Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Maybelline the Colossal Volum Express Mascara - what is a "Mega Brush"?

This is a review for Maybelline the Colossal Volum Express Mascara. I got this during my trip to Hawaii.


What it does: (from maybelline.com)
The most colossal lashes in just one coat.
• Lush collagen-enriched plumping formula and Mega Brush instantly build 9X volume, without clumps


What does the Mega Brush look like?
This brush is a normal fiber brush, although it is very thick and big.  It was not difficult to use for me. 

Price: will vary, target.com has this for around $6


Bare lashes

With one coat of mascara
Yes, I suck at taking pictures of my lashes, and yes, I'm wearing Mezaik on my eyes.

Pros:
- Gave my lashes volume!
- Brush was not difficult to use
- Did not flake or give me racoon eyes


Cons:
- I'm kind of getting tired of these incredible names that Maybelline gives to their mascaras.  Between "The Colossal", "Turbo Boost" and "XXL Volume", how do I know which one gives me the most volume?

Would I repurchase? Yes, I really liked this mascara!

If I were in the US, I would repurchase this mascara. However, I think it's highly likely that by the next time I get to the US, Maybelline will have released another volumizing mascara!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Lush Tuca Tuca Massage Bar

This is a review for the Lush Tuca Tuca Massage Bar.  I bought this during my trip to London last fall.

At first, I could not find this on the Lush Japan website.  It turns out that it was listed in the Tuca Tuca perfume section, not in the massage bar section.

What it does:
The fragrance of a bright pop song. Tuca Tuca is whimsical; it teases with a fantasy violet accord and works its way into your subconscious. The perfume perfectly conveys the playful and seductive nature of the pop-song and the dance it's based on. Only the Italians could have come up with such a mischievous dance and pull it off with style and sex appeal
(from Lush.co.uk)

Price:
5.25 GBP, 980 JPY, 7.95 USD.
With the current exchange rate, this product is actually cheaper in the US than in the UK!  What a surprise - usually Lush is MUCH less expensive in the UK.

Scent:
I don't know how to describe this.  It smells very herbally and earthy. It is a very strong scent.  This has Cassie absolute, Vanilla absolute (although I don't smell any vanilla), Sandalwood oil, Vetivert oil, Violet leaf absolute, and Ylang-Ylang oil.  I personally liked it, but I can understand why others don't.

Pros:
- This feels like a block of shea butter and cocoa butter with some other stuff mixed in.  When you first rub it against your skin, it doesn't melt, but as it heats up, it melts very easily.
- This does not absorb easily into the skin.  You can rub it over yourself (or a partner, hint hint) and still have time to massage it into the skin.
- The claim is very interesting (sex appeal, anyone?).  Unfortunately, I could not test the validity of the claim.

Cons:
- the scent may be overwhelming. 
- As stated above, this does not easily absorb into your skin.  If you are looking for a moisturizer that you can slather on your body and then jump into your clothes, this is not that product.
- For the above two reasons, i don't suggest using it in the morning
- This will not fit into Lush's massage bar tins (Several of them don't.  I wonder why Lush designs their bars to not fit, especially since you can get a tin free if you buy two bars!)
- Be careful about using this or storing this in the summer.  It will easily melt.

Would I repurchase? maybe.  I liked this product, but I'm curious to try Lush's other massage bars. 

I had an interesting time playing with this product.  It was satisfying to rub it all over my body every evening and massage it in. I used up about half of this product in 10 days, which was really surprising!

Hope this review helped!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekly Reads #15: May 18, 2011

I usually dislike saying that I'm busy.  Everyone has a crazy number of things that they have to do.  Saying "I was too busy to blog/reply to emails/exercise" really just means "I decided for now, blogging/replying/exercising is not my priority".   Somehow, saying the latter sentence sounds more responsible to me. 

And yes, this week I did not prioritize responding to emails, tweeting or commenting.  *hangs blogger head in shame*

On to the weekly reads!



