1. 6. Grayburn: February 2008 7.


Coastal Scents Sale

There is a major sale happening at Coastal Scents this weekend only - 20% off all of their makeup brushes! I just happened to be in the market for another duo-fiber brush (the third one from left) as I need a backup for my MAC 187. So I have just made my order for that and their eye shadow brush as well. For those of us who do not live in the US, don't worry, they do ship internationally. My order of 2 brushes and a sample of pigment plus shipping came to about 16 dollars. I will let you know what I think of the brushes as soon as I have a chance to try them.

Photo: Coastal Scents

Mineral Makeup Special

Photo: the weekend bag from Chanel

Hello! Just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to those of you who drop by to visit my blog. I am so glad that we have an interest in common and that you are not shy to tell me about it as well!

I want you to know ahead of time that I will be doing a series on mineral makeup in the coming weeks. I have been hiding this one for a while because I wanted to gather information, try out many many products and finally share my successes and failures with you. As someone who is equally skeptical and faithful in the idea of 'natural products', I hope to share my findings and personal experiences with you. The details of the ups and downs will not be edited out.

I hope you will be here to join me! Have a wonderful weekend!


Paul & Joe - Effortless Chique

No one does effortless together with decadence so well like Paul & Joe. The designs are often fresh with a bit of je ne sais quoi. If I can have only one thing to get me through the remainder of the chilly days we have before the arrival of warmth, it would be this sweater.

This piece is so irresistibly sexy, lush and versatile. The stormy blue, white and deep bronze set amidst light gray makes it great for adding interest to any old pair of skinny jeans, leggings or as a sweater dress as shown here.

Do you have an essential piece of clothing that you love to live in?

Credits: Grayburn, paulandjoe.com


The Lonely Product In My Makeup Drawer

Lots of respect goes out to a cosmetics company that puts out some stellar products, that are cannot-live-withouts for many of us. I got a question recently regarding some of Benefit's products. As much as I adore alot of them (i.e. Dandelion blush, Boi-ing concealer, High Beam highlighter etc.), I cannot seem to use up this tiny nail polish bottle of cheek and lip stain.

This product was originally made to give a rosy stain to nipples. It is recommended for use on our cheeks and lips as well for a natural tint. The tint itself smells like rose water and is supposed to be water and kiss-proof. However, my trouble with it is that it interferes with the makeup I am wearing underneath it. I also find the method of applying a watery liquid with a nail polish applicator messy and weird.

Every time I look into the "cheek products" section of my makeup drawer, this one sits there staring up back at me, neglected and alone.

Tell me, do you use and like cheek/lip stains? Or do you prefer them in powders, creams or gels?

Credits: Grayburn, benefitcosmetics.com


The Bare Escentuals Brushless Mascara

I am intrigued by the brush-less-ness of this mascara from Bare Escentuals. I know that many mascara-users are devoted to their Diorshow, but I don't even want to think about getting close to such an enormous brush head! I can already imagine myself throwing a fit, because I have just poked myself in the eye with smudged mascara everywhere!

Bare Escentuals promises to give long falsies with this mascara. To put this on, we are supposed to 'blink into' the wand, rather than using the conventional method of wiggle and stroke. From experience of having used numerous mascaras, a lengthening mascara must have certain characteristics. The first and most important is the mascara's formula. The formula must be slightly stickier (if you can imagine that) than regular formulas and, it must contain fibers. A slightly sticky formula allows you to smoothly attach the fibers to your lashes. It also gives the time needed to really lengthen the lashes, and to shape and sculpt them. Be careful of the mascaras who's formula is very wet though, because the attached fibers may not dry fast enough and will have a tendency to go 'wonky'. The second important feature is the brush head itself. Skinnier brush heads tend to be better at lengthening than larger ones.

So it seems that this mascara from Bare Escentuals may work. I'm not really in the market for a new mascara because I am still devoted to my Imju Fiberwig Mascara. However, if someone has tried this and/or thinks that there is a great mascara out there for lashes with the 3 's' (short, straight & sparse), please do share with us!

Credits: Grayburn, bareescentuals.com


Skincare Staples Stash - Part Deux

With so many creams, lotions and potions that flood the beauty market each month, it is really hard to keep track of all of them and, to choose the best out of the bunch. I have personally even found that some products do more harm than good.

