I added another new highlighter to my stash. The MAC Star Trek Trip the Light Fantastic Powder is just too good to be missed. There are 3 colors released, and the standout for me is Luna Luster as the color is the closet to my complexion and I know it will look flattering on me. The other two colors appear very bronzey on me.

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I am not the biggest fan of Star Trek, but the design of this powder is just too pretty and fancy. It has a marbled multi-color design that looks like the universe, and the powder twinkles at some angles when it catches the light. It contains strips of ivory, peachy pink, and magenta – when all colors are swirled together, it shows up as a peachy pink champagne color but applies pretty much translucent with a brightening effect on my NC15/20.

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The texture is not the creamiest, with a slightly gritty feel. However, it applies beautifully on the face without looking powdery nor chalky. It gives an amazing pearly sheen to the face (not frosty/metallic), that actually blends into my skin. The finish is glowy and dewy that gives a visible highlight effect, whilst still looks natural and doesn’t make your face look like a disco ball. I have to say that I am surprised by how good it performs, and the finish of this highlighter is amongst my top 3 given the color works so well for my complexion.

Swatch

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Bottom line: Highly recommend!

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2016-beauty-deals

September is one exciting month for shopping with all the major retailers rolling out new collections that will set the trend for the next year or so, and they are also doing lots of promotion with beauty shopping . I thought I’d do a round up all the good deals happening at the moment in the US and in Australia

SAKS is currently offering up to $700 giftcard for any fashion purchases use code SEPT2016. For beauty, you will receive a tote bag filled with lots of awesome samples for any beauty and fragrance purchase of $150 or more. In addition, they have dozens of online-only beauty exclusive deals from some popular brands.

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Neiman Marcus is also having a major Beauty Event now, which offers a sample filled tote with your $125 purchase, and a deluxe sample bag including prestige brands with your $500 purchase. You can also earn double gift cards with any fashion purchases.

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Nordstrom is offering gift with purchase for lots of their beauty brands. My favorites are the gift bags from Nars, Giorgio Armani, La Mer and Jo Malone. Detailed information is here.

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David Jones in Australia is also offering their annual deluxe sampler tote for $19.95 with any beauty purchase. It is a good opportunity to try out lots of interesting beauty goodies for a little price.

capture-6Last but not least, one of my favorite fashion retailers FarFetch is offering free worldwide shipping for 3 days only (ends 23/09), and 10% of your first order use code y10aff.

 

 

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Zoeva is one emerging brand that has got me really interested. Despite their most popular and affordable brushes, their palettes are also phenomenal. The ZOEVA Nude Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette (available here in Australia) is literally all you need for makeup, being a neutral eye shadow lover, I gasped at how beautiful and flattering these neutral and hues are, and they will get me through day and night on a daily basis. For such a big palette, I am surprised that there is not a single shade that I don’t like.

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The palette retails for AUD$75, which is equivalent to $5 per eye shadow! The palette is housed in a slim black paper notebook-like case with a frosted feel. It is very modern and sleek, and feels very well made.  There is a range of matte, satin, and intense satin (almost bordering metallic) eye shadows in the palette. All of the shades are buttery and silky smooth to apply, and they are so easy to blend (even for the matte shades) without fallout. All shades have good color payoff, with some shades having exceptional intense pigment.

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The top and bottom rows each have 2 mattes and 3 shimmers, and the middle row has 1 matte, and 4 shimmers.

The top row has more earthy and subtle sandy shades in different variations.

The middle row has mainly champagne, taupe and bronze.

The bottom row has colors leaning more gold and copper.

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I won’t describe each shade in words as there are too many. As usual I make sure my swatch looks like what I see in real life, so hopefully they will give you a better idea. All pictures were taken under neutral day light (not directly in the sun).

Swatch for the top row

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Swatch for the second row zoeva-nude-spectrum-eyeshadow-palette-reveiw-swatch-2

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Here are some FOTDs I created with this Nude Spectrum Palette. I have been gushing about how much I love brown lips, so I’d thought I’d do a proper FOTD wearing one of my favorites lately – MAC Whirl.

Eye makeup: I used the matte taupe color (3rd color in the first row) in the crease, then layered with peachy champagne color (second color in the second row), and applied the golden shimmer (second color in the third row) along the lash line. The matte ivory (1st eye shadow in the first row) was used on the brow bone.