Short and sweet!

xoxo, K

Monday, May 16, 2011

Keeping your Angels on Bare Skin creamy

The Lush Angels on Bare Skin is a fantastic product, but it dries out pretty quickly.  Dried out AoBS is still usable, but it is hard to apply the crumbly product to your face.  When I apply AoBS to my face, I like to work it into a paste by adding a small amount of water.

Angels on Bare Skin (AoBS) is sold in black pots in the UK, but it is sold in clear tubs in the US.  I personally find that the black pots are easier to keep closed.

From my New York haul in April 2010

From my UK haul in 2009




Step 1: Put a small amount of dried out AoBS in a small container.
I like to use small containers so that I don't contaminate the original pot.
You can see that my AoBS is really, really dried out.


Step 2: Sprinkle with a few drops of distilled water
Always use distilled water.  A few drops of water is enough!
It doesn't look like the AoBS is dampened, but this is enough water.


Step 3: Close the container, and store it for a day.
This helps the water to be absorbed evenly.
I smooshed the product together to show that how smooth the AoBS has become.

Of course, the best thing is to use up your AoBS before it dries up.  I hope this helps you in a pinch!

xoxo, K

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beauty Blogs' Backstage - Interview with Helen from Just Nice Things

It's time for Beauty Blogs' Backstage again! This month, I was paired with Helen from Just Nice Things. Helen is a beauty blogger from the UK, with great product reviews and nail polish swatches.





(1) I'm completely uncoordinated when it comes to applying nail polish.  Could you give me some tips?

Buffing your nails gently first will even out the surface and make them less prone to chipping. Make sure that your nails are clean and free of any oil and grease. Use a decent base coat (I favour Orly Bonder) and wait for it to dry fully before applying your colour. Use thin, thin coats and layer it up. Thick coats are likely to smear, run into you cuticles or go all over your fingers, and will take longer to dry as well, therefore being more prone to smudging and marking. Always paint around the free edge of your nail and lock this in with a topcoat as this will prevent chipping.

(2) What is the trend for nail polishes this summer?

Much like the rest of the world, crackle/shatter polish is everywhere. I’m not a fan of this particular trend, I have to say – it makes me think of skin complaints. I’m also seeing a lot of orange toenails which is a look that is growing on me.

(3) What are your favorite UK beauty brands and why?

Easily Illamasqua. I’m really proud of what they have achieved and have been “following” the brand since their launch in 2009. I’m lucky enough to know quite a few people who work for the company and their enthusiasm and drive is totally infectious. I love their products, their marketing and their whole ethos and am so happy to see them going from strength to strength.

(4) Tell us something about the Royal Wedding that non-Brits may not know about

I am stumped by this question. I cannot think of a single thing that hasn’t been out under the microscope of the world’s media already!

(5) Have you had any unusual experiences in beauty blogging?

A few. Once, I blogged about a spa that I went to where I found the water to be beneficial to my skin. The next minute, I receive an email from a TV production company asking me if I wanted to participate in a BBC show where a disgraced politician was travelling around the UK and visiting people and interviewing them about this and that. So there I was, freezing to death in an open top pool for the best part of three hours, waiting to be interviewed by this chap about why I liked the spa. Definitely one of my stranger moments, and the one and certainly only time I will ever appear on national television in a swimsuit.

(6) Any summer vacation plans? If not, what is your ideal summer vacation?

None! We are in the throes of buying a new house so all non-essential spends are on hold (possibly for the rest of our life). My ideal summer holiday would be the one I had last year which was my honeymoon in Disneyworld. Two weeks of hot sunshine, entertainment, great food, drink and fun.

(7) Last question: What are your favorite beauty blogs or youtube channels?

I don’t really watch YouTube (there are only so many hours in the day) but if I do, it has to be the fantastic Pixiwoo sisters. My favourite blogs (and it is hard to only name a few) have to be:
www.vampyvarnish.com as Kelly is without a doubt of the best bloggers out there
www.getlippie.blogspot.com for UK products, great reviews, and not taking itself too seriously
www.londonmakeupgirl.com for niche brands and a very English sense of humour

I had a fantastic time interviewing Helen.  You can find her interview of me here.

xoxo, K

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weigh Loss - Week 7: Watch Your Portions

This week's weight loss theme was to watch your portions.

