Sunday, March 31, 2013

Interstate Driving

***Warning: this post may bore you ^.^

You already know hubby and I temporarily moved to San Francisco. We didn't actually "move" all our things. Rather, we just packed up our car with what we thought we'll need for a few months' stay and drove ourselves over. Now that I have a moment to take a breather, I thought I'd share some of the pictures we took along the way during our drive. We had specific goals for our rest stop by the end of each day: Salt Lake City by the first night, Reno by the second, then straight into San Francisco bay by the third. So these pictures were taken by me or hubby while the other was driving, because at no point could we stop for photos.

How do you like my fashionable interstate driving? xD Actually, the hat was to help with the sun, because sitting behind the wheels for hours will get you toasted to a crisp if you don't cover up properly.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cle de Peau Beaute Intensive Facial Contour Serum

Been using this 4mL 0.13oz. tube of Cle de Peau Beaute Intensive Facial Contour Serum for a month now after finally finished up the burnt-rubber smelling DDF Amplifying Elixir. This was a part of an older set of samples from E(vil)bay, which I bought solely for the cute little glass bottles the Gentle Nourishing Emulsion as well as the Gentle Balancing Lotion came in ^.^

This sample set (left) includes, from left to right, the Gentle Balancing Lotion 15mL/0.5fl oz., Gentle Cleansing Foam 10mL/0.38oz., this Intensive Facial Contour Serum 4mL/0.13oz., and Gentle Nourishing Emulsion 6mL/0.20fl oz.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream

After Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream, I've been using this 5mL/0.17oz. tube of Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream. It came with the Best of Shiseido Spring 2013 GWP, in which for purchases of 2 or more skincare products you get deluxe samples of a cleanser, softener, moisturizer and a targeted specialty treatment, all in a nice large pink zipper case.

This GWP came at a perfect time too since I had used up my 2nd travel size bottle of Lancome Bi-Facil and needed a new makeup remover. So I picked up the The Skincare Instant Eye and Lip Makeup Remover (using right now, will review soon), and while at it, the The Skincare Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam too. I wanted something to compare with the recent Cle de Peau Beaute Gentle Cleansing Foam (they're both from Shiseido!), and I've already used Pureness Deep Cleansing Foam (loooong time ago, and it'd be way too drying for me now) and Benefiance Creamy Cleansing Foam before ^.^ And in fact, there are 3 foaming cleansers from The Skincare line, a Purifying Cleansing Foam, which I've used before also when I was living in Japan in 2005 and it broke me out, a Gentle Cleansing Foam, and an Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam. Given how dry my skin is now, I went with the extra gentle one. Let's hope no adverse reaction with this one :X

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Caudalie Vinotherapie Crushed Cabernet Scrub

Traveling for the past few years, there are many items I inevitably forget about and/or left behind, because I either had limited space and could not bring all my favorite things with me or I didn't have access to them because they were packed away in storage. This mini 60g/2.1oz. Caudalie Vinotherapie Crushed Cabernet Scrub was one of them. I bought this way back in 2010 but thankfully the scrub is housed in an airtight container and remains fresh to this day!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Shield SPF40 PA+++

Had a few sample 1mL/0.03oz. sachets of L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Shield SPF40 PA+++, including one from the Brighten Up Collection I recently received as GWP. This product is a part of the recent Immortelle Brightening line, claiming to even out and brightens the skin tone while reducing wrinkles, promising to prevent dark spots via mineral physical sunblock, the 11.52% of Titanium Dioxide in its ingredients.

See below screencap for content details of the L'Occitane Brighten Up Collection.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Avon Moisture Therapy Vitamin Treatment Hand Cream

Just a quick review for this 125mL/4.2fl oz. tube of Avon Moisture Therapy Vitamin Treatment Hand Cream I had with me since Japan!

This is a straightforward hand cream and while it looks simple and boring, both hubby and I quite like it. It is decently thick and moisturizing but is not greasy at all. The moisturizing effect lasts for a good while too, although I will admit that it washes right off with water. I tend to put this on when I'm sitting down work and it keeps my hands nice and soft. It is scented with a generic hand cream fragrance, nothing special.

Given the fact that I paid $1.50 for it, I'd say it's a darn nice product to throw around in the living room ^.^ Too bad Avon discontinued it...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stila Make Me Blush Cheek Color

Hopping countries every few months, sometimes I get frustrated that my favorite things are scattered all around. Of course I can always ask my parents or my sister to send me my stuff, but I don't like bothering my them with my frivolity. And of course I can get more too, but I always stop myself with the thought, well, what are am I going to do with the ones I already have at home, especially when I'll be visiting in a few months?