In the name of beauty, I tested out a serum that contains a vitamin A derivative. This particular formulation I tried has really done more harm than good to my skin unfortunately. My skin completely flipped out!

To nurture my skin back to its normal condition, I am relying on my trusty Anti-Aging Moisturising Elixir Cream from Alqvimia. This along with this, are the staples in my skincare stash. Not only does this cream smell amazing, the texture is extremely nurturing and comforting. I can also use this around my eyes as well so this product really is an all-purpose one.

The listed ingredients are:

Almond, hazelnut, St. John’s Wort, rosehip and wheatgerm oils; rose and orange blossom water; essential oils of lemon, orange, bois du rose, incense, myrrh and patchouli; glycolic extracts of iris and benjui, beeswax, honey, Xanthan gum, emulsifiers, natural antioxidants, preservative agent and water.

Can you see why I think it smells so heavenly? If you love essential oils and natural products as much as I do, you will totally fall in love with this cream!

Credits: Grayburn, alqvimia.com

When A Fashion Trend Collides With Cosmetics

Do we all know who McDreamy is? His other and real name is Patrick Dempsey. His wife, Jillian Dempsey and the former brains behind Delux cosmetics (a brand favorite of Kristin Davis, of Sex in the City), has recently designed 2 blush compacts for Avon.

These 2 blushes are wonderfully now, for two main reasons. The blushes home in on the trend of the season: tie-dyed clothing (don't say or think "uggh" just yet!) . Second, they come in vivid colors of fuchsia and coral. If you look closely, you'll notice that the color of the blushes gradually go from dark to lighter from left to right (reminiscent of the tie-dye effect). This gives us so much more freedom to customize and adjust the color as we like.

Avon's Pink Horizon does remind me of one of my favorite blushes from The Body Shop , called Solar Duo Blush (LE 2007) in Radiant Pink. This is such a favorite of mine because it gives great luminosity and flush of color to the skin when used mixed. Mixing is achieved by swirling a brush to grab equal amounts of both the darker and the lighter colors. And when the colors are used individually, the darker color acts as the cheek color (applied to the apples of your cheeks), and the lighter color performs as a matching highlighter (applied to the top of your cheek bones). Both Avon's and The Body Shop's are so pretty to look at, as well as being functional (sadly, The Body Shop's is no longer available).

Out of curiosity, do you like the use of tie-dye in haute-couture?

Credits: Grayburn
Photos: Grayburn, Avon, Louis Vuitton,
Alexander McQueen,


Can't Ever Be Too Shiny

I believe everyone wants shinier hair (not the greasy kind of course!). It is sort of like what people say about one can neither be too rich or too skinny. Even if I don't agree with either one of these points, shiny hair does means healthy hair.

I honestly hate going into the hair salon to color, highlight or endure any kind of chemical processing. The haircutting part I can tolerate (although that is another story). However, anytime it involves putting globs of chemicals on my head, I start to get impatient! I think this came from my days when I used to model. They would make me sit in the coloring chair for hours on end, to get me ready for the photo shoot the next day. The longest I have spent in a salon was 10 hours in the same day. I'll admit though, that the color came out beautifully.

I discovered the Luminous Color Glaze in the new clear formula from John Frieda (a drugstore brand) a while back. The fact that it is available in the drugstore means that I don't have to step into a salon to get a shine treatment, and, I can do this in the comfort of my own home! It doesn't even take hours and I don't have to wear this on my head, wrapped in a towel, while I vacuum the house. I use this in the shower as my conditioner after I have shampooed my hair. After 3 minutes of marinating my hair in this, it is ready to be rinsed off. It's that simple!

This colorless glaze has been so good to my hair, giving it back much needed shine and moisture. The formula I prefer is clear (they also come in 3 other colored varieties), so it would not interfere with my hair color. A note of caution though, it can be quite greasy if you use it full strength. I would recommend mixing this with your conditioner to dial down the concentration a little. Since I have somewhat coarse, slightly wavy hair, I use this twice a week, to give my hair a shiny boost.

Information available on johnfrieda.com


Seriously Fun

(Fill in the blank!)

