Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30 Day Challenge Recap!

It's the end of April so how did I do?! I don't want to say I failed it exactly but I did end up skipping a few days. It was a total of about four days and mostly they were just days that I knew I wouldn't have time to do my exercises. I considered skipping the days but still doing it the next day but I really wanted to just stick to the whole 30 days thing so if I missed a day, I didn't make up for it, I just went onto the next day. I guess let's just break down each exercise and give my thoughts on them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's in my Trash?! #17

This will be a giant post full of many products. Basically I want to switch up the format of how I do my empties posts and in order to do that I needed to just get out all the images of empties that I had already written names on. Confusing? Yes. Basically how it is now it is a long bullet list and at the end there are pictures of everything and I've overlaid text on top of each image so it's easy to figure out which item is which. I'm doing away with that and you'll see the new format next month so that's why there is such an odd number of products here because I just needed to get rid of everything on my hard drive! Anyways, enough of that, on to the empties!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Etude House Broccoli Wash Off Pack

Fun fact: as a child the only vegetable I would eat was broccoli because I liked to pretend I was a dinosaur eating trees. Weird, I know, but it made my mom happy because she never had problems getting me to eat a leafy green vegetable! Today I'm bringing you a wash off pack from Etude House's Play Therapy line that features broccoli and other superfood complexes! This is the product in the line that is created for spot care which is suppose to soothe and moisturize rough reddish skin, an overall remedy for sensitive and/or troubled skin! Sensitive skin I do not, troubled? Absolutely.

With over a month of consistent testing time I am finally ready to deliver my verdict on this product! It's a special blend of Super Food Complex (including broccoli, blueberry and oats) and tea tree oil to create a product packed full of skin clearing benefits that is effective yet gentle enough for everyone to use.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Lipstick Diaries #2: How I Failed & What's Next!

 This will be one of the shortest posts ever but despite failing at this this month I still decided to come on here to talk about it. Some of you may be aware back in January I started complaining about extremely dry lips that were so tightly stretched and dried that they would hurt, yet there wasn't signs of cracking. I really wasn't sure what was going on so I began a process of rotating through a lot of products trying to figure out if I had an allergy. For the majority of March my lips seemed to be making a comeback hence why I was confident in starting this new project. However maybe a week into April the same problem came back now paired with severely flaking lips. It was real nasty and frustrating because it seemed like obsessively putting on lip balm was actually making it worse.

Basically what I ended up doing was just leaving my lips alone and just using a light lip scrub nightly that I applied with an old toothbrush. I feel like I'm jinxing myself but that seemed to finally do the trick. I also started using a brand new eos lip balm applying it only twice a day, once in the morning and once at night and I'm pleased to report that my lips are starting to go back to normal. I do wake up with flaky lips but throughout the day it sort of corrects itself so I think with my hands-off approach I can get back to where I was before.

What exactly was going on though? To be honest I'm not sure but I have narrowed it down to two lip products that appear to irritate my lips so it appears to either be an allergic reaction to an ingredient or perhaps they are carrying some type of bacteria. I've held on to these two products for one day when I can do some research into it and compare ingredient lists but I would go back and forth between using these products and not and they definitely appear to be the culprit since there's a correlation between use and the state of my lips.

Long story short, lipstick diaries did not happen in April, but instead of just declaring the project a bust I am just taking the same three lippies I picked and trying it again for May! Now that I'm at a 99% confidence rate of what was causing my problems and eliminating those things I feel comfortable starting this project. So as a quick reference below is a swatch of the three products I've selected so check back at the end of May to see how I've done with the official round one of the lipstick diaries!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Unboxing: Birchbox April 2015

Another box another Birchbox unboxing! It's strange not having mountains of boxes come to me every month but it is what it is. Sneak peek though, I was pretty disappointed with my box this month which is something that hasn't happened in awhile. I forgive you though Birchbox, you can't be a smash hit every time.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Birchbox it is one of those monthly beauty sample boxes where they send you a box of 5-6 (sometimes even 7 with bonus extras) samples and deluxe samples. Occasionally there will be full size products too! The brands they send are all fairly high-end and they have a point system and customer service staff that just can't be beat. For $10 a month you are able to select a sample from a select group of choices and have more surprises delivered to you based on your beauty profile! Have I convinced you to sign up yet? If so I would love it if you would do it through my referral link here! Feel free to also go to www.birchbox.com if you want to look around without any strings attached to me.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daily Makeup Essentials *Updated*

I'm not sure if I've ever even written a post like this but I can tell you my makeup preferences have really changed since day one on this blog. If I remember correctly I wasn't even filling in my brows when I started this blog, and I was still ringing my eyes with black eyeliner! Oh how the times have changed. These days I value the extra five minutes of sleep so I have slipped into a comfortable makeup routine that takes me no longer than three minutes in the morning. In fact I spend more time going through my morning skincare routine than putting on makeup and getting dressed combined! Funny how times have changed and you don't even see it happening until one day you sit down and decide to write a blog post on it!

