Tuesday, December 31, 2013

~Happy 2014~

Dear lovelies,

I just wanted to pop in to wish you all a very happy new year. In case you've been wondering why I haven't updated in a bit, I'm actually on holiday enjoying quality time in Malaysia with my family. I did think about setting up some scheduled posts but I decided to just take the time off and enjoy a complete break. :)

2013 has been an interesting year for me, there have been some great highs but also some epic lows. It has been a year of saying goodbye to friendships I thought would endure the years, and also a year of meeting some wonderful friends who have put light in my heart and laughter on my face. It was also a year where I managed to travel to three new places I'd never been to before, as well as revisited two places I enjoyed immensely. It was a year of personal growth and while I haven't enjoyed as many personal successes as I'd have liked, things could also have been much worse.

(Image sourced from Google Images)

I don't believe in resolutions, but I do believe in setting personal goals, so here are mine for the upcoming new year...in the last few years I feel like I've lost touch with who I used to be, and I miss her a lot, so my goal is to get back to the person I used to be, and to spend more time on the things I thought were important. I'm going to try to be the best possible person I can be, and get back into shape mentally, physically and emotionally.

Dear readers, I thank you for all the support you've given me over the past year, with all the love and friendship you've shown me through your emails, comments, messages and tweets. I value each and every one of you and I am ever so grateful for all the support I've received thus far.

I wish you all a wonderful new year, and hope that 2014 brings great joy, love, laughter and personal success. If you'd like to share your goals for 2014, I'd love to hear it.

Much love,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Essence Limited Edition Beauty Beats (Girls on Tour with Justin Bieber) Collection and Product Reviews.

Hi lovelies,

This is just a quick mini-review/post but did you know that Essence have a collaboration collection with Justin Bieber? It's called the Beauty Beats/Girls on Tour Collection and like (almost) all their collections, it's limited edition!

Now don't stone me for this but I'm really not the biggest Bieber fan...so I wasn't all too tempted to pick any of the items up until I was walking through Priceline and stumbled across this!

Is it just me or does the Biebs look a bit vampire-esque here?
Keep reading after the jump!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 Christmas/New Year International Giveaway!

Hi lovelies,

Another year (almost) done and dusted, but I couldn't let it pass without celebrating with a Christmas/New Year Giveaway! Before I continue further, I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support of my blog, through your comments, emails and tweets, you've all touched my heart and made me feel so blessed! Now, on to what you can WIN!

2013 Christmas and New Year International Giveaway Prize.

Giveaway Contents
Circa Home Lilac & Orchid Soap
Manicare Ultimate Point Tweezers
Manicare Angled Brush for eyeliners and brows
Manicare Ultimate Lash Groomer
theBalm Shady Lady Volume 2 Eyeshadow Palette
1000 Hour Natural Lashes false lashes
L'Oreal Paris Infallible 2-Step Lipstick in Resolution Red
L'Oreal Paris Infallible 2-Step Lipstick in Timeless Rose
Designer Brands Kohl Liner in Black
Korres Soft Eyeliner Pencil in Golden
Maybelline New York Volum'express Waterproof Mascara in Glam Black
Decoderm All Day Mascara
Chi Chi Metallic Shadow Stick in Solid Gold Dancer
Chi Chi Metallic Shadow Stick in Boogie Nights
Glameyes Manicare velvet and crystal eyeliner tattoo
Planet Eve Luxe Hand Cream

Now, on to the RULES, please pay attention as I would hate to disqualify people who fail to abide by them (sad face). The rules of this giveaway are simple.
1) This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
2) You must be a GFC or Bloglovin' follower of my blog, but you get extra entries for doing both (please specify which way you are folllowing in your comment as per rule 3 below).
3) You must leave a comment on what you are most looking forward to in the new year.
4) Please also include your GFC name and/or Bloglovin' username, and email address with your comment (so I can check that you've followed the rules and contact you if you win), or you will be disqualified.

That's it! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wishing all my readers a happy, safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year! 

Much love,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas - Handmade Gifts and Accessories by Rubenabird.

Hi lovelies,

Christmas is 12 days away! How time flies! If you're stuck with gift ideas, here's a unique suggestion for you...handmade fabric accessories and gifts from Melbourne brand, Rubenabird!

Rubenabird was started by my friend, G, a few months ago, and her business has gone from strength to strength ever since! She sells beautiful brooches, buttons, earrings, hair accessories, clutches, cufflinks and many more. Here are some examples of the beautiful things she's created.

Cosmetics clutch purse and fabric earrings.
Keep reading after the jump!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sephora Bans Parcel Forwarding Addresses (HopShopGo).

Hi lovelies,

You might remember this post I did on a recent haul I picked up from Sephora, using parcel forwarding company HopShopGo. Many of you wanted more details so I promised a review post on the service, once I completed my second order (which should be winging it's way to me as I type this). Everything seemed well until I decided to put in a spontaneous order on Saturday night for the much coveted, newly released Urban Decay Naked Palette 3. The order went through on the Sephora website without any problems, leading to much happy dancing in my flat...until I received an email a few minutes later stating that the order had been cancelled!

(Image sourced from Google Images)
There was no proper explanation given, save a vague comment that Sephora had cancelled the order because they were 'unable to confirm payment information'. I knew for a fact that there wasn't anything wrong with the card I'd used, so I sent them both an email and a Facebook message asking for a reply.

