March 31, 2011

The quest for the holy grail a.k.a. adventures in locating the mythical Naked Palette.

Like a lot of beauty bloggers I know, I can get a bit obsessive about makeup. If there's a certain product I have my eye on I will stalk it non-stop, talk about it to anyone that will listen, even dream about it (!) until it's finally mine...

This is the story of one such obsessive period when I just had to have the Urban Decay Naked Palette and the hunt for it through the streets of Europe (it's a long post broken up with pics from the trip, so I completely understand if you don't have time to read it all and want to move on...)

Late last year the husband & I went travelling through Europe ...While planning our trip 3 words kept leaping into my thoughts: Sephora and Naked Palette. There is no Sephora nor Urban Decay in Australia, hence my excitement. 

Rome, Italy
  • Google nearest Sephora store...hmmm, only 2.2 kms from hotel, surely we can sightsee our way towards Sephora?
  • After throwing coins in the Trevi, eating Gelato on the Spanish Steps and strolling along Via Corso, we "just happened" upon Sephora.
  • I rush in like a madwoman (husband left standing outside holding my gelato),  head straight to the UD stand while getting my wallet out... and... empty!
  • Never mind, this is the start of our trip... 2 more countries and 6 more cities to go.

At the Colosseum - on lips, Revlon Pink Pout
  • In Barcelona find a Sephora store near Las Ramblas, it's huuuggeee, which can only mean it will have stocks of the Naked Palette! Head straight to UD counter... and... the Naked stand is, well, naked!
  • Head to Sephora in El Cortes Ingles in Madrid, walk straight to the... wait a minute, there is no Urban Decay counter! What the *&*# kind of Sephora doesn't stock UD??? Starting to feel dejected.
  • In Granada get ripped off by a gypsy, don't even bother looking for a Sephora, go to the Moroccan teahouses and drown my sorrows in extra sweet Moroccan mint tea.
Drowning my sorrows in a Moroccan teahouse in Granada

  • Arrive in Nice, checked in luggage no-where to be found. It had decided to travel to Geneva instead (AlItalia helped along the way).
  • Lucky I'm carrying my make-up case in my hand luggage. Smart. Sure I don't have anything to wear but at least I'll have perfect make-up.
  • Decide to cheer myself up by finding Sephora and surely buying the Naked Palette. This is France after all, and if anyone will stock it, Sephora.FR will. Nope.
  • Two days later get reunited with my Swiss travelling bag, but it too hadn't found the Naked Palette on its travels.
    Dark sunnies to hide the sadness over lost bag
  • In Marseille head to 3 Sephora stores all within 1km of our hotel (we chose well!), but no Naked Palette.
  • Arrive in Paris... this is it, I can feel it! Go to countless Sephora stores, with every empty stand get more and more dejected...
    Despite the happy facade, still haven't found the palette.
  • On 2nd last day in Paris walk past a tiny nondescript Sephora store. Don't even bother going in, what's the point anyway?
  • Husband encourages me to go in. I think he just wants to get out of the rain...
  • I walk in, walk towards the UD counter, even without looking I'm ready to walk out when... there it is! Shiny! New! Everything I had hoped it would be and more!
  • Completely forget how my wallet comes out of bag, how I pay for it, what we did and where we went after buying the palette, all I know is I had finally found it.

It took me 3 countries, 7 cities, 100s of Sephora stores and 1 extremely understanding husband to find the Naked Palette.

What obsessive lengths have you gone to to find something you want?

March 29, 2011

Current favourite blushes

You might have noticed from my past blush posts that I generally like my blushes to have some shimmer to them, e.g., Nars Orgasm, BYS Coral. But for the cooler weather I prefer my blushes matte. I just think shimmery cheeks in winter look a bit unnatural.

L/R - The Makeup Store "Lush"; MAC "Melba"

The Makeup Store blush in "Lush" and MAC blush in "Melba" are are both matte, making it perfect for cooler weather, but both do a fantastic job of defining the cheeks.

L/R - "Lush"; "Melba"

L/R - "Lush"; "Melba"

I've had Lush for a little while now, but haven't used it much because I preferred shimmery cheeks for summer.

