Tag Archives: strawberryNET

Things I love #7.

L-R: Red Square, Dragon Girl, Cruella, Damned.

L-R: Red Square, Dragon Girl, Cruella, Damned.

Swatches same order as above.

Swatches same order as above.

It started with one. A cool lipstick-wearing friend told me of her love for NARS Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil and when I found out it was J.Crew el presidente Jenna Lyons’ number one choice for a red lip then I had to get it. Who doesn’t want to look like a preppy, carefree babe from a J.Crew catalogue? So I got it and I was hooked. Great, bright, red-orange colour, easy to apply pencil, gorgeous but non-drying matte finish and lasts for days on the lips.

So of course that experience turned into internet searching for swatches of other colours turned into stalking StrawberryNet turned into buying the raspberry coloured Dragon Girl. A beautiful pink-red that manages to brighten your face (and teeth) perfectly without overwhelming your face. Everyone looks better in Dragon Girl.

When NARS was recently re-stocked on StrawberryNet – so sue me, I’m not willing to pay Aussie prices – I grabbed the last two pencils I wanted, Cruella and Damned. Cruella is a deep true red that leans slightly blue but doesn’t have the pink that Dragon Girl has. This is a serious night on the town red. Damned is a berry colour but not so dark and deep that it’s unwearable. I can see myself wearing this quite a bit come winter.

All of them are exceptionally good quality and the colours are just gorgeous. As I said, they are also pretty non-drying for a matte and don’t tend to end up in crusty balls at the corners of your mouth, or fade away in weird patches.

Did I need all four of them? Probably not. But I absolutely love them.

Work fragrance – Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Au The Rouge

No tea for me.

Look at that title – isn’t it a mouthful? The perfume however is so nothing so complex. It smells like tea. And really, mostly just tea. Maybe a spicier tea like a lapsang souchong rather than an earl grey, but tea nonetheless.

Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Au The Rouge was a StrawberryNET blind buy for me. I love the smell of fig and when I was wasting away some time looking up fragrances with fig notes in them, this came up. Let me assure you, it smells nothing like fig and I can’t even pick out the fig note in it. Fragrantica lists the notes as pink pepper, orange, bergamot, red tea, fig, walnut and musk. It smells like tea. Safe to say I was a little bit disappointed.

I don’t drink tea in any form so I wouldn’t say I was a big fan of this frangrance, nor do I tend to go for any of the other Bvlgari tea scents or Elizaberth Arden green tea range. That said, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from colleagues on this and they say it smells lovely. I’m non-committal – I smell like a tea pot. It is an incredibly light and inoffensive scent so if you do know someone who loves tea, this could make for a great gift. Meanwhile I think I’ll just stick with my spicy woods and vanillas.

I am titanium

I am a firm believer in matching my make up to my outfit. No silly, not the kind of matching where you wear the same colour lipstick as your dress, but rather if I’m wearing grey then I won’t wear brown eyeshadow. If I’m wearing brown, then no grey. Just making sure everything is streamlined.

I have a bronzey Stila eyeshadow trio that takes care of my everyday browns, however I’ve chopped and changed a bit with the greys. The Maybelline Eye Studio duo in Carbon Frost is outstanding with a real depth to the marbled pink and a touch of shimmer in the charcoal, but I wanted something a bit different for spring. I came across the Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colour on StrawberryNet not long ago for a mere $10 each and decided to give them ago.

Ooh shiny.

After some Google Image research, I picked Titanium which is a shimmery purplish grey that seems to have quite a platinum undertone. Good for wearing with grey. It has quite a thick creamy texture but softens and blends out very easily on your fingers and eyelids. I just use my hands to apply and I find it easy to get a sheer wash or I let a first coat dry then apply a second for more colour. It also makes a fantastic base for a grey or plum smoky eye look.

I use mine with an eyelid primer but still find the Metallic Creme Eye Colour struggles to last a full eight hours at work without some decent creasing. It’s definitely not long lasting but the tiny 8.5g tube is easy to cart around for top ups and it’s longevity is improved when using it with powder shadow on top. All up I am pretty impressed with my $10 spend because it really is a very pretty colour.

There’s around 6-8 shades in the Metallic Creme Eye Colour range and I’d be happy with owning any of them. The metallics are subtle rather than sparkly and bring that Laura Mercier chic to any eye look.

