1. 6. Grayburn: August 2008 7.


I don't feel like writing much today. I feel invaded because I came across a website that had posted an article of mine on their site without my permission (including my photos and title from my article). Those of you who maintain a website and are involved in creative writing must know what I mean when I say that the results you see on our websites are a product of a lot of hard work and time spent fine-tuning details. Whether intentional or not, not taking the care to ask for permission before republishing someone else's work is mean spirited and disrespectful.

I have contacted the owner of the site and am hoping that it is a mistake and that it was not their intention to republish or copy my work.

I will leave you with these dreamy images I took when I visited Paris earlier this month. These are images of some of my favorite spots/sights/experiences whilst there. Glancing through these today has worked wonders at making me feel better.

What helps to brighten up your day? Share your thoughts in comments.

The Famous Window Displays of Louis Vuitton on Champs-Elysees

Window Display of Hugo Boss on Champs-Elysees

Irresistible French macaroons from La Duree on Champs-Elysees

The Sephora that is like a night club for makeup lovers - the legendary branch on Champs-Elysees

Display of Givenchy's new Phenomen’eyes mascara that caught everyone's attention

Montparnasse, the neighborhood to visit for the best Crepe Bretonne.
The crepes with crispy edges are made with buckwheat flour and are stuffed with ingredients of your choice. The Tower of Montparnasse (standing at 210-meter) is also in the area and provides a wonderful view of Paris and of course, of the Eiffel Tower.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)


Long Awaited Sephora Stores In NL!

A quick note to share my excitement about Sephora opening 11 stores in the Netherlands! The last store that will be opening in Enschede will be complete by November 20th. I no longer have to take a 4-6 hour train ride to Luxemburg or France to indulge myself in Sephora madeness. Their nearest store is now only half an hour away! This move from Sephora will bring brands such as Benefit and Makeup Forever finally into the Netherlands.

My wish has come true!

Credit: sephora.nl


A Promising Remedy- Avene Diacneal

So, onto a slightly less 'glamorous' topic (than say, catwalk shows), I have broken out with a deep, painful spot on the bridge of my nose. It is not really something I enjoy talking about and I admit to having turned my head to one side whenever I had to have a face-to-face conversation with someone. But I thought that if I shared with you my current personal plan of action, that you would hopefully share yours with me!

The pain can be described as if I had been punched on the nose. I scratched it by mistake the other day when I was at the supermarket and let out an embarrassing shriek. Looking at IT closely, the culprit is deep and I know that recovery is going to be a slow, emotional and painful process. I respect my body when it decides to speak up if I have been treating it unfairly. It does its job by telling us in numerous different ways; something like how an uncared for machine will stop working or misbehaves. Yes, stress has gotten to me.

I was standing inside a pharmacy in Paris which sold various potions for all sorts of ailments and self-improvements. Accompanying me was my list of items that I had drawn out to pick up when visiting a French pharmacy. Avene's Diacneal was one one such item on the list. The package said .01% Retinaldehyde and 6% Glycolic acid. Apparently, it is the right concoction that has gathered many satisfied customers.

It has been 2 days since I started using Diacneal. IT hasn't disappeared yet but is drawing closer to the surface as the skin on the area is being gradually sloughed off. What seems to set this acne treatment apart from regular treatments is that it hasn't caused the usual dried crustiness. The product is supposed to help smooth and fade acne scars, and its yellowy liquid causes an addictive tingle when applied. I am keeping my fingers crossed, hoping to see an end to this drama soon.

- August 27, 4 days since 1st application -

The affected area is now looking very smooth though red. Strangely enough, there is none of the crustiness nor irritation/sensitivity I was accustomed to experiencing with other acne treatments. IT is diminishing in size it seems, as it shows IT-self out to the surface.

- August 28, 5 days since 1st application -

I awoke in amazement when I discovered that IT is almost gone. There is still a slight bump and the redness is barely perceivable.

- August 30, 1 week since 1st application -

The skin around where I applied Diaceneal is smooth and soft. I no longer need to cover IT with concealer. I think I can stop using the treatment tomorrow.

Diaceneal is also available outside of France; in fact, in most countries.

