Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gift/Purchase Review: Sparkle Collagen Peptide Supplement

Back in mid 2014, I started thinking that I needed to think about adding collagen into my supplement routine because I was feeling that my skin looked like it needed some pepping up. One thing that really concerned me was that it's supposed to help with wrinkles and fine lines by restoring elasticity and plumping up your skin. I didn't want it looking like I had gained weight as a result of the "plumping up" of skin.

I remembered that Yu Ming of Beauty Box Online had sold a variety of different products and amongst them was collagen supplement powder drinks. I think that it was the Meiji ones that she had. When I looked online, I found that she didn't have this shop any more and I didn't investigate any further. I then found some collagen pills at the health store so I purchased those. It wasn't even a couple of weeks afterwards that I left for Japan and although I took all of my vitamins and supplements with me but never took any of them. 

Although it was a little bit of an impromptu arrangement, I was fortunate enough to do a meet up with Yu Ming and Lil' C while we were in Tokyo. It was awesome being able to meet them and I was blessed with lovely gifts. One of the items I received was a tub of Sparkle Collagen Peptide Supplement. It was then that I learned that Yu Ming and her husband developed and are marketing their own new line of collagen supplements and that they call it Sparkle.

It comes in a tub with enough product to last you for 30 days.



As of now, they only have it available in Orange flavor. It's a nice flavor, a little on the tart side but works great in water or even in orange juice. You just need to add one scoop, the scoop is included in the tub.



Do not make the mistake of accidentally mixing it in matcha latte. I was rushing around one morning and making a hot matcha latte and wanting to mix Sparkle into a glass of water. Unfortunately, it got put into the matcha latte and it did not taste good at all but I had to drink it all.

I started taking Sparkle on December 1st and within a couple of weeks I noticed some results. The benefits that I've noticed is that my skin looks really nice. It's hard to explain but it looks more lifted. I guess that it has plumped up but not to the point where I look like I gained weight, as I had first feared. My skin has the appearance of being well hydrated and smooth. 

The other thing that I noticed is that my hair started to grow back! For the last couple of years, it seems that my hair has been thinning a bit and I especially noticed that I didn't seem to have the baby hair growing along my forehead. I now have baby hair growing along my forehead again. I don't know about at the base of my neck since I can't see but it does seem that overall my hair is a little fuller than before I started taking Sparkle.

These results are what has happened for me. What has happened for me, will not necessarily happen for the next person.

Since I'll be traveling soon, I wanted to make sure that I pack Sparkle to take with me. I didn't want to bother with having to take a container and measure it out so I made my own  "to go" packets.



I used 2 inch by 2 inch (5.08 cm by 5.08 cm), 2 ml zip top bags to put the one scoop of Sparkle in. It fits just perfectly and makes for easy packing.

If you are interested in looking into this product, please visit  the Sparkle website. According to Yu Ming, they are still in the process of developing more exciting items so I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing what they will be. Let Sparkle help your inner beauty shine! (No I'm not affiliated, just a very happy customer.)

I don't like to throw things away that I feel are reusable so I came up with this idea on how to recycle the first tub that I emptied.


I cut a strip of washi paper and ran it through my Xyron Creative Station machine which had the laminate/permanent adhesive cartridge in it. I then put it where the original Sparkle label was. I am using it to hold the disposable eating utensils--wooden chopsticks, plastic forks and spoons. It's the perfect size!

This will probably be my last post for a while. The rest of this week and the next several weeks are crazy busy for me and I don't know if I will find any time to write any posts. The one really good thing is that part of the busyness is that I will be meeting up with several people whom I have met through blogging! So looking forward to it!

Until next time....

*Kat* 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Using My Stash July 2014 - January 2015

I had to look back through the blog to figure out when was the last time I did a "Using My Stash" post and it was for the month of June! It's no wonder that I felt like I had a lot of empty containers taking up space on the shelf.

Body and Hand Cleaners


I think that I must have used more items than these but didn't save the containers.

Haus of Gloi Zazz Whipped Soap. This was a really nice soap and the scent was very light and fresh, which I really liked. This was given to me by another beauty blogger, who has become a good friend.