I work in a very casual work environment, in fact the norm seems to be workout clothes and I even see people wandering around in flannel pajama bottoms too! That being said, makeup is kept at a very minimum and used to just enhance my natural features. In fact if you really think about it all I really do is darken the brows and the lashes since naturally those hairs are more of a grey for me so they tend to just fade away. I've gotten my routine down to just 6 products and it's something I can easily accomplish in just minutes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: OZ Naturals Vitamin C Serum


Guess what? I am here with another vitamin c serum to review! You must think I'm crazy but honestly I've found that vitamin c is really a power ingredient for my skin and is what helps to really brighten it up and even out the skin tone. I must say that not all vitamin c serums are created equal, different companies use different blends of ingredients with varying amounts and grades so as long as I can get my hands onto them, I want to try out as many as I can!

Today I have for you guys the OZ Naturals Vitamin C Serum! This is a blend of organic vitamin c, amino, and hyaluronic acid that leaves your skin radiant and more youthful by fighting free radicals. It is Allure Magazine's Best In Beauty Vitamin C Serum and is widely considered to be the most effective organic serum available. This serum contains a clinical strength of 20% vitamin c plus vegan hyaluronic acid and it helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Unboxing: Beauteque Mask Maven April 2015

As soon as I heard about Beauteque's Mask Maven subscription box from my friend Rachel, I signed up for a 12 month plan immediately because this is definitely my kind of subscription box! This is justified by me since I cancelled all my boxes except for Birchbox and there's a discount when you go for multiple months!

Mask Maven is a subscription box from Beauteque, an Asian beauty site, that sends you a bag full of various masks each month! For $15 a month, you will receive 9-11 masks that could be anything from conventional sheet masks and wash off packs, to more crazy things such as feet or even butt masks!

I've always been obsessed with masks and lately I've been running through my sheet mask collection so this was a great subscription for me to try out some different masks and brands! This is my first month doing this so I'm not sure if the masks vary for each person, so these are the ones I received and just some quick thoughts on them!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Nails of the Week #37: Nude Colorblock

Nail art game..so strong! Not really, but I'm really trying here and I'm pleased with the slew of semi creative manicure attempts I've had lately. This week I went for something simple, and I must say that my manicures are behind again, these are actually my nails for almost two weeks ago, but it is what it is...Anyways, back to the nails, I'm just all over the place with tangents today. One thing from this NotW experience is I'm really realizing that out of my hundred of bottles of nail polish I have my favorites that I always go for. It's proof that I can cut down my collection size, I just need to get over the fear of wanting a certain color after it's gone.

This week with the help of my handy nail tape I did a diagonal colorblock-ish look using some neutrals. The nude is one of my favorites, Essie in Sand Tropez which is a color that is definitely getting a good dent in it. This may be a color I actually finish up which has never happened before! The silver metallic is butter London in Bobby Dazzler, another old favorite and probably the best foiled nail polish I have ever worked with. A lot of metallic colors end up look streaky and it's hard to correct that but this is an easy and even one coater that has the added bonus of drying super fast. I used my handy Color Club Nail Art Duo in Black with the help of nail tape to guide a straight line in between the two colors and voila! It's sharp and simple and another manicure I want to repeat with different colors. My line work still isn't very clean, the thickness of the line varies and some of the time I clearly messed up, or I didn't pull the tape off fast enough. As a whole I think it's a great first attempt and I'm so glad I've been documenting my nail art journey here!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Unboxing: Beauty Box 5 April 2015

Okay this should be my last Beauty Box 5. I had to email them and apparently I got two extra boxes or something like that? They say my subscription is completely done with on the 23rd, so I will be monitoring my account and bank statements carefully to make sure I am not charged again! So this $12 a month box is definitely my least favorite subscription so I won't be providing much information just a quick unboxing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top 5 Favorite Eye Treatments

I'm a strong believer in starting early with anti-aging defense. Even if it's not a product that is specifically formulated towards combating wrinkles and other signs of age, I do believe that keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized is a solid defense. Your eye area is one of the first places to show signs of aging, especially now with the constant squinting at phone screens and the ease of makeup wipes to take off your makeup, the skin there really could use some extra loving! I've put together a quick list of my top 5 favorite eye treatments in a whole range of prices and practicality of when to use them too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Golden Tote March 2015 Reveal!

