Rena's review: Cuyana Classic Structured Leather Tote

As I get older, I realized at times I just need functional fuss-free pieces. I am looking for a functional tote as my Everlane twill tote bag is very much used (and to my disappointment, the bag was only used less than a year).

I have read and heard so much about Cuyana, a brand based here in San Francisco. Their flagship store is chic, pared down and I just love their refined selection of products. I read great reviews on one of their bestsellers, the Classic Tote bag. However I prefer a structured version so I got the Classic Structured Leather Tote instead in black and blush.



The bag is simple and chic. I love how roomy it is. The handles are very well made and reinforced meaning I can put a lot of things in the bag but the bag does not feel weighed down (which is an issue for a lot of other tote bags. The bags also have leather ties that can change the look of the bag while retaining the structure.

 Photos via Cuyana

Photos via Cuyana


I highly recommend this bag if you are hunting for the perfect leather tote. I am also eyeing the Tote Organization Insert which is perfect for someone like me who is constantly unable to locate the things in my bag. 

This bag is perfect for work, school, travel and I can see this being a good nappy bag.  


Innisfree and Laneige Haul

I was in Kuala Lumpur recently and of course I went shopping. I wasn't successful with any fashion finds, so beauty shopping is the way to go.

For some reason, I get excited with stand alone stores from Asian brands. I think I am no longer get excited with western brands like Chanel or Dior because I can easily buy them from Sephora or online in the States.

Innisfree is so darn affordable and Laneige is such a dream to shop in. Here are my haul and my thoughts on them.


My skin felt so gross and clogged while I was in Kuala Lumpur so I had to get these Innisfree Skin Reset Peeling sheets masks and the popular Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask. I love the sheet masks, but not sure about the clay mask due to the weird sticky feeling even after drying down. I much prefer the Origins Clear Improvement Mask.

While I was there, I got also these blotting powders, the Jeju Volcanic Oil Control Paper. They are okay, I prefer the Beauty Blender Blotterazzi.

At Laneige, I wanted to try the Two Tone Lipsticks but unfortunately my lips are dry and the lipstick does not look cute on me.

I didn't want to leave empty handed and I was so attracted to the BB Cushion Anti Aging foundation, I mean look at the gradient rose gold goodness on the compact! I am never interested in cushion foundation because they are always too dewy for my liking, but this version has higher coverage and not too dewy. It was really easy to use, however the shade 21 is a little paler than my skintone at the moment but I can imagine using this when traveling.

I am a big fan of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask therefore I got the Lip Balm as well.


Overall, I am happy with my purchase and having YesStyle on my fingertips, I can easily restock the Innisfree Skin Reset Peeling sheets masks and a refill for the Laneige BB Cushion Anti Aging foundation.

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Spring scents

As someone who adores heavy floral scented fragrances for winter, I like to tone down my scents for spring.


Newest additions are from Atelier Lumira and Madison Louis Marie. I adore the *Atelier Lumira La Primavera candle, channeling “San Remo in springtime with the notes of  jasmine, rose leaf, lily and patchouli supported by a powdery cashmere musk”. 

The perfumes that I’m going to be wearing a a lot is the *Atelier Lumira Paradisium. I’ve never been into dig scented perfumes but this one has a sweeter fruitier scent with notes of “bergamot, grapefruit and lemon, developing into a luscious heart of fig nectar and guava before settling with vetiver, sea moss and cedarwood”.

Madison Louis Antidris Cassis perfume oil is perfect for traveling. I’m so done with carrying a full bottle of perfume with me. I can’t get enough of this combination of cassis, bergamot, black pepper with mid note of white rose and base note of oakmoss, musk and tonka (a bean that smells like vanilla and cinnamon).

And of course my all time favourite fragrance brand, Diptyque does the best home fragrance. Baies is possibly my dessert island choice, and I love the Tuberose candle.

*PR Samples

My Affordable Skincare Routine

I’m am funemployed at the moment so this has motivated me to create the perfect affordable skincare routine. My definition of "affordable" is USD50 and below.

Thanks to online shopping in the US (Amazon), I have so much more access to Korean brands. I am also still a big fan of The Ordinary, to the best thing that happened to the beauty industry.

After a lot of research (lurking on Asian Beauty Reddit), below is my nighttime routine listed by steps.


