Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2013 Favourites Addendum: TV Shows

I apparently watch SO much TV/Netflix, that I completely forgot about the following three shows that were definitely 2013 favourites.

Screenshots taken from the iPad Netflix app.

The Mind of a Chef (Season 1, David Chang)

The first season of this show is based around Momofuku-empire's David Chang. I find his sense of humour to be so hilarious. The show itself is incredibly funny, smart, and hunger-inducing. There are some really weird segments as well, but I loved watching this show. It is narrated by Anthony Bourdain, so you just know that this show will SOUND good too. MUST SEE if you are into food!!

As a bonus, Aziz Ansari (from Parks and Recreation) appears in a couple of episodes while dining with Chang, and his comments are hilarious too :)

There are 16 half-hour episodes. I wished they were longer! I have yet to see the second season (about a different chef), but am looking forward to it!

Call the Midwife
Summary from Wikipedia: The plot follows newly qualified midwife Jenny Lee and the work of midwives and the nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent, part of an Anglican religious order, coping with the medical problems in the deprived Poplar district of London's desperately poor East End in the 1950s. The Sisters and midwives carry out many nursing duties across the community. However, with between 80 and 100 babies being born each month in Poplar alone, the primary work is to help bring safe childbirth to women in the area and to look after their countless newborns.
Great character growth, interesting plot lines, beautiful sets, and just overall very engaging. Chummy is my favourite character. Highly recommend this show!!

Summary from Wikipedia: Gervais plays 49-year-old Derek Noakes, a care worker in a home for the elderly who has worked there for three years. He likes watching reality television shows and game shows and is interested in celebrities, fame, YouTube, and above all, talking about animals. He is kind, helpful, and selfless, with good intentions. He is vulnerable because of his childlike naivety and lack of intelligence. He is ridiculed and ostracised, as well as being marginalised by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness, unattractiveness, and lack of inhibitions. Derek says it is more important to be kind than to be clever or good-looking. Many media sources describe him as autistic.[9] Though Gervais himself has always stated that Derek is not mentally disabled, people with high functioning autism are often not actually intellectually impaired.

At first glance, I thought this Ricky Gervais show was going to be embarrassing at best and offensive at worst, but it turned out to be so incredibly heart-warming. I actually cried in the last episode. It's such a sweet show, and some parts had me howling in laughter. If you've been on the fence about trying this one on Netflix, try it!! There are only 7 episodes in this first season, and they are short episodes at ~30 minutes. Apparently there is a second season on the way -- I hope it is as good as the first!

Are you a fan of these shows, or think you might be interested in seeing them?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Needlessly expensive lipstick haul (Guerlain and YSL)

Under the guise of needing a new lipstick colour for my wedding in May, I went to the mall today to swatch some Guerlain Rouge Automatiques ($35 for 3.5g), Rouge G de Guerlain ($50!!!!!!!! for 3.5g), and YSL Rouge Volupte Shine ($34 for 4.5g). These are my first high-end lipsticks (though I do have quite a few YSL Glossy Stains).

You know you have a growing addiction when you are all like "Phhshhhhh I'll never pay $x for 'y' " and then, 6 months later you totally do. Well... *sideways glance*. I have no excuses.

Here are the lipsticks I came away with: Guerlain Rouge G de Guerlain in 76 Gracy, Rouge Automatique in 164 Chamade, and YSL Rouge Volupte in 4 Rouge in Danger

The packaging is all super-luxe in an over the top way. My favourite is probably the Rouge Automatique because of the sliding action (*zoop, zoop*). The Rouge G packaging is just bonkers. Where bonkers = excessive in every possible dimension.

Ummm why do they all swatch the same?! WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME. On the lips they do look different, though. I promise *sideways glancing again*

The scent of the Guerlain are not appealing to me. They smell like old school lipstick to me. The YSL smells very fruity, which I think I like better, although I prefer all my lippies to be scent free, TBH.

