Pretty Healthy, But is it Yummy: Black Bean Soup

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This is my second post about my foray into cooking.  My first post was an Avocado Caprese Salad, which seemed pretty doable.  So I thought my next would be to make a soup.  I figured it wouldn’t be so intimidating since it is a bunch of ingredients combined into a liquid!  Whether you are into Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop philosophy, her new book has been really handy for me.  The book is called “It’s All Easy,” and I can confirm that it truly is. I mean, everything I have made hasn’t been a masterpiece or anything, but they all tasted pretty good.  Plus, most of her recipes use under 10 ingredients including seasonings, which is ideal for a beginner home cook.

This time I decided to make her Black Bean Soup (the recipe is posted online from the Daily Mail).  Introductions in a cookbook can really draw a reader into attempting a recipe. Gwenyth Paltrow said that her kids loved this soup and I instantly wanted to try it.  I am a person who likes simple flavours, so I thought I would like it.

Ingredients-wise, you can pretty much get all of them at the grocery store.  I didn’t have chipotle chili powder, so I just used plain chili powder.  One important thing to note is that if you are going to use black beans you cooked from dry beans, you have to adjust the proportions.  I use the same amount as listed in the recipe and it wasn’t enough beans, so not I only did I not make enough, but it was so salty!  A 400 g or 15 oz can of beans is equal to about a little more than 1 and a 1/2 cup of cooked beans.

I made the recipe twice and learned from my mistakes, so I thought I would talk about the process comparing the two attempts.

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Sautéing the ingredients

Step 1

Sauté the onions and then add garlic, coriander, and other spices.

First Attempt: I sautéd the onions on a pretty high heat, and turned the heat down too late.  Everything got sautéd too quickly, and there was a lot of black and brown gunk sticking to the edge of the pot.  It was also super spicy because I added the a half teaspoon of chile powder.

Second Attempt: I kept it on higher heat for a shorter time and left it on lower heat the rest of time.  The result was that there wasn’t any of that black gunk on the sides of the pot.  The ingredients were soft and melded together better.  I only put in 1/4 teaspoon of chile powder and it wasn’t spicy at all so I added more.  Later on, I realized I had not accounted for adding more beans the second because I got the measurements wrong initially.

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Adding the black beans and chicken stock

Step 2

Add the black beans and stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

First and Second Attempt:  This step went pretty well both times.  Bringing to boil is pretty obvious, but simmering is hard to judge.  If I noticed there were no more bubbles because I turned it too low, then I would turn up the heat a little bit.

Step 3

Blend to smooth and add toppings.

First attempt:  I don’t have an immersion blender so I just poured the mixture into a blender.  The soup kind of got everywhere when I poured it into the blender so I see the advantage of having an immersion blender.  I didn’t hold the lid tight enough and the soup seeped out a bit.  Apparently, hot soup expands quite a bit when blended.

Second attempt:  I used a ladle to get some of the soup out and then poured the rest in. No spilling this time.  I held the lid tight this time and no problems with soup getting everywhere.

VERDICT:

Beginner Friendly – 7/10

There wasn’t too many confusing steps except to keep the heat low during the sautéing process.  The other thing that could go wrong is that you might make it too spicy initially, so definitely put in less in and add more as needed.  Lastly, this is great for a quick meal.  It took less than half an hour.

Taste – 8/10

The is a very flavourful and rich soup.  It is definitely a good soup to have during a cold night.  The toppings are not totally necessary, but give the soup a more complex taste and texture.

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Eye Makeup Remover Exes + New Friends

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I use a lot of smudgeproof and waterproof makeup on my eyes, so I usually need hardcore eye makeup removers to remove it.  Since I don’t want to torture my eyes with intense rubbing, I tend to gravitate toward those that make the removal as quick and painless as possible.  Till this day, I haven’t found one that I completely adore.   Here are some of my eye makeup remover exes that I have tried and moved on from.