Our mutual friends

I am known in my office as the girl who knows stuff. And by stuff, I mean where to buy shit. And by shit, I mean cheaper clothes and make up online. Today my friends were talking about buying True Relion jeans from Myer, a snap at just over $400 a pair. “Well,” I said, “have you heard about Shopbop?” So I tapped in the address and lo and behold, TR for at least $100 cheaper PLUS free shipping.

Once you bop you can't stop.

Let me clarify something – I’ve never actually purchased from Shopbop so I can’t make any assurances as to the quality of their service. But I have spent many an hour poring over their excellent range of stock, expertly compiled Lookbooks and they do a great daily email. If you’re into that hella good So-Cal style then this is the perfect site for you. Think draped t-shirts, skinny leg cargos, Juicy Couture. Free shipping is undeniably a bonus and given they promise to get it to you in three days, it would be great for a special occasion outfit. You can check out the site at www.shopbop.com

They're still sending the best of the UK to Australia...

One site I can vouch for is www.ASOS.com which is a UK fashion retailer. The selection of stock is excellent, the prices are fantastic and the recent sale was just beyond. I bought a black waterfall cupro trench and I have a pink silk unstructured blazer and white midi dress – both perfect for summer – on the way. Both orders cost me less than $100, with my trench arriving in a around a week on the $20 general delivery option. The range is excellent and the site features its own brand as well as some hard-to-find-in-Australia labels such as Disney Couture. ASOS also do makeup and again, plenty that you can’t buy locally.

This site is berry berry nice.

My first online shopping love was www.StrawberryNET.com and I’m still a huge fan. Their service is brilliant and when an order recently got lost in transit, they were nothing but helpful. I’ve bought quite a bit from the site over the past months – postage is free and it always arrives within a few days. They do great specials and it’s worth signing up as they do a percentage off the more orders you do.

I love reading about what online shopping websites people have great success with or can recommend to others. It’s great that more and more sites are happy to ship to Australia and once Sephora, Banana Republic and Old Navy start then I’ll be a very happy girl indeed.

Price of beauty

In my household, I am the magazine queen. I have always loved them, right from my very first Alison Brahe-covered Dolly magazines in the early 90s, to the Mia Freedman-Paula Joye dynasties at Cosmopolitan and Cleo respectively, to the copies of Madison and Shop Til You Drop I buy today. There’s always a spare Grazia or 10 lying around at our place and I regularly donate bagfuls of older mags to a friend who is quite happy to have them, despite the pages I tear out for my look books.

One thing that annoys my flatmate though is when she’s reading a great magazine and sees something she likes at a good price, only for me to say “sorry honey, that’s a US magazine.” I’m particularly fond of Allure magazine and have every issue since Geri Halliwell appeared on the cover in November 1998. I have every Australian InStyle published and buy the US version every month as well. And Lucky, Allure’s retail driven sister, is also a must-buy 12 times a year. Sure, they’re all expensive but they are exceptionally good quality magazines.

Aside from coveting clothing I’ll never have the opportunity to purchase, international magazines often inspire significant cosmetic jealousy in me. For a beauty buff, there’s nothing better than seeing new or limited edition ranges rolling on to the shelves. I still remember when Maybelline did colour collections and beautiful ads with Christy Turlington – now, they’ll do a new product every few months but by the time it gets to Australia I’ve been reading about it for half a year in the US glossies.

The Covergirl products that feature Drew Barrymore as spokesface are case in point. I waited, waited, waited for the Lash Blast, Lush Blast Luxe, Lash Blast Length and now Lash Blast Fusion mascaras to arrive on our shores. Same to with other lip glosses, blushes and eyeshadows. It’s just not fair. But the worst part of it is that when they do arrive, I’ll probably pay twice as much as Americans do for them.

I get that Australia is on the other side of the world. But please, tell me how a Maybelline Colour Sensational lipstick can cost US$6 there then almost AUD$17 here? I does not cost around $10 to ship each of those babies down under! We pay more for chemist brands and we pay more for department store/prestige brands. Another case in point: Clinique lip smoothies that cost nearly 40 bucks here retail for under $20 (Australian dollars) in the US. What is that?! I know we make up junkies all use StrawberryNET and other sites these days for a discount cosmetics fix but nothing beats walking into a shop and trying something out. If I’m going to pay $50 for a Chanel Coco Rouge lipstick it better be damn perfect; if I’m looking at $32 then definitely count me in for a try. But it shouldn’t cost $18 to test a lipstick.

