Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dick Page explores cities around the world

There's this fantastic series of videos published by Shiseido in April where Dick Page shows his favorite spots around a few cities:

The cities:
* Dick Page takes Paris
* Dick Page Discovers Hong Kong
* Dick Page in New York City
* Dick Page in Tokyo

The full list of Shiseido Dick Page videos.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Le Couvent Des Minimes, Moomin

Wow, Le Couvent Des Minimes and C.O. Bigelow have reached Japan!

I'm a bit afraid look at the prices, but the local availability is quite welcome!

In other news, Uniqlo has a Moomin collection!  Orbis also has packaged their cleansing oil with Moomin characters (limited edition), and has a set of cosmetic pouches out.
This unrelated masking tape looks so cute! More types here too.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Glad to see that Cavalieri seems to be doing well in 幡ヶ谷.
They had the most delicious desserts when I used to live in the area, but I haven't been back since.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lip colors that flatter

I didn't realize it until swatching my lipsticks on white paper, but it turns out that all the colors that I find unflattering are mauve shades.
  • Nivea Fruity shine in Pomegranate - a sheer mauve.
  • Revlon Balm Stain in Honey 001 - a medium pinkish mauve.
  • L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm in Plush Plum (219) - a cool mauve.
  • Lancome Color Fever 306 - a decidedly purple mauve shade.
  • Maybelline Moisture Extreme Toasted Almond (210) - even this seemingly brick red-like shade definitely has tendencies towards mauve and away from berry.
  • Maquillage Glossy Perfect Rouge RD224 - a bright pink mauve.
Warm roses like Dior Addict Lip Polish in 002 and YSL Golden Gloss in Praline - these I can handle. Warm pinks like Maybelline Water Shiny Gloss in S01, I can handle. I like berry shades too, although right now I lack one.

But mauve makes my skin look sallow, and I'm finally getting rid of them.

I can also confirm that I don't have a proper peach/orange lipstick in my lipstick wardrobe. I plan to seek out Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge in OR-1 to fill this spot.  I also lack a proper berry/wine shade.  Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge RD-2 might be good for this, but it might be too much on the mauve side for me.  A bright watermelon wouldn't go amiss either - I have a red Nivea care gloss that fills this spot at the moment, but I haven't got a lipstick yet.  I'm eying Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge RD-1 for this.
Can you tell that I have Dramatic Memory Rouge on the brain?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

reflections on 2012

In General

I'm trying to just get things done, so that I can spend more carefree time on the fun things.  I'm also trying not to over-think things.
* do more vegetable cooking (first up, Ars Aromatica's lentil white bean soup)
* Start on the Chinese


* Learn to make scallion pancakes ( recipe)
* figure out how to make those Bretagne-style galettes
I hope I never develop a gluten allergy.  I'm sure I'll survive, but it would be really sad at first.

Old Favorites

I still love Yves Saint Laurent Golden Gloss.  The messy packaging is annoying; gloss collects around the opening of the container.  However, it's an easy, no-fail glamorous gloss that I look great in.  I have #2 Golden Praline, and the gloss and shimmer are just right for evenings when you want to feel fabulous but not over-the-top.  The color is a totally wearable soft rose, and I enjoy the scent, personally.  When I use it up, I'll want another one, but I won't let myself until I use up my ridiculous stash of glosses.

Saying Goodbye To

I love the festive but wearable Fasio Melting Glossy Rouge RD441, but the lasting power is average-to-poor, so I don't think it's worth repurchasing.  I do love the color though, so if I don't find a replacement in a better formulation, perhaps I'll revisit this decision.  For now I'll just layer one of my many sparkly glosses on top of Addiction lipstick in Last Scene.

New Favorites

Hands down, the most amazing makeup release was Shiseido's Camellia Compact, sadly limited edition to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the brand.  A real pity that it was limited edition.  I have not yet been able to mar the pristine surface of this blush/highlighter, but I will, I swear.

I am still in love with Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge lipstick - BE-2 is my default work lipstick.  Don Quixote offers a small discount on certain Lavshuca products, so I will pick up one in red once I use up a few other lipsticks.

I am quite impressed with the eyeshadow palette in the Lavshuca Pure Blossoming Eyes Limited Edition Set.  I got the PK Pink Variation, which is a bit too warm for me, but the texture of the eyeshadows is fantastic!  If they put out a color variation that I like, I may have to get a Star Decoration Eyes.  However, I have too many neglected eyeshadow palettes; I probably should try a different brand.