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Other products used in the FOTD

Face: Bobbi Brown Face Base / YSL Serum Foundation (reviewed) / YSL Touch Eclat Compact (reviewed)

Cheeks: Marc Jacobs Beauty Contour Powder 20 (reviewed) / Giorgio Armani Blush 306 (reviewed)

Brows: Tom Ford Brow Kit (also used for nose contouring, reviewed) / BBROWBAR Brow Pen

Lips: MAC Whirl

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Ever since Net A Porter launched beauty, I became a loyal shopper (I meant – always tag a few beauty products along with my fashion purchases in every shopping cart!) . They don’t have the biggest selection of beauty products as with the department stores, but I like their picks and some of their exclusive beauty brands which are not found in Australia. At the moment they are offering free shipping for orders over AUD$150/USD$300 (normally free shipping for order value of AUD$300 or greater) which I thought was a good opportunity to stock up.

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Sharing my hauls and the picks from NAP.

1. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick – I love CT matte revolution lipsticks (see my review here), and recently she has launched the Hot Lips collection in some beautiful new shades. I posted a few pictures of my picks for the Hot Lips on my insta, but haven’t had the time to do a full review for the blog yet.

2. Charlotte Tilbury Life Changing Eyelash Curler – Reviewed here. It’s so pretty and works as good as my HG Shu curler.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette – A natural everyday palette for the entire face. Love all the colors in the palette and it is such great value for having lots of multi-purpose shades in one palette. Unfortunately, it is currently sold out, but you can add it to the wishlist and you will be notified.

4. Beauty Blenders – Can’t live without them! I use a new one every 3 months, and I have got them in every size and color!

5. OUAI Haircare – Possibly the hottest haircare brand at the moment. This brand is  launched by Kim Kardashian’s hairdresser, and they are an instant hit. I’ve been trialing out some products lately and absolutely love all of them, especially the treatment mask.

6. Artis Elite Mirror Brush – Totally a new concept for makeup brushes. The foundation brush is my first brush from the brand, and so far I like it very much.

7. BBROWBAR – A great brand that specializes in brow products for every single brow issue. I love their brow pen (have them in several colors) as it is really great for drawing short and hair-like strokes for the most natural real-brow look, and I find them more pigmented and longer lasting than the Japanese brands.

8. Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub – I just bought it and it’s on the way so it’s not in the picture. Heard so many raves about this hair scrub for an intensive cleanse and scalp detoxification.

 

 

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The second part of my holiday diary (part 1 here) is all about fashion and food – basically two of my biggest hobbies after beauty. I have included my recommendations for some really good restaurants that I had dined in Phuket, and of course some snaps of the new resort wear I added recently.

Holiday Looks

Shopping for resort wear is always my favorite activity to do as part of holiday planning. The anticipation of going on holiday soon as well as having a valid excuse for buying more beautiful dresses always excites me. This holiday, I added another dress from my go-to brand Zimmermann. She does the most romantic and floral dresses with a boho spin, such as this off-the shoulder dress I picked. Also loving this top in the same print.

Hat – Eugenia Kim

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my favorite candid shot

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Camilla is the iconic high end Australian beachwear label that is stocked in most premium online retailers. Their signature bold prints in silk dresses and kaftans are over the top and dramatic, and goes well with your vacation on an exotic island! The pictures online do not do it justice, as they are so delicate, flowy and looks very expensive in real life. Most of her designs can be worn in multiple ways, and this beautiful Frill Dress I picked (also available here and here in a different print) can be worn off shoulder, one shoulder, or over the shoulders. Again I love anything with a dramatic take on the sleeves this season.

Shoes – here for less than $100 / Sunglasses – Tom Ford Aviator

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Restaurants

Trisara

There were two restaurants inside Trisara, The Thai seafood restaurant served authentic Phuket styled Thai food. I dined there twice, and overall the food was great (but did not blow me away as I have very high standards for Thai food) with a lovely posh ambiance, and the service was always top notch. Trisara had another restaurant with a selection of world food over the deck area. The vibe was more relaxing, beachy, and casual with a beautiful ocean view during the day. I really enjoyed dining there as they had lots of choices for western food such as my favorite lobster sandwiches.

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Every Sunday, Trisara would host their Sunday brunch which was very famous in Phuket. It was more like a premium seafood buffet that looked amazing. The brunch was extremely popular and normally booked out days in advance, and was open to public.

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Some restaurants in Phuket that I highly recommend:

  • Bann Rim Pa – It serves high-end royal Thai food. I found the food style was quite different to the traditional Thai food. Overall the food was lovely, and it was interesting to experience what the Thai royals ate! The place is located oceanfront with a beautiful 180 ocean view, and is tastefully decorated.

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  • Bampot – One of my favorite places in Phuket. European and Asian Fusion food with a modern open kitchen design.

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  • Siam Supper Club – Another chic place to dine in Phuket. Love the old style New York deco, with soothing Jazz music in the background. If you are bored of Thai food, this is the place to go for some authentic grill and pizzas, and they also had some popular Thai dishes.

