Monday, February 28, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 1.5?

I was traveling, and I honestly failed miserably with my weight loss routine. I usually do very well when I'm traveling, but this time, I had to go out to dinner every single day. The consequence was that I had way too much beer!

I thought about whether I could have done better. Sure, I could have limited myself to one beer per day, which is what I did from Day 3. However, there really wasn't any way I could have not gone out to eat.  I was the only Japanese person in the group and we were in Japan.

Maybe I'm just trying to make excuses. Oh well, I'll get back to my routine this week.  I've even done my 30 min of Wii today!

This week's weigh in: 68.1kg /151lbs (+0.2kg)

xoxo, K

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Reads #4: Feb 27, 2011

Sorry for the massive delay! I've been disconnected for the past week!


I hope you are having a great weekend!

xoxo, K

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: NARS Illuminator in Orgasm - Orgasm in a tube?

This is a review of the NARS Illuminator in Orgasm.

What it does:
A complexion enhancer that makes skin look instantly refreshed, radiant, and glowing.
NARS Orgasm Illuminator lights your skin from within! Deceptively sheer and decidedly luminous, it magically transforms lackluster skin into a remember-me, luscious complexion. Flirt with foundation, go it alone, or go neck-and-neck with your décolleté. The effect is, well, orgasmic.
(from Sephora.com)

Price: $29, according to Sephora.com

Pros:
- Can be used multiple ways. I liked to use it as a highlight.
- A subtle glow that can be added before or after foundation
- Runny and easy to blend

Cons:
- This does not show up well on my cheeks.  I would recommend it to someone who is paler than me (I'm NC25 in MAC).
- This is so liquidy that I felt it rubbed off my foundation
- Not very pigmented when blended, see swatches below




Looks promising right out of the tube...

Can you see it?  It is not very pigmented, both in the color and the shimmer.  You could make it work if you used a little bit on your cheeks, let it dry, and then reapplied.


Would I repurchase?  No, for $29 I would rather purchase something with either more color or more shimmer.

This was my first NARS product, and I really wanted to like it. However, it did not live up to its price tag.  I like it well enough that I will be using it up. 

What is your favorite highlight?

xoxo, K

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Writing's on the Wall... of my Blog... (Meme)

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Wardrobe Oxygen?  I love Allie's sense of style, I love her advice on fashion staples, and I love how her looks are so timeless.  I have also mentioned before how Allie has inspired me to lose weight and get back in shape.

I picked up a meme on handwriting from Allie's blog.  Blogging has connected me with so many people around the world, but it is hard to know what other bloggers' voice sounds like or what their handwriting looks like.  I thought this meme was a unique way to know more about other bloggers.

I've struggled a lot with my handwriting.  My cursive writing is very hard to read, and I also went through a phase when I added a lot of loops and curves to my print handwriting.  Over the years, I developed a few quirks.
  • I use fountain pens in 95% of my writing. You can write with much less pressure using a fountain pen than with a ball point pen, meaning my hands get less tired.  I always carry two of them with me with different colored ink (wanna see?).  Lamy Safari is a great line of inexpensive fountain pens with great quality. Note to all fountain pen lovers: the nib sizes run large, so go one size down from what you normally use.
  • I fill my pens with bottled ink. Yes, I refill my pens regularly.  Bottled inks are so much more interesting to me than cartridges. (YES, if you make fountain pens or inks, I would love to review them!!!)
  • I don't dot my "i"s or "j"s
  • There are different quirks in English handwriting, depending on where you learned to write.  I can usually recognize Japanese people's handwriting if they learned to write in Japan.  
  • This also means that it may be much harder to read people's handwriting if they are from different countries.  For example, it is very hard for me to read German people's English handwriting. It is also difficult for me to read many American people's cursive.

Here is the meme.  Get a piece of paper and write the following things down:
  1. What's your name/your blogger name?
  2. What's your blog's name/URL?
  3. Write "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." 
  4. Favorite quote?
  5. Your Favorite song?
  6. Your favorite band/singers?
  7. Anything else you want to say?
  8. Tag three to five other people.

