Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Case of the Scotty Dog Makeup Bag

Ok so I was given this Radley makeup bag a long, long time ago from my college roommate. She is European and at the time her family was living in London and she brought me this after visiting them over winter break. I just assumed it was a regular old makeup bag from some British store called Radley with a little Scotty dog mascot.

(Didi and Aunt are sitting on a sofa. Didi is taking out the new Dior Diamond Lipstick Case she just snagged last week to show it off when Aunt notices the makeup bag Didi is carrying has a discreet indentation of a Scotty dog. )

Aunt (grabs bag out of Didi's hands): That's the bag with the Scotty dog!

Didi: O yea, that's a Scotty dog. I wanted to show you this lipstick....

Aunt (interrupts and points at the imprinted Scotty dog): No, look! It's THE Scotty dog!

Didi : Yea, I've had that bag forever. Take a look at this sparkly Dior lipstick case!

Aunt: That's really nice. Do you know what brand this bag is? It's really popular in Taiwan. It's everywhere! It's a British label.

Didi: I'm guessing the brand is Radley, at least that's whats imprinted on the back. My old roommate gave....

Aunt (interuppts again and holds bag at arm's length): This bag is so well made! The leather is really good quality and thick too! How do you not know this label? Didn't you just go to England for Christmas?

Didi (shrugs): I dunno - Never occured to me that Radley was a brand. I just thought it was a department store like Harrod's. You know what's neat? I got this lipstick case free from Saks.

Aunt: I really like this bag!

(Didi spontaneously combusts and Aunt doesn't even notice under the spell of the Scotty dog Makeup bag.)

End Scene

The Verdict
I really do love this bag even though I seem to be living under a rock and had no clue that this was some sort of premium leather good. The quality of the material is fantastic! The leather is quite thick (as noted by my aunt) but at the same time it's so supple and soft. It has a natural patina to it that has only developed even more beautifully over time. The quality of material and contruction is evident inside the bag as well. It's lined with some sort of a ribbed cloth that looks like corduroy but doesn't feel velvety.

I so regret not being aware that this was a brand label while on my visit to England. I just visited their online store http://www.radley.co.uk/en-gb/store/ and all the items are super cute! The bag I have is more on the conservative side and I have no qualms with that at all. The important thing is the quality of the bag and like I said - it's pretty top-notch. I'm so sad :( this is just the kind of style I'm drawn to too! All their products are what I like to call Cute Chic. They're sophisticated and yet whimsical. I'm bummed out I didn't get to hunt these down - It would have been tax free too!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spinlash $15

Look what I found! It's the Spinlash by Akasha! I dunno why but I just had an urge to try this out when I saw it at CVS. I think I saw this on some late night TV infomercial a couple of months ago and laughed at it - now I'm the sucker that fell for the gimmick. Hahaha!

My first impression was that this thing is monstrous and not exactly compact or portable (in relation to average sized mascara tubes). Still it intrigued me enough to give it a shot. It comes with the the ginormous wand that has the built-in mini-motor and a stand alone cap that contains Spinlash mascara. You can use this or your own mascara of preference.

**Update** ok I compared this with the Dior Mascaras I have and it's about half an inch longer but the barrel size is about the same. So not as hugemongous as I thought.

The brush spins very slowly, gently and there is only 1 speed. So no worries about poking your eye out on a turbo spin settling. You have an option of a spin direction so you can switch it up if you're spinning lashes on your left or right eye.

The Verdict
Not so sure that it's doing anything that a normal mascara brush wouldn't do. It's just that it's an automatic one. My lashes did not fluff out like the pictures after going through a spin and I didn't notice any additional ease when applying mascara. I did not use the mascara that came with the Spinlash because I didn't want to "dirty" the brush. I only used it to separate my lashes and then applied a separate mascara with a separate brush.

It's a fun novelty but I would not purchase this again. What really pissed me off is that you can't replace the battery to this once it's used up. You're required to throw this away and purchase a new one. It's even printed on the Spinlash to do this! I find it so aggravating! No mascara of mine is gona tell ME what do to!

