Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Favorite Products for the First Half of 2010!

Wow, the first half of 2010 has already gone by!  That means it's time to do my favorites for these past 6 months.

Favorite Skin Care items:
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes


Like I said in my review, I will still continue to use oil-based cleansers for everyday cleansing because I don't think that wipes get everything off.  That said, these are by far the BEST wipes I have ever used, and they are far superior to anything we have in Japan. Too bad I don't have access to this in Japan!!


Unfortunately, this is the only new skin care product which really WOWed me.  I continue to love the Lush Brazen Honey Fresh Face Mask, which was in my favorites for 2009.


Favorite Makeup items:
Maybelline Moisture Extreme Lipstick in Nude Blush

Seriously, my lips but better!  I love the color and I love the incredibly smooth texture.  My lips peel at the slightest irritation, but this one is great.

Barry M Dazzle Dusts
This is the one in 51-Mushroom, but I love all the ones that I have.


Here are some swatches


VERY pigmented and very smooth!  I pressed mine and they are SO easy to work with.  These last a long time on my lids.  I can't wait to pick up some more colors soon.

Silica Spheres



I love to mix some with my finishing powder for a smooth, matte finish.  I used to buy mine from Coastal Scents, but I've found that TKB Trading sells them at a better price.

Favorite tools:
MAC 109

Yes, I just got this, but I have already fallen in love!  I LOVE how small this brush head is.  It lets me apply blush and bronzer very precisely.

MAC 130

I love to use this brush for highlighters.  It's great for both cream and powder products.


Favorite scents:
Tie: Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods / Bath & Body Works Velvet Tuberose
(I must be a really rare person -  I do not like Japanese Cherry Blossom!)



Biggest surprise:
That I like the non-waterproof Cover Girl Lash Blast better than the waterproof one!

A friend of mine picked up Cover Girl Lash Blast for me, but they accidentally bought the non-waterproof version.  Not wanting to disappoint them, I tried it, thinking that non-waterproof mascaras wouldn't work for me.  Surprisingly, the non-waterproof version of this mascara transfers MUCH less than the waterproof version.  It's also much easier to take off.


Best trick I finally learned:
How to (properly) use eye primers
 Ever since I discovered eye primers a year ago (they don't sell them in Japan), I'd been lemming to try them.  When I finally got my hands on one, it was a total disappointment because the eyeshadow still creased.  What I recently learned is that I needed to let the primer set a little bit.  Wow, that was stupid of me for not realizing that earlier!  At least now my eyeshadow doesn't budge!!!

What are your favorites so far this year?  Please share!

xoxo, K

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Review: Q10 Marine Collagen SPA Beauty Mask eye masks

This is a review for the Q10 Marine Collagen SPA Beauty Mask eye masks!


Eki sent me a few of these to try!  This is my honest opinion, and has not been influenced!  I know that when I read reviews of products that were sent to that person, I read them with a grain of salt... so feel free to do so!

What it does:
One-of-a-kind Transparent Technology STS System Intense Hydration and revitalizing are all results of the STS system (Skin Temperature Sensitive System), used in this gel mask. A sheet-formed transparent mask composed of ingredients including Q10, natural extracts, purified water and marine native collagen. Most of the essences will remain since this is not a paper mask therefore enabling real and direct absorption from the mask. No rinsing is required after use.


10x Absorption Technology Dissolve upon encounter heat + one way absorption This face mask will gradually dissolve under your body temperature and permeate quickly into your skin, providing the nutrients and moisture needed. The thickness of the mask will then be reduced from 2mm to 1mm. The absorption rate of this product is more than 98%.
(from eki's site)


Price:  Eki sells them for 5 for $6.50
Here's what they look like in the package!

You can see that each piece is like a piece of jelly!

Pros:
- very soothing and hydrating for the undereye area
- no scent
- can be used warm or cool.  The packaging says to submerge the whole packaging in warm water!  Eki said that they are great after they've been chilled in the fridge!
- I really liked the feeling of jelly on my undereye area

Cons:
- I did not see any permanent effects


Would I repurchase? Yes!  I really liked these after a hard day!

Eki-chan, thanks for sending these to me!  I'd never struggled with undereye circles before, but recently they have been getting kind of obvious!  I really did like these and I'm going to repurchase... as soon as I've finished more stuff in my skin care stash!!!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

PS: One of my loyal visitors is apparently from the Osaka area.  Please let me know who you are!  I would love to meet up with you!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

MAC haul!

A very kind person helped me to get some things from MAC!  I'm not going to say who it is, though!

109 brush
I LOVE this brush!!  I am so glad I bought it!!!
I was so surprised at how small it was, but actually, it's the perfect size!
I use it to put blush on the apples of my cheeks. I also use it for contouring!

129 brush
I love to use this to blend my blush!

