Shopbop’s amazing Black Friday Sales has officially begun using code GOBIG14 (see offers below)! I am a little peeved that a lot of clothes I saved in my wishlist have just been sold out within a blink of the eye. Anyhow besides fashion, I think it is a perfect opportunity to start shopping gifts for this holiday. It amazes me how many wonderful and stylish gifts are available on Shopbop which I never used to pay attention to, so I put together a gift guide with price starting from $15.  I want everything, particularly all the fashion books for my coffee table, and this ultimate jewelry box.

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FASHION BOOKS

- Living With Style by Rachel ZoeParis Street Style (love this one!);  Chanel Book

ART & ILLUSTRATION

- The Oliver Gal Artist Co Canvas Print (want!);  – Garance Dore Collection 2015 Calendar

FASHION ACCESSORIES

- Furla Cosmetic Case Set (great value set); Sophie Hulme Box BagMichael Kors Watch

JEWELRY BOX AND HOLDER

- Ring HolderEddie Borgo Jewelry Box;   Monogram Jewelry Box

HOMEWARES & STATIONERY (clockwise)

- Kate Space mini notebookGarance Dore Greeting Card SetJonathan Adler Phone DockMore Please Help Yourself Serving SetAccent CoastersJonathan Adler Vase (as seen on Fashion Police);  RABLABS SpreadersMirror TrayRABLABS  Candlestick Holder;

More Details on the BlackFriday Offer

 

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Calling it “I hate clogged pores with passion” is an understatment. Though this problem has become much better as I age (one perk about getting old!) as well as knowing what skincare products work for me, unfortunately every now and then my skin still ‘flares up’ with blackheads on my nose, and some congested pores on my cheeks and forehead due to stress, lack of sleep, and PMS. If that happens, I always reach for my “special skincare kit” that guarantees to clear them up within several days. These four hero products give the most effective result without irritating my sensitive skin, and are also great for prevention. They are the best ones I have used so far, so I must share!

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1. Clarisonic Facial Cleansing System – I have a very detailed review here. This cleansing brush tool is great for prevention and minimizing the occurrence of clogged pores. On average I use it 3 days a week as I don’t like to over exfoliate my skin.

2. Kate Somerville Intensive Exfoliating Treatment – This is the best exfoliator for congested skin. It’s a very strong and robust product  for clearing up mild cases of congested pores and smoothing skin out completely. I apply a very thin layer over the ‘rough areas’ and leave it on for a few minutes. It clears up and clarifies the congested pores by at least 50% after each use.  Since it is a very intensive treatment I wouldn’t use this as my weekly exfoliator, but this is my absolute top pick for treating blackheads/whiteheads on occasions. If you have very sensitive skin you might want to start with the Gentle Exfoliating Treatment first. For daily use I recommend TATCHA Rice Enzyme Powder for purifying the pores gently.

3. Shiseido Revital Retino Science AA Lotion – I bought this product because it has a small percentage of retinol which we all know is a dermatologist approved ingredient for treating enlarged pores. I don’t have much luck with retinol cream but I feel comfortable to use this gentle lotion frequently for hydrating and improving skin texture. This product is a treatment lotion that you use after cleansing, and followed up by other products. The texture is like runny gel and feels very hydrating on the skin which also helps to fight the aging signs.

4. Chanel Le Weekend Renewing Face Care – Chanel released a 3-step simplified skincare product this year. I have used all of them and decided to only repurchase this one. This product is marketed to be used on weekends only as it helps to resurface and renew the skin. I like this product because it contains glycolic acid complex (not sure the percentage but it’s the 4th ingredient) which is another star ingredient for treating congested pores, and it feels gentle enough for my skin. The texture is like a milky serum and it can be used to replace your usual serum and moisturizer. Using this one for 2 days in conjunction with the Shiseido retinol lotion definitely helps to noticeably unclog the pores, and gets you as close as possible to a poreless complexion.  Note that they are not recommended to be used daily, as you don’t want your skin to be too dependent on these strong ingredients especially if you are still young.

