Sunday, June 30, 2013

TRAVEL: Taiwan 2 Day 2

So... My first travelogue was a complete failure. Being a Virgo, I wanted everything to be perfectly comprehensive but then, I got bored with myself. So this one is going to be a lot different; quite possibly like how I do my cue cards. But I hope you still get to 'discover' a few cool places and make Taiwan your next escapade. Again, please take note that M and I aren't really sight-seeing people. Very shallow of us, I know but... What to do. *shrugs*

Winter placed many cross-outs on our Taiwan to-do list so M and I decided to make a trip back, when said country was clothed in Summer's warmth. Just like the previous time, we Scoot-ed there and stayed in the same hotel, Star Beauty Resort. The hotel's really near Shilin Night Market and though service was pretty alright (Not as stellar as the previous time.), we won't be patronizing it anymore. It's time to move on. *nods*

We reached Taoyuan Aiport Terminal 1 at around 6am. The whole day was pretty much spent being zombies. We walked around Taipei Main Station, picked up some really cheap toiletries (I don't use hotel soaps.), slept till 8pm and then, 'partied' the night away at Shilin Night Market.

On the second day, M wanted to drop by Zara to get some work clothes. The nearest station is Zhongxiao Dunhua (Blue line).

We all know Taiwan's milk teas are beyond awesome. Sadly, the same can't be said for their matcha lattes/ green teas. This is one of the 3 matcha lattes/ green teas I tried before giving up.

TADAHHH! One of the 3 Zaras in Taipei! According to M (Yes, boyfriends are price-sensitive.), the brand's a lot cheaper here. Very unfortunately, for him, there is such a thing as being too skinny. The wide widths of the pants just didn't work for him. However, very fortunately, for his girlfriend, she had no such problems and proceeded to spend about 3 hours there? The queue for the fitting rooms was very long...

Haha. I'll show you my loot when I have washed and ironed it. Alternatively, you can hop on over to my Instagram for a sneak peek!

Ended ourmy shopping trip with some tea at a nearby Japanese café, Ueshima Coffee Lounge.

M loves waffles like I love shopping. And nothing beats waffles WITH ice-cream for him. Unfortunately, for him again, the right snowball was whipped cream (Sorry, boyfriend, but HAHA.) and the middle one was red bean ice-cream (We both HATE red beans.).

My favourite boy. (:

I had a rose milk tea latte and pudding of some sort. Just alright. I'm starting to think that I don't appreciate tea (As in the meal.) items in general.

We ended the evening with a trip to Breeze Center. It is a pretty pricey departmental store but I was there for...

Level 6! This is where we ladies can get all the Lady First items (Though prices are a tad higher.). There are other cool stuff too, like weighing machines that tell you the types of fats you have got, portable massages of all sorts, baking stuff, plants, luggage... Photos aren't allowed to be taken though.

And yay, that's the end of our (boring) 2nd day!

No. 201, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road
Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan

No. 199, Section 1, Dunhua South Road
Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106

No. 39, Section 1, Fuxing South Road
Songshan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 105


Thursday, June 27, 2013

REVIEW: SK-II's Cellumination Essence EX

Back in May, SK-II invited me to take part in the 'Foundation: Got or Not?' Blogger Challenge. Spanning over a period of 4 weeks, I was provided a bottle of the Cellumination Essence EX to try out. It has been more than a month now and I'm ready to share with you my results. (:

SK-II's Cellumination Essence EX is a potion that delivers brilliant, translucent aura skin, by improving both the RGB balance and RGB variance. Formulated with the Aura-bright Cocktail with Pixel White, it evens out texture and tone from the micro-level, treating pigmentation and increasing the plumpness of our skin.

Pixel White is responsible for the former; it blocks skin's stress receptors that are responsible for causing pigmentation. The latter is the work of 3 other key ingredients; Pitera, De-Melano P3C and Talape-white. All these work towards skin that's crystal clear and aura-bright... Even at a close range of 20cm!

After cleansing and applying the Facial Treatment Essence, warm up your hands by rubbing them together. Then, take 2-3 drops of the Cellumination Essence EX and spread them on your face, from inside to outside and from bottom to up. Run your fingers across your face and press gently to increase blood circulation.