(click to enlarge)

I tag Mona, Diana/Diana, KatChristine, Sheila, and anyone else who wants to do this meme!  I would love to know more about you!

xoxo, K

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 1: Drink Your Water

If you have not read my Weight Loss - Week 0, please read that first.  This is a personal post.  Please be sensitive.

First, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who commented, tweeted, sent me messages on my previous post.  I was so uncomfortable writing that post, and I was FLOORED by all the love that everyone has sent me.  Thank you for saying you wanted to keep seeing these posts.  Now I realize why Weight Watchers works - because you've got a support group.  Hopefully, posting my progress on this blog will help keep me motivated!


No, this is not really Week 1.  I've been trying to change my lifestyle to be healthier and more active for about a full 2 weeks now, making this Week 3.  However, the first 10 days or so (before my previous post) were while I was on vacation.  I knew this would be harder to do after I started work again, so I wanted to go slow - hence, Week 1.

When I decided to really start losing weight, I searched around for a good weight loss blog.  The one I'm following now is called Escape from Obesity by Lyn.  Lyn is an inspiration to me because she has lost over 100 lbs, and yes, she has fallen off the wagon before! She has tracked her monthly weight loss, and there have been months when she gained.  But wow, her before/after pictures are amazing!

Lyn introduces something on her blog called "the Habit-A-Week Challenge"The intro to her Habit-A-Week is pretty amazing!  I wanted to follow this Habit-A-Week Challenge because I know that I get bored easily, and if I could master a habit a week, that would be a big enough change for me.

The Week 1 Challenge is to Drink Your Water.  This habit consists of 5 parts, (1) Find your water source, (2) Find a cup, (3) Make water your friend, (4) Make it a HABIT, and (5) Drink other things.  The link takes you to Lyn's post on the content of this habit, so please take a look there for the specifics.

1. Find your water source. 
This was relatively easy for me.  I am used to drinking regular drinking water.  Because the tap water here is not drinkable, every house comes with a water cooler.  My workplace has one too, in almost every single room.  

2. Get a cup. 
Most people here have something that looks like a cross between a tupperware and a tumbler.
I needed one for work anyway, since there were water coolers but no cups. Now I could fill it up and go anywhere with my water.  I've found that this works better for me than tumblers or sports bottles, especially because they are easy to wash.

3. Make water your friend.  
This part talks about "preparing" water so that you will want to drink it.  For example, if you like it cold, keep a pitcher in the fridge.  Another example is that if you don't like how plain water tastes, add some lemon to the pitcher.
I honestly have no trouble drinking just plain water. I used to drink unsweetened tea (oolong or green tea) when I was in Japan, but I switched to water after moving.  However, there's a snag coming up...

4. Make it a HABIT 
The basis of this is the Hydration Calculator, which told me I needed 3 liters of water a day (over 100 fluid oz)!  How would I manage to get that in?  Here are some tips which Lyn gives (from her blog):

- Drink 16 oz when you wake up, before you do anything else.  That's nearly 500 ml!
- Drink 16 oz with all 3 meals each day.  Drink half of it before the meal to make you feel full.
- Drink 16 oz when you want a snack, before you have your snack.  As Lyn says, "If you MAKE yourself drink a glass of water before you eat a snack, every time you have one, you will get full and eat less snacks. EVEN IF YOU BINGE this week... drink just an 8 or 16 oz glass of water before you start eating. Seriously. This is a good habit to have." She also mentions that the brain sometimes thinks you are hungry when you are really thirsty.

Honestly, this part was hard.  It was A LOT harder than I thought.  I wake up every morning thirsty from the dry climate I live in, but still, drinking 500 ml first thing in the morning made me want to gag at first.  However, it works.  I feel so much better in the morning after having my water!

Also, I realized I don't drink water at work because I have no time to pee.  I am always running from one meeting to another, and I sometimes forget to pee. Sometimes I even think, "I'm thirsty, but I need to be in a meeting, so I don't want to go pee." (I know, that's really bad for the health...)  Forcing myself to drink water means forcing myself to go to the restroom.  Considering I can step out of the majority of my meetings for a few moments, I made a conscious decision to drink more water.