237 brush

Soft Ochre Paint Pot
I'm really excited to use this as a base!
One sad thing was that the lid of this paint pot was REALLY loose!
You can see how the paint pot started drying up!
GRRRR MAC!!!!!  You need to take better care of your products!

Fix+
Honestly, I think that my toners will probably do the exact same thing that Fix+ is supposed to do, based on the similarity in the ingredients.  I got a bottle just to confirm that!

Thanks again for helping me get these things!!!!

xoxo, K

Monday, June 21, 2010

Project 10 Pan, Round 3

After I got back from New York, I was going to go on a Project 10 Pan.
I kinda failed at that... since I got a few things online.  However, I didn't open anything new!!!
I got new stuff, but I haven't opened it yet!!!

Either way, I have a lot of skin care stuff that I've collected, mostly from my travels to Korea, London, Guam, and New York!  I really wanted to use those up!!
Neutrogena Body Oil

Pantene Clinicare Leave In Hair Treatment

Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Bubble Bath
(the first of 3 Japanese Cherry Blossom items...
Surprisingly, I don't really like this scent!)


Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Lotion


Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Lotion (Travel Size)


Nail Polish Remover

Vaseline

The Face Shop Facial Cleanser


The Face Shop White Tree EX Eye Cream


Bath & Body Works Dancing Waters Body Lotion

It's all skin care items... so you can see that this wasn't a really good attempt!
To be fair, I have a HUGE BOX of skin care items that I want to use up!


I'm going to re-start Project 10 Pan once MAC releases it's In The Groove collection!

xoxo, K

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: Lush Mask of Magnaminty

This is a review for the Lush Mask of Magnaminty!

I got this during my trip to London!

What it does:
Deep cleansing, minty face and back pack. After an overnight flight, a marathon in a rabbit suit or a walk along the Marylebone Road during rush hour, do you feel a deep need to be scrubbed clean? Here’s a cleansing mask to do exactly that; China clay and bentonite gel will pull the dirt from your pores, ground aduki beans and evening primrose seeds exfoliate surface skin cells, and peppermint oil will make you feel so fresh and minty that you'll forget you were ever grubby.
(from the Lush UK website)

Price:
US: $11.55/4.4 oz
UK: 4.25 GBP / 125g
Japan: 780 JPY / 125g (called "Power Mask" in Japan)

...and as always, I'm going to do a price comparison per weight!
US: $11.55/4.4 oz = $11.55/124.74g = $0.09/g

UK: 4.25 GBP / 125g = $6.15/125g = $0.05/g

Japan: 780 JPY / 125g = $8.58/125g = $0.07/g

WOW, this is less expensive in Japan than in the US!!

Scent: VERY minty!!!  The scent kind of reminds me of mint chocolate chip ice cream!

Pros:
- the scent, the texture, and the exfoliating bits make me feel that this mask is REALLY working!
- relatively easy to spread.  The texture is similar to other masks that contain clay


Cons:
- if your skin is sensitive, you might want to steer clear of this mask.  The adzuki beans are pretty rough and the minty sensation is really strong.

Would I repurchase? Yes!  And considering the price, I'd buy this in Japan!


This really reminded me of the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask if it had exfoliating bits in it.  If your skin isn't sensitive, this is a great mask, especially for the summer!

I really liked this mask, and I have mentioned it in my Up & Down #3!

Hope you enjoyed the review!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nail of the Day???? The Face Shop Nail Polish in BR805

You might have noticed that there are almost NO Nail of the Day (or Week, or anything!) posts on my blog.
That's because I am a TOTAL FAILURE when it comes to painting my fingernails!  My toenails are painted as long as the weather is warm (about April - October), but my fingers - never!


Why don't I paint my nails?  Because I'm really uncoordinated with my left hand!  I've also never had long nails in my life, and I can't stand having more than a week's growth on my fingers.  I bump and cut my fingers too often to wear nail polish!

However... I decided to start getting into the world of nail polish thanks to the love I have received from some bloggers!


The Face Shop Nail Polish in BR805
(a gift from Dina)

This is a beautiful mauve nail polish that I was excited to try!

One coat...
VERY sheer, and not very glossy!

Two coats...
Getting better, but still paler than the color in the bottle!

Three coats!!
Looks pretty good!
(Yes, I did nick my pinky finger.  I told you I bump my fingers too often!)

At this point, it was getting difficult for me to get a coat on without getting streaks!
Although the formula is thin, I needed a fair amount of it on the brush so that I could avoid the streaks.

It's a very nice color, and it's great for work!

Thanks again, Dina!

xoxo, K

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Umeshu (Plum Wine) and Ume Syrup (Plum Syrup)!

I tweeted a few days ago that I was going to make Umeshu! Umeshu is a popular fruit liqueur in Japan, made from steeping unripe ume (Japanese plums) in shochu (a kind of distilled alcohol). Umeshu is very popular among women because it is sweet and mild!


