Well, there goes another month. I've been pretty quiet on the blog front the past month - things have been quite busy with life lately and it just seems that I've lost a bit of my blogging mojo. I'm trying to find it back, so leave me comments on any kind of posts you want to read for inspiration. But all in all, April was quite the busy month. The weather has been wonky in Taipei, with it pouring like the island is about to drown one minute before burning up like the oven on the highest heat the next. It's been a rollercoaster ride for sure. Which also means that I've been swapping my makeup bag contents in trying to keep up with the weather.
I'm not going to lie, I was intrigued by the NARS Matte Skin Tint when it launched a while back. But I resisted the urge and dug out the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint instead. I've been all about dewy bases the past couple of seasons and completely forgot how much I loved this grey tube of wonderfulness. While it's not as dewy as the bases I've been favouring, it's still 'glowy' in the sense that it looks like real skin and works perfectly when the temperature starts hitting the high 20s/low 30s (celsius - just in case you're from the one country that doesn't use the metric system). The stay time of this base is insanely good. It's great at oil controlling, and this sounds insane, but I'm convinced that this base somehow, mixes with the oils and makes it look even better than when first applied. I know, I know, it sounds insane, but it's true????
But I've still been adding some glow back into the face with Milani Luminoso. An old favourite that I can't believe I forgot about, this peachy pink blush is perfect for the spring/summer. True to the name, this is a blush that just adds enough glow to look as close to divinity as humans can get.
Even though it seems like we're headed straight into summer, I've been trying to create some sense of 'spring' through my makeup. The Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist Palette has pretty much been the only eyeshadow palette I've used the whole month. I love the toned down purples and the subtle shimmer gold-bamboo shade in the palette. These eyeshadows are insanely pigmented and the shades are all so sophisticated and maintain quite neutral while adding some colour.
The last makeup product that I've really been enjoying the past month has been the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner. I've had this little one for almost two years now and it doesn't show any sign of drying up. Granted, I probably forgot about this for a year, but despite it, the colour is still inky black and performs insanely well. This is definitely one of my favourite products for when I want to achieve a (relatively) equal sharp cat eye look as it stays all day and is easy to use.
One of the main reasons I've been distracted from blogging, other than the insane amount of things that just never seem to stop, is I've picked up a new hobby. As much as I love technology, I'm still more of a pen to paper kinda person. Physically writing something down just makes it feel more real. Modern calligraphy is a field that I've been standing on the outside looking in for years, I never knew where to start and it all just seemed a bit farfetched. But luckily, I have a friend that's really into fountain pens, and from there, I got the start I needed. I've been practicing for just under two months so I'm still trying to get the hang of things. But if you're interested, I did open up a second instagram account to document my handlettering process.
With an average temperature of 28 degrees, May has welcomed Summer onto this island. April was a busy month and I don't think May will be any less hectic. But, it's also my birthday month and I'll be quite happy to finally spend my birthday with family for the first time in 4 years. Also Jenn's visiting Taipei in a couple of weeks so hurrah! How was your April and what were some of your favourites?
You know those days when you seem to be running on autopilot as your brain refuses to function even after a dangerously large cup of coffee, or you're too distracted to put focus on the makeup process. It doesn't necessarily mean that you need to cut down the routine to fit a 5 minute time frame, it just means that you're unconsciously reaching for the products that won't require any brainpower for the whole process. I made note of the products piled on my table after an autopilot morning and while most of these no fail products won't come as a surprise, I still thought it'd be interesting to show you the ones I tend to reach for when my brain decides that it just can't be bothered.
My base choice shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that's been around these corners for a while, but there seems to be a gravity force around the NARS Tinted Moisturiser(review) that sucks me in every time. It's the Bermuda Triangle in my foundation collection, people. It's one of those do it all bases and will not fail you no matter how you choose to apply it.
Under eye concealing is something that I do whenever I wear makeup and the Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer is the one I always reach for when I have a temporary brain lapse. It's brightening and has just enough coverage to highlight the under eye area while still looking quite natural with a tint of shadow showing through.
I tend to go for a simple eye look on these days, with either the options of roughly lining my eyes with a large bronze eye crayon, like the Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeshadow Stick in Bad Girl Bronze, and then smudging it out either with a pencil brush or just a simple q-tip, depending on what I have on hand.
If I'm feeling a little more sophisticated and less 'low key grunge', then the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette is my go-to. Mixing two midtone shades to slightly define the crease before mixing the only shimmery shade and the other two lighter shades to brighten up the lid area. I usually either press the black eyeliner into the lash line or use a brown eyeliner, such as MAC Powerpoint Eyelinerin Stubborn Brown, before going with a couple coats of mascara.
