Wednesday, August 24, 2011

10 Things about Me Blog Award

I was given my first ever blog award by the awesome Kalmo! Participating in this award seemed so fun that it brought me out of blogging hibernation!
And I definitely want my readers to know me better. :)

So without further ado, in no particular order:

1. I hate Parmesan cheese. Sorry, but it's true. Just the smell makes me gag. I know it's a popular cheese since it's sprinkled on practically everything. So many foods are off limits to me: chicken alfredo, lasagna, i.e. most pastas and Italian dishes.
My friend's clam pasta. *eyeing the grated mound* That's ok, Wilson. I don't want a bite!

But I don't mind it in pesto, the basil covers up the taste. My favorite cheese is smoked gouda. Yums!

2. I have 32 bottles of nail polish (and counting), yet not one drop ends up on my fingernails.

A lot of polishes for me, but pretty modest for a beauty blogger

Why? Multiple reasons really. I used to play piano (in the loose sense that most Asians end up behind a baby grand at some point in their lives) and long nails simply get in the way. So I've never gotten used to having nails extend past my fingertips (which they never have). Additionally, I cook a lot. I worry enough about a loose hair (I shed like a Persian cat) getting mixed into muffin batter, much less wanting to look out for a nail acrylic chipping here and there.

The sad state of my fingers. They might as well be toes! Can you believe I've never had a manicure? Why yes, you can.

Instead the polishes end up on my toes. I've given up buying subtle neutrals and interesting dark polishes since they don't translate well on my piggies. It's bright and colorful lacquers all the way now.

3. I would like to be bald one day. Though at the rate my hair is falling out, it might be soon, lol. :P

But seriously, I've had a head of hair all my life (out of the womb fully coiffed). It would be nice to change it up.

Think more Natalie and less Mr. Clean
I would definitely spend less time in the shower and can save some money on shampoo and conditioner. Won't have to comb my hair (not that I do currently) and put it up when I'm exercising. Also won't have to vacuum up my loose hair each week (enough to make a toupee, sad).

Some people say getting rid of your hair will make you less vain. But I don't think I'll be less self-absorbed. ;) Just a different sort of vanity! Lol, I'll worry instead about the weird tan line on my scalp (been keeping a center part for years) and dressing up my head (with funky scarves, I suppose). Also, how would I match my foundation, by my face, my scalp, or my neck (unfortunately all different colors)?

4. I have two older brothers (and yet my arms are the hairiest of all three, sigh). My second oldest brother is autistic (severe, he doesn't speak and can't live alone). This has caused a lot of misunderstandings between strangers and even relatives and sometimes people don't have the patience to deal with his behavior. Case in point, my brother couldn't stop laughing (something he sometimes does when he's uncomfortable) at my grandmother's funeral. Thankfully, the funeral was pretty informal, but my other brother was pissssed!

Because of him, I've come to realize how hard it is for people with mental handicaps and disorders to be maneuver through society. He is one of the reasons I have such a passion for psychology.

Also because of him, I am very sensitive to people using words like "retard" and "retarded" as insults, which is unfortunately still commonplace here. My reasoning is this: when you use retard/retarded as an insult, you are changing the connotation of the word (which is a technical term) to a negatively charged one. People with mental issues already face stigma, why make their lives even harder? People with mental challenges cannot change who they are, but those of us with normative privillege can use our words carefully to make this world an easier place to live in. It doesn't take much effort, promise! :)

5. My favorite show of all time is Friends! :D Cue theme song.

I have all ten seasons on DVD and still catch reruns on TV when they're on. If you give me a ten second clip of an episode, I can identify the plot of the episode (still working on identifying the season). Seriously. I wish I had the same sort of devotion toward classes!

In case you're wondering, I don't have a favorite "Friend". That's like having a favorite child. :P They're all lovable with their different quirks. I notice that a lot of people like Chandler, because he's funny and sarcastic. And a lot of people dislike Ross and Rachel because they seem whiney. Honestly, if you watch the series from beginning to end and trust me, I've done it dozens of times, you notice that any of the six can be the crazy, annoying one and the others are the reasonable counterparts to the crazy. I really like that realistic dynamic.

As for guest stars though, I really liked Hank Azaria as Phoebe's boyfriend David- so sweet and nerdy!

That's the guy who does all the fun voices on The Simpsons (Moe, Comic Book Guy, Apu)!
And Christina Applegate was hilarious as one of Rachel's crazy sisters.