I love the liquid blush Cream de Cheek released by Majolica Majorca last year.  I haven't bought any of them yet, but I will definitely be picking up the red RD411 at least.  I'm also tempted to buy the new Clear series of Cream Cheek blushes from Canmake, especially the lovely red.


This year I spent a good amount of time editing my closet, however, it is far from finished.  Of course, any fun closet should evolve over time, so the concept of "finishing" is a bit inaccurate, but I am not happy with my closet as it currently is.  Wardrobe Oxygen and Ars Aromatica have really gotten me thinking about the concept of editing my wardrobe.  I particularly like Wardrobe Oxygen's office wear posts.  I am also being motivated by The Minimalist Mom's journey in minimizing her wardrobe.  More and more, I want to look good without putting effort into it, which often means buying clothing that is comfortable, looks good, and is easy to coordinate.  I've thrown out a lot of awkward clothing this year!  It makes me sad to waste money on clothing, but it's necessary to move forward and cull out the items that waste my time.

I've judiciously indulged in this year's massive New Year sales, picking up some necessities and adding 3 pieces to my work wardrobe.  However, I still lack some basics such as a black coat and suit.  I'm also debating whether to buy a new winter scarf - my silk scarf has seen better days.  Perhaps I will hold out until next year.

I'm breaking in some new winter shoes; I do need to add one casual winter shoe option.  I don't know where to find good quality shoes in my size at a reasonable price in Tokyo.

Cosmetics: what's working for me October 2013

Lipgloss: After years of evaluation, I've come to the conclusion that Dior Addict Lip Polish #2 is an excellent, high-quality product.
  • Thin, non-goopy formula; I can feel it on the lips but it's not sticky at all
  • Glossy!
  • After several years, the product hasn't gone bad yet
It's not pigmented, but it adds a pretty flush, and looks flattering worn alone or layered over other products.

I am also a fan of the following eyeliner products:
Neither product smudges after setting, and have smooth formulas that are easy for me to use.  The one annoying thing is that Integrate makes their interesting colors limited edition, but there's always Pixi if I run out.

I also use Make Up For Ever's Aqua Eyes pencil liners, but they do smudge slightly on me, so I'm not really sold on them.

In terms of what's not working for me:
Kiss Me heroine make volume&curl mascara decidedly smudges on me.  Probably time to throw this one out!

In other news, I've been trying to weed out my makeup; strictly culling out the products that are difficult to use or don't look good by themselves on me.  This is a task that requires true discipline, as I cling to:
  • Canmake Cream Highlighter: too glittery for me, but I can't just toss it, can I?
  • Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color SV810: a gorgeous color that is just a bit too cool for me
  • Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm #14 (probably discontinued): a lovely bright orange that is just a bit bright for me, but sheered out is wearable.
  • Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine SS WH 003: sparkles and glitter in a transparent base - a bit too loud for me to use often
  • banila co. banila Kiss in 04 Raspberry Jam (probably discontinued): a lovely bright white-based pink - again, just a bit bright to wear as-is, but sheered out is lovely, and the formula is very comfortable
  • Shiseido The Makeup Perfecting Lipstick P12 (discontinued): a unique true brown-purple that looks gorgeous sheered out or as a stain, but just isn't a color I can wear every day.  Still, this is something I'm definitely going to hold on to!
  • Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited WH 001: a white lipstick to lighten those lip colors that are too dark; however it just adds too much white, rendering anything rather pasty and unwearable.  Perhaps I haven't learned to use it properly.

Monday, September 16, 2013

L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm

L'Oreal Colour Riche Balm (SPF 15) in Plush Plum is a lovely, medium plum color, but it brings out the sallowness of my skin, so as a color it doesn't quite suit me.  I'm a big fan of the formula though!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Takehiko Inoue on CNN

One of my favorite manga artists ever, Takehiko Inoue was interviewed by CNN.  There's also an article.
My favorite works:
  • Slam Dunk
  • Real

Monday, September 09, 2013

Current skin regimen

For a while my skin was breaking out and out of control - mainly because of stress and lack of sleep.

Now that the stress is more under control, I thought I'd mention my current skin regimen.

  • Bioderma Sensibio Derma Water (50ml trial size) - neutral for my skin; I probably won't bother repurchasing
  • Astalift Jelly Aquarysta (sample packets) - applied in small quantities, I don't find it irritating, but if I apply too much I find this stings.  It could be helping my skin, but these days I don't look at my skin too closely!
  • Astalift Lotion - similarly, applied in small quantities, it's okay, but too much and I find it irritating.
  • Leaf & Botanics Essence Lavender serum + moisturizer - it smells lovely, and my skin doesn't seem to get irritated.  No complaints, but , I'm looking forward to trying something new.
  • Guinot Creme 888 Vital Antirides (Anti-wrinkle Rich Night Cream) - the scent took a bit of getting used to, but my combination skin rather seems to like it - I apply it to my cheeks at night.  When I finally use up the tube, I'll open up the day version that I also received from my generous aunt.
I'm using a cleansing oil - it works well, but the scent has gone off a little, so I'm looking forward to going back to Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water which is undeniably gentle.