You may know that I used to live in the US when I was a child.  Now when I go there, I am amazed at how large the portions are.  Entrees are three times the size they should be.  No wonder people have problems with their portions.

The difficulty in Asia is that we have communal dishes.  For example, there will be a large dish of dumplings that we all serve ourselves from.  It's easy to overeat when your personal dish is the size of a saucer because you are sure to fill it from the communal dishes several times.

That being said, I think I did pretty well this week.
  • I ate my minestrone, which was chock full of vegetables
  • I've found a way to make salads I like.  I don't add much protein, so it's not a good thing for lunch, but it's good enough for dinner
  • I did eat out once, but I stayed away from fried foods and ate mostly vegetables
  • I stuck to the Couch to 5K running program
 This week's weigh in: 68.2kg / 150 lbs (+1.4kg)
I'm actually OK with the weight gain this week.  I'm getting muscle pains from running, so I know I'm building muscle.  Even if I don't end up losing weight, I'm going to stick to my eating and exercise plans!

xoxo, K

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weekly Reads #14: May 11, 2011

I'm in a rut right now when it comes to youtube channels.  I love watching makeup tutorials and reviews on youtube, but I have trouble finding a channel that I like.  There are some channels that I've watched for a while, but lately there are a few that are getting  a bit tiresome.  I'm definitely in the mood for recommendations.

At the same time, it looks like I'm uninspired by beauty blog posts.  I love reading them, but I haven't found an inspiring article for a while.  My weekly reads have been mostly food for the past few weeks!

So, any recommendations for youtube channels?  I adore Pixiwoo and Makeupgeek.

xoxo, K

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Lush It's Raining Men shower gel

This is a review for the Lush It's Raining Men shower gel.  This was a limited edition product and may no longer be available. (Update: This product has been made permanent!)

 (stock photo)


This shower gel was very popular because it was supposedly the shower gel version of the popular soap, Honey I Washed the Kids.  In Japan, this shower gel is called "みつばちマーチ(Mitsubachi Maachi, Honeybees' March)", which is also the Japanese name for this soap.  I was excited about this shower gel because I loved the soap.  I have a separate review on the Honey I Washed the Kids soap.

What it does:
Get absolutely soaking wet and lather up just like the Weather Girls first commanded back in the disco days. Only this time, you're armed with one of the best shower gels you can buy. It's Raining Men is made with lotus flowers to soothe your winter-ravaged bodies and moisturizing, cleansing honey.  Our honey hand and body soap has become such a huge favourite that we just had to create a honey shower gel with the same scent. It smells like toffee-fudge, with refreshing sweet orange and bergamot oils to give it a little extra sweetness for you or your Valentine.
Contains honey, rose hips, Lotus Flower and Tiger Lily infusion, sweet wild orange oil, bergamot oil.
(from lush.com)

Price: $8.95 for 3.3 oz, 900 JPY for 110g, 5.45 GBP for 110g

Scent:
This smells similar to Honey I Washed the Kids, but they are not exactly the same.  I felt HIWTK smelled like toffee, and IRM smells more like honey.  IRM has a more herbally scent, and smells sweeter.


Pros:
- More moisturizing than most Lush shower gels
- Lathers well
- If you like this scent, this is for you!


Cons:
- Similar to other Lush scents, this is an unremarkable shower gel.  If you want your shower gel to do something other than clean your body, Lush shower gels are not for you.
- On the same note, I think HIWTK does more for your money.  The scent lasts longer, and it is more moisturizing.

Would I repurchase?  No. I like the product, but I like the soap much better.  I'm glad I only got the smallest bottle.  I'll stick with the soap from now on!


Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weight Loss - Week 6.2: Getting back in the routine

This week was the 2nd week of getting back on track.