Looved her and her hair in Samantha Who?

The only thing I dislike about Friends is the Ross and Rachel trope they've created. On other shows nowadays, they have two characters who are randomly thrown in a romance and they don't seem to get along well, but you're expected to root for them, because they're "lobsters" or something. Remember TV writers, Ross and Rachel is basically the exception to the rule of romance.

Haha, you must have no idea what the hell I'm talking about if you don't watch Friends.

6. I don't eat beef. Haha, it must seem like I'm a super picky eater, but I'm really not. Just no Parmesan or beef.

The beef is for semi-religious reasons. I'm as Buddhist as my partner is Catholic, which means we just celebrate the holidays. When I visited my second cousins in Singapore in 2008, I found out that they didn't eat beef because they worship Kuan Yin. Find out why here. I wanted to try it, in part to be a better Buddhist but mostly to see if I could give up beef.

Three years later, and I've pretty much given it up, barring a few mishaps at restaurants (was accidentally given oxtail claypot instead of lamb claypot, yikes) and a few gray areas like gelatin (some of it comes from bovine bones, but marsmallows and jelly candies are so yummy), beef casings on sausage, and leather. But I still drink milk, too hard to give up.

7. I love my partner. He puts up with a lot of my crazy, and believe me, there's enough to go around!

Just some of the things he goes through on a daily basis:
  • My erratic mood swings (I wish I could blame it on PMS) when it comes our relationship status. One day I could say I could spend my life with him and why aren't we married RIGHT NOW?! Two days later, I say forever is a loooong time and why is he pressuring me to commit? <-- He isn't.
  • Making him to go to the grocery store three times in an hour because I haven't written a list. Thankfully we live close to one!
  • Keeping him up, because I'm an night owl and he isn't. He goes to bed at 11PM, goody goody. :P
  • Living in a messy apartment. I've seen his family home, it's basically as clean as a hotel. It must be torture for him to live with me.

If it isn't obvious, I'm loads of fun.

He's the nicest person I know. It's unfortunate that he got stuck with an awful girlfriend, poor guy. I don't know what might happen in the future with us. But I'll always be thankful for the time we've had together and I'll never regret being with him. Aww, I'm getting all sappy on y'all.

8. I love free stuff--especially free t-shirts. I never realized it before I entered college, but college gives you access to a ton of free stuff: food, pens, day planners, water bottles, etc. But I love t-shirts the most! Haha, adding free t-shirts into my wardrobe is a great way to stave off laundry day for a while. I don't really mind advertising some obscure web company as long as I get a clean, new tee out of it! To date, there hasn't been a free tee too tacky that I wouldn't wear it, but then again, my tolerance is high. Well, I did get a tee that has words on the ass area. I still wear it though (under a long jacket, of course). Don't judge! I really hate laundry. :)  

9. I'm the youngest in my family, for realsies. I'm the youngest child and youngest cousin on both sides of my family. My oldest maternal cousin has a son older than me, lol. As a result, I enjoy being around older people. Younger people, especially little kids, freak me out a little, though I'm sure the feeling's mutual. I also might be a teensy bit spoiled (a lot, so says my brother).

But when people meet me, they assume I'm the older sibling amongst the three of us. It's because I'm bossy! I nag my family like a hen mother. Hey, nagging is love. But people thinking I'm older than I am has made me zealous with anti-aging skincare. I tell my friends about my literal nightmares of getting wrinkles and they just laugh at me. Bah.

10. I'm trying to be healthy. Sure, some of it's chocked up to vanity. It'd be nice to drop 20 lbs and fit into my high school clothes (there's a whole wardrobe waiting for me). But mostly, I worry about my health. I'm young now and my body isn't in any danger of getting any health condition. But I really don't want to wait until I have to change my lifestyle. I look at older members and I don't want to take medication when I'm older for high blood pressure or something.

Before this decision, I scoffed at "health nuts" eating their brown rice and running on their treadmills. Now that I'm on the other side, I realized that healthy changes weren't so bad: more veggies, checking food labels for saturated fat levels, sugar and sodium levels, and making sure you're not just surviving on junk food.  

A weird discovery I made was that I tend to eat less when I exercise. I don't feel hungry after working out. Exercise kinda has a positive snowball effect on my life. Whee.

I try not to measure my accomplishments by the number on the scale which fluctuates way too much anyway, but by how fast I can run on the treadmill (yes, I do feel like hamster sometimes). I also like hiking (yet am afraid of heights, go figure).

