Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BareMinerals Mystery Box September 2015

Every few months BareMinerals offers up a one-day special: a set of mystery items for a heavily discounted price. These are usually combinations of full size and deluxe samples that are discontinued, clearanced, overstocked, repackaged, or extras that were a part of a set. Supply is limited and they tend to sell out very fast! I just happened to be online one Sunday when MySubscriptionAddiction updated their website to announce September's BareMinerals mystery box was up for sale. This time the mystery box contained 10 items and costs a total of $30 plus tax and free shipping. So it cost me approximately $32 for the 10 things I received.

The whole set, kinda cut off the black deluxe sample tube of lipstick in the corner though...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Of Thoughts and Mud

Sometimes I just need to get away. Be alone. Have my own moment.

For two years I lived alone in London. Well... not quite alone alone. I did have flatmates, but they were people I didn't really know or have any sort of social responsibility towards. I kept my space clean, they keep their's clean, and otherwise we had very little to do with each other. It was lovely. I could retreat to my room and just be. Alone in a city of 8.6 million.

Southbank, London

And now I'm back in rural North Carolina. You'd think that it would be more peaceful here instead of less. But I'm living with my parents who haven't realized that I'm an adult yet. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents and I'm very grateful that they've let me live with them during my health crisis. But that is just how parents are, I think, mothers especially. I had to sit her down and explain to her that I need my space, and that a locked door wasn't meant offensively, but she didn't quite get it.

Nighttime on Waterloo Bridge, London

When I need peace, I have to get out of the house. My mother has an odd quirk: she hates silence, therefore she talks a lot to prevent it. To anyone and everyone; human, animal, and object alike. I've walked in on her in a room where she was alone by herself, still chattering away to no one. She can't sit in a room with someone quietly; she has to talk to them, although the conversation usually only goes one way.

Even sitting in my room with the door shut, I can hear her chattering away at the dog in the kitchen. Always noise, always talking. Never alone.

Barn couture
So I escape to the barn. My trainer was away this weekend, so I was taking care of her barn and escaped there. No one to talk at me, no one entitled to my attention. Just alone. It was muddy, so I couldn't ride. Instead I scrubbed buckets, cleaned stalls, and swept floors. Just so I could be so very alone for a time.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 2015 Mishibox

September is almost over and I'm just now getting around to posting about this month's Mishibox. I will own up to this lack of posting being due to sheer laziness rather than being busy or exceptionally ill.

While you all ooo and ahhh at my stellar photography skills.
The Great Pink Bunny ships consistently around the second week or so of the month (I don't remember the exact date, but they update you and really are on the ball regarding all that stuff), and arrived safe and sound to my house after only two days.

Products 1 & 2: Cleomee Snowy Pore Balm and Donkey Real Milk Oil Mask

The pore balm appears to be somewhat of a skin conditioner and makeup primer. It has donkey milk and donkey oil in it, and promises to "minimize the appearance of your pores and fine lines, brightens skin, neutralizes redness, and evens out uneven skin tone." as well as control excessive sebum production in oily skin. The sheet mask contains some amazing ingredients: donkey oil, donkey milk, Centella Asiatica extract, niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and other lovely things.

Sadly I cannot use either of these products, as I do not use horse nor donkey oil. Donkey/Horse oil is extracted from the fat of the animal slaughtered for other purposes (usually consumption), and I'm just too close to equids to be able to use those products without getting squeamish. I wish they just had donkey milk in them instead of milk AND oil.

However, I do not fault anyone for using these ingredients! They are wonderful skin conditioners that have done amazing things for so many people! If you have no personal issues with donkey/horse oil, these would be total win products. I already have promised mine to a good friend who is excited to try them.

Products 3 & 4: Holika Holika Nail Polish and Skylake Silk Cocoon Hair Conditioner (bonus free sticker!)

