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    is a virtual space where Liyana Aris documents her evolving modest personal style, which is based on the art of looking casually stylish while still remaining modest and doing it all on a budget; about 93% of her closet are filled with affordable things. (PS: The remaining 7% has a lot to do with her secret addiction to Adidas shoes and her occasional splurges on discounted high-end bags and clutches, shhh.) [+]
    28.2.13 .

    Shah and i and our grumbling tummies had to make a pit stop before "window-shopping" in Galleries Lafayette recently. We simply walked around the area near the Opera House before ending up at Pizza Pino.

    It was actually a Pizza Hut i saw from afar that brought us into this boulevard. As we went over to check out the menu, Shah noticed the street we were in was lined with pizza places. He looked around and spotted the sign 'Boulevard des Italians'

    "Patutlah banyak restoran Italian!"

     Shah is so clever. This is why i should never travel alone.

    follow @theliyanaaris on Instagram

    28.2.13 .

    Shah and i and our grumbling tummies had to make a pit stop before "window-shopping" in Galleries Lafayette recently. We simply walked around the area near the Opera House before ending up at Pizza Pino.

    It was actually a Pizza Hut i saw from afar that brought us into this boulevard. As we went over to check out the menu, Shah noticed the street we were in was lined with pizza places. He looked around and spotted the sign 'Boulevard des Italians'

    "Patutlah banyak restoran Italian!"

     Shah is so clever. This is why i should never travel alone.

    23.2.13 .

    First, allow me to point out this: Mai Billsbepaid is a lipstick that is literally perfect for me. Literally. 'Mai Billsbepaid'? My bills be paid, indeed! (Love you, Shah!)

    The Balm Girls is a range "starred" by James Balm (that's what The Balm says on their website). There are six shades available with Mai Billsbepaid being the nude of the range.

    The Balm states: "These double agents provide your pucker with amazing pigment and rich conditioners. The sleek packaging can infiltrate even the smallest evening bag to give your lips all the secret service they need! The Balm Girls (trademarked) come in 6 shades, so you can be a smooth operator, no matter what your mission is."

    How kitschy and fun! I must say these traits were what attracted me towards Balm so much. 

    So does the lipstick live up to its dramatic expectations? Let's break down the good and the bad of Mai Billsbepaid.

    22.2.13 .

    Before i purchased this foundation, i tried to find help online in deciding what shade or shades would be good for me. It sounded like 310 would suit me, but of course, of course, shade 310 isn't available in Paris. How convenient, right? But i decided to keep my eyes on shade 315, even though so, so many people concluded that shades that end with a '5' have pink undertone and those with yellow undertone end with a '0'. This conclusion would later coincide with my result, which i will recount as below.

    I stumbled upon Maybelline's official Fit Me site while trying to find out more about shade 315. This particular page helps you decide what shade you should get, which could be massively helpful. Or deceiving.\

    To go to the page, click here: Maybelline Fit Me. This is UK's Maybelline site.

    The little "survey" i did on their site was what made me decide to buy shade 315 after all. I will go through the page right now, and write about the steps as i go.

    Maybelline categorised skin colours into three groups: 100s FAIR, 200s MEDIUM and 300s DARK. Since i had gathered infos that i would be either 310 or 315, i click on '300s DARK'. Now, if i had not known about NC40-45 people leaning towards the 300 shades, i would've chosen the medium group. I think it's also a little confusing to put two models in the 100 and 200 groups whose tones don't differ that much, whereas there's quite a vast difference between models for 200 and 300.

    So i clicked 'CONTINUE'. At this stage, they would ask, "DO YOU THINK YOUR SKIN HAS PINK OR YELLOW UNDERTONES?". I hit 'TONES OF YELLOW'.

    The result: 'TWO POSSIBLE FITS NOW SELECT YOUR SHADE'. The two fits? Shades 315 and 350.

    I was happy since 315 is available here, but also puzzled. So does that really mean shade 310 isn't for me, then? And doesn't that also mean shades ending with '5' are not necessarily pink-based?

