If you're new to this blog, then read our guides to the basics: Skin (Part I), Skin (Part II), The Supernatural, Color Theory I, Color Theory II, Eyes, and Brushes.
Also, check out the blogsale.
Into The Gloss
Grain de Musc
Drivel About Frivol The Selfish Seamstress
Bois de Jasmin Glossed In Translation
Jak and Jil
Worship at the House of Blues
I Smell Therefore I Am
The Natural Haven
Moving Image Source
The Emperor's Old Clothes
Colin's Beauty Pages
Barney's jewelry department
loodie loodie loodie
The Straight Dope
Sea of Shoes
London Makeup Girl
Sakecat's Scent Project
Tom & Lorenzo: Mad Style
Beauty and the Bullshit
La Garçonne Flame Warriors Everyday Beauty
Fashion Gone Rogue
Now Smell This
A Fevered Dictation
If you're interested, shoot me a request at dain.choi(at)gmail.com. I have done my utmost to represent colors as accurately as possible. International buyers are welcome. Shipping will be adjusted to size of order, using USPS: I estimate approximately $4 domestic, $8 international per each order. Each additional item will accrue an extra $1 for shipping. Paypal only, please.
JAPANESE and KOREAN BRANDS
Etude House LUCIDarling Fantastic Brush Eyeliner, NIB ($12)
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus, NIB ($15 each)
Shu Uemura RD185 Supreme Shine, 90% left ($24)
Shiseido RS612 Gilded Wine, 65% left ($15)
Addiction North Star, swatched, original packaging/box available ($18)
Addiction Midnight Oasis, only swatched but small nick from depotting, original packaging/box available ($16)
Suqqu 08 Mizuaoi, lightly used, pink shade missing ($40)
Shiseido BL714 Fresco, 90% left ($16)
Hakuhodo Kokutan Cheek S ($50)
Hakuhodo Kokutan Eyeshadow WM ($45)
Hakuhodo 291 ($12)
Avène Hydrance Optimale UV SPF 20 Riche, Euro formula with Tinosorb, NIB ($15)
Avène Hydrance Optimale UV SPF 20 Legère, Euro formula with Tinosorb, NIB ($15)
RMS Smile ($20)
Becca Amaryllis Creme Blush, NIB ($25)
Armani #5 Blush, used 5x ($30)
Vapour Impulse, used 4x ($25)
Besame Crimson Cream Rouge, used 6-7x ($15)
Tarte Flushed, swatched ($18)
Besamé Red Velvet, new formula, swatched ($18)
Chanel Attitude Rouge Allure, 50% left ($17)
MAC Red Haute, 90% left ($11)
MAC Sundressing, damaged on one side, 85% left ($8)
Laura Mercier Twilight Grey, used three times, old packaging ($15)
Laura Mercier Celestial, swatched ($18)
Edward Bess Soft Smoke Trio, used twice $50
Guerlain Pucci 13 Capri Quad, swatched ($50)
MAC Ego, 95% left ($8)
Estée Lauder Purple Haze, 90% left ($13)
Laura Mercier St. Germain, 95% left ($18)
Benefit Mermaid, 90% left ($15)
Paula Dorf 2+1 Trio Forbidden, 95% left ($15)
As I make ready to return to Shanghai at the end of February - a more semi-permanent move this time, for the purposes of a new job - I have been sifting through the stacks of worldly belongs that have accumulated in my family home in Sydney, trying to decide what I need to take with me. This is obviously not the time to be buying still more stuff that will not fit into my 30kg luggage allowance, and yet I persist. What gives?
China, and even the glittering fount of cosmopolitanism that is Shanghai, is a bit of a desert wasteland when it comes to perfumes. Another cause for distress: glass bottles full of alcohol are not the easiest (or most light-weight) things to take onto a plane. I shall have to hope that a few full-sized bottles of perennial favourites (Fille en Aiguilles, Vetiver Oriental, Bandit, Timbuktu) and a hefty cosmetics bag full of decants (many of them courtesy of Dain) and Travalos will serve until I can next spare the time for a trip back in Sydney. In the meantime, I am spraying myself with clouds of scents that didn't make the full-bottle cut, and rediscovering in the process perfumes that I haven't worn in ages (Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange), not to mention new purchases that I have not spent nearly enough time with (Juliette Has A Gun Vengeance Extreme).