The Holika Holika nail polish came in four different color options pulled from the 2015 Spring/Summer collection, all being almost-neon level brights. The one I received is Pink Blossom, a very bright pink shade. Too bad I abhor pink. That is really just bad luck on my part! This one will be handed over to my older sister who also loves Korean beauty products (and does her nails often).

The hair conditioner from Skylake is based on traditional Korean herbal ingredients, so it has a very interesting smell that some might not like. I like it, though, so it is a keeper. This conditioner does contain two silicone ingredients, which is something that I try to avoid in my haircare products, but the mini size amount means that using it sparingly won't take forever to empty it like a full sized bottle would.

Pardon the dust from the packing material that I didn't bother to wipe off.

Products 5 & 6: Magis Lene Cell Precieux Toner and Emulsion (bonus serum and cream foil packets)

These are the types of products that I like getting samples sizes of: really expensive shit that I could never afford to try otherwise. The toner and emulsion run between $65-70 each, while the serum retails for $135 and the cream for $170. I like that there are two little samples foils of the mega-expensive serum and cream thrown in. They aren't counted as products, but it just feels like a little extra to play with. All of these products are based on traditional Korean ingredients (hanbang) like the Skylake conditioner, and have ingredients lists almost a mile long. I'm really excited to try these. I still giggle like a schoolgirl when I look at them.

Closing Thoughts:

I felt like this box was really well put together. It had a mix of high end and affordable products, some good full sizes things, and very interesting samples. Even though a lot of these products were a personal miss for me, objectively it was an awesome box. There was haircare, skincare, and cosmetics (the pore balm has both cosmetic and skincare uses) in good balance. After having three months of Mishibox I feel like this subscription would be good for both newcomers to the Asian Beauty scene as well as people who already have a stock of stuff on hand, as they send a good mix of unusual brands and more common ones.

Sadly, I had to cancel my Mishibox after this one. Not because I dislike the box, but because of a lack of funds! My subscription box budget is being taken up by other things (like needing new riding boots), and being unable to have a real job and only able to make cash doing odd jobs for other barns and babysitting doesn't exactly lead to an overflowing bank account. Hopefully I will be able to re-subscribe one day!

Mishibox purchased with my own money. Please feel free to leave Questions, Comments, & Casual Insults below.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Modcloth Stylish Surprise September 2015

This is my first Modcloth purchase ever. I had zero expectations of what I'd receive, and my "stylish surprise" dress lived up to all of them. Take that statement how you will.I bought the "stylish surprise" on a whim when I saw that they hadn't sold out of the dresses several days after launching. In case you don't know (like I didn't before someone posted a link to it on Reddit...), sometimes during the changing of the seasons Modcloth will do some "stylish surprise" products where for a set price, you select your size and they send you a random item in that category. The shoes and general apparel categories had already sold out, but since there were dresses left I placed my order for one in a size Small for $20.
It looks so harmless just laying there....
What I received: A Tie-Dye Muumuu Minidress.It looks so deceivingly lovely laid out on my bed like that, under the soft glow of the lamp. Here is a picture of it on the model from Modcloth's website:
You know Modcloth has that thing taped and lit to look the best..and it still is only meh

The picture doesn't quite show the colors correctly; the peachy color is really a bit more of an orange sherbet shade and the blue doesn't 'pop' as much in person/kinda has more grey in it.
It seems like they decided to make a muumuu, but a rogue hippie came by and stole most of the fabric so they just decided to end it right below the butt. The sleeves can be worn long or bunched short, but either way if you lift your arm to wave hello someone is going to know exactly what underwear you are (or aren't) wearing. There's no definition to separate the batwing sleeves from the body of the dress, and when I first opened the package I was absolutely certain that Modcloth had accidentally sent me a funky skirt instead of a dress.
This is all I can think about when I see those sleeves
For what fabric it lacks down below, they made up by having it kinda balloon out the back and stomach area. On the bright side: I can pull my head and arms inside, tuck under my legs, and read a book in the privacy of my tie-dye mini-tent. I purchased a size small, but the dress appears to be cut for someone with a massive bosom. There is elastic gathers below what was intended to be the chest area, which I'm convinced is purely for decorative reasons.

