer and it will last a good 10 hours without creasing. I’ve never worn eyeshadows without primer so I wouldn’t know how long this eyeshadow lasts without primer. Temptalia has good swatches and a nice review for this product. If you like eyeshadows and want a workhorse product that you can wear all the time, this is definitely a good splurge.
  • Smashbox Image Factory Airblush Whipped Cheek Color – I bought this in Berry Bliss, at Sephora in Paris. I wasn’t looking to buy a blush actually, but when I landed in Paris and was getting ready for dinner that night, I realized that I had completely forgotten to bring a blush with me. So, the next day I had to hunt for one at Sephora. I was looking for a blush that was guaranteed to work with my skin tone and I didn’t have much time to swatch and compare. The texture of this product is like a mousse but it’s very pigmented. You barely need a swipe on your brush to get a healthy, lively look.

Current Favourites

Current Favourites
I’ve been wearing my Levi’s Demi Curve Straight a lot lately. In fact I have like 5 pairs of them and I love them. They’re extremely comfortable for Spring/Summer and they go with almost anything.
I picked up the Crumpler Free Wheeler Messenger bag when I was in London a few months ago. It is perfect for work as I have to carry my laptop with me. It fits everything but the kitchen sink :) I love that it’s not boring black but a cool petrol blue shade with really slim neon yellow stripes.
Last Fall, when I was in Seattle, I met a wonderful makeup artiste at Nordstrom’s Chanel counter. She gave me a quick makeover (while I bugged her with a lot of annoying questions) with Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere foundation. I was surprised to find a shade that matched my skin tone perfectly (Ambre 94) and I immediately bought a bottle. Almost 5 months later and I’m still using that same bottle of foundation. Talk about value for money. I use it with Laura Mercier’s Oil Free Primer and it lasts more than 7 hours on my oily skin. This foundation barely needs any blending. You can even apply it with your fingers and it will literally melt into your skin. I do powder with a mixture of NARS Loose Powder in Mountain and MAC’s Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder.
A lot of people I know are not big fans of MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadow range. On the contrary, I love them as I always use a creamy base for my eyeshadow looks. The Mineralize eyeshadow clings on to the creamy base for dear life and usually lasts a good 6-8 hours with a primer. I can’t complain. My current favourite shade is Gilt By Association.
If you’ve ever tried on a Deborah Lippmann nail polish, you’ll definitely agree with me when I say she makes the best nail polishes. EVER. I’m constantly surprised by the formulation of her nail polish. I can spend up to a good 40 minutes painting my nails sometimes but with Ms. Lippmann’s colors, I can be done in less than 20 minutes sometimes. Ray of Light is a bluish purple shade with itty bitty copper flecks. It’s plain gorgeous. If you do see it at a store, please swatch it.

If you are looking for a good black eyeliner that you can smudge but will stay put after it has been smudged, Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Intense Kajal Eyeliner in Blackened Black is _the_ pencil. {It’s also got a really long name.} It is so soft and creamy, but not as creamy as YSL’s Dessin Du Regard so it’s a bit easier to work with. I use it for my upper and lower lashline and I really like. It’s quite similar to MAC’s Feline (which is limited edition – I have no idea why).

FOTD: Chanel Ebloui and MAC Legendary Black

So I’ve been playing around with Chanel’s Illusion d’Ombre in Ebloui lately. I swatched it months ago when it was released in Norway but I fell for the Mirifique shade instead. After really enjoying the texture and staying power of Mirifique I decided to pick up another one.

When I was at duty free in Heathrow a few weeks ago, I swatched Ebloui. I thought it wouldn’t really show up on my skin but in the airport lighting it was quite a nice subtle shade. At first glance it just looks like coppery glitter on my skin. But in the shade it looks even better. It’s got a nice plummy brown hue that looks so classy.

As much as I love in-your-face bold shadow looks, having Ebloui in my stash kind of gives me a chance to wear more subtle looks.

Excuse the mussed up hair, it was a windy day.

