Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Shopping Haul!

So by some miracle I was able to wake up at 4:30 yesterday morning!  I went to Ala Moana for a couple of hours and got some pretty decent deals.
I went to Express first since everything there was 40% off.  I got there about an hour after they opened and it was crazy busy.  I managed to pick up a few pieces I saw online (thankfully they had my size), try them on and pay within an hour.  The line at the register was crazy, and it took me a long time to decide on what I really wanted to get, but I just ended up buying two tops for about $40.
I also went to buy a couple of bottles of nail polish.  They were all 25% off so I got OPI Diva of Geneva which I've been wanting for a long time.  I also picked up Zoya Suvi because I wanted a nice green nail polish for Christmas. At 25% off they came to about $6.50 each.
I went to Forever 21 last just to see what kind of deals they had.  I thought the crowd was going to be worse than it was at Express but it wasn't too bad (this was around 6:30 or so).  I just wanted to pick up some basics, and they had tank tops that were 2 for $8 (or $4.50 each).  There were also some cute lightweight open cardigans which were 2 for $12, but I only got one in purple ($6.80 each).  I spent about $15 for all three items.
For my first true black friday shopping experience, I think I did pretty good.  The crowds weren't as bad as I thought they would be, and I got some pretty good deals.  Although I think there are some better deals online, it was still a pretty fun experience.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Shopping?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  It's still early so I haven't had my fill of turkey yet, but I'm heading to my parents place later for lunch with my relatives.  Then off to work at 2 >_< but I'm off tomorrow, so I'm planning to go black friday shopping tomorrow morning.  I've already done most of my shopping online so I just need a few more small gifts.  I think I will be heading to Ala Moana early tomorrow morning.  There's a list of stores and sales going on on their website and it looks pretty good:
Bath and Body Works: 
Wallflower 2pk Refills- $5
Buy 3 Get 3 Free Signature Collections
$100 Value VIP Bag- $20 with $40 purchase
3-Wick Candles- 2 for $20
Coupons are stack-able in store!
Express: 5am-Noon 40% off, and 30% off the rest of the day
Hino Hairstyles: 6am-10am 25% off, and 20% off the rest of the day (Lots of OPI nail polish here!)
Banana Republic: 25% off entire purchase
Gilly Hicks: Midnight-9am 50% off
Hollister Co: 30% off entire purchase
Abercrombie and Fitch: Midnight-9am 50% off

I've also done a lo of online shopping this year.  Many sites are offering free shipping until Thanksgiving day (Victoria's Secret and American Eagle) and you can get cashback on Ebates as well!  I've already racked up about $18 from Christmas shopping alone.  On Black Friday Ebates is offering double cash back on tons of sites!  For those who are fans of Threadless they are having a $10 holiday sale!  Online, Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch and Gilly Hicks are offering 40% off plus $5 shipping. 

Is anyone else going shopping tomorrow??  Anyone shopping online this year?  Let me know what you haul!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

L'oreal HIP Duo: Charming Review

I've heard a lot of good things about this eyeshadow duo for a long time.  I've always wanted to pick it up, but they're a little pricey for drugstore quality (almost $8) so I wanted to get it on sale.  I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and found it for $6!  I didn't realize they had cheaper makeup here since I never bothered to look, but they actually have a really good selection!
This duo consists of two colors: a light shimmery taupe and a deeper plum/purple color.  Both shades are shimmery and so have some glitter in them.  Both are very smooth, but they are a little soft so you definitely need to tap off excess shadow from your brush before you apply it.  I love the lighter taupe shade!  It's a really pretty light color, perfect for an overall lid color.  The purple is nice too (I'm a sucker for purple eye shadows), but I think it could be more pigmented.  It took a couple swipes to get the opacity in the swatch below.  The only downside to this product is the fallout.  I can't stand glittery eye shadows and at first glance I couldn't really see any obvious glitter in it.  But after swatching and removing them from my arm, there was a ton of glitter left over.  These colors are pretty, but the fallout is pretty disappointing. 
This really isn't a bad value for what I paid and I'd recommend this product!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Forever 21 Shoes!