The fabric is remarkably soft, but also strangely heavy. I assume that since I'm getting it discounted at the end of summer that the dress is intended as a warm weather garment. After less than 10 minutes of wearing it in my air-conditioned house, I was feeling muggy and worried I had sweat dripping down my back. Summertime I think not.

Downside: This dress is ugly as sin and I would never wear it in public unless I was dressing up as slutty Mimi from the Drew Carey Show. You look at the pictures and say "oh, it isn't that bad". Yes, yes it is. It fully earned those 1 star reviews on Modcloth. I wouldn't hate the fabric so much if they swapped the heavy sleeves and non-existent bottom style for a strappy maxi-dress. But that fit combined with the tie-dye is just unforgivable.
Yay? Nay?
Upside: It is really freakin' comfortable as lounge wear or a nightgown. I'm actually going to get some good wear out of this paired with some leggings in the winter. I still won't leave the house in it, but I foresee many a Netflix binge nights in this dress.

Would I buy a Modcloth "Stylish Surprise" again? Maybe, but I'm kind of a glutton for punishment when it comes to these sort of mystery packages.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

TesterKorea: More Cushion for the Pushin'

At what point does an order become a "haul"? One product is clearly just a purchase, but what about two? Three? Five? Where is the line between "just grabbing a few things" end and "haul" begin? Yes, these are the things I think about as I'm falling asleep at night. I'm totally serious here; please leave me comments with your opinion on this dire matter.

In other news: I had an order come in from TesterKorea. I had intended this to be a basic restock of my Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence samples, but it kinda expanded by two more items. I like the Innisfree soybean essence, but I'm not sure if I like like it enough to buy 150mL worth of it. My face seems to like it enough right now, but my hormonal acne-prone skin changes its mind more frequently than my cat. If you have a cat, you know what I'm talking about here.

Bad camera + bad lighting + apathy = this photo

So into my basket went four more 4mL samples of the essence. And then I added Urban Dollkiss's Velvety Skin Triple BB Cream miniature. It is only 10mL and pretty cheap, so I figured that if the color looked like shit on my face it was no big loss.

And then I stumbled upon it. The cushion. MY cushion. It called my name.

You see, I'm not one for cutesy. Every now and then it is okay, but usually no thank you. I hate pink. I hate bows and girly. I was a goth in high school. I still own corsets, leather, and stilettos. My spirit animal is a Dominatrix. This doesn't quite mesh well with the Asian Beauty aesthetic, because a lot of that stuff leans toward the girly side. I might not be able to find a sexy goth cushion, but a sexy Pin-Up Girl cushion? Oh yeah!
Her book title is "Study Hard: Don't be Stupid"

Urban Dollkiss City Propolis Cushion. I couldn't find any reviews. I had no idea what the color, finish, longevity, or anything was. Would it match my NC/W15 skin? Who cares!

Yep, I bought it for the case. I figured that if it didn't work out, I could use it as a really thick and inconvenient purse mirror.

that thing in the edge of the mirror is my knee and ripped jeans

I haven't time to play with the cushion or the BB cream mini, as life has been pretty hectic (soo...I'm on antibiotics now...) but I was planning on photographing a swatch of the cushion on my arm. Well that didn't work...because it blends in so well with my arm that you can't fucking see the swatch. So uhhhh...I'll get back to you on a review of it!

Apparently TesterKorea is doing a promotional thingy where they send you a packet of free samples if your order price is higher than a certain amount. Mine was slightly under, but I still got the free samples. Odd, since TK is pretty well known for not doing the whole free sample thing.

Free stuff? No complaints here!
Okay so I'm going to hit the hay because I have a 7AM date with this lovely lady tomorrow:

Hay/horses...get it? Hahaha...oh I need sleep....