Haha, I think I did this wrong. Y'all probably wanted bullet points but you got a term paper and probably know way more about me than you wanted, sorry!

Now I'm supposed to tag ten people. I want to tag my followers who've stuck by me throughout my many haituses (hope that's how you spell it).

Stephanie of Aquaheart's Obsessions
Blushing Me Pink
Jane of The Beauty Bible
Rainy Days & Lattes
Steph of In Her Makeup Bag
Of Faces and Fingers
Mimsy of Mimsy's Blog
Denysia Yu

And of course, any followers who don't have their own blog, but want to participate, feel free to do it in the comments.

I look forward to learning more about you. :D

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I've been up to

Hi peeps,

I know I've been MIA all summer. I can make excuses and apologize all day long, but truthfully I needed the break. Sometimes life just happens.

Why I temporarily quit the blogosphere:

-I needed to focus on my two summer classes (needed to turn them into GPA boosters and not killers).

-My paternal grandmother died in late July. She had been sick since early June and in and out of the hospital for dialaysis. Although she and I were not that close in recent years, her death took a toll on me. It was surreal how busy I felt handling this along with school. The morning she died, I had to go back the college and study for a midterm the following Monday. Her funeral was held the weekend before finals. Sometimes I felt too busy to grieve. I hope I didn't overshare. I've always meant for this blog to be anonymous but still personal.

-Had to study for the GRE. Unwisely signed up for one four days after my last final. Also didn't realize the test was 4.5 hours and not 3 hours until I was taking it. Clearly, I was well prepared for it, lol.

-General rush of preparing for the fall start of school-- signing up for classes, asking for letters of rec, talking to advisors, interviewing for research positions. Soo not ready to be a senior, but here I am! Oh crap.

-Just vegging out while I still can. I highly recommend it. :)

This has been a crazy summer. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Latest Grocery Outlet Haul

Hey y'all!

Celebrating Kalmo's return (woot woot!) to the blogosphere, I figured I might as well get my butt into gear with regards to posting again.

I ventured out to Grocery Outlet again to stock up on my usual fiber bars and also to spy what new beauty goodies had been stocked.

Here's what I picked up.

Spent more money on cosmetics than food this time. Rational spending fail.

I bought:
Physicians Formula Multi-Colored Pressed Powder Powder Palette in Peach Nude ($2.99)
I couldn't find any reviews of this shade, but Muse seems to be a big fan of the product! I hope it'll be similar to N.Y.C. Color Wheel Mosaic Powder in Peach Glow, as that's discontinued. :/

I was soo excited to find this! Four Burt's Bees lip balms for four bucks is a really good deal. The kit retails for $10! It has a Beeswax Lip Balm tin and three tubes of Honey, Replenishing (pomegranate), and the minty Beeswax one. Besides this, I also saw a bunch of other Burt's Bees products at Grocery Outlet: a travel bag of mini-sized products, their Rosemary Shampoo Bar etc.  

L'oreal HiP Studio Secrets Professional Eye Shadow in Luna Noir, Darkwave, and Enchantress ($1.99 each)
It was a complete surprise to find these as these duos came out last fall in the limited edition Midnight Muse collection. And the prices are to die for! There are two other duos. I'm sure they were there, but I wasn't just looking hard enough. It was getting close to dinner time!

Beyond my haul, I saw some cheapie face masks and nose strip packs for $.99 apiece. I also saw Revlon Colorstay Mineral Finishing Powder in Suntan Matte. People were going gaga over this during the last CVS clearance sale. Lol, and now it's $.50 less at $2.99. So if you're ever frantic about missing out on a discontinued product, you're bound to see it at Grocery Outlet sooner or later. 

Happy July 4th! My partner's back in Canada and celebrated Canada day on July 1st. Guess we're not so different after all. :)

As for me, I'm going on a group hike tomorrow afternoon with a potluck afterwards. Made onion dip and spinach chickpea curry and a cantaloupe bundt cake for tomorrow night. I know, weird combo, but I'm just clearing out some leftover produce!

How are y'all spending July 4th weekend? :D

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sightings: New Rimmel Products

Last week, I did my regular walk through CVS and found some new (to me, anyway) Rimmel goodies. 

There's a new Rimmel foundation on the shelves, Rimmel Clean Finish. It was only $4.99. That's really cheap! Not sure how it performs though. 

