VOLUSPA Black Figue & Chypre Candle | Smells Like Diptyque Baies Noir for Way Less

There’s an overflow of morning daylight shots on the blog, let’s balance it out a bit and go deeper.  Chilly ‘Ber breezes have found their way home and I’ve found a value-for-money scented candle alternative to burn versus Diptyque candles.  While I’ll never fully give up on owning Diptyque candles from time to time, Voluspa votive candles are more affordable luxury candles made in the U.S. but crafted with the same loving attention to detail, and they provide the same subtle but noticeable level of scent throw as Diptyque.

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BLACK FIGUE & CHYPRE,  12Oz Classic MAISON NOIR Candle (Php2100, Dimensione) BURN – Approx. 85-90 hrs.

A breathtaking duo of currant and black fig blended into a heart of mysterious chypre…

It looks quite swag doesn’t it?  It’s a 12 oz candle, it’s huge!  Bigger than Diptyque’s Baies Noir candle for less!  And I love how their label design is their own, very ornately classic, this Figue & Chypre one is from Voluspa’s MAISON NOIR collection which are either deep berry based, musky, or sweet and warm, perfect selections to burn in the evening during fall or a great accent to have in a bachelor pad.  I plan to own one more when I make a trip back, I want a particular one from the MAISON BLANC collection (glass also looks like this but think white) which looks more dainty and feminine.  The Voluspa MAISON BLANC collection comprises of scents that are, on the other end of the spectrum, fruity or floral and fresh…bright and perfect for a pre-springime or daytime  burn come Jan and Feb.

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To make my point quickly before rolling in the rest of the  photos, let me do a price comparison between these sizes: Diptyque’s Baies Noir Candle 10.5 oz (Baies scent in black glass) costs Php3950 (converted from $90 on website), while this VOLUSPA 120z Black Figue & Chypre (& Currant) candle which smells almost EXACTLY THE SAME AS BAIES cost me Php2100 from DimensioneThat lower price  for more at TWELVE Ounces, in an equally beautiful, tallish, ombre noir glass mug I can use for makeup brushes after.  Another price comparison, by the way for the smaller candles…Diptyque travel size candle (2.4oz): Php1400+, VOLUSPA travel size candle (2.5-2.8oz): Php695!  Do I have your attention now?  Read more to get the full review and more photos.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Benefit Holiday 2013 Plus a Pop Giveaway! | Until Oct.31! 3 They’re Real MINI Mascaras to Win!

Christmas came early this year and “Mother” Christmas was none other than the Global Beauty Authority lady for Benefit Cosmetics, Annie F. Danielson.  This was my second time to meet her, but the first time with really short hair :)  She brought us the “Whole Lotta Lovin’ ” Holiday Set for 2013 and a few other bits and bobs for Pushin & Poppin those lashes, primarily their world-famous They’re Real Mascara, of which I have 3 minis to giveaway!  Read through the post and the giveaway details are towards the end :)  Reminder this mascara giveaway is a quick one and ends in 3-4 days so there’s no better time to join than today! (Note: This Giveaway is Nationwide)

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MY LOOT: Clockwise, Benefit They’re Real Mascara, Benefit Bad Gal Waterproof Eyeliner, Benefit Hydra Smooth Lipcolor in “Dare Me”, and the “Whole Lotta Lovin’ ” Holiday 2013 Forever Flattering Makeup Kit (available from local Benefit Cosmetics counters starting NOV. 1, 2013, for PHP2000.00).

 

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I can safely suspect that this “Whole Lotta Lovin’ ” limited edition Holiday set by Benefit will sell out quickly once it hits counters this November I believe (will try to edit in the exact date).  It’s a very wearable selection of 3 of their long wearing eyeshadows: “Nude Swings”, “It’s Complicated”, and “Kiss Me I’m Tipsy”, 1 Creaseless Cream shadow in “No Pressure” (like a deeper version of “RSVP”), Benefit Boing concealer  in 02 & their best selling sculpting blush, Benefit Hoola.  You also get 2 nifty brushes for application.