The Makeup Store "Lush"

Melba is a fairly recent addition to my collection. Tell you the truth I hadn't paid much attention to it until I saw it in Vivianna's blog and fell in love with the colour. She has used it in several looks, and reviewed it most recently in this video post, so have a look at it for more pics.

MAC "Melba"

Both blushes are extremely pigmented so you only need to use a tiny bit.  These are definitely going to be my winter staples.

What blushes are you loving right now?

March 27, 2011

MAC Impassioned

I'd been after MAC Impassioned for a long time but none of the counters I went to stocked it. I'd almost given up looking for it when I saw it on Bubblegarm's blog and went into a frenzy, I had to have it. So I took my search online and managed to find it at the MAC AU website (I should have looked there in the first place!). It was only later that I found out it is a pro colour in Australia so only available in pro stores.

With flash

This is a beautiful bright colour which I find difficult to describe, it's fuchsia, yet has coral undertones. Depending on the light it's either cool toned or warm toned. Watermelon is the colour that most comes to mind. Whatever the colour, I love it! 


Below is what it looks like on. Warning, this isn't a proper FOTD - this is what I looked like after coming home from work and finding my MAC package waiting for me, I just had to try it on right there and then. I think it really brightens the face.

Excuse the messy hair... I just pulled it back quickly to better show the lipstick

What do you think of this colour? Would you wear it or is it too bright for you?

March 25, 2011

What's on my nails - Illamasqua Stagnate

If follow me on Twitter you might know I'd been obsessing over the Illamasqua nailpolish Stagnate from the Toxic Nature collection. So last weekend I finally got the chance to go into Myer Sydney to pick one up.

I took the husband with me, although I did have to bribe him with some macaroons for putting up with my makeup counter visits... not that I was complaining! We went to Coco Noir in Westfield Pitt St where they have the best assortment of macaroons. I had a chocolate one and a salted caramel one, while the husband had a chocolate one and a hazelnut one. Yumm...

Anyways back to the nailpolish.

Artificial lighting (and excuse the messy cuticles, been really neglecting them lately)

Stagnate is a gorgeous moody polish which changes colour from brown to mauve to purple depending on the light.

This is one of those neutral colours that I'll be wearing on my nails most of the cooler months. It is a bit similar to Chanel Particulaire, but I think this has more cooler undertones than the Chanel one.

Natural light

My experience with Illamasqua nailpolishes is that they last quite a few days without chipping, and this one seems to be no exception.

Have you tried Illamasqua nailpolishes? What do you think of this colour?

March 23, 2011

Nars Orgasm Dupes

If you're anything like me then you probably tend to gravitate towards similar shades and colours in makeup, to the point that you end up with a tonne of dupes. Satin Taupe dupes? Got 'em! Mac Hue dupes? Got  'em! And the latest dupes I discovered whilst going through a bit of a makeup stash clearout is some possible dupes for Nars Orgasm.

Nars Orgasm is such a popular colour and it suits most skintones. I'm sure you're all familiar with it so I won't bang on and on about it, but rather show you some dupes that I have.

Back - BYS Coral, Nars Orgasm
Front - Kafellon #5, L'oreal Raspberry Sorbet

Possible dupe #1 - L'oreal Raspberry Sorbet

Possible dupe #2 - Kafellon blush in 5 (Kafellon is a Korean brand which I've seen at a few Korean makeup and knick-knack stores here in Sydney, including one in Parramatta)

Possible dupe #3 - BYS Coral (this is somewhat darker than Orgasm, but on cheeks using light brushstrokes it looks pretty close)

Whilst none of them are an identical dupe of Nars Orgasm, they're pretty darn close! And I would have to say quality-wise they're all fantastic. The BYS one especially is my favourite blush of all time, it has amazing pigmentation, lasts the whole day and is a measly $4.95. Now compare that to Nars which in AU retails for around $75 for the duo that I have (Ridiculous! I bought mine online for less than half that price so don't get me started on online vs real shopping).

Do you know of any other dupes?

March 22, 2011

My HG foundation

I often get asked what foundation I'm wearing, both in RL (Real Life) and BL (Blog Life), and almost every single time people are surprised by my answer.

My HG foundation is none other than....

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse!

I have two shades, Nude and Sandy Beige and often mix the colours to customise it to my skintone at the time. Though you can't tell in the pic above, Nude is slightly more yellow based and lighter than Sandy Beige.