Here’s what I did (and I promised it did not take more than 15 minutes):

  • I started out with NARS Pro Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow base. I applied a really thin layer.
  • Then I used a MAC 217 brush and patted Ebloui from the upper lashline but stopped before my crease. I did this a few times though because it’s difficult to tell how much is on my eyelid. In other words, it’s actually quite difficult to overdo it.
  • Then I took the same 217 brush and blended Legendary Black into the crease and outer corner.
  • I lined my upper and lower lashline with MAC Feline which is a smudgy black eyeliner. In typical “I’m-too-scared-to-wear-shadow-on-my-lower-lashline” style, I just smudged more Feline on my lower lashline and set it with transparent powder.

At the risk of looking silly, here’s what it looks like with my eyes closed:

Now I’m off to ponder why I always look so yellow in photographs. Here are some additional links in case you’re curious:

  1. Temptalia’s Chanel Illusion D’ombre Swatches
  2. Karen’s Look with Chanel Mirifique
  3. What in the world is Legendary Black: Temptalia’s Swatches of MAC’s Legendary Black

P/s - I’ll never be able to swatch as well as Temptalia and I’m not even going to bother to try as I don’t live in a very well lit place. I do live in a country with a love-hate relationship with sunlight so I really don’t see myself ever finding the proper time and place to swatch eyeshadows. I’m always at work when the sun is shining anyway :)

MAC Nebula Pigment – Smoky Eye in a Jar

I’ve been playing around with MAC’s Nebula pigment (Karen wrote about it here) and here’s a look I keep gravitating towards at least once a week. The following is what I used:

  • MAC Nebula pigment
  • MAC Greasepaint Stick in Slick Black
  • MAC Folie eyeshadow
  • MAC Patina eyeshadow
  • YSL Dessin Du Regard Waterproof eyeliner in Black
  • DiorShow Waterproof Mascara
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

I applied the eyeshadow primer and then the greasepaint stick to create a sticky base for the pigment to stick on. Using a MAC 239 brush, I patted Nebula pigment on my eyelid, focusing on the area closest to the upper lashline. Then I placed Folie in my crease with a MAC 275 brush; Patina in my inner corner with a MAC 219 brush. Lastly I used a MAC 217 brush to blend both shades together to create a nice gradient. It’s not very visible here, of course. *Cough* The eyeliner is a soft, smudgy black pencil by YSL. I do set it with transparent powder to prevent smudging.

Key Products - YSL Dessin Du Regard Waterproof liner in Black, MAC Nebula Pigment, MAC Syrup Lipstick

I’m wearing Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Foundation and Tarte’s Cheek Stain in Tipsy (as I wanted a barely there blush look with a slight sheen). Strangely my lipstick was not so nude in real life. It was MAC’s Syrup layered on top heaps of lip balm (Thank you, Winter).

Excuse the slightly harsh expression in the photograph. My eyes become very sensitive to light in Winter and then in Spring, they re-adjust a bit better.

Review: A-England Dragon Nail Polish

A few months ago I picked up two nail polishes from A-England as I had read wonderful reviews. It helped that the company offers free shipping worldwide. I had bought Camelot and King Arthur and was very impressed with the formula as well as how easy it was to work with them.

Recently I stumbled across FashionPolish’s swatches of some of the new colors that A-England has launched and ordered four bottles. The one I’m featuring is Dragon. I don’t know how to describe this shade. It’s a grass green hologram nail polish that gold-ish glitter in it, perhaps?

Here are some photos for you to decide:

A-England ~ Dragon

A-England ~ Dragon

Technically, you can get away with just one coat of nail polish but out of habit I applied two coats followed by Deborah Lippmann’s Addicted to Speed topcoat.

It’s been really cold lately (-21 C on Friday morning, -16 C yesterday and -8 C today *phew*) and bright nail polishes like this are definitely cheering me up!

Weekend Adventures

Yesterday was amazing.

It started with a tough strength training session at the gym. I was very ambitious as I didn’t feel very sore from my last strength training session on Wednesday so I pushed a bit harder this time. All I can say now is Ouch :)

Post gym we stopped for coffee (out Saturday post gym treats) then went home and started on lunch. I wanted to make something wholesome yet light so I settled for a quick Mushroom and Garlic pasta.

Mushroom and Garlic Pasta

This dish was really easy and took all of 20 minutes (who says cooking is time consuming? :)). The bf cooked the tagliatelle (because he’s better at getting it to ‘al-dente’ than I am) while I fried the sliced mushroom in butter, a dash of olive oil, a bit of chopped garlic and some Italian spices. When the pasta was done, we just tossed it together with the cooked mushrooms. We also added fresh lemon juice and black pepper. The dish turned out to be really, really tasty.

