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Vanity Trove Beauty Boxes

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What better way to remind yourself and your loved ones how special they are with a box of beautiful surprises delivered right to your doorstep every month?

Vanity Trove Beauty Boxes

I like receiving gifts and the kind people at Vanity Trove pamper me monthly with a box full of goodies. It is such a treat opening deliveries to uncover the treasures hidden inside.

Vanity Trove January Box

The year started with them sending me January’s box teeming with beauty products to help me stay fresh this new year. January’s picks included a limited edition Bifesta make-up remover trial kit, a Slim Secret bar, the highly raved about Dr Ci:Labo Aqua Collegen Gel, beauty lovers favourite My Beauty Diary mask, a gorgeous bronzer from essence Cosmetics, a bottle of Lingzhi Immunity to kickstart your energy level in 2013 and a mini sized Yuskin A Hand Cream to fit perfectly in your handbag. Wow, so many samples, I don’t know where to start!

Vanity Trove February Valentine's Day

February’s Vanity Trove took the fresh, new me and built it into a more beautiful one for the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s festivities. Kiehl’s award-winning Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution helped keep my skin looking flawless before I hydrated it with a Lovemore Facial mask, one of the most popular facial masks in Taiwan. I received the French Caviar mask (hors d’oeuvres anyone?), rich in protein to smooth fine lines and enhance radiance.

Three serums in the February Vanity Trove – the iderm Placenta Serum, the Origins Anti-Aging Serum and the Phytomer Ultra-moisturizing Serum – keep your skin beautiful and invigorated throughout with their powerhouse ingredients. Once your skin is well-hydrated, a thin layer or Skin 79 BB Cream is all you need to complete your daily skin routine. Then, top it all off with the darling rose fragrance in a sample spritzer of pureDKNY Rose. I am a HUGE fan of rose perfumes and this one is too pretty to ignore.

You can still buy the January Vanity Trove here and February’s box is going on sale here! Having received two boxes in time for the season’s festivities, these were a couple of my favourites from the Vanity Trove beauty boxes that helped me be my best for visiting and my special date.

Vanity Trove Valentine's Day Cleanse

Cleanse
Start with a clean, make up free face. I used the Bifesta Non-Rinse Makeup Remover (January box) to ensure a squeaky clean face. Makeup removers do well to ensure grease, oil and dust is thoroughly removed during cleaning. Then, made from precious plants, the Yuan Soap (February box) helped to cleanse and protect my skin.

Vanity Trove Valentine's Prep

Prep
To prepare your skin for makeup, hydration is key. First, correct dark spots with the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution (February box) for a flawless face, then pamper your skin with the Lovemore Facial mask (February box) before hydrating and sealing the moisture in with Dr Ci:Labo Aqua Collagen Gel (January box).

Vanity Trove Dr Ci-Labo

After using the Dr Ci:Labo Aqua Collagen Gel, I can see why it’s received such rave reviews. The gel is lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin. I tend to have quite dry skin (oh air-con woes) and the enriching formula of the gel not only plumps skin up visibly, it also firms it.

Vanity Trove Valentine's Day Primp

Primp
Before leaving the house, do up your favourite make up looks for Spring and finish the look with a sweep of bronzer for that after-sun glow from essence Cosmetics (January box). Color on the face is a huge testament to healthy radiance! Finally, leave your skin covered with a hint of delicate roses from pureDKNY Rose (February box) and you’re all ready to impress.

Vanity Trove Valentine's Day Relax

Relax
When the day is done, you’ll want to strip down to bare skin and unwind with the belief Creamy Cleansing Foam that maintains fresh skin before applying Ujene’s Puriste Collagen eye gel. Found in the “Best of 2012” box, these two star products will definitely refresh you after a great time out, getting you ready for the next day of visiting.

Vanity Trove Best of 2012 box

Vanity Trove beauty boxes exposes new brands and provide the latest products to beauty lovers for sampling. The kind folks surprised me with a box of their 2012 choice brands and you can see that the brands they work with are premium brands. Just from the above, you can see the first two Vanity Trove boxes are a whole lot of awesome to take in, but Vanity Trove has gone and upped the ante for April.

