Current Favourites

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If you are new to my blog, I usually do a favourites blogpost every few months. Even though I mainly blog about beauty, I like to include favourites from different categories so you can get to know me a little better. Like previous favourites blogposts, I am going to categorize my favourites according to the five senses inspired by Youtuber Ingrid Nilsen’s series called Sense of Self.

Sight

I was a huge fan of the TV show, House, a few years back. In each episode, I loved how House would save a patient’s life with his genius diagnostic skills. When I heard that David Shore, House’s creator, was producing another medical drama, I was super excited to see if it would be just as good. His new show is called, The Good Doctor, based on a drama from Korea with the same name. The main character is a medical resident named Shaun who has autism and savant syndrome. We follow his story as he is first met with skepticism at the hospital till eventually his medical prowess respected. Along the way, we see him learn to deal with new changes, like working alongside new coworkers and living independently. Like House, this show has a brilliant doctor who faces many struggles in his life and as viewers, we watch alongside celebrating in their successes and connecting to their struggles.

Smell

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If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that the only scents I really enjoy are usually quite citrusy. I’ve talked previously about how much I enjoy the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum. Other than the effectiveness of this product, a big part of why I love it is due to the user experience. It smells so refreshing, like sweet oranges. I must admit it is a tiny bit artificial, but I don’t mind it. For me, the smell of product can be a dealbreaker, so I’m glad that that I enjoy this scent. On the flip side, I can’t say that for the Fresh facial oil I’ve been using lately though. I don’t think I will repurchase it again purely due to its scent.

Taste

I was racking my brain for a taste favourite and I couldn’t really come up with anything. Then, it suddenly hit me. Chocolate. All I have been doing is it eating chocolate lately. I mean, I couldn’t help it because it was everywhere during Christmas time. I tried to share and give some away, but for the most part, I selfishly saved them for myself. Lately, I don’t really discriminate anymore. I used to mostly eat dark chocolate, but I’ve been loving milk chocolate and even white chocolate lately. So what are some of my faves? Probably, my favourite are the Lindt truffles. I have had way too many of those. I also love Ferraro Rocher, just the original ones in the gold foil packaging. Oh, but my all-time fave that no one talks about much, are the Ferraro Rocher eggs! It is like eating the same flavours but with a smooth chocolate exterior.

Touch

I had bought a cashmere sweater over 5 years ago which I still wear often today. I had heard so much about how great cashmere wears and bought this particular sweater on sale. Since then, I haven’t had the budget or justification to get another one since they are usually priced at a few hundred dollars. So why do so many people love cashmere? I think it is because it doesn’t pill much, keeps you so warm, and feels so soft. Plus, it just wears so well over time. I have had mine for over 5 years and it looks almost like it did the day I bought it. I do take very good care of it and only dry clean so I don’t know if that has made a difference. So fast forward to today, I spot some cashmere sweaters on sale at Uniquo and I just had to buy one because it was sale for $50. So how does this new breed of “economical” cashmere compare to the previous more high-end versions? So far, I think the Uniquo cashmere sweater wears really good. It might be slightly more pilling than my higher-end version, but it feels just as soft. I’ll have to report back after several more washings to see if it keeps it shape and retains its soft texture.

Hearing

If you have read my last favourites post, you would know that I have been super into buying vinyl records. For me, this has been such an amazing musical journey because I am not familiar with most of the music before the 90s. It has been so fun to learn about why these artists have been so impactful in the history of music. I found Elton John’s Greatest Hits at a local records lately, and I am amazed at the breath and depth of his music. I am embarrassed to say that most of the knowledge of I have his music has been through his score of Lion King. I’ve been loving “Yellow Brick Road,” and “Don’t Let Sun Go Down On Me.” He has just announced his retirement from touring. Hopefully, I will have the chance to catch one of his last shows. Do you have any favourite Elton John songs?

I also have to mention to BTS. I do listen to Kpop on and off, but after seeing BTS on the American Music Awards, I had to seek out some of their music. “DNA” and “Mic Drop” have been repeat the last few months. For me, it has been so amazing to see Asian faces on American TV singing in their own language. Growing up, I never saw a lot of Asian representation in Western media, and it has been wonderful to see BTS perform on so many American media outlets. I so excited to see what they will do next and what other Asian artists will also enter the Western music arena.