Last night we had a much needed date night in Waikiki.  We had a nice dinner at CPK and then went to check out the Forever 21 at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.  I was actually looking for a specific pair of shoes  I saw online that I wanted to try on before I bought it.  In the shoe section on the second floor there was only one pair left in a size 8, which surprisingly fit nicely, but a little loose.  They were pretty comfortable, and were $24.80 so I snatched them up as we continued to shop.  I was hoping to see another display of these shoes somewhere in the store, but I didn't, so I just ended up buying this pair and another top.
I've never bought shoes from Forever 21 so I was a little skeptical of the quality, but these are actually pretty comfortable.  I've never really been into animal print, but I think they're really cute!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

China Glaze: The Hunger Games Nail Polish Collection

I just saw this today on The Hunger Games Trilogy Fansite!  This collection is to be released in February next year with 12 polishes.  Here's a preview:
The colors are pretty, and if you like glitter polishes I think you'd like this collection.  I'm not loving all the colors, but I think I will definitely need to pick up a few, just because of the theme :)
Anyone else excited for this?  I'm just wondering where to find China Glaze nail polish here =/
I know a Sally Beauty Supply opened near the Pearl City Walmart, but I haven't checked it out yet.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hunger Games Official Tralier!

Just thought I HAD to share this!  The official tralier was released this morning for the Hunger Games movie!
March 23, 2011....can't wait!!  It actually looks much better than I expected so now I'm really looking forward to seeing it.  Midnight premier maybe?  Anyone else excited for this movie??

Friday, November 11, 2011

Clarisonic Mia Review and Progress

I have been using my Clairsonic Mia for about 2 weeks now.  I was skeptical before trying this out for the first time, because I have sensitive skin and I was worried it would be a little harsh.  I've been using the delicate brush head instead of the sensitive one it comes with.  I don't notice a huge difference between the texture of the brushes, but I'm sticking with the delicate one because it hasn't irritated my skin yet.
Clairsonic recommends you charge the device for at least 24 hours before the first use. 
I only waited about 18 hours before I used it, but I've only used the charger twice since getting it, so the battery life seems to be pretty good (for once-a-day use).  The first time I used it I was surprised that it didn't cause any irritation.  The vibrating motion takes a while to get used to, especially around your nose.  The vibrating isn't necessarily calming, but it does make me feel better knowing my skin is much cleaner.  After the first use, I noticed my skin was extremely soft and smooth, but didn't notice anything different.  Also, since I did have an active pimple at the time (which you can see in the picture below), it actually popped and started to bleed, so I would try to avoid any active acne or large pimples with this. Since then, I have been using the Clairsonic Mia once a day, at night before I go to sleep.
I was using it together with my Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel, but have switched to Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser which I decided to try after my Boscia cleanser ran out (which I'm really liking btw).  I first wet my face with warm water and apply the cleanser directly to my face (you can apply it to the brush head as well).  I then wet the head with warm water and turn it on.  I start on my right cheek and move clockwise to my chin, left cheek, nose and then my forehead.  I use small, light circular motions, not using too much pressure since the more pressure you use, the more it will aggravate your skin.  After the Mia turns off (about a minutes time), I rinse my the brush head and my face with warm water.
I also cleanse my brush head after every use.  I just use antibacterial hand soap and very hot water to sanitize it, and then turn it on again for a couple of seconds to expel the excess water into a towel.  Then I remove the brush head and dry the inside to keep it clean.  I leave it out to air dry in my bedroom (with the cap off) since the bathroom gets too humid.  I usually replace the cap in the morning when the brush has had time to dry completely.
After using this for two weeks, I can definitely see a big difference in my skin.  I can see a much more even skin tone and less redness in my cheeks.  I haven't had any big breakouts since I've started using the Clairsonic Mia, and I've noticed my nightly moisturizer and other face products do absorb into the skin quicker.  My skin also seems to be a little less oily and I don't have to blot my face as much anymore, and I don't have any more dry patches on my face either.  I haven't noticed any difference in pore size, but I can honestly say this is the clearest I've ever seen my skin in a long time.  I was very skeptical before buying this since I have acne, rosacea and sensitive skin, but this has been a very good investment.  I can actually say I'm very happy with the way my skin is now.  It's not perfect, but it's much clearer than it's ever been before.  I've included pictures below so you can see the progress, but my skin definitely looks better today than it did a couple of weeks ago.  Overall I'm very happy with my Clairsonic Mia and I would highly recommend this!  I got mine at 20% off from (they frequently have 20% off sales) so I would get it from them (plus their shipping was really quick!)
Does anyone else own a Clairsonic Mia?  I'd love to hear other reviews/experiences :)

Clairsonic Mia Day 1
Clairsonic Mia Day 7
Clairsonic Mia Day 14

November 2011 Birchbox!