Einstein Lip Therapy Hydrating Pot

These always catch my eye whenever I go to CVS and I always tell myself, "I'll get one next time" but I never do. So when I dropped into CVS today and saw them staring at me from the counter I said to myself, "Today is THE day!" Unfortunately, I then spent the next 5 minutes trying to figure out what the difference is between the 2 that are available and which one I wanted.
There is a red pot and a pink pot. At first glance, the only difference about them is the color of the cap. But if you look closer, there is small captioning on the cap that gives a minimal description of the use for each. The pink one says it's for hydration and the red one says it's for cooling relief. I chose the pink one becuase I wanted something to condition my lips and I figured the red one is probably similar to typical cooling lip balms.

The pink one is the Einstein Lip Therapy Hydrating Lip Cream $6. It contains Vitamins A, C, and E to restore moisture to reveal softer, smoother, more supple lips. The consistency of this is more like a lotion and it has yellow vitamin C beads to exfoliate your lips. As you smooth this on, the beads dissolve and make the cream feel thicker. It has a menthol smell to it and it also has a bit of a cool feel when applied. Kinda feels like a very extremely gentle lip plumper. There's no numbing or stinging feeling but there is a "filling" sensation.

The Verdict

One of the cutest lip product packaging I've seen and what attracted me to them in the first place. I have to say I'm not happy with the amount that you get (only a measly 4.5 grams). It may depend on the surface area that you need to cover but amazingly a little bit goes a long way. When I apply this I literally touch only the very tip of my ring finger into the pot. I don't have to "dip/scoop in". My lips aren't very big so I think I can make this last at least 3-4 weeks with daily use (applying every night).

I really like how this feels when I smooth it on. It thickens a bit as it's rubbed in and then gets absorbed into all the little crevices. I would definitely re-purchase this product along with the red one just to see how they work together.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Juicy Crown Earrings $40

Ok I'm not normally a big fan of Juicy's jewelry. I usually find their stuff a bit on the teeny bop side but I love these earrings! I just love the way they look and how they're 3D looking instead of flat. I wonder if Juicy has or will make a set of earrings of the Scotty dogs that are on the logo. I would get those too! I think Scotty dogs are really cute mascots!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dior Duo Magique $28

Been searching for an honest eye makeup remover that is:
1. Non-Irritating
2. Non-Greasy
3. Actually removes mascara
I finally found it! This baby promises all that and actually delivers! Whoo hoo! Dior Duo Magique for president!

The Verdict
So what you gotta do is shake this baby up and then apply to a cotton pad and wipe away the makeup. You don't have to "rub" vigorously even for waterproof makeup. Unfortunately, you do have to do some rubbing and I did lose an eyelash once. I still love this stuff because of the 3 criteria listed above and plus I don't always want to use a cleansing oil. I shouldn't but I do run out with only mascara and no foundation on and on those days I just want to use an eye makeup remover only.

Dior Addict Lipcolor $26

So the only reason I got this lipstick was because of the Saks promotion that came with it. If you buy a Dior Addict Lipcolor from Saks, you get a complimentary Dior Diamond Lipstick case. I learned about this from my beaeuty guru Jen at http://www.abeautyfulsentiment.com/.

Here is what I ended up purchasing. The color is Rose Lingerie #323. I wanted something neutral that would blend into my skin since I like to do a lot of dark eye makeup. I was worried that this wouldn't show up because I have pigmented lips and even the most opaque of lipsticks disappear on me.

The Verdict
This lipstick is so moisturizing! I was thinking I'd need to apply a lipgloss on top of this, but I was completely wrong. Also the color actually did blend into my natural lip color but gives it a bit more definition and a bit of a rosy color so I have no complaints.


