AnnA - Xiu
Sample Store x Best of Taiwan | Wen Shen Herbal Tea by Bioherb Garden [Review]
June 13, 20180 Comments
Sample Store is bringing Taiwan to you!

That's right, they're bringing in lots of goodies from Taiwan! These are popular Taiwanese brands and products specially curated for Singaporeans, but anyone can enjoy them of course. You can redeem various beauty and F&B products over the next few weeks on Sample Store.

This is the second week of their Taiwan series, and you can visit their website to check out the 7% Arbutin Ultmate Whitening Gel by Don Du Ciel and Wen Shen Herbal Tea by Bioherb Garden!

For those of you who aren't sure how to use the Sample Store website, or what it is, this post I wrote previously will clear things up for you!

I'll be sharing with you the Wen Shen Herbal Tea by Bioherb Garden today. As with many teas, it's chock full of health benefits. So what makes it stand out? 


Wen Shen Herbal Tea comes in a typical tea bag. It's convenient and fuss-free, needing only 1.5 to 2 minutes to steep in 300-400ml of hot water for the flavours to be fully infused into the water. 

For refills, leave the tea bag in for more than 1.5 minutes, until you're satisfied with the flavour.

You can even leave it to steep in some room temperature water or iced water, and you'll have a refreshing cool cuppa! For best results, leave the tea bag in 500ml of drinking water for an hour and consume it within 6 hours.


I like to let the flavours slowly diffuse on its own while I'm busy with something else, like writing an article or preparing a meal, then come back to a cold cuppa! 

Part of what makes this stand out is the quality and the source of tea leaves. 

Inside each tea bag is high quality herbal tea leaves from organic farms. A patented herbal tea in Taiwan, China and Japan, it's a caffeine-free tea that's ideal for anytime of the day! (No. M473834: Multi-Functional Herbaceous Micro-Particle for Inhibition of Blood Glucose)

Start off your mornings with a warm comforting cup of tea, or kick back and relax with a calming cup of tea at the end of your busy day.



Wen Shen Herbal Tea contains no preservatives, flavouring essences or artificial sweetener. In fact, it can boost your metabolism (yasss!), detox and aid in blood circulation. This is excellent for those of us who are trying to detox or need a little bit of boost in the weight loss department (do note that this is NOT a weight loss supplment). 

Ingredients:
- Bittergourd stems and leaves
- Gynostemma Pentaphyllum
- Lycium Fructus (Goji Berries)



This tea is beneficial to those with chronic diseases, such as the diabetic, or those who have trouble sleeping! Simply drink this before meals to reap the benefits. However, this is Not recommended for pregnant women, women on their periods and those with a history of gastric hemorrhage or hemorrhage stroke should not consume this tea.

Taste-wise, it has a herbal taste (because it's herbal tea, duh) and has a slight bitter zest to it. The longer you steep the tea bag, the more bitter the taste is. The goji berries, other than being amazing antioxidants, somewhat balances out the bitterness. 


The Chinese have this idealogy that certain foods and habits can make your body "heaty" or "cooled". For example, if you eat a lot of fried food but neglect to drink water, you'll be a more "heaty". It's also perfect for people who often burn midnight oil. People like me 🙈. 

This herbal tea can "cool" you down internally to balance out your body's internal heat again. 



This herbal tea is produced at a HACCP & ISO Certified Manufacturing Factory. This means it follows strict regulations for hygiene and safety standards. No worries about pesticide and heavy metal residue here!

This healthy herbal tea from Bioherb is great for daily enjoyment. I felt more refreshed after just one cup of tea, and as a tea enthusiast, I'm pretty excited to add this to my little collection of tea!




The gorgeous box makes this ideal as a gift for your friends and loved ones. If you know anyone who likes tea, or whose health could do with some improvement, I recommend getting this for them! 

You can look forward to more the most popular Taiwanese products being added to Sample Store in the coming weeks, such as Unicorn Skincare mask (for your derriere!), Perfect Concept Advanced Anti-aging Repair Essence, Bluemagpie tea and more! 



