Saturday, July 30, 2011

July Favorites

One reason for not posting my montly favorites every month, apart from my awful absent-mindedness, is the fact that I rarely amass enough goodies to show you. This time, however, I've got some pretty fabulous beauty and not beauty-related things to share, so here goes!

1. ZARA Black Peony EDT. Slightly less sugar sweet and definitely less expensive dupe to Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb. I do so love this flowery punch with a hint of black tea, I just wished it lasted longer on the skin! Still, Black Peony makes me feel very feminine with a vintage edge, you know, the kind of perfume that goes well with swishy skirts, statement lipstick and high heels. Rock on!

2. Bourjois Délice de Poudre Bronzing Powder no.52. I've already boasted its virtues in my Warsaw haul, and it's still a strong favorite even after a mishap with a greasy sunscreen ruining the top layer. This does have some golden specks running through it, but looks completely matte on the skin. Perfect when paired with Xen-Tan Dark Weekly Self-Tan.

3. Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Buffing Brush & Contour Brush from the Core Collection set. The buffing brush is possibly the most multi-purpose brush I have in my collection: I've used it to set my make-up with powder, to apply powder foundation, to apply cream foundation, to apply bronzer and to apply blush - anything face make-up related, it does the job! The contour brush is great for precise blush placement, and both brushes are high quality and a pleasure to use.

4. Wet'n'Wild Coloricon Eyeliner in Bronzed. Really, $0.99?! It's fantastic! I love it for one-product eye looks, and this particular shade subtly defines my eyes without becoming too noticeable. It kinda matches my hair color, too...

5. INGLOT Freedom System Eyeshadows in no.142 (AMC Shine) and no.349 (Matte). I was lacking a good warm medium grey for the crease, and no.349 is exactly what I was looking for. The sparkly light neutral, no.142, could be classified as a duochrome; it looks more cream in the pan, but flashes gorgeous pink sparkles when light hits it at a right angle.

6. Sleek Pout Polish SPF15 Tinted Lip Conditioner in Pink Cadillac. There's not much else to say other than it's a handbag favorite that makes me look fresh and flirty even when I'm dead tired. There are not that many shades which can do that, huh?

7. Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten in Apricot Berry. I received this in my June Birchbox and couldn't be happier; it's one of those bronzer-slash-blusher hybrids that look amazing on a slightly tanned skin. What's more, I can't ignore how beautiful this looks in the pan, and the packaging is rather neat too.

8. Allafia Shea Butter Body Milk in Vanilla Almond scent. I've ignored this body lotion for a good while, absorbed in other moisturizers, but came right back as soon as my eczema flared up again. It soothes, it conditions, it leaves my skin smelling of orange marzipan. Read more about the brand here.

9. AHAVA Deadsea Water Mineral Hand Cream. Again, a Birchbox deluxe sample, great for carrying around in your purse. I love how quickly it sinks in and how comfortable it makes my skin feel. I got my mum a set of AHAVA Dermud creams for her name day, and she loved them too.

10. BIODERMA Hydrabio H2O Cleansing Micelle Solution for Sensitive Dehydrated skin. I'm sorry to be such a tease, I got this on my trip to Poland. I grabbed it over the hyped-up Sensibio purely because this one was almost 50% off at the time, and it works just as great as the pink version. It also really does leave your skin feeling hydrated, if a bit sticky!

11. Isabel Allende 'Island Beneath the Sea', a novel. I've proclaimed my love for Isabel Allende's books before, so obviously I grabbed this when I saw it at my local library. I'm missing a bit of the magic from Eva Luna books, but 'Island Beneath the Sea' is still a wonderful read, however not really for the beach.

12. My Pandora bracelet. I was gifted three new charms on my visit in Poland by my family, and I wear it more often than any other bracelet I have in my possession. It is becoming a little heavy, but I like that each of the beads is linked to a different memory in my mind, it does remind me a lot of my family in Poland.

13. Target T-shirts. Is it just me, or does Target really have fantastic and inexpensive tees? Every time I'm at Target I pick one up, and I couldn't resist this peachy flowery number while on vacation in California. It's just so soft and comfortable...