For sunscreen, I'm working my way through Allie UV Moisture Gel SPF 50+ PA++++.  The texture is fine and my skin seems to tolerate it fairly well.

When my cheeks get too dry and irritated (hello SF water!), I apply Yuskin (the orange capped version) - I like it better than petroleum jelly but in all honestly they could both be equally effective.

All in all, my current regime is working, but I'm looking forward to using up all of these products.  Since I find the Astalift products irritating, I may give them all to my mother.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I watched this powerful speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TedxEuston.

Witty and intelligent, it explains exactly why I am a feminist.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

On repairing the wooden sole of your leather shoes (Japanese).
Wow, there's a lot you can do to fix leather shoes!
I want to do this to my leather bag, but it seems a bit riskier in terms of possible color transfer.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

New packaging for Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge

I took a look at the display today and noticed that Dramatic Memory Rouge has new packaging, and I am not a fan!

Ugh.  Ah well.  At least the line still exists.

I own one Dramatic Memory Rouge in the old packaging (BE-2) and enjoy it a lot; I had been planning on picking up an orange one too...

thinking about the beach

Love this Tommy Bahama jute beach bag!  I'm all about jute stuff, but I've found it hard to find nice stuff made in it.

After months of slogging, I finally finished "Hope in a Jar" - a far more academic, historical look at the culture of beauty than I anticipated.  I am now working through Dale Carnegie's "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" - quite practical and moderately interesting.  I hope to get through it this week.

Next on my get-rid-of-books-taking-up-space list: I'm going to try to get through "Tai Chi Chuan - 24 & 48 Postures with Martial Applications".  Tai Chi is pretty boring when trying to learn through a book.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

adb: thanks to the interwebz

Ran into an issue where I was getting an adb error when trying to run my Android project.
The interwebz saved the day!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

saturday cooking

Trying out an approximation of this corn bread recipe - lots of sugar!

I always mix the batter too much though, so the odds of success are low.  But it's good to use up my cornmeal and flour.  From now on, corn bread mix is my friend.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

diving into agile

I have a lot to learn, but our first sprint is scheduled for Monday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

utf-8 in eclipse

A clear post on how to set up UTF-8 in eclipse.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is it like?

It's fast-paced, interesting, and there's a lot to do!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Finestra Virtual Desktops

Testing out Finestra Virtual Desktops today, as my laptop has too little real estate!  Netbooks have their place, but they're not good as the main computer.
Note: I had to download the Visual C++ 2010 runtime as mentioned in the downloads page.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snow in Tokyo

It's really pretty, but I don't really feel like venturing out.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stop tempting me with these blushes

As if I needed another cream blush lemming, Maybelline has released Jelly Glow, a bouncy cream cheek product, to the Japanese market.  The 8 color lineup includes 2 limited edition duo colors S01 Pink Sherbet and S02 Honey Peach.  The pink duo is rather too cool for me, but the pink and orange combination of Honey Peach is very tempting.  The testers are completely exposed to air and haven't dried up so I'm guessing the product doesn't dry out too quickly.  At JPY 630, it's comparable to Canmake's cream cheeks.  I'll need to go and swatch them to test out the colors properly.  So far it seems like it's easy to pick up product but pigmentation is light to medium.

If I'm honest with myself, I don't need yet another pink/orange blush, so I should pass on these.  But two easy-to-use colors in one!

Champagne waffles

The opening to this recipe/blog post made me laugh:
I heard someone asking around on twitter for recipes that use leftover champagne. Which got me thinking: what the hell is leftover champagne? If you don’t got enough party in you to polish off a bottle of champagne, you don’t got enough party.
I'm afraid to add this blog to my reader list, because it'll just make me crave things that are difficult to make in Japan.  But it looks super entertaining.

Did you know that Biscoff are known as Lotus biscuits in Europe?  Biscoff seems to be a name created for the North American market.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Feature: Melanie Fiona - Change The Record

One of my favorite songs: Melanie Fiona - Change The Record.  I hope she comes to Tokyo sometime!

With the Light 光とともに。。。 compact edition reprint

I confirmed today that the Japanese compact edition (文庫版) reprint of the manga With the Light 光とともに。。。 ended with book #10, which I've just started reading.  Unfortunately the manga artist passed away, so there are no further books.

