Everyday Makeup Using Drugstore Products

When it comes to makeup I’m a no fuss, no muss kind of gal. I spend maybe 5 minutes applying makeup in the morning. And I use mostly drugstore makeup products because it’s cheap and it gets the job done. When I was younger I used to splurge on the expensive stuff, but when I tried drugstore brands I was impressed with the quality and called it “good enough.” Why pay more?

These are the drugstore products I use every day as part of my makeup routine.

everyday drugstore makeup favorites

1. L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup
This foundation has SPF protection and that’s why I got it. I use a kabuki brush to apply it, which is my favorite way to apply foundation. From time to time I’ll use my fingers if the brush isn’t available, and it works just fine. This foundation is pretty sheer, which I like. I don’t want to look like I caked on fondant on my face. It’s just enough coverage to even out my skin tone. Plus, it’s moisturizing, which is great during winter when my face becomes parched as a desert wasteland.

2. L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Powder
I used MAC Blot Powder for years, and I recently switched to this. Easier on the wallet and works just fine.

3. Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quads
I use Chai Latte – a neutral palette that works well for everyday eye makeup.

4. NYX Cosmetics Slide On Pencil
This is a creamy eyeliner pencil that glides on smooth. It’s so easy to use! If you have oily eyelids (like I do) you may need to touch up later in the day (but I don’t bother). I use the shade Jet Black.

5. Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Shimmer
On the days I don’t go for the lip-liner-as-lipstick shtick I use this tinted lip balm. I like the shade Rhubarb. This is a moisturizing lip balm with good pigmentation. Doesn’t make your lips too shiny.

6. NYX Slim Lip Liner Pencil
I just recently discovered that you can use lip liner as lipstick not just as lip liner. Who knew? Apparently it’s how the young kids to do it. It will give your lips a very matte look so you may want to touch it up with some lip gloss or lip balm. I find using a lip liner as lipstick way easier to apply than lipstick. With lip liner you can define and color your lips all in one go and be very precise about it. Efficient! Love it!

If I go for mascara I use Innisfree skinny mascara which I order from Amazon. Works fine. But I may switch to a NYX, L’Oreal, or CoverGirl brand in the future.

If you’d rather use a tinted moisturizer (and skip foundation) I highly recommend Boots No7 Dual Action Tinted Moisturiser. I’ve been using it for years. I recently stopped using it because I switched to an oil-free moisturizer with higher SPF (the onset of wrinkles at my age is REAL, and I needed to take action). But I still occasionally use it if I’m in a hurry and can’t bother to do the moisturizer-then-foundation routine. I just mix the tinted moisturizer with a bit of foundation, apply to my face using my fingers, and I’m good to go!

Have you ever watched makeup tutorials online? Once I start I can’t stop watching them! I just keep watching one after another. They are so addictive. It’s mesmerizing to watch makeup artists transform their faces, and they make it look so effortless.

These are a couple of my favorite makeup tutorials on Youtube:

If you want to learn how to apply foundation, check out this tutorial by Jaclyn Hill.

Doing eye makeup can be especially challenging for Asian women. I watched tons of eye makeup tutorials for monolid eyes. I like this one by Jen Chae, and her other eye makeup tutorials for Asian eyes are also good. Seriously, I can watch her channel forever.

A Simple Two-Step Method For Creating a Wardrobe You’ll Love

konmari capsule wardrobe

I’ve been unsatisfied with the state of my wardrobe since I can remember. Every morning I stare into my closet and think, I have nothing wear, even though it’s filled with clothes. I always felt underwhelmed by my wardrobe. Why do I wear the same ten things over and over again? Why do I hold on to clothes that I barely wear anymore?

But finally, this summer, I decided to do something about it. I learned about an effective way of purging unwanted stuff and creating a wardrobe I’ll love. Armed with my new knowledge, I tackled my closet head on, and the result is a curated collection of clothes I am genuinely happy to wear.