You can redeem or purchase the product here: http://bit.ly/2HlqxGI, or find out more about the brand and Wen Shen Herbal Tea here: http://www.herbtw.comYou can also purchase this here: https://goo.gl/kCF3Tt

Thank you Sample Store, for inviting me to join in on the Taiwan series!
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Zaful Wishlist: We're Cool for the Summer
June 12, 20180 Comments
With summer rolling around, we're all eagerly making summer plans to chill and make the most of the sunny days ahead. Beach days, pool parties, little getaways to tropical paradises... omg I'm so excited just thinking about it!

(Sorry if you're based down under in good ol' Straya, but you could still make good use of your sunny days now!)

And best of all? I love shopping for a new summer wardrobe! So while I was shopping online, I found a bunch of cute outfits on Zaful that I thought would be just PERFECT for summer- I just had to share them with you!


Let me know which is your favourite in the comments at the end of this post!

1. Swimsuits

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of summer is the sweltering heat... then pool days! Some of us like to go into the sun for a good tanning sesh, some of us like to stay in and avoid skin cancer and whatnot. Lol #forrealtho. For me, I'm always trying to just even out my tan, but it's really more difficult than one would expect!

Zaful has some trendy items, like this one piece that's been appearing on pretty much everyone's feed lately! 

Monokini High Cut Backless One-Piece Swimwear

2. Cute Matching Sets

With the weather heating up, hemlines are sure to "rise up" as well! I've been wearing such blah outfits for the past few months, so the fun sets on Zaful caught my eye. There are so many sets to choose from!

I quite like this Leaves Print Strapless Top And Shorts Set!


How awesome is it that there's currently a big sale going on? Buy 4 get 1 free, or buy 7 get 2 free. Trust me, it's easier than you'd think to hit those numbers. You can always shop together with a friend!

3. Summer Dresses

Come on, it's summer! We can't miss out on fun summer dresses, can we? They're flirty, comfortable and are generally perfect for day and night- just throw on a cardigan or a shawl when it's getting a little chilly!

This Belted Striped Long Sleeve Shirt Dress is great if you prefer a more conservative style. Stripes are such a classic, and the v-neck will help to elongate your neck so you'd look slimmer!

Belted Striped Long Sleeve Shirt Dress

 If stripes aren't your thing, this cute little ribbed number comes in 4 colours and has adjustable straps!
Knitted Ribbed Slip Mini Dress
  


4. Accessories

Accessories can bring our looks to the next level. A quick look at Zaful's website will give you tons of options, from necklaces to chokers, body jewelry to sunglasses, and more!

This particular one caught my eye with its simple, elegant lines: Simple Alloy Fish Hoop Earrings (comes in golden or silver colour).


I think this would go nicely with the striped shirt dress or the leaves print matching set, don't you think?

Or, if you prefer a more practical accessory, try this fanny pack (Pin Buckle Faux Leather Waist Belt Bag)! As you may know, the fanny pack from the 90s has been making a comeback, and we're all loving how this practical accessory has been given a modern makeover!

Pin Buckle Faux Leather Waist Belt Bag


You can wear it over a cute little dress, a jumpsuit (I personally love it with a pair of big flare pants), or with a pair of shorts!

*****

This is my summer wishlist. Let me know about yours!

Zaful is currently celebrating their 4th anniversary with whole lotta sales for us (congrats!!), so hop on over and start shopping!




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{flarosso by Astalift} Review x Makeup Launch!
June 01, 20180 Comments

How many of you have heard of Fujifilm?

I can almost hear you all going, Duh! That photography brand from Japan!

And how many of you know that Fujifilm has a makeup line?

I'm not kidding about this! Fujifilm is known for its amazingly insta-friendly instax cameras, innovative photograph development techniques and all that, but not many of us are aware that they've branched out into beauty and makeup products!


A Brief History

For more than 10 years, this Japanese brand has expanded its research into beauty products, with the aim of using Fujifilm's best photography technologies in skincare to promote more photogenic skin. The successful research led to the launch of their skincare brand, Astalift.

What's more, they've further outdone themselves by creating makeup that also makes use of photography technologies! On 17 May 2018, Astalift launched a new line for their makeup brand, flarosso!

