April 30, 2012

30 week belly update

Little Baby movements
It seems like in the last couple of weeks our little monkey has taken up karate or kickboxing because his movements are much stronger, and they also seem a bit more coordinated. I can tell he loves marshmallows because everytime I eat some he wiggles around and pushes against my belly. He seems to hate my hair dryer - everytime I'm blow drying my hair he starts punching and kicking all over the place and I can just imagine him punching the walls there "hey, keep it down out there, I'm trying to sleep!". All these movements have left my bump feeling sore and tight, like I've been doing a million ab crunches a day, but I love it, how else would I know that he's doing ok in there if not for his movements.

Rib pain
Aagghh, the muscle pain I'd had in the last 2 months just under my left rib has gotten worse. Previously it was only bad if I'd been sitting down for too long, but now it's almost constant. In fact a few days ago when trying to get out of bed I pulled it so badly that I heard a pop-pop-pop noise followed by intense pain and a burning sensation. I checked with my doctor today and turns out it's actually a pinched nerve which is very common in pregnancy, and will go away after birth. In the meantime all I can do is apply heat packs, do some stretching exercises and not sit down for long periods of time.

Belly touching
Ok, what's the deal with people wanting to touch a pregnant belly? 
In the last week 2 different people at work just reached out, without asking, and stroked my belly. These were people that I'm not friends with. We don't have that kind of relationship. I see them maybe once a year at work conferences. Yet they felt comfortable enough to reach out and touch my belly. WTF? I'm not buddha here that rubbing the belly will bring you good luck, so if you wouldn't touch my belly when not pregnant, why is it ok to touch it when I am?

April 29, 2012

Lipstick Love - MAC Up The Amp

I've had MAC lipstick in Up The Amp for exactly a year now but up until recently I hardly wore it.
MAC Up The Amp Lipstick - with flash

I'd put it in the winter makeup basket and promptly forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to do a darker lip than my usual corals and pinks and pulled this out of its hiding place.

In the past every time I thought about wearing this colour I associated it with dark and rainy gloomy days so I didn't give it another glance, but it surprisingly works well no matter what the season.
MAC Up The Amp Lipstick - without flash

MAC Up The Amp lipstick

Formula: Amplified and super creamy.
Pigmentation: Extremely pigmented, one swipe is all that's needed for perfectly opaque coverage.
Longevity: Lasts at least 6 hours before you need to reapply.

It's a blue toned dark lavender/purple shade colour that might not be to everyone's liking. However if you're game to try this colour, the trick is to wear warmer shades on the rest of your face, i.e. warm blush, warm brown eyeshadow, as otherwise your overall look will end up too cool and not in a good way. Best worn without a lipliner for a more casual, less made-up look. 

Have you tried this colour? 
Is this something you would normally wear?

April 27, 2012

DIY - revamp an old necklace with nail polish

A few years ago I'd bought a necklace on sale from Jacquie E and never actually wore it. I just found it a bit blah, and even though I love the shape the colour didn't do anything for me and didn't go with any of my outfits.

If only there was a way to change the colour... wait a minute... there is! Nail polish! Before jumping into painting the fake gemstones with polish and possibly ruining it all I Googled to make sure it was doable and sure enough there are a million posts from DIY blogs where they've used polish to revamp their jewellery. Perfect!

Here's how. 

Step by Step instructions

  • make sure you lay some newspaper down before you start painting in case of any spillage
  • a white nail polish is important to give you a clean base to start with. 
  • make sure you let the nail polish dry between coats
  • you will need to do several coats with your chosen colour (mine was Essie Absolutely Shore) to get a fully opaque coverage. I did 4 coats but I may end up doing another coat as I can still see the dark gemstones on some parts.
  • optional - finish with a layer of top coat.

End result... love it!

Have you ever tried to revamp your jewellery with nail polish?

April 25, 2012

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre vs L'Oreal Color Infallible

I've often heard that the L'Oreal Color Infallibles were dupes for the Chanel Illusion D'Ombre eyeshadows, but since I didn't own the little Chanel pots I couldn't do a proper comparison of my own.

Illusion D'Ombres sell for around $50aud a pop here in Australia, and frankly I was not about to pay that much for a single eyeshadow. But when I saw Jen was selling her Illusion D'Ombre in Ebloui at her blog sale, I had to pick it up as I'd always been curious about them.