L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Bath & Shower Gel. This is a mini-sized bottle that came in a gift set. It was okay. I wasn't totally wowed by it but it wasn't something that I really disliked either.

Nature Republic Hand & Nature Clean Hand Wash in Cherry Blossom. This was just okay too. The scent was pleasant too quite unlike The Face Shop's version. I definitely prefer the Japanese hand cleansers and Bath and Body Works.

Hair Items


Bumble and bumble Thickening Shampoo. At first I liked this shampoo but after using it for much longer, I decided that it wasn't doing much for me.

Tsubaki Shining Shampoo and Conditioner. These were sample packets and I really liked what it did for my hair. Unfortunately, my scalp seems to have a bit of an adverse reaction to Japanese hair products. I believe that the conditioners are okay, at least the Lux conditioner is okay but any other products seem to irritate my scalp--it itches and feels a little sore in those areas that itch. It doesn't progress any further than that so I'm not quite sure what the problem is as I don't believe it's an allergic reaction. It's pretty sad since I find that the Japanese hair products seem to work well for me.

Facial Cleansers


Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil. I really liked this cleansing oil and would have repurchased except that I have several others in my stash that I need to use before I will allow myself to repurchase it.

Rodan + Fields Reverse Deep Exfoliating Wash. I really should do a proper review on this line. I have been trying out this line for almost a year now and quite honestly am sitting on the fence.

Shiseido Pureness Refreshing Cleansing Sheets. This was a nice cleansing sheet but I honestly still prefer Neutrogena's cleansing wipes.

Sunscreen


Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk. Like most asian sunscreens, this is a milk formulation, which I really like. It was a good sunscreen to use everyday.

Noevir Raysela Face Protector. This is one of two of my favorite sunscreens. The other is Hada Labo. I usually have several back ups of Noevir and Hada Labo sunscreens in my stash

Skin Care Items


Kiehls Midnight Recovery Complex. I really enjoyed using this product but don't feel it's extremely necessary to have it as part of my skin care routine. Noevir 105 Herbal Enriched Moisturizer. I really like this skin care line and will repurchase it again but for now I have many other moisturizers to use up in my stash.

Rodan + Fields Reverse Intensive Brightening Toner, Dual Active Brightening Complex 3R and 3C. Again, I will have to do a review of this line.

Eye Products


DHC Concentrated Eye Cream. I really like this eye cream and have another one purchased already although I'm not using it yet. I am using another eye cream that I had in my stash.

DHC Revitalizing Moisture Strips. This is really nice to use especially when your eyes are tired.

Cosmetics


Maybelline Color Whisper in 75 Rose of Attraction. I really like this lipstick. I have been having trouble finding this particular color in stock here but I really do want to purchase another one.

Tony Moly 7 days Tatoo Eyebrow. I mentioned this in my 2014 Favorites post. It's my HG item.

Sephora Gold Glitter Eyeliner. I liked this but it dried up really quickly. It's too bad because I really wanted to use it this past Christmas.

Canmake Blush and Shading Powder. Although these are inexpensive cheek products, I really like them. I think that out of all the items that Canmake produces, the cheek products are of nice quality. I have several other Canmake blushes in my stash and the Shading Powder is one that I use everyday.

Coffret D'or Beauty Essence Pact, which is a powder foundation. I liked this a lot and have purchased and am currently using another one.

Maquillage Moisture Finish Powdery UV Pact, another powder foundation. I really liked this but have not been able to find it again.

Brush Cleansers

Sephora Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner. I use this to quick clean my brushes everyday. I really like it and just recently Sephora changed the formulation of this and it's even better!

Beauty Blender blendercleanser Solid. Many people were raving about this but I didn't care for it as much. It does clean your brush well but I found that it was used up very quickly so I felt it wasn't worth my money.

Whew! Seeing my used stash in the pictures, it doesn't look like as much products as I thought. I thought there was a whole lot since it took up a lot of space on my shelf. 