Credit: Grayburn (Terms of Use)


Givenchy Prisme Again! - Yes!

I am in love again! with Givenchy's new collection of Prisme Again! Eyeshadow quartets. The two stunners come in Smoky Shimmer and Precious Shimmer. I have yet to see these at my local counter but from the press pictures, they look very promising.

The Smoky Shimmer quartet includes a deep denim shade, a velvety eggplant, a black and the irresistible smoky black with white polka dots. The Precious Shimmer quartet holds a metallic khaki, a shimmery loaded light gray, a beautiful lilac and an adorable silver with black polka dots.

The image below of the model wearing colors from the two palettes is enough to make me want them both. I am loving the straight brows and what they have done to play up the inner corners of the eye and the lower lashline.

The collection is charming and mysterious and I have serious craving for that delicious red lippie.

Credit: temptalia.com


Skin, Lips Going Forward

Image: Model Barbara (for Antoine Peters) with matte skin and attention-grabbing lipstick on, waiting to be groomed backstage.

So it seems we have reached the end of the road for shimmers and luminous finishes. Perhaps I should have clued in on that as we have seen loads of powdery skin in magazines lately. But I hadn't realized that we are gong to have to let go of it all!

This insight is what I learned when I chatted with Pernel, who was leading a group of makeup artists at the Antoine Peters show during fashion week. According to him, the ladies who used to wear lipgloss are now craving something a little more sophisticated and grown-up. Lipgloss may soon be a thing of the past as lipstick in bold hues create drama that stand out and is compatible with the dark dark clothes for fall/winter.

The matte look appeals to me. I actually long for the smooth-dry feel of it all. As soon as the weather says autumn, my face powders and lipsticks are coming out from storage!

How do you feel about this 'cooling' trend?

Credit: Grayburn, vogue.com, style.com

Blue Blood Catwalk Show AIFW S/S 09 - Indigo In Their Veins

Image: goodie bag from the Blue Blood show

Looking at the picture above, I bet you can imagine my excitement as I approached the goody bag at the Blue Blood catwalk show. I thought we would be getting lobster-themed goodies as it is their mascot. The peculiar name of Blue Blood came from the brand's love for mastering denim. The brand's usual toughness went a little softer this time for S/S '09. I especially enjoyed what the models walked out on, even those lobster-colored shoes that had matching tights. I am also digging the look with jean shorts and blazer. But only if worn with flicked up hair and red lipstick.

Credits: Grayburn


Top Find In Paris

Inside this unassuming shop, in an unlikely location in Paris, is a treasure chest of a find for makeup enthusiasts. I am not sure if this is the 'secret' of Paris that I have been searching for, but this was a definite top find for me. I have been feeling the fondness for attending makeup training grow inside me for some time now. Stepping into this store did nothing but reinforce those feelings further.

This is Paris Berlin, a professional makeup store which caters to the unique needs of a makeup artists. While they sell quite a few items that I personally cannot relate to (i.e. fake blood), it was their tables upon tables of skin-colored creams and liquids that had my attention. Testing my hand at the board of pro-quality eye shadows also had me twirling in joy. I had the feeling that there was so much to look at and I didn't have time to savor it all.

Whilst the company stocks other major brands such as Kryolan and Ben Nye, it also sells their house brand of makeup and skin products (i.e. makeup primer & demaquillant). With all the possibilities in the world of makeup available in this store, I picked up only one thing. After some time of testing the product, I will proceed with a review of my purchase shortly!

FYI: Visit the store only when they are not busy as they normally only cater to pro makeup artists.

Credit: Grayburn


Monique Collignon S/S '09 Brings St. Tropez To The AIFW

It was hot inside the showroom. We felt relieved however, as Monique Collignon's S/S '09 collection walked onto the catwalk in a breath of fresh fabrics. The designer certainly has a flair for expensive fabrics and the collection has St. Tropez written all over it. For the entire fifteen minutes, we were suspended in French Riviera.

The models were all made up impeccably, with a touch of sunset color on their lids and liner (upper and lower) smudged on the outer 3/4. Those looking for sophisticated holiday day wear and cocktail dresses will surely find something in this collection.

Tomato red pops.