So now that I have both eyeshadows (actually, I have quite a few of the L'Oreal ones, blogged previously HERE) I can do a proper comparison. Please bear in mind this is purely a comparison of their quality, rather than comparison of colour.

As soon as you open the lids and put them side by side you can tell there is no comparison really. The Chanel one is a gel-like cream, with a somewhat springy consistency whereas the L'Oreal one is more a cream to powder consistency. So besides the fact that both come in glass pots, there's no comparison of texture.

Both eyeshadows are incredibly pigmented, with no fallout whatsoever from either of these. Both have shimmer particles in them, but they translate to the eyelid more as a sheen rather than disco-ball glitter.
Winner - tie

With the L'Oreal Color Infallible one swipe with a flat eyeshadow brush is all that's needed for an opaque coverage of the lid. With the Chanel one I find that I need to do small strokes backwards and forwards several times to get the same level of coverage as I get with the L'Oreal one. So for ease of application, L'Oreal wins for me. 
Winner - L'Oreal 

The ads for the L'Oreal Color Infallibles claim that it lasts for 24hrs. Since I'm not in the habit of wearing my makeup all day and all night, I can't put that claim to the test. I normally apply my makeup around 7am in the morning before heading to work and then remove it before going to bed. I've worn both eyeshadows to work, and by 8pm the L'Oreal one starts to go patchy around the edges, whereas the Chanel Ebloui still looks fresh as I'm washing it off around 10pm.
Winner - Chanel

You get 4gr product in the Chanel pot for $48aud. The L'Oreal pot is 3.5gr but is only $19.95aud. Often the L'Oreal ones are on sale, or have a buy 3 pay for 2 deal going with them but the Chanel ones are never on sale. It doesn't take a genius to work out who the winner is.
Winner - L'Oreal Color Infallible

Both are excellent products and you won't be disappointed with either of them if you get them. None of them crease or have fallout, and both are nicely pigmented and long lasting. However for me personally purely because of the cost aspect L'Oreal Color Infallible is the overall winner. 

 Have you tried any of these eyeshadows? 
Which one do you prefer?

April 23, 2012

Too Faced Naked Eye Palette - Review, Photos & Swatches

I'm a big big fan of the Too Faced eyeshadow palettes. I have the Natural Eye and the Romantic Eye Palettes already, and when I had a swatch of the Naked Eye palette at the shops I knew I would be adding this one to my collection too.

The Too Faced eye palettes come in 9 complementary matte and shimmer shades which are great for creating a variety of looks. They come with instruction cards to help you create some looks, but of course you can just ignore them and do your own thing.
Too Faced Naked Eye Palette

The Naked Eye palette is a cooler toned palette with taupes, pinks and greys. And the matte black is a wonderful addition in my opinion as I use black eyeshadows to go over my eyeliner to make it last, plus they're good at darkening the crease.

Too Faced Naked Eye Palette

The Naked Eye Palette contains the following colours:

  • In The Buff (matte ivory)
  • Pillow Talk (light taupe sheen)
  • Like A Virgin (matte taupe)
  • Birthday Suit (beige shimmer)
  • Satin Sheets (golden champagne shimmer)
  • Unmentionables (steel gray shimmer)
  • Pink Cheeks (pale pink)
  • Lap Dance (silvery taupe shimmer)
  • Stiletto (matte black)

Swatches without flash

Swatches with flash

With my Natural Eye and Romantic Eye palettes the pigmentation of some of the colours has been a bit of a hit and miss. But I found that except for the matte black, all the colours in Naked Eye are nicely pigmented, with absolutely no fall out (I'm looking at you Natural Eye with your fall-out-y bottom row colours).

And you know what, if I was being honest I would admit that I much prefer the Too Faced palettes to my UD Naked Palettes... actually I will be honest and say it, I DO prefer them to the UD Naked Palettes. 

Have you tried any of the Too Faced eyeshadow palettes?

April 22, 2012

Makeup brush basics - what brushes I use and where

There was a long time when the only makeup brush I used was for applying blush. For foundation I used fingers (and still do) and for eyeshadows I used sponge tipped applicators (not the el-cheapo ones that come free in a palette... I still had standards!). The main 2 reasons I didn't venture out into the world of makeup brushes were:
  • what brush do I use and for what part of the face
  • cost (when you consider that small eyeshadow brushes at MAC start at $60aud cost was a big factor). 

