Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekly Reads #8: Mar 30, 2011

It's time for another Weekly Reads!

xoxo, K

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank You! Love from Sarah

When I was in Japan last month, Sarah sent me the earrings that I had asked her to make for me.  I ordered them a while ago, but due to my move, she wasn't able to send them for a while.  I am so glad that she could send them to my hotel in Japan!

Gold wire-wrapped crystal baroques

I swooned when I saw these in person.  They go with everything I wear!  Thank you so much, Sarah!!!

Skin Food Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder
I got this from Sarah's blog sale.  I love using this powder, and I've written a review of it previously.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
This really makes a huge difference!  Unfortunately, it costs about $25 in Japan.

Sarah is a sneaky girl... As usual, her package contained A LOT of extras!!!!!!

A cute pair of white and gold earrings
These are also extremely versatile!  I love them!!

Wet 'n Wild Color Icon palette in Lust and Vanity
I'm itching to try these after MONTHS of reading about them on beauty blogs!!

L'Oreal De-Crease and NYC Lip Slider


Thank you again, Sarah!!! 

xoxo, K

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 4: Increase Your Fiber

Note: I need some encouragement this week.  Just so you know!

Yet another habit which was so easy for me in Japan, but so hard for me once I moved... This week's habit is Increase Your Fiber.

Increasing your fiber helps you to feel fuller for longer, and fills you up for less calories.  As Lyn from Escape from Obesity says, "A high fiber diet can relieve constipation, increase digestive tract health, and decreases the risk of certain cancers. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels, decreases the risk of diabetes, and decreases the risk of heart disease. It can help lower your cholesterol too." 

I've traveled a lot for work my entire career, and I've noticed that I get constipated when I am out of Japan.  In fact, I get so uncomfortable that I have to start eating high fiber cereals such as All-Bran, which is definitely not tasty.

I've come to realize that a traditional Japanese diet is very high in fiber.  Okara (the remaining soy solids after making soy milk and tofu, not to be confused with Okra), hijiki (a kind of seaweed), and kinpira are all examples of Japanese dishes which are high in fiber.  When I am away from Japan, my intake of fiber decreases unless I make a conscious choice to eat more fiber-rich foods.

I honestly did not do well this week.  I am going to try again next week.  I did not get enough sleep on Sunday night and it seriously messed up my week... I've been seriously exhausted!  Wish me luck, everyone - it's been a really hard week!

This week's weigh in: 67.1kg / 148lbs (+0.4kg)

Yes, I'm disappointed that I didn't lose weight. Oh well, I will try again this coming week!  Please help me get through it!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weekly Reads #7: Mar 23, 2011

 (not my picture - stock photo)

I think I posted 10 tweets last weekend on how good my rice was.  My luggage from Japan FINALLY arrived, and I got out my Zojirushi brand rice cooker.  It cooks rice so much better than the rice cooker that came furnished my new apartment.  Unlike most Japanese people, I'm not picky with my rice, but I finally realized the difference between good and bad rice!   My rice cooker is not an expensive one - it just goes to show you how much technology Zojirushi spends on making rice taste good!  Having good food is important to me, and it really changes how I feel every day.

On a semi-related note, in my last Weekly Reads, I linked almost entirely to food blogs.  I obviously forgot that I'm a beauty blogger...
How has your week been going? I just realized that I don't have any reviews lined up!  I should go through my stash to see what else I need to review - thank goodness it finally arrived!

xoxo, K

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: Maybelline Volum Express The Falsies Mascara - yet another Maybelline mascara

This is a review of the Maybelline Volum Express The Falsies Mascara.  I honestly do not know where I got this.  I searched through my blog to find any previous mention of it in a haul or as a gift from someone, but I couldn't find anything.  If you do, please let me know.

