Friday, February 26, 2010

Forever 21 Haul

Today I want to share with you my first online Forever 21 haul. This haul was also made in January. Forever 21 website always offers free shipping for orders $75 and above. My purchase wasn't enough to make free shipping, so I think I paid $6.95 extra for shipping and handling. My package arrived safe and sound within 2 days. I love packages that arrive so quickly :)

I don't normally buy clothes online because I like to go to the store to see the clothes myself, to feel the material, and to try them on. I decided to order from Forever 21 online because I wanted to buy some cute jewelries. It is much easier to choose the jewelry pieces you want from Forever 21's website because it is sometimes hard to find the piece you want in their actual stores. Things tend to be scattered and messy, especially true in the case for rings. Most of the Forever 21 stores I've been to place a varieties of their rings in a platter. While treasure hunting is fun, but not finding a particular piece among 30 other different styles, and not finding the correct size can be frustrating. However, it is so much easier to browse these jewelry pieces online, and you can choose the exact color and size that you want.

 

I picked out these rings: a cute black bow with rhinestones as the polka dots, a set of 3 bands with hearts that have love, hope, peach and faux pearls that could be worn alone or all together, and a set of 3 flower rings that are very spring appropriate -- my favorite are the yellow and the teal blue one. 

  

I had to get cute mouse pendant necklace because I couldn't get over how adorable it looks. Plus fiance's Chinese zodiac is the rat :) The mouse's head is decorated with sparkly clear rhinestones, and its belly black rhinestones.

 

I also got a blue scarf to match a new blue pea coat I got last month. A v-neck simple T-shirt -- always useful.
Last but not least, I really wanted to get this pair of platform peep toe pumps, it must be the bow detail that got me! I've never worn heels this high before (4.5" inches with a 0.75" platform). So I'm still practicing! hahaha :D

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alice in Wonderland Haul

Both of these hauls were from the end of January, I believe. I received the products at the beginning of February. I wanted to post my January hauls slowly and spaced out, to help me get through my February no-buy more easily, since I get to look at my haul posts throughout the month :)


When OPI came out with their Alice in Wonderland nail polish collection, I knew I had to get my hands on these. In particular, the two glittery ones, Absolutely Alice, and Mad as a Hatter were so attention drawing and one of a kind, and I never owned anything in my collection similar to those. I rushed to my local Ulta on the first day of release, but sadly they were all sold out! Now I know, girls in my area are crazy about pretty stuff that I like too! hahaha :p The Ulta girl told me that they were going to have a new stock coming in the coming Thursday, but I know I couldn't wait any longer, so I went ahead and ordered two sets of the minis on Amazon, one for myself, and the other for a very dear friend :) I figured the set will let me try out all the colors (4 of them) in the collection.

Here I am with Mad as a Hatter on my nails:

Absolutely Alice:

The chunky glitters made them kind of hard to spread across my nails evenly, and it was also hard to remove the glitters that accidentally got on my cuticles :T Plus these colors are so sparkly and vibrant, definitely not very work friendly :p Nevertheless, they are so fun and too pretty to pass up!

Also, Urban Decay came out with its special edition Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows. I've never owned any Urban Decay book of shadows before, and thought this would be a great place to start! Sadly, Urban Decay's website sold out of its own BOS the day of its release. So a few days later when Sephora finally had it in stock, I ordered it right away, fearing that it might be gone again very soon.

 
Sephora haul: Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows, 
and an Ed Hardy Sephora tote as a free gift. 


This eyeshadow palette is so delicately made with my favorite pop-up design that opens up the scenes of Alice in Wonderland, along with a pretty decently sized mirror.


The eyeshadow drawer pulls out to 16 brilliantly colored shadows, two 24/7 eyeliners, and a mini bottle of Urban Decay Primer Potion -- which I have never tried before and was always curious about it. A lot of the colors are pretty neutral and are suitable for everyday wear.

