August empties

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Another big month for empties, especially make up, as I’m continuing to work on culling things I don’t like, don’t use, don’t want or are too old.

Organix Vanilla Silk Serum – This smells amazing and it used to be a favourite of mine. However when I wheeled it out a few weeks ago I noticed it makes my hair slightly crispy and no soft or shiny at all. I tried changing up the amount I was using but to no avail, so I’ll pass it on to a friend.

Fudge Fuel Styling Glaze – This also makes my hair feel sticky. It’s old so chucking it.

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Old Spice Shower Gel – I actually love masculine scents and the smell of Old Spice in particular, but this was pretty harsh on my skin. A bit like washing with dishwashing detergent.

Lanolips Rose Balm – This was awful. I hate hand cream so I used this on my dry legs and it pretty much did nothing. Also the smell was pretty ordinary and needs more rose, less lanolin. I have other great Lanolips stuff so this was a disappointment.

Aromatherapy Co Jet lag Essential Oil – Hahahahaha I don’t get jetlag anyway and on one trip this leaked in my bag. It’s old and has turned so I’m chucking it.

Pacifica Vanilla Island roll on perfume – Pacifica stuff always had a strange note in its scents and it can be really off putting. This is a lovely vanilla with something small wrong with it, at least on me. Giving to a friend.

MOR Cassis Noir fragrance oil – Bought this very cheap at a MOR sale and it’s just not me. Giving away.

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Shu Uemura Divine Cleansing Oil – I bought the giant bottle of this from StrawberryNet during a sale and it set me back around $80, even heavily discounted. It’s lovely to use though I found itt didn’t clear all of my eye make up and to be honest, I’m not convinced that here aren’t cheaper products that work just as well. I’m glad I tried it but I don’t think I’ll re-purchase.

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright – I didn’t love this when I first used it so it got chucked in a box and lay dormant. I pulled it out again the other day (maybe only six months after opening) and it seems to have gone off. If it hasn’t, it at least smells very bad so I’m chucking it.

SKII Facial Essence – I seemed to have accumulated lots of these mini bottles from somewhere. I don’t mind it but I don’t love it with the power of 1000 suns.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion – This I do love. The best pimple treatment EVER. My bottle it from New York three years ago and looking pretty grotty so I’m chucking it and have already bought a new one. Seriously great stuff though the calamine lotion look obviously doesn’t work for daytime.

REN Resurfacing Concentrate – I was given a heap of these samples at Sephora and finally cracked one open. It seemed to go OK, my skin felt a bit tingly and I’m guessing it’s akin to using Alpha-H Liquid Gold or similar. I’ll know more after I use it a few more times I think.

Konjac Sponge – Bought this in Japan a few years ago and it’s ready to be chucked. I quite liked it and these are worth a try if you ever come across one.

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ModelCo Eye Shadow Trio – This was a magazine freebie and I’m not keen on ModelCo stuff. Always looks good but the quality never matches. Also greys aren’t the best on me.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Highlighter Powder – I bought this from the staff shop a while back and to be honest, I have far better products so I’m giving it to a friend.

Maybelline EyeStudio Shadow in Carbon Frost – I’ve pretty much used all the pink side and aren’t a fan of the black side, so giving it away.

Almay Smart Shade Powder Blush in Coral – For ages I loved this but then I realised that the product is so sheer it never really shows on your cheek. What’s the point of that? Giving away. This would be nice if it was more pigmented.

Revlon Highlighting Palette in Rose – Glitter bomb. Giving away and warning others to steer clear.

CoverGirl Clean Glow Blusher in Roses – Can’t get this one to show up either. Giving away.

Vincent Longo Matte Powder Blush in Sandalwood – This is nice and I have no objections to it. However I have a lot of blush in this kind of shade and it’s by no means the best, so I’m giving away.

Natio Mineral Pressed Powder – This came in a GWP I think and because I don’t wear powder, I’m giving it away.

Essence Marble Mania Blush in Swirlpool – I always get sucked into the neew Essence ranges and their quirky products at cheap prices. I forget I’ve already got 40 the same at home, which was the case with this blush.

