Saturday, December 29, 2012

Project 10 Pan (Sept - Dec '12)...part 1

Yes, I finished another 10 items from my make-up and skincare stash and rewarded myself during Boxing Day Sales with DKNY Perfume.

1. Lapurete Night Creme 50 ml (full size)




My overall impression - very nice product and gorgeous scent and cool pump bottle (I did a review in it here). It didn't break me out and absorbed fairly easily, felt really nice on my skin. However it did nothing for the lines on my neck and didn't improve the appearance of the fine line on my forehead. I find Grown and The Body Shop oil serums correct my fine lines much better. Good overall moisturiser but not as powerful as they claim to be (they call it nature's botox).
Would I buy it again? - most likely, I've enjoyed using it.




2. Bobbi Brown Lash Glamour Mascara (trial size)




My overall impression - I got a trial size of this mascara in Glossybox. It was a good product however it wasn't as good as some other higher-end mascaras on the market. it retails for $48 and in all honesty you can get something very similar from Maybelline for under $20.
Would I buy it again? -No, it just wasn't special enough for me.




3. Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara (trial size)




My overall impression - I love Estee Lauder products but never had a good luck with their mascaras. This one was pretty good but once again I wasn't convinced that it is worth $52.It did make my lashes fuller and didn't smudge however brush was a bit hard to work with.
Would I buy it again? - No, just like with the product above I believe you can save yourself $30 and get something very similar from Maybelline or Rimmel.


 

4. Maybelline Master Liner in Brown (full size)




 



My overall impression - I got this eye liner in brown and black and I must say that brown version was much better. It was a deep warm brown with bronze undertones that enhanced my hazel eyes well. However it wasn't as revolutionary as Maybelline claimed, it was slightly better than their regular eye lines and certainly wasn't super pigmented or super long-lasting.
Would I buy it again? - Yes, it is a nice shade and IMO good value for money.



5. Clinique Self Sun Tiner self tanner in Light- Medium (full size)


 



My overall impression - It was my third tube of Clinique self-tanner. It is a very nice product that gives you light golden tan that lasts for about 5-7 day and fades evenly. The formula is pleasant too, light and a bit gel-like. It is tinted so it is easy to apply however it can get pretty messy. I like to apply my self-tanner before I go to sleep so it doesn't rub off my on clothes (old dark sheets and pyjamas is a must!). I tried Medium -Deep version of this self-tanner and it was still fairly light. I think it is a great self-tanner for those who want very natural and subtle results.
Would I buy it again? - Yes, but not any time soon because I have a lot of other products that I need to finish first.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Boxing Day Sales - Quick trip to Carindale

Today I had to go to work for few hours. It felt really odd going there in the middle of our Christmas break and everyone was in holiday mode :)

Westfield Carindale was the closest shopping centre so I decided to stop by and check out Boxing Day sales. The shopping centre itself was recently expanded and updated. They added few exciting stores like Kookai, L'Occitane, T2 and Mecca Maxima just to name a few. Chanel store is coming to Carindale soon too which I find very strange. I think Chanel is trying to target middle-class now.

First I went to Lorna Jane and it was too busy for me to browse properly so I left even without trying anything on. Myer was my next stop because I wanted to have a look at their Scanpan sale (I am so happy with my frying pan that I want a grill pan now). They advertised it as 50% off RRP and their original RRP was twice as much as DJ RRP! The 26 cm frying pan that I picked up from DJ for $79.95 was $114.50 at Myer! Makes me wonder how genuine some of their sales are!

After Myer I went to Kookai. I never had a lot of luck with Kookai but recently discovered their basics range! I find their basic tops to be very flattering and comfortable. So I've picked up this white cardi for $30


Then I went to new Reject shop to pick up few bits and pieces. I usually get little things like storage containers and wrapping paper from them. I don't see a point paying premium prices for something that is going to be thrown away anyway. So I left with some cleaning products and gift bags.

                                            
Those gift bags cost $1-2 and are very decent quality. I never felt right paying $4-8 for Hallmark ones, it is just a piece of nice paper with a bit of ribbon! I try to keep few different sizes at home so I don't have to buy expensive ones from the supermarket or newsagency. 
A also got huge can of No Vac for $6 - its a foam that you spray on your carpet to sanitise and deodorise them. I got mine in vanilla scent, now my bedrooms smell like vanilla ice cream! I love this product, it does what it promised to do and the fresh scent lasts for days. While I was there I picked up a huge bottle of Morning Fresh Orange and Eucalyptus dishwashing liquid which also smells amazing. Plus some Duck Fresh disks for my loo (IMO they are the most hygienic method to keep it fresh in-between cleans).

