Monday, April 27, 2009

after all that hype

itunes does not have Raphael Saadiq's "Rifle Love." What's up with that?

After all that hype, itunes is letting me down. Come on, even Amazon has it. Maybe itunes' search engine is below par? I thought it was difficult to be worse than Amazon's search functionality...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

California May 19th election

I really like the CA League of Women Voters; they have well thought-out positions on the various issues.

Sending in my ballot tomorrow!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

materialism: because lists are fun

I started writing out my favorites, including explanations, but that is taking a while so I'll just post the lists first.

current favorites
* Kanebo Naive Gracie Deep Cleansing Oil (green bottle) (is it really Kanebo?)
* Muji portable lash curler
* Max Factor lash perfection mascara in blue
* 100 yen "wet eye shadow" 4 color palettes
* Paul & Joe lipstick
* Yves Saint Laurent Golden Gloss in #2

perennial favorites

* DHC deep cleansing oil
* Fancl cleansing oil
* Queen Helena clay mask
* Shu Uemura lash curler
* Chasty blue mascara comb (metal)
* Flamingo foldable brow shaver
* Opera MyLash mascara
* Inoui ID eyebrow automatic pencil
* Inoui ID eyeshadows
* Inoui ID blush duo
* Kanebo Lunasol Sheer Contrast eye shadow - limited edition summer palette
* Shiseido lipstick perfecting lipstick
* Bloom lip gloss (in the frosted tube)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

materialism: O.P.I. and Essie in Shinbashi, Tokyo

So, wandering around in random electronics stores can pay off!

I was looking for a DVD player and went to LABI (Yamada Denki) 生活館 (Household Goods Building) in Shinbashi at lunch today.

As expected, they didn't have DVD players at their Household Goods Building (they were at the Digital Building), but they did have a nice selection of discounted cosmetics.

A group of Asian tourists (mostly men) were looking at the Integrate products, leaving me free to browse the neat aisle of Kate products and be surprised by the selection of O.P.I. and Essie nailpolish available for 1200 yen and above. One set of O.P.I. polishes was priced at 1890 yen, but most stuff was 1200 yen or so, which is almost U.S. prices. It's the first time I've seen O.P.I. that inexpensive in Japan, and the pricing of Essie is definitely less expensive than at Plaza stores.

They also had a selection of Lancome, Orlane, Clarins skin care products and some YSL and Givenchy cosmetics and skin care products (lipsticks, eyeshadows, meteorites, powders, foundations, etc.). Some various mascara products available too.

Anyway, if I must have an O.P.I. or Essie polish, I will come here. I'm sure the color selection is limited and old, but the prices are very reasonable.

mini review: Ponds Pore White Cleansing Oil

Summary: a bad product, in my opinion.

Cons: Drying; my skin was literally peeling the next day. I have combination skin, prone to breakouts. While my cheeks can get dry, it's quite unusual for my chin to be, as I have an oily T-zone, but with this product it can happen.
My roommate hated this product, but she has sensitive skin. Good thing I didn't pay money for this!

Pros: Smells great, removes makeup, doesn't sting the eyes.

Worse than Softymo cleansing oil, which broke me out, but didn't cause my skin to peel.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

health: on losing fat

A summary of Tummy Exercises:

Maintain good posture.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Exercise (both aerobic exercise and weight training).

Good guidelines for healthy living in general.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

labelling food

In Japan, I have noticed that the ingredients list for consumable goods is quite short; presumably food producers are not required to list each and every ingredient that goes into the products they make.

In the U.S., regulations vary, but for food products, usually every ingredient should be listed. There is some leeway, as companies can gloss over some details such as "fragrance." For over the counter medicines, etc. there appears to be a distinction between active and inactive ingredients.

materialism: Smashbox cosmetics leaving Japan

All products are 30% off.

I heard that J. Crew is also withdrawing from Japan; I should drop by.

Bloom Cosmetics withdrew from Japan last year.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

food news

Not really "news-worthy" but new info about food topics:

* this little shop in Ginza only sells pork feet; they offer it grilled with salt, grilled with garlic, stewed, and marinated. They have also started offering lunch bento - croquettes with japanese sweet potato and bits of pork cartillage, and the regular grilled porcine menu, along with a healthy selection of vegetables, marinated salad, and spring rolls. Quite tasty and good for the consumer who is new to this part of the pig. Next time I will get the grilled version, but I am quite a fan of the croquettes. All for 500 yen! Including rice.

I'll take pictures next time. I've been using my film SLR (single-lens reflex) a lot lately; even with my simple 50 mm lens, it takes pretty pictures. Film and development costs add up, but it's just much nicer than my little digital camera. It's funny because everyone assumes it's a digital camera, so I have to explain that no, it's archaic that way.

* tried a ramen place called Toraji 虎ジ in Hamadayama, a couple stations north of Meidaimae on the Keio Inokashira line. The noodles were quite tasty, and the salt-based soup was good, and the pork slices were tasty but overly salted. The guy managing the shop was a bit brusque for my taste though; I think guys would enjoy the experience more. No complaints about the ramen, although for 800yen it was a smidgen pricy.

materialism: lunasol, primavista, cle de peau, guerlain, etc.

Lately it seems like shopping is on my brain.

Beware, below lies only ramblings on cosmetics.

After giving up for a while, I'm again seeking a good powder foundation. Over the winter I tried samples of Lunasol Skin Modelling Foundation and Primavista's winter foundation, but nothing stood out.