1. After cleansing with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (USD18), I swipe Missha Clear Toner (USD28), a gentle exfoliating toner with both AHA and BHA followed by the more affordable dupe of SKII Essence, the Missha First Treatment Essence (USD49)

2. PyunkangYul Essence Toner (USD18.90) is so soothing, I do wonder if I need this after the Missha FTE but I love how soothing this feels and it’s affordable anyway.

3. For a long time I wasn’t sure about putting snail mucin on my skin but I convince myself to try the COSRX Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (USD21). The power ingredient, snail mucin is known to heal blemishes and irritation and so far it’s working.  

4. Another magical ingredient, bee propolis is super hydrating, soothing and also anti-inflammatory. The SkinFood Royal Honey Propolis Essence (USD27.50) is one of my new favourite product. I rotate this with COSRX depending on what my skin needs.

5. The Ordinary Niacinamide (USD5.90) is a repurchase, I read a tip on Reddit to mix this with COSRX Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence mentioned above to reduce the pilling. It really works! I believe the combo also helps with healing acne and reduce scarring.

6. My second bottle of The Ordinary Rose Hip Oil (USD9.80) is a staple for my nightime routine, I use this as my last step to seal in moisture. Rose hip oils contains a high percentage of linoleic acid, which is one of the most important natural lipid components. Oily and acne prone skin is generally deficient in linoleic acid, which means sebum will become gloopier and clog pores, which can cause a lot of breakouts. Linoleic acid helps dissolve the sebum to improve skin health.

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New Year, New Work Wardrobe

2018 and everyone is back at work. A new year means a fresh start therefore I can't stop thinking about an updated workwear wardrobe.

I am not a conventional workwear person, I prefer blazers over thirts or silk shirts with jeans. However, I adore skirts and find that the right skirt have the power to change/elevate your work outfit. 

I have been eyeing this Altuzarra skirt for a long time (almost a year!) and finally bought it when it appeared on TheRealReal. What caught my eyes about this fantastic skirt is the perfect khaki green shade and the versatility. The skirt has a perfect balance of work appropriate and dinner ready.


I love styling this skirt with a good black turtleneck top. For warmer days, I would pair it with a camisole or a white t-shirts or simple blouses. The options are endless.

Worn here with Manolo Blahnik heels (similar style here) and Muji ribbed turtleneck sweater (similar here).

Photos by Angie Silvi, Styling by me.

Shop skirts here:

Best of M.A.C Cosmetics

As a brand, M.A.C Cosmetics is very dear to my heart. I remember when the brand first launched in Malaysia around 2005ish. I was mesmerized by their bold ad campaigns (especially the M.A.C Viva Glam ad featured my queen, RuPaul), the sleek interiors of the stores and the fun vibe unlike luxe brands like Estee Lauder or Clinique.

M.A.C was my OG and most coveted brand at that moment, to the point that I was religiously saving a few dollars each week from my allowance to purchase my first ever luxury foundation and concealer (however the foundations I've tried didn't work out for me at that time).

My obsession continued for the next few years. Then, there were newer and cooler brands like NARS  and Stila. After a few years, I find myself going back to M.A.C as they have the most substantial makeup collection at a good price.

I want to share my current favourites because I don't think I gave these enough mentions on my blog:


I started going back to M.A.C mainly because of the Prep + Prime Fix Plus, non-alcohol and the best for setting and refreshing makeup.

I was after a very good deep red lipstick so I settled for one of their  classic, Russian Red, not as blue as Ruby Woo but also not too deep. 

I love Paint Pot in Groundwork, it is such an easy product. I just tap some on my eyelids to add some depth and the shade is just the most perfect taupe.

I have a weakness for shimmery cool toned eyelids, after searching for the perfect shimmery taupe, I decided Satin Taupe is the one. Perfect when patted over Groundwork.

The Prep + Prime' 24-Hour Extend Eye Base is an amazing eye primer if you want something not too thick and not too drying.

The Strobe Cream is a backstage favourite, I like applying this on the cheeks or my brow bones before my foundation. This gives a barely there highlight, or you can apply this all over your bare skin as a luminizer. A small size will last you a long time.

Patrick Starrr is one of my fave beauty guru on YouTube and his collection with M.A.C is just so dreamy. One of his star product is the Set Powder (sold out however this is the permanent version), my newest purchase. The powder is not drying,  sets foundation and no flashback.

I plan to try more products from M.A.C, what are your favourites?

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