Sorry about very domestic post, for some reason I get excited about things like that now...I must be getting old :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day Shopping!

Yay for Boxing Day! I love having a whole day off that I can delegate to shopping. Last year I went to my local shopping centre and it was a nightmare so this year I went to the city. I found free parking straight away however Queen Street Mall was very busy and Myer was shocking (long lines of people everywhere).

I had my heart set of few things but I wanted to wait till sales to get them and I got what I wanted (mostly). So here is what I came back home with :)

 

1. DKNY Pure a Drop of Verbena set (50 ml scent spray and 100 ml body butter)
Got it for $41.30 at Priceline reduced from $65
I am a big fan of L'Occitane's Verbena line so I naturally wanted to test this perfume when I saw it. Very simple minimalistic bottle was also very appealing. It was a love at first sniff! Very soft, clean and fresh scent with citrus and herbal notes.
It is described on fragrantica as : "Pure DKNY Verbena is opening with notes of verbena and basil, which are gradually softened with floral heart of jasmine, peony and honeysuckle, while the base notes include tender white amber, sea moss and vetiver"
I also found out that some ingredients from Pure line are sourced from Africa which benefits local communities!

2. In Essence Essential Oil Trio Set (Lavender, Orange and Peppermint)
Got it at Myer for $20 reduced from $29.95
Initially I just wanted Lavender oil to deter my cats from biting cables. In Essence had Lavender oil on its own for $18.95 or for extra $1 they had this set which also had Orange and Peppermint oils. My cats seem to dislike all of them :) To me they smell lovely especially Orange oil (it smells like freshly cut oranges). I can think of so many ways to use them. I am planning to add few drops to my vacuum filter to make house smell nice after vacuuming or use them in my oil burner. I think my house will smell like lavender for quite sometime since I'll be rubbing all my cables with it.

3. Lorna Jane Divine Shorts
Got it from Lorna Jane Boutique for $45 reduced from $62.95
I've discovered Lorna Jane  earlier this year when I started working out more than usual. Lots of girls at my gym wear Lorna Jane clothes and it looks great on them. I never used to spend a lot on my sportswear but since I started working out harder comfort and quality does make a difference.

I wanted those shorts badly, however they got sold out fairly quickly. I was very happy to find them on sale today however I had to size up since my usual size was sold out.
They are ultra light and comfortable. I almost feel too sorry to go for a rum in them because they are so pretty!

4. Scanpan Classic 26 cm Frying Pan
Got it from David Jones for $79.95 reduced from $125



Since starting my Michelle Bridges body challenge 6 weeks ago I've stopped using straight oil and started using oil spray. I had two mid-range 3-4 years old frying pans that started failing as a result. So I decided to invest into higher-end non-stick cookware. I hope Scanpan is as good as it was years ago and will last me for ages.





Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas ;)

Merry Christmas everyone!
I can't believe it's that time of the year again! My blog turned one year today too...
I had very casual celebration and thoroughly enjoyed it. 





There was only four of us so cooking was a breeze.
I woke up at 10 and started cooking at 10 30. Everything was ready by 12 30! I followed Michelle Bridges Christmas menu plan so everything was very delicious and healthy.




For entrĂ©e we had cold tomato and roasted pepper soup which went down really well since it was very hot. Then we had spiced beef roast with spinach, walnut and cranberry salad plus roasted dressed veggies (purple carrot, broccollini and asparagus. 

For dessert we had healthy chocolate cake with ice cream and strawberries (chocolate cakes were made yestetday). 




After lunch we went for a walk around nearby lake to burn some calories. 



I really enjoyed this year Christmas as it was super easy, relaxing and fun.

 I've changed my mentality and didn't let myself to get stuffed with food like before. Just shows that you don't have to eat to semi-comatosed condition, drink loads of alcohol, spend days to prepare or spend ridicolous amounts of money to have a good time :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Instagram

I've got some exciting news - I have new Instagram account! Feel free to follow me, my user name is electro_cat :)

Clarisonic Mia

Few weeks ago I finally got myself a Clarisonic. For those who don't know what it is it's a device that is designed to clean your face more efficiently than cleansing products alone. It sort of reminds me of an oversized electric toothbrush.