It claims to give an airbrush finish and I'd have to agree with that. It gives a medium coverage which hides all flaws and doesn't look cakey at all. 

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse in Sandy Beige

It is quite creamy so I always use a transluscent powder to set it as it can make you look a bit shiny without powdering.

Up until recently I'd been using the Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in Transluscent to blot the shine. This is one of those powders I keep re-purchasing, it's very cheap and available at Priceline, Target, Kmart, etc.

Here is my skin using the foundation and blotted with the Rimmel powder. (click on the pic to enlarge)

And recently I purchased MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural powder in Medium because I felt I needed a change. This powder gives some extra coverage if you feel the foundation alone is not enough.

Here is my skin using the foundation and blotted with the MSFN.

What is your holy grail foundation?

Have you used this Maybelline foundation before?

March 20, 2011

Crush Cosmetics - a little bit of a haul

Whenever I need a cheap cosmetics fix I love browsing through the Crush Cosmetics website, they have a great range of products not available at most stores and because they're Australia based I get my order delivered in 2-3 days max. So here's my latest purchases, all cheap as chips.

The main reason I put in an order is because of the empty eyeshadow palettes.

They're $7.95 each, and hold an eyeshadow pan that's 26mm (that's the same size as MAC eyeshadows!). I got two of those palettes, one for some MAC shadows that are on the loose, and I thought I'll also try a few of the Crush Cosmetics brand eyeshadow pots in the other.  The eyeshadows are $3.95 each. I picked up the colours 10, 11, 12 and 15. The colours are really pigmented, as shown below.

I was also sent 2 free items with my order, a Nyx lipliner in Hot Red and another eyeshadow pot in a purply colour (as shown in the bottom left side of the photo montage at start of the post). There was no sticker on the purple shade so I can't really tell what colour it is.

I also picked up a Wet n Wild eyebrow kit for my mum (top left of the photo montage at start of the post).

And last but not least, I picked up a Lime Crime lipstick in Countessa Fluorescent,  a really shocking blue-toned barbie doll pink which is still quite wearable. I think...

I'm wearing it in the pic below and I really don't think it looks too crazy pink. This is my first Lime Crime lipstick and I quite like it... it's a satiny creme formula with excellent staying power. It does stain your lips somewhat, but I find that the case with most bright lipsticks so I don't really mind.

Have you tried any of the products I've bought?

March 18, 2011

FF link love

With the weekend almost here, here's some good blog reading that you can catch up on. You may notice a bit of a trend featuring Illamasqua makeup ... that's because we're all obsessed with it at the moment!

Jade from Jade Musing shows us her swatches of Emerge cream pigment and Divine lipgloss by Illamasqua

Annica from Haute and Stylish talks about her experience at the launch of Illamasqua Toxic Nature collection in Brisbane. 

Sarah from Hip and Haute shows us the perfect corally/orangey Illamasqua lipgloss in Mistress.

If by now you're getting tired of Illamasqua posts, head on over to KellStars blog to check out her Inglot palettes, which is another favourite brand of mine.

Angie from An Obsession with the Fabulous reviews some New Cid colours

To check out some Rouge Coco Shine by Chanel head on over to Jen's blog Pinkribbons

Jen from My Funny Valentine does a beautiful bronze mokey eye using Inglot

Emily from Emily's Anthology shows us a gorgeous chocolate smokey eye.

Dee from FaceFixers shows us her Body Shop haul.

Alina from Makeup Moment reviews Mac Blot powder which is something that will probably go on my next mac shopping list.

Jamie from Miss Chew shows us her new Illamasqua Toxic Nature purchases... and gave me the bad news that Delirium (my fave colour pigment) may be selling out too fast for my liking. I'm off to Illamasqua quick smart to pick it up before it walks out the door!

Still want more Illamasqua? Then head on over to Clare's blog to check out her swatch of the lipstick Flame... I want!

And what do you think I'll be doing tomorrow? Heading over to the Illamasqua counter in Myer of course!

NOTD - Sportsgirl Berlin

I'm big fan of Sportsgirl nailpolishes; their colours are always on trend (lots of Chanel dupes), the quality is great lasting 2-3 days without a chip, and they're very cheap at $7.95AUD.