Ufff, that was a long list, but I hope you enjoyed! Let me know in the comments below what you've been loving this month.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Giveaway: $25 Apothica Giftcard! *CLOSED*

Time for the giveaway I've been working on, lovely peeps! For my first giveaway, I teamed up with folks at, home to many high-end make-up and skincare brands, including La Roche Posay! Given that my review on the LRP Effaclar Duo acne treatment ranks among the most read posts on my blog, I figured this might be of interest to you, especially that La Roche Posay is so difficult to find elsewhere.

La Roche Posay, a French skincare brand named after a small village abundant in thermal selenium-rich spring water, has been a hit among European beauty fanatics for a long time. It was also the first skincare brand recommended to me by a dermatologist in my teens, but my mum is also a great fan, so there's something for everybody in the line. I especially recommend their Anthelios sunscreen line, the Effaclar line for acne-prone skins and of course their Micellar Solution!

Now, the important part! All you need to do is complete one of the options listed below and let me know about it in the comments together with your email address/ Twitter account so that I can contact you if you win. Here's how you can enter:

Option 1: Facebook
1. Visit
2. Write on Apothica’s Facebook wall about what you think of Apothica
Bonus: Opt in to Apothica’s Newsletter (at the bottom of the home page)

Option 2: Twitter
1. Visit
2. Tweet about Apothica on your own Twitter Account
Bonus: Retweet Apothica’s tweet about this giveaway

Option 3: Blog
1. Visit
2. Write something on your blog about what you think of Apothica
Bonus: Write about La Roche Posay and link it to Apothica

You're only required to do one of the above, and if you also choose to do the bonus part, you'll get two entries. The contest is open internationally until August 18 2011, but please note that Apothica does not ship to every country. The winner will be chosen at random, announced on my blog and contacted by Apothica to verify their information before emailing the giftcard code, which can be spent on anything your little heart desires on, or Isn't that fabulous?

You can go enter now, but remember to come back and leave me a comment :) Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WA Readers, Wet'n'Wild Dream Weavers is here!

Just a quick post today to let you know that the LE Wet'n'Wild Dream Weavers 2011 collection is finally here! Here meaning specifically Bartell Drugs stores; I got mine at Bellevue Village and there was still a decent amount left. What's more, the full line of Wet'n'Wild is 50% off this week at Bartell's, so hurry!

I actually went looking for Dream Weavers on Monday at RiteAid, which currently has Wet'n'Wild Buy One Get One 50% Off sale. Not only I didn't find it, but I also got rained on on the way... So I was furious when Mr told me afterwards his toothpaste run out and I needed to go to a drugstore again. And so yesterday I trotted off to Bartell Drugs to find not only the entire Dream Weavers collection, but also the Gilded Age trio I've been lusting after and thought impossible to get, all of it half price! Major make-up shopping success, all thanks to my husband's forgetfulness.

A quick tip: I hate those stickers they put on those palettes, because they leave a lot of glue on the packaging after you peel them off! To remove the residual glue, use a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and swipe the packaging clean. Works a treat!

For swatches and other locations where Wet'n'Wild Dream Weavers collection has been spotted, visit Nouveau Cheap. Also, I usually write about my sale finds on Twitter, so follow me! My initial impression is that all the three trios are absolutely fabulous, and I'm thinking of doing a look with them... Interested?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rocaille of the Day: Alki Beach

The weather gods have blessed us with gorgeous weather this past weekend and altogether, me and Mr visited three different nearby beaches; but there was no sunbathing! Of course I took the opportunity and dressed in feminine skirts and dresses for a change, and this is my Saturday outfit:

You may remember this skirt from this post last year, and as you can see, it's still my favorite. This time I paired it with a grey Promod top I scored on sale, a wide black belt from Carry (also on sale) and my sequined ballet flats. I was planning on wearing a pair of wedge sandals, but there was too much walking involved.

In other blog news, I'm still working on a giveaway for ya and it should be up very soon, so stay tuned! I'm also dying to show you my July favorites, again it's been a long time since I last posted those.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hauling in Warsaw: Nail Polish

The last part to my little Hauling in Warsaw series... But don't be sad, my dears, of course I picked up some things in California and I promise to show and tell :) Now, onto the nail polish goodness: many Polish cosmetics brands make fabulous and cheap polishes, and I couldn't resist getting some of the old favorites and trying out new ones. What I noticed this time is that Polish brands are really on top of their game, releasing trendy shades just as fast as American brands, and I haven't seen that before!