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How to Feel Less Overwhelmed

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I have been meaning to write this blogpost for awhile, especially around the Christmas and the winter holidays time period. With having to attend Christmas dinners, and buying Christmas presents, December can be very stressful and very overwhelming (I particularly feel like typing the word “very” in capitals). I am definitely one of those people that get overwhelmed easily. It stills happens a lot despite that fact that I am better at dealing with it, and part of me has accepted that I will always be a little overwhelmed. However, there are a few things I do which have helped me feel less overwhelmed over the years and I thought they might be helpful for you.

Focus on the Immediate

Usually, I feel the most overwhelmed when my to-do list starts stacking up. There is so much to do that I simply don’t know where to begin. That is usually when the panic begins to set in and I decide to start finding out a way out before I lose complete control. At this point, I will usually just put the brakes on everything and focus on the immediate thing I need to get done. For me, this is usually the task with the nearest deadline or has the greatest importance to me. Then, I proceed to block out everything till I get this one task finished. After I am done, I find that it buys me a little time to figure out how to complete the other tasks on my plate. Moreover, it just feels good to be able to finish something, even if it seems small in comparison to everything else you need to do.

Plan of Attack

Now, that I am not freaked out about the closest deadline coming up too fast, I then start to wrap my head around how to make the rest of the tasks less overwhelming. I usually have several strategies of attack. Sometimes, I will just add all the events onto my calendar first and then add all the tasks I need to complete each event also on the calendar. I find that once I see how everything fits in, almost like a puzzle, I don’t see it as tons of tasks I have to complete. Instead, I just see it is as a few tasks that I have to complete each day. I also like to spend time prioritizing the tasks each day just in case I don’t finish everything that day. The ones that I have to do for sure are placed at the top of the list. You can also colour-code them so you easily see which ones are the must-dos of that day.

Choosing Perfection

I find I often feel overwhelmed, not only because I have to get a lot done, but also because I want to do everything well. Being perfect all the time, if that does exist, is very difficult to achieve, if not impossible. What I usually do is aim for “more perfection” in some tasks over others. I will think to myself that I want to do Task A and Task B the best I can. Then, I will complete the other tasks well, but not fuss over the small details. I understand that seems like I am not pushing myself enough, but I just think it is a more healthy way to live. I personally don’t think you can be an “A+” in every part of your life. Instead, living a balanced and healthy life has become my form of an “A+.”

What are your tips for feeling less overwhelmed?

Year End Favourites: Top 5 in Skincare

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My post for year end favourites in makeup came out pretty late, and this Top 5 in skincare is even later. I am sorry about that, but I hope you will still enjoy it. Over the last year, I have mainly focused on using Korean skincare. I enjoy their focus on natural ingredients and the effectiveness of their formulas. Some of my favourite Korean skincare brands include Whamisa, Innisfree, and ID.AZ. Through a gift from my sister, I have also really enjoyed Ole Henriksen. I tend to judge whether I love a skincare item based on the experience of application, its ingredients, and how effective it was on improving my skin’s appearance.

ID.AZ Dermastic Foaming Cleanser

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I don’t know when I started to assume that cleansers that foam up right from the bottle are automatically drying. Well, this one proved me wrong. If you love cleansers that are rich and really foam up, then you will enjoy this cleanser from one of the top skin clinics in Korea, ID.AZ. Overall, I find the experience of using this cleanser really enjoyable. It has really refreshing scent, which I find quite relaxing. The formula is not stripping, containing aloe vera extract, centella asiatica extract, and panthenol to soothe skin. This is definitely one of my surprise favourites of year.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Deep Rich

This year, I have been super into vicious Korean toners, which are packed full of great ingredients. They are thicker in texture, and are meant to be patted into the skin. I’ve have tried quite a few over the year, but I still think this one from the Korean brand, Whamisa is my favourite. If you are big Kbeauty fan, you would have seen this brand plastered all over Instagram and for good reason. Their focus is on using organic ingredients, primarily fermented ingredients, which are more potent and easily absorbed. This toner is my favourite this year because after you apply it on your skin, it looks plumper and glowy almost instantly. It is also great for the 7 step method. My one con is that it is a bit sticky after application but I feel it is less stickier than a few others I have tried.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