 

 

Monday, February 22, 2010

MAC Ripe Peach Blush Ombre

The bf, or should I call fiance now (haha still need to get some used to :p), bought me the MAC Ripe Peach Blush Ombre for Valentine's Day and I've been loving it so much. You bet it will be one of my February's favorite products!

This pretty looking blush is from MAC's Spring Colour Forecast collection. The blush ombres are larger than the normal MAC blush size, they are the size of my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish powder, or Hello Kitty beauty powders. For $25, I think it is a good value because this huge blush will last me for a long time!


Blush ombres have a gradient effect that fades from one color to another. For Ripe Peach, the top is a light peachy shade, and the color gradually darkens into a peachy pink. I fell in love with this color at the MAC counter right away, the powder feels so smooth and silky, and are pretty pigmented as well.

The top left color is swatched from the lighter colors near top of the pan, the top right color is swatched from the darker colors near bottom of the pan. The bottom color is all the colors swirled together. Pretty huh?

Ripe Peach is a peachy-orange with subtle gold sheen/shimmer when you look closely. But the shimmer is very minimal when applied, so it definitely does not make your cheek look sparkly. Instead, this color gives my cheeks are very nice glow! Not too powdery either, just a really natural, sun-kissed glow, so amazing!

Here is another swatch on my finger tips, with the blush in the background for reference. Left most color is the darker color swatch, middle is when all the colors are swirled together, and right most is the lighter color swatch.

I heard that this blush is getting sold out everywhere, I  grabbed the last one in the MAC store I went to :T But try to search for them in different MAC stores, you'll never know. If you want this, you need to go quick! Good luck :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Secret Valentine

Thank you so much to all you sweethearts who congratulated on our engagement in my last post! It means the world to me to have such wonderful and caring friends like you! Thank you!  ♥♥♥

I participated in the Secret Valentine's Exchange event hosted by Diana and Kay. This was much like the Christmas Secret Santa gift exchange, except this time for Valentine's day. This kind of gift exchange events with other lovely blogger girls is such a great idea, and so much fun to participate in!!!

I was Eki's Secret Valentine: http://ekimura.blogspot.com/2010/02/love-packages.html :)

And my Secret Valentine is Melissa from Fabulously Thrifty! I got her festive looking red package a week earlier and we weren't allowed to open and peak inside until Valentine's Day. The wait was so painful but so worth it when I finally got to see what Melissa got me =D


Melissa really spoiled me rotten! The package was stuffed with goodies! She knows I love Korres products, and got me a set of 3 little shower gels in summer fruits scents -- guava, fig, and kumquat! I am so excited about the kumquat scent because I've never tried that before at all!  She also got me a bath set from Victoria's Secret -- a Pink To Go Travel Minis, which included a body wash, body lotion, lip butter, and a refreshing body spray. This would be a really good kit to bring along on trips.

It's like she read my mind about what I wanted. I've always wanted to get my hands on these Revlon Matte eyeshadow, she got me Rich Sable (dark brown color) and Venetian Blue (a lovely bright sky blue color). I think Rich Sable would be a great crease color for the wedding makeup that I will start practicing on since I want to use all matte colors for the eyes and cheeks :)

Also, she got me a Revlon ColorStay Lipcolor in Natural Cashmere. I've never tried a long wearing lipstick before but I know these are a great choice for weddings as well :D Along with that, she also got me the Revlon ColorStay Mineral Eye Shadow in Midnight Garnet -- very nice neutral colors for everyday wear!

Of course, Melissa wrote me a lovely Valentine's card, along with some cinnamon hearts, and two pink sparkly pencils.

Thank you Melissa for all the goodies you got me! The gift exchange was so much fun, we should all do this more often :)

 

Also, this surprise package came from Stacy from Stacieeelovesit!  This girl was so sneaky, she never told me she was sending me something! It was such a nice surprise, thank you so much sweetie :)

She got me cute heart shaped lollipops along with Valentine's cards, and a delicately wrapped gift box with chocolates inside. It was very thoughtful!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saint Valentine's Day, 2010

Today passed by like a dream. This must have been the best Valentine's Day (and Chinese New Year) I've ever had. No scratch that, today was one of the best days in my life! Why?