In the photo we have: 1 Inglot Nail Enamel, 2 Vipera Jumpy Nail Polishes, 2 Wibo polishes from 2 different lines and 1 Essence polish (it's a German grand, btw) which was accompanied by a teal glitter top coat, but I only grabbed the base color.

I've already used 4 of them and only didn't like Wibo Express Growth polish no. 328 (apricot) in terms of application: it was thick, bubbly and streaky, but I used it in a very hot weather and think it deserves another chance.

Just look at that shimmery gorgeousness! These mini Vipera polishes in no.145 (purple with blue duochrome) and no.120 (emerald green) were around 4 PLN each ($1.5) and their only fault is that ridiculous name. I feel like half the time Polish cosmetic companies use English names just because they like the sound of it, without knowing what they actually mean. Anyway, I've only tried the emerald green flecks so far, looked great in 2 coats and lasted pretty well too.

Onto the metallic goodness... I got Inglot no.962 (metallic grey with a hint of purple) still having in mind that Les Perles de Chanel collection from spring this year; I've got Revlon Black With Envy to dupe the Black Pearl, and I remember there being another lighter grey pearl in the eyeshadow palette that I thought would look great on the nails in the fall/winter season. The Wibo Extreme Nails no.99 is a winner in terms of ease of application (flat brush) and longevity; I had it on my nails for 10 days (sic!) and while it wore out at the tips, it still looked pretty decent. It's a rather interesting shade, with tiny flecks of silver glimmer and bigger ones of copper shimmer.

Let me know if you want to see any of those up-close on my nails. What polishes have you been hauling lately - bright summer shades or darker fall ones?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Badger SPF 30+ Sunscreen

Exams and parental visits over, I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. To ease myself into the world of blogging again, I've decided to review this Badger SPF 30+ unscented natural mineral sunscreen I'd been using on my face while in California; which better place to test it out, right?

Before I purchased this at my local Whole Foods, I went back and forth between different sunscreen options, reading a lot about sun protection in general and what to look for in a sun cream. What I gathered is that to date, mineral sunscreens (titanium dioxide & zinc oxide) have proved the safest and most effective from all substances protecting the skin from both UVA & UVB rays. Another thing to remember is that those minerals should not be in nano particles, and on top of that I wanted something with a short and natural ingredients list; hello, furry little badger carrying a baby one wearing a sun hat. How cute is that?

Click on the image to enlarge and read the full ingredients list

On the pros side, it did protect my pale skin from the sun fairly well provided that I didn't touch my face. Unfortunately, I'm still having some allergies and with frequent nose-blowing, I aquired quite a bit of freckles on the center of my face. The thick cream also feels very moisturizing, smells of cocoa (probably thanks to the cocoa butter it contains) and doesn't break me out.

Now, onto the cons. This is a very thick and very sticky cream, and I learnt this the hard way: the oils from the sunscreen transferred on my brush and subsequently ruined my Bourjois bronzer by forming a hard layer over the soft powder, which I then had to scrub away. As you see, it's not great under powder make-up, and would be way too oily for me to use under a liquid base. Another thing to take into consideration is that it leaves a substantial white film behind, and while I was able to conceal it with some foundation and blush, on my darker-skinned mom it looked very strange indeed.

All in all, I think I'll save it for my neck, chest and hands, and use the Cellnique sunscreen on my face instead. Great sunscreen, but a definite no-no for the face. Which sunscreen have you been using lately?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hauling in Warsaw: Make-up

While in Warsaw, obviously I couldn't stop myself from picking up a few products... My excuse was that 1) Inglot is so much cheaper in Poland, 2) I needed some motivation to study. So here goes!

I mostly got make-up from brands which are not easily available to me in the US, like Inglot, Bourjois and Catrice. I also got a Chanel Rouge Coco... just because I really wanted one, and it was duty free.

Isn't it pretty?

I bought six more Inglot eyeshadows, 4 matte from their new range and 2 shimmery ones (AMC Shine). I used to steer clear of their matte finish, thinking it was the worst in terms of quality; but the ones from this new range of shades are super soft, buttery smooth and well pigmented. I got the square shaped pans this time, intending to put them in a Z Palette. I'll write a separate post with swatches on these new acquisitions so that you'll be able to see them in action.

