Thursday, January 19, 2017

Afternoon Tea at The Lounge, Aman Tokyo, Part II

Back in July, our Tokyo afternoon tea club was taken breathless with the space and the atmosphere at The Lounge on the 33rd floor of the Aman Hotel Tokyo. So despite the chocolate overload in the afternoon tea service, we voted to come back for a second time in mid September for a last hoorah, just one more tea session before we all part ways and return home after a year in the capital of Japan. We figured it's been two months and their menu has probably changed, so it won't be the same death by chocolate as with the July session.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Suqqu Extra Glow Lipstick

Before trying both Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick Moist and the Extra Glow Lipstick, I was pretty sure I'd prefer the latter. After all, the whole line's all about shimmer-free, bright, and cheery colors, versus the mostly neutral, muted, and my-lips-but-betters from the Creamy Glow Moists typical of most Japanese lipsticks. So I picked up two Extra Glows to try, 05 冴杏 (Saeanzu) and 10 映華 (Haebana).

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick Moist

Between Suqqu Creamy Glow and Creamy Glow Lipstick Moist, I'm squarely in the latter camp. That isn't to say I don't like the Creamy Glows, I just tend to reach for sheerer lip colors. Either way, I'm glad they're both within reach for me through the UK.

Over the holidays, I picked up two Creamy Glow Moists to try, 13 茜薔薇 (Akanebara) from the permanent lineup and EX-19 艳茜 (Tsuyaakane) aka Crimson Red, a UK exclusive from the winter 2015 releases.

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto, Nagano, Part II

Continuing on with our tour of Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto, Nagano.

Lining up to go to the 4th floor. Quite a view, huh?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto, Nagano

C., A., hubby, and I got off the bus at Matsumoto Station at around 2pm. All of us were still stuffed from the big ryokan breakfast and decided to skip lunch. Instead, we helped C. and A. stash their luggage in a coin locker (love traveling in Japan for things like this!) and sort out their shinkansen tickets to the next destination.

They were heading on to Kanazawa, a recommendation I'd made based on how much A. loves zen gardens and Japanese gardens in general. After all, Kenroku-en of Kanazawa is one of three most famous gardens in all of Japan. In fact, if time permits I'd like to do a blast-from-the-past series and post about my Japan travels as a JET way back in 2005-2006. With all of its ups and downs, that single year changed my life and kept me (and hubby!) going back to Japan again and again.

Anyway, it was about 2:30pm when we were pondering what to do with the rest of our afternoon. I proposed Matsumoto Castle, which had been pretty high on my to-see list. Matsumoto along with Himeji and Kumamoto Castles are three of Japan's most famous castles (yes, they love top 3's rankings over there).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Katsuragi no Sato, Takayama, Gifu, Part III

Last installment of Katsuragi no Sato in Takayama, Gifu.

After the lovely breakfast, we had a little bit of time to visit each other's room before checking out. Here's C. and A.'s room. They were trying to take a photo of me and hubby but kept making us laugh our heads off ^.^

Friday, January 13, 2017

Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick

After all these years of reading about the Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick, at long last I got my hands on a couple of them. These are supposed to be extremely pigmented, full coverage lipstick, far from what I reach for everyday, but I guess I'm sufficiently curious ^.^ They've also been discontinued in Japan and are available only in the UK, but I suppose the exchange rates are making it slightly less painful for me to indulge my curiosity.

So I picked up EX-01 冴薔薇 (Saebara), a UK exclusive for the holidays 2016 collection. That said, I've also read that these particular LE's have a markedly different formula than the regular Creamy Glow lineup, so I needed another to compare (excuses, excuses ^.^"). Incredibly, I stumbled upon 18 唐紅花 (Karakurenai), probably the most sought after color in this line, and was able to snatch it up for a great price comparable to the UK retail. Scored!

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Suqqu Blend Color Eyeshadow Part IV

Yesterday, I saw the newsflash via fudejapan that Suqqu Blend Color Eyeshadows will be discontinued by next Friday, January 20, to make room for the brand new Designing Color Eye quads, which, by the way, will retail at 6,800yen, same price as the outgoing Blend Colors, ouch!

So I'm going to jump the queue a bit to review my newest, and probably last, Blend Color acquisitions: 15 蜜茶 (Mitsucha), 16 花菖蒲 (Hanashoubu), and 17 蓬色 (Yomogiiro).

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Suqqu Bright Up Lipstick

Since swatching the Suqqu Bright Up Lipstick 08 澄橙 (Sumidaidai) and 09 薊映 (Azamibae) at the Mitsukoshi Ginza, I can't say I haven't been tempted. Gals and guys haven't stopped talking about Suqqu and of course I'm curious.

But the steep price tag was keeping me away. I did indulge in an eye shadow palette here and there but have managed to refrain from all the lipsticks. A 3,000yen Lunasol or Maquillage lipstick was already quite expensive for me. I adore Coffret D'Or Premium Stay Rouge, and it's cheaper than both Lunasol and Maquillage at 2,500yen a piece. I doubt Suqqu can really double Coffret D'Or's performance to be commensurate with the roughly doubled price. I truly believe that after a certain price point, I'm paying for the packaging and not the formula. 

Then hubby and I moved home from Tokyo. All the mid-range drugstore brands like Coffret D'Or and Maquillage are now out of reach, that is, unless I pay the crazy markup that would toss them right up there with all the department store brands! Nope. No way. No, thanks. Don't think so.

The irony is with Suqqu, available outside of Japan via Suqqu UK. Thanks to Brexit, the dollar is gaining steadily on the pound. Consider these retails taken from Selfridges UK, subtracting VAT for international orders:
- Blend Color Eyeshadow: GBP37.70 (~$46.50) vs. 6,800yen before tax (~$58). A Lunasol palette is 5,000yen (~$42.75).
- Eye Color Palette: GBP29.37 (~$36) vs. 4,800yen (~$41).
- Creamy Glow/Bright Up Lipstick: GBP22.62 (~$27.75) vs. 5,000yen (~$42.75). A Lunasol lipstick is 3,000yen (~$25.75).
- Extra Glow Lipstick: GBP19.44 (~$24) vs. 4,000yen (~$34.25).

Holy hell, folks, Suqqu's officially more affordable than Lunasol! Guess what, time to sample myself some Suqqu, and I'll start with the Bright Up Lipstick 09 薊映 (Azamibae).

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tokyo Eats - Roppongi area Part VI

My god, how many food photos did I take?!? I finally made it to the first week of August in the photo backlog, and it filled up yet another Tokyo Eats - Roppongi area post! I guess it was because hubby worked there, and so I went there everyday to meet with him for lunch. That was how I ended up with lots and lots of photos of mostly food ^.^"

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