Monday, January 28, 2013

Blogger Meetup, Some Gift Goodies and NOTD

On the 8th of this month, it was a bittersweet day for us. Our son and his family were spending the holidays with us and they left in the morning to head back to Japan. It would have been totally sad and lonely except that another blogger friend and her hubby arrived on Oahu early that morning and would be spending only the day. I had planned to meet them after dropping the family off at the airport and we ate lunch, got a drink dessert, went sight seeing and ate more dessert before finally dropping them off where they ate dinner and the hubs and I went home to eat dinner. Did you notice that we did a lot of eating?!

It was an honor and pleasure to be able to meet up with Lulu of Lulu China Doll blog. Although she hasn't been blogging much lately, we have been keeping in touch with other regularly through twitter and instagram. We have done video chats before but never had the opportunity to meet in person. Lulu and her husband are both the nicest people around and we had a great time together.

I first picked them up and then we went to meet the hubs and went out to grab lunch together. It happened to be a very windy day with occasional rain spells so we decided to take them on a hike to Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail instead of Diamond Head. We thought that Makapu'u is less well known than Diamond Head and it's a really nice hike. The drive there is scenic and we noticed that the water was quite rough so we made a pit stop at Blow Hole, better known as Halona Blowhole. This attraction is a blowhole which is naturally formed lava tubes from volcanic eruptions years ago. These tubes run to the ocean in ideal conditions, when the waves come in, the ocean water is forced into the tube and water shoots out. Of course, the larger the wave, the larger the spray.

We were lucky to see some nice sprays being blown out.
We continued on to Makapu'u to do the hike. It was really windy and fortunately the wind was blowing inward. If it blew outward, there's a very slim chance that we could have been blown off the trail and down the cliff. The high winds also made it impossible to take really nice pictures with our hair blowing all over the place. With it being the start of whale season, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of some whales but there were too many white caps in the ocean.

Lulu met up with me bearing gifts. I had asked her to bring my favorite nori (seaweed) snack from Trader Joe's, which is wasabi flavored. She also included other goodies and one of the items was a really cute container. I had to hurry and take this picture because it's the last package of nori. I forgot to take pictures before I started to devour them.

Also in the goodie bag was a Butter London nail polish in a very beautiful shade with lots and lots of glittery sparkles! For those of you who don't know Lulu, she loves nail polish!

It's my first Butter London nail polish so I was very excited to receive it and try it out. I love the shade and glitters in it. Surprisingly, this nail polish wasn't so difficult to remove despite the glitter in it. Usually nail polish with glitter takes supreme effort to remove.

Thank you Lulu and Mr. Lulu for the gifts, but mostly for your gift of friendship. It was so awesome to meet up and it was perfect that it was on a day that would have been totally a downer. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with you both.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Drugstore Foundation Binge/Purchase Review

Right after I posted about wanting to make 2013 another "Use My Stash" year, I went out on a drugstore binge and purchased mainly foundations. I had mentioned in the blog in 2012 that I have been duly impressed by a variety of drugstore products and felt that the various drugstore lines have stepped up, making more quality products.

Foundation has been my color nemesis. I must have a really odd skin tone because I know that I definitely do not fall into the "typical" asian coloring of yellow/warm. I actually have more of a pink skin tone but not truly pink either. Neutral would seem like it would fit me the best and yet I do seem to have problems in that category as well. Whenever I wear something made for more yellow skin tones, I either turn into a very sallow coloring, turn orange or look like I'm wearing dirt. Whenever I wear something for pink tones, often it's way too pink or it makes me look a little too white. In actuality though, the pink tones seem to best suited since it definitely helps to brighten my face and not make me look sallow and sick. I have found that more neutral tones sometimes make me look ashy gray.

My go to foundations for 2012 were from the Bourjois line and Kate BB Cream gel. For both, the colors worked best with my skin tone--definitely not perfect but quite close. I also use a foundation from Clarins, which is great for drier weather.

Deciding to branch out, I first purchased Neutrogena Healthy Skin foundation. I was looking for something a little more moisturizing since the weather has gotten quite a bit cooler here. I first bought #60 Natural Beige but thought it was too light so I purchased #100 Natural Tan.