    There's another box on the right side stating, "NOT QUITE RIGHT? CLICK HERE TO CHOOSE YOUR PERFECT FIT". I clicked there to find out more, and here Maybelline listed out all of the Fit Me shades, by photos and shade numbers. 

    Or maybe i should say the shades that are offered in the UK and possibly around Europe, because shade 310 is nowhere to be found. So i guess shade 315 is the one for me.

    But before that, the site also helps you pick out the matching concealer and powder for you, from the Fit Me range. It says: "FOR THE FULL FIT ME MAKE-UP SYSTEM, FIND YOUR MATCHING SHADES BELOW".

    And mine was:

    I ended up purchasing 315. Shade 350 looks too dark for me, so i didn't bother swatching it in the store. I've heard good things about the concealer. I'm a little intrigued but it isn't high on my Wish List right now. My Stage concealer is working just fine for now. The Fit Me powder on the other hand doesn't sound like a hit with its users so why bother?

    So that is my experience with the website. I think the site can offer some help, sure, but it would help more if you go into a store to test out the shades yourself. You can use the website to narrow down the shades to cut down the time and reduce any frustration and possible headache in deciding—something i'm too familiar with.

    Hope my story helps. And of course, good luck!


    *if you're in a real hurry, just read the sentences/words in red and bold letterings! xxoo

    Shah and i always arrange our outings between prayers. For example, now in mid February, Zuhur comes in at about 1pm, Asar 3:40pm and Maghrib is at 6:10pm. So we would wake up, eat a really big brunch, perform Zuhur, leave to go jalan-jalan and we will make sure to be home before 6:10pm for Asar prayer.

    It took us three weeks of settling in before we were ready to visit Disneyland Paris. Then came the big question: where do we perform prayers in Disneyland? Sure, we could go really early in the morning and come back before Asar and leave for it again, or come back another day, of course. But how about for those who have limited time to visit Disneyland, for those who are staying in the city and not in Disneyland itself or nearby? It takes 45 minutes - 1 hour in the RER train per journey from the city, so it would be tiring and extremely boring to go back and forth.

    We tried Googling about praying spots there but nothing came up. But we figured, OK, we're going to make this work. So Shah and i packed our sejadah and my telekung and my makeup remover and my facial moisturiser and my little towel, not having decided whether we should return home for prayer, or if we would find a place for it in Disneyland.

    21.2.13 .

    Another OK foundation for me. Just OK.

    Before buying, I searched online for the shade or shades that would suit my skin tone and it is shade 310 or 315. 310 isn't available here in Paris, so 315 it has to be then.

    Let's break down the good and the bad.

    19.2.13 .

    Scarf - Giant Besar KJ y'allllllllll

    Empire waist winter coat - H&M La Defense

    Black washed-out skinny jeans - Pimkie La Defense

    Shoes - 6-year-old Timbalands. I mean, Timberlands. Parkson Subang Parade.

    Handbag - Aldo Bangsar Village (lusted after for three months - on trips with Rayyan to his gym! - before purchasing)

    Hot pink gloves - Etam Val d'Europe

    Top - ? (you can't even see it, can you? OK, thanks, because i don't even remember. i can assure you there would be at least three long sleeved tops underneath that jacket. because all my fat prefer to reside in the lower half of my body)

    *uniform STRICTLY for 5 degrees celcius above unless i'm in the mood for shivering and literal quivering. which is NEVER.

    *and uniform possibly will lasts into March too. HoNoooooo.

    18.2.13 .

    Deborah Milano and Debby are two brands i spotted but previously ignored in Monoprix, because i've never heard of them. My attention is always diverted to Bourjois (always this one first, since this isn't available in Malaysia), L'oreal, Maybelline, Rimmel and Revlon. Until one day when i wanted to do a look that involves a nude pencil, something i had forgotten to stash in my small makeup bag to Paris. I didn't find a nude pencil that i like in Monoprix, but instead a hot pink lipstick from Debby and a white eye pencil by Deborah Milano caught my attention.