I think it retails $7.79
 Now we know why Sexy Curves mascaras were all on sale during the last CVS clearance. The newest addition to the Sexy Curves family is Sexy Curves Full Body Mascara. Looks like the new one is all about upping the volume. I haven't had the best luck with Rimmel mascara, so I'll be watching for other people's reviews first

I haven't kept up with sightings as much. Even though I do see new products, take pictures, I'm a lazy mofo when it comes to uploading. :P Let me know if I should keep this up!

Would you like to see more Sightings?

Did any of these products pique your interest? Your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DIY Natural Whitening Cleanser/Mask

I'm cheap so I love hunting for bargains. But if there's one thing I love more than shopping around, it's making my own stuff! Many months ago, I saw a post on Kalmo's blog raving over Kuan Yuan Lian's Bean Cleanser. It's a dry cleanser that you add water to to use. You can use it to cleanse the face or leave on the face untl dry as a mask.
Photo courtesy of
Part of me really really wanted to just buy it, since it was so cheap. But my conscience chided me for having a small bag of beans shipped the ocean for me. It looked easy enough to make: Job's tears, green beans, pearl powder.

Here's my version:

Yes, it's an old spaghetti sauce jar. No worries, the contents within are just as edible as its predecessor!
You'll need:
Job's tears powder
Green bean powder

I know some people will have trouble finding these ingredients. You usually can find these powders at a Chinese/Asian grocery like Ranch 99.

I took some photos at Ranch 99, so you have a good idea of what to look for.

Make sure to get the pure form of the powders. Sometimes green bean powder comes mixed with sugar, because it's sold as a drink or cereal mix. Check the ingredients!

And note that companies sometimes call Job's tears "pearl barley" or "coix seed" or "adlay". As English translation can differ from brand to brand, here's the Chinese for the ingredients.
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Green Bean Powder
Job’s Tears Powder

Lol, the simplified and tradtional don't differ too much here. You can scan the shelves for the words above or show these words to a kindly shop person to help you!

  1. Mix the two powders together.
  2. That's it.
  3. Seriously.
The fun part comes in figuring out the proportion of Job's tears:green bean that works for you. Green bean powder is good for acne and Job's tears is for whitening (ever read the ingredients in Japanese whitening skincare? it's usually there!). You can start off with half and half of each and go from there. If you want whitening, you can add more Job's tears. I've noticed Job's tears can be slightly irritating, so you might end up with less Job's tears than you'd like.

Kuan Yuan Lian's cleanser also included pearl powder. I had some pearl powder on hand, so I've tried the cleanser with pearl powder. But I honestly feel that it does nothing to whiten, so I've omitted it here.

How to use:
  1. Add a few teaspoons to a shallow cup.
  2. It's an old laundry detergent cup. I like repurposing!
  3. Add water until the mixture is a runny paste like salad dressing. Mix out the lumps with your finger.
  4. Should look like this. Like bird poop. Jeez, I'm not telling you to eat it! But you can if you want. :)
  5. Apply to face, avoiding eyes. If you want to use it as a straight-up cleanser, gently exfoliate with bean particles and rinse.
  6. Let dry until hardened if you want to use it as a mask, around 10-15 minutes. Rinse off. It may be a bit difficult removing the mask, since it gets stuck on good! Best for use before you shower, so you can hose it off then.
  • As Kalmo has mentioned before, it might be slightly irritating the first time you use it. It feels prickly as it dries on my face and my face is slightly red after first use. But over time, your skin will be desensitized.
  • It's kinda annoying to clean up the bean residue left over in the sink and shower. But a good spray of water should do the trick.
I hope this doesn't scare y'all off from trying this, because it really is an awesome cleanser/mask. It gets my face squeaky clean without overstripping the oil on my face and dries up my zits. It's also pretty good at whitening. Best part is that it's travel friendly: 2-in-1 mask/cleanser that's liquid free! Just pack some in a camera film container (if those still exist) and you're good to go! 

Have you tried the Kuan Yuan Lian cleanser? Want to try this? Your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Love Letter to Grocery Outlet

To my dearest Grocery Outlet,

As evidenced by my latest haul, I have quite the relationship with you. Shh, don't tell my partner! I'm sure some people might be skeeved out by the idea of you (would you ever buy food at an "outlet"?) They might call you names like "Gross Out" (because bullies are sooo clever). But I get you, I really do.

