Product Review: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

*Not a food post*

Why, hello there reader(s)! September has been a hectic month for me with university work, placements and intern applications but I've finally found the time to fit in a quick blog post. I thought I'd be a little different today and talk about one of my favourite beauty products right now - the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette or "wardrobe" as they call it here in Australia. I'd been eyeing this for a while and my friend luckily grabbed me one from Barney's in New York whilst she was in the States! The bargain-hunter in me was patient enough to wait for one from the States, which retails at USD$58. In Australia, the palette retails for $86 and is available at Mecca & Mecca Maxima. Mecca recently decreased their prices for some products so it actually used to be $95 (hooray for their recent price changes).

This palette is my very first product from Hourglass and I believe it's pretty good value given that each of the ambient lighting powders are going for around AUD$59 each. So what is this product actually meant to do? The Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders are finishing powders that work to capture, diffuse and soften the way light is reflected on your skin. The photoluminescent technology allows harsh light to be filtered out and leaves your skin looking like it's photoshopped. The powder is extremely fine and feels very light on the skin. Hourglass is parabens & sulphate free so it's definitely suitable for sensitive skin.

For me, did the product really do what it had been so hyped-up to do? YES. YES. YES. I've been using this palette almost everyday since I got it and has become one of my holy grail beauty products. Here's a look at each of the shades in the palette:

Dim Light:
After evening events for example, clubbing, I often come home, looking at my face and wondering where all of my make up went. I'm pretty sure it just melts off my face... BUT after using the Dim Light powder, I've noticed it keeps everything in place. After a long day, I come home pleasantly surprised to see my make-up as fresh as it looked when I left in the morning. After the powder settles, its blurring effect is highly noticeable; leaving your complexion smooth, illuminated and poreless.

Incandescent Light: This shade is exclusive to the palette and is described as an opalescent pearl. I use this powder as a highlighter just on my cheek bones, along the top of my nose, in the middle of my forehead, my chin and just under my brows to illuminate my face and give it a little more dimension.

Radiant Light: This is my least used shade in the palette so far but probably because I don't know when to use it! For darker skin tones, it would be perfect as finishing powder and for more medium-toned skins, it supposedly gives a sun-kissed glow. I've used it in instances when my foundation has looked a little pale for my liking.

There is a specific Hourglass brush for these powders however I've found my Real Techniques Powder Brush works just fine.
Overall, I absolutely love this product and highly recommend it. I can guarantee that your make-up will stay on for much longer and will leave your skin looking naturally illuminated and poreless. I'm eagerly waiting to get my hands on the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette which is already available to VIB's from Sephora and will be hitting Australian Mecca stores on November 9th!!

Who needs Photoshop or Valencia when you have this?!

Posted by : Meghan

Food Adventures: Jinda Thai

Jinda Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The girls and I finally got around to trying Jinda Thai, which is hidden just off Victoria Street in Richmond. The restaurant looked completely different to what I was expecting! Jinda Thai was a spacious restaurant with ample seating, high ceilings and large windows which allowed plenty of natural sunlight to shine through. The menu was extensive and deciding on what to order was a struggle (the good kind of struggle though...if you know what I mean). However, getting our order in was the bad kind of struggle. The service was great at the start however seemed to decline as the crowds started creeping in.

Boat Noodles with Rice Stick Noodles (Large - $9.00)
I'd never even heard of 'boat noodles' but was keen to try the dish for the first time at Jinda Thai. With a choice of either a beef or pork based soup with a choice of noodle, I settled with the beef with rice stick noodles. The soup looked as though it would be quite thick and salty, however it was seasoned perfectly. Doing some further research I've learned that the soup is actually thickened with pig's blood. This may be a little disgusting to some, but not to me! Pig's blood is one of my favourite things to have with congee. :3 There was also a choice of 4 sauces (a mix of chillis and vinegars) to add to taste but I'm not too much of a sauce person so I added them very sparingly.

Pad Thai ($15.90) 

Green Curry Chicken ($14.90) with Coconut Rice. One word: spicy! (But that probably doesn't mean anything coming from me because I can't handle spice!)

Thai Iced Milk Tea - Good thing I had this deliciously sweet and refreshing drink to wash down the spices.

Pandan & Thai Milk Tea Crepe Cake ($8.50)
Now, we couldn't complete our meal without trying the Insta-famous crepe cake. Feeling gluttonous, we ordered both the Pandan and Thai Milk tea flavours. *Insert excited statement about how amazing this cake is*. Jokes! Okay, I am not sure if we were just unfortunate and got a bad batch but we really did not enjoy these as much as we had hoped. In fact, we couldn't manage to finish it! Instead of the light and fluffy texture I was expecting of this layered crepe cake, the cake had a (can't think of a more eloquent word) mushy and dense texture. It was kind of like eating play-doh..?!

In my opinion, the cake looks better than it tastes. I've heard a lot of positive things about the dessert so don't let my personal experience taint your own expectations - give it a try! Despite the slightly disappointing dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Jinda. I will most likely look towards Jinda Thai the next time I am craving Thai food but probably will be giving dessert here a miss. 

Posted by : Meghan

Food Adventures: The Kettle Black

Address: 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9088 0721 

The Kettle Black on Urbanspoon

Another beautiful sunny Sunday called for some morning brunch. From the makers of Richmond's Top Paddock, which won the title of Best Cafe in the 2014 Good Food Guide, comes The Kettle Black cafe - its little sister who we all have high expectations for!

I arrived at 10:45am and wasn't surprised to see the line going out the door. I was told that the wait for a table of two was around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Indeed, I was hungry but I decided to wait. After all, what better things did I have to do on a Sunday morning? A small coffee stall was thoughtfully set up outside so we had some drinks to keep us busy. Unexpectedly, after around 40 minutes, a table became available!

As a friend described to me, dishes at The Kettle Black are similar to those of Top Paddock, however they have more premium sourced ingredients. I hear the King Island Crayfish roll is a must-try however personally it was a little early for seafood. I had pretty much already decided on what I was going to order before looking at the menu though... 

Hot cakes with house-made ricotta, blueberries, pure maple, double cream & seeds ($18.00): Yes I know, know. You can get these hot cakes from Top Paddock and I really should be trying something new but I've never ordered this dish for myself before. I'm usually more of a savoury person when it comes to brunch but for some reason I was craving these hot cakes. Can we please just take a moment and appreciate the beauty of this dish? It's almost too pretty to eat. Almost. I absolutely love this dish. It's not too sweet and the fresh berries add just the right amount of sourness to the dish. I had to carefully monitor my cream:cake ratio though to ensure I had enough cream to last until the end!

Chilli Scrambled Eggs with Air-Dried Flinders Island Wallaby, Feta & Leaves ($18.00): I was a little reluctant to try this dish because I can't handle chilli very well. Luckily for me, the scrambled eggs weren't spicy at all (however I can see how it could be a little disappointing if you ordered chilli eggs hoping for them to be chilli). The wallaby was also...interesting. I am no expert on wallaby meat so let's just leave it at that!

I think if I had indulged in one of these goodies (particularly one of the Doughboy donuts) I would've well and truly fallen into a food coma. The hotcakes were extremely filling so I gave it a miss but there's always next time ;)

Overall, I enjoyed my brunch at The Kettle Black. Of course, the service was a little slow as expected since the cafe had just opened earlier in the week but the overall location, cafe fitout and the quality of the food is A+. I'll probably wait for the hype to die down before dining-in again but as the cafe is rather close to my house, it's good to know I can pop by The Kettle Black for a good coffee and some sweet treats to go.

Posted by : Meghan