You may remember that for about the past month, things have been really tough for me.  I don't feel well, and I wasn't eating well.  This month was about eating more vegetables and working out.

Yesterday, I started the Couch to 5k.  In case you are not familiar with it, the C25k (not 25km!) is a running program to get people from a couch potato to being able to run 5km.   I'm still only on my 2nd day, so we'll see how it goes. I certainly didn't think I'd be able to run 30 min, and I was surprised when I finished my first day. I can't run everyday, but I think I'll be able to fit this into my schedule.  I HATE running, but I love how I felt after my run - and I'm getting the aches to prove that it is changing my body.  The app is a huge help as well.


I have a homemade salad and a homemade minestrone in my refrigerator.   Yes, I'm ready to get my weight down again!

This week's weigh in: 66.8kg / 147lbs (-0.9kg)

FINALLY!

xoxo, K

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thank You! Love from Kathy

A package was waiting for me when I arrived in Japan last month.  Kathy from Mai-Kat Oshaberi had said she wanted to send me one brush.  Of course, I ended up being OVERWHELMED by her generousity!

Sonia Kashuk Brush Couture Flat Top Multipurpose Blush/Powder Brush
I squealed when I first saw this online and I squealed again to see it in person! I love using this brush for liquid foundation.  The handle is very pretty! A review is coming up!

Sonia Kashuk Blusher Brush
This is a fantastic brush.  I wonder how Kathy knew I was having trouble finding a good blusher brush?  This is SO MUCH better than my MAC 129. A review is coming up for this brush as well!


Neutrogena Makeup wipes
Kathy and I share our love for these wipes!


Amore Pacific samples

Altoids
I really like Altoids.  I use the empty cans to hold my bobby pins and earrings!


Clarisonic brush in delicate

I was SO surprised to see this at the bottom of the package!
Wow, thank you so much, Kathy!!

Again, thank you SO much for your generosity.  I'm looking forward to seeing you again, hopefully in Japan some time!
xoxo, K

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weekly Reads #13: May 4, 2011

A week or so ago, a friend of mine posted this picture on Facebook (reposted with her permission).
In Japanese, the outer layer of the skin is called kakushitsu (角質).  角 can also mean horn, so um, yeah... 
What are your favorite blog posts this week?

xoxo, K

Monday, May 2, 2011

Up and Down #14 / A Piece of Me... in May 2011

I went back to Japan last month, and yet again, I flew JAL.  I enjoy the lunches that JAL provides on their short hauls leaving from Japan.  They are really light bentos and a really nice change from the crappy food that many airlines serve.


 It was served with this rice, which was also very good.

I did a similar post on JAL lunches before, if you are interested.  Short haul flights seem to be from Japan to most of Asia, about 3.5 hrs or less.

On to my Ups and Downs!


Ups:
- St Ives Green Tea cleanser
I absolutely loved this.  I finished up the tube, and then cut it up to get what was left inside.  There was more than 2 weeks' worth left!  I have a separate post on how to get the most out of your squeeze tube products.

- NYX Jumbo eyeshadow pencils which I got 2 years ago from Iyah
 This picture is also from 2 years ago.  I hope my photography skills have improved a little since then!

- The Royal Wedding.  I really, really loved it... but I'm also glad I'm in a country where almost NO ONE talks about it!  I would get sick of it if it were on TV everyday!

- Finding out that (1) CSI is on Wowow (a Japanese cable station similar to HBO), and (2) I can get Wowow for free in my new apartment.  I love the CSI series!

- Getting hooked on The Farm Story

Downs:
- Getting sick, again. (The bottle of Nyquil I bought in Hawaii is REALLY helping!)
- Trying to use up a Bath & Body Works product when I really don't like the scent.

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

I like: that it's finally warm enough to go outside!

I don't like: not being able to stay healthy.
 
I want you to know: that being sick in a foreign country really sucks

I've planned: to eat more vegetables and less red meat.


xoxo, K

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