I even get your silly commercials that might garner the attention of the lawyers of Jim Henson's estate.

 I know that you have tons of makeup goodies, tacitly reserved for those who can look past your "skeeviness."

Kiss My Face Shave Cream

L-R: Beverly Hills Skincare (picked up some for my mom!), L'oreal Collagen and Skin Genesis

L-R: Neutrogena scrub, Tree Hut body wash and body splash

Some Revlon lippies, Almay foundation, Physicians Formula makeup

L-R: Revlon mascara, Maybelline, Almay eyeshadows

L-R: Clean & Clear eye makeup remover (bi-faciltype) and cleanser, Clearasil cleanser, night treatment, and serum

L-R: ELF Mineral, Almay mascara, Revlon mascaras

Freeman cleanser, moisturizer, masks!

Garnier Nutrioniste cleanser, treatments, scrub

More Tree Hut body washes
And some reason, Grocery Outlet, you double as a storefront for ELF cosmetics, not that I'm complaining!

But my absolutely favorite aspect about you is that you're adventurous. You introduce me to products I would never get to try otherwise. With awesome prices, I'm not afraid to try!

Here's a beloved brand that I owe you for introducing us!

Petal Fresh Whitening range with cleanser, toner, moisturizer and mask! Petal Fresh is an American brand, so I don't feel guilty trying, since it doesn't have to ship from another country. :)

Some products that intrigue me, but haven't tried.

Creams from an unknown brand and Nivea scrub
And don't just think I'm after your beauty products, you're so much more than that! I'll actually buy your food (though I'll check your expiration dates meticulously). I can always count on a cheap fiber bar from you and a chuckle looking at the products that were obviously bad marketing ideas. And ice cream: ZOMG. You know me so well that you know I'd eat discontinued flavors like Haagen-Daz's Sticky Toffee Pudding (in case you're wondering, yes I bought backups. ;) ) and out of season flavors like Girl Scouts' Samoas (are we still allowed to call them that?).

And I treasure your quirks, like your inexplicably Japanese Spam.

I made delicious musubi out of you.

What I'm trying to say in so many words is that I love you and I want you to be mine. Let's take the next step and move in together. I'll sleep by the freezer on hot nights (I'll guard the ice cream).


Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: CVS Cold Cream Deep Cleanser

When it comes to beauty reviews, controversy abounds over the issue of comedogenicity (ingredients that cause clogged pores) and acnegenicity (ingredients that exacerbate existing acne).

Mineral oil and other petrolatum-based products have a notorious reputation for clogging pores. I've read reviews that sounded so terrible that I've long put mineral oil and petrolatum on my no-no list.

However, a 2005 lit review article in Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology titled "Is mineral oil comedogenic?" concluded that cosmetic grade mineral oil even at high doses was not comedogenic. 

Despite widespread hatred of mineral oil, it ends up in much of our beauty products: moisturizers (face and body), cream cleansers, cleansing oils, foundation, eyeshadow, blush etc. 

Being a skincare snob, I had actively avoided products. With this revelation, I wanted to see for myself the effects of mineral oil on my face.

I wanted to start with cold cream, which is chockful of mineral oil.  I had always been intrigued by those chubby jars of thick white cream with a rosy scent. I've read rave after rave about how cold cream was an amazing makeup remover that was not stripping to the skin.

Why the CVS brand? According to this post, Pond's had reformulated and I wanted to try the original formula. The knowledgeable gals of MakeupAlley say drugstores' generic brand uses the original formula. 
With this looong preface, so begins my review!

Finally using these babies a year after my haul!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Handwriting Tag!

Haha, better late than never, I suppose.

I actually did it before finals and am finally posting it now! Typical me.

Here it is, my first tag ever!

1. What is your name/blogger name?
2. What is your blog's name/URL?
3. Write,"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."
4. What's your favorite type of food?
5. What are some of your favorite makeup brands?
6. What are some of your nicknames?
7. What are some pictures you like to doodle?

Please forgive my terrible handwriting. This is actually what it looks like on a good day! :o

Feel free to figure out how to forge my checks with this tag. :P

And proof that beauty bloggers inspire more than just beauty lemmings.

Pan-fried buns with dipping sauce. Nom nom nom!