Because I woke up with a ring on my ring finger! Literally! hahaha...those of you that talked to me before know that I am a deep sleeper, the usual kitty running around the floor above the bedroom, small earthquakes, ambulances, trains passing by don't usually wake me up easily. This morning, I woke up feeling the bf holding my hands tightly and a ring on my ring finger, but sleepy-head me still didn't even realize what was going on. The ring just felt like it belonged there on my finger all along, I guess that's a good sign :) We always knew that we'd be engaged someday, and I have had the hunch that this day was coming soon, but it was still such a nice surprise to see it finally happening!

Thanks to all my sweet friends who already congratulated us on Twitter. I can't wait to plan the Big Day soon!


Our plan for today was to stay at home and make BBQ. Thankfully the weather was extra gorgeous today! We made so much food even though it was just the two of us! Consider this my last time to pig out before I set up a rigorous diet/exercise plan for myself so I could look my best for my wedding :D

 Garden green salad with Japanese miso dressing, T-bone steak.

BBQ baby back ribs



Grilled artichokes



Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting -- our favorite!



Tropical fruit salad


While the two of us were busy making food, Mia got to lazy out under the sun. What a luxurious life she has! :)


Happy Year of the Tiger! :)


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can't resist a peachy blush!

Happy Valentine’s Day + Lunar New Year + Long Weekend!

This weekend is awesome! Not only is Sunday both Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year (yay year of the tiger!), and it’s a long weekend for me because Monday is President’s day! 

Some of you might know that I have decided to do a “no buy” project for the month of February because I felt like I bought too much stuff in January (still haven’t even gotten to try out some of the stuff I bought yet!), and I really don’t need any more makeup/skincare/clothes in my collection just simply because I want them (but not necessarily need). I’ve been doing great so far, and finished a few products already in the past two weeks.

But this weekend, my lovely bf told me that I am allowed to break the rule and he will buy me whatever makeup I liked for me for V-day/new year. Isn’t he the sweetest guy? So after work on Friday, I walked into a MAC store and tried out a few things I’ve been eyeing on.

The first thing that caught my attention was the Ripe Peach blush from Spring Colour Forecast collection. I have been really into peachy blushes recently. Ripe Peach is about the same size as a powder compact, much bigger than MAC’s regular blush pans. It has a cool gradient that moves from light to dark tons, with a little bit of shimmer, but not extremely noticeable. This blush color was truly love at first sight. I grabbed the last one in the store too, lucky me!

Then I went over to the All Races Ages Sexes display to check out Myself lipstick, as I heard it’s an awesome MLBB mauvy color. But unfortunately my store ran out of it already. Oh well, I suppose I don’t need another lipstick since I never have any luck finishing lipsticks anyway.

The last things I looked at are the two Viva Glam lipsticks named after Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga. Both are such pretty colors, but I didn’t end up getting them because Lady Gaga was really creamy and totally exaggerated the dry peeling lips I’ve been suffering this week, and Cyndi Lauper, well, I figured I just don’t need any lipsticks at this moment. Maybe I will change my mind later though! I always comes back from the store regretting things I’ve looked at but didn’t end up getting, why oh why do I do that to myself! Even the bf tells me that I should just get the things that took me more than a few minutes to admire in the store because I will definitely regret not getting them later! Oh he knows me so well!
  
So in the end, I came out of the store happily with my Ripe Peach blush and a MAC brush cleanser because my current one is almost running out. Didn’t I tell you that I have the sweetest boyfriend ever?


I also picked out two shirts from Forever 21. See a trend there? I really seem to like the ruffled bottoms :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Softer Lips and Brighter Eyes

If you read my Monthly Favorite posts, you'd know that I often rave about Softlips SPF 20 Conditioning  Lip Balms. It has been my daily staple for a long time, and I know I will continue to use it for years to come. It is an essential part of my morning routine to apply a lip balm to prevent dry lips and protect from sun exposure.  This lip balm does exactly what I need. Softlips lip balms come in a variety of flavors. Usually I stick with the vanilla scented one.


