Sunday, December 30, 2012

iHerb + Real Techniques Brushes!

I've always been meaning to check out Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman make up brushes but never got round to actually buying/trying them. Well, of course when I found out that was getting rid of their free international shipping option on 31st December, I just had to order! sells the brushes for such a discount on the normal Australian Retail price of these brushes - if you can even find the brushes in Australia! I know of only two places that sell them, one being Priceline which I realise is everywhere, but still that's not very much choice!

I took the plunge having never even seen them in real life but I did extensive internet research and figured I was only spending US$45 anyway. Samantha Chapman is a make up blogger whose range of make up brushes are renowned for being good quality, not too expensive, and fabulous for make up application.

To my excitement, the brushes arrived yesterday just two weeks after ordering! Not bad for free shipping from the US...
Anyway I ordered in total 11 brushes - 2 sets and 2 individuals for just US$45. At Priceline just one of the sets costs approx A$40-45 so really I'm saving myself a tonne of money even though it seems excessive to buy so many brushes.

Excuse the tonne of photos ahead but I wanted to show you the packaging and the brushes themselves. So I went for these two sets because they seem like great 'starter' packs with all the kinds of brushes I would use, plus the cases are uber portable and act as a make up stand. There is actually a make up base/foundation set (3 brushes) but I didn't buy that as I preferred to buy the two individual face brushes I wanted (see further down).

The brushes themselves are awesome to hold and where possible, stand by themselves due to the chubby rubber bases. I like the cool colours they come in too which makes them easy to identify.

And you can see in the pic below that each brush has the name of the brush on it so you can also identify what it is best used for.

And in case it all wasn't enough as well, the back of the boxes for the two sets come with useful pictures, details of each brush and how you may want to use it. She has on her website useful 'how to' videos, not that I've actually visited them yet (but I will!)
Here is a pic of the two individual brushes I went for - a blush brush and stippling brush. If there are three make up items I wear regularly (at least a few times a week), it would be blush, light buildable foundation and eyeliner. So of course these two brushes are great for the first two!

The blush brush is amazing even just to look at - it was so tempting to just open the box and brush it against my face because of how plush and decadent it looked. I tried it lightly tonight and I found the application to be very soft and natural, which is great for everyday. I'll have to see how buildable I can make my blush without needing to pile it on my brush otherwise I may stick to my kabuki type retractable brush for stronger pigmentation.

As for the stippling, I use it for the airbrushed liquid foundation look. I only briefly used it today for the first time and it felt great against the face and felt like it would allow me to build my make up well (as I prefer light foundation most of the time as a spot treatment on blemishes).

If you want to buy these brushes I would suggest you 1) buy on and 2) BUY NOW! If you buy before the end of 2012 (i.e. in the next 24 hours or so!) you can get free international shipping if you purchase over $40 worth which is really worth it in my books.

And in case like me, you like a good deal, here's a discount code for any new customers to get $10 of their first order of $40 or more.
RLN426 also sells all sorts of other chemist/supermarket like stuff (vitamins, grocery items etc) if you don't feel like making your order all make up brushes!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jimmy Choo shopping

A few weeks back I went to the Sydney Family & Friends Jimmy Choo sample sale, which was very similar to the one I previously went to in NYC (read about it here). The only difference was that the crowds were much more tame as this was not advertised but all through word of mouth.

Personally I found prices not to be as good as NYC, but items were all in ridiculously good condition with 95% of items coming in boxes and all pristine. Those items which had sign of wear or were press items were priced as such, however I found similar semi-scuffed Press items were also cheaper in the US.

Anyway, I was naughty and bought two pairs that weren't amazing but were very well priced and in my size. I'm a very common size so it can be hard to score, though on the plus size I am 'sample' size. This particular sale had only one of each item, and sizes ranged from 35 to 41 so not strictly in the traditional sense of sample sale. I worked out most shoes had been display stock before, hence not truly 'sample'.

The pair above may just be a boring low heel black court shoe, however its in suede with a croc patent kind of finish at the toe. They just look elegant and looked perfect with the sheer black hosiery I was wearing. I can definitely see these being easy to wear!

The next pair I bought are very Jimmy Choo and the perfect mix of fun with classic, due to the suede finish and the peeptoe front. The red isn't quite the favourite red I would usually wear but they're definitely a style that I can see myself wearing quite regularly with denim or to dress up a boring black dress.

Unfortunately they told me they probably won't be running this again anytime soon, but it was good to get my bargain shopping in now!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bali: Ku De Ta

When I was in Bali it almost seemed like a necessity to make a trip for drinks and dinner at the infamous Ku De Ta.

Our private villa was actually just down the road from the bar/restaurant so one night we took a nice walk down there to start with drinks.

The setting is just so beautiful for a glammed up place to drink - you can sip your drink while watching the sun set and as you hear the lapping of the waves. Plus if you're that way inclined you can even run into the surf then come back to retrieve your drink. Bliss!


Drinks were tasty, though at Australian prices, not the cheap as chips $5 for a cocktail many assume would be standard across Bali. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and these drinks were delish! Of course you're partly paying for being able to have that breathtaking view and setting and in by books there is nothing wrong with that!

We actually moved seats twice because we wanted to get a different view and both times it was so comfy and relaxing.

Look at that sunset, right?

Anyway, once we had watched the sun set we moved onto the restaurant where we had a reservation for dinner. The restaurant is in a U shape around the bar area and so with it being all indoors its all low lit and moody for a very romantic feeling. While I'm sure there are many who go there for a romantic dinner, there were also lots of families and groups dining when we were there.

The menu is again Australian prices, however all items seemed very accesible and there definitely was something for everyone.

We had spent the whole day eating and doing not much else so we went for Entrees and some dessert.
From memory this was a seafood terrine.

This was a really tasty pork and soft shell crab salad mix that was well balanced and tasty!

Unfortunately I don't have any pics of our other entrees however here's an obligatory photo of dessert. Creme brulee...yum!

All in all, I've probably not done it justice with my descriptions but I hope the pictures of the drinks and setting speak for themselves. It was just such a relaxing way to spend the night!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and happy festive season (for those who don't celebrate Christmas). I hope you all stay safe and enjoy spending time with your loved ones :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

DSLR Gear No Idea Campaign

As someone who has purposely not bought a DSLR, I absolutely love this campaign and this video especially. And as NEX owner, I love it even more!

You see, for the amount I've spent on cameras this year, I easily could have bought two basic DSLRs. Why didn't I? For a number of reasons. One definitely being size, weight and portability factor which is why I've gone high end premium point and shoot and now mirrorless. The main reason however, is I absolutely loathe people who buy DSLRs and don't even know how to use them! Sure you get great quality pics because you're using a high quality camera with great sensors, but that is only half the story. People would probably call me an enthusiast photographer but I by no means purport to think I'm some expert. What I've purposely done in avoiding buying a DSLR is bought cameras with the functionality of a DSLR so that I can learn to fully operate and make the most of those features before I even consider going the DSLR route.

I am proud to say I can at least use simple functions like adjust aperture appropriately to get the depth of field I want, as well as fiddle with shutter speeds, exposures and white balance (this is my favourite!) so I feel I have the right to shake my head at those people in this video!

Anyway I'll get off my soapbox, but here's some more video viewing :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Travel Tip Tuesday: One Cent Flights

It's been ages since I did a 'Travel Tip Tuesday' post so here's a good one if you're looking to travel soon - I came across this website One Cent Flights.

So how does it work? Basically its like an auction site where you bid for the price you're willing to pay for whatever flights they've advertised which include awesome destinations as Australia to the US and Europe. Basically you're bidding on the amount you will pay to then have their set travel agent book you the return flight on a set list of airlines (which are actually quite good, not cheaper budget airlines!) based on the travel dates you want.

Bids increase in increments of 1 cent, so you'll often see international flights go for less than $100! Bidding ends when no further bids are received and a set countdown timer runs out. The catch is that you have to pay for bids at a starting price of $1 per bid but if you're clever with your auction strategy, even if you bid say, 500 times, that's only $500 plus the auction price (which might be less than $100). At a total of < $1000, that's still cheaper than the average return flight internationally!

Now I'm not affiliated with them in anyway and I haven't actually tried it (as I've already booked my holiday for 2013!) but I thought it was something others might really get into. Even the domestic flights have pretty good deals.

When you sign up you get 5 free bids but if you want a bonus two, click here!

Happy Bidding!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sony + Visa Entertainment Competition

I've 'officially' finished work for 2012 as my workplace has Christmas Shutdown where they force us to take leave over this quieter season. Well, turns out I actually have quite a bit of work to do so I'll probably still work a bit prior to Christmas however as I am technically 'on leave' I'll try and post more often! I realised I have such a backlog of things I've been to, places I've eaten at, cool things I've seen that I want to post about so I'll try my best to do that over the next few weeks.

Anyway, the most exciting news for me last week was that I'd won a competition with Visa Entertainment! The comp was related to the release of Skyfall and so I apparently wrote something worthwhile in my 25 words or less entry because I won a Sony Gadget bundle!

To my delight, it arrived on Friday...

It's the brand new Sony Xperia S Tablet (16GB) and the Sony DSC-HX30V camera! Now as I've already posted, I've been naughty this year and purchased more cameras than I can use (including my first Sony camera - the NEX 6!) so I'll probably pass this onto a family member but it's still nice to get a surprise and competition winning once in a while!

Also on a random note, this is my blogs 200th post woot! I think it is quite fitting that my blog has come full circle with another competition winning, seeing as I started the blog originally to document my net-a-porter competition winning :)

Aaaand I've also just edited this post to add - I've just hit over the 50,000 views mark! =o I didn't think it would happen so soon!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where Chefs Eat

One of the food websites/blogs I follow recently featured this - a book that is being released in January called "Where Chefs Eat" which is a chef-y insiders guide to all the best restaurants around the world, as suggested by some of the world's best chefs.

I love love loved this video they made previewing the book. Bill Granger gets a mention too!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pre-summer tan

It's already been over a week since I returned from Bali and I think my tan is already quickly fading which is quite disappointing! The weekend only had nice weather on Saturday as well which was disappointing, because Sunday was the only day I had time to go and frolic in the sun at the beach =(

This was my tan two days after getting home - excuse the bad mirror pictures!

One of my work christmas parties is on Friday so I'll have some photos of how my tan has progressed since then...

I have to say, I quite like this pre summer tan business, it means that I feel better about going out in my summer dresses with a bit of colour to me!

Monday, December 10, 2012

New kid on the block: Richard Braqo

I was URL hopping and reading blogs the other day and came across some commentary on shoe designer Richard Braqo who is being hailed as the next 'IT' man in the shoe design circuit.

With training at Parsons NYC and experience at Acne and Helmut Lang, I can totally see these design houses influencing his shoe designs.

The shoe above is the 'Benedetta' - I love the pearl and gold detailing for a bit of a fun twist to what is otherwise is such a wearable and classic shoe.

And the shoe on the left above, the ankle detailing is actually like a cuff! Cool, right?

If you visit his website, his collection is quite small but I'm definitely keeping my eye out for his future collections. He might just be the next Jimmy Choo or Louboutin!

All images courtesy of Richard Braqo's website

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shopbop purchase!

So two weeks back was obviously Thanksgiving, and so with the Black Friday sales all being online I scoured my favourite summary lists of all the best sites and started the big shop! Conveniently, the sales all started when I was having my day off as I was flying to Bali that afternoon, so I spent my morning website hopping.

Conveniently, I found one of my bargains from getting the Best Buy email newsletter, so I snapped up 48GB worth of SDHC Memory cards for my camera for just US$30. My friend from the US is going to bring them back for me when she comes home in December.

But onto the main event - my shopbop purchase! They had a tiered % off sale depending on how much you spent, so I bought this Marc by Marc Jacobs Globetrotter Sloane Ranger Satchel bag for US$270. It was originally $420, then further reduced, and then I was able to take 20% off so it worked out a pretty good price for what is a classic, black bag. Most of the time I find with these sites the odd colours and seasonal styles are on sale and often you get tempted to buying items you won't even use!
So the bag itself isn't beautiful, but I bought it just as a practical everyday work bag because my old black bags are getting overused and dying. Some of you might remember I've been on the lookout for my holy grail perfect black bag and besides the Chanel diamond stitched tote which I would by in an instant if it was still available, I haven't been able to find anything remotely close to perfect.

The bag is a lot smaller than I expected - the bag itself is the size of an A4 piece of paper, but that means it can't properly fit a piece of paper. That said, it makes it really easy to carry and quite practical as it is still roomy enough for a pair of shoes and water bottle which are vitals in my life! I got lazy so only took a few pics...
Roomy interior!
I love the compartments on this bag - they're exactly how I like my bags. Three on the inside, then one on the outside! And how cute is the luggage tag zip?

I actually preferred the Calamity bag in the same collection, if only because the shape was more elegant and 'pretty' but no site had it on sale and from the pics it looks a little too big to take out at night.  That is really important to me - I often find myself suddenly having to go for dinner/out after work and I don't want to look like I'm carrying my files with me all day!
Globetrotter Calamity Bag

All in all, I'm happy with my purchase and will report back once I start using it. Plus it was pretty awesome that I ordered it before my holiday and it arrived the day I got back!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sick Sick Sick :(

Who else hates getting sick during Summer? ME! And I'm currently comatose at home alternating between hot flushes and feeling shivery cold. I went to work for about an hour and couldn't even contemplate how I would survive the day so promptly headed back home and slept the day away which takes me to now!

I'm feeling a little better now, but how sad is it that I didn't even manage to spend the day watching TV shows or reading mags? I had Shop til you drop sitting by me but I couldn't even find the energy to pick it up and read.

So anyway, hope you guys are all not deathly sick like me!

The only pick me up? Free shipping on net-a-porter today only! Get shopping peeps :) These Guiseppe Zanottis are very much on my wish list....

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I'm baaaack!

I'm baaaaack, and wasn't that a quick trip? I think so...I mean I flew in at 7am and was back at my desk at work by 10am that morning thinking, wow was I really just in Bali yesterday?

Anyway, I'll try to be better and quicker with my holiday post uploads this time in the coming weeks (you know I never even got round to blogging about my Europe trip which was now 6 months ago!) but in the meantime, here is a teaser...

Stunning view from Ku De Ta over the beach at night

Our private pool villa in Seminyak
Now I'm back with quite a nice tan - admittedly at first I thought my tan was pretty light on until I got back and everyone at work thought I was so tanned and I inspected myself in the mirror more carefully and realised they were correct! The weather here in Sydney is amazing this weekend too woo!