They also induce food cravings! Also thanks to Mimsy for the yummy inspiration. I filled the bun with chicken and mushrooms. Lol, they're turned upside down to showcase the crispy bottom goodness and to shield my first attempt at bun pleating from delicate human eyes! ;)

And I tag anyone who wants to do this. :D

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My First Foray into Peeling Gels: Reviews for Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peeling Gel and Ishizawa Lab Sweet & Sour Mangosteen Peeling Gel

I've been interested in peeling gels ever since I've heard that they're the gentler route to proper exfoliation. So far, I've tried two peeling gels, and I'll be giving my thoughts on them. 

Ingredients (Laneige): water, cellulose, dipropylene glycol, fragaria vesca strawberry fruit extract, butylene glycol, alcohol, glycerin, carbomer, triethanolamine, polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil, subtilisin, xanthan gum, yogurt powder, theobroma cacao cocoa extract, sucrose, polymethyl methacrylate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, styrene butadiene copolymer, stearyl alcohol, shellac, polyquaternium-6, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, PEG-75, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, silica, papain, actinidia chinensis kiwi fruit extract, alanine, arginine, atelocollagen, beta-glucan, calcium gluconate, calcium gluconate, citrulline, citrus medica limonum lemon fruit extract, copper gluconate, glutamic acid, glycogen, histidine hcll, lysine hcl, magnesium aspartate, magnesium gluconate, mannitol, musa sapientum banana fruit extract, PCA, pentaerythrithy tetraisostearate, serine, silica dimethyl silylate, sodiumchondroitin sulfate, solanum lycopersicum tomato fruit leaf stem extract, threonine, vitis vinifera grape fruit extract, zinc glucinate, methylparaben, chlorphenesin, disodium EDTA, red 33 (ci 17200), iron Oxides (ci 77489,77492), titanium oxide, fragrance.

Ingredients (Ishizawa Lab): water, glycerin, (acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer) crosspolymer, centrimonium chloride, hydrolyzed mangosteen fruit extract, hydrolyzed mango juice extract, hydrolyzed cherimoya fruit extract, lactic acid, agarikon extract, ascorbyl tetra-isopalmitate, retinol palmitate, butylene glycol, mannitol, cellulose, tocopheryl acetate, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, fragrance
Ingredient ♥ Ingredient :(

Experience: I first heard about peeling gels from Lulu and was immediately intrigued. Peeling gels are chemical exfoliators. You rub the product on dry skin until the product pills up along with your dead skin cells. This video explains it better.   

I use a scrub everyday. Judge me if you will, but the wallet-hemorrhaging, raved Clarisonic brush is basically a glorified exfoliator too. So there! :P Dead skin builds up on my face super fast, particularly the t-zone area. If I don't exfoliate regularly, I can look forward whiteheads popping up on my face. Yay!

Having tried these out, I can confirm that peeling gels perform a different function than physical scrubs. Even when I use a gritty scrub, I can never get my nose feeling completely smooth, but a peeling gel is great at targeting the small crevices between your nostril and cheek and between your eyes.

When I first used the Laneige peeling gel, I was awestruck by how soft and supple my skin felt. I couldn't stop running my fingers along my cheek. Unfortunately, that feeling disappears like a new car smell. But my nose area remains smooth, which is what I'm looking for.

In terms of performance, I'd say that they both smooth out my t-zone. However, I prefer Ishizawa's Mangosteen Peeling Gel.

  1. Gentleness: I found Ishizawa Lab to be completely non-irritating (but still spot test if you have sensitive skin). At first I thought it wasn't doing its job, because it felt like nothing on my skin. But my skin was still smooth, so it definitely is just as effective. Additionally, Laneige has alcohol in it, which I tend to avoid because I don't want to dehydrate my skin.
  2. Clean-up: Unfortunately, Laneige creates giganticular pea-sized pilled waste that clog my drains. It's way too messy to use at the sink, I have to use it in the shower, so I can make sure to wash out the flakes from my hair. In contrast, I found that Ishizawa Lab makes much finer pilled waste. No plumbing snake required for Ishizawa! 
I really like Ishizawa, but I'm definitely up for trying out other peeling gels to see what's out there.
Cost-effectiveness: They cost pretty much the same. I paid around $20 for Laneige peeling gel, not including shipping. I paid $19.99 for Ishizawa, not including tax.
Availability: I bought Laneige off eBay. But it's available on e-tailers like SaSa. For Bay Area beauties, try Hankook Supermarket in Sunnyvale. They have a Laneige counter near the entrance. I bought Ishizawa Lab from Mitsuwa.

