review. clinique 3 step skin care.

I'm no beauty expert (if I were this would probably be a beauty blog) but I do recognise the importance of maintaining healthy and clear skin. My mum's a health freak - even more so because I have sensitive skin. Growing up I've tried everything from Clearasil to Cetaphil but the one that stuck with me during my teen years (the crucial ones re: skin) was Clinique and their best selling three step skin care regime. The best thing about it is that it's completely customisable to your skin's tendencies - whether it's breakouts, redness, controlling oil or reducing dryness (take the quiz here to find out which three are best for you) so as the seasons/ years went on I would switch up products depending which way my sporadic skin would take me. I'm just blessed with skin that can be oily one day and completely dry the next. I've been asked to review Clinique 3 Step and I'm happy to say that clear skin is still as easy as 1, 2, 3.*

*See what I did there?

Step 1: Cleanse
This scent-free, mild liquid facial soap gently cleanses and preps the skin for exfoliating. The soap lathers up with even the tiniest amount so the bottle lasts for ages. 

Step 2: Exfoliate
The clarifying lotion (aka toner) removes oil build up, restores moisture and prevents break outs. Refreshing and revitalising, it has an almost minty feeling and cools the skin like the way a cucumber mask does.

Step 3: Moisturise
The dramatically difference formal was a product that was constantly stocked up in my bathroom cabinet (seriously my mum would buy a few every time she went through duty free). There are two options - the lotion which is great for dry skin and the oil-free gel (my pick!) which ensures moisture balance between your t-zone and the rest of your face. The gel is super lightweight which is great for our humid summer.  

If all this talk about healthy skin has got you intrigued - today's your lucky day! I have trial packs of the Clinique 3-Step Skin Care System for the first 10 readers to comment on this post. All you have to do is like Flourished & Sunkissed on Facebook and include your name and email in the comment section below. Hurry! First in, best dressed. 
Open to Australian residents only.

Product was provided for review. All comments and words are my own. 

in the navy.

Zimmermann playsuit, Ksubi denim vest, Superga sneakers, eQUIP necklace, Sabre sunglasses (Photos by Jack Loo).

Finally made it to the beach... about two months too late. The day before that scorching 43 degree heatwave in Sydney, Jack I went to catch some rays at our favourite coastal hang Freshwater. Is it depressing that I only ever make it out to the beach twice a year? The heat made the surf the perfect temperature and there were long intervals between waves so there were times when we could just float in the ocean. Now armed with two Zimmermann bikinis (and one A.T.G on the way) and a work-in-progress beach bod I just might be ready for Bali which is slowly creeping up on me. I always go through this strange pre-holiday regret phase where the excitement subsides and I secretly wish I'd never planned a holiday because I hate the feeling of come back home to normalcy and routine. Anyone else get that?

This Zimmermann playsuit (hiding behind the equally amazing Ksubi vest) was one of the more impulse buys from spring. Having worn this to my best friend's 21st, intern days, a New Year's Day barbecue and now the beach, I am starting to realise the playsuit's full potential. Expect a post from Bali about my many ways to dress up (and down) this piece and why it's made my wardrobe staples list. 

interview. vera xane.

"When I left school I thought fashion was where I wanted to be," admits Alex Smyth-Kirk, designer of upcoming accessories label Vera Xane. Though career pathways can often be make-or-break decisions, Alex is testament that you don't necessarily have to get it right the first time. "Three years into my degree I realised I didn't want to be a fashion designer." So she left and crossed over to an Arts degree whilst dreaming up her new project that has now been two years in making. About to debut her first collection Dichotomies which takes its inspiration from her long time infatuation with 60's/ 70's rock & roll era, her love of travel and her appreciation of architecture and construction, her designs have already been granted a tick of approval from InStyle, Vogue China and Shop Til You Drop. Late last year I had the chance to chat with the inspiring Alex. Read on to find out more!

On growing up in a rock & roll background:

I was brought up around that [rock & roll] music my whole life. There’s memorabilia all over my parents house. When I go to trivia it’s my job to answer all the questions about music. There’s ridiculous things from the 60’s that I just happen to know. My dad had this magazine called Drift that he started when he was 23 while studying at UNSW - which is where I just finished my degree. It started as a university based newspaper but it eventually became national. He's met members of the Rolling Stones and all kinds of interesting people in the industry. When we were first designing elements of the brand, I pulled out all these archive copies for inspiration.

On drawing from architecture: 

In the last five years, I’ve travelled a lot since finishing school and I constantly find myself drawn to cage shapes. Sometimes it’s really literal. Like I have an obsession with those electrical towers. I was in Dubai in July and there was thousands of them one after another - I think it’ll come out more in future seasons. Even [Antoni] Gaudi and that non-literal approach to design really influence my aesthetic.

