February 27, 2010

Some recent newbies

There's been some recent additions to my makeup collection lately. Almost all of them were purchased together with sissy during her visit here in Melbourne. I was able to use the remainder of a gift card I had received from my Aunt and Uncle for some of the things I purchased...BONUS!! Overall, very happy with everything I got!

1. Belt from MNG (aka Mango in other parts of the world)
It was on clearance and they just happened to have 2 of the same thing in our size so me and sissy each got one! It has snap buttons at each end of the belt and is meant to be worn high up on the waist. Although this style of belts has already been around for a few seasons now, I still really enjoy them as I find them really flattering! The light, neutral colour also works well for me as I have a lot of black clothing.

2. Makeup bag
We picked this up at the Sunday street market at St. Kilda Beach. It's made of fabric with plastic covering the front part of the bag. It's supposedly handmade from Melbourne. Nothing really fancy, just a simple cloth pouch but I quite liked the selection of designs available and especially the size of the bag. Perfect for toting around makeup in my purse.

3. MAC Lipsticks (swatches below)
Viva Glam V (Lustre) - I had been wanting to get this for some time now. It's a plummy pink colour with slight shimmers in it. It's a tad darker than my usual lipsticks but I think still very wearable as it is a lustre formula and goes on quite sheer. Also, all proceeds from this lipstick goes to benefit the MAC AIDS fund.

Modesty (Cremesheen) - I got this lipstick on a whim. Hadn't heard anything about it and don't even remember ever noticing it before! It's described as a muted neutral pink colour on the MAC website...which really doesn't mean too much to me. I really liked the rosy glowing pink colour of this lipstick. As always, the cremesheen formula stays very true to its name; it goes on very creamy and gives my lips a subtle sheen. Love it!

4. Lancome Juicy Tubes Lipgloss in Rose Fishnets (swatch below)
I ordered this online from Brigette's Boutique, a site which I have mentioned in a previous post (here). Similar to my last order, this only took about 5 days to get to me. The box got a bit smushed but the actual tube was in perfect, unused condition. I've always been a fan of Juicy Tubes. I find them to be very long-lasting and stay glossy on the lips for a long time. They don't dry out your lips at all, in fact, I find them to be quite moisturizing. Many of the Juicy Tubes have a fruity scent and a slight sweet taste to them which is nice. The only downside?...they are very sticky glosses.

This particular colour I got was a limited edition one. It's a very sheer pinky golden shade with gold shimmers in it. Because it has both golden and pink tones to it, I imagine it would be quite nice layered over both beige-y and pink lipsticks. Versatile! It has a very sweet smell, like candy. Packaging is the usual squeeze applicator but with designs on them to represent fishnet stockings. Cute!

5. MAC 130 Brush
It's a mini version of my 187 brush!! Again, picked this up on a total whim. It was released with the mineralize foundation (in a cream compact form) here in Melbourne. Such a cute little brush! It's a duo fibre brush like the 187 but the bristles was a lot denser. It applies cream/liquid products (eg. foundation, cream blush or highlighters) really well. I find it takes too long to use this brush for foundation but I've been using it for buffing in cream blush and MAC cream colour bases to give a fantastic glow.

6. LUSH Breath of Fresh Air Toner
I had been wanting to get this ever since I blogged about getting my Angels on Bare Skin cleanser from LUSH (here). It comes in 2 sizes and I searched all around Melbourne for a bottle of the smaller size with no luck. I finally decided to just get the larger bottle since I had a gift card anyways. It's made of all natural ingredients and doesn't contain alcohol which a lot of skin toners do. Depending on my mood, I either apply this by spritzing all over my face and just letting it absorb or by spritzing on a cotton pad and then applying to my face. It leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. The smell is typical of other LUSH products...organic-y...but it's a very light scent and I don't mind it too much. I found this to be especially soothing after a whole day of sun and applied it multiple times throughout the night after having gone surfing with sissy to keep my face hydrated. It definitely lived up to my expectations and I'm glad I had gotten the larger bottle!

Until next time...


February 26, 2010

Highlights from Sisticle's visit

My sister visited me in Melbourne last week. It was her first visit in Australia and she stayed for about 10 days. True to our mother's prediction, we completed only about 1/2 of the events and trips I had originally planned out because we were too lazy most of the time. It took us 2 attempts to actually visit the zoo and when we finally got there, we got tired very quickly and left after 2.5 hours. Plans to see the new baby elephant at the zoo was a big fail because the lineup was just too long. We also got extremely sidetracked on the day we were supposed to drive out to Phillip Island to see the penguins and instead got a mani/pedi followed by suntanning at Torquay beach.

I think the most memorable part of sissy's trip would be the day we went surfing. Somehow managing to wake up early that morning, we drove 1.5 hrs to Ocean Grove beach for our 11:00am surfing lesson. The weather was perfect that day, a sunny and hot 34 degrees. We got to there earlier than expected and had breakfast at a quaint little cafe that looked like a house. The breakfast burrito we ordered was the best burrito I have ever had.