And guess what? Astalift and Sample Store so kindly invited me down to Nex for the launch in Singapore! Tysm <3
Astalift flarosso Eyeshadow Quad and Blush


What is flarosso?

The name is a combination of the elegant flamingo and passionate rosso, which is Italian for the colour "red".

Rosso, or red,  is a nod towards the red-coloured anti-oxidant, Astaxanthin, that is present in all Astalift products.

Photography Technology in Makeup

The new line of flarosso makeup that was launched has Fujifilm's top photography technologies incorporated into its creation.

  1. Overlay Effect Technology
    • This technology boosts the saturation of colours for clear and vivid presentation. Fujifilm uses its proprietary nanotechnology in ASTALIFT flarosso by interlaying yellow, magenta and cyan colours. The result is beautiful, vivid makeup that gives you an instant radiance, as if a spotlight is shining on you.
  2. Edge Effect Technology
    • Inspired by Velvia, one of FUJIFLIM’s most famous photographic films, this technology gives the edges of your makeup more colour saturation and making them appear more vivid by regulating the colour inhibitors along the boundaries of both vivid colours and soft colours.


flarosso Products

My favourites are the blushers and lipsticks, so I was delighted to hear that my focus for the event would be these 2 products! There's also the eyeshadow quads and highlighter, but I don't really know how to use eyeshadow yet. 

All four products will help us to become more photogenic- and who wouldn't want that? 

Keep reading to see the lipsticks, blushers, eyeshadows and highlighters!

First up, the ASTALIFT flarosso Tirabaci Lipstick!

I have on Tirabaci Lipstick in shade PK01 here.

The Tirabaci Lipstick are a series of creamy lipsticks that glides on like a dream and stays put for hours! The colour is buildable- perfect for even the shyest of makeup lovers to layer on for our ideal shade.

Unlike the pearlescent eyeshadow quad, the lipsticks delivers a multi-dimensional satin effect. Not sure what that means? To be honest, me neither, until I tried it. The finish is in between a matte and a cream look. See the swatches below! 

Tirabaci Lipstick swatches from left to right: RD01, PK01, PK02, CR01 and BE01
This formula will definitely ensure hydration throughout the day. It even partially concealed the dryness of my lips and made them look plumper and youthful! 

What I especially like is how forgiving it is. If you ever need to do a touch up on a moving vehicle or without a mirror, you'll know how important it is to have a forgiving lipstick! For a quick application or quick fix, simply swipe it on and smack your lips! It blends out beautifully, leaving no harsh edges.

Tirabaci Lipstick shades from left to right: RD01, PK01, PK02, CR01 and BE01.
All Tirabaci Lipstick cases are slim, black with pink designs... and MAGNETIC! It makes a satisfying and very secure "click" when the lid is capped properly, and if you have a collection of it, it'll all stick together in your drawer. No more worries about lipsticks rolling everywhere! 

I mean, you could have some kind of divider or stand for your lipsticks, but magnetic casing is more fun. There was also the option to personalize* it with your name on the bottom piece, with 2 or 3 fonts to choose from! 




Personalization might not be available outside of certain events.*

flarosso Tirabaci Lipsticks retails at $46.

Second of all, ASTALIFT flarosso Luci Blush!

These 5 blushers creates a transparent veil of colour, making it an excellent product to use on its own, or blended over another blush to intensify the look. Like the Tirabaci lipsticks, you can simply layer this blush on to achieve your ideal colour. 


What's special about this particular blush is that its formula consists of a unique blend of polymers, which provides a unique fluid and silky guide upon application. This is what gives it its amazing staying power while still giving your cheeks that beautiful creamy, even pop of colour.

Pro Tip: Use the Luci Blush to sculpt facial dimensions- make your cheekbones pop with that au naturel flush! 

The brown tone on the right will work well as a contour- dust it on lightly if you're fair skinned, and layer it on if you've got darker skin!

Luci Blush Swatches directly under bright spotlights.