The kit cost me AUD$149 and it came with one sensitive brush, a charger and small cleanser.


I love the charger, it is tiny and magnetic so you don't have bulky units occupying precious bathroom space.



The brush is extra soft and doesn't irritate my skin despite vibrating at ultra high frequency. 

I've been using Clarisonic for over 4 weeks now. After about two weeks my skin was very clear but this week I got a breakout again, probably due to hormonal changes and chocolate consumption (Xmas related). 

I usually use foaming cleanser to remove eye make up then I use Clinique soap with Clarisonic to remove impurities from my skin. 

It does better job than cleanser alone and leaves my skin ultra clean. It is also waterproof so I can use it in the shower.

Final verdict: It does work! I didn't expect miracles and 100% effectiveness however it did improve the appearance of my skin. I have less congested pores, less breakouts and less flakiness (I have combination skin). It does require commitment, if you mainly use cleansing wipes and rarely use face wash perhaps save yourself $149.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Growing your own Herbs

Since starting my 12 Week Body Transformation Challenge I've been using a lot more herbs in my cooking. I love using them to add flavour to my dishes without adding extra calories. Herbs can easily transform bland food into gourmet masterpiece. On the downside they are quite expensive and don't last very long (maybe 1-2 weeks in the fringe max). Plus I rarely use the whole bunch so it feels like a lot of them get thrown away.

I live in small apartment and unfortunately don't have a garden. However I've been growing some strawberries and parsley in small planters on my balcony so I figured out that I can plant more. I went to my local Bunning and picked up few extra planters, potting mix and a variety of herbs. A pot of herbs will cost you $3-5 plus you can get a mix of 4 different herbs. At the end planted herbs will cost you as much as cut ones at the supermarket! Plus you will get more than 1-2 weeks out of them (I had my parsley for several years).
So here is what I have growing on my balcony: Mint, Chives and Parsley


I've decided to put a planter with more delicate herbs on my bathroom window. I think they will grow better in moist environment plus they make my bathroom smell really nice :) I'm growing Dill, Basil and Coriander


Caring for herbs is quite easy - I water them regularly and use diluted liquid fertiliser once every 3 months. Occasionally I "fluff" soil with plastic fork to allow better water and oxygen penetration and once every year I top it up a bit as it tends to settle or gets washed away from rain.


Friday, December 07, 2012

Eat to live, not live to eat...

Currently I am doing Michelle Bridges 12 week challenge and so far it is going great. Yes, it is a lot of work but I am really enjoying the food and find exercise programs easy to follow. Most of all it is working for me, I've lost 1.8 kg in 2.5 weeks and people are starting to notice.

While browsing 12WBT official Facebook page I came across one member who had a dilemma. Her Birthday was coming up and she had several celebrations with her friends and one of them was even making a cake for her. She didn't know what to do. Clearly she had a desire to stick to the nutrition plan but at the same time she wanted to follow the tradition of eating and celebrating.

It got me thinking that most of us feel like we HAVE TO eat birthday cakes (even if it someone else's birthday), HAVE TO binge during Christmas lunch until we experience breathing difficulties, HAVE TO stuff our faces with chocolate during Easter and HAVE TO have a kebab or McDonalds with friends after a night out. Well, you DON'T HAVE TO! It is all up to you. I have several friends who are constantly dragging me to coffee shops to have some cake or relatives who try to feed me as much as possible. It is OK to refuse extra serve or tell your friends that you will skip the cake if you don't really feel like it. Plus your Birthday won't be any less special or fun without the cake (for me its all about company). For Christmas this year I've convinced my family to go for a nice bushwalk and light picnic lunch instead of hours of cooking and lazy afternoon.

It is all about choices you make...We eat to live, not the other way around. It is important to replenish our bodies and satisfy our hunger but don't let the food control you. :)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Wishlist..what I got!

I was lucky enough to receive some Birthday cash this year which enabled me to get some things I really really wanted!