Last but not least. I was more than a bit surprised at my lip product choices when I was making note of the products I reach for when my brain is boycotting. I was sure that it would be entirely of MAC lipsticks (seeing as they're the only part of my makeup that's remotely organised). However, it seems that I have a soft spot for my drugstore buddies. Most probably because they're the more hydrating options in my lipstick collection (explanation here). Anyway. Rather than a bright bold lip, I seem to be a lot more sensible in my autopilot mode, reaching for shades that'll fall under the neutral zone. Catrice In a Rosegarden, Essence Natural Beauty, and Rimmel 08(all swatches here) were all dug out of my jacket pockets, which shows how much I rely on these lip shades when my brain decides to call it quits that day.
I'm sure we've all had those days when your brain just decides to turn off but life just doesn't allow you to roll around in bed all day while watching reruns of your favourite show. As much as I like makeup, it's not necessarily the bit that I want to use the little amount of brain power I have working for me that day. In times like these, autopilot mode means there are certain products that have a stronger gravitational force. What are some of your 'autopilot, no brainer' products?
I have a fairly sizable makeup collection - which means I've spent a lot of money on a lot of products that are just kinda sitting around most of the time. Which also means that I've gathered a fair amount of pricey products that I don't regret buying the first time, but like a summer fling - as great as it was, it's not something that I would go back to once it's over. I am neither confirming nor denying the whole summer fling thing.These are some of the products that fall under said category.
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick in Boy: Maybe I'm biased as I like a good satin/matte opaque lipstick. But there's something about seeing your expensive lipstick literally leaving a bit of itself behind on your coffee mug that makes your heart (and wallet) bleed a little bit. Boy is a gorgeous beige, pink nude shade that has just the right amount of sheen to add a little pout but still look sophisticated. While I do love the lipstick, I'd hesitate ever purchasing this again as the c/p value of the lipstick just isn't quite there as it wears off quite quickly and is a sheer nude colour that comes with a hefty price tag.
Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in Bad Blood: I had long debates with myself before finally deciding to include this in the roundup. I love almost everything about this lipstick - from the name to the packaging to the formula and the colour. I even wrote up a whole review on this lipstick and deemed it my '2015 holiday shade'. But as gorgeous as it is, there's one small gripe that's preventing me from turning this into a lasting relationship - the shape of the bullet. Now I'd like to think that I'm quite seasoned when it comes to throwing on a red lipstick. But the shape of this lipstick combined with the creamy and ridiculously pigmented formula makes this a lipstick that requires a lot of application work. This would definitely be the perfect red lipstick if Urban Decay didn't get creative with the lipstick shape and just stuck to the traditional bullet shape.
Bobbi Brown Brightening Powder: I think the £40/$54 price tag speaks for itself. The packaging is also stunning if you take care of it and don't chuck it wherever. However, I'm a firm believer in drugstore powders - in fact, this is the only high-end powder I own. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautiful powder - to look at and to apply. But give me the same amount of money to splurge on one product and it definitely wouldn't be this. I was young and naive and ridiculously irresponsible with money when I bought this. I'm only slightly less mortified by my insane 'I GOT ALL THE MONEY' way of spending because this is without a doubt, one of my most used powders. That said, it is one of my oldest powders, so that factor should also be taken into consideration.
Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush: Yes, this is the second Bobbi Brown product in a list of four. I really really like the brand, but it was also one of my first ever makeup brands, meaning that I bought a lot of products when I didn't know what I was doing. This brush was one of those products. Not going to lie, I totally bought this brush for how soft it was. Plus, I was just getting into eyeshadow and after alarming messages of how blending was the absolute key to not looking like a clown, it seemed only right that I get an 'eye blender' brush. Fast forward to now, I'm not actually sure what to do with this brush other than pretend that it's a kitten paw? The large size makes it quite hard to blend eyeshadow without getting it all over the eye area. I do use it for setting my under eye concealer and sometimes to highlight and contour. But quite frankly, I only bring out this brush when I'm putting more effort than the usual 'one brush fits all' routine.
These are in no way bad products or 'ordinary' products and I do adore the ones I've mentioned. But I just don't love them enough to justify spending the price tag the second time around. Do have products like this?
Once upon a time, I was one of those people that would walk into the drugstore for a pack of q-tips, walk out with a couple new makeup products, later realise I still didn't get the cotton buds, repeat cycle a couple times before giving up and texting a family member/friend to help me grab some q-tips when they're at the drugstore.
While I can't say that I'm not one for impulse buys yet, I've gotten a lot better at smart spending the last year or so. I'm proud to say that I'll be able to walk into department and drugstores alike and browse the makeup aisles without making a purchase I'll regret within 24 hours. I've learned some methods to stop blind reckless spending during the process, which will inevitably save you a lot of pennies, who doesn't like that, right?
write down every single thing you spent money on: I find this is the most effective method for me. Writing down that fourth fancy coffee of the week and seeing exactly just how ridiculously unnecessary and expensive it adds up to is the bucket of iced water I need to snap me back into the reality of how sadly poor I am.
go through everything in your stash: Whether it be clothes, makeup, shoes, or whatever - go through every single item you own. I've lost count the amount of times I've bought a new lipstick/eyeshadow only to realise I already had 6 similar shades. Being conscious of what you already have and the amount of it, will likely pause you the next time you're on the verge of impulse buying that mauvey pink lipstick.