Newbies will also be happy to know that powder blushers are the most forgiving! Mistakes won't be obvious and easy to fix as well. Simply use dry facial tissue or cotton buds to gently rub the mistake. This will diffuse the colour, and the excess will be picked up by the tissue or cotton bud! 

Pro Tip: Apply Luci Blush over your eyeshadows to make them pop!

Luci Blush swatches under regular indoor lighting.

And like I said, because of how creamy and aerated it is, this powder blush stays on all day- perfect for a long day! I had it on all night, and the colour didn't fade. However, don't expect magic- if you blot your face or touch up on your base makeup throughout the day, the colour will fade faster.

flarosso Luci Blush retails at $55.

Thirdly, the ASTALIFT flarosso Intenso Eyeshadow! 


So many of us love playing around with eyeshadows! It's fun, it's colourful, and it can really change up our looks. The Intenso Eyeshadow has great colour payoff, and get this- it has a pearly sheen finish! #shutupandtakemymoney

The eyeshadow comes in a quad (i.e. 4 complementary shades), which can be used together or separately to create refined day-to-night looks. I was so lucky to have met Jason at the event launch. He taught me quite a few tips about applying eyeshadow, which I totally appreciate! 



flarosso Intenso Eyeshadow retails at $65.

Last but definitely not least, the star product of the launch...

ASTALIFT flarosso Luci Highlighter!

This highlighter is very different from the intense highlighters that we've come to know and love. You know, the insta-makeup where every girl glows up with a swipe of blinding highlight? 

The Luci Highlighter is a subtle powder that draws attention to the high points of the face, like any other highlighter: cheekbones, under the brow bones, bridge of the nose and cupid’s bow. However, instead of blinding people, it creates a soft radiance for a sweet, romantic glow. 

Photo credit: Female Magazine

Here you can see professional makeup artist Jason applying the highlighter on me. You don't have to look too closely to see that I'm having my monthly breakouts (and the eyelid tape fail of the day), but please focus on my nosebridge and forehead area to see the radiance of the highlighter! XD

For a size reference, I'm also holding on to the highlighter compact btw!
Because it's a powder compact (and boy, do I mean compact! Check out the slim packaging!), it can be easily reapplied throughout the day, whenever you feel that you could do with a little more radiance. 

For those of you who don't know me, I have some trouble sleeping. On the day of the event, I slept at 10am. Obviously, I didn't get much sleep, nor did I get any quality of sleep. Look at how normal I look in the photo below, as if I slept at night like a regular human being! 



Pro Tip: To achieve this healthy look, this kind lady pictured on the left lightly dusted the Luci Highlighter all over my face. Yea, ALL OVER. You can't see any obvious glitter or pigments on my face irl, and it looks natural in photographs.

You can do that because this product controls light reflection to help us achieve photo-ready intense colour pay-off regardless of the ambient lighting. And we all know how hard it is to get great lighting! 

flarosso Luci Highlighter retails at $55.

*****


I had fun at the event! The Astalift staff members were all incredibly friendly and helpful, and I've learnt quite a bit from them about makeup that evening. Thank you so much to Astalift and Sample Store for the invite!

Oh, and I'll be sharing expert eyeshadow tips from a professional makeup artist in another post! You can follow me on Instagram (@love.life.love.unicorn), where I post updates about my next blog post.

For more information, visit http://www.astalift.com.sg/ 
All products mentioned in this post is available in all ASTALIFT retail stores from 17 May 2018.

ASTALIFT @ Wisma Atria
#03-30
Telephone Number: (+65) 6238-6386
Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily

ASTALIFT @ JEM
#01-20
Telephone Number: (+65) 6734-8860
Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily

ASTALIFT @ NEX
#01-70
Telephone Number: (+65) 6481-3937

Opening Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily


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Is Tosave.com Reliable? Online Shopping Haul & Review
May 25, 20180 Comments
Online shopping has never been more affordable! We've been seeing a ton of websites that offers unbelievably low prices popping up here and there: Shein, Wish, Romwe, Fashion Nova...

Well, here's another one! Introducing Tosave, an online e-commerce company that believes in giving consumers a wide variety of quality products to choose from at the best prices. 