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I picked out some jaw dropping, elegant and affordable party dresses for this Holiday Season.  Holiday dressing is one occasion where I have to spend a ridiculous  amount of time finding a dress that I like as well as within my budget – not expensive because I never wear the same party dress more than twice!  It also has to be versatile enough to be worn to all occasions such as work functions or weddings, so anything that is too sexy, over the top or bridal are out. I absolutely love the ones I picked and wish I can buy them all! Can you guess which one I bought in the end…answer is below!

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1. MAJE – A perfect lady-like midnight blue sequins mini dress with a velvet bow waistband. It’s refined, polished and still make you shine.

2. Needle & Thread – Another stunning sequins dress with crystal embroidery (all hand made) in a delicate tulle. It looks very expensive but amazingly affordable.

3. Alice + Olivia – An uber luxe and glamorous dress that is currently at 70% off. The zigzag patterns give an illusion of longer and slimmer silhouette.

4. Whistles – A break from the usual dark colored dresses. Love the pastel color and the modern silhouette. A very fresh and effortless take on party dresses.

5. Alice + Olivia – I own several dresses from Alice + Olivia in the past so I know how beautiful and delicate their chiffon silk dresses look in real life. This navy blue silk dress with embellished jewel neckline in a classic Grecian style is a winner for me. I ordered it immediately as soon as I saw it on sale at SAKS!

6. Zimmerman – The queen of romantic silky drape dresses from Australia! This is one of their best sellers and has been seen on countless celebs. Also available in maxi length.

7. Needle & Thread – This beautiful blue sequins dress in baroque motifs reminds me of my dream Dolce & Gabanna dresses inspired by Italian heritage. A great bargain as it’s currently at 40% off at Nordstrom.

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Becca has recently released a range of Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle that has absolutely blown me away. Though their counters are no longer available at David Jones, I bought them online after doing some research, and went ahead with the colors Watermelon/Moonstone and Lychee/Opal.

Please excuse that the pictures were taken after the products were “accidentally used”, so they looked nowhere as beautiful as they were originally are

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The Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle is a very lightweight gel blush in a whipped souffle texture that is mixed with two of their best sellers (hence the marbled effect) – the Beach Tint and the Shimmering Skin Perfector. Both products are my all time favorite products from Becca, so I was extremely happy to see this genius idea being born! The blush offers natural flush of colors with an illuminating glow, and the lasting power is excellent as it applies like a silky stain that just melts into the skin. Becca’s Beach Tint is known for its superb texture that applies completely streak free without enhancing the pores.  And this Tint Souffle is the same, the formula is light and hydrating so it takes no effort to apply and it blends in to the skin seamlessly without settling into the pores.It gives a satiny cream finish upon application and fades into a stain like finish.

The Watermelon/Moonstone (mixed with the Beach Tint in Watermelon and the Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone) is a warm red that has a hint of coral infused with pale gold. When it is applied it translates to a warm red with a pale gold sheen. It’s extremely wearable for a red blush and the gold shimmer adds a soft touch of highlighting effect to the finish.

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The Lychee/Opal (mixed with Beach Tint in Lychee and Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal) is a stunner. If you love pink blushes, then you have to give this one a go! It’s a bubblegum pink infused with rose gold! Words cannot describe how pretty this color is, and whether your skin tone is warm or cool, this pink blush would work really well.

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I feel bad that I cannot present how the products look like when they are brand new (because they looked much nicer!), and hopefully my swatch will do them the justice!

Left Watermelon/Moonstone Right Lychee/Opal

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close upbecca-beach-tint-shimmer-souffle-lychee-opal-watermelon-moonstone-review-swatch-2.jpgboth colors look warmer and more shimmery at a different angle

becca-beach-tint-shimmer-souffle-lychee-opal-watermelon-moonstone-review-swatch-3.jpgBottom Line: Love them! Very well priced for the quality, and its beautiful finish! I bought the Becca Beach Tint Souffle here in Australia, and they are also available at Sephora in the US and SpaceNK in the UK.