I also decided to try Inglot cream blush, this here is shade no. 88. It might have sweated a bit in transit, but it's a lovely rosy brown with a satin finish. It's a cream to powder formula, my favorite for the oily skin. The Bourjois Bronzing Powder no. 52 is the result of reading too much Suka & Spice, and yes, it is amazing (both the blog and the bronzer).

Last but not least, lipsticks! Are you wondering where that third lippie came from? I got the Rouge Coco in Sari Doré (no. 76) in the SeaTac duty-free, Catrice Ultimate Color lipstick in Call the Ambulance (no. 120) at a Warsaw subway station drugstore, and the Rouge Coco Shine in Monte Carlo (no. 62)... in the woods. I found it laying on the trail in the Olympic Peninsula this past weekend, and decided to take it. It's barely used, so I guess it should be fine after sanitizing, no?

That's it for the make-up, I wasn't actually that bad. There's still the third part of my hauling in Warsaw coming, which consists of some pretty pretty nail polish. What do you usually bring home from your travels?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FOTD: Seafoam Blues & Greens

I'm actually quite ashamed to say that I took these photos almost 2 months ago and haven't had time to post them since. I'm a bit of a traveller these days, posting whenever I can squeeze in an hour of me-time, so you'll have to excuse the delay. Anyways, I realized this was probably subliminally inspired by NARS Summer 2011 collection, and I think it's still up to date in this sunny July weather.

To be completely honest, it took me a good while to apply these Ardell flares of false eyelashes... I find strip falsies much easier to apply. What is your take on flares vs full strips?

I wanted to play a bit more with my Manly 120 eyeshadow palette, and I think the shades turned out very vibrant, rather fabulous if I dare say so myself. You can check the palette out in more detail in this post. I also lined the waterline with Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on pencil in Electric. The base is Graftobian HD Glamour Creme and for the blusher, I went with La Femme Pink Velvet.

I had this weird swollen upper lip thanks to a rather nasty canker sore, and to anyone struggling with one, I do recommend taking a Vitamin B supplement, it really did help mine. Lipstick is MAC Jest, sadly discontinued.

I had lots of fun doing the look, but I would still be very hesitant to rock that blue eyeshadow anywhere else other than my living room. Do you ever wear blue shades on your eyes and if so, how do you wear them?

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Experience with the Oil Cleansing Method

I've been thinking about posting about my experiences with the OCM (oil cleansing method) for a long time, ever since I started experimenting with it after reading Mariella's post back in April. For those of you who are not in the know, I'm not talking about cleansing with an oil-based cleanser which emulsifies in water like the MAC or Shu Uemura ones, but cleansing by massaging some kind of vegetable base oil on its own into the skin, such as olive oil, and removing it with a hot muslin cloth.

What I like about the method is that I can remove all of my make-up and any other impurities with just one natural simple product. With the added essential oils, it feels very smooth and luxurious, plus you don't need a moisturizer afterwards, at least if your skin is normal to oily. But what drew me in the most is that it really does remove blackheads and plugs. If you massage the oil in for a couple minutes, you start noticing little sandy granules on your fingers, and here are your nasty plugs! I got the most of them after exfoliating with some kind of chemical peel (AHA/BHA acids).

What I don't like about the whole process is that it takes a lot of time, and also I haven't really noticed my face becoming much clearer over time. I'm still experimenting with my perfect mix of oils, but with too much castor oil, which is the ingredient that draws the impurities out of your pores, my skin becomes too dry and flaky. It's very much trial and error and you're experimenting on your own skin, which is also very time-consuming until you arrive at your ideal blend.

In case anyone's interested, my current blend is 20% castor oil, 40% jojoba oil and 40% sweet almond oil. I've also added a couple drops of Vitamin E oil to prolong the shelf life of my cleansing oil, as well as ylang ylang, lemon and lavender essential oils. I put everything in the cobalt glass bottle with a pump for ease of use. Initially, I used the method every day, but currently I cleanse with my oil every 2 or 3 days.

In other news, I've been a little bit MIA because my parents came to visit and I'm busy showing them around Seattle... I'll try posting more often, promise! I've also been featured in Become's Best of the Web series, so you can check me out there! I'm also working on the first giveaway for you, lovely readers, so stay tuned :)

Have you ever tried cleansing with an oil?