Here it is - the Dior Diamond Lipstick Case. Isn't it fancy? Plus did you notice the sparkles? I lubs sparkles! The case has a mirror on the inside and is the perfect fit for the lipstick. I really like that there are little magnets on the sides of the case so that it gives a satisfying "snap" when you close it. Plus it's practical cause you don't want your lipstick rolling out of the case - what would be the point of putting it in a case in the first place?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Diorshow Iconic Review $27

I was really intrigued by this mascara as it's gotten some pretty decent reviews. I really wanted to try this out because of the unique stubby brush. The more commonly seen bristle brush never felt like I was appying mascara. It felt more like I was dabbing on mascara cause the bristles are so long by time I think I'm near my lashes, I've poked my eye out. This mascara's not cheap so when I found this as a gift set at Sephora (for a limited time only) I decided to try it out.

The wand is slightly spiraled with short stubby, comb-like bristles. If you look closely at the picture you can see the bristles are actually plastic and have rounded tips so it doesn't prick if I accidently poke my eye.

The Verdict
I do like how easy it is to apply mascara to my bottom lashes due to the short bristles. The mascara doesn't clump when it's applied and it's easily layered. I find that I need at least 2 layers to fill out my sparse lashes. Although this doesn't do anything to help curl my super straight asian lashes, the formula doesn't completely undo my shu-made curl either.

Although I love the natural "look" it gives my lashes, I won't re-purchase this because the mascara takes at least 30 min to dry. While it's drying each time I blink I get a gummy feeling when my top and bottom lashes touch. Also my eyes are sensitive and when this mascara does finally dry, it dries out my eyes too.

Gift Set

With the purchase of the full-size mascara you get a zippered carrying case and a sample size of Dior Addict High Shine in Catwalk Mauve #680.

The carrying case has a mirror on the inside and is very well made. The cover of the carrying case has a soft leather feel to it. The zipper is sewn very well and zips up seamlessy from the outside. The down side is that the mirror gives a funhouse reflection and the 2 bands in the case only fit the mascara and the sample size lipstick. I tried putting a NARS lipgloss and MAC lipglass in the band but the items were too small. The full size Dior lipsticks are too big for the band.


I also got this envelope of samples from cosmedic lines that make products from natural ingredients. I haven't had a chance to try all these yet but I'm excited because I really like to try the all-natural lines out first to see if they smell alright and if they're effective.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion $17

Everyone's probably pretty familiar with Mario Badescu's pink Drying Lotion. This is the same version of the pink one except it's for cyctic acne. I'm one of the unlucky few who developes cystic acne and they always show up around that time of month.

The Verdict
So this really does work - It's not a miracle worker but you do get results. I applied the lotion to a pimple and overnight the pimple was reduced and no longer red. I was impressed because even though the lotion dried out the pimple, it didn't dry out my surrounding skin. Again the downside is it reduced the pimple but did not eliminate it. It just made it less inflamed.


These little sample bottles are so cute! The SA included 2 pairs of these with my purchase - I thought that was nice of her. I haven't tried these out yet cause I'm really happy with my Shiseido stuff that I use daily. I'll do a full review later on these.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shiseido The Makeup Lifting Mascara

I probably wouldn't have tried this out if I hadn't been given a sample size of this from a very nice SA at the Dillard's Shiseido counter at the Collin Creek Mall. Shiseido has several mascaras in their The Makeup line but this one is specifically for curling lashes.

The brush is quite small as the bristles are fairly short. I love this type of brush because I feel like I can get down to the roots of my lashes without blinding my eyes. It was a spiral wand that is set very orderly and tightly.

The Verdict
I did not notice any fumes from this mascara and it did not irritate my eyes at all. The mascara stays put all day and does not flake. I was amazed by the curl power too! I was not expecting it to really "curl" for some reason but 5 minutes after applying my lashes touch right below my brow line! I find if I just apply this in strokes it will clump, but if I start from the roots of my lashes and wiggle the brush left and right there are barely any clumps. I would purchase this but at the moment there are too many mascaras out there that I still want to try! I have to say that this mascara just makes me love Shiseido even more than I already do!