Ex Eye Makeup Removers

Lancôme Bi-Facil Non-Oily Instant Eye Makeup Remover  (Reason for Break-Up: a bit pricey and oily on the eyelids afterwards – maybe not anymore if they changed formula)

This is a bit of a cult classic, and I have gone through quite a few bottles of this.  For me, it was the first of its kind, where you had to shake it up to combine the oil and liquid.  It really is quite “instant” in that after one wipe, most everything comes off, except super stubborn Japanese mascaras.  However, I was surprised that even the super hard to remove Majolica Majorica mascara came off if you soaked the eye in a cotton pad for a minute.  I think the only con is that it is pretty pricey ($39 USD) and you do go through it pretty quickly.  I noticed now that they call it “non-oily”, so maybe they have changed the formula a bit, but I remember it did leave my eyelids a bit oily afterwards.  Anyone have an update on this?  Overall, this is a solid eye makeup remover I always go back to once in a while.

Clarins Instant Eye Make-Up Remover (Reason for Break-Up: the scent is too strong for me)

Other than the Lancôme remover, I have also repurchased this one before.  It is very similar to the Lancôme one in that it is a dual phase remover, and similarly, it removes most makeup off pretty easily.  For some reason, I think the Lancôme one is still a bit more powerful in removing stubborn Japanese mascaras.  It states on their website, that after using, there isn’t any residue left behind, and there really isn’t any compared to the Lancôme one.  The only deal-breaker with me is the scent.  It is pretty strong, and lingers afterwards.  Although, I think those that are not sensitive to scents might love this one.

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Nursery Yuzu Make Up & UV Cleansing Gel (Reason for Break-Up: takes a bit elbow grease)

This is my current eye makeup remover and I have been using it for a year now.  This is a gel-type makeup remover from Japan created for professional salons.  I picked it up because it was #1 on one of their beauty review charts.  It smells really fruity like Yuzu, which I prefer over floral scents.  You can use it all over the face, but  I have stuck to my Bioderma for that and only use it on the eyes.  It removes most makeup, but takes a little bit more work then the dual-phase ones.  It does leave your eyes feeling fresh and moisturized.  I probably won’t repurchase because it just takes a little more time and work for me to remove the makeup than other removers.

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New Friends

Here are a couple of Asian eye makeup removers I picked up recently.  They are both dual-phase and I thought I would just give them a try.  Plus, the price point was quite good. Both of them are under $10 USD.

Mizon Natural Grain Real Oat Essential Lip & Eye Remover

Mizon is mostly known for their snail products, but with ingredients like oatmeal, papaya, and olive oil, it seemed pretty moisturizing.  First impressions so far is that it has a pretty subtle scent, removes makeup quick easily, and isn’t too oily.  So good so far.  Sometimes, it it hard to find ingredients list for Korean products, but just noticed that it does contain parabens.

Innisfree Apple Juicy Lip & Eye Remover

Innisfree is a Korean brand that tries to promote natural ingredients in their products. This eye makeup remover contains 88% natural ingredients and contains Kaolin powder that is supposed absorb any oiliest from your eyelids (that sounds great!).  The apples in this product are supposed to help moisturize and provide radiance on your eyelids (not sure I want radiance on my already oily eyelids).  I have not opened this one yet, but I will update later on the blog about how it preformed.

What is your favourite eye makeup remover?  Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading!  🙂

Topping Up Sunscreen on the Go: Ilia Radiant Translucent Powder Review

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Summer is here!  It is lovely to feel the warmth of sun and to wear shorts everyday.  However, for those that are into anti-aging skincare, the sun is your worse enemy.  Yes, I am one of those that wear a hat and loads of sunscreen when I go outside.  Well, except for my legs which remain pretty pale despite walking around a lot lately playing Pokemon Go.

I am pretty good at putting on sunscreen in the summertime, but reapplying is another thing. Apparently, you are supposed to reapply every 2 hours.  That is so hard to do!!!  I try to apply every 4 hours maybe, to be honest.  Here are some of my trusty sunscreen top up products:

Powder Sunscreen

The face is the hardest part of your body to top up your sunscreen especially if you have to apply over foundation.  I haven’t gotten into topping up with sunscreen cushions yet, but they seen like another good alternative.  Personally, I love using powder sunscreens that come in a tube with a brush.  You can quickly open them up and dust all over your face.  I honestly don’t know how much protection you can get from a powder, but I would like to think it does something.