Please feel free to leave Questions, Comments, and Casual Insults below. I apologize for typos, I'm a sleepy narcoleptic, yo!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review: MINON Mild Facial Foam

   When bouncing around on Rakuten and Ebay, searching for things I hadn't heard of with descriptions I could actually read, I ran across the brand MINON. MINON seems to be a brand that focuses on creating products for sensitive skin, which I don't really have, but what caught my eye was the constant mentioning of "formulated with weak acidity to protect skin barrier". Weak acidity? A promise of a low pH? Okay, you have my attention.

   On one ebay seller's listing for the Mild Facial Foam, the description mentioned that it was formulated not just for sensitive skin, but for people who had to wash their face multiple times a day. That would be me! After I got into skincare, I learned pretty quickly that my face will break out if I do not wash it with a cleanser in both the AM and the PM. None of that 'splash with water in the morning' shit for my dainty face. That is all find and dandy, but it becomes a problem when my schedule has me needing to do a mega-cleanse around noon.

You see, I wake up in the morning at about 6am, cleanse and apply sunscreen, and then haul my still-half-asleep butt off to the barn to babysit my trainer's child, ride horses, and clean stalls. When I get back home around noon or 1pm, I'm covered in sweat, sunscreen, horse hair, and dirt. Oil AND Foam cleansing is not optional here.

So that is how I began seriously washing my face 3 times a day. 

My tried-and-true cleanser since I started Asian skincare has been Hada Labo Tokyo Moisturizing Cleanser. The US version is easy to get via Amazon Prime or a quick trip to Ulta, so I had no worries of running out of cleanser and having to pray to the USPS gods that my cleanser arrive before my face goes to shit. But I wanted to try something new, something different, and so I ordered MINON Mild Facial Foam off ebay and waited patiently while it made its way to me from Japan.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Shop Review: Cupidrop

This is going to be a very brief review of the US-based Korean Beauty online retailer Cupidrop since I have heard people recently ask about their reliability.

From my Instagram yo: UnlacedDreams

Shop Name: Cupidrop

Ordering & Shipping:
   The Cupidrop website is easy to use and the payment secure. I had previously received a code for 15% of my first order when I joined their mailing list, which is what finally made me pull the trigger and make an order with them. I placed my order late on a Friday night, received an email with a pre-shipping tracking number on Saturday, and my package finally shipped out with USPS Priority Mail on Monday from New York. Because my order was over $50, shipping was free! Priority mail took 3 days to get down the east coast, which I find pretty standard for where I live.

   This is what I really regret not taking pictures of: how amazingly well the Cupidrop box was secured. The box was damn near encased in custom-made tape with the word "Cupidrop" printed on it. Custom tape? Okay, color me impressed. Inside the box, each item was individually bubble-wrapped and secured with more custom tape. I could have thrown the box out of a moving vehicle and the products would have survived unscathed, they were that securely packaged.

Products Purchased:
   I intend to review these at a later date, so I won't dedicate time to discussing them here

  • A.True Real Black Tea True Active CC cushion in 01
  • A.True Violet Petal Black Tea Hydrating Moisturizer
  • A.True Real Black Tea True Active Mask (x3)
Free Samples:
  • Kicho Sheep Oil Cream
  • Kicho Phyto Natural Refreshing Toner
  • Kicho Phyto Natural Total Essence
  • Cosrx Advanced Snail all-in-one Cream
  • Cosrx Aloe Vera oil-free Moisture Cream
  • Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion
  • A.True Violet Petal Black Tea Hydrating Toner
  • A.True Black Tea All Day Aqua Sun Gel
  • A.True White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream
  • A.True Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Cream
   The prices were reasonable, the shipping was fast, the packaging perfect, and the samples plentiful. What more could you ask for from a K-Beauty retailer? Cupidrop doesn't have a huge selection at the moment, but what they have is good quality and hopefully they will expand their product offerings in the future. Would I buy from them again? Yes, yes, and YES! They have officially become my favorite US-based shop for skincare products, no doubts about that.

*I have no affiliation with Cupidrop and I paid for all this stuff myself*