This is a month of firsts when it comes to subscription services! First FabFitFun and now Golden Tote are all making an appearance this month! In an effort to step up my wardrobe game I was first introduced to Golden Tote back in December. For $49 you can select one piece of clothing from the boutique and they will send you an additional surprise piece, and for $149 you can choose two pieces and got four surprises. It's a great value for some good quality clothing and the surprises are always curated from a detailed style profile that you fill out yourself. This is my third tote I've purchased and I think I've been lucky since every piece of clothing I loved and either kept or gifted to my mom. Basically she and I split the tote pretty evenly whenever they come!

This is my first month doing one of these reveals so I had a hard time figuring out how to photograph all the clothes so I apologize in advance for not the best photos. They had some issues with their new site launch last month so this is a March tote that I didn't receive until the beginning of April. I'm slowly looking at the spoilers for April though and debating whether or not I need to pick one up!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara

I don't believe I've done a mascara review on this blog, except for the Benefit They're Real one a long long time ago. It seems unusual that I am doing this since I complain all the time about getting mascara in subscription boxes, but this is a very special case and it was an opportunity I could not pass up.

I was selected by Influenster to review the YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara and obviously I was not going to turn something down from one of the most iconic brands of all time. This is a relaunch of their classic formula with a few small improvements such as making it a formula that does not dry out, and a few lucky Influensters received this very special YSL box. YSL is at the very top of luxury and I own exactly one other product from them which is this lipstick that cost an arm and a leg but it just has packaging (and formulation) to die for. Anyways, enough with my rambling let's get right into the review of this product!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nails of the Week #36: Neon Black Nails

Yeah I know that title made no sense but I had no clue what to call this manicure! Going along with working on my nail art game I attempted another creative nail design. If you follow my Instagram (@catharinechang) you will know that this manicure is actually from a few weeks ago! I have some scheduling conflict on this blog and everything just got pushed back a lot but nevertheless here we are now! So armed with some neon colors, black nail polish, and nail tape, I present to you these neon black nails that was inspired from this picture here that I stumbled across while googling "easy nail art for short nails"...yes, those words exactly. So this definitely could have been executed better if I had thinner tape, you can see I realized that but it was difficult cutting the tape. Some of the edges aren't as clean as I would like them to be but overall it did give a fuzzy I kind of did this on purpose look so I'm telling myself it worked. I definitely need to work on tape placement because in my mind everything worked great but obviously once I took the tape off I basically had a big S on my thumb so....

Black was provided by my trusty Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro in Black Satin, which I think sadly is drying up because it is getting a little chunky. I'm considering revival drops but I've had it for so long it might not be worth it, but at the same time it's such an opaque black that dries super quick, we'll see.  For the neon colors I used butter London in Cheeky Chops (yellow), Essie in Bachelorette Bash (pink), and  Essie in The More The Merrier (green). I love the neon colors combination and they definitely have a future in my nails, I'm thinking a chevron design or ombre will be excellent!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday 5 Fave

I've pretty much succeeded at doing one of these every month and I'm quite proud of it! I think it's without a doubt my favorite types of posts to write for this blog because it's like a mini favorites post that covers just about everything going on in my life. I'm not restricted to just beauty products, but any type of products as well as activities. I mean maybe I should just start opening up my favorites to lifestyle ones too, but I guess I also like these because I'm choosing things that I'm loving from this particular week and not necessarily something that I'm madly in love with for a month. This month I'm digging a great subscription service, some good reading in the sun, and an oldie but a goodie of an app on my phone!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Unboxing: FabFitFun VIP Spring 2015

I was searching and apparently I never did an unboxing of FabFitFun on this blog! I got a two box deal of RueLaLa and decided to take it for a spin as an alternative to Popsugar and here is the second box I received. Some quick background though on this box. This is a quarterly box so it comes four times a year and it is a women's lifestyle box. Each box will contain a variety of curated items that are typically season specific. This box costs $50 per quarter, but they've recently launched their annual program where boxes are slightly discounted and you will have the option to choose some of the variations in your box. I wasn't blown away by the Winter box, there were a few things I liked and some other things that were clearly forgettable because I honestly couldn't even tell you everything that was in it now. So let's check out what came in the Spring box!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesday Wants