This brought me back to Item 3 - Make Water Your Friend.  When I tried to drink this much water, I realized that I prefer warm water.  Not hot, not cold, warm.  Yes, I know it sounds disgusting.  However, if I need to drink this much water, it is much easier on my stomach when it's the appropriate temperature.  This was the core concept of "making water my friend" - I figured out what works best for me.

5. Drinking other things. 
This part talks about drinking green tea for health benefits.  I'm Japanese, I love my green tea.  I also enjoy unsweetened herbal teas.  My favorite is from Mighty Leaf, which is hard to find here in Asia!

So that's it for the Week 1 Challenge!  Hope I'll do as well on Week 2!

Weight on Jan 30: 67.2kg /148lbs
This week's weigh in: 67.9kg /150lbs (+0.7kg)

Yes, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't lose weight this week.  Last week, I lost weight, and I seemed to have regained it.  However, I am eating much better, and I'm exercising daily, so I'm still happy with myself!  In fact, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I have done at least 30 minutes on my Wii almost every day since I got it!

xoxo, K

PS: I am traveling next week.  I am not going to try a new habit while I am gone, and just continue this one.  Hence, next week's post is still going to be "Week 1 - again!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weekly Reads #3: Feb 16, 2011

Another round of my Weekly Reads!  I wanted to move this to Wednesday since a lot of the other blogs have them on the weekends.

I might skip my Weekly Reads post next week. I will be on a business trip and I won't have much time to read blog posts.  They will come back the week after that, though!

xoxo, K

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter essentials

Has the Chinook blown in your area?  Over here, it is still very cold and very, very dry.  Here are my winter essentials which are helping me get through the coldest winter I have ever experienced!

1. Sunscreen/sunblock
The sun is still shining very strongly here, even if the temperature is below freezing.  I wear sunscreen religiously to protect my face.  I like Biore Sarasara UV daily care gel because it does not leave my skin feeling oily.  (This product is NOT intended for the face and contains alcohol.  Please be careful if you want to use it on your face!)
(from Kao's website)

2. Toner
I use a ton of Japanese toner, going through a bottle every two weeks.  Japanese toner, also known as lotion in some lines, does not alcohol.  It is considered an essential skin care step in Japanese skin care.  Most Asian skin care lines, including imported brands such as Dior and Chanel, will have a toner and a separate moisturizers.  I love the Rohto Gokujun line, which is affordable enough that I don't have to skimp.

 (from Google image search)


3. Cotton
Every morning and night, I soak a few pieces of cotton in toner and put them on my face for about 10 minutes.  The result is the same as a sheet mask.  This method is very popular in Japan, and I really need to do a blog post on it!  I love this Mekuru Cotton.  Yes, it's very important that I can split this into 5 pieces... but it's hard to explain why without doing a post!
(from amazon.co.jp)

4. Hair treatment
For the first time in about 15 years, I'm having to battle static electricity!  I like to use a thick hair treatment at least every other day to moisturize my hair, in order to hopefully reduce static electricity.
In Japan, the thick hair treatments are usually called hair packs, and are sold in pots.  The thinner ones are usually called hair treatments and are sold in tubes.  I'm currently using the Pantene Pro-V Deep Repair Hair Mask, a Japan-exclusive product.
(from yahoo.co.jp)

5. Body Lotion
Regardless of which shower gel I use, I need to use a heavy duty body lotion.  Without a nightly application of body lotion, my skin will get dry and itchy.  Considering how obsessed I am with the brand, I would love to try the Bath & Body Works Body Butter in Twilight Woods.

 (from the Bath & Body Works website)


6. Lip cream
The cold, dry wind means chapped lips!  I see a lot of girls here with painful-looking bleeding lips!!  My lip cream of choice is Vaseline.  Yes, pure petroleum jelly.  I find that it is the most moisturizing.  I apply a thin layer before I do my makeup in the morning.
(from Unilever's website)



7. Uniqlo Heat Tech tank tops and leggings
These are lifesavers here.  I wear the tank tops and leggings under my normal clothes.  It's the same as wearing thermal underwear, but I would rather say I'm wearing Uniqlo leggings!