Here's what I got back via Facebook message (verbatim, with the exception of names which I've removed for privacy reasons):

"Hi, your order could not be approved because the address used is associated with multiple users.  If you have a different address you can have the order shipped to, you are welcome to replace the order. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Sephora Facebook Team"

Naturally, I wasn't very happy with that answer, and replied, stating that parcel forwarding was the only way in which Aussie beauty lovers had access to Sephora. Before I could finish typing, I received another reply, stating:

"Hi, while we do not have stores in or directly ship to Australia, we are excited to let you know that select products through Sephora are now available on the Australian online shopping Mall, Tarazz. Please paste the URL listed below into your browser for more information. http://www.sephora.com/australia"

That answer really frustrated me for several reasons, which I will list below:

a) Tarazz only carries selected Sephora products, all at higher unit costs than those offered on the Sephora website, and which are also subject to high shipping fees (though, admittedly, much lower than the crazy shipping fees quoted several months ago)...this leads to my next point, being,

b) Yes, I'm aware that prices quoted on the Sephora website are pre-sales tax. However, some parcel forwarding companies like HopShopGo are in tax-free states, which mean that the prices you pay are exempt from taxes anyway (unless you exceed the tax-free limit for your country - $1,000 Australian Dollars, in case you were wondering).

c) I could understand if Sephora was associating multiple orders to the same address with fraud, however, with HopShopGo, you are provided with individual IDs which differ for each person (this goes on top of the generic parcel forwarding address, much like an apartment number changes for the apartment address).

d) In this modern age where social media reigns supreme, Sephora are banning beauty bloggers based in other countries from accessing their products. This could ultimately end up shooting them in the foot as it cuts off a lot of free publicity for their products.

I raised these issues with Sephora but never got a response back afterwards, so I took my concerns to HopShopGo to ask for an explanation.

The rep explained that Sephora was now one of few online retailers that enforced Brand Owner’s Rights – a policy of not allowing their products to be shipped out of the U.S due to distributorship rights. She also explained that the 'Buy For Me' Concierge Team (a service offered by HopShopGo which purchases your products on your behalf) would still be able to make purchases at Sephora as they had separate address systems, however, the fee would amount to 10% of the total sum of purchases, meaning it could add up to quite a considerable amount if you purchased in bulk. I also asked if we could use our Sephora VIB points with the order, but was told that it would not be possible with the Buy For Me Concierge Service.

I also came across several forum threads on new Sephora practices, pertaining to accounts being blocked due to purchasing too many products and being suspected as 'resellers', which you can read here and here.

Overall, I find the whole issue rather disappointing. I was just getting into the thrill of purchasing products that weren't available here, like Urban Decay, so it's a little sad to have that taken away from us. Sure, there are other retailers we could try, but it can take months for some of the sites to stock up on new releases.

Of course the argument for supporting your country's economy will always be there, but when you think about it, we are still paying for groceries, clothing, utilities and many other items that pour money back into the economy. Was it too much to also ask to treat yourself to a rare beauty product from overseas from time to time? Clearly, the answer was yes.

What do you think of the whole issue, lovelies? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to find someone in the US who would be happy to forward parcels on to me.

Much love,

Thursday, December 5, 2013

MAC Cosmetics Makeover and Haul.

Hi lovelies,

About three weeks ago, I took myself down to the MAC store on Chapel Street for a makeover (cosmetics, not Apple - see what I did there?). Now, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with MAC...love because MAC is the very first brand I tried when I was first getting into makeup as a teenager and I love their extensive range of colours and shades, and hate because I find the customer service usually appalling whenever I'm at Myer or David Jones. Each time I've tried to stop by a MAC counter, I've either been ignored or treated rudely; I once tried to ask a MAC salesperson a question about ten minutes before closing time, and she rudely snapped 'we're closed'. As a result, I've always taken my hard earned dollars somewhere else (like Inglot, Illamasqua, Kit Cosmetics or Benefit - much nicer people at the counter)!

Anyhow, a friend had given me a gift certificate for my birthday last year (if you're reading this, thank you again, RM ♥), which could only be redeemed at the Chapel Street Pro Store, so I decided to venture down and give MAC another chance...I valiantly tried to phone through to make an appointment, but had no luck in getting through. The number was either always engaged or it rang incessantly without anyone answering...I was getting a bit frustrated after a few days of this when they finally answered their phone (if anyone at MAC Australia is reading this, perhaps you could suggest that the store gets an answering machine?)! Fortunately, they were quite pleasant and made an appointment without any problems.

I rocked up on the day and was greeted very pleasantly by the lovely Kasia, my makeup artist that day. She asked me if I was after a specific look but I told her I was happy to just let her do anything she wanted and try out different products, so she tried on several products, among which I liked the Face and Body Foundation (we mixed several shades), blush in Ambering Rose, Pro Longwear concealer and medium Mineralize powder. She also used some MAC pigments on my eyes which were very pretty (but I am usually a bit lazy about using loose shadows). Here's the look I ended up with at the end of the makeover!

With the gorgeous Kasia.
Keep reading after the jump!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Product Review: MeMeMe Arch Angels.

Hi lovelies,

First of all, let me apologise for the lack of posts on the blog for the past couple of weeks...things have been rather crazed since getting back from Bali, and while the will and urge to blog have been present, the time and energy have not! I've been dealing with some minor health issues, family visiting from abroad and work moving addresses, but hopefully things will start to settle down somewhat from now on. :)

I've been meaning to share this product review for ages, as it's become a staple product in my daily routine! Since I started going to the Benefit Brow Bar early last year (read all about the experience here), it's become habit to groom my brows every morning, so much so I feel 'naked' going out without filling them in!

In case you hadn't heard of it before, Arch Angels is a dual-ended brow definer (read: tinted brow gel) and highlighter. There are a few different brow products I use in steady rotation (I'm working on a post with my favourite brow products, so please stay tuned), but I usually end up using the Arch Angels to finish!

Keep reading after the jump!
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