(not my picture - stock photo)

What it does:
False lash glam, instantly!
• Patented Spoon Brush fans out lashes from corner-to-corner, while our Pro-Keratin formula instantly builds volume without clumping
• Unique flexible wand helps to lift and separate lashes to provide the look of 300% more visible, fuller lashes, no gaps from any angle

Price: will vary, has this for about $6

bare lashes

with this mascara, 1 coat

- thickens my lashes fairly well
- I didn't have any fallout under my eyes

- this was a very wet mascara, even after 2 months of usage.  I don't like wet mascaras because it makes my lashes stick together
- I do not like this wand (details below)
- this mascara made my eyelashes droopy, even after curling them. This may be a combination between it being a wet mascara and my not being able to use the wand very well

What is the "patented spoon brush"?  It looks like this:
The brush is shaped in a curve.  The inside curve of the brush has significantly shorter bristles than the other parts.  This made it incredibly hard for me to use the wand.  It was constantly turning the wand so that the outside bristles, which are longer, would be against my lashes in order to coat them properly.  This worked, but it takes away the whole purpose of this brush.  I would have preferred a regular brush.

Would I repurchase?  No, I liked the original Volum Express better.

Hope you enjoyed this review!  I'm envious of all of you in the US who can try all of the newest drugstore mascaras!

xoxo, K

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 3: Eat a Veggie

You may have noticed that I didn't post last week.  I was sick last week, and I'm still in the process of getting better.  This week was a week of getting back on track.  It was hard.

This week's Habit-A-Week was to Eat A Veggie.

Now, normally, this isn't a problem for me.  I used to buy tons of veggies on the weekends which I would broil and splash with ponzu (soy sauce + citrus juice), and dust with a ton of herbs.  This helped me eat a lot of veggies without even trying.

Or, I would make big salads with tons of different veggies and some chicken.  I was even good on the dressing.  Japan has a lot of oil-free salad dressings which aren't sweet, being based on soy sauce.

That all changed once I moved.  People don't eat raw veggies in China.  They need to be cooked, usually in sauce.  The sauce is especially greasy and heavy in the area that I live.  That makes me stay away from veggies in general.

I also need to be careful about the veggies that I buy, considering pesticides and pollution... 

However, these are all excuses for not eating veggies.  I've tried to cook more vegetables this week.  I've made a few great dishes, like

(a kind of yam used to make tororo.  This is quick and oh so yummy) 

and the daikon in my kakuni (braised fatty pork).
(from googlesearch, not my picture)

I was sick in bed last weekend, and couldn't do a lot of cooking.  I'm excited to start cooking again this weekend!

This week's weigh in: 66.7kg / 147lbs (-0.7kg)

Yay!  I was so worried that I had gained a lot of weight while I was sick. I didn't eat a lot of junk food, but I didn't really eat healthy meals.  Being sick in a foreign country is tough!

I'm also back into my habit of doing Wii Fit every day.  Before I got sick, I would do 30 min in the morning (and remember, I wake up at 4:45 AM to do this...) and another hour at night.  Now I am down only 30 min.  I will try to increase it in the future, but right now, this is the amount that I can continue to do daily.

I hope your week is going well!  Next week's challenge is to increase your fiber!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: Sigma Travel Brush Set - not as good as others say

The best way to get back to normal is... to post like normal!

This is a review for the Sigma Travel Brush set (Naughty in Black).  This review will be very pic heavy since I will be showing comparisons with the MAC brushes which I own.

Note: Sigma has a very aggressive affiliate program.  I am not affiliated or sponsored by Sigma, and this product was bought by me with my own money.

Price: $49, plus shipping

Brushes in this set: Large powder brush (F30), Large Angle Contour brush (F40), Foundation brush (F60), Eye Shading brush (E55), Concealer brush (F70), Tapered Blending brush (E40), Pencil brush (E30).
This set comes with a Travel Size F50 and E25, as well as the black brush roll in the picture.

I bought this travel set entirely to have a brush roll for travel.  I really didn't expect much from the brushes themselves, but based on the reviews online, I thought I'd give them a try.

Now here is a brush by brush comparison!

Large Powder Brush - F30 vs EDM Round Top Kabuki

The EDM brush is on the left, F30 on the right in both pictures.
(My EDM brush is stained, sorry!)

What Sigma says it does: Very dense with a rounded top. Ideal to apply powder products on face and body. Natural bristles
MAC dupe: MAC 150

Comparison: I've compared it to the EDM Round Top Kabuki because I do not own the MAC 150.  The EDM brush head is denser and more compact than the F30.  It is also softer , and applies powder more evenly. .  As you can see in the picture, the hairs on the F30 are not all in place.  The F30 is also prickly.