1. MIMCO Pioneer Wallet


My old Oroton wallet is 7 years old and while it still looks OK it doesn't have enough slots for plastic cards. These days almost every major retailer has some sort of royalty program. I find that it is nearly impossible to carry all those cards in one wallet therefore I've been throwing some membership cards out or refusing to join a membership program.
This wallet is huge and lets me carry all my frequently used cards as well as cash, coins and ID. Plus it is easy to open and had gorgeous timeless design.

2. Clarisonic Mia


I wanted one for so long! I've been using it for few days and so far I really like it. I'll write a review on it after about 10-14 days of use.

3. Stuart Weitzman Wedding Shoes

My friends swears that Stuart Weitzman heels are the most comfortable ever! I saw few pairs at David Jones but the range was very limited and they were still quite expensive ($300-600). I was extremely happy when I purchased these gorgeous "Stargazer" heels from US Ebay seller for $150 including shipping.

4. Witchery Aztec Pom Pom Scarf
It was first released in very popular Chartreuse (Lime) shade and was sold out in hours. Few weeks later they released these scarfs again adding Turquoise and Watermelon to the range. By then I was a bit over Lime as it is literally everywhere so I got this gorgeous scarf with blue pom poms instead. This is my first square scarf and I don't know how I managed without one! I goes well with so many things and can be worn in so many different ways.

I find that having a wishlist really helps to avoid impulse buys and makes me appreciate my purchases more. I really need to re-sort my wardrobe and get rid of all impulse buys that I've accumulated over the last couple of years.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

My recent ASOS purchases

Until recently I haven't purchased anything from ASOS for a while. Initially I thought that if you have to return something you have to send it back to UK however I find out that they have a warehouse in Australia too :)

In the past ASOS been hit and miss for me. Out of four items I got recently I had to return two.

1. ASOS Stretch Pant With Boot Flare
My first pair of work pants from ASOS was quite good, they were made from thick stretchy fabric and fot well. However this pair was bad in so many different way. The fabric was paper thin and see-through, the sizing was wrong and the quality was pretty low.
I returned them without hesitation

2. Kookai Tropical Print Bustier
This top looked very cute on photo plus it was heavily reduced. I was a bit disappointed when I got it - the cotton fabric wasn't very good quality (unlike a lot of other Kookai garments) and the cut was weird. It made me look pregnant...It was returned together with pants above.

3.River Island Black Coated Molly Jeggings
I love back skinny pants, they make my legs look slender and go with almost anything.
When I saw these I had to have them!
I ordered my usual size and was hoping for the best. When I received them they looked tiny (like two sizes too small) but thankfully they had a lot of stretch and hugged me in the right places. The fabric is thin though so I don't know how long they will last.

4. ASOS ACTIVE Wedge Trainers With Suede Detail
I love the look of wedge trainers. They make legs look longer and more slender like high heels without being painful to wear.
I fell in love with these Marc Jacobs ones
...however I couldn't justify spending $500+ on them.Plus I wasn't sure if they are  really "me" either
I was extremely happy when I found similar pair on ASOS...they were on sale for $44 too! I must say they are the best thing I got from ASOS so far. They are extremely comfortable and they quality if pretty good. I love them so much that I'm even thinking of getting them in another colour.





Sunday, November 18, 2012

12 Week Challenge

Yes, I am doing one starting tomorrow!
My work colleague did round 3 of Michelle Bridges 12WBT and was very happy with her results.
I am getting married in 5 months so I really want to look my best :) I've been hitting the gym 3-4 times per week since April and worked hard with the help of personal trainer to gain some muscle mass in order to speed up my metabolism (which was really bad due to under-eating and dieting). However I felt like I've hit a plateau and needed an extra kick to keep improving. Hence why I've joined the 12 Week Body Transformation program.
During this challenge you supposed to exercise 6 days per week and follow the nutrition plan that is sent to you each week. You can also have one cheat meal per week and can choose your own (healthy) snacks within calorie limit. Plus you should complete pre-season tasks which get you in the right state of mind to do this challenge. My next 12 weeks are going to be full-on, looks like I have to put my social life on hold .BTW it starts tomorrow which also happens to be my Birthday. I guess it is a good sign :)

I'm 5'6 (168 cm)  and currently weigh 65 kg. I am aiming to lose 7 kg because I feel like 58 kg is the ideal weight for me (I have fairly small frame).

I'll try to update you every week on my progress.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Favorite Summer Fragrances

I have countless bottles of perfumes (both miniatures and full sized). I love matching the scent to my mood or occasion and I don't think I can settle just for one or even two fragrances.

