Happy New Year (almost)!

2008 has been a crazy year! I learnt a lot both about myself and about the people around me. 2009 will be a huge challenge, but I'm hopeful. I don't have any real new year's resolution, except that I'd like to be speak up more about what I don't like. I think that's important.

I can't get over how cute Monokuro Boo are... I have a big stuffed animal of the black one and a small white one.So here are the two things I got yesterday: Avène spring water spray and Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion.

Oh and my cup of organic ginger tea, great after dinner!

The Caudalie lotion is another paraben-free find! On top of that, it does not contain any paraffin either. Instead, it has grape seed oil, gingko biloba leaf extract, sesame seed oil and sunflower seed oil. I used it my shower today and it feels clean, not oily. It's just the right texture too!

I also got a 150-ml can of the Avène spring water, which is directly and sterilely bottled at the very source of the spring in France. This is the brand's signature product.
The mist is very, very fine, propelled by a nitrogen gas which is not harmful to the atmosphere.
I've been using this to fix my makeup and after removing makeup. Wow, my face is loving this stuff! I'm seeing a new radiance (not oil), and my makeup looks more beautiful. At night, my skin tends to look dull, but a spritz just before my moisturiser keeps my skin in good shape.


Green Mile (cont'd)

I've been a bit lazy with blogging so photos are coming up later.

Today, I got Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion so fingers crossed that this will be a good one!

Also, I got a sample of La Roche-Posay Fluide Mat foundation, which is probably the friendliest foundation as far as liquid ones go. 20 euro for a handy 30-ml tube.

I am thinking, "Foundation is the most important thing because I use a good amount and almost every day. So, if I want to use liquid ones, they have to be at least not harmful for my skin. Otherwise, I might as well go mineral."

Besides Jane Iredale, choices are scarce in Italy; that is if you exclude L'oréal and The Body Shop - and I'm not interested in those.

How many of you guys use mineral makeup? Do you think it can be for me?


Green Mile

I hope you all had a great Christmas! What did everyone get? Good stuff?

My Christmas was pretty relaxing. Except an afternoon with relatives, I've been either just at the park or at home. During this two-week holiday, I am determined to make a dent in The Wings of the Dove, and enjoy the gym.

My search for the paraben-free, 100% natural mask finally led me to Jeanne Piaubert (Paris)'s Green Paradise Gentle Facial Mask. The 50ml handy tube contains a white cream that spreads easily onto the skin, and slowly becomes absorbed over the course of 10 minutes. Just rinse or wipe off afterwards.

Now, the truth is my skin type doesn't need masks. But I thought I would enjoy a true chemical-free moment with this product. With a wealth of essential oils, my skin feels baby-soft after the treatment. I recommend this to someone who has normal to combination skin.

I tried a few samples from Jeanne Piaubert's other lines, but they are not worth the trouble.


Happy Holidays!

I've had a bit of a difficult week, but I don't want to think about it anymore...
Let me first wish every one of you and your loved ones a great Christmas, and a better 2009 ahead!

The sun finally shone down on Milan after months of darkness and rain.
Time for some photos!

Here I used Too Face Lash Injection mascara, and the M.A.C. cream colour blush in Crushed Bougainvillea - both were what my mom sent a while back.
The mascara is absolutely wonderful. My lashes are hard to get into, so I don't use the applicator inside the tube which is really big. Instead I'm using a tiny little mascara brush to pick up the product. It's really working out great! The mascara is easy to wash off too.

The M.A.C. cream colour base is beautiful. It's an intense blue-toned fuschia, which is just my thing. I dabbed it onto my lips and that's it, very easy to apply. The only drawback is that it's not very moisturising.

Here, I highlighted the corner of my eyes, the center of my eyelids, and even my cupid's bow simply with a dab of M.A.C. eyeshadow in Nylon. This beige gold colour is so versatile and beautiful.
On my cheeks, I applied an iridescent purplish fuschia with a small domed mineral brush by Sephora for precision.
What do you think? I can see a real difference. I love a matte look, but this highlighting can add some radiance.

I've been watching Smashbox's tutorials on youtube. They're so helpful! Just search under "giovannismash" as the channel name. There are all sorts of looks: beachy, bronze, everyday, soft smoky, rock n' roll, etc.