2017 was the year that I discovered Vitamin C in skincare and wondered why I didn’t start earlier. I think the reason that I hesitated to try Vitamin C was that I was afraid that I would react to it negatively. However, I realized that when you are trying any skincare, you should always patch test because everyone responds to certain ingredients differently. I tried a few Vitamin C serums this year (e.g. Wishtrend and Drunk Elephant), but I think my favourite has to be the one from Ole Henriksen for several reasons. First of all, it did not irritate my skin, which I was surprised about. Secondly, it had a lovely citrus scent and absorbed so quickly into the skin. Lastly, it provides results. It doesn’t happen right away, but with long-term use, I was surprised how smoother my skin looked under makeup. Overall, my skin looked firmer and brighter as they claimed would do. It was so good that I actually bought the full size after my sister gifted me a deluxe sample.

Belif Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream

The first time I saw Belif products, I was attracted to the minimalist blue, black, and white packaging. Then, as I learned more about the brand, I learned their brand philosophy focused on using natural herbal ingredients with modern technology to create effective skincare line. It was then I was sold. I was having problems with concealer not applying well over my eye cream so I decided to switch to this eye cream and I have been loving it every since. This is a thicker formula but it blends it easily. It leaves a nice canvas for concealer application. It contains natural oils, like cupuacu seed butter and macadamia nut oil, which help to keep the under eye area moisturized. I also love that it is pretty much unscented as well.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist

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2017 was also the year I got into facial mist. Well, to be honest, I just tried this one. I alway thought that facial mist could only be used to freshen up or set your makeup. I didn’t know that it could also have another use as a toner, especially with this Whamisa Olive Leaf Mist. It is so vicious that you can pat it in as a quick toner. I love how efficient this made my skincare routine as I could quickly spritz this on after cleansing and be done with the toner step. The mist is not super fine as the texture of the formula is a bit thicker, but it is packed full of great ingredients that are good for the skin. Furthermore, it actually lasts quick a longtime even though the bottle is quite small. Now that I am no longer a mist newbie, I can’t wait to branch out and try more facial mist this year.

Have you tried any of my favourites and what it is one skincare product that you think I must try?

Review: Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer

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I know that getting older is supposed to have its virtues. However, it also means having to deal with crows feet, and sagging skin. I am slowly trying to come to terms with this, but in the mean time, I still want to age gracefully. This brings me to my review of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer. I was still having trouble with concealer creasing in the fine lines in my under eye area. I found that most concealers looked great the first few hours, but getting it to stay that way all day was difficult. I saw this primer at Sephora one day and picked up because it seemed made for this problem.

Claims

Containing caffeine, peptides, and optical diffusers, this under eye primer diminishes puffy eyes and dark circles. It also enhances the longevity of concealers and prevents them from creasing. Furthermore, it also targets anti-aging concerns in the under eye area, like wrinkles and age spots.

Packaging

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I personally really loved the packaging. The squeeze tube kept the product sanitary and it was easy to control how you much you wanted to squeeze out. The slanted plastic tip is a bit flexible, which allowed you to use it directly under your eyes.

Application

I found that the slanted applicator worked well to dispense and dab the product onto the skin. However, I found it even quicker just to dispense the product onto my fingers and then dab it on the under eye area. I think it really just comes to preference. The texture is lightweight and blends easily into the skin. It only comes in one shade, which is a pearly light pink colour. When blended it, it was basically transparent, leaving behind a subtle glow.

Results

This is one of those products which I really wanted to work for me, but it didn’t except for providing a little extra moisture in the under eye area. However, I could see it working for someone else who might have issues with puffy under eyes and maybe still in their 20s. I really gave it a good try. I used it everyday for a month and even created a spreadsheet examining how it worked on top of foundation and without eye cream etc. I was that keen on making it work.

I think the main reason it didn’t work for me was because it just didn’t make my concealer last longer. I still found that the concealer would crease about the same amount whether I used this primer or not. I couldn’t really test out whether it helped with puffiness under the eyes as I don’t really have that issue. However, I can attest that it did do much for my dark circles (as there aren’t many products that actually do). What about brightening the under eye? I think it might be more apparent on a lighter skin tone. I have a more olive complexion and I don’t feel like it made much of a difference.