I just got them, but my first impressions are:
  • The two Guerlain lipsticks I got are very similar on the lips, but the Rouge G is more creamy and opaque than the RA. It's also more warm and pink on my lips.
  • Both the Guerlain lipsticks feel very smooth. I can definitely feel a difference compared to drugstore lipsticks (though I wouldn't necessary value the difference at $20-40 worth!)
  • The YSL RV Shine feels very slippery on and is more translucent than the Guerlain lipsticks (but not really less pigmented, if that makes any sense)

In terms of deciding if any of these 3 will perform wedding duty, I will be determining that over the next couple of weeks. And possible 'need' to buy some more lipsticks.

Ok, how about some more pictures?

Slight problem with the Rouge G storage situation:


Also, for fun, I wondered JUST how heavy the Rouge G packaging was compared to the other two:

86 grams?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

Anyhoo! Do you own any lipsticks from these 3 lines? What are your thoughts on them? Fave colours?

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 Favourites: Makeup, Apparel, Household, Food, Tech, TV, Anime/Manga!

I hope you all had a wonderful new year! It took me a couple weeks to decide on my 2013 Favourites, but I've finally finished! I also mention 2012 Favourites that were still favourites in 2013, but didn't want to feature them again. You can see my 2012 Favourites post here.

Beauty & Skincare


Hakuhodo J5523: It's very soft, holds its shape well after washing, and nice for a soft wash over my lid or light blending.

Hakuhodo J146: I picked this up at the Hakuhodo boutique in Omotesando, Tokyo. My lid space is small, so I picked this over the J142.

Hakuhodo G537s: Also from the Hakuhodo boutique, I purchased this based on Sweet Makeup Temptations raves. It is really nice for blending concealer under the eyes and around my nose! For some reason, this (and other pure Kolinsky brushes) can only be purchased in Japan.

Yojiya ebony squirrel eyeshadow brush: I purchased this brush at Narita Airport on my way back from Japan after reading that it might be a dupe for the discontinued Suqqu S eyeshadow brush. It's soft, but not flimsy and applies shadows softly and evenly. It also blends well! The brush is a pleasure to use.

Suqqu Cheek brush: I purchased this brush from when they introduced international shipping. It is crazy expensive (about $150 USD), and I was secretly hoping that I wouldn't love it that much. Unfortunately, I do. It is smaller than both my Hakuhodo K020 (last year's favourite blush brush) and Chikuhodo Z-4 (also purchased in 2013) and is ridiculously soft.

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: Shu Uemura 10N, Hakuhodo K005


GA Luminous Silk Foundation in 4 and 5.75: In the search for my wedding day foundation, this formula impressed me the most. The colour range is downright wacky, so I "had" to buy two shades for mixing. It is still not an exact match, though (a bit too peachy). At least I bought these during GA's F&F sale! But look how I ended up with an old bottle and a new bottle -_- I have already purchased backups during the second F&F sale so I wouldn't have to worry about running out by my wedding date (in May this year)!

GA Master Corrector in #2: This is way better than Bobbi Brown Corrector in light peach. I can wear it on its own, and it cancels out some of my brownish darkness under my eyes (at the inner corner, mainly). It applies so nicely with the Hakuhodo G537s brush!

RBR Gracilis: The RBR blush pan is smaller than many of my other blushes, but I love how this looks on the cheeks (especially on my winter skin). Just easy and pretty!

NARS Gaiety: I actually bought this in 2012, but didn't fall in love with it until last year. It looks like it would be too cool for my skin tone, but it really brightens up my face.

Fiberwig mascara: Not a new purchase, but I definitely decided it was a favourite in 2013. Not crazy lash definition, but it does not smudge or flake on me, and washes off easily in the shower. This used to be available at Sephora, but I don't think they carry it anymore. I buy mine from AdamBeauty (I think it is $15.50 USD, plus $2 shipping).

NARS Smudge Proof eyeshadow primer: This unexciting favourite is somewhat here by default, as it's the only eyeshadow primer I've tried so far that actually prevents creasing at the inner corner of my eyes (where my lid folds over itself) for about 5 hours. UDPP, TFSI, Lorac, and NYX didn't work for me.

Suqqu Blend Colour eyeshadow palette in 11 Himesango (depots): Not terribly exciting, but makes for an effortless daytime office look (when I can be bothered). This was part of my Selfridges order. I don't expect to be splurging on any more Suqqu products anytime soon, though!

Revlon Lip Butter Wild Watermelon: I didn't purchase that many lip products last year, but this one stands out to me because it is very easy to wear and pretty. It's a bit translucent, which is a finish I enjoy!

THREE Flash Performance eyeliner in 05 Eye Rock: I purchased this very expensive pencil at Isetan in Tokyo (along with #04, and then at the airport #02 and #07). I love the base colour, complex glitter, creamy, yet non-budging formula, and soft smudger on the end of the pencil!

RBR Abyssinian Catbird: This eyeshadow is unbelievably soft and buttery! It's also very pigmented and absolutely gorgeous on the eyes. I also have a hard time spelling Abyssinian.

Here are the colour products swatched on my arm:

L to R: THREE pencil, RBR Abs Cat, Suqqu Himesango, RBR Gracilis, NARS Gaiety, Revlon Wild Watermelon

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: K-palette eye brow pen, Holika Holika Wonder Dot liner, Dollywink eyeliner, Shu Uemura Orange Pistachio palette


MUJI cottons: At $2.25ish a pack, these are incredibly soft facial cottons. I have not been tempted to try the $10 a pack Shiseido cottons. I use these for taking off eye makeup, and sometimes gently drying my face after a shower. These are rubbish for taking off nail polish, though.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant: My first foray into chemical exfoliants, and I am very pleased with this AHA gel. I use it every other night, and it has really reduced the number of (TMI incoming!) gross pus-filled pimples I would usually get around my nose/nostrils.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion: Last year I tried to simplify my skincare routine to a) save money and b) let my skin calm down. This lotion costs about $1/oz, so that is just awesome. It doesn't have any weird fragrance/scent, absorbs quickly, doesn't irritate my skin, or break me out. I am really happy with this product!

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: Biore UV Aqua Watery Essence SPF 50


The Container Store lipstick organizer: My only trip to the Container Store last year was marred by DF complaining every damn second wanting to leave. Luckily, I got away with this lovely lippy holder! It holds most of my lip products.

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: Paul & Joe makeup bag


Club Monaco Ophelia Printed Silk Shirt in Escargot Pattern - SNAILS! Peter pan collar! I love this shirt.

Anthropologie Laplace Tee - I wear this every week to work. IDK why I like it so much...

Anthropologie Foxy Tights - These don't stay up well so I have to wear 2 panties (one over the tights to keep them up, and I end up soooo hot from the super toasty lady bits). But I love the fox pattern :S

Mephisto Seddy Boots - Got these before we went to Japan and I love how comfy they are! They are not waterproof in the least though, so that kind of sucks. :(

Tsumori Chisato LE Manekineko Watch - Got this black cat watch in Japan :D

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: Anthropologie Anorak, engagement ring, Mulberry Bryn bag

Household Items

Piggledee lunchbag from Etsy - Super cute lunchbag I take to work every day :)

Vitamix 6300 - SMOOTHIES FOR EVERYONE! Probably my #1 favourite of the year. I'm so glad I got it! I got mine at Costco, and it was $500 (not $649 as the website shows). Still expensive, but worth every penny... so I tell myself :)

Kitchenaid pasta roller and fettucine cutter attachments - Mmmm fresh pasta is awesome. I got the two attachments from Costco for $99. Very happy with it, although I wish I had the spaghetti cutter :(

Epson LW-400 Label Maker - Yes, I had to label something "compressed air". I got this for Christmas last year and I am kicking myself for not getting a label maker sooner! Totally my type of thing. Haha.

Instant Pot electric pressure cooker - So useful for making fast chicken stock :D I didn't care for this much when I first got it, but I'm glad to have it now. I also use it to make some Chinese soups when I have the ingredients on hand.

iSi Gourmet Whip Plus (pint), latex gloves, Thermapen - Not to be used all at the same time. The iSi whipper can be used for lots of other applications, but I think I've only used it for whipped cream >.> It was super handy for all the pumpkin pies we had around Thanksgiving though! The latex gloves are small size (from amazon) and I ues them for icky kitchen jobs and non-heavy duty cleaning. The thermapen is super useful for making ice cream and checking meat temperatures. I like it a lot more than my old analog thermometer because it is so fast.