The opaque white essence is housed in a 30ml jar. It is milky and spreads out easily. Absorbed by the skin quickly, it leaves behind a very thin layer which doesn't stay for too long. The skin feels smooth and hydrated. I apply Stempower thereafter.

Just like the previous blogger challenge for the Stempower (Click here to read!), I went for the Magic Ring Counselling before and after embarking on the challenge.

The above's my results for 'before'. I was trying out some new products at that time and they weren't exactly hydrating. Hence, the dismal results. :\ My skin had the health of a 26-year old's. That's 2 years more than what I actually am!!! Oh, gloom!

And here are the results at the end of the challenge. They aren't exactly as stellar as my Stempower's results but notable improvements were made! My skin was finally that of a 24-year old! :D

A side-by-side comparison shows that my Firmness Power, Wrinkle Resilience, Spot Control and Radiance Enhancement all saw quite significant jumps! Unfortunately, my Texture Refinement dropped. :\ The beauty consultant and I talked about it and we gathered that late nights were wrecking havoc on my skin. She gave me samples of Facial Treatment Repair C to help rectify it. (:

And here's how my skin look more than a month later (A week before and this Tuesday!) I have on very light makeup and my skin looks pretty radiant and glowing!

My texture still isn't very good... I just got back from a 9-day trip to Taiwan. Every night, M and I hung out at the night markets till about 1am and only hit the sack around 2.30am (Suppers are very important!). Eeps! Work starts next week so hopefully, healthier sleeping habits will solve that!

Do give SK-II's Cellumination Essence EX a shot and perhaps, take the challenge as well? (: SK-II's ever-friendly beauty consultants are always ready to help with your queries. At the same time, if you have any questions for me, just leave a comment and drop me an email. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. :D Cheers to aura-bright, crystal clear and translucent skin!


Monday, June 24, 2013

REVIEW: Enavose's Swiss Glacial Loose Powder SPF 15

Enavose is becoming quite a favourite of mine with its 'no parabens, no SLES (Sodium lauryl ether sulfate.), no mineral oils and no allergenic fragrances' policy. The skincare products that I have used so far have worked really well for me (Click here to read!), so you can imagine how very pleased I was (And surprised!) to find out that the brand was adding a range of makeup to the family!

Enavose's Swiss Glacial Loose Powder SPF 15 comes in just one shade, 01 Nude Glow, and is one of the star products of the makeup range. Consisting of 50% water, it is a skin-loving hydra powder that provides a cool, dewy finish. The finely-milled powder contains millions of Hydra-Spheres-Release. Upon application, these water-filled spheres gradually release pure Swiss Glacial Water into our skin throughout the day.

The powder also acts as a mattifying powder. It absorbs excess oil, while providing a light, sheer coverage to enhance our complexion. Reflective mineral pigments are also added. They diffuse light, masking pores and balancing irregular skin surface in the process. All these add up to a complexion that is radiant and luminescent!

24 Hours Hydra-Release: The encapsulated beads of Swiss Glacial Water, Hydra-Spheres-Release, gradually pop to maintain deep hydration levels from within. Skin's moisture barrier remains boosted for 24 hours.

Ultra Cooling Sensation: Provides a crisp, cooling sensation to keep skin feeling fresh and comfortable. Perfect for days when heat fatigue strikes.

Reflective Effect: Reflective mineral pigments diffuse light to balance out irregular surfaces and cover pores. Attain a look of elusive dewiness that glows with luminosity.

Natural Lightweight Coverage: Completely free of oil, this lightweight powder provides sheer, translucent coverage for a natural finish. Perfect for days when you want to be a barefaced beauty, or for use as a finishing powder. No fuss, no hassle. The universal shade, Nude Glow, flatters and suits every skin tone.

The loose powder comes equipped with a white puff. It feels very soft on the skin and doesn't cause any abrasions. Sitting on top of the powder is a white plastic net and a (styrofoam?) protective cover. The latter prevents the powder from getting onto the puff but I find it a tad troublesome. Careless me dropped it onto the floor pretty quickly so I just chucked it away. It would be better for the little jar to come attached with a flip cover instead... For the butter fingers anyway. Heh.

Here's the white plastic net. To get the powder onto the puff, all you need to do it to remove the protective cover, put the puff in, cap the jar and flip it down and up. Just the right amount of powder will collect onto the puff!