The tortilla was warm and soft. The inside was filled with beans, egg, cheese and freshly chopped tomatoes. The sour cream was light and not heavy at all. It was so refreshing and tasty...mmmmmm!!!! After breakfast, we went to meet our surfing instructors which I had booked through West Coast Surf School. They provided us with our sexy wetsuits and our boards. The instructors were pretty quick and efficient at teaching and we were in the water in no time. I realized that day that I have poor balance and is quite UN-talented in surfing. I wiped out many times (resulting in salt water searing through my nostrils O_o) and managed only to stand up for 2-3 seconds on my board a few times. Sissy, on the other hand, did a lot better than me. We were quite exhausted after our 2 hour lesson and spent the rest of our time at the beach just lazing about and suntanning. I am very excited to report that after years of withdrawal from the sun, my chicken legs are now finally nicely cooked!!

Of course, how can I talk about your visit without mentioning the infamous tattoo drawing by the bf...right, sissy?? There was just something about these 2 pictures that just made us laugh over and over again. The Jesus-looking figure that actually kinda looked like me...the alien hand...the angel at the bottom with the eyes rolled to the back of the head...it was all just too too funny!!!! I still couldn't help but giggle even as I was scanning and uploading them here =)

So, here they are for you to enjoy, sisticles! Hope you had a fun time here, I sure did! See you in May!


February 11, 2010

Sneaking in a bit of LUSH time

One of my biggest weaknesses is doing paperwork. I am horrible at it and usually get so stressed out over it that I have mini panic attacks which then leads me to abandon the paperwork all together and procrastinate until it is absolutely essential that I finish it...

So you can imagine how much fun I've had for the past 2 days researching how to become licensed as a vet in California, apply for a US working visa and extend my Australian visa. Clicking into what feels like a billion websites, then realizing you have 10 windows open all filled with fine print font and having no idea why a window was even opened in the first place....it's just all too much for me!!

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned but I still prefer talking to a real human being on the phone, telling me exactly what I need to apply for something and what requirements I have to fulfill. Imagine my surprise to find out that the US embassy in Ottawa charges $1.89/minute to speak to an operator there!!! The charges apply as soon as you call, even as you wait to be connected to an operator. Unbelievable.... Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have a friend answer my questions and so avoided having to call the embassy this time.

Of course, there are many different levels to completing paperwork. It's not all just sitting around at home, clicking away on the computer. So today I had the pleasure of driving to the city to prepare bank documents...and getting caught in a major thunderstorm during rush hour on my way home. On the bright side, I did squeeze in a quick visit to my favourite makeup counters. Nothing really caught my eye there but I did make my first ever purchase at Lush!!

I bought the Angels on Bare Skin facial cleanser which is supposed to be one of their best sellers. It has ground almonds in it and seriously looks like cookie dough! It's for all skin types and the almonds exfoliate your skin as you cleanse. Can't wait to try it out! I was also really interested in the Breath of Fresh Air Toner which, according to their website, does not have any alcohol in it. Definitely will be my next purchase!

Well, that's all for now. More paperwork adventures tomorrow at my appointment with the Australian immigration officer!


February 9, 2010

Mixed emotions

Leaving behind a place I've called home for the last 4 years...

After 2 long months of waiting, I finally got results from the internship matching program I've applied to. I was matched to a clinic in Lawndale, California!! It was a very unexpected result as I didn't even interview with the clinic. It was definitely a mixed bag of emotions for me last night when I found out about it. On one hand, I didn't match to a clinic in NYC (a place I'd been dying to move to). But on the other hand, Lawndale was another excellent location, just 10 minute drive away from the coast and 20 minutes away from LAX and LA downtown. I'll be closer to Vancouver and going to Melbourne will now only be a 14 hour direct flight away! Besides, who complains about having to move to California??!?!

There's so much planning to do now I don't even know where to begin and it all still feels so very unreal to me...


February 5, 2010

Me vs the Vacuum

A full day of house cleaning today. *sigh*. I think there's definitely an 'art' to cleaning the house though which I didn't fully understand until I started living on my own. Here's my little routine:

1. First start with laundry (eg. bed sheets, clothes, towels etc).
This makes the most sense to me because then you can do your other cleaning while you wait for the washes to finish and sneak in from time to time and transfer items from washing machine to dryer.

2. Then clean the kitchen
After studying microbiology for 4 years, I hate to think what types of bacteria I would lug onto my cutlery and dishes if I did this after, say, cleaning the toilet!! Also, spillage from the sink onto the floors is almost a certainty which would be a shame if you had done the floors already.

3. Tidy up the living room
Generally involves putting away magazines, fluffing up cushions, wiping down the coffee table, dusting etc..

4. Rest
Very important to maintain stamina throughout the day.

5. Tidy up the bedroom
Slot in some extra time as one often get distracted by their makeup collection and will end up spending way too much time rearranging eyeshadows and lipglosses.

6. Clean the bathroom (but leave toilet for loved one to do..)
My least favourite job. This is probably because I have a strange phobia where I have this fear of being forced to lick the drains...yea...

7. Vacuum!!
I absolutely DETEST vacuuming. I don't know, I think it's the noise and having to haul the vacuum around that just really annoys me. Vacuuming near the end of the day makes sense since a lot of dust has probably settled out during the other steps of cleaning.