Well, those few months turned into two years, and this Stila Make Me Blush Cheek Color is one of those favorite things that were left behind. It was a Valentines 2011 limited edition that arrived at my parents' after I had already returned to Japan, and here I am finally getting to it T.T

Stila Make Me Blush Cheek Color. All pictures taken in natural light without flash. I accidentally threw out the box prior to taking pictures of it. Sorry!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Glossy Tint Lip Sheen Part II

Having enjoyed Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Glossy Tint Lip Sheens, I chased down Sun Goddess and Blush Blush, the 2 colors that were unfortunately discontinued before to the line's packaging revamp.

Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Glossy Tint Lip Sheen Sun Goddess (top) and Blush Blush (bottom). All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Media Pressed Powder

I bought this Media Pressed Powder at the same time as the Bright Up Powders, and at the same specialty Japanese drugstore in the Zhongxiao Fuxing-Zhongxiao Dunhua underground market too. It was also very fine, soft, and smooth, yet even more affordable than the highlighters at US$6.67 (NT$200)! Why not, right? There were 2 colors available, Lucent and Natural Beige. I bought Lucent, because I dislike any coverage foundation.

Media Pressed Powder Lucent refill, again with case sold separately. The case is the same as that of the Bright Up Powders, which were about US$3 (NT$90) each. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Media Bright Up Powder

Among the favorites in my Taipei haul are these Media Bright Up Powder. They are available in 2 variations, 01 Clear and 02 Warm, and I bought both not being able to pick one over another. What, did you think I'd leave Taipei empty handed? Not a chance, especially when Watsons sells Japanese cosmetics at about 20-30% less than Japanese retail! I know, they're evil, aren't they? ...But these powders were actually *not* from Watsons ^.^'

While I was in Taipei, I noticed only a select few Watsons branches carry this Media brand, and even then, not all of them have these particular highlighters. The only Watsons I found my area that had these was the Shida Night Market branch. I actually bought mine at a specialty Japanese drugstore, one that sold only Japanese import cosmetics and skincare, although I don't remember what it was called. There were 2 of these identical stores, one on each end of the Zhongxiao Fuxing-Zhongxiao Dunhua underground market. Again, the funny thing was that only the store on the Zhongxiao Fuxing end carried this Media brand and the other did not. I also found some of my favorite Japanese candies there, like the Kishiri Crystals.

Media Bright Up Powder 01 Clear (left) and 02 Warm (right) refills, with compact cases (top) sold separately. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ichikami Moisture Shampoo

Ichikami revamped its haircare range late summer of 2012 and introduced 2 new lines of haircare, Moisture, and Soft and Smooth. This is the Moisture Set, with a full size Shampoo, Conditioner, and a smaller tube of hair Treatment. I bought this set on sale for $18.99 at the Ichiban Kan shop in Japantown, my favorite haunt in SF ^.^

I've only used the Shampoo so far and have one word for it - fantastic! I tried the old Shampoo a few years ago and thought it was great even though I had to get used to the scent, and this reformulation is definitely better. No, make it much, much, much better! Now, it's right up there with my old favorites like Super MildLux Super Rich Shine, and Tsubaki Shining Shampoo! In the beginning, I only planned to try this Moisture line. But then I like it so much I returned to Ichiban Kan the next day to get the other Soft and Smooth Set too! Sure, since they're too different shampoos it might not work out, but hell, this one is so good I'm more than happy to give the other one a chance!

Ichikami Moisture Set, with 530mL each of the Shampoo and Conditioner, and a 100g tube of the Treatment.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Favorite Mannan Gel Peeling

Can you believe it took me a year and a half to finish my bottle of Tabibijin Tea Peeling Gel?!? And I was using it liberally too, 3 pumps once a week for face, neck, and décolletage! Before I left Japan, I seriously thought about getting another bottle, but as I huffed and puffed through the last of it, I was actually glad I didn't buy more. Despite having thoroughly enjoyed using it, I was just as happy to finally be rid of it LOL!

This 5.1oz/145g bottle of My Favorite Mannan Gel Peeling was its replacement. I've been using 2-3 pumps of it weekly since January and have only gotten through, umm, may be a fifth. Argh. At this rate it's probably going to take me another one and half year!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Boscia Smoothing Facial Polish

After Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Face Polish, I was on the hunt for a similar exfoliator. So I used Boscia's Surprise Beauty Box Holiday 2012 promotion as an excuse to try this Smoothing Facial Polish.

Boscia's Surprise Beauty Box promotion, wherein you get 5 full size products with every order of $75 or more.

