Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: Pure Smile Face Mask in... Snake Venom

This is a review of the Pure Smile Face Mask in Snake Venom.  This line of sheet masks has become very popular recently in Japan and is available in nearly every drugstore for 100 yen ($1.25) or less.  There are several different varieties, such as the Essence series, the Animal series, and the Milk series. This time, I tried the Snake Venom mask from the Animal Series.

What it does: Moisturizes your skin. Especially good for dry and sensitive skin. Contains amino acids found in snake venom to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Price: varies. Shop around - this is easily found under 100 yen.

  • This is a VERY moisturizing mask! I put it on for 10 minutes at night, and my skin was still felt moisturized in the morning.
  • This does not make my face feel sticky or oily, as do many moisturizing masks
This mask would probably be too moisturizing for me in the summer.

Would I repurchase?  Yes, I think this is a great mask for the cost. I'm really interested to try the other varieties!

Like I mentioned before, this line of face masks has become very popular and can be found almost everywhere. The brand also produces CO2 masks - a liquid that foams up on the skin. I liked them a lot, but I am having trouble finding them now!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekly Reads #91: December 30, 2012

Wow, 2012 is almost over! How was your year? Mine was... hectic. Thanks for reading Cosmeddicted and for all the support you have given me this past year!

What were your favorite posts this week? 
Connect with me! I love chatting and connecting with people, and sharing interesting stuff around the web!

You can also subscribe to Cosmeddicted through the feedemail, or Bloglovin!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Welcome to Hong Kong - during the Christmas season

On a recent business trip, I spent a few days in Hong Kong. I've been in Hong Kong several times before, but this was my first time being there during the Christmas season. The decorations were quite beautiful!

The scenery was beautiful, but there were A TON of tourists from Mainland China. Many people are into DSLRs on the mainland, so it was REALLY REALLY difficult to find a spot to take pictures.

The night view of Hong Kong island, from Kowloon

Hong Kong airport was also decorated for the holidays. I thought they were quite tasteful, with a simple color scheme.

1881 Heritage (the Former Marine Police Headquarters) had this HUGE teddy bear.

1881 Heritage
in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

There was also this beautiful Christmas tree.

Times Square had a ton of Lego decorations
They were INCREDIBLY popular, and the store was packed with people taking pictures with the displays.

Times Square
in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island

Personally, I thought this decoration, hung from the ceiling, was the cutest

The decorations were quite beautiful! It's always interesting to be in a warm place during the holiday season - there are lots of people who have never seen snow before!

xoxo, K

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows - a staple for busy mornings

I know I'm late in the game to review the L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows, but they are hard to get a hold of here! These are not sold in Japan, so I bought a few when I was in New York last spring.  What a great product when you are rushing to head out the door!

Iced Latte is champagne color, which looks almost white on me because of the yellow undertones in my skin.

Gold Imperial was part of last summer's collection. It is a bright gold color, more glittery and more prone to fall out than the others.

Liquid Diamond is a gray color which leans towards lilac - it pairs amazingly well with purples. This also seems to have the best staying power of the 5 that I have.

Bronzed Taupe is a very dark brown and gives my eyes depth without being too dramatic.

Perpetual Purple is a rich eggplant color which I often use in the outer corner of my eye

Swatches from left: Iced Latte, Gold Imperial, Liquid Diamond, Bronzed Taupe, Perpetual Purple

Price: will vary, Target has them for $7

  • These are basically pressed pigments, and have the great pigmentation without the fallout.
  • Most of the colors have fabulous pigmentation and can blend smoothly without effort
  • Great staying power.  These are the only eyeshadows that last past 12 hours on me (with a primer)
  • The pigmentation and the smoothness of the product depends on the color. For example, Gold Imperial is significantly less pigmented than the others. Perpetual Purple is also harder for me to blend
Would I repurchase?  YES.  In fact, many of these are gifts from kind friends who know how much I loved the ones I bought in New York! I'm not going to start collecting them, but I love the neutral colors that I have!

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Weekly Reads #90: December 23, 2012

It's Christmas! I feel a little detached from Christmas - in Japan, since it is not a holiday, it is more of a couples event and an event for little children. I'm also not a fan of excessive gift giving, so I don't really understand the concept of stocking stuffers... and I'm really not a huge fan of crowds.  I do have some gifts from my beauty blogger friends, which is super nice!

What were your favorite posts this week? 

Connect with me! I love chatting and connecting with people, and sharing interesting stuff around the web!