Day-to-night dressing.

I love the impeccable fit of the jacket.

Another gorgeous coat.

Peek-a-boo shorts - innocent yet provocative.

Flower: blossoming.

Crisp white lining.

This dress folded and moved in an interesting way as she walked out.

My lust-have!

Credit: Grayburn copyright 2008


Glam Rock & Nivea

Her voice just blOwS me away. It wasn't her hit song "Mercy" that got me, it was this one "Syrup & Honey" (see video below). I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up.

This Welsh singer, named Duffy, will be appearing in ads for Nivea this month; showing off her flawless skin in them. I especially like the campaign image above because she looks slightly more "rock glam" than normal. I am going to miss out on her appearance with Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban at the 5th Annual Fashion Rocks concert at Radio City Music Hall since I live in Europe. I am hoping for snippets of the 2-hour show on youtube.

Credits: youtube.com, Nivea


Reader's Makeup Tutorial - Sunny Day Look

We all know that makeup can be tricky (but a lot of fun as well). For me, the point of having a beauty blog is to share information and exchange beauty tips and tricks. A reader of mine has been playing with her new minerals and decided to share her favorite makeup looks (and products) with all of us. I have the absolute pleasure to introduce you to Jill, who has spent a tremendous amount of time preparing and listing her step-by-steps for us. Thank you Jill! This is really a great way for all of us to be inspired and to learn a little something from each other! Let's show her some love and let's start some chatter about some of our favorite cosmetics!

Jill's Instructions (plus my comments in quotes, if any):

1. On a clean face, I applied Alba body lotion, SPF15. Then Glo-Mineral pressed face powder in Medium is used to even out skin tone.

(The take home message is simple: We should not forget to wear an SPF everyday. Notice her amazing skin?)

2. Next, Meow Lush Blush in Wanton.

The Meow sample blushes I've tried are really wonderful; in that they are very pigmented and have a LOT of glimmer. These blushes when applied under a mineral foundation or silk powder, becomes a little more toned down; depending on the time of day and the occasion. Also, the less you burnish these blushes, the more glimmer you retain, so you can really get two colors or two different looks with the same color of blush. This one I have chosen to use for the look, Wanton, applies with plum undertones and pink glimmer over top. I really like the Meow Lush Blush samples I've tried.

(It is interesting how different sometimes online swatches look from when the color is applied on skin. This blush looks warmer on Jill than it does in the swatch on Meow's website. My review of some of Meow's blushes can be found here.)

3. For eyes, Meow ScandalEyes in Patty H.

A very pretty dark blue with just enough sparkle for anyone over 30! I find that as one ages, too much sparkle can look bad as sparkles tend to migrate into small wrinkles that exaggerates them.

(A touch of creamy shimmer is really beautiful. But yes it's true, w
e have to be careful with too much glitter around the eyes. I have reviewed some of Meow's eye shadows as well.)

4. Next I used Jessica H. to highlight brow bones.

(Highlighting the brow bone area and the inner V's of our eyes freshen up our eye area; making us look more awake. This shade looks pretty on those with beige undertones in the skin. Those with ivory or olive skin tones should opt for something containing slightly more yellow undertone.)

5. I applied two coats of Max Factor's brown/black mascara.

(I usually wear black mascara. However I think the dark brown complements this look very well. I think I will take this tip from Jill!)

6. The lipstick in this photo is a 7 year old sample from Lancome, a pink with slighter shimmer. The name of the color has worn off. Perhaps it's time to get a new lipstick? :)

(Shhh...but I too still have my Nina Ricci lipstick palette from 10 years ago! I just don't have the heart to throw it away as it is so pretty and still smells amazing. This shade that Jill is wearing is a pretty rosy pink that naturally compliments most skin tone.(

7. To finish, I used a buff brush to lightly buff Lumiere's Island Sands Silk Radiance for a pretty glow. It is a great color for many skin types and gives a nice finishing look. Thanks for recommending it, Grayburn!

(You're welcome! You can still catch my review of Lumiere Cosmetics if you would like!)

Credits: Jill, Jill's husband for taking the photograph of Jill, Meow Cosmetics, Lumiere Cosmetics.