***Screencap from Boscia.

The purchased items are boxed at right, and I bought full sizes of, from right to left, this Smoothing Facial Polish, Balancing Facial Tonic, and Soothing Cleansing Cream. The GWP items are unboxed, at left and top, and I received duplicates of Balancing Facial Tonic and Soothing Cleansing Cream, Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil, Vital Daily Moisture SPF 15 (top left, gifted to my mum in law), and Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil

I'm about 2/3 of the way through this bottle of Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil so it's time for a review. It was actually a full size freebie from Boscia's Surprise Beauty Box Holiday 2012 promotion, wherein you get 5 full size products with every order of $75 or more. I told you they give generous freebies, yes? Of course these are probably old and soon-to-be-expired stuff they want to get rid off to make room for new stock, but many online retailers would still happily sell them at full retail. So I won't complain and will put them to good use ^.^

***Screencap from Boscia.

The purchased items are boxed at right, and I bought full sizes of, from right to left, Smoothing Facial Polish (currently using, will review next), Balancing Facial Tonic, and Soothing Cleansing Cream (also currently using, will review next). The GWP items are unboxed, at left and top, and I received duplicates of Balancing Facial Tonic and Soothing Cleansing Cream, this Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil, Vital Daily Moisture SPF 15 (top left), and Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Boscia Blotting Linens

The past year saw me venturing into 2 new brands, Jurlique and Boscia, and revisiting with 2 others, Stila and L'Occitane. The sample of Herbal Recovery Gel I used last winter sparked my curiosity for Jurlique, and the Boscia Jujube Salve Stick became my traveling all-purpose rescue from way back in 2009 until it was discontinued. Plus Boscia's parent company is FANCL (FANCL is preservative-free, and Boscia is preservative-free and botanically-derived, think Clarins), which I had known and used from 2007. L'Occitane has always been hit and miss so I lost interest for a while, and Stila was somewhere in between forgotten and left behind due to all the moving. So all that is to say there will be quite a few Boscia, L'Occitane, and Stila reviews coming up ^.^

First up is Boscia Blotting Linens. Somehow, just within half a year starting last fall I've racked up quite a supply of them, from freebies to kits and sales! Boscia's 2012 Black Friday Promotion came with full size Gold Peppermint (100 sheets), Boscia's Best Trial Kit came with a mini packet of Green Tea (25 sheets), and the full size Pink Peppermint was going for half price ($5!) on Sephora! So I ended up having some really nice stocking stuffers for the gals in my family ^.^

Monday, March 11, 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips Part II

Saw these limited edition Maybelline Baby Lips twin packs on Citrine's blog last October while I was in Taipei. We were going to do another swap since our last one was quite fun, but she couldn't find any more of these at her local drugstores - they were all sold out :( I ended up emailing their pictures to my sister, asking her to keep her eyes open, just in case they pop up somewhere. 

Sure enough, about a month later, she was at by a Walgreens in a different part of town and lo-and-behold, there they were on the display shelf. So she grabbed a couple of them for me ^.^ I already have 030 Peach Kiss so I gave the one in the twin pack to her. She hated it LOL! Her lips are darker than mine, so this color was not translucent enough to keep its shimmers from turning frosty and pale on her.

From left to right: 80 Pink Wink and 030 Peach Kiss, 70 Coral Crush and 50 Twinkle, and 05 Quenched. All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nivea Lip Care Balms Part II

Okay, I pretty much tried one each of about 2/3 of all Nivea Lip Care balms available out there. Talk about a lip balm fiend LOL! At home and the office, I always have a small basket/tray full of various lip balms like these. Whenever my lips feel dry, I'd reach in and grab one at random. I like the small element of surprise ^.^ If I were not in the mood for what I picked, I'd just toss it back and pick again.

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Glow August 2011

Last back-issue of 2011, hooray! This Glow August 2011 came with a Wedgwood tote in a cute flowery vine print on off white background.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Steady August 2011

Trying to get these out before they pickle any longer -.-' This Steady August 2011 issue came with a L'est Rose multi-purpose bag-in-bag tote, and I picked it for the pretty pink rose bouquet print on a baby blue gingham background. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Non-no August 2011

Long time no magazine posts! You thought I gave these up, didn't you? ^.^

While packing up my apartment in Japan, it wasn't just a few mooks I found under a layer of dust. There were a few magazines too from late summer 2011 I had totally forgotten about! So here's to better late than never, this is Non-no August 2011. It came with a Coach fan and handkerchief. These freebies made it a popular issue and it was sold out quickly. I was so lucky to get even one issue, and there I was letting it sit for more than a year! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dior Addict Extreme

I especially love it when freebie mini lipsticks are true miniatures of the full size, like this 1.4g/0.04oz. tube of Dior Addict Extreme in 536 Lucky from a Dior deluxe sample set Sephora gave out last year. I actually dislike the full size packaging - I find its outer square cap unsightly and bulky even if the inner twist up bullet is slim. And yet somehow, being shrunken to about half (or a third?) of its former self made it ridiculously adorable and I just couldn't pass it up! It's super travel friendly and is just the right amount I need anyway, as I could never finish a full size otherwise.

All pictures taken in natural light without flash.

The Dior deluxe sample set comes with a sheet of temporary tattoos,  this Dior Addict Extreme in 536 Lucky 1.4g/0.04oz., Capture Totale One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum 3mL, and DiorShow Maximizer Base Mascara Lash Primer. The Lash Primer quickly found a loving home with sis-in-law. I already voiced my take on mascaras and such, yes?

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