As you dust the powder onto your face, you can actually feel the encapsulated beads releasing their Swiss Glacial Water content; there is a very cooling and refreshing feeling. It's supposed to give a dewy finish but perhaps it was because I was using powder on powder, the finish that I got was rather matte. Hence, it wasn't exactly hydrating for my parched cheeks. I do, however, love this very much on my T-zone and forehead because it keeps these areas matte for a good 6 hours.

Coverage is sheer, as described, and a subtle luminescence was added to my complexion. I have been using this for the past 3 weeks or so and have encountered no irritations on my sensitive skin. (:

Right now, Enavose's Swiss Glacial Loose Powder SPF 15 is available at a promotional price of $29.90 (U.P. $39.50) and can be found at the following places:

Concept Store: Suntec City Mall, Tower 3, #02-079/081
Online: (Free shipping islandwide!)

There is also a complementary top-up deal where you get 25% off if you grab a Velvet Hydrating Liquid Foundation and a Black Tea Quench Mask or 15% off for either item. Alternatively, if you were to order the powder online, you get a complimentary travel-sized Black Tea Quench Mask. Both promotions end on July 16th, 2013. (:

VMV Hypoallergenics' Illuminants Brilliant Finish (SPF) 25 Powder Foundation (Macadamia)
Enavose's Swiss Glacial Loose Powder SPF 15 (01 Nude Glow)

Novalash's Eyelash Extensions

NARS' Mata Hari blush
Clé de Peau Beauté's Luminizing Face Enhancer (No. 12)

NARS' Catfight lipstick


REVIEW: Etude House's May Pink Box

I literally just got back from Taiwan this morning, at 6.30am. Still a tad brain dead but blogging is like my life and while the occasional breathers are good, I'll always want to jump right back into it. And I'm starting my first post-hiatus jump with Etude House's May Pink Box, which I received in the early weeks of June. Thanks Julie! :D

Previously, I showed you Etude House's Color Pop Collection for the nails (Click here!). Now, it's time for makeup!

The Color Pop Drawing Show Creamy Pencils come in 10 poppin' colours and my pencils are in the shades PK103 and OR202. The former's a rosy salmon pink with shimmers and the latter's a matte light carrot orange. Both glide across my skin pretty smoothly and once they dry, they become stubborn mules; no smudging and no fading. Impressed much?

The bright and cheery colours make a great break from the sea of black, shimmery black, navy blue, forest green and the (boring) ilk but truthfully, they are a tad difficult to wear. BUT this doesn't mean that you can't still have fun with them! You can tightline with black, use the colours on top of it (Your lash line.) and throw on copious amount of black mascara. Alternatively, wear a black liner on top of your eyes and a coloured one at the bottom!

Color Pop Shine Tint in #02 Sunny Pop on the left and Color Pop Dear My Lips-Talk in OR217 on the right! The tints come in 10 shades and the lipsticks, in 5.

Color Pop Shine Tint in #02 Sunny Pop is a tangelo orange in the bottle but sheers out to a more wearable orange on the lips. I find most lip tints drying and sadly, this isn't an exception. What I do to combat the dryness is to apply my lip balm, let it 'set in', blot off the excess and then, apply my lip tint. I start in the middle with the brush applicator and use my fingers to sheer it out to the sides.

Color Pop Dear My Lips-Talk in OR217 is an orange shade that's almost the same as the Color Pop Drawing Show Creamy Pencils in OR202; a matte light carrot orange. Though it comes with great pigmentation, this is, unfortunately, very drying for me. The lipsticks are supposed to have the innocent 'just bitten' look, which isn't very flattering to me (It looks like I haven't touched water in days!). If you are on the same wavelength as me, do load up on the lip balm before wearing this. BUT if you are into the whole Korean scene then, well, you know where to go for your next lipstick hunt!

Here are the swatches. Scent-wise, they are pleasant, light and don't linger.

I do believe the collection's out in our stores now. Do drop by and take a look! :D


Thursday, June 13, 2013

HAUL: Shiseido's Private Sale 2013

Every sale is a mental and physical battle for me (And for many others, I believe.). Attending this year's Shiseido Private Sale was definitely not on my agenda for this very busy week. But after reading Sophia's haul post here, I couldn't help but think about all that I was missing out. I mean, c'mon! There's NARS!!!