(from google search)

I really love ume syrup for a refreshing drink in the summer!  I usually add 1/5 syrup and 4/5 carbonated water for a great alternative to soda.

Here is a video from youtube about how to make umeshu and ume syrup!  Cooking with dog is one of my favorite cooking channels on youtube!  It is a very stereotypical Japanese cooking show, like how everything is premeasured.


Making Umeshu or Ume syrup is pretty labor intensive, but I'll include directions anyway!  Umeshu needs to age about 1 year, and ume syrup needs about 3 weeks.

Ume!


Preparation:
1. Wash ume and sort.  Fruit with damaged skins should not be used for umeshu.
2. Use a bamboo skewer to take the stems out of the fruits.
See the bit of stem?
You can use a toothpick as well!
3. Dry so that no moisture remains on the skins.  The preferred method is to let them air dry.  You can also use a clean towel, but make sure the fruits are dry!

4. Wash and sterilize the containers and lids



How to make umeshu:
1. Layer fruits and rock sugar in the containers
2. Add shochu
3. Seal and label so that you know when you made it and how much ume/sugar/shochu you used!
4. Store in a cool dry place



How to make ume syrup:
1. Layer fruits and rock sugar in the containers
2. Add vinegar to prevent fermentation
3. Seal and label
4. For the first few days, shake well
5. Store in a cool dry place

The osmotic pressure will draw out the juices in the fruits.  Rock sugar is the most preferred type of sugar because it will dissolve slowly compared to regular sugar, but you can make this from anything like regular sugar or honey.

Here is how they look on Day 2!
Umeshu
The shochu has dissolved some of the sugar, but not all of it.
The fruits have started turning a brownish color.
As the umeshu ages, the liquor will also start turning a golden brown color.
Remember to shake the container well to make sure that the liquid is the same ratio of sugar, alcohol, and fruit extract all throughout!

Ume Syrup
Some liquid has started to collect in the bottom of the container!
This is the fruit extract!!
The fruits have started to turn brown, but not as quickly as the umeshu.
Remember to shake this container several times as well!



This is my first attempt at making either umeshu or ume syrup, so please wish me luck!

xoxo, K

Friday, June 11, 2010

Love from eki!!

Eki-chan surprised me with a belated birthday gift!!

She kindly checked out my wishlist and surprised me with stuff from MAC!

MAC eyeshadow pro pans in Stars 'n Rockets (left) and Humid (right)
I REALLY wanted these eyeshadows!  I'm so excited to try them!

MAC 15 pan eyeshadow palette
My palette collection is expanding!  Not only do I have MAC eyeshadow pans, I've also been pressing my loose eyeshadows so that I can use them more frequently!

Undereye masks
Eki-chan, how did you know I need to take better care of my undereyes????
Work is so tough that it's taking a toll on my eyes!

A love note from eki!
Yes, I'm looking forward to meeting with you in Kansai as well!!!


Thank you again, eki-chan!!!!!!!!!
I was SO surprised and astounded!

xoxo, K

PS: I have a new twitter account for this blog!  Follow me here!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Love from Diana/xmayaarix

As you already know, I really love to cook!   I read a lot of cooking blogs as well as makeup blogs,  and I kept seeing a certain tool which everyone seemed to use.

The Microplane Zester
(Image from google search)

I love citrus in my baked goods (I make a FANTASTIC lemon bar), but it's really hard to get the zest with a normal zester!  Everyone was RAVING about this Microplane zester, so I had to find it! It is also very affordable, at around $10.  Unfortunately for me, the price in Japan was $30.

I looked EVERYWHERE for this while I was in New York, but I couldn't find it!  Fortunately for me, Diana was kind enough to find it for me!

 Yay!  Now I have my very own Microplane Zester!!!

Diana included this very sweet note:
"I hope you don't mind the little extras"
Hello GENEROUS Lady!!!!  You not only were nice enough to go out of your way to find a cooking utensil for me, you even included extras!!!  And HELLO - this isn't LITTLE!!!!

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Primer
(from my wishlist!)

Wet n Wild Mega Eyes Creme Eyeliner
Diana says it's even better than MAC fluidline!

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Rose Blush
No swatches yet, but here's a link to a review!

THANK YOU SO MUCH DIANA!!!
I'd been thinking of how I could make Latkes and Matzo Ball Soup!!!

And last, but definitely not least...

Chocolate covered bacon!!

HAHAHAHA!!! I burst out laughing when I saw this!
When Diana and I met up in New York, we had a conversation about this!
I was so intrigued about chocolate and bacon, that I went to Whole Foods to look for it.
Unfortunately for me, I could NOT find it!
Now I realize I was looking in the wrong aisle!  I was looking in the snack food aisle, when I should have been looking in the chocolate aisle!
I'll enjoy this for sure!!!


Diana, thank you SO much for your generousity!
You can be sure I'm going to hit you back soon!


xoxo, K

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