I was contacted by Ms. Nicole Egan a while ago to try out more varieties of Softlips lip balms, such as their limited edition seasonal flavors, and from their organic PURE line.

The Softlips SPF 20 Conditioning Lip Balm come in about a dozen of different yummy flavors to suit everyone's preference. Such as strawberry, mint with a hint of vanilla, peach mango, coconut cream, sugar cookie, sugar plum berry, etc.

The Softlips PURE line is a "line of premium organic lip conditioners designed with skin-conditioning ingredients to help keep lips soft, supple, and healthy". These products contain no animal by-products and is not tested on animals! My favorite flavor from this line is the honeydew flavor. They also have pomegranate, peppermint, acia berry, papaya, and chai tea flavors. Personally I think these PURE lip balm consistencies are a tad dryer than the ones with SPF, but it also does not feel heavy or waxy on the lips.

They claim to "provide a smooth feeling on the lips and is sensually pleasing with light flavors. They combine effective lip protection with SPF 20 and moisturizing emollients with a sheer glossing effect, making them perfect for natural lips or for adding protection/moisturizing over or under lipstick." How I use these lip balms is to apply a thin layer on my lips even before I put on foundation or any makeup on my face, so my lips will be soft, moisturized, and ready for lipstick or lip gloss application later on. Then throughout the day, I will reapply the lip balm whenever my lips feel dry.

What I like about Softlips lip balms:
♥ yummy flavors.
♥ SPF ones offer protection from the sun.
♥ makes lip look healthy and moist, without the waxy and sticky feeling.
♥ slim packaging makes it easy to store and carry around.
♥ widely available in most drugstores.
♥ affordable (suggested retail of $2.99 to $3.99 for dual-stick packs for the SPF line, and $2.99 for PURE organic sticks)

While this lip balm might not be moisturizing enough as a rich night time lip treatment, it is a good choice for during the day. The thin tube also makes it easy to control and apply on the lips without the need of a mirror, because you won't have to worry about the product getting outside of the lips. Some people might be unfortunately allergic to SPF in their lip products, but you can certainly give the organic PURE range a try as these do not contain SPF.


Nicole also kindly sent me some Rohto eye drops to try out. These are the minty eye drops that I have mentioned in a haul post before. I had the one in Rohto cool (in green packaging), and have been using it frequently. Especially right before the holidays when I was busy finishing up my thesis, I was staying up late a lot, and have found the eye drop to be a refreshing pick-me-up for my eyes when it felt strained from staring at my computer screen for too long late at night.

Rohto eye drops claim to help relieve redness, dryness, and irritation of the eyes, and contains menthol to enhance the sensation of relief, and give a "kick" to tired eyes. These "cough drops for eyes" do get a bit used to as the menthol feeling is quite strong and might be too much sensation for some people. When I first started using Rohto, I could not open my eyes for a few seconds at all because of how minty and stingy it felt upon touching my eyes! But I got used to it after a few uses. However, the effects is truly amazing. It gets rid of the redness in my eyes and turns my eyes a pure shade of white! When the whites of your eyes are bright and white, you would look more awake, even if you haven't slept for days. I also find Rohto to be a great relieve for my eye irritation when an allergy strikes. A great use for these eye drops is to apply in the morning before you put on any eye makeup, and it will help you to get rid of the redness in your eyes and make you look very awake!