 

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Now here’s the giveaway part, I’m going to choose 3 winners to win these adorable baby size versions of Benefit’s bestselling They’re Real Mascara!  Aren’t they cuuuuuute…

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What Annie told me to tell you guys is what’s cool is that you’re getting a travel size tube BUT with the full size wand.  What peeves her about travel versions of other mascaras is the downsizing of the wands which changes everything during application.  Here you get the original wand that gives you those longer, bigger lashes just as the full size product would, but in a more portable tube.  To join the giveaway just follow the 5 mandatory steps in the Rafflecopter widget below :)

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The Zara City Bag | The Office City Bag’s Demure Sister

I’m hardly ever captivated by bags on a regular basis.  I have 6, more or less, active hand/shoulder bags, (the dormant ones I have either outgrown or they’ve faded & peeled relentlessly), 7 if you count my gym bag and I don’t believe that I need a whole fleet of them.  When I first laid eyes on Anna’s (Vivianna Does Makeup) Zara OFFICE City Bag in her video quite awhile back, last February, I was fixated within seconds but though I browsed through ebay I wasn’t going to be foolish and get it for double the price.  Besides, taxes once it got here would make it so not worth the online attempt.  So I sensibly put it out of my mind for months.  It said online it was sold out everywhere abroad.  So, when I saw this Zara City Bag at GB5 yesterday (there’s 1 left in stock btw) I made it mine.  One, because I’m a fan of bags with compartments, two, I needed a black working bag that convinces people I’m out of college, and three, I’m a fan of Anna, lol.  Seriously though, the City bags in general, as Anna said don’t have a particularly eye-catching look about them, in fact for some you might think “Big, black, & cumbersome…” but what made lots of people notice Anna’s choice of purchase were really the functional compartments and also how close it looked to the Michael Kors Selma Bag.  Some were also cluelessly mistaken upon complimenting Anna on her “Prada” bag which made her laugh herself to bits, that’s what people really thought when they saw hers.  Of her own bag, the Office City, Anna narrates that it happens to be an OC person’s dream tote because of the thoughtfully included compartments and pockets.  Well I’d mistakenly thought ever since I purchased this yesterday at Zara that I had the exact same one as she did…as it turns out I didn’t get the exact-exact same one, mine’s the City not the Office City.  I wasn’t let down at all when I realized that, it’s from the same bag family, it’s the same size as hers with the same compartments, and you can hardly tell the difference.  Our bags sensibly qualify for a good round of “spot the difference” at first glance.

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Mine. Php3995.00, 3 mos. to pay

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Anna’s. £50/Php3500.00

The price hike isn’t unreasonably steep if you consider import tax.  My Zara City Bag is so similar to Anna’s Office City one that I had already “rerunned” through that video review of hers last night (I’ve embedded the vid at the bottom) while holding mine (yes, pathetically starstruck lol) and I still didn’t notice the 3-4 differences between this and that ’til the next morning.  My City is not rigid and as structured as the Office City Bag so mine screams more “business lady” rather than “business woman” and it doesn’t have piped edging, although some of you might want that piping coz it makes the bag look a bit more formidable.

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Mine, the Zara City up close.  Impressively synthesized “Saffiano” leather, unless you feel it, looks like Saffiano

A few more to note, Anna’s has extra embroidered strap detail on the joints of the bag handles but hers doesn’t have the buttoned strap that optionally adjoins the two handles, and I think hers has one or two more compartments but that’s about it.  The rest of the bag matches up, even the plum burgundy color of the inner lining is the same.  By the way the metal hardware has a gold finish, some of the color might have gotten lost in the photos when I brightened them up.  Read more to check out the photos of my own bag up close, see its inner compartments, and watch the video of Anna’s Review/What’s in My Bag post with the Zara Office City.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Hello to Happy Skin Cosmetics PH!| Featuring Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Lippies