Champagne and Beer Haul

A few days ago, I ventured out to Kiehl's for a pricey purchase. I have been trying to put off buying, because I thought it was way too much for the quantity. Though I'm cheap first and vain second, my paranoia over my aging undereye area sent me to seek out pricier solutions. 

I've been on the lookout for a high spf eye cream since forever. I'm all about high sun protection, I never leave the house without spf 70 slathered on my face. But I've been neglecting my eyes. Bad Angelica! 

If it helps, my excuse is that there doesn't seem  to be any versions in the drugstores. Nothing goes above spf 15. Revlon Age Defying concealer goes to spf 25, but I just want an eye cream. 

There doesn't seem to be too many options in high-end either. There's Shiseido's Sun Protection Eye Cream 32 PA+++, but at $32.50 daaamn! I'll go broke if I paid over $1 per spf point for my sun protection. There's also Lancome's Bienfait Multi-Vital Eye SPF 28 Sunscreen, but it's even more expensive ($38)! Clarins' Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 30 is slightly cheaper at $28. 
Kiehl's Ultra Moisturizing Eye Stick SPF 30 won out by being the cheapest ($20), which is what I ended up with. A solid sunscreen in a lipstick tube is definitely the most unique application of the options. 

But ick, $20 for 4g is still really pricey! I got a free sample of Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but it doesn't help. 

The next night I went to Grocery Outlet. Haha, a complete 180 right? And picked up these lovelies. 

St. Ives Warming Scrub $2.49
Petal Fresh Pomegranate & Raspberry Whitening Firming Anti Wrinkle Cream $1.99
Petal Fresh Avocado & Green Tea Whitening Detoxifying Facial Clay Masque $1.99
Garnier Nutritioniste Nutri-Pure Oil-free Detoxifying Cream Cleanser $2.99

I know that these products are incomparable to sunblock, which is an absolute necessity under the California sun. But look how much I saved! Plus for the remaining money of one eye cream, I was able to buy this. 

Yes, I'm mad serious about my fiber, in case you were wondering. 
I can afford to eat! This is why I love shopping thriftily.

Grocery Outlet + Moi = <3 

Do you mix high-end and bargains too? 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baack from NYC with a Haul (of course)

Lol, I started this post two days after I got back from New York and I'm finally finishing it up! Slacker much? :P

I'm excited to start blogging again, though I don't expect to post as frequently until after finals! Bah, I'll try to take it easier academically in the summer, which means more blogging!

Here's a collective haul pic. 

It's not complete, as I hauled a NYX felt-tip liner and a NYX concealer pen the day after. But it's mostly what's there.

Haul deets

From Wigs And Plus, I hauled the NYX sharpener so I can finally sharpen those fat NYX Jumbo Eye pencils. I expected more NYX products in NYC, since we're so deprived over here. Wigs And Plus' NYX selection isn't that good. Beauty 35 is better, though they don't have NYX's Mosaic powders, which Wigs And Plus carries. Plus, I later found out that Beauty 35 sold the sharpener for a dollar less. Shopping FAIL.  

I was most excited about getting my hands on some Ben Nye. I haven't had any success finding a good Ben Nye selection in SF stores. I didn't want to buy Ben Nye online, because of shipping fees and I wanted to try out testers. Some forums pointed me in the direction of Ricky's. I went to four or five Ricky's before I realized that their Ben Nye selection is extremely limited. I was looking specifically for Ben Nye's blushes and contour powders, which none of the Ricky's carried. I was about to give up when I saw this post. I saw the contour powder in the post's photo and I knew I had found it! 

Alcone is a professional makeup shop that basically carries full selection of many stage makeup lines like Ben Nye, Cinema Secrets, etc. Check their website for info on their inventory. It's a very small shop, but there are trays and trays of testers for everything! Customer service is a bit subdued since they cater mostly to makeup artists. But that just means no hard-selling and pressure to buy more than you want. :D In addition to Ben Nye's Contour #1 powder, I also picked up the Visage Poudre in Banana to try, Tao's HG finishing powder. I was walking back to the subway when I decided to check MakeUpAlley on my phone to see what else Alcone had to offer. Then promptly ran back to grab a few of their awesome sponges, haha.

If you live in the area or will be visiting, it's better to go to the storefront than to shop on Alcone's website. There seems to be a price jack going on online. I picked up the contour for $8, and it retail $10 on the website.