Sometimes it's really important to have
fun and to not be so serious about everything that we do. And why shouldn't this apply to cosmetics and skincare? After all, lightening up a little is good for our spirit which undoubtedly should lead to looking better right? I know whenever I'm happy that it shows on my skin. That natural glow that we get when we're happy is unbeatable; as opposed to the glow faked by Stila highlighters.

I try to make sure that I travel at least once every 3 months because I am addicted to making new discoveries. Traveling is so good for my soul and it keeps me feeling inspired. It is the thing I do that makes me glow. So I recently took a trip to the UK to do some shopping and to relax a bit. Armed with my list of places and brands to see, I was ready to experience real life shopping (rather than online). One of the brands on my list to check was Soap & Glory.

Soap & Glory is a company based in the UK. What I am especially fond of, is their packaging (they are fun and full of clich├ęs), and the price of their products. They have a lipgloss called "Sexy Mother Pucker" and it retails in the UK for £8.00! I had alot of fun looking through all the bottles and just couldn't resist getting my own "Wash Almighty Detox Spa Gel". As soon as I have given it plenty of use, I'll share a review with you.

Credits: Grayburn, soapandglorycosmetics.com



Versace's got it
bang on this time! The idea that we can always spend hours getting ready for cocktails or a fine night out is overly ambitious. Their new ad campaign featuring the sultry Gisele is one that is different from their previous concept.

I find myself really relating to these ads because I often feel quite short of time. Just because I don't have enough time doesn't mean that I should sacrifice looking my best. The look shown here, as well as many others in the campaign, look effortless. The dresses seem to be made of material that stands well against wrinkling (see how Gisele is pulling it out of the bag and just slipping it on!). The finished look is sexy with sophistication. It's a no-brainer at all!

Oh my gosh, look at these uber sexy heels=killer calves!

This season we're still seeing large bags. However, the key now is buttery leather and pillowy soft shapes. This nude-tone one, also from Versace, is the best one I've seen so far.

Credits: versace.com


Final Thoughts on MAC's N Collection

It seems like it was so long ago that MAC's N Collection came out. MAC cosmetics is a seriously wonderful company that constantly works to put out new and exciting products. With so many collections out each year, it can be both fun and difficult to keep up. By the way, did we all know that MAC was founded in Toronto, Canada? Oh Canada!

Anyway, I promised to let you know what I really thought of the N Collection after I had put them to the test. These are not all of the items in their collection but they are the ones that I got.

Eye shadows:
Nanogold - There was alot of talk everywhere on the internet about this one. Although it is not a LE (limited edition) item, this is the one shadow that pretty much everyone said not to miss. It is a light yellow beige shadow with a duochrome finish of pink and peach. The fine shimmer is both gold and pink. It's a great brightener for your eyes and is slightly warmer than most highlighters I've seen.

Neutral Pink - Exactly as the name implies, it is a neutral shade of pink that is very easy for pretty much anyone to wear. It is a satin formula which means it has a slight sheen to it. So versatile because it is not so warm that it looks like you have been rubbing your eyes too much, nor too cool (pasty).

Rich Flesh - A LE shadow from MAC, this is the perfect mid-tone brown for deepening the crease. Just like what browns are supposed to be, Rich Flesh is warm without being too grey or orangey. It is a matte formula which means it works well as a frame for other wonderful shimmers or colors you may be wearing next to it.

Paint Pots:
Groundwork - Not drying whatsoever on the lids, its creamy texture went on my lids and stayed on through a full day of shopping, cooking and house chores. I use this one as a base whenever I want to wear smoky eyes without having to do layers upon layers of building up of shadows.

Soft Ochre - This is my true love when it comes to paint pots! Like a great pair of great panties that don't show through my clothes, this is an essential product for my eyeshadows to build on and to stick to. This is MAC's creamier version of Urban Decay's Primer Potion (which I know many many many of you love!). But I think MAC had us girls with yellow-undertone in mind when they made this one! This one has no shimmer in it whatsoever.