Step 1: Purge All the Clothes You Don’t Love

Decluttering seems all the rage these days. Everyone is talking about Marie Kondo’s bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. After recently reading it for my book club, I felt motivated to go for it and apply the KonMari method to my wardrobe. As Kondo prescribes, I held in my hands, one by one, every item of clothing I owned and asked myself, Does it spark joy? (Yes, really).

konmari capsule wardrobe

KonMari’ng my wardrobe took a few hours, and the photo above shows the fruit of my purging mission. It turned out I owned 70 tops, and 35 of them were culled for the donation bin. Out of the 24 bottoms I owned, 9 failed the “Does it spark joy?” test. At least 6 pairs of shoes and more than half my socks were banished into the discard pile. After the whole procedure, I was thrilled to be done. I nearly felt intoxicated with giddiness. My wardrobe now only consisted of pieces I love. I had finally whipped my wardrobe into shape!

Now when I open my sock drawer and see all my favourite pairs at once, I beam with pride. Who knew a tidy sock drawer could bring about such euphoria?

Step 2: Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is an awesome way to curate a seasonal collection of clothes that you are content to wear for a discrete period of time. So I created a capsule of 35 pieces that includes tops, bottoms, jackets, and shoes that I would wear from July to the end of September. This does not include workout clothes, sleepwear, and loungewear. I created my capsule entirely out of what I already owned except for a new pair of sandals. The clothes that didn’t it make into this season’s capsule were stored away and will be considered for the next capsule.

The capsule method is a good way to prevent mindless shopping because it forces you to be very intentional about what you add to your wardrobe. I’m really hoping that going with the capsule method will help me stick to my annual clothing budget. I plan to buy only high quality pieces that I will keep long-term and adheres to my personal style. The end result will be a cohesive wardrobe in which every item of clothing will complement one another.

The other great thing about a capsule wardrobe is that it saves you time when getting dressed. Because I love every piece of garment in my capsule, putting together an outfit for the day is easy-peasy. So in addition to saving you money, having a minimalist wardrobe will save you time and make getting dressed for the day much less stressful. I’ve been living with my capsule wardrobe for a month now, and I absolutely love it. There is no going back.

I am so pleased with how my wardrobe turned out that I’m looking forward to KonMari’ng the rest of our apartment. I no longer feel burdened by the clothes I own, and it’s a great feeling! After reading Kondo’s book I think I finally found a clear, concrete method for decluttering and achieving the minimalist lifestyle that I aspired to but always seemed elusive.

Have you tried the KonMari method or creating a capsule wardrobe? What has your experience been like?

168 Hours: What I Learned After Tracking My Time for One Week

Photo courtesy of Death to Stock

I recently quantified my life in 30-minute chunks for an entire week in order to see how I spend my time and notice any patterns. What inspired me to undertake this project? Laura Vanderkam, a time management expert, recently wrote an article in the New York Times about this topic, and after reading it, I was motivated to track my time to gather hard data on what I really do throughout the week.

I kept a record in a Google spreadsheet and updated it periodically throughout the day. Here’s a copy of the spreadsheet.

See larger version

There were a couple of anomalies in the week I did this. Twice I had to leave work earlier than usual because of appointments in the late afternoon. Normally I work from 8:30am to 5pm. And I also had to do daycare drop-off/pick-up a couple times, which I don’t do normally. Other than those activities, it was a typical week for me.

When I set out to do this experiment, I had a vague sense of what I do day in and day out, so I was looking forward to discovering my false beliefs about how much time I spend doing certain activities. Mainly, I was keen to quantify how much time I actually spend reading and doing household chores (which includes cooking meals, cleaning, and getting groceries). The “lies” I tell myself are that I don’t have enough time to read and that I spend too much time cooking. Well, time-tracking proved me wrong!

In one week I spent a whopping 10.5 hours reading (this is a rough estimate since I didn’t time myself exactly). I mainly read the news (print and online), typically in 15- or 30-minute allotments. It’s rare that I get to sit down for an entire hour and read. It would be nice to be able to read a novel for an hour straight, but that’s a luxury now (and frankly I don’t know if I have the patience to do so nowadays). When I was on maternity leave I used to read a book a week! Now that I’m a “working mother” (which still sounds comical to me), reading novels has gone down my priority list. These days I’m lucky if I get to finish a novel within a month.