A quick text was sent to Kim and I found out that she and Jo were making their way down but still, I dithered. I spent the night weighing the good and the bad with M (I know, our conversations are incredibly exciting.), whilst battling Math questions.

Morning came and quite frankly, like the beauty junkie that I wasam, I barely slept. My head was wrapped around Math, getting As and embarrassingly, makeup. Actually, a large part of my thoughts were preoccupied with makeup. I mean, c'mon! There's NARS!

After pulling myself out of my poor slumber, I stayed on my bed for the longest time, hoping time will pass so quickly that it would be way past 10am and the queue would be as long as a dragon's tail. Unfortunately, the gods love to tease us human beings. In a mere 20 minutes, I found myself out of the house, cursing the local train system and on my way to meet Kim and Jo. And... And then, the rest is history.

Regretfully and guiltily, I present you my horridly-not-so-humble loot.

And it doesn't just end here. I got myself Tsubaki hair products as well, which are completely justified buys because I have been using the brand since I was in junior college. *nods* For those who are interested, the sale carries on today, until 8pm. The items are periodically restocked but there's no telling what and when.

1 Grange Road, #12-01
Orchard Building

NAILS: Etude House's Color Pop Collection

This summer, Etude House explodes into a vibrant mess of colours. And it would almost be a crime if nail polishes were excluded from this collection. But fortunately, there are 10 of them in various shades of green and blue. They are described as 'radiant, vibrant colors' and having a 'soft and smooth texture'.

In my June Pink Box, I received 4 shades and they are (from left to right) CBL604, CBL601, CGR701 and CGR704.

(from left to right) CGR704, CGR701, CBL601 and CBL604

The nail polishes went on smoothly. 1 coat saw some streaks in the lighter shades. In the above shot, 2 coats were applied to achieve opaqueness.

CGR701 and CBL601 look really similar but in real life, CBL601 has more blue and resembles the colour teal. CGR701 highlights the yellow undertones of my skin... Not exactly flattering but I can see myself creating some really cool abstract nail art with it. And finally, CBL604 is my absolute favourite! Not a unique shade but definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Alrighty, thanks for reading! And yay, it's almost Friday! :D


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

FOOD: The Halia at Raffles Hotel

The Halia at Raffles Hotel is the sibling of the award-winning Halia at Singapore Botanic Garden. Opened last November the restaurant sits in the premises of the old Seah Street Deli. I dropped by the restaurant for a food tasting session at the end of April. Coincidentally, it marked the end of the first month of work for me. So yay, it made a really satisfying celebration... For the tummy!

This celebration wouldn't have been made possible without Fel dear and LeRoy from Food News. Thanks so much, you two!

The restaurant can house as many as 100 famished tummies. Dotted with lush greenery, plush red sofas and wooded tables, it has a really relaxed ambiance. The flooring reminds me of American Soda Fountains (Think: Pop Tate's Chocklit Shoppe from Archie Comics.). 'Tis the perfect hangout for family and friends!

Unlike the branch at Singapore Bontanic Garden, The Halia at Raffles Hotel offers a weekend brunch specials menu during the weekends (Of course!) and on public holidays. Frequent changes are made to it to kill monotony and to cater to our ever-demanding appetites.

Besides this, there is also the à la carte one, which is available throughout the day. (:

The food tasting session kicked off with sides from the à la carte menu. We first had the Potato fries, truffle aioli & piquant mayo ($8). For the uninitiated, truffle aioli (The white dip!) is a French dip that is frequently used for fries. It is very similar to mayonnaise, in terms of texture, but with more flavour (More citrusy!). The taste of the truffle oil was detectable; strong but not too overwhelming.

I'm not sure what exactly went into this orange dip but the typical piquant mayo is made with red/ black pepper and hot sauce. Hence, this was spicy... But just a tad! I usually give 'spicy' a wide berth, but this was manageable and I actually preferred it to the former!

Next came a plate of Polenta coated asparagus, with basil lemon mayo ($9). Polenta is grounded corn and this was generously dusted around each crispy strand of asparagus. This dish was akin to eating 'healthy chips' and I loved the light polenta coating (Breadcrumbs usually get me jaded after a few bites.)! The basil lemon mayo was a great pairing, adding the perfect touch of tanginess.