You can also subscribe to Cosmeddicted through the feedemail, or Bloglovin!

xoxo, K

Friday, December 21, 2012

K's Kitchen - 1 Minute Chocolate Cake from Endless Simmer

You've probably heard of 1 minute cakes before. Mix it up in a coffee mug, microwave, and voila! Premixed powders are even sold on the market.  I was unconvinced that they work, but considering that I'll take any reason to bake a chocolate cake, and I don't have an oven in my temporary apartment, this was a good chance to try it out.

Heavily adapted from The Endless Simmer, shared on Weekly Reads #66 (July 2012).

Note: I didn't have any cherries or sea salt on hand, so the "Sea Salt Chocolate Cherry Cake" became just a chocolate cake. 

Yield: Serves 1
Prep time: This is definitely not 1 minute. Who can measure cocoa powder, flour, etc in 1 minute?  I'd say around 5 minutes.

- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons sugar (this was too sweet for me. The second time I made this, I reduced it to 1 tablespoon, which was fine for me. If I make this a third time, I may reduce it further)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (the baking powder I used did not react very well. I increased it to 1/2 teaspoon the second time I made this, but you probably would not have to)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine the dry ingredients and mix very, very well.
2. Add the liquid ingredients and mix well
3. Spray the coffee mug with non-stick spray (Or, oil it with some vegetable oil poured on a paper towel)
4. Transfer the mix to the mug, and microwave 30-40 seconds (American microwaves must be much stronger than Japanese ones. My cake needed 1 minute)

Was this a fantastic, jaw-dropping cake? Of course not. But it did hit the spot when I wanted something sweet. And because it only filled up half of my coffee mug, it stopped me from overeating.  It is a good recipe to have on hand if you have a sweet tooth!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome to Kyoto Gosho - with Jamilla Camel

In late November, Jamilla came to Osaka, and we spent a few days sightseeing together!

Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) is an imperial palace, but the Emperor has lived in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo since the mid 19th century. The grounds are open to the public, and there are several interesting buildings to see. The palace itself can be seen through tours which are held multiple times each day - unfortunately, they are not held on Saturdays, Sundays, or public holidays. I did not know this, and therefore Jamilla and I were not able to see the inside!

We were extremely lucky with beautiful weather this day.

Kyoto was packed everywhere we went. Fall is one of the most popular seasons for sightseeing in Japan.

Kenreimon, one of the gates into the palace. 

If you do decide to visit the Imperial Palace, know that you will be asked to provide photo ID if you want to visit the inside.

Hope you enjoyed this brief tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace!

xoxo, K

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Lush Fair Trade Honey shampoo - smells strongly of honey

This is a review of the Lush Fair Trade Honey shampoo. I bought this in my Lush UK haul. This product is available in Japan, but only in the largest (310g) size. As I've written before, I always buy the smallest size at Lush and other stores because I always want to try different products!

What it does: (from the Lush UK website)
With lashings of honey in here for its lovely effects on the hair – the natural properties of honey also means we didn’t need to put any preservative in this product. 
A shampoo this good deserved the finest of perfumes. So Simon has created a geranium/honey perfume with beeswax absolute, geranium, rose, bergamot and neroli. This is a no expense spared shampoo.

Price: 7 GBP/110g in the UK, 2300 JPY/310g in Japan. I could not find this product on the Lush US website

Scent: To me, this product has a floral scent, but without the sweetness of flowers. It has the herbal, slightly bitter smell of honey. If Lush released a perfume with this scent, I would buy it!

  • This product left my hair feeling moisturized, and cleansed well without stripping my hair
  • As I mentioned above, I like the smell
  • This product is neither too thin nor too thick, and very easy to use
  • Unfortunately, this product left my scalp itching. The itching subsided within a few hours, but I think my scalp reacted to something in the product
Would I repurchase? No. Unfortunately, the itching makes this a definite no! I really liked the scent and wish Lush would release a shower gel instead!

I'm so sad that this product didn't work for me! I hope it works for you.

Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weekly Reads #89: December 16, 2012

What were your favorite posts this week? 

Connect with me! I love chatting and connecting with people, and sharing interesting stuff around the web!

You can also subscribe to Cosmeddicted through the feedemail, or Bloglovin!

xoxo, K

Friday, December 14, 2012

K's Kitchen - Chicken Salad from Simply Recipes

Every summer, I used to roast tons of vegetables each weekend. I would eat them throughout the week in salads, mixed with pasta, and as other side dishes. I loved how they tasted, and it was one of the things I missed a lot when I moved to China. This chicken salad reminded me of the summers in Japan that I missed.