8. Uniqlo room shoes (slippers)
Long time readers of this blog know that I hate socks.  However, I need to wear something when I'm at home, or else my feet will get really cold.  I love these ones from Uniqlo which are made of sweatshirt material! 
(from Uniqlo's website)

On the other hand, here are some typical winter essentials that you will not see on me:

1. Knits
Most woolen knits make me itch like crazy, even if I am wearing a shirt underneath.  I haven't worn wool in a very long time.

2. Turtlenecks
I don't like how I look with turtlenecks.  I love my V-necks and that is what I wear most of the year.  I also seem to have very sensitive skin around my neck, which turns bright red even with cotton turtlenecks.

3. Scarves
I just can't make them work for me!  I know there are plenty of non-wool scarves, but I just don't know how to do them properly!!

What are your winter essentials?  Please let me know!

xoxo, K

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekly Reads #2: Feb 13, 2011

Many of you seemed to enjoy my "Weekly Reads" post last week, so here's another one!  It was fun to go through blog posts thinking about whether I wanted to put them in this list.  It's a different mindset from when I'm just reading blogs.  I've tried to put a mix of famous bloggers and my friends.

Hope you enjoyed this!

xoxo, K

PS: I'm thinking of moving these posts to Wednesday since many bloggers do them on the weekends.  Your thoughts?

Friday, February 11, 2011

NOTD, Seche Vite in Japan, and JAL lunches

Random tidbits...

- Here is a NOTD with a very cheap local nail polish.  I think this was about $1.50.
A very pretty peach-orange micro glitter.  This was 3 coats.


- While in Japan, I found the coveted Seche Vite top coat. If you are looking for it in Japan, you can find it at the Plaza!  It's about 2000 yen ($25), though.

- I also found Essie, OPI, and Orly there. They were also about 2000 yen.  Yep, $25 for an Essie Nail Polish.

- JAL (Japan Airlines) has stepped up their meals for flights from Japan to China.  I usually get obento (boxed lunches) like the one shown below.
 The teeny portions are very Japanese style.  You get two bites of everything!
The rice is in a separate container.

If you can read Japanese or Chinese, here are the contents.
I like these obentos so much better, with a light, fresh taste.  The flights from China to Japan still serve the sweet, cloying random-meat-in-sauce. Still, I like food in Japanese airlines better than most of the other airlines I've flown.

Hope you enjoyed this random post!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 0

This is a personal post.  Please be sensitive.

When I came back home from Japan after my recent trip, my luggage was 15 kgs (more than 30 lbs) heavier.  The majority of the extra luggage was not food, cosmetics, or clothes.  It was a new Wii and a Wii Fit board.

(both images from google search)

The reason I bought it was because I seriously, seriously want to lose weight.  And a Wii was how I thought I could do it.

Now, if you've met me in person, you may tell me that I'm not fat.  Thank you for your kind words, but the truth is that I am not happy with how I look.


- I am tired of not being able to find clothes in Japan.  Most stores ONLY carry one size - medium, which is like a 2 in the US.  Of course you can find stores that sell more than one size, but if you want something cute/trendy/fashionable, you'd better fit into the Japanese cookie cutter size.  The rest of us are forced to skip the cute clothes and just try to find a clothing store where we can find something that fits. 

- My BMI is above 25.  So yes, I am obese, at least by Japanese standards.  (In Japan, anything over a 25 gets you an "obese" rating on your annual health check.  I know it is "overweight" in the US)

- Speaking of my annual health check, I do not enjoy having to explain why I am fat to my doctor every year.

- Being told "but she has a pretty face, if only..."constantly makes me sad.

- I don't want to continue to gain weight.  I weighed myself recently, after being in denial.  I have gained 4 kgs since moving 4 months ago.  I don't want this to continue.


There are two problems - that I eat too much, and that I don't exercise.


I'm working on the exercise part first.  

My problem is that if I have to get ready to go exercise, I won't do it.  There is a gym in my apartment building, but I have not headed out there.


Enter the Wii Fit.  I tried it at my friend's house and I loved it.  I loved that I could do it at any time.  I loved that there were enough choices for me not to get bored.  And I loved that I could do it for as long or as short as I wanted.  