I've had this colour for a few weeks now but I kept forgetting to wear it until yesterday. It's called Berlin, and even though I've never been to Berlin, looking at the colour I actually think it's appropriate.

It's a beautiful metallic greeny/blue colour that is perfect for the cooler weather when corals and pinks can look out of place.

Have you tried Sportsgirl polishes? What polishes are you loving right now?

March 16, 2011

Mini Mac Haul & maxi dessert feed

Last weekend Jade from Jade Musing and I decided to go on a mini haul followed by dessert at a new South American dessert place that had opened up in Parramatta. I don't know what I was excited about more, the mini haul, or the delicious alfajores with dulce de leche filling ... mmm... alfajores...

Anyway, our first stop was Myer where I wanted to check out the MAC counter. I was mainly after a powder to set my foundation and both Jade and the MUA recommended I go with the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powder, which I did.

I bought the MSN in Medium which is the perfect colour for my NC25-30 skintone. Initially I thought it was too light for me, but the MUA said that being a mineral powder it will oxidise and darken on the skin a bit. I'm glad I listened, because it is definitely the right colour for me.

Looks quite light in this swatch but it blends invisibly on my skin.

I also got distracted by the lipstick stand, mainly Creme Cup caught my eye... why did I not own it already? It's such a gorgeous nudey pink, so after swatching and falling in love with it I added that to my purchase.

MAC Lipstick in Creme Cup

I will do a proper review of both my purchases later, but I will say now that I love them both and I'm so glad I bought them.

After stopping by a few other stores Jade and I made our way to Inca's South American Desserts. I had the white alfajores, filled with dulce de leche and covered in meringue, topped with cream and strawberries. Yummm....

My dessert

Jade ordered not one but two traditional alfajores. I must admit I was surprised at that because Jade is tiny, she's so gorgeous, I didn't think she'd be able to finish the two because they are huge. But turns out she thought they were much smaller in size, hence her order of double servings.

Jade and her two desserts... and I'd like to point out that Jade has the most perfect glowy and luminous skin but for some reason my camera added shine to her face where there was none.

I must say she persevered and finished both her desserts! Very proud of her.

And in case you're interested in my makeup on the day, here's a pic (after all meeting a beauty blogger for the first time is more daunting than going on a first date: a date will notice that you're wearing make-up, a beauty blogger will notice if your foundation is cakey, if your eyeshadow is not blended or if you have lipstick on your teeth!).

I kept it fairly simple...
  • On eyes - greyish tones using my Mac Play it Cool palette, Australis TLC Mascara, UD Zero eyeliner
  • On face - Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse foundation in Nude
  • On cheeks - BYS blush in Coral
  • On lips - Mac lipglass in Oyster Girl

What have you been hauling lately? Do you own any of my new additions? What do you think of them?

March 15, 2011

Review - Australis Lash TLC Mascara

I'm a drugstore mascara girl, I don't see the point in spending $$$ buying luxury brand mascaras that will only last about 2 months... I mean, some of them cost upwards of $50aud! So when I was offered to try the Australis Lash TLC Mascara I immediately agreed because I've used their mascaras before and never had problems with it. Plus this one has lash conditioning vitamin E in it to nourish, so it can only be a good thing!

It comes in a fantastic bright pink metallic tube. The colour was just too difficult to capture on film though.

The wand is tapered at the tip which makes it easy to get to those corner lashes.

And it both lengthens and thickens, as the pictures show.

What I like about it
  • Lengthens and thickens (I can't comment on the curling factor as my lashes are naturaly curled so I never see a difference in curl).
  • Doesn't flake
  • Lasts the whole day until I'm ready to take it off
  • Doesn't feel dry and "crunchy" on the lashes
  • Inexpensive - $14.95 rrp and avalable in Priceline, Target, Big W, and many other places

What I don't like
  • Colour - It's not that I don't like it, but my personal preference is for really really really black mascara, as with my colouring anything less makes my eyes look washed out. I was given blackest black but it's still not black enough for my complexion. This would be perfect for fairer complexioned ladies though or those who'd like a more natural colour to their lashes.
Would I purchase? - YES, but only if there is a darker black out there.

Have you tried Australis mascaras before?


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