Chicken Salad with Roasted Bell Peppers and Toasted Almonds
Adapted from Simply Recipes, shared on Weekly Reads #26 (August 2011)

Yield: Serves 2
Total time: 40 minutes

- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- 2 bay leaves
- 450 ml chicken stock
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 120ml unsalted toasted almonds, finely chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped (I used a regular onion which I microwaved to make it milder)
- 60ml chopped parsley (I omitted this)
- 1 large red pepper, roasted until blackened, skin/stem/seeds removed (I used 2 yellow peppers. Firstly because I like roasted peppers, secondly because yellow peppers were 1/2 the price of red peppers. Colored peppers are insanely expensive in Japan!)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil (next time I make this, I would reduce the olive oil and increase the apple cider vinegar)
- salt and pepper

1. Put the bay leaves and chicken stock in a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken breasts to the pot. Cover the pot. Turn off the heat. Let the chicken steep in the stock for 30 minutes. (Basically the point is to poach the chicken breasts. I wanted to completely skip this step - so I wrapped my chicken breasts in plastic wrap and nuked them, taking care to ensure that they were evenly cooked through.
2. Add the chopped garlic, almonds, onion, parsley, and roasted pepper to a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over the mixture, add the oil and vinegar, and toss to combine.
3. Shred the cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Mix the chicken with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

This was delicious both chilled and at room temperature.  It was simple to make, and I loved the taste. I will definitely make this again!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome to Nijo Castle, Kyoto

In mid-November, I went to Nijo Castle (二条城) in Kyoto. Nijo Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Historical Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and is protected by various Japanese designations such as being a National Treasure, and a National Special Historical site.

Nijo Castle, which was built in 1626, was where the Tokugawa Shogunate resided when they visted Kyoto.  The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan from 17th century to the mid-19th century, and had a huge impact on Japanese history. For example, the Sakoku period (the 200 year period in Japanese history where Japan had almost no foreign relations), which I mentioned in my post about Kobe Ijinkangai and my post about Nagasaki, was established by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

No pictures are allowed inside the buildings, but there is a self-guided tour showing the purpose of each of the rooms. Getting a bit of knowledge on Japanese history and ancient culture may be helpful to understand, as there are different rooms for the castle inhabitants to meet visitors depending on the rank of the visitor.

I rented a wide angle lens for this day trip. It was a lot of fun to use, but a lot heavier than the prime lens that I am used to using. Not sure yet if I can commit to buying one, although I may rent it again!

In addition to the main castles, the gardens are also quite famous, and become quite crowded during the spring and the fall.

Hope you enjoyed my trip to Nijo Castle in Kyoto!

xoxo, K

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Daiso false eyelashes 1-4

Although I've loved false eyelashes for a long time, I've recently been wearing them every day. One of the brands I like for cost performance is Daiso's false eyelashes.

This number 1-4 of the Daiso brand eyelashes. Daiso has several different lines of eyelashes, but I like the ones in this pink packaging the best.

You can see the number of the product on the top right side of each product. Number 1-4 are all crisscross lashes.

Number 1 is the longest of the 4 crisscross lashes. They give a lot of length to your lashes. The watchout for these is that the band is very thick, so I suggest wearing eyeliner to blend the band into your eyelashes.

Number 2 has much shorter lashes. These are almost the same length as my natural lashes, and give me a little bit more volume. These would probably be more appropriate for a conservative workplace.

Number 3 has brown hairs, while the others have black hairs. These are also the shortest lashes. If you want very natural lashes, these are the ones for you.

Number 4 lashes are just a little bit shorter than Number 1, and have a few thick hairs. This is my favorite out of the 4 as they give me a big boost in volume.

Overall pros:
  • The price point is great - 105 yen for each.  Sometimes cleaning false eyelashes is such a pain in the neck, and I don't feel bad about throwing these out.
  • There are a lot of different designs and I can always find one to fit my mood
  • These last fairly well, and I can use them for about 3-4 uses.  
Overall cons:
  • These eyelashes have synthetic hairs. I find that real hair falsies are much more natural looking
  • The band on these is thick and can be uncomfortable when worn straight of of the box. Be sure to bend them a few times to soften them
These are slightly long for my eyes, and I cut off a little bit from the inner corners.  In comparison, Ardell lashes are exactly the right length for my eyes and I can wear them straight out of the box (Aredells are also super comfortable and fantastic looking!)

Would I repurchase?  Yes, I have repurchased these many times.

Hope you enjoyed this review! A review of the remaining products in this line are coming up soon!

xoxo, K

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekly Reads #88: December 9, 2012

What were your favorite posts this week? 

Connect with me! I love chatting and connecting with people, and sharing interesting stuff around the web!

You can also subscribe to Cosmeddicted through the feedemail, or Bloglovin!

xoxo, K

Friday, December 7, 2012

K's Kitchen - cooking rice in an earthenware pot

Japanese people have a reputation for being very picky about rice. I did not understand this before, but after coming back to Japan, I really think Japanese rice is delicious.