sit on it: Put it down, yes, put down that eyeshadow palette that's in your hands right now and walk out. Go on with your life, eat dinner, read a book, and watch the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., continue your day as if you never encountered that eyeshadow palette in the first place. 144 hours later, if the palette is still haunting you at 2 P.M., then by all means, go back to the shop and see if it's still in stock. Some people tell you to make note of the product in your phone before walking out empty handed, but don't do it. If it's something that you truly need want, you won't need a reminder to remember.
one in one out: A pretty straightforward one - stick to the 'one in one out' rule and you'll more likely to be able to control your wallet and the size of your collection/closet. Allow yourself a cheat every now and then, but careful, they should be exceptions and not the norm.
how many XXX can I buy with this lipstick/jumper?: A lipstick shade that I *might* use or 7 cups of coffee? I think the answer is clear.
wait for it: Chances are, you'll be able to get it on sale if you wait long enough. Every penny saved, right?
It's easy to use the smallest reasons to binge shop, but if we're honest with ourselves, how often do we end up thinking that the money we impulsively threw at capitalism was worth it? I'm not saying don't ever do therapy/celebratory shopping, I'm saying be smart about it. What are some of your tips when it comes to curbing reckless shopping?
March has been a pretty good month. I had two technological upgrades (well, one was more of a battery update), picked up a new hobby that doesn't require staring at a computer screen, started a semi-regular jogging routine again, got to see my grandmother for the first time in near 18 months, managed to enjoy the one week we had sun, spent a lot of time with Jo as we brainstormed a potential business plan while munching on baguettes and drinking tea. In terms of beauty, March has been one that's been filled with rediscoveries.
First up, I've been breaking out like mad the second half of the month and needed a base that provided a bit more coverage than my usual tinted moisturisers. The Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation ticked the boxes and was pulled out from storage. I mixed it with the Dior BB Cream (review) as the foundation itself was a couple shades too dark now I'm at my palest. I've also been using my fingers to press in the foundation and discovered that it really helps to 'melt' the base into my skin, leaving a natural looking base that doesn't skimp on coverage.
I forced myself to put down the matte eyeshadows at the start of the month and fell in love with the Stila In the Light Eyeshadow Palette all over again when I used it for my cousin's wedding. I also used this same palette the last time I went to a wedding. It's perfect to create a bright eyed, soft and glowy look that will suit special occasions or just your average day. While the packaging leaves quite a bit for desire, the quality of the shadows are impeccable (although the more shimmery shades are prone to fallout) and the price is quite reasonable and affordable.
I've pushed liquid liner to the back of my collection the past few months. But I've been getting the winged liner itch again and fished my trusty Collection Fast Stroke Liquid Liner (review) out of the drawers. A traditional pot and brush approach, the nib of the rubber/silicone(?) brush is flexible enough to draw a line without scratching your eyelids and firm enough for someone with a heavy and unsteady hand to operate. I would suggest wiping off the excess product on the rim of the bottle before going in to draw the line as the product is quite watery and might take a while to dry. It's always easy to go back in and darken the line. If I'm feeling like a particularly sharp wing that day, I like to go in with the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner to finish the ends of the wing.
As for lip products, it's been an oldie and another that I don't think has been mentioned on the blog before. I've been wearing a lot of natural lip colours since the year started, storing my brighter and bolder shades for special occasions. However, I've been using MAC All Fired Up (review and swatch) much more the past month. A medium pinky red, this is bold enough to make a statement but it's dark and muted enough to wear on a daily basis and not feel overdressed. It's also a matte formula that'll ensure to stay in place through constant snacking and copious cups of coffee/tea.
The new lip product that I've been throwing in my bag is the Essence Natural Beauty Lipstick. It's a mauvey pink shade that's fabulous for an everyday natural shade. It's a sheer-ish creamy formula that's quite hydrating. It's one of those shades that you can apply on the go and sans mirror. It reminds me of the MAC Lustre formulas but slightly more hydrating.
Last but not least, I don't normally feature products outside the beauty/skincare category in my monthly favourites but I thought I'd make an exception. I finally upgraded to an iPhone 6S+ at the start of the month. I've been operating on my aunt's old iPhone 4 the past year and a half, so it was definitely time for an upgrade. It was expensive, but I was able to leech onto Jo's contract renewal to bring the price down a bit. I also decided to embrace my inner 7 year old and dress it in a rather loud Pikachu phone case. It's not everyone's taste (both my younger siblings despise it) but I find the ears rather endearing. I've forgotten what it's like to have a smooth operating phone that doesn't threaten to shut down every 5 minutes. I've also forgotten what it's like to be able to have memory capacity to download apps. Tell me, what are some apps that I should download?
All in all, March was a much welcomed change from the horrible month before. I'm hoping that the rest of the year will only improve and not go the other way around. What have been some of your best moments in the past 31 days?