Color-wise Lunasol was quite nice, but in the end the coverage was only average and oil-control was only average. As a fall-back, it would be quite acceptable, but if I'm going to spend $40 or more on a foundation, I'd like something a little better.

Primavista's winter foundation was pretty poor on coverage and average on oil-control, so I forgot it immediately. The sample was a print on paper, so perhaps the sample formulation had issues to begin with.

However, I've heard good things about Coffret D'Or and Primavista's spring/summer foundations in terms of both coverage and oil-control so I'm looking forward to trying them.

I recently received a sample of Cle de Peau's powder foundation teint naturel poudre SPF 20 PA++ in ochre 20 (タンナチュレールプードルS オークル20), which has impressive coverage, although I've come to realize that ochre 20 is a tad dark for me. The finish is rather matte so far. I'll see how the shine control fares over the course of this week. The coverage is quite nice - it covers up redness and some large cystic pimples without looking powdery or unnatural. It doesn't sink into pores much at all. There's some itchiness, but this might be the Elizabeth Arden face lotion I am using.

I did like Guerlain's pearly white powder foundation, which brightens the face and covers redness nicely, but the Cle de Peau may have better coverage, as one would expect, considering their target audience. It makes me wonder how the regular Shiseido powder foundation is; if it is almost as good as Cle de Peau, it may be a nice compromise in terms of price and functionality.

If I'm lucky, Coffret D'Or or Primavista will be almost as effective, as they are the least expensive options I am considering.

A Touch of Blusher also has reviews of Coffret D'Or and Primavista's winter offerings.

As a side note, I found Fresh Minerals' mineral foundation rather itchy, but I like the loose powder quite a bit. Nice, functional packaging too.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

josh bell

I've been listening to Josh Bell's performance at a Washington, D.C. metro stop a lot lately. It's lovely but not too intrusive.

screen shot tool

By the way, zapgrab2 is an easy-to-use screen capture tool.
Very convenient for adding screenshots to documents and email.

velcro in Japanese

Do you know what velcro is called in Japanese?

Magic tape! Quite appropriate, I believe.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

did you know there's a yakisoba express?

I thought my friend was joking when he mentioned it, but there really is one! I wonder if they serve yakisoba... (Japanese language link)

Monday, April 06, 2009

cherry blossom season!

And the weather is beautiful today!

materialism: eyeliner update including Fasio liquid eyeliner review

The eyeliner update. Thanks to makeup alley and lots of beauty blogs, I've found using eyeliner to "tightline" the eyes to be a great technique for subtly making my eyes look bigger. However, I have very oily eyelids, which has made the search for a non-smudging eyeliner extremely difficult.


Liquid eyeliners: Only liquid eyeliners seem to avoid smudging on me.

Maybelline Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: could be a winner here!
Lunasol eyeliner (the glittery one): probably will not repurchase.
Fasio liquid eyeliner: will not repurchase
M.A.C. liquidlast eyeliner: will have to try it out again; it's a bit difficult to use but if it doesn't smudge...
Majolica Majorca Neo Automatic Liner: will not repurchase
Iroha dual pencil and liquid eyeliner: will not repurchase

Pencil and gel eyeliners: all fail. They uniformly smudge, so I give up on them, for tightlining. Above the eyelash, I can prevent smudging by putting eyeshadow over the eyeliner, but it doesn't help with tightlining.

Silky Girl Eyeliner: smudges, but really nice above the lash line if you apply powder on top. Inexpensive too, but not available in Japan.
Bourjois clubbing eyeliner: smudges
Kate gel eyeliner: smudges (it won't budge on my hand, but is gone quickly from my eyelid, obviously a challenging spot)
Iroha dual pencil and liquid eyeliner: smudges
Mac automatic pencil eyeliner: smudge city!
Rimmel eyeliner: smudge city!
Shu Uemura drawing pencil: smudges

In the end, Fasio liquid eyeliner went in the trash. It comes in lovely colors (mine was a gunmetal grey with bits of fine green and pink glitter - perfect for a smoky look), but the liner smudges on me, which is simply unacceptable. It's ironic that one of the common complaints in reviews for this liner was that it doesn't budge and is hence terribly annoying to remove. Not for me!

For now I'm going to use up my Lunasol liner (clumpy though it may be). Lunasol comes in the loveliest colors and is reasonably easy to use, but it gets clumpy very easily and the liner is tangible on my skin as a tight feeling. This gets annoying as the day goes on. It's okay if I only apply a bit, but for the price it's not worth repurchasing unless I can't find anything better.

I broke out the Maybelline liquid eyeliner last week. It is doing quite well on my demanding eyelids. No noticeable smudging, although there is some fading as the day wears on. Fading is okay with me; I merely cannot tolerate any smudging. The felt tip is a bit difficult for me to use, as it doesn't glide on my skin unless there is a lot of liquid, but too much liquid makes too thick a line for my taste. It takes a bit of getting used to; at the moment I can usually only get one eye nicely drawn.

When I use the U.S. Maybelline liner up, I will see if Maybelline's Line Allure in Malaysia is the same as Maybelline Nonstop Eyeliner in Japan, as Jojoba seems to have had a good experience with Line Allure. I may also give M.A.C.'s liquidlast eyeliner a try, but all of the M.A.C. sales assistants I have met in Japan have been either unpleasant or bad at applying makeup (or both), so I am rather unwilling to buy anything from M.A.C.

After that, perhaps I will check out Kate and Integrate's pen liners, although I fear that they will peel off as Majolica Majorca does. Peeling off is better than smudging but it's still not ideal. The K-Palette 24 hour liner might be good too.