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I was recently ‘challenged’ by a tag on Instagram to show my one-and-only favorite lipstick. I thought that was such an interesting challenge to take on as it is near mission impossible to only narrow down to one favorite lipstick from my collection! I have been thinking about this tag seriously for days and the one that popped into my head the most frequent was the Nars Audacious Lipstick in Natalie – partly because it was one of my recent purchases, and partly because this was the perfect pink I had not seen for a while!

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You probably would have read tons of reviews on the latest Nars Audacious Lipsticks, so I’ll keep my review short and sweet. Out of the entire range, I only picked up one color which is the Natalie. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the other colors, but as soon as I swatched this on my lips, I thought I found the lipstick.  I haven’t bought Nars makeup for a while as I just couldn’t put up with their rubber packaging. But I am very pleased that this new release comes in sturdy plastic tubes, and the formulation is as divine as you could get from a premium luxury lipstick – it applies silky smooth and evenly with only one coat required for full coverage, and feels lightweight and creamy on the lips. The more I wear this one the more I am infatuated with this new range, and I will definitely be picking up more colors in the near future.

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Natalie is a bright and fresh neutral pink with a hint of  coral undertone. There is something in this color that just makes it a standout for me, as if it is custom made for my complexion (NC15-20)!

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TATCHA is one skincare brand that I have been dying to try, as I have heard nothing but great reviews about their products from the bloggers and instagrammers. When they reached out to me and asked if I was interested in trying the TATCHA Ritual Discovery Kit, I could not have been happier! After I told them my skin condition, they have recommended me the kit for Dry Skin.

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My first impression when I received the kit was how beautifully crafted the paper box is, and you can definitely re-use it for storage purposes. The box contains 4 steps of skincare products.

Step 1 is the Camellia Cleansing Oil (25ml) for purification. It is possibly the best cleansing oil I have ever used. A small pump of this product completely removes every makeup trace (even waterproof makeup), and leaves my skin feeling so clean and fresh. Unlike many other cleansing oils I have used, this one is based on Camellia and Rice Bran oil (not mineral oil) that has a delicate natural smell, and it emulsifies completely so it doesn’t leave a film on the skin, yet retains the skin’s natural moisture.

Step 2 is the Rice Enzyme Powder for polishing. There are about 10 sachets included in the kit and each sachet lasts about 3 washes. It helps to exfoliate, clarify and purify the skin effectively yet in a gentle way that can be used daily. It’s a great physical exfoliator with very fine and silky rice powder that gives your skin an instant smooth feeling for all skin types including fragile/sensitive skin. My complexion appears instantly more radiant and it doesn’t leave my skin feeling taut after use.

Step 3 is the Deep Brightening Serum (10ml) for radiance. It is a very lovely brightening serum that also provides hydration to the skin. If you have pigmentation problems and your skin is too sensitive for hydroquinone, then I highly recommend you to give this gentle serum a try. I love the milky texture, and as with all TATCHA products, it feels so soothing and luxurious on the skin which just instantly lifts up my mood. It does not cause any irritation and break-out to my skin, and I wake up with noticeably more luminous skin.

Step 4 is the Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream (10ml) for suppleness. This cream smells and feels uber luxurious and nourishing. The lightweight texture gets absorbed into the skin immediately without leaving a greasy film/touch to it.  As a heavy duty moisturizer it does a great job leaving my dry skin moisturized and supple for the whole day (also great under the makeup). Using this in conjunction with the brightening serum, my skin  appears noticeably more smooth, radiant and plumped.