So far, this strategy has been working for me.  Right now, I'm forcing myself to pull out the Wii and exercise at least 30 minutes, every day.  It may not seem like much, but for someone who gets up at 5 AM and comes home at 9 PM on workdays, this is something which I can do!  And I've kept it up for 10 days.

I have several issues related to eating as well, but that is another post.

I don't know how much of my journey I'll continue to share.  I know writing on this blog will force me to keep it up, but I'm still uncomfortable. I also know that a lot of my readers are here to read my reviews (Lush reviews, anyone?), so this may be not what you are looking for.

A blog I need to mention here:  The person who has inspired me to lose weight is Allie from Wardrobe Oxygen.  I adore her blog and her sense of style.  I think this is the third time I've mentioned her blog - amazing, considering it is not a makeup blog!  Over the past year, she has blogged about her weight loss journey.  If she can do it with a full time job and a baby, I should be able to do it too!  Thank you, Allie, for showing me that anyone can do it!

What do you think?  Should I continue with these posts?  Please, please be kind in your comments.  This is something I am very uncomfortable with.

xoxo, K

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekly Reads: Feb 6, 2011

I always love reading lists of posts that other bloggers enjoyed. There are some posts which have the exact same list - I get about 6 of those every Sunday night.  I really love the people who make their own lists every week.

I don't know if I'll be able to do this every week, but here it goes!
Hope you enjoyed this!

xoxo, K

Review: Maybelline Expert Wear Eye Shadow 8 Pan in Sunbaked Neutrals

I've been working on the Cosmeddicted Facebook page.  Please come take a look! I'm planning on adding some discussions soon!

This is a quick review for the Maybelline Expert Wear Eye Shadow 8 Pan in Sunbaked Neutrals.  I picked up this palette in Hawaii.

This is not a new product.  I picked it up because I wanted a palette with a lot of choices, and was still very compact.

Swatches:

The top 4 colors.

The bottom 4 colors.

For reference, I'm NC25.

Price: will vary.  Target.com lists the price as $6.49

Pros:
- Contains 8 everyday colors
- All the colors pretty much go together
- Has both matte and shimmer colors
- The pigmentation is pretty good, especially the shimmer shades
- Each pot of color is small, about the size of a penny.  The entire palette does not take up a lot of space.
(This may be a pro or a con, depending on how you think.  I like it because it takes me forever to use up a pan of eyeshadow anyway)

Cons:
- The matte colors are not as creamy as the shimmer shades.  (This tends to be the case with drugstore makeup)
- The shadows are not quite as good quality as some of the other Maybelline products, such as the Expert Wear quads.
- The shadows blend away very easily. I like to wear a sticky base under them.

Would I repurchase?: no, since I never use up eyeshadows. But I would recommend this product to other people!

All in all, I really do like this palette, and I like that it's small.  I wish other drugstore palettes came in this size!

xoxo, K

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Up and Down #11 / A Piece of Me... in February 2011

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone who celebrates it!  兔年更給力!

Here are my Ups and Downs for February.

Ups: 
- Lush Glogg Shower Gel.  As mentioned in my review, I really like how this shower gel smelled!

- Doing a ton of reviews for Lush products I wish I could have gotten them earlier, so that I could finish the reviews before the holidays!

- 600 followers!  Thank you SO much!

- Being back in Japan for the week.

Downs:
- Not getting to participate in the Beauty Blogger Secret Valentine's.  Oh well.  I need to use up my stash anyway!

- Having too much stuff and not enough places to put it. The first batch of my luggage from Japan arrived and I already do not have enough storage space.  I lived out of a suitcase for 3 months, so I've realized I really do not need all the stuff I have!

-----------------------------------
It's time for A Piece of Me in February 2011.
This month...

I like: being back in Japan for the week, and seeing my friends.


I don't like: all the money I've been spending since I've been back.  Japanese food is yummy!

 
I want you to know: that the number of reviews I will do will probably go down.  I need to use up the stuff I have.

I've planned: to have a quick blogger meet up soon!

xoxo, K

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