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  • Raya – I had the best dinner ever!  It’s the place where Thai prime ministers and celebrities go to for the most authentic thai food. The place looked very run-down but was purposely decorated to look vintage. It is located in the old town which was an interesting place to visit in Phuket other than the beaches. Apparently the food was so good that lots of wealthy people in Bangkok would fly their PAs down to Phuket just to buy the takeaways! Highly recommend.

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I love doing top 5 (or more) picks posts, and today I am sharing some of my ultimate favorite eye shadow blending brushes. If you ask me to pick only a few favorite lip colors, it will be nearly mission impossible, but with brushes it’s a relative easy job as I tend to reach out for these brushes all the time, and I just know that my makeup routine will not be the same without them! They are suitable for all budgets, ranging from the most premium high end such as Suqqu, to the very affordable brand from the rising star Zoeva.

From left to right:

Suqqu M, Chanel Large Tapered Brush #19, Tom Ford Blend Brush, MAC 217, ZOEVA 227, Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush

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All of these brushes are of very high quality, even though they are priced differently because of the type and source of bristles, where they were made and the packaging along with the brand name. However in terms of usability, they all stand the test of time and will last you at least 10 years of use. I have had each of them for a very long time, and none of them shed hair, change shape or fall apart.

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MAC 217 – Using the MAC 217 as the standard blending brush. Needless for me to say how useful this brush is for eye shadow application, and you can find my detailed review for MAC brushes in this post.

ZOEVA 227 Soft Definer – If you love the MAC 217, you will love this ZOEVA brush made with goat hair which pretty much feels and works the same. The hair softness is similar, with an oval shape, but a tad more flat than 217 which is great for working the color into the crease. I love ZOEVA brushes in general which I have hauled a lot lately – they are affordable with a big selection, and I find that the quality is on par with MAC. Each brush comes in an individual zip bag.

Edwass Bess Luxury Eye Brush (available here in Australia) – This is the star product from his line. I have had this brush for more than 5 years. It boasts the same dome shape as the MAC 217, but slightly larger and feels softer and more dense against the skin. It is a powerful blending brush that gives lots of resilience so it blends eye shadow effortlessly. I normally like to use this brush for applying a neutral color over the entire eye crease area, and it only takes 1 to 2 strokes for the color to distribute evenly and seamlessly.

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend Brush (bought here in Australia) – The ultimate luxury eye shadow blending brush you could ever find, as the packaging and the handle feels so luxurious and precious that makes you not want to ever use it! Once you overcome the ‘obstacle’, you will find this is such a practical blending brush. The bristle is made of premium super soft goat hair, and it is all hand made in Japan. It is about the same size as MAC217, but the head is more tapered for a more precise application. It’s particularly great for blending the color just along the crease, and blending multiple colors.

Chanel Large Tapered Blending Brush (exclusive to Chanel.com only) This is best-seller out of the entire Chanel brushes collection. I was actually on the wait list for a while until it became available again. All Chanel brushes have black bristles, except for this exclusive edition with white bristles which makes me adore it even more! It’s made of goat hair, and is made in France. It’s a cute and ‘chubby’ blending brush compared to the MAC 217. The brush head is more rounder and dense with shorter hair, and it picks up lots of pigments which works perfectly with eye shadows that do not have intense color payoff. If you always want a brush that is tad smaller than MAC217, then this is the one to look out for.

SUQQU Brush M – Last but not least, leaving the best at the end. The Suqqu is the crème de la crème, as it has the softest squirrel hair that feels non scratchy even on the most sensitive skin. It is a smaller blending brush (same size as the Chanel) with a tapered end. The ultra fine and silky soft bristles deposit the pigments softly on the skin, so it is the best for applying dark colored eye shadows to create perfect shade gradation, as well as allowing for precise application around the eye corners. I have a post for the entire Suqqu brushes.

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trisara-ocean-front-pool-villa-room-view-review-3

Sharing some holiday snaps of my recent trip to Phuket, and a travel journal for the first time on my blog.

Trisara is the resort that I had on my wishlist to visit for a very long time, so when hubby and I started our holiday planning this year, we quickly locked down our holiday destination to be Phuket so we got to stay at Trisara. It is a world leading luxury resort that is highly popular among the celebs and their rooms tend to be fully booked out during the holiday season. It is situated at a very secluded area of Phuket which is far away from Patong (the main tourist area). We booked our stay for 9 days, with the Oceanfront Pool Villa directly from the website, though the price is higher than going through hotel booking websites but we got some extra offers from the package including VIP airport pickup etc.