VERDICT: This under eye primer might be more useful for those with puffy eyes and who are looking for a bit more moisture in the under eye area. Sadly, I won’t repurchase it again.

Year End Favourites: Top 5 in Makeup

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I know this one is kind of late, but I love reading year-end favourites blogposts, so I thought I’d join in the fun. As I tend to have a one-in and one-out policy when it comes to purchasing beauty products, I feel I haven’t tried out enough to have a favourite in each category. So instead, I am just going to talk about my top 5 makeup products of the year.

KATE Super Sharp Liner

As my blog name implies, I have an obsession with finding the best eyeliner. So I am going to start off by talking about what may be one of my favourite liquid eyeliners ever. If you have read my blog for a while, you would know that I have been devoted to drugstore Japanese eyeliners for a long time. This one from KATE did not fail to impress as well. Like other Japanese liquid eyeliners I love, this eyeliner has a brush tip which makes application super smooth and precise. However, unlike other Japanese liquid liners, the pen itself is super lightweight and doesn’t have that shaking mechanism in it that keeps the liner from drying out. I half thought it would dry out within a few months, but it is still going strong after 5 months. Most importantly, it rivals my best liquid eyeliner, Flow Fushi Moteliner, for longevity. Either than a tiny bit of smudging in the outer corner (mostly because I have watery eyes), this liner stays on pretty much till you want to take it off. If you are interested in my other favourite liquid eyeliners, you can check out my post, The Best Liquid Eyeliners I Have Ever Tried.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+

This base product needs no introduction as it is well-loved by many. I know it is not an exciting new beauty launch, but seriously, this is the one base product I used the most last year. It is just so dependable. Infused with skincare ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, it keeps your skin so moisturized for a base product. In the last year, I have tried applying it with both a Beauty Blender and my fingers and I must say I still love applying it with my fingers. I do find that the Beauty Blender tends to thin out the coverage a little bit. I would consider this be a foundation with medium buildable coverage. It does an excellent job of smoothing over pores and fine lines while providing a bit of glow. It also has really good longevity even in hot weather. In my eyes, it can basically do no wrong, except for maybe the shade selection (it has 7 shades). Lastly, I would probably add It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye in my Top 5 as well, but I didn’t want to overwhelm this post with one brand. What can I say? It is an excellent concealer. It has great coverage, is super creamy, and lasts forever because you use so little each time.

Coffret D’or Smile Up Cheeks

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I have hit pan on this blush, which pretty much sums up how much I love it. I have done a full review of this blush in a blogpost here. I love that it comes in the cutest packaging, is pigmented, and looks multi-dimensional when applied on the cheeks. You can just pick up the darker colour in the middle or also swirl the lighter colour on the outside to create a more dimensional look. It also lasts all day on me and I am always surprised to see it on my face at the end of a work day. Now, I just have to go pick up another colour since I have just hit pan!

RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up

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If you love green beauty, natural, organic makeup, whatever you call it, you probably have heard of RMS Beauty. I love everything I have tried from the line, especially their “Un” Cover-Up base product. I am still super surprised with how much I love this product because the ingredients seem so simple. The main ingredient is coconut oil along with other seed oils, beeswax, and cocoa butter. I’m usually using foundations with ingredient lists of over 20 items. That is perhaps why I am so amazed at how lovely this foundation/concealer is. It just melts into the skin giving you a natural and glowy finish. Moreover, it also diminishes the appearance of your pores while still keeping your skin moisturized and luminous. I bought their makeup palette lately and can’t wait to try their other products. Oh, and they also have lipsticks now too.

SANA New Born W Brow EX

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I thought I had tried my share of brow products, but what do you know? I have found something new lately. It is a 3-in-one brow product that incorporates a pencil, powder, and spoolie. This SANA New Born W Brow EX is another Japanese drugstore gem because it takes the place of three products when you travel or are on-the-go. You can also use it to create different brow looks. You can use the pencil and powder separately or combined to create a more defined brow end and diffused brow front. It also lasts all day on your eyebrows and has good pigmentation. I have heard Excel also makes a similar product and can’t wait to do a comparison.