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Lately, I have enjoyed using the Ilia Radiant Translucent Powder in Moondance.  This is one of those powder sunscreens that don’t provide any extra coverage.  However, it is great for sunscreen top up, and also getting rid of the shine while giving you a bit of glow.

Obviously, I love it for the packaging as well because it is totally up my street.  It is white, minimal, and sleek.  The other great thing about the packaging is that brush is attached magnetically so you remove it to wash it.  What an ingenious idea!  One of the critiques of the packaging though is that it is hard to get the product out.  I guess it works like a shaker and it comes out as you use it.  I think it has its pros and cons, but sometimes it is nice that not tons of product is coming out and you can slowly add on more if you need it.

If you are looking for a powder sunscreen that comes out easily (you literally see powder flying around) and has higher SPF, I would recommend Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral SPF 45.

Stick Concealer

Over the rest of body, I usually use a typical cream sunscreen.  I am still loving the Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream SPF 30, mostly because it smells like creamsicles.  I ended up getting the accompanying stick concealer (SPF 35) a few weeks ago.  When I reapply with the stick sunscreen, I usually do the put it over the skin and then rub it in with any other body part except the palms of my hands (I hate sunscreen on my hands).  I find a stick concealer is also great at reapplying sunscreen on those areas you usually forgot like your toes and the back of your hands.

Badger is known for their natural ingredients.  This sunscreen does a good job of protecting me from the sun.  It contains 22.5% of zinc oxide as its main sunscreen agent.  However, I do notice that sunscreens with higher concentrations of this ingredients tend to be quite thick and leave a white cast.  In this regards, I find the stick is definitely easier to blend in and less tacky on the skin.

Lip Sunscreen

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I find my lips get really dry during the summer.  I am thinking it must be from the increased exposure to the sun.  It has been difficult for me to find natural and organic lip balms with a high SPF.  I have been using Juice Beauty’s SPF 8 Lip Moisturizer.  It smells like berries and applies on smoothly without any shine.  However, it has such low SPF and wears off easily from eating, so it hard to remember to continually reapply it.  I would love it if you had any great recommendations for an SPF lip balm.

Thanks for reading!  🙂

Thank You for the Generous Nominations!

I just wanted to do this post to say thank you to those who have nominated me for awards.  I started this blog during a very difficult time in my life.  All the likes, comments, follows, and views have uplifted me and provided a life line for me the last few months.  Moreover, the act of writing this blog itself has allowed be to join a community that I have been following on the sidelines for a long time.  Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog!

Today, I will do the Sunshine Blogger Award and the Unique Blogger Award (I will do the Liebster ones later for those who nominated me.  Thank you!).

Sunshine Blogger Award

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The lovely Rezzo from her blog, hariharian nominated me for this award.  I just wanted to thank you for always supporting my blog and leaving me such great comments that always make me smile.  Her blog is a such good read.  She has such a good mix of lifestyle posts along with opinion pieces.  Go check it out!

So the rules of this award are to answer the nominator’s questions and write different questions and then nominate other bloggers.

Here are her questions:

Why did you start blogging?

I briefly answered this question in the introduction.  I am suffering from an anxiety relapse, and my partner encouraged me to find a new hobby.  I figured that there is nothing I enjoy more than talking about beauty, so that is how I started.  I am so glad I started because I have really enjoyed it.

Have you travelled anywhere that is noteworthy?

It has to be Paris because I think, like many, “Paris always a good thing.”  Everywhere you look around is an Instagram photo to be had.  Plus, if you love beauty, then you’ll love Paris.  So many makeup originate from there.  You can also gain so much inspiration from all the effortlessly chic Parisiens that walk the streets everywhere.

Do you write on a schedule or whenever the mood strikes?

Kind of both.  I usually try to write two blogposts a week, but I don’t decide which day I will put them up.  I tend to just keep track of it mostly in my head.