Laura Mercier Sample Compact

Because here at valerie-lim.com we love beauty and quality products, anyone that quotes my name, “Valerie” for the upcoming April subscription is going to receive a Laura Mercier mini compact in addition to the goodies found in the upcoming box! Wo0ot! I can’t say for now what’s in it but they’ve piqued my interest by offering a FREE Laura Mercier mini compact for all April subscriptions. I’m so fond of the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer I can’t wait to get my hands on the mini compact!

My 2013 beauty journey is certainly off to a good start with Vanity Trove and I’m all set for the first quarter. I was even invited to the exclusive Vanity Trove’s x Kiehl’s event! We learnt about the star product of Kiehl’s – the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, amidst lots of laughter and smiles. Here are some snapshots of the event.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Vanity Trove Kiehl's Event

Vanity Trove Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Vanity Trove Kiehl's

Thank you Vanity Trove for the awesome event. It’s always good to catch up with friends. Beatrice, Peggy and I look so serious listening and learning about why the Midnight Recovery Concentrate is so powerful.

You too can now kickstart your beauty journey by getting yourself a Vanity Trove beauty box. To qualify for the free Laura Mercier mini compact promotion, be sure to subscribe to the April Vanity Trove beauty box by March 14. You have one more week!

Nicole by OPI in Singapore

“Nicole? Who is Nicole?”

Nicole by OPI Singapore

I like to say Nicole by OPI is the baby sister of professional nail polish brand, OPI. Established in 2007 to provide the quality of OPI nail polish to a broader range of consumers, Nicole by OPI‘s emphasis is all about the color. Offering unique, fun and vibrant colors and finishes, Nicole by OPI serves as the color authority for the younger demographic. They’re all about accessorizing fashion.

Nicole by OPI Justin Bieber

It was clear who Nicole by OPI was targeting when they launched their first celebrity collaboration in 2010 with Justin Bieber. Titled “One Less Lonely Girl”, Bieber’s initial launch of one million bottles sold out in under two months. There were certainly many less lonely girls now that they had Justin Bieber inspired nail polish dancing on their finger tips.

When the “One Less Lonely Girl” collection came hit the shores of Singapore, I wasn’t one of them lonely girls screaming and crying because my nails were so pretty. I have to admit however, Nicole by OPI certainly got me sitting up straight and paying attention then. The colors were… kinda cute.

Following that successful line, Nicole by OPI has partnered with reality TV stars we all love to hate. As much as I hate to say it, of the rare instances I do keep up with the Kardashians, they almost always look flawless.

So being the nail polish sucker that I am, I ended up with 4 out of the 6 Nicole by OPI Kardashian Kolor collection.

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Kolor Collection

Here we Kome a-Karoling is a shimmery dark purple that stopped me short in my tracks. Dark, vampy yet very chic. Application was so smooth and very easy, I wanted to keep painting my nails applying more than 2 coats. But the rich purple needed only 2 full coats to reach opacity to provide a stark contrast to fair skin.

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Kolor Swatch Keeping Up with Santa

I also was blown away by Keeping Up with Santa, a shimmering metallic crimson red that’s absolutely stunning. 2 full coats are all that’s required for an intense color and application was such a breeze. The smooth, easy-to-apply formula was instant love. On top of that, I thought it complemented my skin color very well.

Nicole by OPI Kardashian Kolor Deck the Dolls Swatch

Deck the Dolls, the shimmering metallic teal of my loot, is sheerer than the other two metallic colors. Some may argue that it’s more a blue with a hint of green while others say peacock green, but regardless of what you call it, I was pleasantly surprised by how the color turned out after 3 full coats.

The last of my loot, A Gold Winter’s Knight, is a clear based glitter polish packed with gold, rose micro-glitter and green long tinsel glitter. In the bottle, it reminded me a lot of the velvet manicure trend with it’s long glitter strands. I wouldn’t necessarily wear A Gold Winter’s Knight on it’s own, but it does go very well with Here We Come A-Karoling.

Overall, the Kardashian Kolor collection impressed me and I’m so happy I got my hands on this collection. The formula of the 3 metallic polishes were so smooth and easy to apply, I feel like I didn’t have to worry about making a mistake. Once dry, the high shine finish of the polishes is too beautiful to ignore.

Nicole by OPI Modern Family

I certainly love nail polish collaborations, and based on my love for this Kardashian Kolor collection, I’m looking forward to Nicole by OPI’s upcoming collections. Being the “little sister” brand of OPI doesn’t mean Nicole by OPI has collections any less stellar than OPI itself. In the coming months, Nicole by OPI will be partnering Selena Gomez on top of the very colorful cast of Modern Family. You can be sure that nail polish collection will be a very colorful one.