Alberto Iglesias' incredibly atmospheric score for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which I really hope will win the Oscar for best score come February 26th. This is the second Le Carre adaptation that Iglesias has written the music for (the other was The Constant Gardener, a very differently flavoured soundtrack for which he also garnered an Oscar nomination), and he captures the paranoia and the elegiac tone of both book and film to perfection.
I have no self-control when I step into a bookstore. My backlog of "new books I have yet to read" is so long, it could probably make for a small library in itself. Yet a book, I tell myself, is something that will never truly go to waste. What's more, I like to know that I'm doing my part in keeping the commercial publishing industry alive; the printed word, too, because, goodness knows, I spend a lot more on paper books than I do on new airplane-reading-material for my Kindle. Of the latest additions to my shelves (image below), I think the two volumes of Camus' notebooks (a gift from Melissa) will come with me to China.
The new (newish?) Daniel Mendelsohn translation of Constantine P. Cavafy's collected poetry ("The streets in which you pace/will be the same, you'll haunt the same familiar places,/and inside those same houses you'll grow old") is proving to be a delight, possibly even surpassing my abiding affection for the Rae Dalven translations ("Every effort of mine is a condemnation of fate;/and my heart is - like a corpse - buried"). But it will probably stay behind, purely on account of its size. The rest? Well, I guess I'd better get cracking reading.
Whether I'm pairing it with a cream kitten-bow blouse at work or a casual white tee (and a statement necklace in chunky, rough-hewn amber) over the weekend, my navy Brother Skirt from Les Prairies de Paris is all class in a relaxed sort of way, with its two side pockets, strip of black suede running down the front, and hem just skimming the knees.
I have been wearing wool pencil skirts a lot lately; and blazers; and knits. The funny thing is that the weather has been so peculiar this summer in Sydney that it will hardly be much of a shock to the system to fly across the equator and suddenly find myself in a northern winter rather than the chilliest southern summer in my own personal memory. I wouldn't have to do anything more than throw on a coat.
An even more satisfying acquisition than my Les Prairies skirt, is my new Ole Lynggaard Sweet Drops bracelet. Not three weeks after I wrote this post about the Sweet Drops, I added one to my small, extremely select collection of "every day" jewellery. After near half an hour looking through the selection at Jordan's Jewellers (Market Street, Sydney), I eventually picked out an olive wrap-around leather bracelet, and a white gold/moonstone "Dew Drop" and silver/black onyx "Sweet Drop" to wear on it. It was a tough decision to make. Seeing them in person, one cannot fail to appreciate how carefully and meticulously they have been crafted. Each of the "Dew Drops" and "Sweet Drops" have a clasp that allows them to hold tightly to the band without scratching the soft leather. Each is further designed to hang only at a certain angle; the charms have room for movement, but not so much that they can rotate 360 degrees around the band and irritate the wearer. My bracelet is easy, understated, and a joy to wear.
All the things that I will miss in China: fresh (and affordable) mangoes/figs/papaya/avocados, Australian yogurt, Whisk & Pin gluten-free muesli, an Italian-strength espresso, newly shucked oysters that don't cost an arm and a leg (and won't lead to food-poisoning), really good Lebanese food… I could go on and on.
Or, what I've been up to during my hiatus.
A few of the Desert Island posts, namely Brushes, Skin, and Books have been revised. I've taken better, clearer pictures, and edited to reflect how I've settled more comfortably into my stash and a few new acquisitions. The changes are not drastic, but outdated blog posts do plague the mind.
And... it is time for me to hold a blog sale, don't you think?
I've been totally quiescent fashion-wise for the past year.
I wish someone had told me earlier (to be fair, my brother raved) how amazing a show is Breaking Bad. In spite of its overt topic—high-school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with terminal cancer and takes to cooking meth to fund his chemotherapy—it ultimately hinges on the father-son relationship between Jesse and Walter.