If it weren't for the extreme weather (I'm a climate-spoiled Bay Area brat!) and slightly scary pedestrian traffic, I could see myself living in New York. Why?

The drugstores, baby.

Many drugstores were open very late and even 24 hours, a rarity in the Bay Area. If I lived in New York, my bf would know where to find me if I was missing at 3 in the morning. At the drugstore! ;)

I really loved Duane Reade, a local drugstore. Though their sales are meh, their selection is incredible. There are Duane Reade drugstores that have a specialized beauty section called "Look Boutique." Look Boutiques carry more higher-end brands not found at the normal Duane Reade, they remind me of drugstores in Canada , which are also more upscale.

At one Look Boutique

I pissed my pants when I saw this. I had no idea that any store in the US carried GOSH. GOSH is a cosmetics company from Denmark that is popular for their 24/7 eyeliner dupe. Before i saw this, I thought I could only buy GOSH online or pester my bf to CP it in Canada. But no, lucky New Yorkers have access to GOSH's full line!

Some mo' photos

A Lush-like bodycare company called Me! Bath. They have testers.

Another brand I'm not familiar with, a makeup company called StudioMakeup.
The regular Duane Reade is pretty awesome too.

Some brands that intrigued me. 

DERMAbaria, a moisturizer brand I've never seen before

Raw Essentials, a natural skincare line
And Duane Reade carries Korres' sister brand Kings & Queens! I love their scents!

Duane Reade's sales seem to vary from location to location
Aaand my Duane Reade haul

I picked up the DERMAbaria cream to help soothe my wind-chapped skin. Man, my combo skin type was really not equipped for East Coast weather! I also picked up GOSH Velvet Touch Eye Liner in Bananas, because Arianne recommends it as an inner corner brightener. Thanks for the lemming, Arianne!

My absolute favorite part of my trip was actually leaving the island and visiting Flushing! Flushing is a mecca of authentic and cheap Chinese cuisine. Obviously, my bf and I gorged ourselves silly on dumplings, $1 soymilk and scallion pancakes, and shaved ice!

I also discovered it's the place to buy Asian cosmetics, particularly Chinese Skincare. The drugstores in Flushing have the best selection of Asian cosmetics that I have ever seen in person! It's kinda sad really, since most of imported Asian cosmetics pass through the ports of California. Where's the Bay Area's supply?! :P

I couldn't get a better photo, the streets are super crowded near the subway!

Right by the Main Street, Flushing station is a pharmacy called Tung Ren Tang. They sold My Scheming Beauty masks for $10, which is very close to Sasa's price. 

I picked up Liyanshijia's 24-K Active Golden Yulan Oil Facial Mask, 10 pieces for $10. It is a whitening mask. I heard about the brand from Jean. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it. I asked my aunts to pick this up for me in China, and they couldn't find it. How strange to find it in Flushing! So I had to buy it. :) However, my spirits were a bit dampened when I later discovered that the masks expired last year. Learn from me and remember to check the expiration dates on the products!

My favorite drugstore for Asian beauty in New York was Starside Drugs & Surgicals. It is a Chinese pharmacy chain based in Flushing with five locations. Selection varies from location to location, but the well-stocked ones carry Japanese brands like Ishizawa Lab and Dollywink, etc. All the locations carry the Hong Kong beauty brand O'slee and a mainland Chinese brand I wasn't too familiar with called Tongrentang. I also checked out a few Asian beauty boutiques in Flushing, but don't recommend them. The markup was ridiculous (sometimes 3 times more than its retail value in Asia!) and it seems like the boutiques simply purchased their stock from Sasa. Pharmacies seem to actually purchase from importers, so I often saw products I couldn't buy from Sasa.

My Starside haul

I picked up O'slee's Peeling Milkshake Cleanser, because of Birkie's rave and since it was no longer sold on Sasa. I picked up Tongrentang's cleansing cream that claims to fade pigmentation (for my mom's age spots). The manager helped me pick it out. There were five different kinds of Tongrentang cleansers, which I couldn't tell apart since it was written in Chinese, so he helped me translate. So nice! The blotting paper was a freebie, since I spent over $20.

And that concludes my haul! It's quite a bit for me. I didn't tally it up for my budget, because I definitely surpassed my $40 beauty limit! But whatev, I was on vacation (the perfect excuse). Any reviews you would like to see next? Let me know. Any shopping suggestions to add? What are you looking forward to this spring? Your thoughts!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...