Mushroom and Garlic Pasta

After lunch, we got ready to head out to the Cafe area near my apartment. We wandered down the streets and ended up in a cafe..just literally doing nothing but flipping through our reading materials and sipping a latte. Sigh, that’s my kind of weekend :)

The new Hindi movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, is playing in Oslo so we picked up tickets for that movie and watched it in the evening. It was a really good movie. It’s been filmed in a very modern way so much so that if it weren’t for the language, you could easily classify it as an English film. It’s all about the life of three friends and how they deal with their challenges. The movie shows Spain in such beautiful detail. Makes me want to book a flight to Barcelona and run out the door right now. Alas, vacations need to be planned :)

Ooh, another thing I forgot to mention. The MAC Semi-Precious collection released here on Thursday so I stopped by and picked up a few items. Here’s me wearing Blue Sheen Mineralized Eyeshadow with Stovepipe Black Eyeshadow (also by MAC, from the Jeanius collection) in an attempt to create a blueish look. I used Clinique’s Cream Shaper for Eyes in Black Diamond as the liner.

Me

A Little Bit of This and That

I’ve been dabbling in a little bit of this and that. Mostly work as there is just so much to read. I sometimes wish I was a Shape Shifter from Fringe – now those guys are cool because they have hard disks which they use to load information into themselves. The mechanism is a bit gory so I won’t go into details there. But, imagine not needing to read anything anymore – just load the information. Totally nifty :)

I’ve been trying out a few of the items from last week’s “haul”. I’m in love with those things as it’s so difficult to get most of them here, let alone at a reasonable price. I normally don’t like to write negative stuff on my blog because the last thing I want is to have somebody read it and feel unhappy. Nevertheless I must admit that the range and variety available in this city leaves a lot to be desired. But, it has been improving. Three years ago, there were so many ingredients I could not find at the grocery stores. These days, it is actually possible to find milk powder, Sodium Bicarbonate, Japanese Plum Vinegar, Hoisin sauce, Frozen Char Siu Paus, etc..so I have hope that the variety will improve in other departments as well.

We can’t always have everything we want, can we :)

So this is the bag I bought online and sent it to a friend, then the bf picked it up when he was traveling. It’s a Kate Spade Cheltenham Hobo. I love non-black bags but I usually end up buying black bags all the time. This coffee brown, leather bag is so nice. The leather is very soft yet scratch-proof. I got a 60% discount on the bag so I think it was a steal. It’s a great work bag as it can fit a lot of my junk :) It’s also cross body so I always have my hands free.

Kate Spade Cheltenham Hobo

Speaking of browns, I recently experimented with a brown eyeshadow look. You know that look a lot of models on magazines wear? It’s a classic dark brown look that goes with any blush and any lipstick, but it makes your eyes look more defined?

I don’t really know if it is a brown smokey eye. My knowledge on makeup is limited and I definitely do not resemble a model :)

But here is my attempt. It’s a contrast enhanced photo to show the combination I was trying to achieve.

Brown Eyeshadow Look

Here’s a list of products I used:

  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (Original)
  • MAC Below Ground Greasepaint Stick (as a base colour)
  • MAC Chocolate Brown Pigment (inner lid)
  • MAC Deep Purple Pigment (outer lid)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Wasteland (crease)
  • MAC Patina Eyeshadow (inner corner of the eye)
  • MAC Smolder Kohl Pencil (upper lashline and outer part of lower lashline)
  • MAC Orpheus Kohl Power Pencil (lower lashline)
  • Becca Damselfly Mineral Blush

The following are the steps I used:

  • Apply the eyeshadow primer onto clean, moisturized eyes.
  • Pat the base (the Greasepaint stick, in this case) onto the eyelids and blend with a fluffy brush like MAC 217. The 217 is a wonderful brush that evenly spreads eyeshadow and creamy bases.
  • Using a flat brush like MAC 239, pat on the Chocolate Brown pigment on the inner half of the lid. I applied mine a little bit more towards the outer corner to create a bit of a gradient.
  • Using a flat brush, again, pat the Deep Purple pigment on the outer half of the lid.
  • Draw a thick line in the crease with the Wasteland Shadow Pencil. Immediately blend it with the 217 brush as this pencil sets very fast. I’d recommend doing one eye at a time.
  • Using a pencil brush like MAC 219, pat on Patina on the inner corners of your eyes. Blend with the same brush.
  • Finish with the eyeliners and mascara and you are good to go.
  • I usually clean up the edges with a cotton bud and blend around the eyeshadow corners with MAC Studio Careblend Pressed Powder or Mineralize Skin Finish Natural to soften the look.