Do you have any pets?

I don’t have any of my own.  Not great at taking care of myself lately.  🙂

Do you use the WordPress app?

Yes! Yes!  I think I am on it too much.  There is nothing that beats hearing that “ding” when someone interacts with your blog.

Who do you admire and why?

Many people, but I admire anyone who wants to fight for injustice and make a positive impact on the world.

What’s your opinion about using social media for your site?

I don’t really have a good opinion, because I really no idea what I am doing.  🙂  So far, I have just started using Instagram more consistently.  I think social media is useful to help others find your blog, but also is pretty time consuming trying to keep it up along with your blog.

How far away is your mall and cinema?

Not too far away, but I really like online shopping as well.

Can you name something that has really helped you in blogging?

I think whenever I get into a rut, I tend to look at our blogs for inspiration.  Obviously, it is important to “do your own thing,” but I find sometimes reading other blogs, gives me the “spark” I need for my own blogposts sometimes.

What do you do to relax?

Watch entirely too much Youtube!

Thanks you for nominating me again Rezzo.  I will put all my nominees at the end of the blogpost for the two awards.

My questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your favourite meal?
  2. When do you like to write, edit, and upload your blogposts?
  3. Eyeliner or Mascara?
  4. What is your favourite type of blogpost to do?
  5. What is your favourite time of day (e.g. sunrise, dusk)?
  6. Do you watch beauty gurus on Youtube and what are your favourites?
  7. What is one thing that always make you smile?
  8. What is your favourite aspect of blogging?
  9. If you could spend your next paycheck on skincare or makeup, which would it be?
  10. Which is your favourite feature to apply makeup on (e.g., brows, eyes)?

 

Unique Blogger Award

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I was nominated by the lovely Lae from her blog, Spread the Jelly.  I also wanted to thank you for your lovely comments on my blog.  Her blogposts cover a variety of topics and are fun to read and really show her personality.  You should go check her out! 🙂

Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Include one meme and one quote you really like.
  3. Nominate 8-13 bloggers to receive this award.
  4. Ask your nominees 3 UNIQUE questions.
  5. Add a link to the awards creator.

Quote

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
–Albert Camus

This is a pretty popular quote, but it has helped me tremendously during difficult times in my life. Whenever you think there is no hope, there always is and no one stays “in the midst of winter” forever.  In the grand scheme of things, the “winter” might just be a dip in your life waiting for the next high to come.

Meme

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I don’t really have any favourite memes, but if I had to pick one, it has to be about Pokemon Go. I’m pretty addicted!  You know when you have a bit of a problem when you say, “I think I am going to take a walk after dinner” and you never do that usually.

Questions

What is your favourite riddle?

To be honest, I don’t know any riddles.  I googled it, and had picked this one.  Not sure if it is any good.  Are riddles supposed to be funny or just intriguing?

What is at the end of a rainbow? (from doriddles)

(Answer is at the end of the blog)

What would you do if you were mayor for a day?

Gosh, same as Lae, I would be scared for the city if I was the mayor of the city.  I have like the worst memory, I wouldn’t even know what I signed, who I talked to, what laws have passed etc.  It would be a disaster!

What was the happiest moment in your life so far?

I know a lot of people say it is their wedding day.  Haha.  I don’t know.  It is so hard to pick.  I feel like there are many moments in my life that always make me happy.  Unopened makeup.  Eating dessert.  Laughing with loved ones.  Helping someone.

My 3 Unique Questions:

  1. If there was a zombie apocalypse, what is the first thing you would do?
  2. If you could create your own beauty product, what would you make (or if you could combine several of your favourite beauty products into one product)?
  3. Do you have a food combination (e.g., chips with M & M’s) that you created and love?

Nominations

Style Under Pressure

Skintuition

A River Lily

Tales of Belle

Ninety Nines’

kawaiipeachgirl

laurakatebeauty

Jades Lemonade

Shopaholic Blogs

Harevaden

Don’t feel pressure to do this tag, just if you want to.