The Rohto formula originated from Japan. You can find these in most drugstores, and range from about $6.99 to $8.99. A bottle will last you a long time as you only need a drop or two for each eye at once. Rohto Hydra helps to sooth eyes with extreme dryness. Rohto Arctic helps to provide long-lasting cooling sensation that revives overtired, overworked eyes while relieving redness, and is suitable for eye strain as a result of lack of sleep or prolonged computer use. Rohto Cool relieves everyday redness and dryness, and helps to "wake up" tired eyes with a gentle cooling sensation. Rohto Ice reduces redness while also sooth itch, irritation, and burn, with a more intense cooling sensation than Rhoto Cool. So in terms of coolness, Rohto Cool is the most gentle, then Ice, and Arctic, as the names suggest. After trying the other formulas, my favorite is still Rohto Cool, I don't think my eyes can take the stingy sensation of Arctic :p I would suggest you to try Rohto Cool as a starter and increase intensity if needed depending on your needs and amount of eye usage (whether if you are a computer user, read a lot, or don't get too much beauty sleep, etc).

Positives:
♥ gets rid of redness fast for that awake look
♥ soothing formula, relieves itchininess
♥ clean, simple packaging
♥ comes in a variety of cooling intensity to suit your needs
♥ inexpensive and readily available

Any negatives?
- the cooling sensation might be too much for some people
- lid snaps on and does not screw on, and sometimes I find the lid to fall out from moving around in my makeup bag

Thanks for reading!


FTC note:  I am not affiliated with the companies and did not get paid to do this review. The Softlips lipbalms and Rohto eye drops were sent to me to try for free.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big haul from LUSH

I love LUSH, especially their bath products -- hand made bubble bars, bath bombs, soaps...LUSH offers a variety of fun products to play with, that are not only good for the skin, but also smell so yummy that they put me in a good mood every time I use one! 

During the holidays, LUSH usually introduces a TON of holiday themed products, one of which has became my favorite and a daily staple -- the Snow Fairy shower gel/shampoo. What I also found out about LUSH this year is that after Christmas is over, LUSH carries on an awesome buy 1 get 2 free sale on all of their holiday products. Since I didn't have a chance to get to my LUSH fast enough, I told myself that next year, I am heading to LUSH on December 26th, bright and early to stock up on my goodies :) But much to my surprise, while I was browsing two weeks ago, I found out that LUSH online had re-stocked on some of the holiday items for sale. There were a ton of gift sets as well, for buy 1 get 2 free. Of course I couldn't let this great deal slip, and hauled away. I was really excited about this haul, because there are a ton of holiday items that I have been wanting to try so badly!

When the big box of LUSH goodies arrived at my front door, it smelled soooo good! In fact, I still have the empty box in my garage. Everyday when I come home, I feel like I came back to a LUSH store, no kid! The smell of LUSH really lingers and serves like a super strong air freshener :)

The box is sealed up with tape that reads" Made with love and sealed with a kiss", how cute!

 
And the goodies that are shipped all the way from Canada. 

Individual bath bomb/bubble bars I bought:

**Green Bath of Foam: a cedar leaf scented, Hershey's Kiss shaped bubble bar.


**Silent White: suppose to cover the tub in a frosty white layer like the snow, a soft powdery scented bath bomb.

**Frothy the Snowman: coconut-vanillary bubble bar, covered in shredded coconut, with chocolate chips as its eyes and mouth. So cute!


Current edition of LUSH Times, and two small samples. Trichomania Shampoo and I should Coco soap -- both are coconut scented. Whoever packed my box must know coconut is one of my favorite scents!

Moving on to the gift sets:

**Jolly Holly Days gift set: it's got a selection of products with scents that guys could also enjoy!

 
When I opened up the box, all these colorful packing peanuts spilled out everywhere, it was truly a jolly holly sight! :)

 

- Snow Showers shower jelly: I have never tried shower jellies before, this looks like such a fun way to shower! You can use them at room temperature, or you can chill or freeze it first for that snowy, cool effect. It has the scent of sweet orange, lime, and cognac oil. 
- Sugar Scrub: ginger and fennel flavored exfoliator.
- Ice Blue soap: contains peppermint oil for that refreshing feeling.
- Too Drunk emotibomb:  to be placed on the shower floor, so water will create a fizzing reaction and release the scents.
- Sexy Boy massage bar: shaped like a gingerbread man, scented with chocolate, lime and cananga flowers. So yum!
- Olive Branch shower gel: I've used the Olive Branch solid perfume before, it is one of my favorite scents from LUSH.
- Rub Rub Rub shower gel: mimosa scented.