On some of her favourite places to travel:

I absolutely adore Morocco. Everyone goes to Marrakech - though I love Marrakech because it has quite a rock & roll background (the Beatles and the Rolling Stones used to go there all the time) - Fez is still one of my favourite places. We stayed inside the Casbah and it’s this crazy ancient town where you start walking down little alley ways and they get smaller and smaller until you get to a tiny door. It’s like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

These days I’m in Bali all the time [Alex then proceeds to give me suggestions on her Bali hotspots]. If you do Bali the right way it’s so much fun. You can have twice as much fun as you have in Sydney, for way less money.

On the Vera Xane woman:

When I’m designing I definitely have a girl in mind. She is the kind of girl who would dress in Ellery but loves vintage, someone who doesn’t just follow fashion for the sake of it. She’s not a literal fashion girl but is more aware of it. She has a love and appreciation for design. But at the same time she’s edgy, young and smart. Women like Leigh Lezark and Georgia May Jagger are some of my modern muses. I have always had an obsession with the Jagger girls and Ronnie Wood’s daughters. I love the daughters of rock & roll. They're like this cool modern version of everything their parents stood for. 

On accessorising:

I love arm parties but not in the Man Repeller sense. I love mixing high and low. I have no dramas with getting Topshop rings and pairing them with Bvlgari. Vintage and unique travel finds are also a must - there’s nothing more beautiful than having something that no one else can get. I tried to make my collection look like something that not everyone else would have. It’s a mixed metal collection - that’s how I tried to introduced ‘colour’ into my wardrobe.

Dichotomies will be available online next month. 

off duty.

Outfit number three and I'm motivated to maintaining my resolution. My striped breton, boyfriend jeans, cross shoulder bag and sandals have been on high rotation throughout January. Yes I know this look would translate 100 times better on Miranda Kerr, but hey I'm doing the best with what I've got. It's funny because after looking at the product description on Shopbop, I realise the distressed patch on my knee is really supposed to hit mid thigh. Petite power!

I was gutted when my only day off with Jack which we had planned as a beach day ended up as tops of 23 but alas we went to Bondi, ate some burritos and froyo and took some photos. This is just one of those no fuss, mindless wardrobe choices that I'm constantly reaching for went I need to look semi-presentable. Other than that I've resulted to wearing my gym gear while I'm out doing boring things (yes I've become one of of those women) like posting speeding fines, buying groceries and dropping off dry cleaning. It's actually really effective because part of the pain of going to work out is getting ready so at least if I'm dressed for it I'm half way there.

What's your no fuss outfit?

date night.

Equipment shirt, UNIF.M leather shorts (from Desordre), Oroton sandalsSabre sunglasses, Ginette_ny necklace (photos by Jack Loo).

Following on from my previous post and my style resolution for the new year (which you all seem to agree with, I present to you my day to night outfit which I wore on the day of sweltering 40 degree temperatures (surprised you can't see all the shine on my face)/ Jack's birthday/ our two year anniversary. My first sneaky buy for the year was a pair of leather shorts from local brand UNIF.M that I bought and wore on the day (a planned purchase if I ever saw one) and ticks all the boxes re: wardrobe staple, top quality, all-year round wear. Off to a good start. After taking these we headed to Sake in the Rocks for our dinner date - I recommend the kingfish jalapeno and popcorn shrimp for those of you playing along at home. Jack took me to eat kaiseki Japanese on our first date so we've made it a bit of a tradition to dine Japanese on special occasions... scrap that. We eat Japanese all the time now. Just trying to keep up with the japonisme trend from SS13.

Still a sucker for flowers. Who else is with me?

denim & leather.

Chambray shirt (from Japan), Kahlo leather skirt, Dieppa Restrepo loafers.

Kicking off the year with two of my favourite buys from 2012. This Kahlo leather skirt has seen me through summer winter and summer again (not to mention the countless times I get honked at while waiting at the bus stop in it) and my chambray shirt was a purchase from my trip to Japan (almost a year ago now). I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions - I don't think New Year's should be reason to wipe the slate clean. You can change your routine, your habits, your behaviour any day, any week, any month of the year. Most of the time new year's resolutions seem to fail after the first week of January because there's no real motivation for change. Moral of the story: Change what you want to change, when you want to change. I promised myself I'd go back to the gym after I finished semester and I've been doing just that. This however has seen me foster an obsession with Nike fitness gear. I've bought more Nike in the last month than anything else (which might be a good thing) - but more on that in the not so distant future.

Despite my anti-resolution stance, I have set myself a style resolution to buy more staples and investments and less trend-driven/ impulse purchases. My judgement on what is and what isn't worth the money is slowly improving but I sometimes find myself drawn to pieces that everyone else is coveting. Well here's to another year of finding my signature style!

Photos by Aprilia