Ultraflesh Black Magic – A collection of black eyeliners given to me as a StrawberryNet GWP that I neither want nor need. Giving away.

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Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bold Gold – For some reason this just doesn’t work on me and I find it a bit glittery overall. A shame because other shades I own are fabulous. Giving away.

Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion – Just another primer, nothing special and won’t re-purchase.

Clinique Colour Surge Lip Gloss in Sugarplum – An old frosty mauve pink that’s getting chucked. If you’re doing Clinique lips these days it’s all about the Chubby Sticks.

LA Girl Metal Nail Polish – A metallic bronze that looks terrible on me. Giving away.

Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream sample – I didn’t mind this. It was light and yes, fresh so it would be great in summer. I already have about 26 other BBs/tinted moisturisers lined up though.

Nude Mineral Eye Liner in Brown – Rock hard and couldn’t get it to work. Chucking.

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara – I really came around to this and we were friends in the end, but it’s not my favourite mascara of all time. Also because of the fibres I found I had to wipe the wand a lot which was messy and time consuming. It’s not bad for a try though if you’re feeling up to the challenge and gave a fair bit of volume.

Revlon 3D Photoready Mascara – Crap. Why is it that Revlon never seems to do great mascaras? They’ve had a huge run of average ones. Thy do a damn fine lip product, nail polish and foundation so this is really letting them down.

Lancôme Cils Booster XL – This was from a pack I bought in NYC three years ago. Too old to be putting on my eyes so chucking.

Cargo Lipstick in Dubai – Nude that looks hideous on me. Giving it away.

L’Oreal Resist and Shine Polish – This is the most god awful shade of baby poo brown green and then has glitter in it. Chucking, it’s horrendous.

Revlon nail polish in Tidal Wave – This is a great polish but I’ve accumulated a heap in this kind of shade so giving away to a friend.

La extraordinaire

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I’ll start by saying this – these five tubes are probably my favourite of all my Hawaii cosmetics purchases. And probably some of the best lip products I’ve used in a long time. They’re now available in Australia so read on at your own peril…

I had seen the advertisements for the L’Oreal Color Riche Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick and they featured model Doutzen Kroes wearing simple black liquid eyeliner and the most gorgeous glossy orange lip. I was besotted with that image and I was determined that product would be in my suitcase as soon as humanly possible. It didn’t take me long to round one up – the shade is 300 Orange Tempo – and as soon as I tried it on, it was love. Big love. Not only was the colour stunning but the formula was amazing. It’s thick and plush, not sticky in the slightest, the right amount of glossy, awesome applicator and has great pigmentation. It almost feels like a gel and is super comfortable to wear.

After that it became difficult to not throw them in my shopping cart by the thousands every time I saw them. In the end I brought back five: the aforementioned orange plus 101 Rose Melody (a pale pinkish nude), 303 Rouge Allegro (strawberry pink red), 304 Ruby Opera (deep blue red) and 306 Scarlet Concerto (berry red). I love all of them though it’s worth pointing out I think the range is missing a truly great bright pink. The reds and nudes are particularly good and I can’t rave enough about how lovely these are to wear.

I’ve noted the shades and numbers above because for some reason L’Oreal has changed them for the Australian market. (Why?) Only a couple of those names exist here so hopefully the numbers give you assistance tracking down similar shades. For example I think 300 Orange Tempo has become 204 Tangerine Sonate but I haven’t been able to swatch side by side. Also these retailed for $9.95 in the US and are priced at a totally competitive (what’s the font for sarcasm again?) $21.95 here. In any case, have a look when Target or Priceline have a percentage off sale because these really are that good.

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Things I bought #95.

Schutz

I’m rushing these through because they’re super on sale at the moment and there aren’t many sizes left. I first saw the Schutz Fidji sandals on Jamie and was a little bit taken with them. My usual style runs more preppy, less boho but these were colourful and intriguing. I eventually found them on Shopbop for around $220 but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger.

Over the past few months I’ve monitored them and watched as the price dropped. I couldn’t be sure of my size though – I’m generally a 9/9.5/40 and the 9 they had in stock was compared to a 39, so I was hesitant. Because of the straps I didn’t want something too small that cut across my feet and was uncomfortable to wear.