*Kat*

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2014 Favorites

I don't think that I've done a yearly favorites post before. I decided to base mine on products that I either purchased or received and used in 2014. There are many items that are a standard item in my routine and I've used them for years. I didn't want to include those. There really aren't too many especially since, as I mentioned before, 2014 ended up being a crazy year for me so I just didn't do much shopping other than to replace loved items. This also was a reason why I wasn't motiviated to blog--nothing new to talk about. 

So onto my favorites:

Tony Moly 7 Days Tatoo Eyebrow


You can read my review here. It has become a staple item that I can't live without. Although I'm debating (and have been for years but am scared) getting it permanently tattooed, I will probably still keep this in my stash to use.

K-Palette Real Lasting Eyeliner 24h WP


Although I have mentioned this eyeliner as being my HG before, I have always used the black eyeliner. At the beginning of the year, I decided that black was a bit harsh to use to line my lower lash line so I decided to purchase this in brown. It's not that easy to find it in brown but I managed to do so. I also purchased more while I was in Japan in November. What I found interesting was that I recently read a blog post by K of Cosmeddicted who wrote that she started using a brown eyeliner because she felt black was too harsh. 

RapidLash Eyelash Enhancing Serum


This was recommended by a friend who tried it and liked it. I'm so glad that she did. I found that it worked really well for me. While I don't think that my lashes got thicker, it did lengthen quite a bit and some bare spots did fill in. I know that I had taken pictures and had planned to do a blog post on it but never did. I will be using it again but have taken a break for a while. When I do start using a lash enhancing product again, I'l be using Latisse. It was given to me by Mai, who had won or received it from her doctor's office. She is very cautious with her eyes so she doesn't want to use it. I'm the lucky person who gets to.

Daiso Mascara


I just wrote about this mascara and you can read about it here. Even though I only started using it from the end of November, it has already become a favorite of mine. Mai loves it too.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre


This is used a lot by makeup artists as a primer. It can also be used as a moisturizer. I use it as a primer and really like it. I don't like primers that feel like it has a lot of silicone in it. It makes my face feel like it's itching, although there is no adverse reaction.

bareMinerals Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation


You can read my review here. I first reviewed it back in July and I'm still using the original bottle that I purchased. It is just about reaching the end so I bought a replacement. Sephora just released a similar type of foundation under their own brand. I tried it but it doesn't feel the same as the bareMinerals. 

Makana Academy Brand Blush


Back in October, Mai took me to Makana Academy to get a facial done for my birthday. After we were done, I was browsing in the lobby and found a shelf with various makeup that was being cleared out. I was told that they were in the process of moving so they wanted to lighten their load. It was very reasonably priced so I picked up this blush along with a some eyeshadow palettes. I must say that this is one of the best blushes that I have used in a long time. I had been reaching for it everyday until I needed to try another blush that was given to me.

Sparkle Collagen Peptide Supplement


I really need to do a blog post on this because I am duly impressed. When I went to Japan, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Yu Ming of Beauty-Box Online. I love her blog and when I had last looked, she had been selling a variety of different products from her online store. Apparently, she discontinued it but along with her husband, developed their own collagen supplement and named it Sparkle. She was so generous and gave me a tub to try. I will definitely do a blog post on it but just so you know, I am currently on my third tub. In the meantime, if this intrigues you, you can check out the Sparkle website here. No, I am not affiliated with them in any way. Just a satisfied customer and think of Yu Ming as a dear friend.

Did you discover anything new in 2014 that has become a favorite?

*Kat*

Monday, February 2, 2015

Purchase Review: Daiso Mascara, Volume Up Version

As I noted in my recent Japan Haul post, I purchased a bunch of mascara items from the 100 Yen Stores, both Seria and Daiso. It was recommended that I try it from someone who is currently living in the States but was born and raised in Japan. She told me it is her favorite mascara. Being that it costs only 100 yen (approximately $.80 November exchange rate), how could I not try it?

I was overwhelmed by the different manufacturers each store had and the different versions--there was lengthening, curling, volume, etc. I decided to just dive in and buy all the different ones. The one that I'm reviewing today is from Daiso., the Volume Up version but quite honestly, I have not noticed a difference between the different versions or the mascaras from the different stores.