Two women who were particularly passionate about beauty were not satisfied with affordable brands that contained many irritants or toxic ingredients that could in the long-run harm or irritate skin.  If there are organic cosmetic alternatives the payoff or textures more often than not can tend to disappoint.  Shucks, who wants to look lackluster for safety’s sake?  We’re women, we want happy skin AND exquisite color payoff, and we want our money’s worth AND pretty packaging as the cherry on top…to sum it up in four words, we want it all.  Say hello to Happy Skin Cosmetics PH, one of the few brands that excites you with thoughtful packaging & quirky names but delights you even more with the products they contain.  Just to show you how much they cared, the base products are Made in Japan, but even though the products are manufactured in multiple countries quality made to impress is consistent so we were pretty much blown away and all over the testers.

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Prettily packaged Happy Skin Cosmetics has arrived, the indie cosmetic brainchild of Jacqueline Yuengtian-Gutierrez (former personal care leader at Unilever) and  Rissa Mananquil-Trillo (former professional model).  Like all the other bloggers at the launch, I just can’t contain myself.  For now they’re currently consigned at 5 Plains & Prints outlets: Alabang Town Center, Glorietta, Megamall, Shangrila Mall & Trinoma…but in the next few weeks they’ll expand.

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Next, I am making mention of some (not all) of the products that caught our attention…including the all too familiar lip crayon dupes we just couldn’t stop playing with during the launch because of how unbelievable good they are for the price.  Read more to get to the full post and my first feature on the Shut Up & Kiss Me moisturizing lip crayons that I try on for myself.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Ever Played Around with Modiface Virtual Makeover? | Try out Looks Without the Mess

I noticed my friend backstage, Julianne, a singer/songwriter and Awit Awards winner has recently been loving playing around with this gussy up app called Modiface.  She uses it via her iPad and when you’ve got a bit of time and barefaced photos of yourself in your gallery there are thousands of possibilities when it comes to giving yourself a digital makeover.  Give it a lite go right here!  Or download it via Android’s Google play store or Apple’s app store.

 

Perhaps you’d rather not make a mess on your face but want to see possible looks you’d like to try for future occasions or events, Modiface is a great way to see how certain shades of makeup or even different colored contacts might look on you!  Check it out and save photos of yourself with different looks :).… To full post & COMMENTS...

Shiseido Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream | It Works as an Eyeshadow Primer!

I fell into being pigheaded about applying eye cream again…as usual, it’s how a lot of us feel for example about flossing.  I was using this non-greasy wonder by Shiseido Ibuki, but not everyday only because I’m bad with eye creams like that.  In my thoughts about how to get around this bad habit I made an awesome discovery…and it may not apply to all eye creams on the face of the earth but in my case this one does the job!  Provided you have an oil-free, non-greasy, hydrating eye cream, have you ever wrapped your head around the idea of using it as an eyeshadow primer?  Hear that? DING!

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“A cooling eye cream that addresses dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines. Eyes become instantly more vibrant. Helps the appearance of eye area achieve resistance to stress factors resulting from the lack of sleep.”  PRICE:  Php1800.00

I’m actually not 100% sure if this eye cream is oil-free, but whatever…IT WORKS!  What gave me this “eureka” was when I was applying NARS Pro Prime eye primer over a friend’s eyelids, and mine…and that gave the similar sort of feel over the lid to this eye cream…a quickly absorbed, slightly tacky, but not too sticky finish.  I thought “Hey, this texture reminds me a lot of…my eye cream…” and I thought let’s give this baby a test using an Urban Decay Single Eyeshadow I have called “Loaded” which is a vibrant metallic peacock turquoise.  Although Urban Decay’s LOADED is a great shade it is still quite dusty even if it is a reformulated eyeshadow of Urban Decay.  I’ve also always felt that LOADED could have more “bang” to it when applied over the lid and it would only work with a primed eye.  Check out this comparison.  Can you imagine how much more OFTEN you’d be applying eye cream without being too conscious about it if it worked this way for any eyeshadow…even dusty ones?