While I liked the formulation of the foundation, it just didn't work out. The foundations were nice and moisturizing, to the point where I would have to blot around my nose after 6 or 7 hours of wear, something that I haven't had to do in years. I didn't mind though. The worst thing about both of these colors is that they turned orange on me. I also didn't like that it didn't have a pump dispenser. The foundation is a bit runny so it was difficult to get a little bit of product out of the bottle as it just quickly poured out.

Next I tried out L'Oreal True Match Lumi, Healthy Luminous Makeup in C3 Creamy Natural.

I thought that the color looked like it would work out pretty good but at first it was way too light. The formulation was okay, a little less moisturizing than Healthy Skin but again after several hours of wearing it, it started to turn orange on me. I did like the pump dispenser.

I then thought that I would try something that I haven't tried in long time, powder foundation. I don't like matte finishes because it tends to make my skin look drier by bringing out fine lines. I noticed a new Bare Minerals foundation called READY Foundation. It's a powder but supposed to be hydrating. I first picked up a color that I used to use but found it was way too light. I then discovered that these foundations run light so you need to go with a darker color. I got color matched to Golden Tan.

I was quite skeptical and it turns out I was right. It's too dark and also turns me orange. I didn't use this long enough to form a proper opinion on the formulation. I'm hoping that I can return this to Sephora, although I've had it for a while.

By this point I had told myself that it was enough. I had spent close to what I would have spent on one good quality foundation and felt satisfied that I tried but didn't succeed and would stick with what I have been using. Then I spotted Wet N  Wild's new Coverall Cream Foundation. It was only $3.99 so I decided to do one last purchase.

I got it in 817 Light-Medium. It is supposed to provide sheer to medium coverage and isn't supposed to be heavy, chalky or dull. It has a semi-matte finish that is luminous. Here's the description on the back:

I couldn't get a good picture of the ingredients because of the curve of the tube. It's definitely not moisturizing like the other two foundations and I have to make sure to moisturize well before using it. I think that it would work better in the warmer months.

I was a bit worried that the color of it would be really pink on me. Here you can see how peachy pink it is compared to the other two.

Fortunately, it doesn't come out as pink as I thought it would. In fact, the color comes out to a very good match on me.

Here it is on half my face:

As you can see, it's slightly lighter than my normal skin tone.

Full face:

After more than 7 hours and no touching up:

As with all foundations, it does oxidize on me but very slightly and it oxidizes to a good color match for my skin tone! There is some SPF in it--SPF 15 so there is a slight whitish cast when taking flash photography, which makes it look lighter than my neck. Here I've taken a no-flash picture to show how well it matches my skin tone.

I'm very happy with this foundation and it's only $3.99! I have found it only at one store so I'm hoping that the other stores start stocking it. It has long-wearing power for me and it brightens my complexion as well as matches it quite nicely. I don't really have sensitive skin but so far, I haven't had any negative reactions to it. I have to admit that I'm only on my 2nd day of use.

I have done some other drugstore purchases but will save that for another post since this one has gotten to be much longer than anticipated.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Purchase Review: NeriumAD Age-Defying Night Cream

I was first asked to trial NeriumAD Age-Defying Night Cream back in September of last year. After doing some research on it, I was still quite a bit skeptical but the person dropped it off at my office. I was surprised that it was a full-sized bottle and didn't want to open it. I then found out that I was supposed to trial it for 10 days and since I had procrastinated doing so, felt badly and purchased it. 

I started using this product for about a week in early October but stopped for a couple of weeks when I went away on a trip. I then started up again towards the end of October and used it regularly for 6 weeks. Before I continue on with my thoughts, let me give you some information about it.

The nerium oleander plant is an evergreen shrub which is poisonous in all of its parts. Also known as oleander, it is probably the most poisonous of all garden plants that are commonly grown. With the plant being so poisonous, what is not commonly known is that this plant has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Extensive research was done to ensure the safely of this product. More than 10 years of scientific research and testing went into developing this product. A side note here...I find it interesting how many skin care products claim that at least 10 years of research and development went into creating their innovative and new beauty product.

The ingredient list:

What it's supposed to do and directions:


It is supposed to be an all-in-one product in that you don't need to apply anything else but this night cream, or at least that is what I was told. The directions do say to use 4 - 5 pumps but I found that to be way too much product and I ended up using 1 1/2 pumps. After applying it, you can feel your face tightening. If you've used those gel peel-off masks before, it's that kind of feeling. I had also heard and read many people complain about the scent of it so I was really worried. However, the scent didn't bother me. It reminds me of those straw beach mats. In the morning, it is recommended that you don't wash your face but reactivate NeriumAD by lightly wetting your face and neck. After it dries, you then continue on with your sunscreen, moisturizer and regular morning beauty routine. If using 4 - 5 pumps every night, the bottle will last you approximately a month and a half but since I have been using only 1 1/2 pumps, it will definitely last me a lot longer. The cost is approximately $125.00, including shipping, which is quite pricey. I did do some calculations and figured that I might be saving a little money by using only this product instead of a toner, serum, night moisturizer and eye cream. Result times vary but it's said that it works within a few days and some people have reported seeing results in as little as a week.

The results, did it work for me? Did it improve my fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and hyperpigmentation?

Before starting to use NeriumAD

After using it for several weeks
NOTE: My skin coloring didn't lighten--it's just different lighting.

What do you think?  I'm sorry to report that it didn't. I don't think that I really have much wrinkles to begin with, and my fine lines only show up when I use matte finish products so on that point, I can't really count it. As for skin texture, I think that it did help in that my skin does seem to appear to be smoother but nothing very noticeable. My main reason for wanting to use this was for hyperpigmentation and that hasn't helped to lighten my frreckles and dark spots at all. (I have to say that I think my skin is in pretty good shape, minus the freckles and dark spots for a person in early 50's.)  I also think that it's not as hydrating as I'd like because after using only NeriumAD every night for a month, my skin started looking a little dry so I stopped using it and switched to my other night beauty products. I have been going with the routine of using my regular night beauty products 4 times a week and NeriumAD three times a week, every other day.

It's a nice product to use as it's a one-step so it saves a bit of time at night. Will I repurchase it? Probably not. It didn't "wow" me and the price is a big factor. It is also not readily available at a store because it is sold by independant sales people, although I believe you can get it online.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 Year End Using My Stash

Happy New Year everyone! Did everyone have a good end to 2012? If you made New Year Resolutions at the beginning of 2012, did you fulfill them? How has the beginning of 2013 been? As for me, I had a really great holiday season since our whole immediate family was together. Now that they've all gone back, the house is a bit more quiet and I now finally have a little time to myself. While I normally don't make New Year Resolutions, I did at the beginning of 2012. One was to be using my stash instead of buying and a goal to hit pan on one of my NAKED palette colors. I did quite well on using my stash but alas, didn't hit pan on any colors in NAKED palette. 2013 is the Year of the Snake according to the Chinese calendar. I started off the year of the snake (although it's not official until February 10) by masking using Pure Smile Snake Venom mask.

I have to admit that creepy crawly things freak me out so it took a bit of doing to get me to use this mask. It really was nicely hydrating and I even felt hydrated the next morning when I woke up. I'm glad that I ended up gathering the courage to use it.

I realize that I'm a bit behind in my posts. Yes, I still needed to do this last post of Using My Stash 2012. The previous Using My Stash post was back at the beginning of October and things were actually moving quite slowly until towards mid December. That's when I started finishing up some things as well as did a clean up of older makeup.

Brush Cleansers 

I was using Wet Ones to do daily quick cleaning of my brushes but decided that this would be the final one that I would use on a regular basis. I've started using Sephora's Daily Makeup Brush Cleanser and I think that this might be more cost effective. I also use Daiso's Puff and Sponge Detergent to do a thorough cleaning. While I'd like to say that I'm really good and wash brushes on a weekly basis, it's probably more accurate to say that I do it every 2 - 3 weeks.

Makeup Remover Wipes

I normally don't post these as it's something that I use day in and day out and don't even think about posting it. However, I was given The Face Shop wipes, which were quite nice. I was also given E.L.F. wipes and was really surprised by how well it worked. Neutrogena is my all time favorite and has been for quite a few years now. It's rare that I run out of it as I usually always have a ton of back ups. I buy it from Costco so it comes with 3 packs per box.

Skin Care

 It's all from Noevir line this time, which has been a long time favorite brand of mine. I do delve into other brands but Noevir is pretty much a staple. Used up is full-sized bottle of moisturizer, full-sized jar of extra moisture cream and mini of moisturizer.


L'Oreal Voluminous False Lashes mascara has been a favorite of mine and that tube is now dried up. The little tube is so small that I can't read the label! (I think it was perhaps Clinique or Lancome.) It was a lower lash mascara that I reviewed way earlier. It's without the top because I liked the little wand so much so I washed it to use with other mascaras for my lower lash line. This mascara was just okay. I think that it was a bit pricey for the amount of mascara that you got but I loved the concept of it.


I surprised myself by actually using up some lip products. I don't especially care for MAC lip glosses because they are sticky so don't think I'll repurchase any. The lip butter in Berry Smoothie and Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Aventure were my everyday go to lipsticks. I believe that Aventure was a LE item but I do have another Berry Smoothie, which I'm currently using. The 2 MAC lipsticks were so old that I decided to just clear it out. 


 Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo was a really great shampoo. It's actually my 2nd bottle. I haven't repurchased yet because I need to use up more of the shampoos that are currently in my stash. Naive Aloe Body Wash is pretty much a staple in my house. I pretty much like Naive products.

Sue Devitt Bermuda Triangle Concealer is my favorite concealer. The one pictured is the 2nd tube that I've used and am currently using a 3rd tube. The MAC brush is so old that it's starting to shed so it's time to retire it. The little arrow-looking thing at the bottom of the picture is my eyebrow pencil refill. It's by Noevir and I've been using it for quite some time now and have repurchased.

For 2013, I've decided to continue on with using my stash. I'm quite proud to say that in 2012, I applied this concept to not just my beauty products but with things around the house. My mother-in-law was living with us for many years but is now living with her daughter because our house has too many stairs that she can't negotiate any more. My mother-in-law had so many things stacked up that I had no idea they were there. I've almost used up all of the foil rolls but still have lots of wax paper, plastic wrap and ziploc bags. Then there's the cleaning supplies! 

I will admit that I've already done some purchasing this month of things that I didn't necessarily need but I think that I was pretty good last year so it's nice to reward yourself. 

Have you made New Year Resolutions? If so, please share them with me.


Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Beauty Products All Stars

My son and his family went out for a bit and asked me if I wanted to go with them. I told them that I had so many things to do at home and if they didn't need me there to help care for the baby, that I'd rather stay home. Finally some peace and quiet and "me" time! I decided to take some time to rush and get this post done as I've been wanting to do it for a while now.

This is my 2012 All Stars, mostly new products that I tried out last year and really like. As most of you know, I was basically on "use my stash" mode and didn't do a whole lot of purchasing. I was fortunate to have received most of these as gifts from blogger friends, who are so generous and sweet.

Facial Cleansers

I have really liked the Naive line of facial cleansers, having mainly used the Aloe one but have fallen in love with these Naive Rich & Moist Facial Cleansing Foams.

They are not foams per se as they come out of the tube as a cream but foam up really nicely. I have only used the orange tube one but the pink tube is supposed to be the same except it came out for the fall/winter season. (I think.) My review is here.

Skin Care

I received a mini set of DHC Medicated Q skin care set.

I loved it so much that I asked a friend to pick up the regular-sized set for me. I had to ask K to CP the gel for me because my son couldn't locate it in any of the DHC shops that he went to in Fukushima. I also bought the eye cream here but unfortunately it's not the medicated line. The medicated line has a higher percentage of Q10 in it. My review on this line is here.

Base Makeup

I have been reaching for these two foundations almost exclusively since I've received them as gifts. 

Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation and Kate BB Gel Cream. Both of these start off slightly lighter than my skin tone but do oxidize enough that it gets pretty close to matching. What I especially like about Kate BB Gel Cream is that it doesn't turn into an ashy, grayish color on me like most BB creams do. Both are hydrating for me and don't seem to settle in and bring out the fine lines. Here are my reviews for Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation and Kate BB Gel Cream.

I've also included under Base Makeup a concealer that I'm enjoying using. While my HG concealer is Sue Devitt Bermuda Triangle, I've been reaching for Art Collection Pencil Concealer from Daiso.

While I found that it didn't conceal my dark spots very well, I've been using it to conceal those hidden shadows. I often will look at various makeup companies and will watch some of their informational tutorial videos on their site. I can't remember where I saw this tip but it was said to use some concealer at the outer corners of your eyes to lighten and lift that area. Another area was the outer corner of your lips for the same reason. The other area is around your nose where your nostrils are. I have found that using this pencil concealer is really convenient for using in those areas. The smaller tip is used for outer eyes and lips and the larger tip for around the nostrils. It works perfectly in lightening those areas. My review is here but admittedly it's not a very indepth review.

Eye Shadow and Eyeliner

There are actually several lines of eyeshadows that I have developed a love for.

First off is Urban Decay's Vice Palette. I really debated whether or not to buy this palette as I have several other palettes from Urban Decay. I'm so glad that I caved and bought it because it is the most reached for Urban Decay palette. I find most of the the colors are ones that I would use and love. I have not done a review on this palette.

Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill eyeshadows were all the rage a year or so ago amongst the beauty bloggers. I was curious but not curious enough at that time. When I was in Las Vegas at the outlet mall, I found it available in 3 different shades, which were colors that I would use so I decided to pick them up. I am so glad that I did because I love them. My review is here. I also picked up a 4th color from a blog sale.

L'Oreal Infallibles is like Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill eyeshadows. They are nicely pigments and easy to apply. I've been fortunate that non US bloggers have sent me some of their exclusive colors and I'm finding that I reach for those colors more.  This is my original review although I have done several other Infallibles posts.

K-Palette Real Lasting Eyeliner has been my HG eyeliner for quite a few years now since I discovered it. It's always been available in only black but recently a Deep Brown came out and I asked my son to bring it home for me when he came for the holidays. I am not a "brown" person in that I don't tend to wear brown clothing or makeup as I find that it tends to wash me out but I was really curious and wanting to create a more subtle eye look. My review is here. Having said that I'm not a "brown" person, I have to admit that during the course of 2012, I discovered some brown eyeshadows that I can wear without it making me look washed out or tired. I think that if I stick with pink browns it'll work on me. I'll put it to the test in 2013 by trying to find a pink brown palette that appeals to me, buy it and test it out.

Cheek Products

Three cheek products have made my All Star list.

Tarte Amazonian Clay blush. I like the formulation and I like that it's almost matte. I'm finding that recently I've been into more matte products. I think that matte is actually good to use during the summer months while those with a bit of shimmer is better to use during the gloomy winter months.  Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush is so pretty and...well, sheer! You can't over apply it and get clown cheeks. I think that it's also nice to use over a darker blush to tone the darker blush down. I also just received Chanel Notorious in my Secret Santa gift. It's an interesting gray color to be used for contouring, unlike the usual brown or bronze tones. I haven't reviewed any of these products.

Lip Products

Another three products have made this list. Interesting, 2 are lip crayons and one is a lip gloss. I have not reviewed any of these lip products.

Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Love Child. I love this color more than anything else. I haven't been able to find anything that's a dupe for it. If any of you know of a dupe, please let me know--it can be in lip crayon or lip stick formats.

Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster. I love the formulation of these and want to get more in different colors. I find them to be nicely pigmented but on a slightly sheerer side and moisturizing.

I am not a lip gloss person. I can't stand that most of the lip glosses that I have tried and used are sticky. When the wind blows, my hair gets stuck to my lips, thus I stopped wearing lip gloss. With that said, I have to retract it a bit and say that I love Laura Mercier Lip Glace. It was in a lip set that was given to me (thanks Macnunu)and one of the lipsticks that I had applied from the set was a tad dark for my liking so I decided to tone it down with the Lip Glace. I was so surprised by how unsticky it is. It just has a nice slick feel to it and seems to nicely moisturize my lips. I'm going to have to find more colors that I like.


Two items here and both from L'Oreal!

Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara has been great for me for if and when I use mascara. My review is here.

Lash Serum. I am geniunely surprised by this drugstore product! It has worked very well for me. My initial review is here. There are some follow up posts after that and I will probably do one last post in the new couple of weeks.

That's it for 2012. I'm sure that as some time goes on, I will discover that I missed some items but as I mentioned, I had to do this quickly, although it has taken me way longer than anticipated.

I hope that 2012 was a good one for you and that 2013 will be an even better year for us all.