A glass of refreshing Halia Berry Mint ($12) was my choice of comma in the string of food dishes. It was a spritely concoction of ginger, mint leaf, fresh blueberry and well, sprite. Sure provided me a great respite from the heat!

And now, for the mains from the brunch specials menu! The Grilled breakfast with any style eggs (Fried, poached, omelette or scrambled) ($23) makes a hearty meal for any time of the day. We had it with poached and scrambled eggs. The poached eggs were nicely done, breaking apart to form a nice and runny pool of gold. The scrambled eggs were adequately fluffy. Both sat well on top of the slightly charred toast.

The sausages were firm and tasty and was a nice salty addition to the meal. Mushrooms were delightfully juicy (I wish the portion wasn't so paltry! But then again, they are just the sides. I do adore my mushrooms very much!) and didn't have the too-raw-taste-like-soil taste.

Okay, now for the bacon strips. I usually eschew them because often, they are either slabs of oil or pieces of salty cardboard crisps. But after much encouragement from Fel, I tried the last mouthful and gosh! THESE bacon strips were THE bacon strips. I have been looking for them all my life (Granted that I hardly touch bacon. But still.)! They had just the right amount of oil so that they weren't crisps but actual pieces of juicy meat and they were SWEET and incredibly yummy! *draws three stars*

The White bean Iberico chorizo leek stew ($16) is a bowl of smoked chipotle sauce, tomato and fine herbs, topped with a sunny side up. An interesting dish with flavours bursting in every corner. Unfortunately, I don't quite fancy tomato-based dishes so ummm... I can't really judge this fairly.

My favourite dish is the Sous-vide wagyu rump cap ($36). Thick slabs of succulent beef sat on truffle mash that was so sweet and heavenly! I kept going "I really love this mashed potato!" like a broken record. I mean, I have never tasted mashed potato like this before! And I really love potatoes too!

But yes, of course I love the beef slices as well! They were tender and a joy to chew. This dish stayed in my head for weeks! And I amwas not even a fan of beef!

Midway through the session, the (very cute) chef appeared and surprised us all with a plate of fresh Irish oysters! Unfortunately, I'm a little like Parker, Phoebe's love interest in S08E18 of 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S' when it comes to oysters so...

It was really quite a waste because these were specially flown in that morning and the (very cute) chef specially included them into the session. Eeps! :\ But I felt a little better after he admitted that he wasn't a fan of oysters either. Heh.

Every meal must end on a sweet note and that was what we did! Except that we ended on 3 sweet notes. We first had the very fluffy Pancakes ($12). It came with interesting bricks of bacon butter, fresh strawberries and purée, which was eagerly drizzled all over. Pancake lovers will definitely want to check this out... Just because of the bacon butter!

The Sticky chocolate brownie ($12) was escorted by a scoop of crème brûlée ice-cream and passionfruit sauce. The brownie was chock-full of chocolate goodness and wasn't too heavy. The escorts were unusual for me but they complemented the brownie very well.

Last but not least, we had the Sticky toffee pudding ($10). This came waddling in butterscotch sauce and sat under a vanilla scoop. It must be a sight to behold for chocolate lovers but it was a tad too sweet for me and was rather overwhelming. Perhaps it was because I was completely stuffed already!

Often, great ambiance does not come with great food. But The Halia at Raffles Hotel proves to be an exception, albeit pricey. I thoroughly enjoyed the mains... So much so that I brought the siblings and the boyfriend there for a treat (After payday! Haha.).

The brother and boyfriend liked their Grilled breakfast with eggs. And the sister and I (OF COURSE!) got the Sous-vide wagyu rump cap. However, I thought the beef slices were tougher than I remembered. But anyway, we ordered the Potato fries, truffle aioli & piquant mayo and a couple of drinks too. The total bill was about $180.

The Halia at Raffles Hotel, as aforementioned, is a great and convenient place for people seeking quality food. It is also relatively quiet and so, makes a great environment for heartfelt conversations. (: Do check out the place, especially during weekends and on public holidays for the exclusive weekend brunch specials menu! Hope this review has been helpful. (: Happy Tuesday, people!

1 Beach Road
#01-22/23 Raffles Hotel
Tel.: 96391148
© xoxo, charlene. All rights reserved.
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