Santa’s Gifts

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I have been away over Christmas, so I know this post is a little late. However, I thought it might still be a good reference for gift ideas in the future. Plus, I thought you could learn a little about me through the gifts I received. If you have read my previous post, “The Christmas Tag,” you will know that I much prefer to receive gifts as I find it so stressful to buy for others. Plus, I just love the surprise factor of opening a gift.

Beauty Blender Keep.It.Clean Kit

I have been a long time lover of the Beauty Blender so I was excited to receive this kit. It includes: 1 cleansing mitt, 1 mini blendercleanser solid, and 1 sample of liquid blendercleanser. I have used the solid cleanser to wash my brushes and sponges for quite a few years now. At around $22 CAD, it is not the cheapest solid cleanser, but it is super effective at cleaning sponges and brushes. I actually prefer it over the liquid cleanser, which I feel takes more work. However, the most exciting part of this kit for me was the cleansing mitt. I have only seen this used on Youtube, and have never tried it myself. The palm of my hand will often get dry from using it as a surface to swirl my brushes to clean them. I’m hope the texture on the mitt will speed up the cleaning process as well. Do you use a cleansing mitt, and do you have favourites when it comes to cleansing mitts?

tileMate

The first thing my sister said to me after I opened this gift was: I hope you are not offended. To which I replied: I wanted to buy one for myself! I lose everything. If it is not permanently glued to my body, there will be a high chance that it will be lost. In fact, I have lost so many umbrellas in my lifetime I have lost count. So what is tileMate? Physically, it is a one-inch piece of plastic that you can adhere to anything to track its location using Bluetooth technology. Using your phone, you can make the tile ring to locate items like your remote control or even your car. It can also make your phone ring even on silent. The only con is that it needs be replaced after a year and I feel like I need more than one!

Records

I miss the world of mix-tapes. I love the thought of giving someone a piece of who you are through music. Years back, I remember this was a pretty common gift when couples started dating. Now, we still have playlists that we share with each other. However, there is something more precious when a memory is shared in a physical object. Every time I pick up that record and play it, I will remember the person that gave it to me and the meaning it had. Do you collect records and what are some of your favourites?

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break, and all the best in the new year!

Christmas Tag

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I was initially going to write another beauty review today, but after reading Stella’s Christmas Tag from her awesome blog called Simply Stella, I simply couldn’t resist doing it as well. Despite how stressful the holidays can get, with the shopping and holiday parties, I love the feeling of Christmas. I love walking by the beautiful window displays, checking out the Christmas lights, and feeling the sense of warmth Christmas gives to a cold and dark winter, especially where I live, where it is literally dark by 4 pm. Whether you enjoy Christmas or not, I hope you enjoy this tag.

What is your favourite Christmas film?

It would have to be Love Actually! The film brought together such a brilliant ensemble of actors and was funny, insightful, honest, and heartwarming all at the same time. There are so many scenes from this movie that continue to live vividly in my head till this day. From the confession of love using simple messages displayed on poster board to a young boy chasing his first love through an airport, there are too many memorable scenes to count.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I live in a part of the world where we often see snow in the winter, so I can’t remember exactly how many times this actually happened on Christmas day. However, I thought I would share some snow-related memories. My favourites include building a mermaid-shaped snow sculpture with my uncles and just sitting at home watching the snow fall gently to the ground. Of course, there are always the not-so-good memories too, like having to walk home for an hour due to all traffic comeing to a standstill due to the snow.

Where do you usually spend your holidays?

Either then trying to maximize on all the deals during the holidays, I like to just stay at home as well. It is nice to spend time just to relax and not think about work.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

For more traditional songs, I love “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).” The thought of sitting in front of open fire seems so cosy during the winter months despite that fact that I don’t even remember the last time I’ve seen a fire. I also will always love “Last Christmas” by George Michael.

Do you open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve?

I’ve tried to despite my family’s disapproval. Haha.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Let’s see. Dasher. Dancer. Prancer. Vixen. Comet. Cupid. Donner. Blitzen.

Yes, apparently, I can! Oh, and of course, Rudolph!

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to?

Our family is pretty standard when it comes to holiday traditions. My dad puts up Christmas lights and my mom brings out all the other decorations, including many Santa toys that sing and dance. My dad always has to get a “real” Christmas tree and we always open presents on Christmas morning.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

My dad’s has to be real, but now that I live in a condo that doesn’t allow real trees, I have a fake one.