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I have a bare face (no foundation or concealer) and I applied the same amount of eyeshadow on both lids, but one lid is lightly primed with the Shiseido Ibuki eye cream (given a minute or 2 to absorb) and the other a bare lid.  I even tried to add more eyeshadow over the bare lid to match the payoff on the primed eye and it still, of course, couldn’t match up.  Please note that not all eye creams may work this way…especially if they aren’t oil free.  The eyeshadow didn’t ball up and so far after about an hour and a half it’s not creasing on me.  If you have extremely oily eyelids this eye cream as primer workaround may not have the same effect on you and you may need to use a specific eye primer or tone your lids beforehand.  However for normal to dry eyelids I believe the Shiseido Ibuki eye cream is a winner not just because it’s an excellent, non-irritating type but because I discovered its second purpose for me, and now I’ll be using this way more often because of what it can do.… To full post & COMMENTS...

The October Edit 2013 | Fall Brings Velvet Skin, Intensity Without the Heavy

I don’t think fall or ‘Ber season makeup needs to be taken literally.  Just because we dress heavier it doesn’t mean our faces need more makeup.  Although it is a great season for playing around with richer, deeper shades I still like to maintain a balance and in this case intensity can be found on the brows, lashes, and lips.  Velvet skin is a trend…not a rule.  Matte but fresh.  Now that I’ve completely recovered from that nasty flu I’ve put some new products to the test.  My experiment in trying to show that MAC Retromatte lipsticks like Riri Woo can be worn more than one way pretty much hit the nail on the head for this short editorial.

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The only important thing I forgot to include here was my MAC Pro Longwear bronzer in Soft Sand. CLOCKWISE: KRYOLAN HD Micro Foundation Mattifying liquid in 245, Laura Mercier Loose Mineral Powder in Natural Beige (softly over the T-zone), Revlon Lash Potion Mascara, Benefit Cosmetics Rockateur Blush, RIRI MAC Veluxe Brow Liner in “Deep Brunette”, RIRI MAC Retromatte Lipstick in “Riri Woo”.

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I won’t make this a very wordy post.  I applied my foundation on with my hands, did dab a bit of under-eye concealer with fingers, just a bit (MAC Studio sculpt).  I lightly swept my T zone and chin with Laura Mercier Mineral Powder which I’m convinced does the same thing as those Hourglass ambient lighting pressed powders, just in loose form.  Singer Julianne absolutely loves what this powder does every time I apply it on her, it’s so good that I put up with the hassle of its “looseness”, it adds light, not shimmer and natural beige works well even for someone a shade darker.

OCTedit_03I lightly contoured with my MAC Pro Longwear bronzer then proceeded to do my brows, intense but clean and constantly brushing them through with the dual end after adding strokes. I added a bit of Rockateur blush, a teensy weensy bit only on purpose just to kill any paleness from being sick, almost unnoticeable because I added only a little.   I then curled my lashes and used Revlon Lash Potion Mascara.  The focal point for the look is a Riri Woo-d lip, the lipstick is applied intensely in the center of the pout, smudged outwardly with the ring finger and then a little more foundation is dabbed around the edge of the mouth and patted inward to blend with the stain.  What do you think?  Does this look deliver enough intensity for fall without the need to go heavy with makeup?  I think it does.  This is just one way to do Fall.… To full post & COMMENTS...