On youtube, I have also discovered Dusty Hunter (a colleague of mine who also posts on Temptalia). His videos are so thoughtful and well edited.
I've been on a major Dostoevsky kick. First, The Brothers Karamazov, now Crime and Punishment, next The Idiot. What makes reading Dostoevsky a unique experience (for me), considering how most authors operate as a shadowy puppeteer whose motivations can only be guessed at, is his transparency. There is no doubt regarding his religiosity. This places his many atheist characters, to whom he owes a sympathetic realization, at odds with his own beliefs. He is too conscientious to pass them off as stereotypes, thus empowering them with arguments he finds repugnant, while the the thread of morality remains largely oblique, even defeated: Sonya remains silent, Prince Myshkin is thoroughly abused, and Elder Zosimov's body stinks after death. To enter the world of his novels, is to stumble onto a debate on injustice and evil, not an uncommon theme in literature. The unique dimension in Dostoevsky's work is how that debate is concretized through characterization, in a way that borders on allegory.
The BBC recently made an excellent adaptation of Crime and Punishment, starring John Simm as Raskolnikov. The best version of The Idiot seems to be by TV Channel Russia; Yvgeny Mironov takes on the challenge of playing the saintly Prince Myshkin. They add extra dimension to the insipidity of reading in translation.
Ah, more Addiction.
Shiseido debuted their Shimmering Rouge Lip Colour with 13 shades last year, following the trend of lipstick/gloss hybrids which also multi-task as lip conditioners (Chanel Rouge Coco Shine, Dior Addict, Guerlain Rouge Automatique, etc.). The shades released in 2011 were mostly warm peachy/pinky nudes, and while they were nothing so demure as the Rouge Coco Shines (can you tell that those are not my favourites?), none really caught my eye in particular until RS619 Venus.
Described accurately by Shiseido as a "profound reddish violet", Venus (3rd from left) is a newly released Shimmering Rouge from the SS12 collection. Bold and bright, it is fully as pigmented as most lipsticks - a single swipe delivering even, opaque colour - yet has a soft, balmy texture and slightly glossy finish. On me, the wear-time before reapplication is roughly 4 hours with drinks and smoking breaks, which is also similar to a lipstick. When the colour fades, it does so evenly and leaves a hint of a stain.
Comparison with the Chantecaille Lip Chics, my favourite lipstick/gloss hybrid formula, I'm pleased to say, is favourable. Both are extremely moisturising and comfortable to wear. Although the Shiseido Shimmering Rouge is considerably more pigmented and requires greater precision to apply than the Lip Chics (my go-to lipsticks to put on whilst driving or without a mirror), I appreciate its flexibility: you can easily sheer it out to create the effect of a stain, or layer it on to achieve an intense, dimensional look. And like the Lip Chics, the packaging of the Shimmering Rouge lipsticks is light, slim and discrete, ideal for the handbag.
I have worn Venus several times this week at work, and I am finding it to be the perfect pick-me-up for these drab, rainy days Sydney has been having this summer.
Eyes: NARS Jolie Poupee // Lips: Shiseido RS619 Venus
Floating images of my own disembodied lips somewhat creep me out, but you can see a close up lip swatch of Venus here.
WHAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD CARRY
My mother gave me the prayer to Saint Theresa.
I added a used tube ticket, kleenex,
several Polo mints (furry), a tampon, pesetas,
a florin. Not wishing to be presumptuous,
not trusting you either, a pack of 3.
I have a pen. There is space for my guardian
angel, she has to fold her wings. Passport.
A key. Anguish, at what I said/didn't say
when once you needed/didn't need me. Anadin.
A credit card. His face the last time,
my impatience, my useless youth.
That empty sack, my heart. A box of matches.
Listen to Maura Dooley reading the poem; view my own poem inspired by it in the comments
Photographer: Lachlan Bailey for Vogue UK
Model: Arizona Muse
The Mnemonic Sense
The Beauty Primer
On The Label
The Hit List
Color Me In
The Makeup Artist
& orientals arc