What's cool about LUSH gift sets is, each box contains a 15% off coupon to be used for the next time when you purchase online, or in store. Sweet :)

**Happy Christmas gift set: filled with my favorite bath bombs, bubble bars and soaps.
 

  

 
- Christmas Eve bubble bar: the cutest bubble bar with a yellow moon on top of a blue bar (sky). Smells like jasmine and ylang ylang perfume, which is suppose to be calming and relaxing. Turns my bath water into the coolest shade of blue :)
- Cinders bath bomb: suppose to contain popping candy that will make the sound of burning logs when you drop it in water. Scented with cinnamon and orange. Can't wait to try this one, sounds like so much fun!
- Jingle Spells bath bomb: this pretty bath bomb dropped shiny little star confetti all over my box! Appearantly it is a hangover relieving bath bomb that smells like juniper berries and fennel.
- Satsumo Santa bath bomb: this is so cute! A Santa that looks like Sumo wrestler, and smells like citrus fruit.
- Karma soap: apparently one of the best selling LUSH soaps, scented with lemongrass and orange oils.
- Snowcake soap: my favorite! Smells like almond milk pudding :)

** Stardust gift set: my favorite set out of the 3, it has the cutest, girliest packaging!

 

  

 

- Candy Cane bubble bar: smells like candy.
- Fairy Tail sugar scrub: looks so cute! it's a sugar mouse w/ white chocolate eyes and a tail sticking out from the end. It smells like coconut and strawberry.
- Snow Fairy shower gel: love love love!!!
- Double Fast Luck emotibomb: smells like Karma soap. LUSH made this one for Chinese New Year :)
- Snow Fairy solid perfume: I am so excited about this one. Now I can carry my favorite LUSH scent with me whenever I go!
- Angels Delight soap: It's shaped like a yellow crescent moon! Isn't this the cutest soap ever!

I think I've stocked up enough LUSH bath products to last me until the next LUSH holiday sale :) Most of these products last for about 14 months from the date of manufacturer, which were all around November/December of 2009. So for those of you that are worried about expiration dates for LUSH products, don't be afraid to stock up on their soaps and bath bombs/bubble bars, because they can last for a while, as long as you keep them away from moisture.

I have two more LUSH products that I want to try out as soon as my "February no-buy" ends: the sugar lip scrubs, and the fresh masks. Have you tried either products? Which fresh mask do you recommend? I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bring it on, glitter nails!

I have a confession to make: I looooove glittery nail polishes, but I used hate wearing them on my nails. Why? because they are wayyy harder to remove than a polish without any glitters. For some reason, all the little glitters never want to part with my nails. No matter how long and how hard I wipe and smudge my nail-polish-remover-soaked-cotton-ball on my nails, they won't budge. It is very frustrating!

But now, I am happy to say, I love wearing glittery nail polish again! All thanks to this little product -- ONYX Professional 100% pure acetone nail polish remover.


I was wandering through the aisles in Walmart when this tiny bottle caught my eyes -- on the bottle it specifically stated to "quickly remove nail glue and glitters", just what I am in need for! Plus for only a dollar, I figured there was nothing to lose.

To my surprise, it worked wonders at removing the glitters on my nails! However, this product contains 100% acetone and can be very drying and thus damaging to natural nails. So I only recommend using this once in a while only for those stubborn nail polishes or glitters that are hard to remove. Any of the 100% pure acetone nail polish removers from whichever drug store you can find should work, not necessarily this particular brand.

I also heard using a felt cloth helps removing those glitters like magic, but I have yet to try that myself.


Normally, I use the Sally Hansen Fast and Gentle polish remover for removing non-glitter nail polishes. The formula contains vitamin E and aloe, and is not as harsh to the nails, especially if you are like me and change polishes very frequently. You could also find this or similar products from any drugstores.