Sil-Pin Silicone pastry mat and rolling pin - Got this set for $20 at Costco, and has come in so handy for rolling out pie dough (my largest cutting board is too small, so I'd always have dough hanging off the edges :/). The only thing is that the mat is a PITA to clean in my sink!

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: Zojirushi rice cooker, Costco mattress, Steelcase Cobi chair, Swiffer duster, Floor roller, Dyson

Food & Restaurants

Poutine - gotta get this any time I can. I was in Canada twice this year, and had it both times :) There's also a joint in NYC that serves it (the second pic), but you can see how small the serving is LOL. I always get an ice tea back in Canada... because ice tea in Canada is sweetened by default.

Alphonso mangoes - OBSESSED. MUST BUY IN BULK WHEN IN SEASON. These were soooo good in smoothies.

Hannah's Organic Hommus (single serve) - from Costco. I love the single serve size for lunch or pre-dinner snacks. It's also pretty good hummus. And the price per oz is not higher than the massive tub size they have at Costco either, so that's a bonus!

Pomi tetra packed tomatoes - So useful. Think I got enough from Fresh Direct? That's 1 of 2 boxes.

Seared scallops - *drooling* @ Redd in Yountville, CA

Pita Gourmet, Cortland, NY - Hands down the best place to stop on the drive between NJ and Canada. I almost cried one time because we had to travel on a Sunday or Monday - days they are closed. We always order the mazza appetizer combo (hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ganoush) and a shishtawook skewer. OMFG it is so good. Cortland is almost exactly halfway between us and DF's parents, so it's a perfect place to get gas too.

Tech & Apps

iPad mini - This is technically DF's, but I have stolen it. I use it for reading manga with mangastorm, mostly :)

MangaStorm - I got back into reading manga when we got the ipad mini! This app is great; especially if you buy the $4 upgrade (it lets you download unlimited manga for offline reading). I used this a ton on our flight to and from Japan :D

Songza - I prefer this to Pandora, though sometimes it can be hard to find a new songlist that I like. I listen to it every day at work. I like that the only ad is at the beginning, and not in between songs.

Wunderlist - If you like making lists, you will like this app. You can set up recurring items as well, so that is nice. Only downside is that it is not supported in IE9 (the only browser I have at work).

Anylist - I use this for my weekly grocery lists, and share it with DF. I'm very happy with this app :)

Crunchyroll - Back into manga = back into anime. I subscribed to the pay service so I could watch on our tv/PS3. Anime is so easy to get nowadays. I still remember as a teenager having to download crappy .rm files from irc. LOL.

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: iPhone 5, Stereo Receiver, Netflix

Anime & Manga

Yowamushi Pedal - Adorable manga and anime. It's about cycling.

Silver Spoon - Very funny and even educational manga and anime. It's about a city boy who goes to an agricultural high school.

Chihayafuru - Love this manga and anime... mostly for the shoujo aspects :)

Baby Steps - A realistic tennis manga (and soon to be anime)?!? I don't know much about tennis though, so all the technical jargon is pretty lost on me. Love it though!

TV Shows

Downton Abbey - I hate Edith, Mary, Matthew, and Isobel. I love the Dowager.

Doctor Who (in particular, series 4) - DOCTORDONNA

Orange is the New Black - I didn't care for Jason Biggs in this, but otherwise this show was awesome.

Breaking Bad - Sad that it's over :(

Great Expectations (BBC Miniseries) - Helloooo Douglas Booth. He totes looks like he belongs in a Kdrama. Y/Y?

Hit & Miss - Chloe Sevigny is terrific in this miniseries.

Top of the Lake - PEGS! Elisabeth Moss is great in this miniseries... and it is nice seeing NZ (we visited the same area in 2012)

The Fall - Gillian Anderson is awesome in this. Actually she is in Great Expectations too. I just love her. The bad guy in this is pretty attractive too...

Still loving from 2012 Favourites: Game of Thrones!


Asebino - Absolutely gorgeous and serene ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel) in Izu, Japan. Beautifully relaxing outdoor onsens (hot spring baths).

Despicable Me Unicorn plush pillow - It's so FLUFFY!

Contact lenses - Finally got these last year, so glad I did! I usually just wear them on the weekend though. I got dailies and they are super comfy for a novice like me :D

Hope you enjoyed this huge post! Major props if you made it all the way through! haha