Nicole by OPI Selena Gomez

Nicole by OPI is now available exclusively in Singapore at all Watsons stores. Each bottled is priced at SGD$12.90.

Post Workout Body

Today’s post workout body.

Post Workout Body - Jan

I’m still on a mission to get sexy as hell abs by May! The lower abs are the hardest to target and I still have a long way to go. Every workout is difficult, but that’s how I get stronger.

Once that’s done, we’re hitting the beaches of Boracay! In the meantime, all that running and weights to get ready for my February 3rd Skyway run is definitely showing.

Dibs on Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck Enchanted and Ivoire by Balmain

You know the song and you know the girl. Now get to know her fragrance.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted Perfume

Wonderstruck Enchanted is the next chapter in the story of my Wonderstruck fragrance. Wonderstruck is about that moment when you instantly feel a connection to someone, but then there’s that feeling of being completely enamored � enchanted � when you know a little more about that someone and still feel that strong connection.� – Taylor Swift

The second fragrance from this multi-award winning singer is bound to strike some chords with fans. The bottle instantly enchants me with it’s iridescent crimson glow and delicate gold swirls. I am wonderstruck by how pretty the bottle is. Bejeweled with a cluster of pretty little antiqued gold charms personally selected by Taylor Swift, they’re meant to represent natural beauty. Things that don’t have to be more than what they are naturally – a bird (maybe a swift?), a flower, a leaf and a sparkling crystal move daintily on the chain and I delight in the sound of their tinkling as I reach to pull the cap off.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted Eau de Parfum

Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck Enchanted is an Oriental Gourmand – it presents a blend of luscious wild berries and sugar-glazed petals. The eau de parfum opens with an invigorating burst of wild berries and passion fruit before it slows melts away to reveal peony swirls with sugar-glazed champaca petals and blooming white freesia. But it isn’t till the end that the hints of vanilla, musk and woods ignite your senses. If I had to describe the fragrance in three words, it would be: warm, creamy and soft.

Sadly, as much as I am enchanted with the detailed and darling bottle, I can’t say the fragrance struck a chord with me unlike many of Taylor’s catchy songs.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted Perfume Review

The latest eau de parfum from Ivoire by Balmain, however, is quite the opposite. The bottle is simple with clean pure lines but the perfume has character that strikes you instantly. A remake of one of the most sought after perfumes in the 80’s, this updated fragrance elegantly seduces me immediately upon first whiff. But of course… It’s French.

Ivoire by Balmain Perfume Singapore

The simple bottle is said to pay tribute to the couture heritage of the house and the initial creation signed by Pierre Dinan. Pure lines mirror the architectural training of Pierre Balmain while the clear rounded-edge cap reminds me of an ice-cube. It’s cool. It’s classy.

�The original Ivoire remains a scent with a strong personality, which was very advanced for its time; it was a very aldehydic fragrance borne by fruity harmonies. Our job was simply to update the perfume without betraying it. The first impressions were to remain familiar but with a more modern twist,� explains Michel Almairac, perfume designer at Robertet. �Today, thanks to a remarkable choice of qualitative raw materials, we were able to explore new olfactory territories.�

Ivoire by Balmain Eau de Parfum

I’ve obviously never smelt the original from way back in the 80s. But this updated version of the Ivoire perfume pleasantly surprised with the initial surge of orange and mandarin essence powdered with violet leaves. At the heart of the Balmain’s Ivoire is a bouquet of jasmine, rose, ylang- ylang and galbanum with an accent on its green highlights. The seduction happens in the base notes. Where the deep, sweet, woody, smoky smell of vetiver balances out the delicate vanilla alongside cedarwood and patchouli. What’s left lingering on my skin is a harmonious blend that smells like warmed honey. Ahhh… Delicious.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my French beret and have a croissant on a little street side cafe.

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The Ivoire by Balmain perfume and Taylor’s Swift’s Wonderstruck Enchanted is available at all Perfume & Cosmetics Stores located at Changi Airport and is one of the firsts in Asia Pacific to carry these perfumes.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted is available in EDP format in 50ml and 100ml, priced at $76 and $92 respectively. Ivoire by Balmain Eau de Parfum comes in 50ml and 100ml, priced at $97 and $139 respectively. Prices listed exclude GST.