It kinda feels weird doing another one of these posts so soon, but I did get my birchbox on time this month!  I have to say, I think these boxes are getting better each month.  I was so disappointed with the first one, but I'm glad I'm sticking with them because I liked this months box.  Here's what I got:
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolute
Borghese Frango Delicato Active Mud for Delicate Dry Skin
Supersmile Professional Whitening Toothpaste
Zoya Nail Polish in Noel
Two Paper Dolls Ampersand Coasters (extra)

I'm pretty impressed with the good sized samples this month, and the nail polish was really unexpected!  I love the color, so I can't wait to try it out.  I think I will definitely give the toothpaste a try as well as the mud mask.  The cologne sample is ridiculously small (as you can see from the picture) and I don't think I'll be making use of it so I might just give it away, but the post card it comes with it pretty nice.
What did everyone else get in this months box??

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Travel Blog: Eurail Pass and My Experience

Next to airfare, my Eurail pass was one of the most expensive things I bought for my trip to Europe.
Is a rail pass necessary??  Not necessarily, it depends on where you go and how long you're traveling for.  Try calculating point-to-point tickets for each segment of your trip and comparing those prices to the cost of a pass.  I would say in general, at least in my experience, the Eurail Pass was an excellent investment and it saved us a lot of money.
There are several different types of Eurail passes with varying fares, but we settled on a Global Flexi Pass, which covered all 22 countries, and gave us a choice of 10 (non-consecutive) travel days within 2 months.  There are also consecutive passes available which range anywhere from 15 days to 3 months of unlimited travel.  However I opted for the Flexi pass since I knew we weren't going to be traveling every day, and it gave us room to change our itinerary around, which we did end up doing.  We also qualified for a Youth Pass, which is a discounted fare for those under the age of 26 for 2nd class seats.  At the time I purchased the rail passes, they were $525 each (10-days in 2 months Global Flexi Pass), but currently they are $577 on the Eurail website.  For those of you purchasing your railpass at the end of the year, I had read online that Eurail passes get more expensive starting Jan.1st, so it's better to buy your passes before the year is over.  I'm not sure how true this is since I have noticed the prices change quite frequently because of the exchange rate, but I did buy my passes right at the end of December just to be safe.
Eurail Pass Ticket
I have to be honest and say that purchasing the railpass itself was very troublesome.  I had initially wanted to purchase the pass directly through  They usually offer an Amazon gift card with a $500 purchase, and I wanted to take advantage of that.  However, when I tried to use my credit card, it got declined.  Apparently their site is based in the Netherlands, and my bank didn't authorize the transaction because it was out of the country.  I had to call my bank and tell them it was an authorized transaction, and then tried to pay online again and my card still got declined!  In the end I ordered through Raileurope instead, even though it was a little more expensive ($530 instead of $525).  Shipping was very prompt and free if you purchase over $399.  I got my passes within a couple of days of ordering.  Raileurope often has sales and discounts online, so I highly recommend checking them out.
Eurail Pass and Travel Log
Using the pass is fairly simple.  We didn't actually need to use our pass until we were leaving Rome.  All you need to do before your first use is to have it validated at any ticket window.  You need your passport in order to validate your pass.  All they do is stamp it and mark in the start and end dates on your pass (for us it was 2 months time).  For a Flexi pass, each time you use it, you need to fill in the date portion on the ticket, which indicates that you're using the pass for the duration of that day,  You also need to fill in the travel log portion on the lower half with the departure and destination stations, train number and date.  DO NOT remove the travel log portion on your ticket!  Your ticket is invalid without it, and I have read online that people who have removed their travel logs have had problems, so leave it on!  When they come to check tickets on the train, all you need to do is show them your pass.  In my experience, they only checked the actual ticket portion and not the travel log, so I don't think it really matters if it's filled out.  There were several times we forgot to fill out the travel log before hand, and had no problems.
Reservation fees are also something you need to keep in mind when you're using a rail pass.  Reservations are not necessary on all trains, but some do require reservations.  Deutche Bahn is an excellent site to find train time tables and to plan your route!  They also have a free android app which I used a ton in Europe.  This site will indicate which segments of your trip require reservations.  Most reservations fees were quite small, and some didn't require any.  Here's a breakdown by country:
Intercity (IC) Trains (2nd class)- 3 euros
Frecciarossa (Eurostar AV)- 10 euros
Thalys (To Brussels)- 23 euros
So those were the countries that had mandatory train reservations.  I have to admit, despite paying a bit more to reserve a seat, I think it's worth it, especially on busier routes.  Waking through four train cars trying to find an open seat kind of sucks, and there was at least one time where we had to stand until a seat opened up. 
Anyway, if you're planning to go to Europe or thinking about buying a Eurail Pass I hope you found this post helpful.  As always, if you have any questions feel free to comment below!

Some helpful links: