Tuesday, January 29, 2013

China Glaze Kinetic Candy

I don't typically buy a lot of China Glaze polishes (mainly because I don't find myself at Sallys often), but once in a while I am really pleased with China Glaze. Today's polish is such an example:

I received this polish in a recent swap, and I am quite happywith it, even though it's not terribly exciting-looking in the bottle.

China Glaze Kinetic Candy - 2 coats. This has a surprisingly nice formula for this type of colour. It reminds me a bit of OPI What's with the Cattitude?, but maybe a little dustier (less bright) and a tad darker... and with an immensely better formula. I purged the OPI ages ago. I think this shade of blue works well with my warm skintone :D



If I were the type to do nail art, I think white dots or snowflakes would look awesome over this polish.

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Tuesday night is guilty pleasure TV night: Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game on ABC Family. This episode of PLL is full of hard to believe twists and turns D:

I'm fully entertained :D

Friday, January 25, 2013

Indie: HARE Holiday Hoop-la

I ordered this from Nikole right before Christmas, but it arrived after I had left for Canada, so I didn't get to try it out until after the holidays. Even though it is a Christmassy polish, I think the colour palate transfers well to Valentine's Day.

I think this is super cute and I'm glad to have pulled the trigger on it! It is limited edition, but it is still available at Llarowe, so grab it ASAP if you want it! It might also be available at Nikole's Etsy shop, but currently it seems to be unstocked.

HARE Holiday Hoop-la (1 coat) over Essie Marshmallow


Monday, January 14, 2013

Indie: Smitten Polish mini-spam (a few from "Smitten with the Holidays" collection)

I purchased these in early December, and swatched them just before I left for Canada. I think I wanted to post these swatches a couple times before, but Noelie was also away for the holidays, so I decided to wait until she got back to post these pics! Her Etsy shop is open again (actually, it must have been open for a while, and I just forgot to check again), so you can grab these if you're interested in them!

Smitten Polish Frost Fairies (3 coats) - Very good formula for a white jelly, but I apply whites very carefully :)




Smitten Polish Frost Fairies (1 coat) over Essie Marshmallow (2 coats)




Smitten Polish Winter is Coming (3 coats) - Excellent formula. I think this looks even nicer in person! Plus GAME OF THRONES! 3.31.13!!!! That seems far away :(




Smitten Polish Greensleeves (3 coats) - This is pretty opaque at 2 coats, but I did 3 for the pictures. It dries on the satin side, so definitely looks better with topcoat. Reminds me of a more complex Zoya Ivanka.




Comparison: Smitten Polish Greensleeves (3 coats) and Ivanka (3 coats) - The big flakes in the Smitten give it an overall bluer appearance, but the base seems very similar between the two. Smitten's formula wins, in my opinion.


Smitten Polish A Midnight Clear (3 coats) - Similar to Greensleeves, this one dries to a satin-like finish, so use topcoat to bring out the best in this one. Very pretty.




Comparison: Smitten Polish A Midnight Clear (3 coats) and Zoya Song (1 coat) - These look very close in the bottle, but on the nail they are rather different. The Zoya is darker and does not catch as much light as Smitten.


Hope your 2013 is going well! I've been doing some spring cleaning around the apartment. This morning, I made a post on our apartment's e-bulletin board giving away our old vacuum and steam mop (having been replaced by the Dyson in my previous post, and a new Bissell I purchased from Amazon). I got two responses in about 5 mins of posting. The second person was SO BUMMED that he had missed out. I've never seen someone so distraught over not getting a steam mop before ("my 1st major letdown of the new year"). So, I hope your new year is going better than his, at least!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(Non-Nails) 2012 Favourites - huge picture post

This is going to be a very long post with lots of pictures! My favourite things from 2012!!

Beauty
1. YSL Glossy Stains (5, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15 pictured)

  • 12 and 15 got the most use through 2012, but I really adore 5 as well, which I got late in the year.
2. Brushes: Hakuhodo K005, Shu Uemura 5R, Shu Uemura 10N, Hakuhodo K020

  • Absolutely love these brushes.
  • The K005 is brilliant for lining close to the lash line and on the lower lash line.
  • The two Shu brushes are so versatile and just plain excellent (though I wish the handles were shorter!).
  • K020 is my favourite blush brush - it is so flipping soft and perfect for applying pigmented blushes (i.e., the majority of blushes I own. I wish I had this blush when I still owned from R&R blushes!)
3. Indie nail polish

  • This year was incredible for indie polish! These are my favourite indies from the year. Swatches are here.
4. NARS Tinted Moisturizer (in Alaska) and 5. DHC Cleansing Oil (LE packaging)

  • NARS TM is the first base makeup product I've ever liked. It blends in super easily, feels lightweight on the skin, and has a subtle, but pleasant citrus smell. It also applies well with fingers!
  • I picked up the DHC oil in Tokyo in April, when I saw the cute packaging. I really like the product as well, but I'm ready to explore other oils :) I will definitely be reusing the bottle, though!
6. K-Palette brow pen, 7. Dollywink-style eyeliners, 8. Holika Holika Wonder liner

  • The K-palette brow pen is my HG brow product. The colour is "greyish brown" and is perfect for my black, sparse brows. I first purchased it in Tokyo, but have ordered it online from BeautyCarousel
  • I used to hate liquid liner until I tried the brush-tipped eyeliners such as Dollywink. I also like the Physician's Formula 2 in 1 EyeBooster, and the Creer Beauty Rose de Versailles one (that one comes off in the shower with hot water, which is nice!)
  • The Holika Holika liner is one of those 3 dot eyeliners (Clarins and Too Faced both have one), but this one was only around $10 shipped from Ebay. I always tightline and this makes it very easy. It's not for everyone, though, but I find it super handy!
9. Inglot shadows
My first Inglot haul for my birthday in May:

  • My current favourites: UD Naked and Buck from Naked 1 Palette, Inglot M327, M329, P423, P402, P419, P407, P397, P399


10. Shu Uemura Orange Pistachio palette


  • I pined after this for months, and even saw it in person on a trip to Canada to be sure. I came back to the States and ordered it when a 20% off code became available. The palette is super adorable, and I love the taupe-brown shade the most. My only gripe is that the pans are not magnetic, so I cannot slap them into my Unii palette.

11. Paul & Joe makeup bag


  • I purchased this from the Urban Outfitters website. I absolutely adore a) cats and b) the organizational pockets inside. SO HANDY DANDY! It looks like it's still available online, here. Make sure to check retailmenot for %off codes, too. I think I got mine 10 or 15% off.
12. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

  • Sorry for the shoddy photo! This was my go-to sunscreen. I am thrilled with it because it absorbs quickly, does not feel sticky, and smells LOVELY. I absolutely hate the smell of sunscreen, and this one has a light citrusy scent. I know it's not perfect, in terms of UV range covered or chemical vs physical, but since I actually look forward to putting this on, I figure it has got to be better than not wearing any sunscreen.
  • Purchased from adambeauty
13. MUFE freestyle palette

  • Went into the city to pick up these magnetic palettes after my Inglot haul (the cat sticker was my addition)! They are huge, but not bulky, and have a very strong magnetic sheet inside. They were $10 a piece (now they are $11, I think) and I love how much they can store - these are all Inglots:

  •  The only downside is that they dent and scratch very easily, but it doesn't really bother me.
Apparel and Accessories
1. Amaranthine Headband

  • I am usually anti-hair accessory; mainly out of laziness. I decided to try this headband on a whim, and am happy to report that I a) love how it looks and b) it does not cause me to get a headache. I purchased it on sale for around $20, but would probably pay full price for it again... but don't tell my mom. I routinely tell my mom that I buy things for 50-60% of what I actually paid. She has delicate sensibilities when it comes to these things. Also, she is your classic 'Asian Mom'. Yes Mom, I got it for... $10. "That's expensive. You can find that for $1 in the street markets in China."
  • Purchased from Anthropologie (OOS)
2. Daughters of the Liberation Rain-Dotted Anorak

  • I saw this jacket in stores early last year and wanted to get it, but a lady nabbed the last one in my size. I ended up order it online when a free ship code became available. I absolutely love how it looks. The only bummer is that it is unlined - which I feel is a travesty. Jackets should be lined, okay? It provides very little warmth. A strong breeze will chill me to the bone. But it's water resistant-ish. And so cute. I love that the dots are irregular and not perfect circles.
  • Purchased from Anthropologie (OOS)
3. Bagatelle Buttondown in Blue Motif

  • I loved this shirt when I saw it on the rack at Anthropologie, but waited for a 20% off sale (Black Friday) to purchase. I'm so happy with it. It is machine washable, and the print is so adorable. I even wear it to work. I am no longer afraid of becoming 'that lady with the weird shirts'.
  • Purchased from Anthropologie
4. Leggings (no picture)
  • I jumped on the legging bandwagon in 2012, and am much happier for it. So comfy and easy! If you catch me wearing these as pants, trust me, I am thinking "Oh god, I am wearing leggings as pants, what if somebody SEES me?!" nonstop in my head, so you don't have to shame me about it. I try and wear these with long shirts, I promise.
  • Purchased from Aritzia
5. Sapphire and white gold engagement ring

  • I got engaged in early November, and DF picked out the ring and stone all by himself (he knew I wasn't fond of diamonds). Hilariously, the B&M store he bought it from (in the Diamond District in NYC) has an online presence with the super sketchy-sounding website, "AntiqueEngagementRings.com".
6. Mulberry Bryn in Oak Natural

  • I asked DF for this bag as my Christmas present (my 'first' leather, and expensive, bag), and received it early when he was able to nab it at 40% off during a fall preview sale. What luck!
  • Purchased from Mulberry B&M store
7. Børn 'Jerrica' Flats

  • I purchased a black pair from Nordies early in 2012 and wore them on my trip in April. I can't find the product on Nordstrom's website, so the image is from Born's website. The ribbon tie in their image looks a lot more satiny (and if I'm honest, it looks computer generated!) than the tie on my pair. But these are super comfy, super soft, amazing flats. I have terribly flat feet, so I routinely complain about all kinds of foot wear. But these... I love. I should have picked up a pair in the Nude shade! *weeping*
  • Purchased from Nordstrom, but no longer available on their website.
Food & Restaurants
1. Fage yogurt

  • I purchase the 12 pack from Costco every 2 weeks. I prefer this brand over others (esp. Chobani) because I find other greek yogurts to have a chalky taste to them. Fage is always smooth tasting to me. I only use half the fruit mixin's, though, because I find using all of it to be overwhemingly sweet. One pet peeve about these, is that the flavours all have an 'exotic' fruit tacked onto an otherwise completely normal yogurt flavour:
    • Strawberry Goji
    • Cherry Pomegranate
    • Mango Guanabana (I don't even know what Guanabana is)
    • Blueberry Acai
  • And I don't find these to taste any different than plain Strawberry, Cherry, Mango, or Blueberry flavours from other yogurt brands. For the record, my favourite is the Mango, and least favourite is the Blueberry. How lucky am I that the complete reverse is true for DF? A perfect symbiotic yogurt relationship.
2. Ootoya
  • I don't eat out much, but I've been to this restaurant in the Flatiron district three times already. DF also proposed to me here! I first discovered it when a friend was coming in from out of town and asked me to pick a place for dinner. Finding a new restaurant on Yelp for NYC restaurants is one of the most overwhelming things I've encountered online. There is just SO much choice. Places with thousands of reviews - all superb, I'm sure, but extremely busy with long wait times. My new method of searching Yelp is to find restaurants (in NYC) with less than 100 reviews. I found Ootoya when it had 50 reviews (and had been open since April, I believe) and we gave it a try. I love it for its affordable, home-style Japanese food (I will not order sushi here, thanks), beautiful decor, and spacious interior. The pork belly and yakitori are my favourite items on the menu. I stopped taking pictures at restaurants years ago (I felt too "asian" doing so), but it's a delicious place to go.
3. Brussel sprouts

  • Prior to the last year or so, I had only eaten brussel sprouts once before, at a white friend's house in high school. They were boiled. And nasty. My mom didn't cook them, for some reason - it must not be common in Chinese cuisine. I wanted to give them a fair shot, so decided to roast them based on rave reviews. They are so good. I wish I could eat them every day, all day long (but I would become a stinky thing, wouldn't I?). I even like them blanched and sauteed now, and I dare say they are even excellent in an asian-style stir fry.
4. Callebaut milk chocolate

  • DF gets a coffee from Whole Foods every weekend, usually while I am tackling the produce. One time, I went with him and found the coffee area to be loaded with huge blocks of chocolate. I spied a 1.25 pound block of milk chocolate, labeled 33% cocoa solids and took that baby home. I wanted to make the Milk Chocolate Ice cream out of The Perfect Scoop, but hadn't seen "good" milk chocolate before. First, the ice cream is incredible. Second, the chocolate itself is SO GOOD. I don't think I'll ever eat American milk chocolate again (they only require a minimum of 10% cocoa solids to be labeled as "milk chocolate" here). It was $12 for the block, which, is entirely reasonable considering I have been buying Green & Black's chocolate bars at $3-4 a pop (for 100g).
  
Household Items
1. Zojirushi NS-LAC05 Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker

  • We bought a new rice cooker this year and decided to go higher-end than a cheap $25 one. We got this 3-cup Zojirushi and I LOVE it. In addition to rice, I've also cooked steel cut oats and quinoa in it. I love that it has a timer, so you can set it to finish cooking oats in the morning! It also sings a song when you start cooking and it sings upon completion! DF and I refer to it as "Zoey".
  • Purchased from Amazon (but I got it for $103) -
2. Memory foam mattress (no picture)
  • My conventional innerspring mattress purchased from Macys in 2009 caused DF and me to have backpain. I decided to get a new mattress, and went with one from Costco (since they have an excellent return policy). I've never had a memory foam mattress before, but thought it would be a good way to try one. It's 7 months later and we are both sleeping AWESOME. I absolutely love this mattress. The only downside is that there is no edge support at all, so sitting on the edge of the bed is... impossible.
  • Purchased from Costco, no longer available (but they do have another listing with the same name, but different ID number)
3. Steelcase Cobi

  • I needed a new chair for my desk at home, and we decided to go for a "good" chair. Tons of research landed us with this Steelcase chair (in Wasabi). Absolutely love it and worth every penny.
  • Purchased from The Human Solution with a 15% off code
4. OXO fish spatula (held by DF)

  • I know, a weird thing to show up on a favourites list, but this spatula is so useful. I need to get a backup, because sometimes when I want to use it, it is in the dishwasher. It's not just for fish!
  • Purchased from Crate and Barrel
     
5. Swiffer duster

  • This makes dusting enjoyable. Enough said.
  • Purchased from Costco
6. Evercare Large Surface Adhesive roller

  • TMI, I have long black hair and shed a lot. This is just a giant lint roller on a long handle, so I can roll up my disgusting hair before vacuuming (otherwise it just gets stuck in a part of the vacuum that is very hard to clean). This is also handy for cleaning up pine needles from the Christmas tree!
  • Purchased from Drugstore.com
     
7. Dyson DC40 Animal Upright Vacuum

  • My first "real" vacuum - the one I had before sucked (in a bad way). This has amazing suction. DF looks forward to vacuuming every weekend now, so I don't have to vacuum anymore - Woohoo!
  • Purchased from Costco on Black Friday (came to $380+tax)
     
8. Sedona Tote baskets


  • I went basket crazy this year, and these are my favourite basket purchases ever! I have biggish ones in the bathroom to hold towels, and small ones near my desk for clutter. They are sturdy and good looking (imo). Baskets are awesome!!
  • Purchased from Crate & Barrel

9. Uniqlo baby blanket

  • Yes, this is a fleece baby blanket. But it has a Mickey Mouse design on it, and it is the perfect size to have in the car. I used it on our drive to Canada over the holidays. There's also a weird snap button so you can wear it like a poncho. I don't even know why you might do that... but hey, it's a free option. I just ordered a larger size from the website (they didn't have it in store), and I am really looking forward to getting it!
  • Purchased from Uniqlo
     
Technology
1. Eye-fi card

  • I bought this more than a year ago, but I love it. Basically, it is an SD card with wifi, so it will transfer pics to your computer over a wireless network right after you take it. It makes taking nail swatches SUPER easy, since I don't have to remove the SD card to load pictures, and I can see very quickly after each picture if I need to reshoot (without harming my mani). I totally recommend this to anyone who might find this a useful feature.
  • Purchased from http://www.eye.fi/
2. iPhone 5

  • Ok, to be fair, I got this in the last week of 2012, but I have been LOVING IT SO MUCH. I just enjoy it so much and can't wait to get a cute case for it. I am a butterfingers with it though, and have been dropping it all the time... while sitting down, even. It is embarrassing.
3. Stereo Receiver: Yamaha Natural Sound AV Receiver RX-V673

  • A weird thing to like (DF picked it out), but it has Apple Airplay built-in, so I can send music from my iPhone to our stereo system directly. It is so cool! It's also useful for when I am cleaning dishes and want to watch something on DF's iPad, because the stereos are a lot louder than the tablet's, so I can actually hear what's going on amongst running water and clanking.
  
Apps
1. Magic Tree


  • This popped up as Google Play Store's pick one day, and I downloaded it... and have been addicted ever since. The game is so cute. I even got DF on board. It's available on iPhone/iPads too!
2. Netflix

  • Netflix is terrific. I love it on PS3, on my Samsung tablet, and on my iPhone. Netflix is the bomb. netflix in Canada, though, is less awesome because it has a much smaller catalog.
TV & Movies
1. Dream High

  • One of my favourite Korean dramas (and we watch quite a lot on Netflix). Usually I become easily overloaded by the cliches in k-dramas (Misunderstanding! Evil MIL! Rich bad boy with a heart of gold! Obligatory shopping and makeover sequence for the tomboyish girl followed by the male lead being astonished that she cleans up so well! etc.), but I found this show to be very watchable. It also helps that in the love triangle, the girl actually picks the guy that I would pick in the end. I'm not ashamed to admit that I squealed out of sheer pleasure when that happened. It is available on Netflix, and you should totes watch it. I know there's a Dream High 2, but the reviews are not great, so I will not subject myself to that.
2. Game of Thrones

  • Everyone loves this show, and you can count me on board the wagon. Arya is my favourite character. I could live without the gratuitious sex and nudity, but it's a show on HBO, whacha goin' to do about that? I also enjoy seeing Aidan Gillen (who plays Baelish) because I remember him from the Wire, and like to say "Oh, Carcetti, you sly fox!" at the screen whenever he's on.
3. The Forsyte Saga (2002 Miniseries)
  • I found this miniseries to be very immersive. I hated a good portion of the characters, but still loved watching every minute. The episodes are very, very, long, though. Also, Damian Lewis has the largest male role, and I hadn't seen him in anything until Homeland, so I quite like that he is a terrible person in this show (too). It also improves my enjoyment of Homeland, because I can say "Damnit, SOAMES!" at the screen whenever Brody does something terrible.
Damnit, SOAMES!
Everything Else
1. Wallabies

  • They are so flipping cute. And they are soft. Though, I have a friend from Sydney who says they are a road nuisance.
2. Nosepadking: In particular, item SANP1B

  • I purchased new glasses last year, and against my better judgment, I went with plastic frames that did not have nose pads. My nose is effectively without nose bridge, so my glasses slide down my face. I started purchasing silicone adhesive nose pads from Nose Pad King last year and have been very happy with the results - even though I have to replace them every 2-3 months, it helps quite a lot! They are around $3 a pair, which is not terrible, and the shipping is super fast. I find it very funny that I found a nose-pad specific vendor online. The internet saves the day! FYI, I will be purchasing my next pair of glasses in Asia to avoid this problem in the future.
3. Muji suitcase


  • I purchased this suitcase in Tokyo last time I was there, and have been very pleased with its rolly-wheels and cat stickers I attached to the top. It makes picking up my baggage at the carousel extremely pleasant. DF hates it, but I don't care. Cats are cute. The stickers were from Japan, as well.
  • Purchased from Muji
4. New Zealand

  • A beautiful country - I am sad I was only there for 10 days. I must go back!
5. Disney Tokyo Sea

  • An excellent Disney park with fewer kids than average, I think. Everything was too cute, and people carried around Duffy and Shelly-Mae teddy bears. I would love to go back again!

Ok, that was the longest post EVER. Hope that was somewhat interesting...

What were your favourite things from 2012?