Thursday, January 30, 2014

NARSissist Eye Palette


I have always wanted to start experimenting with eyeshadows, so imagine my excitement when the good people at NARS invited me for a lil makeover at their counter - with the new NARSissist eye palette!

NARSissist
 (NARS∙is∙sist) (n.) 

Lives by her own rules, not afraid to express herself in every look, mood or attitude. Effortlessly captivating with a bottomless makeup bag.
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I told Julyen that I prefer neutral shades, warm colours such as brown/bronze. Here's the smokey look that he created for me, which I really really loved:
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A closer look at the palette:
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This limited edition eyeshadow palette houses 15 absolutely gorgeous and wearable shades. Most of them already exist as NARS single eyeshadows, while a few of them can be found in NARS duo eyeshadows (named I or II below).

Here are the shades and their respective swatches:

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Row 1:

All About Eve (I): Shimmery flesh-toned neutral which looks somewhat sheer with one swatch, but definitely buildable and has a nice pay off.

Madrague (II): Matte caramel. Blends perfectly with my skin tone, and looks as if I have nothing on even after a few swatches. Unimpressive payoff.

Fez: Velvety cocoa, one of my favourites! Excellently pigmented copper/bronze tone, and blends really well. I love this!

Bali: Dark brown with a matte finish. Poor payoff on the arm, doesn't stick well, and looks rather patchy.

Coconut Grove: Deep brown with a matte finish. Feels soft to the touch, and sticks better than Bali. Average payoff.

I use both Coconut Grove and Bali for my brows with a brow brush, and it does wonders! They work even better than my MAC eyebrow pencil. Thanks to Julyen for this little tip! ;)


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Row 2:

Madrague (I): Matte cream with yellow undertone. Soft and rather pigmented. Great as a base.

Nepal: Soft, sheer rose. Warm undertone with good payoff. Another favourite of mine! It would give a nice pop to the eyes!

Ashes to Ashes: Shimmery violet-based brown. Very buildable, even though it does look quite sheer on first swatch.

Brousse (II): Black violet. Quite difficult to pick up, poor payoff, but rather buildable.

Mekong: Espresso infused with shimmer. The most interesting shade of the palette, a rather matte finish with golden bronze shimmer.


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Row 3

Bellissima (I): Shimmery beige with golden glitter. I found this very sheer, but would imagine it to work well on the inner corners of the eyes.

Lhasa: Lavender grey, with a frosted finish. Buildable, with average colour payoff. Looks really pretty but it isn't my kind of colour.

Bad Behaviour: Deep pewter. Another gorgeous colour with good payoff. Very buildable. Perfect for a smokey look!

Dogon (II): Deep, matte navy, with extremely fine and subtle shimmers. Looks almost matte when applied. Poor payoff.

Pandora (II): Matte black, my least favourite of all. Looks very pigmented, but comes off sheer when applied. Poor payoff.


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Overall I really like this eye palette - partly because it's my first, and partly because I love these wearable shades!

I've read that the payoff for certain shades is quite disappointing compared to their single counterparts, so I guess it wouldn't be impressive to NARS fans who already own some of these singles.

This is, however, a very convenient option for travel, since it's compact and portable - except it doesn't come with a brush. Also, if you're looking for something that takes your look from day to night, this is it! Your must-have NARS shades all in one!

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Thank you NARS for having me! Special thanks to Julyen for the amazing look!

This limited edition palette is launching on 3 Feb, at the price of SGD115.
To reserve one for yourself, preorder HERE.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

BEIJING: Ming Tombs / Great Wall / Crescent Moon Muslim Restaurant

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We were up really early, since it would take some time to travel to our first destination of the day.

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I burnt a bread...

Ming Dynasty Tombs

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Architecture and buildings of such attractions are usually repetitive (think Forbidden City and Summer Palace), and can get quite boring if you have visited similar sites. All of them are also arranged/picked based on fengshui.

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That's our friendly and knowledgable tour guide, who takes better pictures than our first.

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It was really serene, with a few people here and there.

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It was also exceptionally cold, because it's located 40km++ from central Beijing.

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The dry skin above my right eye had recovered remarkably, so I was really glad!! :D


Great Wall

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Cold~ It snowed just a lil bit when we got out of the car!

I had 4 layers of clothes on: thermal, long-sleeved fleece turtleneck, thick fleece jacket, and down coat. I was pleasantly surprised that my legs were doing fine with only 2 layers: thermal, and a pair of thick, footed, thermal leggings. (I wasted money on 2 pairs of u-g-l-y heat-tech pants which I didn't even wear, which wasn't a bad thing actually because I wanted to avoid wearing them.) My feet were alright too with just my footed thermal, a good pair of socks made of wool and some other material, and faux fur lined boots.

Didn't need gloves; hands were kept very warm as long as I didn't part with those heat packs in my pockets! Seriously I wouldn't have enjoyed myself this much if not for the heat packs. My hands cannot take such cold.

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Feeling scared... I don't really fancy cable car rides.

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But the view was so worth it!

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It was a foggy day, so we couldn't see far. Which made every part that we walked to seem identical.

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Great wall was really so beautiful and magnificent. I'm really pleased that we went there during winter! Less people, and excellent for photo-taking. It would be so crowded in spring/summer, and I can't imagine how annoyed I would feel squeezing with the sweaty crowd. But of course, I'm sure the view would be another kind of beautiful.

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I miss it :(

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Although it was so chilly initially, our bodies were all warmed up from walking upslopes and climbing stairs.

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Heat packs to the rescue!

Our tour guide brought us to a nearby restaurant for lunch, which I loved very, very much:
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Very tasty fish!!! I loved its crispy and well-seasoned skin.

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This is the only dish in history that's able to make me forget how disgusting I think eggplant is. Ok honestly, I only tried it out of courtesy since the dishes were picked by both our tour guide and our driver. If not for their presence, I really wouldn't have eaten it on my own accord, and would have missed out on something so yummy. Hehe.

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Besides adding cumin to almost everything grilled, another common flavouring over there is ma la (literally "numbing" and "spicy") - a combination of Sichuan pepper and chilli pepper - which I love!!!

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Our tour guide, and our driver!

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After our late lunch, we went back to the hotel for a short rest. And this is us, in our lounge wear and crumpled clothes haha.


Crescent Moon Muslim Restaurant

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Lamb skewers!

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Ma la fried chicken.

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Buns stuffed with mutton.

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Lamb leg :O Apparently we had momentarily forgotten how huge a lamb leg is (I guess we saw the word "leg" and quickly assumed "chicken-sized"), so the serving came to us as a mild shock.

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There was so much (good) food that we couldn't finish. It was mostly lamb, and lamb, and more lamb. S claimed that he fell sick because of the lamb...

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Here he is.

Lying in bed with heat packs, and letting the sickness kick in bit by bit. (Erm, he really did fall sick hahaha more on that soon)