Do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts?

I want to sound generous and say I love giving gifts, but I think finding the perfect gift for someone else is so stressful! I much prefer to receive them.

What is the best Christmas gift you have received?

Gosh, what does it mean to be the “best?” I can remember many gifts that I thought were thoughtful and meaningful to me. However, I think the Christmas gifts I received when I was younger during my family trips to Los Angeles were the most magical. My uncles showered us with presents under the Christmas tree. To us, they were truly like Santa Claus.

What would be your dream places to visit for the holidays?

I think the holidays should be spent with close family and friends. So my dream place would be anywhere I could spend time with them. Of course, Paris is always a good idea.

Are you a pro-present wrapper?

I would say “kind of” even though I’ve tried to be more environmentally-friendly the last few years. I don’t know if I am pro but I do use double-sided tape and like to fold everything neatly and precisely.

What made you realize the truth about Santa?

Honestly, I don’t ever remember truly believing in Santa Claus. Although, I have a terrible memory, so it is hard to say for sure.

Do you make new year resolutions?

I don’t ever really. I’m not sure why. I guess, I just tend to continually make new goals for myself throughout the year. You never really know when a goal will be achieved and when it is time to make a new one. Therefore, I tend not to put such a concrete time frame on resolutions.

What makes the holidays special to you?

I think it is just all the small details. The advent calendar I look forward to buying each year. Seeing the city aglow with Christmas lights. Feeling the warmth of the love shared between people despite the cold and dark winter. The sense of something magical in the air. I just can’t imagine if there was no Christmas. It would just be too depressing.

Wishing you a wonderful holidays!

Recent Purchases (a.k.a. What I am Into Lately)

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Instead of doing a straight-on haul, I thought I would sort my purchases into 3 categories of items I’ve been loving. I have been on a budget lately, so I have been particularly discerning as with what I buy. Usually, my criteria for buying items the last few months is whether I really need them, and to be honest, whether I could get a good blogpost out of it. I know “need” is a very subjective term, but I usually have a one in and one out policy with my beauty collection. Therefore, if I have just used out face wash, I will usually prioritize getting that first. Of course, it doesn’t always happen though, because I somehow have 5 eyeliners in my collection right now.

Briogeo

I know this is not a beauty category, but I have been in love with Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Line. I have already reviewed their Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment in a previous blogpost, and discussed how much it calmed my itchy scalp. One of my favourite aspects of this line is that most of the ingredients are naturally-derived. They also have a shampoo in this line, so I decided to give it a try. The dry shampoo is on my wish list next.

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Usually, I would be terrified of trying an exfoliating shampoo because they are usually too harsh for my scalp. However, since I loved their treatment so much, it gave me confidence to try this shampoo. To use, you scoop the somewhat grainy cream out of a tub and then massage it into the scalp. The charcoal helps to draw impurities and the vegetable-derived micro-exfoliators help to remove dead skin and built-up. Coconut oil also helps to moisturize the scalp.

First Impressions: It is quite messy to dig your fingers in a pot and it takes getting used to the texture because it really doesn’t foam up. However, the exfoliation is so gentle, I don’t feel any scratching at all. Somehow, after washing though, my scalp feels cleansed without feeling stripped and I feel like my hair has a little more volume than usual.

Facial Oil

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Now that we are moving into the winter months, I feel I need to really up my moisturizing game. I thought I would try out facial oils again, which I haven’t touched for a long time. Not because they broke me out or anything, but they usually smell quite strong. The last facial oil I used was from Ole Henriksen and it was lovely, but I just had a hard time tolerating the scent of the rosehip oil which was a main ingredient. Yet, I loved the thought of a facial oil because there is usually less preservatives and has more natural ingredients. So I decided to get the Fresh Seaberry Moisturzing Face Oil during the last Sephora sale because it had really good reviews and I preferred the scent a little bit more than the Ole Henriksen one. It is full of omega-rich fruit oils, like from seaberries, cranberry seeds, and camellia seeds. It is not only super moisturizing, but also has anti-aging benefits. When I tested it in Sephora, it seemed to absorb quickly into the skin, without leaving an oily feeling. Can’t wait to try it properly and give a review.