    I went home to Google Debby and Deborah Milano. There were only a few reviews, however, as they are not widely available, not even in the UK i think (unless anyone knows otherwise?). The two brands are from Italy and online reviews seems to tout them as high-performing drugstore brands, especially Deborah Milano. Sounded good so far to me.

    Then it struck me, it's such a waste for me to be here in Europe and not be adventurous and try out new brands, even if i've never heard of them. What a shame it would be, right?

    Monoprix recently offered 15% off for ALL makeup products on 16 February to their members. Since i'm a  sucker for discounts, i decided it was the best time to try out some things from the two brands.

    16.2.13 .

    One part of make up that i struggle with the most - well, aside from finding the perfect foundation - is applying blush.

    I know some people would go, "Whattt? That's like the easiest part of makeup!". Well then good for you, but i unfortunately just lack the expertise in applying blush.

    I used to smile really wide, then the blusher goes round and round on the apples. But i find that the blusher would be a lot lower than where i expect them to be, resulting in a sort of saggy cheeks look. Not something that i'm fond of.

    Then came one fateful day when i watched a video made by Wayne Goss about applying blush and only then i then understood what has been happening. It's a short but informational 4-minute video, so have a quick peek at it by clicking here: DO NOT APPLY BLUSHER TO THE APPLE OF THE CHEEKS!!!! (note: in case you're wondering, that really is the exact title, all capital letters and complete with four exclamation marks)

    15.2.13 .

    I love olives. Green and black. Pitted or not. But it never crossed my mind to make a green olives based pasta - and i love experimenting with loadsss of pasta recipes - until Shah spotted the jar of green olives in Monoprix last week.

    At first i said, "What pasta do i make with these??".
    Shah replied, "Just add to whatever pasta you've been making. Senang."

    Right... Said the nasi goreng-maker of our family.

    I got brave and reached for one of the jars two nights ago on our weekly grocery trip, still with zero idea of what to do with them.

    14.2.13 .

    (La Defense's skyline; wikipedia)
    Judging from the sizes of our breadbasket (that's slang for 'tummy', by the way), Shah and i obviously don't have any problem with food here in Paris. Even though we're in a strange city, in a strange country, surrounded by people who speak a strange language (and apparently don't think too highly of the English language - which i suspect is veeery slightly mythical), we have too many reasons to not complain:

    - There are two halal places literally two minutes away from our apartment, with a halal fast food joint in Les Quatre Temps, the mall that's less than 15-minutes' walk.

    - Monoprix, the supermarket where we do our shopping is half a minute away and is stocked with enough ingredients to make breakfast, lunch and dinner. If anything ever runs out there, Auchan supermarket (the Giant Besar of La Defense) can be found in Les Quatre Temps. Seriously, it's so near that if this were Petaling Jaya, i would go there in my jammies. 
    The nice jammies from Peacocks, of course, not the ones you get in Pusat Pakaian Hari-hari. No offence, PPHH, i did get my leopard print leggings from you guys, i wear them every day here, serious.

    12.2.13 .

    I was intrigued by the brushes in the very messy Essence's section in Auchan supermarket (let's hope Auchan has stocked up and cleaned up). The coloured bristles are interesting, plus they are both below 5 EUR. I saw four brushes - powder brush, blush brush, eyeshadow brush and eyeliner brush - but only grabbed the two eye brushes. The other face brushes looked really pretty with their pink and purple bristles but looked a little too flimsy to get their job done.

    Left: Essence Gel Eyeliner Brush; Right: Essence Eyeshadow Brush

    8.2.13 .

    I have eight shades of lipstick from Revlon Creme range - see them in my post Revlon Super Lustrous. Mmm. Lustrous indeed - but I've been sticking with these three because they suit me well and are quite versatile, therefore go with a lot of eye makeup looks.

    Let's break down the good and the bad.