They weren't kidding about offering a wide variety of products. They apparently have "tens of thousands" of products, including consumer electronics, computer accessories, clothes, home decor and more!

I ordered 5 items and spent less than $15! Read on to see if the incredibly affordable prices on this website is legit or not! 


SHIPPING

As expected, the time taken to ship everything to my place took quite some time, as is the case with these websites, so I'm fine with it. Here's the timeline of the whole online shopping process:

19 April: I sent in my order.
19 April: I received an email confirmation of my order.
27 April: I received a tracking code for my parcel.
17 May: I received the parcel.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Honestly, I was unimpressed by the black crumpled plastic that arrived. I didn't even realize it was a parcel from Tosave! But it did serve its purpose of protecting my items from any moisture damage, so that's a plus.




You can rest assured that all your items will be safe from any water damage, as all items are individually wrapped in more plastic. Not exactly eco-friendly, but I repurposed the plastic bags as trashbags, so they turned out to be quite useful!




The items I ordered were not particularly fragile, so perhaps that's why there was no bubble wrap or any sturdier form of protection. I half expected the plastic items to be cracked, but surprise, surprise! It arrived in perfect condition.

QUALITY OF ITEMS

Overall, I'd say that most of the items are accurate to the website. Not "kinda" accurate- I mean, accurate. Tosave actually did a great job of accurately describing their products in terms of images and descriptions!


Measurements can be a bit iffy, but the website clearly states that there might be some deviation due to errors in manual measurement.

Here's the fun part- let's have a look at each item I received! I ordered 5 items: Moon Cake MoldMacaroon Silicone MoldUniversal Cross KeyPill Box Keychain and Women Monokini!

NOTE: These are not the actual names of the items used in the website.


Item #1: Moon Cake Mold ($4.59)


I was impressed that this arrived all the way from China without any sturdy protection in the parcel! It wasn't cracked at all, and the spring handle worked perfectly.

The plastic felt light and kind of cheap, but the quality of the mold exceeded my expectations- there were no sharp or uneven edges. The spring worked great, the handle was a good size to grasp while popping out those mooncakes, and the whole thing was easy to use!

The only thing I would gripe about is metal bit that connects the handle to the cylindrical shaped part. As you can see in the picture below, there's some unidentified residue. I'm guessing it's some sort of lubricant?




Accuracy to website: 10/10

All looks good, don't you think? There's only a slight difference in the colour. It's stated as white on the website, but it's really a pale yellow. No big issue here, unless you hate yellow.

It looks identical to the image on the website (see below for screenshot):




Item #2: Macaroon Silicon Mold ($2.90)



The silicon mold came in a delicious chocolatey brown colour, and I like the size- it'll really speed things up when my mom and I try baking macarons, seeing as there are 30 individual molds for us to use here. It feels smooth, and is made out of food grade silicon.

It arrived a little dusty, but that's not a concern since I'm going to have to wash it before using it anyway. I wonder if my macarons will have a small ring embossed in them as a design, since there's a slight ring in every mold.


Accuracy to website: 9/10

Accuracy in Measurement:
Actual size of the silicon mold: 28.5x25.5cm / 11.2inx10.0in
Measurements on the website: 26.0x22.0cm / 10.2inx8.8in, with a 2-3cm error

Actual size of each individual mold: 3.9cm / 1.1in
Measurement on the website: Small circle diameter: 2.3cm/1.0 inches / Large circle diameter: 3.7cm/1.5 inches

There isn't an option to select size. I took a point off for that, since customers won't be able to tell what size they'll be receiving when they order.

Accuracy in Appearance:
It looks identical to the image on the website. (See screenshot below)





Item #3: Universal Cross Key ($2.91)




This is the one item that ever-practical Xiu selected! She needed it for work. It's the correct size and looks to be of good quality- smooth edges, no scratches, the metal bit is a good weight... overall thumbs up! 



Also, I like to use weight as an indication of quality sometimes. If it's slightly more weighted, I'll think that it's of a better quality. 

The smallest metal bit does have a rather loose fit to the red plastic piece. I also have nothing to test it on, so I can't say much about the sizes of the "keyholes" of this universal cross key. Shall pass it to Xiu and see what she says! 