The other “lie” I’ve come to believe is that I spend too much time cooking. The Dude and I share the responsibility of cooking meals, but I feel like I spend waaay more time than he does cooking. It’s probably true that I spend a little bit more time, but the data shows I definitely do not spend as much time as I think I do. Prepping food roughly took 4.5 hours of my time during the week. That’s not even an hour a day on average. So I’m going to stop lamenting the fact that I spend too much time cooking because in reality it’s not a fact at all.

Besides cooking, I spent roughly 5.25 hours on other chores during the week. The bulk of it was grocery shopping since I like to pick up fresh food every couple of days. I do one big grocery shop per week, which involves borrowing a car from Modo (our carsharing co-op), and I do smaller shopping excursions throughout the week (usually on my way home or during lunch breaks). I’m thinking of eliminating the weekly big grocery shop so I could fit in an extra fitness class per week. I tell myself I don’t have time to exercise, but I know better. I can fit in exercise during the weekend if I get groceries delivered instead. It will be more expensive, but when you take into account that I have to pay for the car rental and spend the time to go to the grocery store, in the end the price difference between going myself and getting groceries delivered may not be significant.

In the future I’d like to track an entire month. It would reveal how I actually spend my time, and based on the data I can make informed decisions on what needs to change. I get a 168 hours every week – no more, no less – so I want to make sure that I manage my time well.

Would you try tracking your time? Are you afraid of discovering the false stories you tell yourself about how you spend your time?

And We’re Back!


The LAX TO YVR blog re-design is finally done! I will be blogging again about home decor, design, travel, life in Vancouver, and other topics that pique my interest.

I know the re-design took way longer than it was supposed to. I was busy working on other web and graphic design work so my own project often sat on the back burner. But I think September is a good time to relaunch my blog given that I always see it as the month for new beginnings.

What’s keeping me busy these days is developing my very own WordPress theme. I got tired of building child themes and fighting with the parent theme to make it work. So the solution is to just build my own theme just the way I want it to work. Hopefully this will cause less headaches.

I have a couple DIY projects I’ll be sharing soon, so stay tuned!

(Photo was taken at the peak of Dog Mountain – I highly recommend this hike.)


This week’s highlights:

  • We finally got a sofa!! We lived without one for almost a year, and I’d been agonizing over which one to get ever since we got rid of our previous sofa. Finally decided on Kivik from IKEA. The Dude and I are pretty happy with it. It’s so nice to just plop on it to read and relax.
  • Saw a movie at the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival. It was my first time ever attending. We saw a documentary called Iraq ‘n’ Roll, which was about an Israeli musician who reconnects with the music of his grandfather who had a successful music career in Iraq.
  • Went to Lucky’s Doughnuts for the first time (photo above). Being the doughnut connoisseur that I am, I had to try it. I got a glazed doughnut, which is my favourite. It was okay. My friend got the Apple Bacon Fritter, which I tried a bite of, and it was decadently good even though I’m not a bacon fan.

Happy weekend!


It’s been insanely busy for me lately as I am juggling three big projects. That’s why I didn’t blog last Friday. It’s been all work with little time for play.

A few highlights since the last time I blogged:

  • My hammam towels arrived from Turkey at last! They look great (see photo above). Because they are made of thin cotton fabric, they dry very fast and take less water to wash. However, I do miss using fluffy towels.
  • The US elections were this past Tuesday. This is the third presidential election in which I was in Canada as an American expat. It’s interesting to observe the elections from another country.
  • After years of sporting the same hair style, I finally changed it. It’s now super short.

Happy weekend!