Thanks for reading!  🙂

Answer to riddle: The Letter “W”

Healthy, But is it Yummy?: Avocado Strawberry Caprese

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Hope everyone doesn’t mind a change of pace on my blog, I have started learning how to cook the last year and discovered I have absolutely no talent is this area.  I truly admire those people that can grab ingredients and use flavours to create food according to their own taste buds.  It just seems like an entirely foreign concept to me.  I tend to follow a recipe and still have no idea what I am doing.

So I thought I’d blog about some of the recipes I have tried in hopes of helping some other beginner cooks from making the same mistakes I did.  So when it comes to healthy recipes, I always hear about this popular blog called Oh She Glows.  She shares her healthy and vegan recipes on her blog.  So I clicked on the Popular tab on her blog and decided to make this Avocado Strawberry Caprese.  It didn’t look too difficult, seemed healthy, but most importantly, is it yummy?

Step 1

The first step is to reduce the balsamic vinegar by simmering it for 6 to 8 minutes.

In My Head: “This should be straightforward.  Hmm, what is the difference between simmering at medium-high heat and simmering at low heat?  More bubbles or less bubbles?”

Results:  I was too worried that I would boil it so when little bubbles started forming at the edges, I quickly turned it to low.  As bubbles started disappearing, I adjusted appropriately.  I don’t think you can mess this step up unless you boil it till there is nothing left.  The balsamic vinaigrette tasted pretty good.

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Step 2

Basically chop everything and incorporate it together.

In My Head:  “No problem.  I can do this.  I even know how to chiffonade basil because I have seen someone do it on the Food Network.  What is hulling a strawberry though?

Results:  So I have only Googled this now, but the hull is actually the leaves and the core beneath the leaves of the strawberry.  I pretty much just cut on the top, but next time I will try cutting it out with a paring knife or using a straw.  Chopping strawberries and avocado was pretty straightforward.  I wanted to try that trick where you get the avocado skin off using the edge of a cup, but was too scared, so I just ripped the skin off.  I later remembered I could have used a spoon. Oops.

Step 3

Combine everything with olive oil.

Results:  There is no way this could go wrong.

Step 4

Scatter nuts and drizzle balsamic reduction.

In My Head:  “Almost done.  Almost done.”

Results:  The scattering of nuts went fine, I guess.  However, I found out there is a big difference with “drizzling” and “combining.”  I drizzled then combined the ingredients and it gave the whole thing a brownish tint.  I checked her photo and it wasn’t like that, so I had to add some fresh strawberries on top so it would look a little more appetizing (I know, I was kind of cheating).

Step 5

Serve immediately.

Results:  This is totally true.  I didn’t eat all of it the day I made it and the avocado turned brown after a couple days and it seemed kind of mushy and unappetizing the next day.

VERDICT:

Beginner Friendly – 7/10

I think this a great beginner cook recipe.  I mean, there were some steps that didn’t go as well as I planned and some terminology that might be foreign to new cooks, but it still tasted pretty good even if you mess a few things up.

Taste – 8/10

Yes, this was very yummy.  I would totally recommend this recipe.

Raiding My Sister’s Korean Skincare Collection

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I love skincare and makeup. However, if I had to really pick, I am totally a makeup kind of girl.  However, my sister is completely the opposite of me.  She is really passionate about skincare judged by the number of pink Memeboxes she once had piled in her room.  So I thought it would be fun to see what her skincare favourites are lately.  Specifically, skincare that she would repurchase since she is always trying out new items.   Like many in the beauty world, she is really into Korean skincare lately.

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Innisfree Orchid Enriched Cream

Just a little background on Innisfree first.  It is a Korean natural brand that uses ingredients from Jeju Island.  They also use eco-friendly packaging.  However, if you are a devoted ingredient checker on EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, I wouldn’t say their ingredients are all in the “low hazard” category.  The Jeju orchids in the product are high in antioxidants.  On the Innisfree website, it says that this cream is great for tightening skin, reducing wrinkles, and brightening your skin tone.