Flight

Booking a flight to Phuket was more challenging. We wanted to have direct flights as we have a 3 year old toddler, and Jetstar is the only airline that has direct flight to Phuket from Sydney. As we booked the business class, the entire check-in and departure were easy and quick, and the flight attendants were lovely and attentive. Since it is a budget airline, the seats in the business class are not the flat beds. Personally I think they are just slightly better and more roomy than the premium economy seats from the better airlines such as Singapore and BA.  Food was also better than expected, as there were 3 menu options to choose from, and there were lots of snacks and drinks offered throughout the flight.

VIP Airport Transfer

As soon as we got off the plane, we were greeted with 2 attendants from Trisara. They took care of all the luggage, and led us to the VIP airport exit lane so we skipped queuing at the customs and immigration. It was the most amazing and quickest airport checkout I have ever had! Once we got out of the airport, the Trisara chauffeur was waiting for us and greeted us with refreshments and some icy cold towels for the hot Phuket weather. The drive to the resort from the airport was 20 minutes, and the driver spoke fluent English and made a few introductions along the way.

Resort Check-In

I was pretty much amazed by Trisara’s services the minute I stepped into the resort.

We arrived at the resort around 9pm feeling tired, but we were sent to our room straight away instead of going into the reception for checking-in. Upon arrival, there was a lovely Trisara hostess waiting for us in front of our villa, she was very welcoming and friendly and instantly bonded with my boy. When we stepped into our room, literally everything we could ever thought of having was ready. It was so thoughtful of them having the baby cot, bottle sterilizer, baby bath tub and amenities organized before we even made a request. She offered us a room tour (yep it was a big villa!), and welcomed us with another round of refreshing icy drinks, fruits, and chocolates, and also prepared lots of cupcakes for my boy.

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Breakfast

Of course the breakfast is the most important meal of the day on vacation! I always look forward to spending some relaxing quality time at the breakfast. The restaurant is located oceanfront, and every table has a beautiful ocean view. The breakfast is divided into half – there is a self-serve bar for continental breakfast including varieties for pastries, cereals and Asian dumplings, and there is the A La Cart for hot breakfast with English, Thai, Japanese and Chinese choices. What I like the most is the juice bar for custom orders, and I normally get them to make a pure green juice with a blend of veges!

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Ocean Front Pool Villa

Such an amazing room – I love the Balinese aesthetic to it and it still looks modern and up-to-date. The room is big enough for my son to run around the whole day without feeling crammed. The private infinity pool is the highlight, as it is big enough for a proper swim and also ideal for chilling out. There are complimentary fruits, nespressos and local flowers replenished every day.

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Play and Eat

For getting around in the resort, you can either walk, or take their buggies which is our main ‘transportation’ during our stay. Everywhere in the resort is heavenly and totally instagrammable! They have a private beach that is voted as one of the world’s top beaches, and there is a big infinity swimming pool by the beach where you can relax. As a family with little kids, we have spent a lot time in the public pool area as they also have a little kiddy swimming pool with very shallow water where my boy absolutely enjoyed playing.

Other activities they provide include daily yoga, Pilates, lots of water sports, Thai cooking classes, well-being classes etc. For kids they have a dedicated kids room that is filled with toys for all age groups.

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Overall the service and hospitality at Trisara was impeccable and flawless. I have stayed at many luxury resorts/hotels, and Trisara is by far the best in terms of hospitality. Every hostess knows our name everywhere we go, and we are always greeted with the warmest welcome and help. They are very attentive with every little details, and this is the only place where I feel they look after our stay beyond our expectations. At one point I had even sent a driver to purchase some nappies for my boy at midnight! The daily house keeping and evening turn down services begin as soon as we leave the room without asking! And they are done before we get back with everything fully replenished and tidied. I really can gush about it forever, but I better stop here so stay tuned for part 2 which I will talk more about the food, shopping, and my holiday looks!

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I’ve finally got some time to paint my own nails (been having lots of shellac lately), and I picked Chanel Le Vernis Monochrome 522 (bought here in Australia) for this week. Since I always receive a lot of compliments on this nail color every time I wear it, I thought I’d post some swatch pictures on my blog.

It is from the newly reformulated Chanel Le Vernis Longwear line which has more superior consistency and finish than the previous discontinued line. Monochrome applies completely smooth and streak free (even for the first coat), and it gives a full opaque and glossy gel-like finish with 2 coats. Lasting power is about 5-7 days on me (with buffing the nail prior to the application which tends to extend the nail polish wear time significantly). It’s a very elegant pale dove grey color in cream finish that compliments my skin tone.

Swatched with 2 coats of Monochrome

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