Monday, March 9, 2009

REN Skincare Review

Recently there was an online promotion from REN to receive a free Intro Kit with any order over $80 plus you automatically get free shipping with any order over $60. I picked up a couple of items to try out since I just LOVED the REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask so much! On the website, REN has already grouped skincare products they recommend for combination skin so I made my choices from this pool of products.

REN Multi-Mineral Pore Minimising Detox Mask $30.73

This mask is a deep cleansing clay mask that draws out skin impurities such as sebum and dead skin cells. It also has an ingredient (Spirulina) to encourage cell renewal. The mask also claims to reduce pore size which is something that I'm always interested in.

You apply this mask to clean and toned skin and let it dry. It dries and hardens fairly quick, so I have to apply this in sections to my face. Once it is dry you're supposed to gently rub off as much as you can and then rinse the rest off with warm water. I did not like the "rubbing" part of this. I think it's supposed to help stimulate your skin in some way but I find it frustrating to scrape off a mask that is pretty much caked-on.

I don't think I would re-purchase this because although it is a good product, I'm just not WoWed by the results. For now, I'll be sticking to my Shiseido The Skincare Purifying Mask. It gives me relatively the same results if not better, feels more comfortable when applied, does not harden or dry out and it's slightly less expensive.

REN Matte Balancing Fluid $52

This mattifying fluid claims to reduce shine and restore balance to leave skin clear and beautifully healthy. It contains a smorgasbord ingredient list that you can look up on their website.

Let's cut to the chase: I was disappointed in this product. I have a history of being disappointed with anti-shine lotions. They always end up adding shine and this one was no exception. I would not re-purchase this or any other anti-shine lotion again. I put this on after cleansing and toning at 8am and by 9:30am I was already a mirror. I don't know why I continue try these things. In my teens I was very oily but I'm no longer super oily. I've now got combination skin and an oily T-zone but it's nothing a few oil-blotting sheets can't handle. For the most part my face stays pretty matte except for my nose. Cheeks matte, temples matte, forehead matte, nose oily, chin slightly oily.

Along with my order, I was given a free REN Intro Kit $40. The Intro Kit included sample sizes of:

1. Rosa Centifolia Facial Cleansing Gel
2. Glycolatic Skin Renewal Peel Mask (love this!)
3. Vita Mineral Radiant Day Cream
4. Omega 3 Overnight Lipid Renewal Serum (wanted to try this)
5. Frankincense and Boswellia Serrata Revitalising Repair Cream (wanted to try this) 6. Active 7 Radiant Eye Maintenance Cream

I haven't had a chance to properly try out all these products as I'm too happy with my Shiseido skincare regimen. As soon as I give these a fair trial, I will provide a sufficient review.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy 26th Birthday to Me!

Ok I ate the missing mini cupcake because he was too cute! I made these Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting in celebration for my birthday. I love all things tiny especially teeny tiny desserts! You can read more about the recipe at my foodie blog http://www.piquantcuisine.blogspot.com/.

I was also surprised with this birthday gift by that same nice boy :) It's a Louis Vuitton Damier Canvas Speedy 30 in Ebony $700. I love this bag because it looks like mini-luggage and I have a weird attraction to luggage-looking handbags. Of course, all LV bags are of excellent quality and this bag is no exception! I love the checkered pattern on this and especially the peek-a-boo red canvas lining on the inside.

The only qualm I have is that I foresee possible damage to the zipper of the bag. The zipper pull is a small piece of gold hardware with a leaf-shaped piece of leather riveted on. I dunno how long the leather will hold before it just one day tears away from the rest of the zipper. This is a fundamental design issue that I am not happy with. I guess I will just have to be extra careful and make sure I don't pull only on the leather portion of the zipper.

I also dislike the cavenous interior. There is one tiny side pocket and it's not part of the lining so it just kinda dangles on the side. I can live with that and just use pouches to separate what I carry. Despite these issues, I'm still a fan of this bag!