Sister’s Verdict:  She likes that this brand because it is more natural.  This cream smells lovely and is not greasy when applied to the skin.  In the dry  months in the winter, she feels that this cream keeps her skin moisturized all day.  However, she did say if you layered everything in the orchid line, it does get a bit greasy.  So not as recommended for the summertime.  With regards to the anti-aging claims of this product, she can’t tell for sure, because she uses other anti-aging products along with it.

Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Cream

As you can see, my sister has been on a total Innisfree kick lately.  It probably doesn’t need mention that the Green Tea line is already super popular already.  My sister totally agrees with the hype. This cream’s main claim in moisturization.  It harnesses the benefits of green to deeply hydrate and create a barrier on your skin so that it retains the moisture in your skin longer.

Sister’s Verdict:  She says this is another great product from Innisfree for moisturization.  She prefers to use this one during the summer months because it is not as heavy.  Overall, she feels Innisfree products are very economical for the quality it offers in the products.

Now, onto some of the masks that my sister loves.  I must make a confession.  I really dislike sheet masks.  To me, it is just too much of a shock to my body to put a cold mask onto my face. Whenever I do it, I have to literally to take a big breath.  My sister, on the other hand, enjoys doing a few a week to my horror.  She has tried many sheet masks, but the ones below are some of her favourites.

L’Herboflore Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Energy Biocellulose Mask

As you can see my sister is really into moisture locking products as she has more of a combo/dry skin type.  These mask are from a Taiwanese brand and they are great for moisturizing your skin since they contain hyaluronic acid.  Unlike cloth masks, these are made with this biocellulose material and might feel really different because they are not dripping with serum.

Sister’s Verdict: She says she actually prefers these biocellulose mask because they are a bit more moisturizing than the cloth ones.

She also recommends the klairs Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask and too cool for school Egg Cream Mask for hydration and radiance.  If you wanted to save money, the klairs mask is are quite a bit cheaper.  They also use difference ingredients for hydration as the klair’s website states that they use half a bottle of serum in their mask, while too cool for school uses egg white and egg yolk. However, the amount of serum and fit are good for both masks.

Weekend Trip Makeup Bag

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I am a lightweight girl when it comes to makeup items that I carry in my purse.  At max, I will carry a lip balm, and maybe a lipstick.  If I am out all day, I might add a eyeliner and concealer to touch up. However, if I am going away for a few days, I will bring a few more makeup items.  These are the items I will pack in my weekend trip makeup bag.  Just a note that some of the products are similar to the ones I had in my 5 Minute Face blogpost.  I guess my favourites are also products that are the quickest to apply, especially if I am mostly likely going to spend less time on my makeup while away from home.

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the Balm Put a Lid Eyelid Primer

I think other people would be more upset about forgetting their concealer when going away. However, for me, forgetting my eyeshadow primer is just as bad.  Mostly because I can’t really do my eyeshadow without it.  Without primer, almost every eyeshadow creases on me or starts to disappear on me within a few hours.  I have been a loyal of fan of Nars Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base for a while, but this one from the Balm has been my go-to for a while.  It comes in a tube and keeps my eyeshadow on all day.

IMG_1649THREE Correcting Concealer in 01

Other than eyeshadow primer, concealer is a must, of course.  Been trying out this concealer palette from THREE, a Japanese high-end natural and organic brand.  It comes with two shades, a setting powder, and a highlighting shade.  I been really enjoying this concealer.  It is a bit thick and tacky, but it melts into the skin when applied with fingers. The coverage is good and it is nice to have a powder to set the concealer and a tiny brush already included in the palette.

naturaglace Make-Up Cream

For the summer months, I really enjoy either a lightweight base or a CC Cream.  This product is considered also like a makeup primer, but it is also similar to a CC Cream with the SPF and super moisturizing ingredients.  It is great for moisturizing your skin and gently blurring pores and fine lines.  It is lacking a little in coverage so I usually will dust a small layer of mineral powder on top.