Why do we let Australian retailers get away with it? How can we even stop it? I’m all for buying local and supporting Australian business but this is a joke.

Tonight, I did a little test. Take the brand NARS. Very luxe, very dreamy make up in exquisite colours. Their multiple tints are known for their quality the whole world over. On StrawberryNET, you can pick up St Barts, Cap Verte, Malaysia or Rapa Nui for AUD$42 (shipping from Hong Kong is free). I had a look on the Nordstrom site – AUD $45.16 for one of around 15 colours (shipping from the US, unsure of price). If you want to buy local from Mecca Cosmetica it will set you back AUD $89 – more than twice the next expensive – plus $10 postage to buy one in any of the dozen or so colours featured. Mad props to Mecca, who brought many of these brands to Australia when no one else was doing it, but I find the situation nonsensical now.

I found out Nordstrom was now shipping to Australia via another blog, Gold Dusk: http://golddusk.blogspot.com/ and decided to take a look. I’d heard of Nordstrom, knew it was a big US department store in the style of David Jones or Myer but wasn’t really that familiar with it. Pretty much love at first click. They have a brilliant range of premium beauty brands at jaw dropping prices. They have all the limited edition products and new ranges you could want. They have things that we JUST CAN’T BUY HERE AT ALL. Estee, Nars, Clinique, Essie, Lancome, Chanel, Dior and much, much, much more at the far better US prices and it is converted on the site to AUD$. I wasted a good couple of hours just drooling over the possibilities, including this Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess liquid eyeshadow in Ultra Violet for AUD$20.80. Madness. I think I’m going to do a test order just to see how much they charge for shipping etc. And damn I look good in purple eyeshadow!

I am gagging for this one.

For Australian girls who love their lippies (and bronzers and blushers and mascaras and fragrances and other potions…) and want to save themselves some coin, I’d recommend you check www.nordstrom.com out. It’s a great browse and easy to navigate, plus there are great shoes, clothes, homewares and more that can be purchased online. It’s awesome to see more and more international brands/stores now shipping to Australia too. All we need now is Sephora and US Target (OK and Gap and Old Navy and Banana Republic too) and I reckon I might be set…

Anissa at Beautifully Glossy also has an excellent post on the criminal cost of cosmetics in this country at http://beautifullyglossy.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-i-rarely-buy-cosmetics-in-australia.html

Like Julia's mascara? Can't buy it in Australia yet but you can from nordstrom.com

Online is just fine

I have never been an online shopper. I like to pick things up, feel them, smell them, try them on, rub them against my cheek. Obviously not part of the online shopping experience. I also don’t like paying for postage. But since the start of this year when I found I had a bit of time in my hands to explore online offerings, I have slowly found myself converting.

First it was www.strawberryNET.com which offers reduced fragrances and cosmetics. As a big fan of both of those things I knew of the site but had never tried it out. I can’t recall what led me to log on to it again but suffice to say, I ended up buying a few things including  the beautiful YSL Paris Pont d’Amour fragrance I previously posted about. So that was a good experience. Then I ordered some more fragrance from StrawberryNET and again, liked what I got. Then I started looking at other online cosmetics retailers. 

My search for Essie nail polish led me to www.transdesign.com, a US retailer which sells brands such as OPI, China Glaze and Essie. From my experience, Essie and China Glaze are all but impossible to surce in Australia and all three brands retail for around AUD $20 a bottle. Transdesign sells them for US $5, $2.60 and $4 each respectively and with the exchange rate what it is, makes it extremely competitive. There’s a US$18 charge for postage of up to nine full sized bottles but it’s still a cost effective choice and a good idea is to go halves or thirds with friends. I made a bit of a blue with my first order and didn’t realise a pack I ordered was full size bottles rather than the minis, so the postage stung a bit. Nevertheless I was able to source colours, packs and brands that weren’t available in Australia at a decent price, and they shipped in just over a week. Winner.