Clinique Eyeliners

 

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Clinique is a brand that is often overlooked in social media perhaps due to its non-flashy nature as a brand. I like that pricing tends to be on the lower side when it comes to luxury or department store type luxury beauty brands. I have been a long-time lover of their Quickliner For Eyes since my university years. It doesn’t require sharpening, has awesome glide and pigmentation, and stays put almost all day After trying tons of eyeliners since then, I still always have one in my makeup collection because it is just so reliable. At one time, I think I even had it in a variety of colours. Forward to today, I decided to finally branch out and try their Cream Shaper for Eyes. I am guessing this is their version of a gel pencil. It is definitely more smudgeable. These pencils have a creamy consistency and also have a hint of shimmer. However, they are supposed to still last on the eyelids. Can’t wait to test them out and hopefully not hate sharpening it because most gel eyeliners get stuck and built up inside pencil sharpeners.

What have you been into lately?

 

Current Japanese Eyebrow Products Review

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I’d like to say that I had a particular use for each of the brow products I review below, but honestly, I just like to switch up things daily for variety’s sake. I mean, maybe with certain more smokier eye looks, I prefer a darker and more pronounced brow. In that case, I would use the SANA New Born W Brow EX. Vice versa, when I want a more natural look, I would often use the Shu Uemura Hard Formula eyebrow pencil.  All I know is that I love to do my brows and filling them in each morning brings me great joy. It wasn’t always like this though. In fact, I never used to fill in my brows because I assumed that since I was blessed with pretty full brows, I didn’t have to. However, since I have started to shape and fill them, I have really noticed how made-up brows can polish and complete a makeup look.

SANA New Born W Brow EX

SANA is a Japanese cosmetics brand I had only known through their skincare. I didn’t know they made makeup till I randomly picked up their New Born W Brow EX eyebrow pencil at my local Japanese beauty store. This product is unique in that it is a 3-in-one eyebrow pencil. The barrel holds a brow powder, brush, and pencil.

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The brow pencil lead is an oval shape which is great for precisely shaping your brow. I feel the pencil is as they claimed, not too hard or too soft. Secondly, when you twist the pencil, you will find a brow powder in the middle section of the barrel. It comes with a pointed sponge that grabs the powder inside the pencil every time you twist it open. The powder is perfect for applying on the front on your brow to make it look less harsh. Lastly, the spoolie at the other end works great at smoothing the hairs down and blurring the edges of the brow so it looks more natural.

VERDICT: Honestly, I had no expectations for this product when I bought it. However, I am blown away at how good it is for a drugstore product. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I love so many drugstore beauty products from Japan. I feel the pencil, powder, and brush really combine well together to create a pigmented, well-defined, but natural brow look. Furthermore, it lasts most of the day with a only a little bit of fading.

KISS New York Eyebrow Stamp 

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Yes, I tried the infamous eyebrow stamp and I don’t think it is totally that gimmicky once you get the hang of it. This was actually a gift from my sister-in-law who lives in Taiwan. Apparently, she told me it was super popular there. It says New York on the outside of the packaging, but the product has Japanese words on the back. I am guessing this is the Japanese version of the original one from the United States. There are two versions of this brow stamp. One stamp that gives a straighter brow and the other, a more arched brow. I have the arched one in the Dark Brown shade.

So how does it work? Well, there are two brow-shaped stamps, one for each brow, and then when you open up the bottom, there is brow powder. After you stamp the brow powder, you are supposed to somehow stamp it onto your brow accurately and precisely. Sounds totally impossible and it is definitely a bit challenging in the beginning. To be honest, I still miss stamping parts of my brow even today because not everyone’s brow will fit the shape of the stamp. However, after some practice slowing stamping the front of the brow first, and rolling it back from the end, I do end up getting the powder on the whole brow. If the stamp misses your brow, you can sweep the powder away with your fingers or a cotton swab. Then, I usually brush the front section with a spoolie to make it look a bit more natural.

VERDICT: Can you really just stamp and go? Well, you can, but it is not as fast as you might expect. I mean, it can be a bit faster than a brow pencil with some practice. The brow look it gives is pigmented and defined. I wouldn’t say it has the precision of a brow pencil though. The longevity is so-so. It will look pretty good for about 4-6 hours. By the end of an 8 hour work day though, the front and the ends of the brow have mostly disappeared. My other concern is that it is difficult to clean and since the foam stamp is so thin, it might not hold up for long term use.