Daiso Volume Up Mascara. It is supposed to add volume to your lashes to make them look fuller.


The English on the back of the packaging says that the uneven brush will coat each and every eyelash, creating extreme volume and and giving an impact look. (My own wording and interpretation because the Engrish was not up to par.)


Here is my eyelashes before mascara applicatlon.




I have typical asian lashes which are poker straight and difficult to curl and keep curled. I normally have to use a "drier" mascara because anything that is too wet and takes long to dry will uncurl my lashes if I spent the time curling them with an eyelash curler.

This next picture shows the mascara applied to one eye. In the picture it is the left side.


As you can see, my lashes have curled.

The next two pictures are of both eyelashes with the mascara on. The first picture is with my eyelids not fully folded so that you can see the mascara well for this review's purpose.



I only used the mascara and did not curl my lashes with an eyelash curler at all.

I am totally in love with this mascara! I am so impressed by what it does. It applies easily and it curls my lashes, which is pretty difficult to do. It lasts all day without flaking or transferring to the lower lid, creating a racoon look. This is also very important to me especially living in a humid climate. My lashes stay curled until I remove my makeup. The mascara is water resistant so while it doesn't run easily, it will wash off easily with warm water and facial cleanser, although I usually do use a makeup remover before washing my face.

Since I had purchased quite a bit of these, I gave a lot of them away to friends after I discovered how good it is. Mai, who has very sensitive eyes and can't stand when mascaras flake, has also been searching for a new mascara after the one that she loved has been discontinued--it was a L'Oreal or Maybelline brand. She also gives this mascara her seal of approval. She loves it too.

I'm so glad for the recommendation by my friend. More than it being extremely inexpensive, it is a mascara does all that I want it to do. The only con would be that we don't have a Daiso in our area. I will have to rely on friends who are traveling to Japan, or coming from Japan to pick some up for me. It also gives me incentive to have to travel to Japan again to do a Daiso haul.

Have you tried any mascaras from Daiso before? What are your thoughts if you have?

*Kat*


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hello and Japan Haul

Hello Blogsphere World! It's been such a long time! Happy 2015! I hope that this will be a good year for us all.

Last year was such a crazy year for me and I just couldn't keep up with everything that I needed to do. The hiatus from blogging had me rethink as to whether or not I wanted to continue. I have even been exploring the possibility of moving everything to another site. I think that I'm going to be lazy and not switch but we'll see. I've decided that I miss blogging--both reading and writing, that I've decided to continue but probably will not be extremely consistent and will only be able to do so as time allows. Does anyone really read and comment much out there anyway too? The main reason why I decided to continue on is mainly for me. I initially started out blogging as a way to keep Mai informed of products that I had been trying and using. It also became a log for my to keep track of items tried, used and liked. I have often referred back to a post that I've written to refresh my memory, especially with the "Using My Stash" posts and haul type of posts.

Starting off 2015 with a haul post. End of October and beginning of November was very hectic as I went to Las Vegas for 5 days, came home and 4 days later flew off to Japan. Never again will I do consecutive trips like that again. We spent part of our time in the Kanto region and the rest of the time in Tohoku region, mainly Koriyama, Aizu and Bandai. Since the Tohoku region is still in recovery mode, I decided to make most of my purchases in Tohoku region to help out businesses there. Not that I did a massive amount of purchasing to make any significant contribution but I figure that every little bit helps.

Amazon Purchase:

I had gone from store to store but couldn't find these products so we ended up ordering via Amazon JP. My son was wondering why he didn't think about it in the first place, especially since he purchases regularly from Amazon. They actually buy their Pampers that way instead of in store!


Hada-Labo UV Whitening Emulsion, SPF50+ PA+++. This sunscreen was once given to me as a gift by a lovely blogger and I've been in love with it ever since. Along with the Noevir sunscreen, it is my HG, go to sunscreen. The only problem is that I can't find it here in the States, nor is it easily available to purchase online.

K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow 24h Pen in Brown. This was also a very difficult product to find, in stores. The 2-way eyebrow was easily available not this one. I like to use this for touch ups.