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder

This is my favourite base in the summer.  When you get a bit sweaty in the summer, it blends with the oils in your skin to creates a luminous and even base.  Plus, it doesn’t feel heavy on your skin like liquid foundation.  In the summer, I usually use a fluffy powder brush to apply it on the skin, so it is even lighter.

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Paul & Joe Creamy Cheek Color L 001 (this is limited edition, but they also have a pan version)

In the desire to not bring too many brushes, I decided to bring a cream blusher.  This blush is part of one those infamous cat limited edition sets from Paul & Joe.  It comes in squeeze tube which is great.  I just dab some onto my cheeks and I am ready to go.  You only need a little bit and it dries down to nice powder finish.  It also lasts all day, which is a plus.  Great if you enjoy powder blush without have to fuss around with bringing a brush.

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Clio Sharp, So Simple Waterproof Pencil Liner in 01 Black

In line with being as minimal as I can when I go away, I like to bring a twist-up pencil liner (no sharpener needed).  I tend not to bring liquid eyeliners because for me, there is a greater chance of making a mistake when I appy it and it always takes a bit longer for me (I applaud those who are fast at applying liquid liner).  Plus, the tip of this liner is so tiny (2 mm), it creates quite a nice, sharp wing.  If you have read my blog for a while, there are very few liners that stay on me all day, but this one does a pretty decent job, just a little smudging on the wings after a few hours.

Since this post is getting a little long, I will briefly talk about a few other products I brought.  This included a long time favourite of mine, which is the Shu Uemura Brow Pencil, Kevyn Aucoin Cream Duo #4 (a great cream contour and highlighter, which you don’t need brushes for), and last but not least, my trusty Visee Glam Glow Eyes palette (great pigmentation, small and compact, and Japanese shadows work great with sponge applicators provided).

Thanks for reading!

Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover: Does Organic Nail Polish Remover Actually Work?

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I have used acetone-based nail polish remover all my life.  To me, Karma Natural’s Nail Polish Remover made from soy bean oil just seemed like a foreign entity to me.  I thought, there was no way this is going to work.  Boy, was I wrong!

Let’s start from the beginning.  When I went to purchase my RMS Beauty Nail Polish, the sales person gave me this nail polish remover to remove the nail polish I had tested in the store.  I was shocked that it not only took off the nail polish, but left my nails even a little bit moisturized.

Karma Organics is an American brand that creates organic and environmentally-concious products, including nail polish and skincare.  This nail polish remover comes in three scents: unscented, tea tree oil, and lavender.  It contains only 3 ingredients: propylene carbonate, soybean oil methyl exter, and tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E).  As stated on their website, this product is non-toxic, free of petroleum ingredients, derived from farm crops, and packaged in 100% recycled glass bottles.

Sounds super good for you, but is it actually any good?  I am happy to answer, “Yes, it is!”  Dab it onto a cotton ball and let it soak for a couple seconds on each nail and the nail polish comes right off.  What I love most is that after the removal, your nails don’t look completely dry and lifeless.  Your fingernails might feel a little oily which is a feeling you might have to get used to.  I usually just wash my hands afterwards and my nails feel great.  One small con is that even though I bought the odourless one, the smell is still pungent.  I guess, you can’t expect a solvent to smell like fresh air.

VERDICT:  I love how my nails feel after using this polish remover, which is not something I usually can say.  I think I am hooked.  I can’t go back to use acetone-based nail polish removers.

Will it Make the Podium?: Wander Slide Liner Gel Eyeliner Review

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As the name of my blog suggests, I am always looking for that next eyeliner that will not smudge on me.  It ha been kind of a mission for me to find the best one for those with hooded, oily, and watery eyes.  You can check out my eyeliner testing history here, and the post also talks about how I came upon this eyeliner, Wander’s Slide Liner Gel Eyeliner in Smokey Black.  Here is a list of my current top 3 pencil eyeliners:

GoldClinique Quickliner for Eyes

SilverEtude House Play 101 Pencil

BronzeStila Smudgestick Waterproof Eye Liner

There are several things that I usually look for in a pencil eyeliner.  I chose to break down this review according these factors.  Just a little background first if you are unfamiliar with the Wander makeup line.  It was started by started by the supermodel Linda Ellingson and is brand that creates travel-inspired luxury beauty products.