Last but not least:
The 3N lipstick - All I have to say is that I bought 2 tubes of this! I left this one for the end of the post because I think this is the best item from the collection. I am mostly about nude lips alot of the times because it is the easiest look to pull off. It is truly the perfect nude-pink lipstick. I was at the MAC counter comparing this to their other lipsticks (for when I will need a replacement in the future). There really is none other like it, so do grab one or three for yourself before they're totally gone!

Information on MAC Cosmetics can be found at: www.maccosmetics.com

Credits: Grayburn


Skincare Staples Stash - Part I

To pick up from where I left off last week, it really has been quite a while since I have talked to you about Alqvimia. Lately, I have been experiencing some irritations on my skin; probably due to this cold I have that just doesn't seem to want to go away. My skin feels quite raw because of all the rubbing I have done to my nose and from living in a dry environment.

This is the time when I look to my stash of skincare for help and when I vow to not try another new product on my skin until it is nurtured back to health. In case you don't already know, I have 4 different stashes of skincare products. The first is made up of products that need to be tested, the second is for those that I have tested and do not like (but have yet to toss), the third includes products that I like but that do not quite make it to the fourth and final category: the products that are my absolute staples. The products in this category have their place there because they perform the way they're supposed to and are also the ones that have saved my skin time after time.

Let me introduce you to one of the stars in my staples stash: The Alqvimia Beauty Extract. I use the beauty extract that is designed for combination/oily skin even though I don't have oily skin. Their extracts are made of really high quality plant oils and the plant essences from the very first cold press. This means we are getting the very best quality. This was apparent to me during my first application. It is very nourishing and it forms a protective layer that shields my skin from external stressors. I also really love the pump glass bottle because I prefer these over ones with the messy twist cap. One bottle of this lasts me usually for half a year (if using only once per night). Another benefit of the oil is that its smell puts me in the mood for bed. One pump massaged onto my face each night before bed and I'm ready to doze off!

What is the one skincare product you cannot live without? What is in your skincare staples stash?


Brand Spotlight - Alqvimia

It's been a while since I have talked about what has to be my favorite brand period. I have been known to be pretty obsessed when it comes to skincare. I often search high and low for the next best thing and will basically try anything available on the market. My experience from having tested so many brands and products has taught me that the hype surrounding many products is really just hype. The initial high from trying a newly hyped product wears off pretty quickly, as soon as I realize that it does nothing more than what a regular moisturizer does. But the next day, I begin my search all over again as I pick myself up from the disappointment.

As someone who is constantly testing products, I have come to accumulate a team of products that are staples in my beauty cabinet. Those are the ones I reach for to heal irritations caused by a badly formulated product. They are the ones that give me the comfort in knowing that my skin will not react badly to them.

I looked at that stash of staples the other day and realized that many of the product in there are from Alqvimia! Now some of you may have read my previous raves about Alqvimia (click to read). This is not where it ends. During the next couple of days, I will be sharing with you my personal experience about many of these products. Since each one of them deserve its own spotlight, be sure not to miss out as I give you an exquisite look at Alqvimia.

Picture: Alqvimia.com


The South Eye Shadow Palette - Zara Cosmetics

Zara to many is a fine place to purchase clothes. Both for the basic pieces, as well as a few pieces to update their wardrobe. Zara is such a great place to shop because they have unbeatable prices for some very decent quality clothing.

You may have also noticed that they have branched out to other fields such as fragrance, accessories, home decoration, and yes, cosmetics! The concept of their makeup line reminds me of Nars' cosmetics. Zara uses the minimalist black packaging just like Nars' (although Nars' containers have a rubbery-matte feel). Zara's color choices, compared to Nars', are similarly fun and fashion-forward. The Zara cosmetics collection even include a product that is reminiscent of Nars' "The Multiples" (one of Nars' best selling items). At about a-third the price of Nars', it may be pretty difficult to resist for those of us looking for a less expensive alternative. The bottom line however, is that Zara's cosmetics though stylish and fun, leave little to be desired in terms of its quality and textures. Choose according to your pocketbook of course, but Nars is just superior. But if you're looking for something equally fun and in the same price-range as Zara, check out H&M or Wet n' Wild.

Credits: Grayburn


Fresh New Face - Agyness Deyn

I know that Writing about fashion models isn't my usual thing as I enjoy writing about comsetics and fashion alot more. But someone really has caugh my eye lately.