Accuracy to website: 10/10

Measurements provided on the website matches the actual measurements of the item sent to me exactly! This is 7.2 by 7.2cm for the main T-shaped section, excluding the additional part. 

The universal cross key looks identical to the image from the website, as you can see:




Item #4: Pill Box Keychain ($0.60)


I'm really pleased with this item! I like to take vitamins everyday, but I tend to forget them since I can only eat them after a meal. So when I saw this, it was love at first sight- I just had to get this useful little thing!

As with the other items, the pill box keychain has really smooth edges, can fit a few vitamin pills, screws on and off easily, and is so light (in this case, light is a good thing) and portable! 


It comes in 7 other colours as well, but you don't get to choose the colours (it's selected at random when you place an order). I'm happy with my black coloured one- black is my all time favourite colour! 




Accuracy to website: 8/10


Details on the website are quite accurate for the pill box keychain, but it could be slightly better! The item is identical to the photos, but measurements deviate a little more than the 1 to 5mm of error that they promised. 

On the website, it's 4.8cm/1.5in long, but the item I received was 5.5cm/2.1in. This isn't a big issue for me at all, but I took 2 points off because the website wasn't clear enough- there's no indication as to whether the measurement include the keyring or not. 

If you're interested, the length of this item with the key ring is 7.5cm/2.9in. The diameter measurement was accurate.



#5: Women Monokini ($3.95)



I wanted to try a one-piece swimsuit, and this monokini looked like as good as any to try! It's so affordable at Tosave, so I figured it was pretty much the best time to try a new look!

With its v neck cut in the front and scoop back, it's flattering on the figure. My fav is how relatively conservative it is, without encroaching on nun-like characteristics. I was uncertain about the cut-outs, but why not? It looked amazing on the model!




Unlike many affordable clothes from China, this swimsuit doesn't have many loose threads for me to trim of- maybe just one or two. The seams look uniform throughout, with absolutely no jagged cuts anywhere, and it feels amazingly nice and soft!

I might have to purchase some pasties to go along with it, since it doesn't have any padding, but no big deal.


Accuracy to website: 6/10

Okay, this one was the one that I was most looking forward to, so I was extremely disappointed to find that it was too big for me. The monokini swimsuit that arrived was bigger than stated. *cries*

I'm tempted to rate it 0/10 because I can't wear it at all, so what's the point of having nice seams if I can't wear it anywhere? But nah, I can't do that... the quality is really commendable, especially at this price.




I have great news, though- Tosave kindly agreed to send me a replacement swimsuit in size S! I'm so looking forward to receiving that swimsuit, and let's see if it's accurate to the measurements on the website like the other 4 items are!

TL:DR
Other than the monokini, I'd say the Tosave website is pretty accurate! Of course, it's a little unfortunate that the only piece that needs to be the correct size (since it has to fit on my body for me to wear it out!) is inaccurate, but I'm eagerly waiting for the replacement swimsuit to arrive in a month's time.

I'll post an update about the new swimsuit. Whether it arrives or not will say A TON about their customer service. We shall see... * strokes imaginary beard in thought*

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Tosave replied my emails in a day or two, which is a pretty fast response rate. I'm not sure if I'm talking to the same person, since they didn't reply when I asked for someone's name to address them with. Regardless, communication is always quick, and they're friendly and polite. <3

I especially like that it seems to be a human who I'm speaking to, and not a robot. It doesn't seem like they've sent me any automated messages, so I'm loving the personal factor here!


*****

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience with Tosave, and I'm happy to say that it's a reliable website for us online shoppers! Click here to shop!

Here's the product links to the 5 items I ordered. Click in and have fun shopping online- you can spend hours just browsing through the extensive Tosave website!
  1. Moon Cake Mold
  2. Macaroon Silicone Mold
  3. Universal Cross Key
  4. Pill Box Keychain
  5. Women Monokini
Thank you for sponsoring this post, Tosave! <3

PS- I'm aware of the difference between macaron and macaroons, but the silicon mold is listed as macaroon silicon mold, so that's what I used for this post.




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