Shu Uemura Hard Formula

I have been a longtime user of the classic Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil and probably will always have one in my collection. Other than having to sharpen it, it is probably still my favourite eyebrow pencil. First of all, it just lasts forever compared to other pencils. I have re-sharpened and used my pencil almost daily and it is still going strong after a year. Secondly, you can never go overboard with this pencil because it only magically releases pigmentation when it hits the oils in your eyebrow hairs. Thirdly, it claims to be smudge-proof and long-lasting and I feel it really is. Other than the sharpening hassle, the only reason you might not like this pencil is that the pigmentation is not strong enough for you. If you want “Instagram brows,” this might not be the pencil for you.

VERDICT: What can I say. It is still my favourite after all these years. I will always have one in my back up somewhere in my collection.

What are your favourite brow products? I always searching for new ones to try.

Current Favourites

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It is time again for another edition of current favourites. Like previous favourites blogposts, I am going to categorize my favourites according to the five senses inspired by Youtuber Ingrid Nilsen’s series called Sense of Self.

Sight

For the first time, my “sight” favourite is not a Youtube channel because I have actually been watching television! In the last year, I have been constantly hearing about this show called “This is Us” so I decided to give the series a try. Plus, it stars Mandy Moore, which I loved from from the movie, “A Walk to Remember,” so I thought why not? How to explain “This is Us?” The uniqueness of this show stems from the fact that they show the characters flipping back and forth between their present lives and different moments in their past. It sounds hard to follow, but it really isn’t. When you think about it, our past is often intertwined with our present and makes us the person we are today. I am only part way through Season One, but I love this show so much because as we watch them, we can connect, reflect, laugh, and cry alongside as we all figure out how to live “life.”

Smell

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When it comes to beauty product scents, unscented is my usual pick. However, once in a while, there are a few scents that I do enjoy. One of them is the scent of the Capri Blue candle I always pick up to smell whenever I go into the store, Anthropologie. The candle is housed in this beautiful opal-like finish jar with a gold lid and it smells like tropical fruits. Every time I smell it, I feel transported to some Mediterranean universe. You have go smell it the next time you go to Anthropologie! Since I didn’t think I could handle a candle burning and scenting my entire house, I decided to buy the soap version instead and I have been loving it!

Taste

I love desserts from all different cultures and one of my favourites definitely come from my Chinese culture. For the most part, Chinese desserts are less sweet then their Western counterparts. One of my favourites over the years is the Taro Coconut Milk Tapioca Dessert (西米露). It can be served hot or cold. How to explain how it tastes? It has chunks of cooked taro, with a coconut milk type soup base, combined with the texture of chewy tapioca. To me, it is the perfect dessert, so I decided to try my hand at making it. Mine turned out okay, but I still enjoyed eating it almost everyday this week. Do you have any favourite Chinese desserts?

Touch

I’m one of those annoying people that enjoy being at the perfect temperature all the time. That is why as we are heading into the winter months, I need to be warm at all the times. I have been a long time lover of Uniquo’s HEATTECH Line. They are a line of products using their patented HEATTECH fabric which keeps you super warm. Their products are usually quite thin, so you can wear them under your clothes, almost like long underwear. I notice they truly make a difference because I forgot to wear them one day at work, and I was freezing. I know this is not a new thing, but I just started wearing their Ultra HEATTECH line that keeps you even warmer! As you can guess, I was super excited. My favourite thing about this new line is that the inside is coated with what they called their “soft-brush” interior, which make them feel even cosier, if that is possible.

Hearing

I am going old school in this category. I grew up listening to mostly boy bands and Cantopop, so my knowledge in other genres of music have been quite limited till the last ten years. So when my husband bought a record player, I became interested about learning the history of music in the Western world. As I started flipping through cartons of records, I started to recognize and learn about artists that I have only heard randomly playing on the radio. As I learned more, I decided to collect the albums on Rolling Stones Best Albums of all Time list. So far, I have only found Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and the Beatles “Abbey Road,” but it has been so much fun. I have an Anthropology major and it has been so interesting unearthing these records from years pass and imagining who and when they were played for last. Do you collect vinyl?