It's that time again for another Wednesday Wants! I promise it's not too much this time and I definitely plan on picking all these up as soon as I work through my existing makeup stash. I'm interested to some old holy grail products of people and I finally heard enough about them to want to try them myself. I'm proud to say I haven't had a haul for awhile and besides just buying essentials I've been busy enough to keep myself out of the trouble and my credit card in check.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Etude House Silk Scarf Hair Moist Pack

Next up on my list of Asian beauty haul reviews is this deep conditioning hair mask! This is from the Etude House Silk Scarf line and this is the Etude House Silk Scarf Hair Moist Pack. I really don't do much with my hair, never use heat or sprays or anything, heck I don't even brush it more than once or twice a week. I'm really not kidding here. I think it's beautiful left alone so I never fuss with it, but the two products I will go for is dry shampoo and hair masks! Naturally this is why I picked this up, also because I knew I grabbed one too many skin treatments so I needed something different to round out the haul.

This moist pack (that name makes me shudder) is a specially formulated oil complex that is said to intensively resort very dry and damaged hair while minimizing breakage while maximizing manageability. It can be used once or twice a week and is applied in place of your normal hair conditioner after you shampoo. While I do not have extremely dry or damaged hair, I have used enough hair masks to know the difference between an effective and non-effective one so stick with me!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nail of the Week #35: Chevron Nails

I wouldn't say these are the best nails I've ever done but I'm very proud of my attempt at some more sophisticated nail art. The design itself is fairly clean, it's more of the cleanup job between skin and nails that is a little off. I almost didn't post these but then I remembered that this blog is a journey and what better way than to showcase even the worst of my nail art attempts. This week I did a resort inspired chevron pattern. I had some nail stickers that I used to achieve the chevron pattern. I hope to do this again better, I'm imagining a really fun neon one for the summer!

I used three colors for this, Essie in Sand Tropez, Essie in Bikini So Teeny, and Sephora OPI in White Hot. These colors worked really well together for a nice resort-y feel. Next time I think I need to do the middle color all over and let it dry completely before putting on the stickers and doing the other two colors because I definitely had an issue with lifting up the white so I had to go in very carefully to fix it. Overall it wasn't a bad first attempt and I can't wait for the next try because it is such an easy manicure that looks awesome!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: Garnier Duo Clean Whitening + Pore Minimizer Duo Foam

Now that it has been a little more than full month since I've returned to my Asian beauty booty (check out the full haul here!) it's been a long enough time of testing out products to start writing up some reviews! Today I'm starting off with a brand that everyone knows, but a product that is region specific to Asia! This is the Garnier Duo Clean Whitening + Pore Minimizer Duo Foam. This cleanser is formulated with white rice and black rice extracts that are packed with skin renewal properties and nourishing power. It is suppose to deeply cleanse the skin, visibly reduce pore size, and help brighten up skin tone. For this 80ml tube, it cost about $3, comparable to most drugstore cleansers you can find here in the US. Black rice is said to help brighten up your skin tone and white rice nourishes skin deeply and is packed with antioxidants.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 30-Day Challenge!

What better way to stay accountable than to put it on the blog?! I've tried this method out of countless other things and it has been a win everytime to stay on track! So nothing says wake-up call to me like hiking up a mountain and getting the feeling like I'm going to die every step of the week. Probably for two months now I was saying I wanted to try one of those 30-day challenges to kick start a more active lifestyle and finally April is the month to do! So I actually already started this yesterday but I'm writing this up today, it's still not too late to join me!

I combed though Pinterest for all these different 30 day challenges, I've done various ab and squat ones before and I finally settled on this particular challenge for a few reasons.

First I liked that it was four different exercises that would target different muscle groups. I was really looking for something that had both squats and push-ups because I'm not a fan of my thighs and I have really weak upper body strength. And finally I liked that there aren't full rest days but instead just days where you rest from certain exercises.

I'll pop in at the end of the month, probably either in The Lipstick Diaries or the monthly favorites to let you know how this 30 day challenge went for me! Who knows this may inspire me to take on a whole new working out regime and if so that will warrant an entire dedicated post!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 2015 Favorites + Unfavorites

Wow I say this every month but March really has gone in a flash and I'm thankful I kept up a running list of favorites this month because for a moment I panicked that I had nothing to share. Actually ended up with a lot of favorites, and a few of them are actually makeup products! You know that means I actually wore makeup this month! It helped that I went to Vegas so I was kind of forced, but just disregard that. Anyways let's just get right into what you came here for and that is the favorites (and unfavorites)!