Verdict: EDM RTK is MUCH better.  I cannot stand the prickly feel of the F30!

Large Angled Contour - F40 vs MAC 168
MAC 168 on the right, F40 on the left in the above picture

F40 on the left, MAC 168 on the right in the above picture.  The pilling you see on the F40 is explained below.

What Sigma says it does: The angled shape makes this brush ideal to apply blush or contour shades. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 168
Comparison: The F40 brush is much larger and less dense than the 168.  The 168 is more compact, denser, and it seems that the brush hairs have been cut with more precision.  My biggest peeve with the F40 is that it sheds constantly. Every time I use it, I'll get hairs on my face, even after a few washings.
The other major peeve I have with this brush is that it keeps pilling.  The white pieces of fluff that you see in the above picture keep appearing, and I think it is the glue at the base of the brush, since I can detect this pilling even deep within the brush hairs.

Verdict: MAC 168, for sure.  I use the F40 for travel only because I don't have another blush brush for travel.

Foundation - F60

What Sigma says it does: Can be used to apply liquid or cream foundation. It is also recommended to apply moisturizers and conceal large areas. Synthetic bristles.
MAC dupe: 190
Thoughts: When I wrote this review, I did not own another flat foundation brush to compare it with.  This is a really stiff brush and the brush hairs hurt.  I did not like this brush.  I did try out the MAC 190 at the counter.  The MAC brush was much softer and gentler on the skin.

Verdict: stay away from this brush!

Eye Shading - E55 vs Sigma full size E55 & MAC 237
From left: Full sized E55, travel E55, MAC 239

What Sigma says it does: Soft and dense with a rounded finish. Can be used to apply pressed or loose eye shadows and pigments. Ideal to build intense color on the eyelid. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 237
Comparison: I have a separate review on the full size E55.  These are definitely not exact dupes.  The MAC 237 is smaller and thinner, and has longer bristles.  Both E55s are thicker and have rounded tips.  The travel size E55 is thicker than the full size E55.  Both are OK for packing on eyeshadows, but the MAC 237 is better for getting into the inner corner.  Both E55s pill, like the F40 above.  The E55 has more in common with the Elf eye shading brush (including that it pills), and the Elf brush is $1.

Verdict: good enough for packing on eyeshadow, but the full size MAC 237 fits into the brush roll, so I might put it in instead.

Tapered Blending - E40
MAC224 on the left, E40 on the right

What Sigma says it does: Rounded and tapered top. Specially designed to apply and blend color on the crease. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 224
Comparison: Let's take a look at the bristles.
MAC 224 on the left, E40 on the right
The E40 has longer, looser bristles.  To me, this makes it harder to blend.  It is also a bit prickly.  I honestly don't get much use out of my MAC224 either, since I prefer to blend with my MAC 217.

Verdict: MAC 224

Pencil - E30
E30 on the left, MAC219 on the right

What Sigma says it does: Precise application of color on the crease, outer corner, and upper and lower lash line. Also ideal to smudge out pencil liner. Natural bristles.
MAC dupe: 219
Comparison: The bristles on these brushes are significantly different.
E30 on the left, MAC 219 on the right.

The MAC brush is somehow made so that the brush naturally tapers towards the tip. In comparison, the E30's bristles are obviously cut to a point.  The shorter hairs on the edges of the E30 irritate my eyelid and sometimes get into my eye.

Verdict: MAC 219

Concealer - F70

What Sigma says it does: The rounded, tampered, flat shape makes this brush ideal to conceal the under eye area. It is also recommended for a precise application in small areas. Synthetic bristles.
MAC Dupe: MAC 194 (which I don't own)
Thoughts: This is a decent brush. I thought it was a little stiff, but it does a good job at patting on concealer.  I wouldn't use it to blend concealer, though.