I'm still waiting for my box of Jane Iredale cosmetics to arrive so I'm afraid it won't get here till after Christmas :-(


Back from Mars (cont'd)

"Hi, I'm Rick Steves. Join me on a trip to Lucerne in the Backdoor to Europe." You will have to imagine the programme's theme music here.

Chapel Bridge, built in the 14th century, is the oldest covered bridge in Europe. Here is the Water Tower too.
The bridge, theatre and Jesuit church here
Hof Church on the left and a view of the Reuss River

Oh, hello!
Walking up a powdered hill outside Lucerne. The cable line at the back goes up Pilatus Hill.My host in Lucerne, a great globetrotter herself. She almost cried when we said bye at the train station.


Back from Mars

Hi everybody, I just got back from Switzerland last night. How's everyone doing?

Lucerne was cold, about -5 °C (or under 30°F). It snowed pretty much on and off during my whole trip, though the second day was nice and dry enough to walk up the hills surrounding Lucerne. Beautiful scenery, powdery snow crunching under my feet. I'll be posting photos as soon as they're touched up!

I'm also starting to try out the makeup that mom sent me so reviews/looks are on their way. The Rimmel automatic lip pencil is really nice so far.

Today, I tested some Jane Iredale, the world's very first brand of mineral makeup. The liquid foundation and blush are both beautiful so I'm having those sent to me, hopefully within next week. See you soon!


Thanks Mom

This is not a haul; my mom sent me a package! Among the goodies are:
  • Yogi organic ginger tea (can't live without this)
  • Henry James' The Wing of the Dove (can't live without me books either)
  • M.A.C. Crushed Bougainvillea cream colour base (this was before her boycott)
  • Too Faced Lash Injection (haven't tried this yet)
  • Rimmel "1000 Kisses" lipliner in Tiramisu, and "Exaggerate" in Eastend Snob (beautiful, neutral colours)

So, how about that list of safe cosmetics that I compiled for you?

Here are some highlights. The following items all have less than 5 on the toxicity index:

Facial Cleanser
The Body Shop, Aveda, Kinérase, Eucerin, Korres

Tarte "Smooth Operator", Cargo "One Base", Lorac "Breakthrough", and surprisingly M.A.C. Studio Fix Powder Foundation

Guerlain, NARS, Tarte, Lorac, Too Faced

Korres, Make Up For Ever (the lenghtening mascara in particular), Lancome

M.A.C., Boots No. 7 sheer, Smashbox Photo Finish

Noteworthy drugstore brand
Almay Pure Blends

Noteworthy high-end brand and overall winner
Jane Iredale

Have a great week!


Cheeky (cont'd)

Is everyone having a good weekend?

I spent a rather lazy Saturday morning at home, and enjoyed a Mendelssohn piano concerto at the theater in the afternoon :-)
The colours I used on my cheeks in the previous tutorial were Madina Milano eye shadows. Nic Nic told me she saw Madina in Japan so if you see Madina, please do let me know!
I love their pans because they are handy and the colour selection is endless. Their eyeshadows are pretty chalky, easy to control and blend. The colour doesn't crease so you can even apply them without a base.
Last weekend, my colleague was in London so I asked him to stop by Selfridges to pick up some Taer Icelandic for me. This is the organic cleanser I've been using:

Turned out Selfridges didn't stock that brand anymore. I was so upset!

The cleanser is available in Milan, fortunately. It just costs five euro more over here.

I feel tired, depressed and muddled these days. This will sound terrible, but I feel so sick of everyone around me. Every day I give 200% of myself, and people still want more. Enough! Basta! I'm getting away for a few days next week.



I'm back with another so-called tutorial, this time using two blushes, one lighter and one darker.

I've already applied base, loose powder, bronzer, eyeliner, everything except lip and cheek colour.
I started with an iridescent pink for the cheeks.

After having applied it across the cheeks (see photo above), I proceed to an iridescent purple. I applied it sparingly with an angled brush right under the pink and blended.

You don't need to have mad skills, as long as the colours you use are sheer enough to be foolproof.

So there you have it. You can see the contouring more on the right side, where the purple creates depth while the pink provides a bit of glow.
You can still play up the lip colour, but it might be better to leave the eyes natural.


Once More

In mid-November, Versace held a fashion show and charity gala in Beijing to benefit Jet Li's One Foundation. They are in a one-year-long partnership. Here are some highlights from the s/s09 collection:

The hair, the legs, the gold...very Donatella.

Over 900 of China and Asia’s top celebrities, socialites, officials, business and style leaders attended.