Then a few years ago I noticed that Manicare brought out brushes that looked professional AND affordable (starting from $6.95aud), and slowly slowy my collection grew. Most of my brushes now are from either Artiste by Manicare, Cosmetica by Manicare, or Models Prefer and none of them cost more than $20aud. 

As for what brushes to use on what part of the face, I don't necessarily pay attention to the rules and use whatever feels right. Like for example I have been using a lip brush to do my brows, and a bronzer brush to apply my powder foundation.

Here are my brushes.

Liquid Foundation
I still mainly use my fingers when I apply liquid foundations, but when I do use a brush I use my Sigma Flat Top Kabuki which I wrote about first HERE.

Face powder
With face powders I generally like a big, soft but dense brush as you can cover a lot of area quickly and the denseness of the bristles give enough coverage without leaving a cakey feel. Lately I've been using Artiste by Manicare* bronzer brush as it ticks the boxes for me.

For contouring I like a brush that's small enough to fit under my cheekbones, but also dense enough to deposit enough product and buff away the excess. My favourite so far is Cosmetica by Manicaresmall powder brush*.

For powder blushes I've been using the angled blush brush by Artiste by Manicare for the last 3 years or so and I keep repurchasing when it gets too ratty looking, although lately they've been a bit hard to find so I think others have also discovered how good this brush is. For cream blushes I like using stippling brushes, and this Artiste by Manicare stippling brush* is great!

For eyeshadows there are 4 types that I use.
  • Blending brush - I've found fluffy brushes the best as they blend away harsh lines much easier than anything else. This one is by Revlon which I bought from a discount cosmetics store for less than $5 and I'll be going back for more. 
  • All over lid colour - Flat, dense brushes are best for pressing colour onto lids. The small eyeshadow brush by Models Prefer is my favourite which I've written about before. I have maybe 6 of these now including back ups.
  • Crease - small rounded head brushes are great for cutting the crease. The one I use was a cheapo I bought from crushcosmetics.com.au. It's the Coastal Scents round crease brush.
  • Highlight/inner corner - I prefer using brushes with a narrow tip so I can get a precise application and not mess up the rest of the shadows. This one is a smudger brush from a kit by Royal Langnickel that I received at IMATS.

For my eyebrows I actually have been using a lip brush! I find that I can't work well with the traditional angled eyebrow brushes, but this lip brush from Royal Langnickel (part of kit) is small and firm enough to give a precise application.

I hardly use brushes for lips, only if I'm applying my OCC Liptars as it's impossible to apply them with anything but a brush. I like retractable ones, or ones with a lid, as I can carry them in my handbag for top ups during the day. This one I use is from a Korean makeup store which I bought for a couple of dollars, but I know Manicare also make retractable ones. 

Brush cleaner
As for cleaning brushes, even though nothing beats giving it a good wash, I have been using this spray on brush cleaner by Manicare every few days to give my brushes a mini clean. Basically you just spray some tissues/makeup remover pads with the spray and wipe the brush back and forth on it. Easy!

What about you? Do you have any favourite brushes? Were you as apprehensive as I was venturing into the wide world of brushes?

*PR Samples

April 19, 2012

Estée Lauder Pure Color Blush - Sensuous Rose

True story. While getting parts of our house renovated we stayed at my mum’s place and one morning as I was putting my makeup on my mum asked if there was enough light in the room for me. When I asked why, she said I’d overdone my cheeks as they were too bright. So I took my mirror, went outside and looked at my cheeks in natural light. They were just the right level of brightness that I normally do.

Where I’m getting to with this is, I love bright blushes - NARS Desire, Illamasqua Hussy & Laid, Barry M Rose – the brighter the better! But of course there are days when even I want just a subtle flush on my cheeks, and Estee Lauder Pure Color Blush in Sensuous Rose is perfect.

Estée Lauder Pure Color Blush
Estée Lauder introduces a new generation of cheek colour with NEW Pure Color Blush.
Now cheeks are vibrant with fresh, radiant colour in an expansive new palette of shades that embrace a diverse range of skin tones. High-performance technology combines with skin-loving ingredients in this ultra-silky, modern powder blush to add instant dimension and glamour to the face, from a soft flush of colour to dramatic contours that last all day.