Hand Soap Refill:


I love this hand soap and it's the one that I can't find locally either. I actually bought 5 of these but am currently using one. After I took the picture, I found another package. Any time I pack any type of liquid, gel or cream products, I always place it into a ziploc bag and seal it up with packing tape, just in case it pops and leaks. (It has happened.)

Various Cosmetic Purchases:

These were purchased from various stores that we visited, some of which I do not remember where. We were in and out of so many different stores, some drug store and some department stores.



Many items are loved items that I needed to restock up on.K-Palette eyeliners, Mezaik Stretch Fiber and Canmake Shading Powder are those type of items. Since I couldn't find the Hada Labo UV Whitening Emulsion, I purchased the Hada Labo UV Moist Emulsion to try. I liked the look of the Kose Visee Glossy Rich Eyes eyeshadow. I don't wear browns because it tends to make me look tired but I find that if I work with a pink-brown tone, it isn't so bad. I purchased the PK-2 palette. Also, not a cosmetic item but it ended up in the picture, is a pair of knee-length socks. It was quite chilly when we were there, in fact there was an unexpected, early blizzard and I thought that I would need more knee-length socks than I had brought.

Food:



This green tea pack is my favorite! The main reason is because you can use it to make either hot or cold tea. While you can do so with any tea, you usually have to first use hot water and then cool it down to make the cold tea but this one you can add it to cold water for instant cold tea! The packages that I bought you have to scoop the powder but you can also purchase packs with individual packets in it for easy, on-the-go cold tea. Just add it to cold bottled water, shake to mix it up and enjoy. Furuuche is a yogurt/pudding snack. Just mix it with milk and enjoy. I love Japanese snacks! I find that I like Japanese chocolates over Western ones because they are less sweet. Bake Cookie is a yummy cheesy, chocolate cookie. My daughter-in-law introduced me to the Ume Kuki Wakame snacks and it was instant YUM! It is a plum-flavored seaweed snack and I couldn't get enough of it.

Bargain Shopping:

100-Yen Shops, more commonly known as $1.00 shops are my kind of stores. (Although with the exchange rate, it was closer to $.80 at the time!) I have so much fun browsing in these stores and it's amazing at what you can find. While some items the quality is sub-par, a lot of them are quite exceptional.

Daiso is the name that I think of when I think of a 100-Yen Shop but the first one that we went to was called Seria. My daughter-in-law feels that it's way more oshare (fashionable) than Daiso. It was my first time there.


I bought quite a few things there and one item that is not in the picture is some mascaras. Since it seems that I'll be travelling more often, I decided to stock up on some travel containers. The little jars are so cute with the blingy jewel top. Since it was so inexpensive, I decided to try the hair clips and now I wish that I had bought more. I've been having trouble with the clips that I've been purchasing in the States for a few years now. Actually, even when I was young I had problems but maybe 10 years ago, I found some that worked well for me but those all broke or got lost. I have very fine, soft hair and the clips that I;ve been buying do not grip my hair. The ones that I purchased from Seria are awesome! They grip my hair! I'll need to go back there on my next trip and stock up.

Daiso was a store that we went to several times. 



I had heard that despite being inexpensive, the mascara is very good so I had to try it. There were actually so many different varieties that I didn't know which to choose so I bought a few. I also stocked up on my favorite brush cleanser--the Puff and Sponge cleanser, picked up more travel bottles, a scrunchie and some notepads.

Honestly, this was not all of my 100-Yen shop purchase. I believe that I spent over $200.00 but part of that was items that the husband picked up. At first he was like, "Another store?!" But then he ended up having so much fun too. He's really looking forward to going back. He actually picked up some dress socks and has been using them every week. Being only 100 yen, he was a little worried about how well it would hold up but he's not having any problems with them. Just like a $10.00 sock, he says.

I bought a lot more items which are not pictured but many of them were gifts that were already given away. Some were requested purchases from some friends and some I ate already. I wish that I had purchased more things but then I would have had a weight issue with our luggage. I think that I'm going to rethink purchasing the hand soap refills since it took up space and weight. One thing not pictured was boxes of curry mix. It was so inexpensive compared to here but that's going to be something that I won't be purchasing again since it is easily available here, just at a higher price. That will give me more space and weight to purchase other things.