Suddenly the other night the fashion stars aligned. They dropped to $73 and a size 10 came back in stock. Trigger pulled. They arrived on Friday and I am already kinda besotted by them. The blue and red woven strap really pops, the leather is soft and comfortable with elastic in the middle strap, and the turned heel makes them quite comfortable to wear (though they are still reasonably high). I was worried about the ankle strap cutting off my leg unflatteringly but because it’s nude, it blends in. Though they’re not my usual style I think they’ll play well with black, white, navy and khaki.

As well as the blue/red/nude version, there’s also a tan/black/white pair but again, limited sizes. I didn’t really know a lot about Schutz but they seem to do a decent mid-priced shoe and I have to say, my first experience is a good one.

Thoughts of the week – 31/8

NY Knights

1. It’s only ONE month until I go overseas. I can’t believe how quickly the time has come around. It will be the longest I’ve ever been away so I’m actually slightly nervous.

2. eBay really brings out the worst in human nature. I’ve had to deal with a couple of abhorrent people on there and it’s really put me off.

3. Though I have thoughts on Taylor Swift as a person, I quite like her new song. Jessica also pointed out this article critiquing it and it’s a fascinating read.

4. J.Crew are using the New York Knights rugby league team to help sell their new suits. Results are in the image above and I can’t say I’m displeased. In the slightest.

5. Late last year the computer I’d owned for three years started playing up. I borrowed my dad’s laptop but couldn’t figure out how to transfer my iTunes library over. Now I have a new computer I’m realising what an impost burning three years’ worth of music (300 CDs, however many individual downloaded tracks) is. And I hate it.

6. Someone found my blog this week by searching ‘sausage sandwiches’ and that makes me so proud.

7. Katy Perry at the VMAs channelling 2001 Britney and Justin in matching denim was my everything.

8. Olivia Palermo has done a small shoe range with Aquazzuro and these black and crystal heels are divine. If I was rich they’d be mine but at nearly $1900 they’re well out of my price range.

9. There are few things more infuriating than bad service.

10. Julia Louis Dreyfus was my pick for best dressed at the Emmys – that woman does not age. I swear she looks better now than she did as Elaine. I also loved Julia Roberts, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Michelle Monaghan and Lizzy Kaplan’s choices.

Time out

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Hourglass is a brand I’d heard a lot about – and a lot of good things too – but it’s so prohibitively expensive in Australia. I could never see myself laying out $50 at Mecca to trial a lipstick or $90 on a powder. I definitely had Hourglass on my list of things to hunt down at Sephora in Hawaii and have a play around with.

I ended up with two pieces, the Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light and a mini size of the Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon. I really wanted the kit with the trio of powders but couldn’t find it anywhere, so I settled for Dim Light on its own. This seemed to be the one that was less a highlight or contour but rather an overall face powder designed to blur imperfections and give you the look of airbrushed skin. I’m not a big powder wearer in the first place but anything that promises the perfect complexion will always pique my interest.

I know the powders get a lot of raves but I’m ambivalent about it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to use and it looks lovely enough but I’m certainly not blown away by the results. Not enough to determine this as a must have anyway. The texture is finely milled, buttery soft and easy to apply so quality definitely isn’t an issue. I like wearing it at night when I’m going out somewhere and it is a really subtle way to add some extra glow and mattify your skin.

There’s no two ways about the Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick though – it’s absolutely killer. A true Hollywood movie star blue red, it applies beautifully as a cream then sets to a matte finish. It’s so richly pigmented and gives such a gorgeous look that’s its become one of my favourite reds. Also it underlines just why I adore Sephora because I picked up the mini size for a mere $10. Money well spent and if you are looking for a new red lip then definitely add this one to your list of products to try.

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What I’m reading next – August 2014

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So I went ahead and did it, I bought Gone Girl on the strength of the intriguing movie preview. I think I’m probably the last person in the world to have a crack at reading Gillian Flynn’s best seller. At present I’m about halfway through and have quite enjoyed it (good Lord those characters are thoroughly unlikeable though!) and I have a confession to make. I skipped ahead so I know the twist. Yeah, I know but I just can’t help myself.

