Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recent Purchaces and some reviews

I have to start by saying... Inception was such an awesome movie! If you haven't seen it yet, you should!
I finally had a break from my crazy work schedule and had a chance to do some much needed shopping. Since it's summer, all the clothes I bought were on sale (summer is one of the biggest sale seasons in Japan) and everything was under $30.
The blue top on the left is from Billabong. I have to admit, when I first walked into the store I told myself not to buy anything, because everything was pretty expensive. I've never bought anything at the Billabong store at home since it's pricey. But when I saw that top I knew I had to try it on, and when I did (waited like 20 minutes =/) I was sold. This top actually fit me really well, which is very surprising considering it's a medium (I guess in Japanese size?) and I usually wear XS. Anyway it was on sale so it came out to $30, plus I got my F-card points!
The Mickey mouse hoodie is from Uniqlo and was a limited edition item. It was on sale for $20. Although a hoodie is the last things I need now in this 90+ degree weather, I figured I could use it when I go back to school this fall.
The skirt (it's actually made like shorts, but looks like a skirt...this style is pretty popular here) is from Jenasis, and I bought it Takamatsu when I went to visit a friend. This is a bit small for me (labeled freesize), but still wearable. I've been wearing this a lot to the office since it's been so hot lately. Again, this was on sale for about $30.
On to the makeup...
Majolica Majorca Lash Gorgeous Wing Neo (new from Fall '10 collection): $13
Kanebo KATE Super Sharp Eyeliner (backup!): $9
Kanebo Kate Dual Blend Eyes BK-1 (also from Fall '10 collection): $9
Fasio Zero Expert UV Translucent Face Powder: $13
Kanebo Freshel Make up Base High Cover: $9
Biore UV Daily Care Gel SPF28 PA++: $6
I'm in love with the Biore sunscreen. I used to use the Neutrogena Ultra Dry Touch Sunblock and I thought that was really lightweight, but it doesn't compare to this! This really feels like nothing on your skin, and it doesn't get gross feeling by the end of a hot day either. There is a strong alcohol smell when you put this on, which could explain a lot, but it doesn't really bother me. Even better, it was only $6!
I'm also really liking the Dual Blend Eyes palette. Like all Japanese eye shadows, this is pretty sparkly, but there is no fallout, which is a huge plus! The colors in this palette are really neutral (light frosty beige and a dark brown) and I've been wearing this everyday this week. I don't think these are as long lasting as MAC eye shadows, because I find that they crease quicker. But even my MAC ones crease by the end of the day, so I'm not really complaining. I got this on sale for about $9 (I think it's $12 regular price).
I was a bit disappointed with the Freshel make up base and the translucent powder. The make up base had no coverage, although the product name indicates "high coverage". This felt pretty lightweight and blended nicely, but it's pointless if it doesn't cover up anything. The powder wasn't that great either. It gave my face a bit of a white cast and looked kind of cakey on the dryer parts of my face (although I do like how it has SPF15). It was also quite pricey at $13...too bad this one didn't work out.
I'm sad to be going home in two weeks, but this has been a really great learning experience. Once again work is going to be busy this week, and I'll be busier getting back to "reality" once I'm at home (job hunting again and starting school). Well, I hope everyone is having a good summer! Take care :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Travel Blog: Shimanami Kaido!

So, this blog post is way overdue since I did this almost a month ago, but this was such an awesome experience!
Shimanami Kaido is a 60km (37 miles) road that runs from Imabari (Ehime Prefecture) to Onomichi (Hiroshima Prefecture). It passes through six islands in the Seto-uchi and is only accessible by cycling or walking. When I first heard of this, I thought it was pretty impressive that this path was built only for cycling. Everything is quite modern and the path was really maintained. As you can see below, the cycling path doesn't follow the actual highway, so it's significantly longer than if you actually drove.We decided to try this on a weekday so it wouldn't be as crowded (I think we only saw 2 or 3 other people the whole day...) so we went on a Tuesday (June 7th). We departed JR Matsuyama Station at 7am and it took about an hour to get to Imabari station by local train. Once we arrived, we caught a bus to Itoyama Sunrise, the cycle rental shop, which is located right at the start of the bike path. A one day rental only cost 500-yen, along with a 1000-yen deposit. There are numerous rental terminals along the path on the different islands, so they have a norisute (乗り捨て) system, which is really convenient. It allows you to return your cycle at any rental terminal along the course (in case you decide to turn around). The only downside is that you don't get your deposit back, so it cost us 1500-yen total. Also, each bridge you cross has a small toll you need to pay. We got a ticket book at Itoyama Sunrise which was on sale for 250-yen (originally 500-yen) which had tickets to cover all the tolls.
So we finally headed out at around 830. The first bridge leading to the first island Oshima was the longest one, and passing through Oshima was the toughest part of the trip. This island was huge and it probably took us about 45-60 minutes to get through this part. I was so happy to see the next bridge, and even happier that the next island Hakatajima was pretty short. We got through this one and the next one, Omishima relatively quickly and stopped for lunch before we headed to the next island. We ate and rested for about an hour, and headed out again at about 1:00. The next island, Ikuchijima was also another long one at about 12km and we got lost a couple times here. The path is usually well marked on the ground, but in some places there were no signs so we had to ask people for directions. Unfortunately this island had a temple I wanted to see, but we were trying to finish by sundown, so we decided to pass and keep going. I forgot to mention, these islands have quite a few attractions, like museums, temples and parks etc, but we didn't really stop to see anything because we were determined to make it to Onomichi. By this point i was getting really exhausted and ran out of water, but we kept going because we were almost done. The last two bridges and islands were really tough because we were so tired, but we managed to make it to the ferry port on the last island, Mukaishima before the sun went down. I was so relived to see the end and finally be able to sit down on something other than the seat on the bicycle (very uncomfortable...). From Mukaishima to Onomichi you have to take a ferry, which took only about 5 minutes. We finally arrived at Onomichi at 5pm, so it took us about 7 hours total to complete the course.
The whole course was relatively flat with a few hills, but to me the hardest part was the bridges. At each bridge there was a circular ramp with a steady incline, which takes some time to get up to the bridge. I wish I had brought more water, because I ran out half way through the trip. This was pretty tough for me since I'm not really in shape, nor do I cycle long distances, but it was such an amazing experience! The views from the bridges were really pretty, and it was pretty fun.
After eating dinner, we returned to Matsuyama by bus and train, and it took about 2 hours because we left Onomichi a bit late. I got back home at around 10pm, very tired and really sunburnt, but nonetheless feeling very accomplished. For those of you who happen to be in the area, and want a unique experience in Japan, I definitly recommend doing this!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ELF Eye Transformer Review

I ordered the ELF Eye Transformer palette after reading some reviews to try it for myself. I got it in the mail a few days ago and have been using it for the past couple days. The palette comes with 4 shadows: green, gold, pink/purple, and blue. This is meant to use over a dark base to create different colors. This was $3 from the ELF website and it comes with a ton of product.
The shadows have a nice smooth texture, but they're a bit powdery. I've tried these over a black eyeshadow and over a black liner, and I find the colors come off much more vibrant over an eyeliner. I think a very dark base would work best with these shadows. I've been wearing this on my lower lash line for the past couple days and they're pretty long wearing over eyeliner. I thought it would give off a stronger effect, but it's quite subtle on my eyes. It would be nice if they would come off a bit brighter. All the colors are really pretty, but I like te blue and green the best.
Swatches (L: Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Zero, R: NYX shadow in black):
Overall I think this is a decent product for $3. I wish they were more vibrant, but I like the pearly effect it gives over eyeliner. I probably wouldn't use this alone or over shadows, but maybe over a dark cream shadow. This is a good value because you get 4 different colors from 1 palette, and it's a steal for only $3. Overall, I would reccomend this, but I wouldn't repurchase (it will last forever anyway).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil Review

So I've finally decided to try out an oil cleanser. My friend uses this particular one and she really liked it and after reading more reviews online I decided to buy it. I bought the Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil. The bottle is 230ml and has a convenient pump with a lock (gotta love Japanese bottles). It has an orange scent which is quite nice. I paid just under 600-yen for this so it was really cheap!
I've been using this the past few days and I really love it! I just use it with dry hands and massage it into my skin. When you rinse it off with water it emulsifies and turns into a white liquid which rinses off really easily. This is an awesome cleanser but doesn't leave your skin feeling dry or tight. It also removes my eye makeup with ease so I'd definitly recommend this product.
Does anyone use oil cleansers? Which ones do you use/recommend?