Sigma Makeup offers a free travel size F50 brush with this kit!
 F50 - Duo Fibre

F50 on the left, MAC 187 on the right

What Sigma says it does: Specially designed to generate an ‘airbrushed’ finish when used to apply liquid foundation. It can also be used to apply blush, highlight shades and loose pigments. Blend of synthetic and natural bristles.
MAC Dupe: MAC 187
Comparison: The MAC brush is larger and more sturdy.  I find that the Sigma brush is less dense and a bit more floppy, making it harder to apply foundation.
Verdict: MAC 187

I have done a review of the E35 Tapered Blending Brush here.  At the time, I was happy with my purchase.  However, now, I find that the E35 is thinner and harder to blend with than the MAC 217. 

Overall verdict:

You can see that I wasn't too happy with these brushes.  I bought this solely for the brush roll, so I was happy with that.  However, I won't be bringing the majority of these brushes with me when I travel.  Most of my MAC eye brushes fit into the roll, so I'd rather bring those.  The Sigma travel face brushes are really not good quality, so I'll be bringing other brushes.

I see a lot of very positive reviews of these on youtube, so this may work for you. For me, my Ecotools travel brush set (a gift from a friend, but it is also much cheaper) was much better quality and worked much better for me.

xoxo, K

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank you...

...for your kind words regarding the earthquake.

My family is fine and it seems that they aren't in any immediate danger.  Thanks to everyone who sent me kind words during these past few days.

A few of my friends have told me that there is no real damage in the Tokyo area.  Supplies are short and electricity is a major concern.  However, as a friend of mine in Tokyo said, "it's selfish to worry about ourselves compared to areas that were hit by the tsunamis. We just need to stay calm and prepare ourselves". Thank you so much to people like @Yumeko55 for sharing accurate information to those who can't read/write Japanese.

I have been overwhelmed with the amount of kind tweets, emails, whatsapp messages, everything that I have received from blogger friends to make sure that my family is OK. Thank you for all of the blog posts praying for Japan.  There has been a lot of misinformation and selfish comments as well, but I am just so happy that the majority of the world has been so kind.  Thank you again.

My parents told me that their nearby supermarkets have been pretty bare of bread and other foods that do not require cooking, as they have been diverted to the areas that are most affected. It is a minor inconvenience, but nothing compared to the needs of the people in the hard hit areas.  If you would like to donate, please donate to a group which will really use their funds for Japan, not some celebrity who has "pledged to donate for every RT".  Thank you, Médecins Sans Frontières, for already getting to Miyagi.

I have also been getting limited internet for the past week or so.  Please look up the news if you are unclear on why this is happening.  No, it is not related to the earthquake.

I'd like to focus on getting well.  I have been seriously sick for the past week. I haven't been sick for more than one day in a very long time.  I haven't been eating junk food, but I certainly have not been eating well.  Hopefully, I will get better and get back on my fitness regiment soon.

Thank you again!!

xoxo, K

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Weekly Reads #6: Mar 10, 2011

I'm amazed to see how fast the handwriting meme I shared last week has spread!  I'm so happy to see everyone's handwriting!!  A bit of a brag, perhaps, but I picked up this meme from one of my favorite blogs and it has spread every since!  
I'm still feeling pretty sick, but I need to get my butt moving!  Hope your week is going well!

xoxo, K

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Up and Down #12 / A Piece of Me... in March 2011

Wow, February flew by!  It's getting a teeeeny bit warmer over here and I can't wait until it really feels like spring!

- Wii Fit+ !!!

I'm getting obsessed with my Wii Fit+.  I've been exercising every single day that I'm not traveling!

- pore strips
Not a daily or even weekly necessity, but i need to get gunk out of my pores every month or so. 

- Mighty Leaf teas
I wish these were available in Asia.  I love them!

- 2 years of blogging!!

- My birthday , even if I was crazy busy at work as usual

- Exhaustion
- Not getting reliable mail

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

I like: the energy I get from working out, and the soreness in my muscles.

I don't like: that I've lost all the muscles I used to have.  I worked out regularly when I was a student!
I want you to know: I really, really, REALLY appreciate all the support you have given me for my weight loss!!!!!!  Thank you so much!

I've planned: to stick to it!

xoxo, K

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beauty Blogs' Backstage - Interview with Zara from Pinch Your Cheeks

It's time for Beauty Blogs' Backstage again! This month, I was paired with Zara from Pinch Your Cheeks.

Zara is a blogger from the UK.  Read on to see her answers to my questions!