8. Mop floors
Mopping is very satisfying to me. I like to use really hot water with hospital grade antibacterial floor cleaner (again, the microbiologist in me creeping out) and it feels like I'm sizzling away all the bacteria to death with my concoction.

9. Return to the laundry
After doing multiple loads of laundry throughout the day, you end up with a big pile of clean clothes and bed sheets which can now be neatly folded and put away. All done while waiting for the floors to dry after mopping! Makes sense to me!

Of course, that's the ideal scenario...

Today, however, my vacuum broke down halfway through and just as I finished mopping, Antonio decides to throw up on his bed and blankie complete with a small splash on Andreaus and on the floors. So, tomorrow, I'll have to take the vacuum cleaner into the repair shop and his blanket to the laundromat...NICE...


February 3, 2010

Soy milk, anyone?

Soy milk, you either love it or you hate it. Or, in my case, you don't have much choice because you're lactose intolerant.

As a child, I drank milk like water. I loved the taste of cold milk and the sensation of it running down my throat. I remember regularly drinking 2-3 glasses of whole milk (the fattiest kind) everyday, often enjoying them with chocolate chunk (that's right, CHUNK, not chip) cookies after school. Then my teenage years hit and I decided to stop drinking milk completely as part of my scheme to lose weight like everybody else. That continued for a few years until around the age of 18 when I suddenly decided that I should start eating healthier. My cleverly designed healthy diet consisted of a glass of skim milk in the morning + yoghurt as a mid-morning snack...which left me feeling nice and rotten every single day!!

Eventually, I discovered I was actually lactose intolerant and it's something I've had to put up with for the last 10 or so years. Different dairy products affect me differently. Milk, obviously, is the worst. For me, yoghurt is pretty bad too. Cheese, I can tolerate moderate amounts. Ice-cream...leaves me incredibly farty. While lactose intolerance is not life threatening and I definitely would not say I'm suffering because of it, I find that it is a bit of a hassle sometimes and carries with it certain social implications that people may not realize.

Ordering coffee now routinely involves the question 'do you have soy milk?' which often makes me feel a bit snooty as if I'm a health conscious nut who's too savvy for regular milk. If soy milk is available, great! But make sure to bring extra change because there are extra charges most of the time. If it's not available, I'm stuck with a bitter cup of long black/Americano. Then there are the grand inquisitions people have upon finding out I drink soy milk. Reactions generally involve some sort of 'ewww...' together with a slight look of disgust. This is generally followed by questions of 'what happens when you drink milk?' which then forces me to discuss in detail of how I get farty, gassy, burpy with bouts of diarrhea sometimes. NICE....

Iced chocolate drink at specialty stores are now out of the question as many are often blended with a frozen pre-made dairy product. A nice slice of cheesecake? I don't think so. A trip to the ice-cream store on a hot day is no longer as fun as it used to be. Having cereal for breakfast? Better whip out the good ole soy milk again!

These are just the more obvious food items the lactose intolerant has to look out for. There's also a lot of diary products lurking is creamy pastas, soups and of course, in cheesy pizzas. This gets especially difficult when you're dining at someone's house. They've cooked up a delicious meal of seafood spaghetti with creamy alfredo sauce and homemade cheesecake for dessert. Now, one of my major pet peeves is picky eaters. So being a polite guest, I try to eat everything off my plate (which, don't get me wrong, is usually delicious) and deal with the consequences of holding in farts all night long.

Of course, there's always the option of taking lactase pills which help digest the lactose in diary products. But these are pricey and have to be taken immediately prior to eating the dairy product which makes it a bit inconvenient sometimes. With all that being said, in many ways, I already have it easy compared to others with more serious dietary restrictions like diabetics or those with celiac disease who cannot eat gluten. In comparison, I guess soy milk is really not too bad!!


February 2, 2010

Brushes with pretty red handles

Shopping for cosmetics online can be frustrating for international buyers. Often, I'll find something that I like only to discover that either the site ships only within the US or the shipping charges cost more than what I'm actually buying. I have recently discovered an excellent website which not only sells a variety of brand name cosmetics at discount prices but also ships internationally at a very affordable and reasonable cost. I am in no way affiliated with the website but I am so impressed with the prices that I feel I have to share it with everyone!!

Here is the link:

I have made 2 purchases from them now and was very satisfied each time. Shipping (to Australia) took about 1 week. The products were genuine and unused (the 2 main things I worry about when I buy online). This time, my purchases included 2 brushes from Smashbox.

The thing that drew me to these brushes initially were the red handles, aren't they so pretty!! Also, the discount on the prices on the website was just incredible!!

Precision cream eyeliner brush - selling at sephora for $20, on brigettesboutique $6.95!

Powder brush #1 - selling at sephora for $48, on brigettesboutique $18.00!

I've already tried out the cream eyeliner brush (with my Bobbi brown gel liner, of course) and I love it!! It makes it so easy to draw a precise and even line on your eyelids. It is also especially useful for making a thin line on the lower lashline. All in all, a fantastic liner brush!

Happy shopping everyone!