In my years of flipping through fashion magazines, I have seen so many models come and go. The ones who stay around long enough will usually be accredited with the status of "Supermodel", which is probably the ultimate compliment for a model. Iman, Cindy, Linda, Naomi and Kate are some of the ones we think of when we think of Supermodels.

Getting back to what I was saying earlier, recently a new face has caught my eye. Her name is Agyness Deyn. Her tom-boy crop and the confidence in her eyes is astoundingly fresh! I tripped over her name because I was really thrown off by its spelling. I tried to pronounce it with my off British accent (she is from the UK) and oddly it didn't sound as strange to me anymore!

This girl has gotten everyone in the fashion business talking about her. She was recently seen as the guest DJ at the Six Six Sick's Happy Ending party (for fashion week) in New York. Mulberry has even named one of their bags after her! How I wish to follow her around for a day to see what exciting things and trouble she would get into!

Credits: Grayburn, Jezebel.com, stylehive.com.


A Sign of Spring (Things) To Come

Spring is coming soon!
You know
spring is coming when you see adverts with flowers and all the joyous colors. Things start to warm up around us and flowers "spring" up and the snow starts to melt. It comes just before the heavier and stickier summer.

YSL brought out a collection for Spring '08 very much in-tune with the lightness and ease of springtime. The carefree spirit is apparent in the very portable packaging; just toss them in your purse and you're good to go!

Here is a look at some of my favorites.

French Manicure Kit
Kit of 2 pens

Simple, no -fuss!
These seem to be a great idea for on-the-go touch-ups. A perfect clean and classic look for our nails.

YSL Eye Color Touch Water-Reistant Eye Shadow

Just use your fingers!

These will go well with my Touche-├ęclat. I've got my eyes on the #3 and #1. I will save up these wter-resistant shadows for the beach this summer.

#1 Golden Coral

#2 Steel Blue

#3 Golden Jade

#4 Glazed Brown
YSL Pop Stick Blush

The sheerest consistency; they feel like refreshing water!
These are water-based and they smell phenomenal. They felt unbelievably fresh and cool against my skin. A few twists and swipes and my cheeks were done.

Vanilla / Chocolate
#2 Strawberry / Raspberry
#3 Peach / Blackcurrant


My Favorite Mascara has a Partner

I stopped my search for my ultimate mascara last year when I found the Imju (it's called Dejavu in the US) Fiberwig Mascara. Now you must have heard me talk about this mascara many times. So I won't bore you with more details about how wonderful it is.

The smaller mascara that you see here next to my Fiberwig is it's cuter partner called "Tiny Sniper". The smaller brush and its bent shape allows easier application of mascara to lower lashes. It lessens the risk of me poking my eyes out or accidentally smearing mascara on my lower lids. It is definitely alot easier to work with because of the angled narrow brush. Just like its bigger sister though, the "tiny sniper" is made with the same genius formula that I have found to be totally element-proof. For me, element-proof means that it withstands outdoor activities in cold and warm weather (i.e. shopping on a crowded Saturday afternoon) and indoors as well (i.e. discotheque, and exercising). I will bring them both for a swim this summer when I hit the beaches!


MAC 3N, Soft Ochre & Nanogold

Just wanted to share with you that I have just loaded up on MAC's N Collection today. I am telling you this because there really are some exquisite items in this collection. I know that this particular collection may not be exciting for everyone (alot of neutral colors). There have even been some comments circulating about such as "save your money for Fafi". Normally I buy MAC sparingly, only when they have something stunning. This entire collection for me is refreshingly stunning.

(If you are not sure what the MAC N Collection is, go here to find out more).

Among all of the items, the 3N lipstick is the standout. I can see why it was used on all the models at the fashion shows. I fell in love instantly with its creaminess; both in tone and in texture. It did not make me look washed out. It is the right shade of neutral-beige pink that is just so hot.

The Soft Ochre Paint Pot was another winner and a must-have before you apply any eye shadow. This one is great for those of us who have yellow in our skin.

The shadows Nanogold, Neutral Pink, & Rich Flesh were all winners in my book as well.