The Sick Pick | 100% Pure Eucalyptus (& Sake) Cold & Flu Vapor Bath

Sick edits are having a bit of a moment worldwide I noticed, was surprised that shortly after Charlotte (Lipglossiping.com) put up a sick note to suddenly see Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup putting up a cold edit and I’m not intentionally jumping on the bandwagon either, I’ve just been really sick.  I’m not surprised the western hemisphere are having their turn with the sniffles, imagine the temperature jump from summer to fall?  That’s just crazy.  This post deserves the biggest laugh ever, simply because Mom spotted the vegan brand “100% Pure” on her layover at the San Francisco Airport and did her motherly thing to ask me “Would you like anything from here? Look at their website 100percentpure.com“.  I spotted the Eucalyptus (& Sake) Cold&Flu Vapor Bath, was intrigued by it and I wasn’t even sick when I asked for this.  This request was made while she was away, and shortly after I was beset with the worst viral flu I have ever had, as in EVER remember experiencing and hope to never have again.  What made it so terrible was the raging sore throat (which hurt all the way up to my ears), the high fever, and throbbing headaches which made me wake up 3-5 times a night.  I was medicated and it was still almost unbearable.  Mom arrives from her trip with this magic bottle in tow on the day before my fever breaks (hear Alanis singing?) and so I don’t get to use it while I’m fully sick, but I am still coughing and recovering so now will have to do.  Let me tell you, I haven’t fully submerged in this stuff yet but I just sink tested this baby in our guest bathroom to check its vapor potency (sink half full + 1 teaspoon of this) and whoa…let me say that again WHOA…

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100% Pure Eucalyptus Cold & Flu Vapor Bath (USD) $26.00/Php1100++,  118ml

3 INGREDIENTS: Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake), Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, and Limonene

APPLICATION: Shake and add 1 TABLESPOON in a tub of warm to hand hot water, whichever suits you. Stir in with your hand.

(My hot lips mueller compress bag is by Ice It Up at True Value)

Three ingredients!  That makes for a possible future DIY project I’m certainly keen to try.  What you’re seeing is a bi-phase Eucalyptus Oil and Sake formulation, you shake it up and just one  tablespoon added to hand hot bath water is enough to set up those crotchety lungs for some much needed purging.  I love that Sake is one of the base components of this, not everyone knows but premier skincare brand SK-II is formulated from sake derived extracts.  They developed SK-II after some people noticed the youthful hands of the old women working at a sake brewery.  Sake or Rice Wine has some anti-aging and of course cleansing properties.  Of course do NOT get this into your eyes while in the bath, whatever you do don’t put your whole head under once this is in your bath, just keep your head above the surface and allow the vapor to float up.    Putting just under 1 teaspoon into water in our guest bathroom sink has now made it smell like a hotel spa and you don’t just get a pleasant smell.  That nippy eucalyptus vapor zips right up your nostrils and it feels like it opens up your lungs.  It is overwhelmingly therapeutic for such a small amount.  What we’ve also now done to keep the aroma going in the restroom is we hid a mug of boiled hot water in the corner and put half a teaspoon of this stuff  into that, but even before we did, after I had sent the water down the drain in the sink the smell strongly lingered.  I put my arm into the sink to test how this would smell on the skin after.  The aroma in the vapor is different than the aroma left on the skin and that makes this product a winner for me, there’s a very, very light fresh scent left on the skin that isn’t Eucalyptus, partly sake and partly the limonene component I think.  A sensitivity note for some perhaps, not everyone reacts well to essential oils so better if you test a product like this on your hands and arms first in the sink like I did.  What I love about Eucalyptus is you get a more refreshing similar sort of medicinal aromatherapy to camphor oil without smelling too ancient?  Haha, how do I say that without offending mature readers…hey I’ll admit I still love my Efficascent Oil, I still apply that on myself during my lola moments when I’m tired or feel nauseous.  Eucalyptus as a room scent is fresher and more uplifting than camphor in my opinion.  100% Pure isn’t a brand that’s available locally but I do know a lot of you have relatives in California or the Bay Area.  This is so worth the money, unless maybe you’d like to try making your own DIY Eucalyptus bath :).  This is such a comforting product!  I can’t wait to take a full dip in it tonight, thanks, Mom!  This is actually a more affordable version of something like Aromatherapy Associates Support Peppermint & Lavender Bath Oil…if you haven’t checked out the brand 100% Pure in SFO Dutyfree or direct from their website you certainly should.

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