Because Japanese rice is so delicious, it is important to cook it properly. Most people believe that cooking rice in an earthenware pot is the most delicious way, but it is also considered time consuming. If I use a rice cooker, I could just throw in some washed rice and press a button, which is very convenient. Most Japanese rice cookers are created in order to mimic the effects of using an earthenware pot.

However, my rice cooker is in my luggage which has been sent to Indonesia. I could get a cheap rice cooker, but they do not cook delicious rice.  I tried my hand at cooking rice in an earthenware pot, and it was super easy!

Adapted from this recipe on

- these instructions are for cooking rice in an earthenware pot.  Please use a different method if you are using a metal or other pot.
- there are a million methods on how to cook rice in an earthenware pot. I just picked the easiest one.

- 2 "go" of rice ("Go" is a Japanese measuring unit, often translated to "cups" for sake, rice, and other traditional foods. One go is 180ml)
- 400ml water. If you are using old rice, increase this amount slightly.

1. Wash rice. Japanese people are even picky about how to wash rice!
This Youtube video is pretty easy to understand. The key is that you need to be quick!

2. Drain rice, then put it in the pot with 400ml water.
3. Let the rice soak for 30 min to 1 hour. This depends on your climate.  The colder it is, the longer your rice should soak.
4. Cover and heat the pot on high until bubbles form at the edge of the lid
5. Immediately reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 8 min. Do not open the lid even if the pot boils over!
6. After 8 minutes, turn off the heat, and wait 15 min. Do not open the pot.
7. Once the 15 minutes is over, use a paddle to mix the cooked rice lightly, incorporating air.

The most important parts are to not open the lid no matter what happens, and to wait 15 min at the end. Because the pot is earthenware, it will continue to stay warm even after the heat is turned off. This very low warming is important to make light, fluffy rice, which is cooked through.

This is really delicious rice!

xoxo, K

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welcome to Arashiyama, Kyoto - Home of the bamboo forests

In mid-November, I went to Arashiyama (嵐山), in north west Kyoto. This area is famous for its bamboo forests and for the beautiful scenery when the leaves start to change colors. Because of the hot summer this year, the leaves had not yet changed when I went, but it was still quite beautiful.

One of the main attractions is this bridge, Togetsukyō (渡月橋). The name means "moon crossing bridge". It lives up to its romantic name in the scenery around it, which is often used in posters in Japan.

The leaves had not yet turned colors when I went, but still, very picturesque. It was a great way to destress from my hectic everyday life.

I went to Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺), which is the main temple of the Rinzai sect o Buddhism. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arashiyama is also famous for its bamboo groves. This is one of the main walking areas, and it was pretty crowded.
In Arashiyama, you may see tourists going around in these rickshaws.  I'm told that they are quite expensive, but it looks like an interesting experience!

Apparently Arashiyama is not very popular in foreign tourist books, but it is a very popular place in Japan.  If you are looking for a non-touristy place in Kyoto, this may be it.

Hope you enjoyed my visit to Arashiyama!

xoxo, K

Monday, December 3, 2012

Up and Down #30: December 2012

By the time this post is up, I will be in Jakarta on a business trip! I have never been to Jakarta, but I'm sure I'm having a great time. House hunting in a foreign country is a little stressful.  Hopefully I'll be having some fun checking out local malls as well.

Anyone who is familiar with Jakarta - where should I go to shop?

On to my Ups and Downs!


L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows

A blogger friend recently gifted me with a few more of the L'Oreal Infallibles. She knows me very well - these colors fit so well into my everyday beauty routine. I leave before 6 AM every morning, so it's great to find products which are easy to use!

This cute plushie which floats in my bathtub every night

This was introduced on a TV show recently and has become quite popular. It is filled with a substance used to clean oil spills, and helps to keep your bathtub clean. Japanese people use bathtubs to soak, so there should not be any soap in the bathtub, the tub does get dirty from shedding skin cells. This has made cleaning my tub a bit easier.

As I mentioned above, I am in Jakarta as I write this, and will be traveling through Hong Kong on my way back to Japan. I do enjoy traveling, and it was one thing I missed in my previous assignment in China.

A few people who are giving me a hard time at work. Thankfully, someone gave me some good advice about it - that I've come to the point in my career where there will be some people who are jealous of what I am achieving.

How was your November?

xoxo, K

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Reads #87: December 1, 2012

I'm in Jakarta! It's been tough - I leave the hotel at 5:40 AM every day because of the traffic jams! I'll be here for another 10 days. Where should I go on the weekend?  Where do girls in Jakarta go to shop?

What were your favorite posts this week? 

You can also subscribe to Cosmeddicted through the feedemail, or Bloglovin!

xoxo, K


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