A luscious new palette of bold brights and subtle hues, with a chic, modern point of view that fits seamlessly
into the world of Pure Color: 
9 chic cheek shades of nudes, pinks, peaches and sensual plums add a caress of modern glamour to the
From subtle to sublime, the palette enhances cheeks of every skin tone with a subtle radiance and feminine sheen. 

I attended a blogger event a while back, and this was in my goody bag. At first I thought it would look too pale for me, but it's actually one of those shades that gives a subtle, lit from within sheen to cheeks.

Even for such a light shade it is still nicely pigmented, and because it's finely milled it's a dream to apply.

I especially love wearing this blush when I'm doing a much brighter eye look, as that way I won't have my eyes and cheeks compete with each other for attention. Like in this pic below where I've done a mint green eye, I think if I'd gone for a brighter cheek I would have looked like a clown! Whereas Sensuous Rose is perfect. 

The Pure Color Blushes will be released here in Australia on 22 April 2012 with a RRP of $60AUD.

What type of blushes do you like? 
Bold and bright or subtle and natural?

*PR Sample

April 16, 2012

How to look daytime glam with minimal effort

I'm generally fairly low maintenance when it comes to my beauty and makeup regime (I know, ironic coming from a beauty blogger!). Basically if I can find a shortcut for looking put-together with minimal effort then believe me, I will take that shortcut. And the easiest way of looking like I've made an effort with my appearance is going for bright lips. Unlike a nicely made up eye look, a swipe of lipstick can be done in less than 30 seconds and instantly lift your look from blah to wow.

So without further ado, here are my steps for looking daytime glam with minimal effort.

Face and cheeks
For face go with an easy to blend concealer and then buff on a powder foundation. In this look I've used my Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand 20 and buffed on NYX Twin Cake Powder Foundation in Natural 07.

For cheeks a blush with multi tones or a hint of shimmer is best, as you can skip the contouring and highlighting step. I used MAC Mineralize blush in Dainty (which I bought from Jen's blog sale), but other good colours too use are Nars Orgasm, BYS Coral and Benefit Coralista.

Eyes & Lips
On eyes apply a wash of shimmery brown eyeshadow all over the lid, blending any harsh edges. Use an eyeshadow that has enough dimension in it to look good on its own. Think MAC Satin Taupe which has enough depth. I used Chanel Ebloui which I also picked up from Jen's blog sale last week. Skip the eyeliner and finish with 2 coats of mascara (I used Australis Voluptalash Mascara in blackest black*).

On lips wear the brightest lipstick you're comfortable wearing. Whether it's red, pink or coral, go for something bright! And skip the lipliner, because with a lipliner you'll look a bit too made up, whereas without it you'll look more daytime appropriate. The lippy I used here is Ever Starlight in Rosetto.

And voila! The daytime glam look is finished.
With flash
What's your trick for looking glam without much effort?

*PR Sample

April 15, 2012

Belly update - 28 weeks!

Well I've officially entered the last trimester as of today. Apparently in those final 3 months I can look forward to fatigue, bloating and duck-like waddling.

At my last visit the obstetrician thought my belly measured small but she thinks it's because the little monkey is laying in transverse (horizontal) position instead of the head down/bum up way. A few weeks ago he was breech so clearly he's doing acrobatics in there. As long as he turns to the proper position when it's time to make his world debut, he can do as many cartwheels in there as he wants!

I'm enjoying doing baby nursery shopping, but I don't know what things I need and what things are gimmicky optional extras. Like for example baby monitor - will I use it? Or is it one of those things that's only needed if you have a huge house? Or a nappy dispenser - essential? Or just a normal rubbish bin will do? So any mums out there, help on nursery and baby necessities will be most appreciated!

In beauty related news, I'm still too lazy to use any type of moisturiser or oil on my expanding belly. I guess I'm lucky and haven't got a single stretchmark yet, and even if I was to get them, seriously is that such a big deal? They will eventually fade away.

As for makeup,  I'm all about minimal fuss looks with maximum impact. In fact tomorrow's post will be about looking daytime glam with minimum effort so stay tuned for that...


April 13, 2012

NOTD - Essie Absolutely Shore

I'm sure you've figured out by now I love mint coloured nail polishes. This is my latest love - Absolutely Shore by Essie.
I'm wearing 3 coats of Essie Absolutely Shore topped with my China Glaze Anti Chip Top Coat.