*Kat*

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Purchase Review: bareMinerals Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation

How many people have tried and used bareMinerals Original foundation before? I was using and loving it up until about 8 years or so ago. I loved the powder formulation that was light on the skin and yet provided good coverage. I really felt like my skin could breathe and I liked the fact that it didn't feel like I had makeup on. The only real problem that I had with it was finding the right color for me. I ended up having to mix two different colors, which is pretty normal for me anyway. Then the inevitable happened, age and along with it, slightly drier skin which brought out some fine lines. I found that applying powder would make my skin appear drier than it was and being that the original foundation is a mineral powder, I couldn't make it work for me any more.

Fast forward to 2014...bareMinerals has come out with a new foundation! A liquid foundation which is said to be a tone-correcting mineral foundation AND a brightening serum all packaged into one formulation. I knew that it was something that I needed to try.






At first I was going to just get a sample to try at home because I had read mixed reviews on it but I ended up just purchasing it instead. When I got color matched by the SA in Sephora, I was a bit apprehensive at first because I initially thought that the fomulation felt very oily but then I realized that it wasn't oily but had a soft, silky feel to it. After application, it doesn't dry to a powdery finish and I felt that it's actually quite hydrating. I was also very impressed by the fact that the color match is just about perfect!

bareMinerals has a foundation brush that is to be used with this foundation but the SA at Sephora didn't use it to apply the foundation and he told me that any brush that will buff well will work. I have the Urban Decay foundation brush and he said that it would work very well.



Here I am bare faced. Not even my skin care has been applied yet.



Foundation applied to half of my face.



Finished FOTD. Thanks to the flash and SPF, I look quite a bit white.



For me, when I first finish my makeup, my face always looks a little whiter until after an hour or so. When it does settle in, the color match is just about perfect.  I have found that this foundation doesn't provide good full coverage so I need to conceal all of my larger dark spots as well as provide a little better coverage under my eyes. For this FOTD, I used Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer.



I will also use a foundation under my eyes instead of concealer and two that I've found work very well in providing good coverage are Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in #5 (thanks to a blogger who gave it to me) and DHC Q10 Base Makeup in Natural Ocher 02.



I always apply a shade slightly lighter than my foundation because I want under my eyes to be brighter.

I took this picture the day before these pictures here but this is after 8 hours of wear.



I had read some reviews say that it wasn't long lasting but it wears very well for me. I am totally loving this foundations. It's light enough to wear during the summer, and this summer has been rather hot and humid compared to the last couple of years. It covers well enough although I still do conceal, but then again, I always have to conceal the darker spots. I haven't had a foundation that I have liked this much in a long time. It's especially appealing because the color match is so good. 

The Sephora SA that helped me was really good. I have usually come across SA/MUAs that automatically reach for the yellow undertones because I am Asian. I used to be more pink toned but have recently discovered that my undertones have changed to be neutral. This SA totally understood that and I was matched with the color that I thought would match me. It's 08 Bare Beige, which is under the neutral tone category.

Has anyone else tried this foundation and what are your thoughts on it?

*Kat*

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brush Reform

I was using an inexpensive brush just to apply eyelid primer. I loved it so much that it became like this:


Since it was originally long haired, I got the brilliant idea of cutting it down to even out the hair. Using my ultra sharp craft scissors, I cut it.


I also shaped it the best I could to have slightly rounded ends. Tada!


I was really happy with the end result. However...

I didn't like the way it applied the eye shadow primer. I discovered that I like how the long-hair brushes are more flexible which makes it easier for me to apply the primer lightly. I then thought that I would use it to apply eye shadows as it is around the same size and shape of my beloved MAC eye shadow brush. It was then that I noticed the the ends of the brush are pokey. I guess in the process of making brushes, the ends are somehow cut so that it doesn't poke.

I ended up purchasing a new, inexpensive brush to apply eye shadow primer.


This was an interesting lesson learned--something that I wouldn't have done unless I was planning on dumping the brush anyway.

*Kat*