2nd Edition of My Weekly Survey

It has been a rather quiet week since my last blog post. Just busy with the usual. Because I’m taking a class on Sundays it really hampers my ability to do fun or interesting activities during the weekend. But these are a few highlights:

  • Started going to a yoga studio again. I’d been doing yoga videos at home, and doing it with other people in a studio is just different. I get into it more. And I like the variety.
  • Had some friends over and got to play my favourite party game ever: Things. I love this game because it makes me laugh so much.
  • Saw the Tobias Wong exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver for the second time. It’s a fantastic retrospective on his career. Wong was notorious for blurring the line between art and design. His work is irreverent and humorous, but also provocative. If you live in or near Vancouver, do not fail to check out this show!

Happy weekend!

Blog Revival

I’ve been a very delinquent blogger, which makes me sad because I really enjoy blogging. Simply, there’s a lot on my plate these days, and I’m struggling to fulfill all my responsibilities and obligations. But I want to make an honest effort to blog more regularly in spite of my hectic schedule.

Life is moving really fast I realize and the days are a blur. Hence, I want to take a moment each week to pause and reflect on the highlights of the past week so that life doesn’t just pass me by into oblivion. Every Friday I will attempt to blog about interesting tidbits from my week as a kind of diary so that I can come back to this in the future to remember what was going in my life. I don’t have a pithy title for this weekly blog post yet, but whatevers. Let’s just begin!

  • For the Dude’s birthday we went to Suika for dinner. It’s a Japanese tapas restaurant and it did not disappoint. Will definitely go again, especially since it’s walking distance from our place!
  • I have fallen for the hammam towel trend (see photo above). After humming and hawing for months, I finally ordered a couple towels from Turkey. Cannot wait to get them!
  • Discovered the awesomeness that is Moqups. Great tool for web developers and designers who want to create a quick website mockup for their clients.

Happy weekend!

Living with Environmental Sensitivities

Since my last blog post, the Dude and I have been trying to figure what’s in our apartment that’s causing me headaches. It’s been a very stressful and frustrating effort because we still haven’t been able to resolve this issue. At first we thought it was the new oven we got but after various tests it turns out the oven is not the source of the problem.

All I’ve been able to figure out is that there’s a faint perfume-y smell in our place and that’s what’s probably causing the headaches. I’ve been intolerant of perfume and scented products since 2008. They trigger headaches and make me feel very fatigued. After doing some research it seems that the condition I have is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

The way I’ve been coping is by getting out of the apartment as much I can. I use a product called Peppermint Halo that I find soothing when I dab it around my head although it doesn’t get rid of the headache. I also got a respirator mask from the hardware store out of desperation to see if it would help and it actually does! I was surprised that it filters out the odour that’s causing me headaches. But it’s really uncomfortable to wear. We’re probably also going to buy a really expensive air purifier that absorbs volatile organic compounds in the air. It makes me sad that I need all these things in order not to feel sick in my own home. And it’s very discouraging that I can’t seem to figure out the source of the troublesome fragrance in our apartment.

MCS has been a serious blow to my productivity. Since I work out of my home it’s been extremely frustrating not being able to get as much work done. However, I did manage to do a shop makeover that was long overdue. I took new photos of most of the products. Please check it out!

Break Time

Unfortunately I have to take another break from blogging due to health problems. I’ve been dealing with a chronic headache for the past few weeks, and it’s making me miserable. I don’t know what’s causing it because it could be a myriad of reasons. I suffer from environmental sensitivities and I also have neck/shoulder pain so a combination of those two is most likely the cause.

I find that I do feel a little bit better when I go outside. So the way I’ve been coping lately is by doing essential work in the morning and spending the rest of the day outside as much as I can. This is of course not sustainable but it’s a temporary fix.

For the next little while I’m going to try various treatments for my headaches.  Also, I’m minimizing computer use. Hence, I need to take a break from the blog.

On a happier note…in case you missed the announcements on Twitter, my cheese box nightstand project got featured on Design*Sponge! It’s been a small dream of mine to make an appearance on the Design*Sponge, my favourite design blog, and I’m so stoked it finally came true! You can check it out here.