Now I will just have to go back yet another time to spend some time with the lipglasses. I had already spent too long in the store and I was asking too many questions. Thanks Michel and the lady who did my makeup today at the MAC near Kalvatoren for their patience!

I will share the pictures and a more in-depth look at each item soon.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Let me know what you're going to do this weekend?



Outstanding Women

What a better way to sum up the week of hard work than to smile about being awarded the "You Make My Day Award" by 3 very special ladies. Their gorgeousness is intoxicating and their positive attitudes infectious. They are (in no particular order) The Seeker, Izar and Vanessa. I will tell you more about each one of them below and share with you the other fantastichicas I am nominating for my own "You Make My Day Award". I soak up every word from their blogs everyday!

The Seeker - For inspiring me everyday with her fashion sense and her brains! She also has an intriguing sense with colors and shapes. I look forward each day to see what she's wearing

Izar - For her keen artistic-ality and for being such a whole-hearted person. She shares with us a glimpse into her life with her discoveries, trials and happiness.

Vanessa - For always sharing with us her makeup hauls and the latest news in the cosmetics world. She has a special talent in photography and is someone who is so damn good with that eyeliner (the best I have ever seen)!

The Muse - For always keeping me up to date on cute and pretty makeup. She is warm and her bright smile helps me start everyday positively!

PJ - She never fails to bring us news from the best cosmetics out there. Her blog is like bread and butter to me! She is sincere and courteous and never misses the opportunity to connect with her readers.

Annieytown - For her dish everyday on iconic beauty items that keep me wanting and going back for more! She has a 6th-sense when it comes to what's beautiful and her wittiness often puts a smile on my face!

Jackie & Hillary - For their no-nonsense advice on beauty. I have come to trust their opinion. I am there everyday to see what I need and do not need in my makeup cabinet!


The Beautiful Brow

A pair of well groomed eyebrows instantly dress up a face. Good eyebrows have the ability to give an instant lift to our faces, make the bridge of our noses seem higher and provide depth to our facial features. Their shape reflects our character as well as frames the most expressive part of us: our eyes.

Tools of the trade:

Tweezers - Used to tidy up the shape of our brows and take away any distracting stray hairs. I prefer to use a slanted tip because it allows me to see what I am doing better and gives me better control.

Brow shaping gel - Used to keep the brow hairs in place. I always prefer a tinted version over a clear gel because I like the extra depth it gives.

Brow drawing brush - A good one makes it easier and is more precise for filling in the brows. I prefer a slanted tip that is not too thin. Choose the right brush for you; natural bristles draw a more natural-looking shape when compared to synthetic bristles.

Brow essence - These give a little help to those of us with sparse brows. They help to make the hairs look denser (think volume mousse for your hair!). They are used day and night for the first month and then once a day thereafter.

Brow powder & pencil - The powder is used to fill in the brows and the pencil is for defining and finishing certain areas of your brows. It is best to have 2 different shades of brow powder/pencil because using 2 separate colors give a more natural look to your brows.

Brow groomer - This either comes in a spool wand (like the mascara wand) or one much like a toothbrush. This is used to soften and blend the colors applied on the brows. I like both and I use both all the time!

What's in my brow kit:

The Body Shop Brow & Liner kit
Cle de Peau Eyebrow Liner
MAC Brow Set
Tweezerman Slant tweezers in khaki gold
Sonia Kashuk Brow shaper
Talika Eyebrow Lipocils
Majolica Majorca Eyebrow customize (sword cut)


Spree Vs. Steal! Luxuries on a Budget.

The desire to try many many beauty/cosmetic products can leave our wallets feeling pretty empty and wear out the strip on the back of our credit cards. But don't worry, there are some pretty good alternatives made by budget brands. These "Steal" alternatives all have a popular following and have stood the test of time.

by Terry Light Expert Foundation Brush

Brush Foundation

Chanel Teint Universel

Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect
Anti-fatique Foundation

SpaceNK Spa Seeweed line

The Body Shop Seeweed line

Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0

RoC Retin-Ox Serum Max Plus

MAC N Collection

H&M Eye shadow palette in Evening Sand

Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream

Nivea Creme

Bumble & Bumble Hair Powders

Pssssssssst Instant Spray Shampoo