1. What got you into blogging?
I got into it for personal reasons. I needed somewhere to just write about stuff without having to worry about the affecting feelings of people I know. Then it evolved to writing about things like skincare and make up which is my little decadent interest! My little blog is very personal to me, but I love talking about beauty products which is why there are a lot of posts on that type of stuff!

2. I see you are from the UK!  What brands do you hope will become available there?
I'd like to try out more NYX stuff which is not readily available in the UK. Also I hear so much about Bioderma and Emboryolisse products which would nice if they were more available

3. What are your favorite youtube channels or blogs?
Just to name a few and in no particular order:

4. Describe a favorite daily look
I always end up going back to winged eyeliner and volumised eyelashes!

5. I see you have a lot of experience with dying your hair.  What colors have you dyed it?
A LOT of colours - red, purple, streaks of green, blue, blonde hightlights, countless shades of brown. For the last six months, I have settled to jet black and am still not bored of it surprisingly. But I reckon will go lighter by summer for a few months. 

6. What are your hobbies other than blogging?
I love experiencing new skills. Recently I have done some archery, boot camp, rock climbing and ahem - burlesque! . I am always looking for deals on traveling anywhere. I've discovered my love for the gym for the first time in my life (which I hope that I keep up). Oh and reading. Love that.

7. What is your guilty pleasure?
Chips/fries. Also, vegging out all day and night in my pajamas with no make up on (basically being a slob!) 

I hope you enjoyed this interview.  Head on over to Pinch Your Cheeks to see her interview of me!

xoxo, K

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 2: MOVE!

As you might remember, I'm following Escape from Obesity's Habit-a-Week challengeThe Week 2 habit is to move.  Lyn, the author of the blog, doesn't say that you need to exercise, only that you need to move.  That seems simple enough to do, but please take a look at her post on this week's habit to understand why it's an important habit to have.
I've been pretty good this week on my Wii Fit+.  I've averaged about 30 min a day.  As I mentioned in my last post, this week has just been super hectic, and there are days when I could only squeeze in a quick run.  Still, I used my Wii Fit+ every single day, so I'm proud of myself! 

Buying the Wii Fit+ was a really great idea.  I get bored very easily on weekends, especially since it was too cold to go out.  Previously, my choices were to play on my computer or to nap.  Now, I play on my Wii Fit+!!!  Even if I'm staying in, I still burn calories!

This week's weigh in: 67.4 kg / 148.6 lbs (-0.7kg)  WOOT!!!

I know, -0.7kg is not a big weight loss.  In fact, it is within the amount that a person's weight normally fluctuates throughout the day.  But hey, I needed some motivation and I've really been trying hard.  Celebrate with me!

I'm taking it super slow this weekend so I can recover from my exhaustion and start working hard from Monday! Hope your weekend is going well!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Weekly Reads #5: Mar 4, 2011

This week has been hectic as hell... I was traveling back from my business trip on Saturday and Sunday, and then I had a full week of work. To top it off, my work schedule was PACKED for the entire week, and I got barely 5 hours of sleep a day.  No wonder I am exhausted!

I still count myself lucky - my coworker, who has had the same schedule as me for the past 2 weeks, is in the hospital after collapsing out of exhaustion! 
Hope your week is a little less stressful than mine!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy 2nd blogversary!!!

Today is the 2nd blogversary for Cosmeddicted!

Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you have given me and this blog over the past 2 years.

Over the past 2 years...

  • There have been over 250 posts and more than 50 reviews.
  • More than 65,000 page views in the 8 months since changing this blog's name to Cosmeddicted
  • I've met up with more than 20 other bloggers (and 4 significant others) in 9 different cities in 5 different countries
  • I've been very fortunate to meet with 5 bloggers more than once (Mona, Eve, Jamilla, Nic, and Brianna)!

(You may be surprised that I have only 50 reviews. This means that I average one review a month.  Surprisingly, there were several months in 2009 and the beginning of 2010 when I did not write reviews!)

The best part of blogging is networking with everyone.  Thank you to all of you who have commented, emailed, tweeted or chatted with me.  Your love and support have made Cosmeddicted possible!

Thank you again for your love, and hopefully we will be able to continue!

xoxo, K


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