What I Eat in a Day

This question of what to eat almost always bugs me post workout. Mmmm… I just worked out and burnt all that calories. Surely, a little sweet treat won’t do any harm right?

WRONG!

Diet makes up at least 70% of fitness. And it’s imperative to feed your body the right types of food – food that will help muscle recovery, reduce fatigue and burn fat. Hand in hand, ample exercise and the right diet will give you the body you want. And, personally, it is a Victoria’s Secret model body that I want.

Unlike the misconception that models don’t eat, it simply is a matter of what you eat. And a lot is what I eat.

I never start my morning without my cereals and oats. I’m a little bit of a serial cereal killer because eating cereal after cereal and mixing different types of cereals makes me happy. And it’s even better that the cereals all blend harmoniously with the mainstay in my bowl: oats.

Daily Breakfast Oats

First, I cook my oats in boiling water, then mix them in a bowl of multi-grain Cheerios or Weet-Bix, a high-fibre wheat breakfast biscuit which is crispy and sugar-free. That settles the carbohydrates for the day. For fibre, I top off the cereal mix with fresh blueberries, raspberries, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Instead of relying of sugared cereals, fresh fruits adds natural sweetness to power you through the day!

My Daily Breakfast

Mmmm.. Doesn’t that sound good already? But wait, there’s more to it. Occasionally I add a splash of milk to cool the oats and soften the Cheerios and Weetbix, but I do enjoy huge dollops of Greek yoghurt just for a little bit of tartness. If you’re feeling adventurous like I was a couple of weeks back, adding peanut butter to the whole mix will certainly give you the high energy breakfast that is required daily.

Eggs and Toast Breakfast

I do try my best to be strict about my diet and keep to the regular healthy 4 meals a day, but I do have my cheat days. 😉 Eggs and toast? Oh yes please. Make that toast with kaya and butter. It must seem like a work of work to prepare oats and cereal, so on lazy days, I simply throw fruits, yoghurt and granola into a blender and blend it into a smoothie. Now, that’s a 6-second breakfast that’s both time saving and healthy.

When it comes to lunch, I’m usually still tiding over the residual fullness of breakfast. And that is a fantastic feeling. For one, because I’m partially full, I’m not going to be eating too much during lunch. That in turn means I don’t get into a food coma. Yey productivity! Secondly, when I don’t eat so much for lunch, that generally means skipping the carbs! I don’t usually put a lot of planning into lunch, but a nice bowl of fish soup or a plate chock full of greens, meat and tofu from the mixed-rice stall will fill me up nicely.

Salmon Sashimi

The focus at dinner is almost always on protein. Cutting the carbs but beefing up on protein from tasty steaks or raw fish, will satiate hunger without you feeling shortchanged.

I�d encourage people who want to start eating healthy to not worry too much about calorie counting. I personally am not a numbers kinda girl and I believe consistently working out, eating fresh and eating clean. It takes discipline and an awareness of yourself to trim down and tone up. Healthy eating isn’t difficult. Certain things makes perfect sense. Clearly, you intrinsically know fried food and food drenched in mystery oil and sauce isn’t going help you get the body you desire. Healthy eating is about making the right food choices.

Looking Back at 2012

Once the year closes and the first day of the new year dawns upon us, I like to look back at the important lessons the previous year taught us before setting a focus for the coming year. 2013 will be no different.

I’m not going to mince words. 2011 was a difficult year for me; I re-read my 2011 reflection post and couldn’t help but think I took difficult lessons away from the year despite having received an amazing title and once-in-a-lifetime experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

2012

At the beginning of 2012, it was decided the year was one where I had to put “me” as a priority regardless of what I did. It was to be a journey of self-REdiscovery after 2011’s setbacks and I took to the skies to find myself. Looking back, I did. But I found more than just myself; I found love, rekindled my sense of adventure and the trust to venture into the unknown. Feelings I had known before but somehow forgotten in the passing cloud.

But, in 2012 those were the positive emotions that fueled my fantastic year. With our hearts full of love, eyes shining with excitement and bags packed with hope, we created lots of great memories. These are the adventure highlights of my 2012 and the lessons the past year presented to me.
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