My third online shopping experience was Etsy (www.etsy.com). I had long heard of the site, which operates as a sort of online marketplace for handcrafted and vintage jewellery, accessories, homewares, stationery and a million other things but never really checked it out. A word of warning – it can be brutally overwhelming. The sheer volume of sellers and items available can actually be somewhat of a deterrent but the site is really well laid out and allows you to narrow down choices from a simple search such as ‘heart’ or ‘grey tulle’. My early tip is to register to the site which allows you to set favourites, so it’s like going back to your favourite stores.

I was a little bit worried about payment (were these people credible?) but my first experience has been extremely positive. I found a beautiful green amethyst necklace that I couldn’t stop thinking about even after I logged off, so I went pack and bought it. It cost me AUD $30, looks like nothing I’ve seen available here, the seller sent me a lovely email when I needed to get it shipped to another address and it arrived in just over a week, beautifully packaged with a handwritten note. Not your average shopping experience. I’ve included a photo below so you can see how nice the necklace is. I’m very much looking forward to wearing it.

I debated long and hard about whether to say where I bought it as I don’t want everyone to snap up all the good items! The Etsy store is Product E and the jeweller is Erin. You can visit her store at www.etsy.com/shop/PRODUCTe where there is a selection of necklaces and earrings set in gold with semi-precious stones. Just don’t buy all the good stuff!

I guess you can now officially converted to the online world. And I’m not sure whether that’s a dangerous thing or not…

My lovely green amethyst Product E necklace.

Paris, je t’aime

I am in love. Seriously. I’d often heard about the website

The beautifully bottled YSL Paris Pont des Amours edition.

www.strawberryNET.com and friends had raved about how cheap and good it was, but I’d never falled victim. Enter too much time in the post-Christmas working days and a credit card.

I found myself browsing the different sections and wowing at how cheap some of the (high quality) products were. Not to mention free shipping… As a long time fragrance addict it was a bit like leaving a drug addict the keys to the morphine cabinet and I was hooked.

I’ve recently had a hankering for more old fashioned single scents such as rose and lavender, despite previously despising the latter. I’m also quite taken with the new YSL fragrance Parisienne and it’s become a firm favourite amongst the tester sprays at the Myer counter.

But I digress. Paris is one of those perfumes I never liked despite not entirely remembering accurately what it smelt like. I knew it was floral and I’m not usually a simple floral kind of gal. It also seemed to me to be one of those scents everyone wore at one time in the late 90s and I am not “everyone”. I’ve worn Stella before and adored the rose there, but that’s a deeper darker type of rose – a flower with a secret. On StrawberryNET they listed a version of Paris called ‘Pont des Amours’ and I was intrigued. And when I bought it, not disappointed.

Turns out YSL puts together a limited edition Spring version of Paris each year and PdA is one of these. It quite simply is the most beautifully packaged fragrance I have ever seen. The bottle itself is a 125ml version of the traditional pale pink faceted Paris bottle but with a delicate reflective rainbow tint over the top. The box itself is exquisite, the perfect rose pink that fades into a mauve in an ombre effect, designed to reflect the dawn of the day. It has beautiful darker pink depictions of the Eiffel tower on the side.

Inside the box is the piece de resistance – a pull out map of Paris’ most romantic spots, again in the pale pink with darker rose pictures. (Pont des Amours literally means ‘bridge of love’.) It is possibly the most well thought out and appropriate packaging I have ever seen. The fragrance itself is just as delightful but the whole effect combined is a 10/10.

I realise I have just waxed lyrical about a perfume of all things, but there you go. It’s simply outstanding.

The exquisite packaging.

And for those who might be interested, this is the company spiel:

In March 2008 YSL launches a new limited edition romantic fragrance Paris Pont des Amours. The fragrance is inspired by the first rendezvous, walks by couples in love, holding hands…

 On the bridge over the Seine River, at dawn while the day is waking up, she is looking at her reflection and dreaming about him. While the city of Paris is still asleep, the spring stirs her emotions, passion and desire, there at the place of love, and she knows that everything is possible…

 Paris Pont des Amours brings love accords of rose buds, fresh violets and orange blossom. The heart follows with elegant May rose, jasmine, and carnation, while the base introduces sensual musk and sandalwood.

 The bottle is designed in line with the previous editions of YSL Paris. This time it is inspired by the first rays of sunlight, which seem as if they are just waking up and discreetly gleaming on the bottle. The shine and the colours of the bottle are reminiscent of an early morn on the river Seine. “