It's much lighter than my usual mint polishes, and is not as in your face. It's a paler, almost greyer version of Mint Candy Apple. And because it's not as obvious, it's great for people just getting into green polishes.
See, a very wearable mint colour!
I bought it on sale from Myer last weekend, which was $9 and then another 25% off on top of that, so if you love this colour and absolutely must have it then head to Myer stat!

Do you love mint nail polishes?

April 11, 2012

SAX Perfect Brow - brow shaping kit review with before & after pics

Aahhh eyebrows... we spend our teenage years plucking them to oblivion and then regretting it as we get older and notice that our brows have thinned out and stopped growing in certain spots. I know I do.

Eyebrows are so important to your appearance - the right brow shape can make your face look thinner,  your eyes bigger, and give a more youthful look overall. I took some celebrity pics from Google images and used Picasa to wipe off their eyebrows just to show what a difference brows make!
Is it just me or do they look kind of angry without brows?

In my high school years I used to have the skinniest brows because I thought that was cool and sophisticated. And it wasn't until someone told me that skinny brows make me look at least 10yrs older than I was at the time that I put the tweezers away and tried to grow them. But unfortunately years of over plucking have left my brows patchy so I rely on brow pencils and powders to fill them in and give them shape.

SAX PERFECT BROW - Brow Shaping Kit $14.95aud
Today I'd like to share with you my thoughts on this brow shaping kit by Australian brand SAX Cosmetics which was sent to me for review purposes.

The kit contains:
  • 1 taupe brow powder
  • 1 medium brown brow powder
  • 1 brow pomade
  • 1 highlighting powder
  • 1 slant tweezer
  • 1 mirror (on the lid)
  • 1 dual ended brush
  • 3 brow stencils
  • Step-by-step instructions

SAX Brow Shaping Kit in action
First things first. I've never been impressed by brushes and tweezers that are included in kits like these, and today is no exception. The tweezers weren't able to grab my fine eyebrow hairs, and the brush (both ends) was too thick to give a precise line. So I tossed these aside and concentrated on the actual powders and pomade using my own, much thinner, brow brush. I also didn't use the stencils as the shapes didn't match my own brow shape. Here's the outcome.

Warning - horrible close up photos of my brows ahead!

At first I didn't follow the instructions and used the pomade after I'd filled in my brows with the dark brown powder. And you know what happened? The pomade smudged the powder! Hmmm... Ok, I'd better read the instructions then.

The second time I actually read the instructions and noticed I was using the pomade wrongly... oops.

How you're supposed to use it is:
  • First brush on the pomade to shape and tame the brows
  • The use the brow powder (I used the dark brown) and fill in/darken over the pomade
  • Finish by brushing on the lighter colour highlight powder on the brow bone. 

So, using the correct method of powder after pomade I was able to define my brows properly, without smudging, which lasted all day.

Final thoughts
If you ignore the tweezers and brush, the powders and pomade are of great quality. The colours look natural, I experienced absolutely no powder fallout and above all the pomade made the entire look last all day without smudging. Overall it's a great value kit, and even if you forget the tweezers/brush, it works out at less than $4 per powder/pomade.

The SAX Perfect Brow Shaping kit sells for $14.95aud at pharmacies across Australia and NZ. Click HERE for stockist details.

How do you shape your brows?

*PR Sample.

April 09, 2012

DIY designer inspired ribbon and chain necklace in 4 easy steps

You've no doubt seen these woven ribbon and chain necklaces. They're everywhere, with brands from Chanel to Forever 21 having versions out.
Images from Google Images

But they are so super easy to make that you can create your own version for less than $5 and in under 30 minutes.

Here's my version.

To make you need
  • Chain - I bought a meter of this chain for $2.20 from Lincraft and ended up using about 30cm of it. Of course you can just use an existing chain necklace that you no longer use.
  • Ribbon - Any colour, any length, it's all up to you. I cut a piece about 90cm long as I wanted enough room to wear the necklace long or short.
  • Scissors

How to make it

And if you cut the ribbon long enough, you can wear the necklace short, medium length or long... or even embellished with a brooch.  (The zipper flower brooch in the pic below is another DIY which I made HERE).

Do you like to make your own jewellery?


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