Another book that’s been filmed is Outlander by Diana Galbadon and by all accounts the series is pretty good. The book is ENORMOUS and tells the story of Claire and her husband who go on a holiday to Scotland after WWII. Claire was a war nurse and spent quite a bit of time away from him so the trip is about them reconnecing. Somehow while they are on their holiday she travels back in time to the Scotland of 1743 where she is an English outsider who must seek protection amongst a Scottish clan. This clan includes one Jamie Fraser and after they are forced to marry, she is torn between her old love and a new one. Interesting premise and another highly popular book.

I also bought Nate Berkus’ Things That Matter after holding it on my Book Depository wish list for a long time. It’s a beautiful interiors book that shows how people build a home that has their own personal sense of style imbued throughout. I do love a good coffee table book and I’m excited to spend some quality time with this one.

Five reasons to visit New York

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New York, New York, a wonderful town…

When I visited New York for the first time, I expected it to be life changing. I’m not sure why – I’d been plenty of other places and come back as little old me but for some reason I thought the Big Apple would be different. It wasn’t. It’s a great city and there’s so much to do and see however I think I probably overplayed it a little bit in my head and was let down as a consequence. I’ll also fully admit I wasn’t the super planner I am now when I visited so I kinda feel like NYC is a missed opportunity in some ways. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back.

New York is definitely a city you need to visit at least once in your life time. Manhattan is tiny and therefore infinitely walkable, so everything feels like it’s right within arm’s reach. The shopping is easily the best in the world and the food and museums are pretty great too. Trust me, if you want it then NYC probably has it.

1. The shopping

I cannot rave enough about this. For a starters, US shopping is the best and then you pack the best of that into a couple of square miles and it’s heaven. Chain retailers like J.Crew, Gap, Zara, Old Navy, Madewell, Joe Fresh, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Club Monaco, the dazzling array of drug stores, designer boutiques, department stores from Macys through to Bloomingdales, Bendels and Barneys – it’s all fantastic and the prices are generally great for Australians, even with a fluctuating dollar. Plus no trip to New York would be complete without a souvenir from Tiffany, bought from the flagship in the shadow of Central Park.

2. Brooklyn Bridge

The walk over this iconic bridge is a good one plus it’s easy and not too long. It’s such a great spot for photos of the city and souvenir snaps of yourself on the bridge. When you arrive in Brooklyn it’s a little bit of a walk to anywhere interesting but it’s definitely worth setting aside at least half a day to walk over and see what all the fuss is about (plus Brooklyn has Target!).

3. Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA)

My favourite modern art museum in the world. It’s a joy to look through and has an enormous collection of work to keep you occupied. I was pretty disappointed with the Met (beautiful but boring) and this kinda revived my love for NY museums. Warhol, Pollock, Lichtenstein, Matisse, Rothko, Mondrian, Picasso and so much more in a really easy to navigate building. The museum store is amazing and worth a visit while you’re there. MoMA is also close to Rockefeller Center (so you can do Top of the Rock), a Magnolia Bakery and a J.Crew so you can eat and look good after you visit.

4. Breakfast at Balthazar

This came recommended to me by a friend and now I’m passing it on to you. Balthazar is a bit of a cult hero on the New York restaurant scene, somewhere elegant and fancy. However they do a fantastic breakfast and so you get to enjoy all that wonderful ambience at a far lower cost. I had one of the best breakfasts of my life there – sour cream waffles – and so I recommend it to anyone paying a visit. Plus you can walk it off in Soho afterwards and check out all the cool shops.

5. The Highline

The Highline was listed in my travel guide but I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t stayed right alongside it in Chelsea then I probably would have passed. Which is a shame because a Highline walk is one of NYC’s underrated gems. It’s a disused railway line that has been converted into a garden and it’s a little slice of heaven running above the city. There’s plenty of places to stop and rest or take happy snaps and it truly is one of the loveliest places in the city. Sure, Central Park is totally charming but the Highline’s quiet elegance and hidden location gives it that little something extra.

PS I also have a full list of NYC tips here.