Review: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils

Urban Decay’s edgy makeup really appeals to me. I have a few of their palettes and definitely cannot live without their eyeshadow primer potions. Hence, I was very tempted to try out some of their eyeshadow pencils that were launched January this year.

I love the texture of these pencils, they glide on wonderfully well. I plan to use Barracuda and Wasteland as crease or outer corner colours and Clinic as an eyeliner. Let’s see how my plans pan out. For now here are some not-so-perfect, overly flash-lit swatches:

Swatches of Clinic, Wasteland and Barracuda on NW43 Skin Tone

These colours look richer in real. For your reference, I’m a very stubborn NW43 brown girl who believes that with the right base, brown girls can rock just about any colour :)

My only question for Urban Decay is: When are you coming to Norway? :)

Aubergines, Couscous, and More

There’s something nice about men who cook. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know that’s my weakness: men who cook. Because if the bf is cooking, I can sit on the couch and daydream, read makeup blogs and chat on Facebook/Twitter, no? After a long day at work, sometimes that’s the best way to wind down.

They say when you spend a lot of time with somebody, their habits rub off on you. I think this does not only apply to boyfriends and girlfriends, but friends too. For me, the bf’s love for vegetarian food has definitely rubbed off on me. I used to be a meat lover who felt vegetarian food was bland and tasteless. Nowadays, I’m more than happy to cook and eat something vegetarian just for fun.

Spicy Baby Aubergine Stew with Coriander and Mint

It was the bf who cooked this dish because he was really curious what an aubergine stew would taste like. This recipe is from the GoodFood (UK, May 2011 edition) magazine. I hope it’s alright that I am posting it here.

Basically, what you need is:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped (I used garlic paste)
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and crushed (I used them as is)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed (I used them as is)
  • 16 baby aubergines, left whole with stalk intact (I can’t find baby aubergines here, at least not the purple ones so I used 2 large aubergines and cut each into about 12 pieces)
  • 2x400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 bunch of mint leaves (I used bottle mint chutney)

The method is something like this:

  1. Heat oil in a big pan and add fry onions and garlic until the colour changes. Add in the chillies, coriander and cumin seeds. When the seeds give off a nutty aroma, toss in the whole aubergines, coating them in the onion and spices. (I waited for the seeds to pop, since I didn’t crush them.)
  2. Tip in tomatoes and sugar, cover and gently cook for 40 mins, until aubergines are tender.
  3. Season the sauce and toss in half the mint and coriander. (I didn’t use fresh coriander, just used mint instead.) Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over remaining herbs and serve with couscous and yoghurt.

I did serve mine with Couscous. Actually I made the Couscous based on the steps written on the package (it was wholewheat and delicious) and cut some of the ingredients while the bf focused on cooking the stew. If you’re looking for a simple recipe, to cook something different, this would be eat. The dish was wonderful. The trick I used for the Couscous is to season it with raisins, pepper, paprika, salt, and a knob of butter.

The best part of this dish? You only have to wash one pan. Well I have a dishwasher thanks to my landlord, but still :)

I pick up the GoodFood magazine once every few months because they have wonderful recipes that kind of push the boundaries of ingredient combinations that I absolutely love.

Here’s another photograph to motivate you to head out there and pick up some aubergine.

Spicy Baby Aubergine Stew with Coriander and Mint

Of course I had to save the best for last. The bf showed up with this from his recent trip gallivanting, err working I mean, in the US.

The Haul

I’ve been trying to be more and more selective, limiting my makeup purchases as I already have quite a few items in my collection that I am very happy with. I’m working towards reducing my shopping and saving more. Gotta be a responsible adult :)

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