So out of my vast collection I've picked my top six fragarances that I love to wear in summer (not in any particular order, I probably like some just a bit more that others)

1. Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche.
This is actually a hair mist but it works well as fragrance and just as long lasting as EDT. I have No. 5 and Mademoiselle hair mists too because I find they have less sillage (won't be smelled by people 2 meters away) and open up to middle notes quicker. The biggest bonus is they are 1/2 price of regular EDT! So you can enjoy Chanel without paying over $150.

Out of all Chances this one is my favourite. I like the advertisement, however I don't think I'll be drawn to this scent solely based on it. It has very distinct lemon and cedar notes with very slight accents of floral and pepper notes. This combination makes this fragrance very fresh and stylish plus my other half always tells me that I smell very nice when I wear it. I love wearing it during day and it is also work friendly as it has moderate sillage.

2. Christian Dior Miss Dior L'Eau.
Just over a year ago I got a miniature version of this gorgeous fragrance in a gift set. I fell in love with it instantly. It was simple, refreshing and pleasant. Some people say it is similar to Chance Eau Fraiche, however I find it more "white floral". Apparently it has only three constituents - bitter orange (top note), gardenia (middle) and musk (base). However they work so well together and make this scent fairly unique.
The advertisement definitely grabs my attention and wants me to experience this scent. Love it!

When it was first released it was a limited edition but then Dior decided to make it permanent to due its popularity. I went to enquire about it couple of months ago and was told that it has been renamed to Miss Dior Eau Fraiche. However it smelled nothing like the liquid in my miniature bottle. I was very lucky to find this little gem online.

3. Estee Lauder Azuree Soleil
This masterpiece was created when Tom Ford collaborated with Estee Lauder. Everything about this scent is gorgeous - from luxurious 70's-inspired bottle to clear liquid inside. The whole 2007 collection was gorgeous, pity I was a uni student back then and couldn't afford to buy bit and pieces of it.
The advertising campaign was simple yet powerful (to me at least) - beautiful girl in a white bikini enjoying sea, sun and sand. It looks like she has been doing it for quite sometime given her beach hair and glowing tan (not just a quick one day escape to the nearest  beach :)
The fragrance smells like a resort in a bottle! It has a distinct coconut note but it is not that sticky-sweet Bounty or coconut body butter one. It is much more sophisticated coconut note on the background of white flowers and hint of caramel. I like wearing it when I am going to the beach (however I don't leave it in a hot car - too precious!) or when I am going for a beach look. I also wore it in Thailand.
Estee Lauder was trying to re-create this scent in Bronze Goddess, it is very similar yet more sweeter and heavier than the original. I definitely recommend it if you can still find it.

4. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea
Green Tea is they only Elizabeth Arden scent that I like.
It was the first fragrance that I purchased myself. I was just 16 and had to save my money for few weeks but it was worth it! The scent is very clean and refreshing, it smells like tea, mint and lemons to me. It stays close to the skin so it is very work friendly. Unfortunately it doesn't last very long but very modest price allows you to carry a bottle with you and re-apply as required.
I like the original advertisement campaign as opposed to the one with Catherine Zeta Jones. I think it represents this scent better - simple, refreshing and clean.

5. L'Eau Par Kenzo.
This gorgeous scent was already mentioned in my blog earlier this year.
It is my favourite water scent. Water lily, mint and pepper get along extremely and make this fragrance very unique and pleasant. I wear this one to work all the time. It makes you smell nice instead of like you are wearing a perfume.
Their old advertising campaigns are very cute. However I think the old bottle better represents the brand rather than fragrance.
 I think this campaign is the best one as it captured the essence of the scent the best. I love their new bottle, the only downside is the cap is not very secure so it lives at home rather than my handbag.

6. Dolce and Gabbana Anthology 3 L'Imperatrice
One of a very few fruity fragrances I truly love. I would describe it as watered-down fruity, like yummy summer punch! It smells like watermelon and kiwifruit with slight musk note to make it sexy.


The advertisement was interesting but it didn't made me run to stores and try them. I got it as a part of Anthology set and it was a clear winner out of the lot. I think its a great fragrance to wear when you want to impress someone yet you don't want to kill the mood with something too strong or sweet.