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Packaging

Usually, I tend to favour pencil eyeliners that twist-up even though they are less precise (unless they come with that sharpener at the end of the pencil).   Therefore, I am not particularly fond of the fact that you have the sharpen this pencil even though it is nice to have a really sharp and precise point sometimes.  The maroon and gold packaging is beautiful and chic and it is nice to have a strip at the bottom which reflects the colour of the pencil.

Application

IMG_2066.JPGSince it is a gel eyeliner, it glides easily over the  eyelid.  Like other gel eyeliners I have tried, the texture of the liner is quite soft and easy to apply.  However, because of the softness of the pencil, it is a little bit harder to create a sharp wing.

Longevity

I think this is the category where this eyeliner may fall a little short.  It will stay on for most of the day.  However, it will start to smudge underneath my eyes in the outer corners where I wing out slightly after a few hours.  I need to touch up a little usually midday.  I mean, this happens to me with most eyeliners though.  Also, with removal, you will need something a little more hardcore than a micellar water.

VERDICT:  I don’t think it is going to make it in my top 3.  I think smudge-wise it is about equal to the Stila liner, but the Stila pencil just edges out the Wander liner because you don’t need sharpen it.

I Am Just Not into These Beauty Products

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These are just a few products that are definitely not in my reject pile because I pick them up to use once in a while.  However, I just don’t use them on an everyday basis and haven’t gotten rid of them because their price tag.  These products all have traits that I enjoy about them, but I just have products that I enjoy more.

Of course, just because they don’t work for me, doesn’t mean that they won’t for you.  For me, the these two products did not work mostly because of my oily and watery eyes.  If you don’t have this problem, they might work out great for you.

I am sure for many beauty lovers there are some products that you want to love and it is totally heartbreaking when they don’t work out.  I kind of like to think of it like Aiden from Sex in the City (don’t know if any of the younger bloggers about this show).  He was the perfect guy, but just not for Carrie.  This is how I feel about the By Terry Ombre Blackstars.  There is so much “right” going for this product, but it is just not what I’m into.

By Terry Ombre Blackstar “Color Fix” Cream Eye Shadow in 13 Brown Perfection

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I had so much hope that this product would be great because quite of a few of the British beauty Youtubers talk about how great it is.  Let’s start with the things that are to love about this product. The packaging is beautiful and sturdy and the twist-up pen is convenient.  It comes in this beautiful gold tubular packaging and has a lovely click when you close it.  The shade of the product is also reflected in the stripe on the bottom of the pen.

The two main selling points for this product is that it creates a radiant shine on your lids and is also waterproof.  On these selling points, I concur with and I think the shades are just shimmeringly beautiful.  This is a good product, but, the one big but for me, is that they are not crease-proof.  No matter what primer I use, it will always crease on me within a few hours.  After a full day of work, half of the product is gone from my eyelids.  Plus, I hate to say this, I find the dabbing on the eyelid with a eyeshadow crayon and then blending with a brush or finger kind of fussy.  I find dabbing with a finger from a pot and then blending faster.

Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in Uptown Girl

Note: I didn’t take a picture of the inside of the palette because mine is pretty dusty, but click the link above to see the colours in the palette.

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4th shimmering gold overlay shade not swatched

I know that Charlotte Tilbury is much loved and I am sad to report that I don’t use this palette a whole lot.  I thought this palette would be great for everyday with it’s taupe and grey shades.  However, it was a lot more shimmery than expected.

The colours all swatch beautifully on the hand and are soft and blendable.  I hate to say this, but on the eyes I find that they are not as pigmented.  The shades do work harmoniously together as created by Charlotte Tilsbury.  However, over the course of the day though, the colours start to fade and all that is left is a shimmering grey all over wash of colour.  Lastly, I find they do have a bit of fall-out and do crease without a primer on me, and even with a primer will crease by the end of a work day.

Are their any products in your collection that you wished your were more into but just can’t throw away yet?