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Overall the Ritual Discovery Kit allows you to get a feel for multiple TATCHA products at an affordable price (only retails for $59 at TATCHA online!). I am very pleased with my experience with the kit, as there is not a single product that I did not like. Particularly TATCHA’s signature products such as the Camellia Cleansing Oil and the Rice Enzyme Powder – you would not understand why everyone raves about them until you have tried them! I will definitely re-purchase them  in full sizes. The whole kit lasts about 3-4 weeks which is also the perfect size for traveling.

You can find TATCHA at Barneys and TATCHA.com which offers worldwide shipping.

 

 

 

 

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OOTD – Laid Back

November 12, 2014

Where I stay now is a beautiful and relaxed area that is surrounded by blue water and palm trees, so I have also changed my style to more laid back and resort-ish. My current biggest fashion obsessions include anything with stripes, crossbody bags and loafers, that seem to be perfectly in sync with the warm weather here, and they will also be coming with me on my next vacation which is not far away!

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Dress – Splendid (on sale here! also available here)

Bag – Celine (similar here and here for under $150)

Shoes – Stella McCartney (bought here)

Shades – Stella McCartney

Necklace – Tiffany (available here)

Cuff – Amber Sceats (bought here)

Lipstick – Charlotte Tilbury Lost Cherry (bought here, and reviewed here)

 

 

 

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There has been countless coverage on the Hourglass makeups in the blogsphere world since the brand launched several years ago, and I just wasn’t that interested until the release of the Ambient Light Powder and Blush series this year, which have quickly become their top sellers. They are beautiful and unique enough for me to decide to branch out into this new brand for me, and having spotted the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette (which is always in the status of out-of-stock) on Net-A-Porter accidentally one day, I knew that this one ought to be mine! I have also picked up their Ambient Lighting Palette which will be covered in another review.

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The limited edition palette comes with two permanent blush colors that are from their individual blushes, and one color that is exclusive to this palette which also happens to be my favorite color out of the three. The texture of all three blushes are exquisite – they are extremely silky and buttery smooth to apply and blend. What attracts me in these blushes is that each blush color is blended with a different color of their signature ambient lighting powder, which warrants a multidimensional soft flush of color with an illuminating effect. This is pretty much a blush and highlighter two-in-one product, which makes this palette extremely practical and versatile to use.

Left: Luminous Flush (permanent) Middle: Incandescent Electra (exclusive to this palette only) Right: Mood Exposure (permanent)

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One interesting thing to note is that these blushes tend to show up differently depending on your skin tone, and even on my NC15 I find it very interesting that the swatch varies greatly from sheer to opaque finish (as you can see from the swatch below)

Color Description from left to right

- Luminous Flush (blended with Luminous Light) has a rosey pink undertone with a candlelit glimmer. When it is applied sheer it tones down to a soft coral pink, and it builds up to almost a plummy rosey pink on my skin as a heavy swatch. I prefer to wear it sheer as a blush.

- Incandescent Electra (blended with Incandescent Light) is described as a cool peach on the website, but on my skin the pink tone is definitely more prominent. In the sheer swatch it shows up as nude peachy pink with a subtle gleam that is more suitable as a highlighter blush, and builds up to a warm pink with a hint of frosty sheen if applied heavily. Definitely my favorite as either way it is a very pretty color to use!

- Mood Exposure (blended with Mood Light) is described as soft plum on the website, but again on my skin the beige undertone is much more prominent than plum. Apply it sheer it is a beautiful illuminating soft peachy beige color, and it builds up to a bronzy beige color with a hint of plum undertone that almost looks like a bronzer to me.

Sheer Swatch

Left: Luminous Flush Middle: Incandescent Electra Right: Mood Exposure

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Heavy Swatch – in the sun

hourglass-ambient-lighting-blush-palette-review-swatch-5Heavy Swatch – in the shade

hourglass-ambient-lighting-blush-palette-review-swatch-6Bottom Line: Love it! Striking, practical and travel friendly. It’s one of those palettes that will make you reach out for it on a very frequent basis! The Hourglass makeup line is available at Barneys in the US and Net-A-Porter worldwide.

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