A Japanese blog post that has links to scans of the Japanese article written by the manga artist Keiko Tobe-san.

I'm quite sad to be reading the last book on this story about raising a child with autism!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Canmake Cream Cheek Clear Type color

According to Bea's Up, the limited edition Cream Cheek Clear Type CL04 went on sale January 4th. lists the name of CL04 as Clear Pink Joy.  I'm not sure, but CL03 Clear Sunset may no longer be limited edition.  I'd say that CL04 Clear Pink Joy is somewhere between CL02 and CL03 - more coral than CL02, but less so than CL03.

The display at my local beauty store has both CL03, CL04 (definitely LE), and the Whip Mousse Lip in LE 04 Foggy Cherry.

I've hardly made a dent in my other blushes, including 2 Cream Cheeks, but I'm still tempted to pick these up.  Time to do another color inventory and then see.

Shoe shining

Places to get your shoes polished around Tokyo:

Refine Arms (Marui Yurakucho Shop info)
Refine Arms Yurakucho Shop blog

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What is American food?

Here's an interesting discussion on cuisines in the U.S.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Bad experience at the makeup counter

I spent too much time fuming about my experience last night at the Laura Mercier Counter in Mitsukoshi Ginza, so I'm going to just vent here and move on as fast as possible.

I've never spent much time at the Laura Mercier counters in Tokyo, mainly because there are so many other flashier brands.  And after yesterday, I don't think I'll be inclined to go near one for a long time!

This weekend, I bought the Laura Mercier mook, which came with a generous voucher for a little fan brush, a small sample pot of powder (perhaps the brightening powder), and a sample tube of hand cream in one of the 4 permanent scents (other than Creme Brulee).  It's been a full 2 months since the mook came out, so my visit yesterday was very late for trying out the voucher, but I went to the Laura Mercier counter at Mitsukoshi Ginza 三越銀座 and inquired.  They'd run out of the other items but the sales assistant (SA) offered me a sample of the hand cream if it was okay with me.  I selected Coconut Almond to try.  She asked if I'd like anything else, and I said I'd like to try out the brightening powder ”パウダーを試したいんですが。。。”.  She misunderstood me and repeated quickly that they ran out of it a month ago at Mitsukoshi so they didn't have any samples left.  As she'd already said they ran out of it, I had actually meant that I wanted to try it out directly at the counter, but I was rather taken aback by her repetition of the previous information and her polite implication that I was being too persistent.  Since she apparently hadn't been asking if I was interested in other products, I was a bit confused as to what she was actually asking for, so I asked if there was anything else I could select; I suppose this reinforced her impression that I was stupid.  She went off and got me the sample hand cream; I thanked her, and then went to poke around the displays.  However, it seemed like she wanted to get rid of me, as she followed me around, ignoring the other customers browsing, and replied to my questions as if I was stupid ("We have two types of concealer, one for under the eyes, one for in general"), so I gave up in the face of her hostility and ran off to find shelter at the Suqqu counter.

The Suqqu SA was so nice in contrast!  It was a great balm to my wounded psyche.  She showed me swatches of the quads and offered to apply the eyeshadows on me.  As I had lost the desire to browse, I politely declined and said I'd come back when I had more time, and she offered me a flyer, telling me that they would have new products out in Feb.  The ladies at Laduree were also charming and friendly.  They have the sweetest uniforms.

A month ago, when I had a voucher for a mini nail polish at Addiction, the Tokyu dept. store SA was super gracious, even though I didn't have time to shop around and try out products then.  So I really don't understand the attitude of the Laura Mercier SA.  It's a pity, as I like the Mercier approach to makeup, and the markup of the products in Japan is not as obscene as other foreign and domestic brands.  However, I would rather have avoided the whole unpleasant experience instead of getting the free sample of hand cream.

On the bright side, this has totally killed my desire to continue shopping during the new years sales, so my wallet is happy.

I ended the day with some fruitless clothing shopping and a stop at the Pandan Leaf Cafe in Printemps Ginza.  The egg tarts and rare cheese tarts are excellent!  The kaya toast is pretty good too, but it's quite different from what they serve in Singapore (toast is thicker and not as crispy at Pandan Leaf Cafe).

Saturday, January 05, 2013

cooking videos

Two well-done and entertaining cooking videos:

From GardenFork.TV: Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix : Creamed Corn Bread Recipe
From Country: Cracklin Corn Bread
Unhealthy but it looks delicious!  I like the spoon method of pouring the batter.  I might try with bacon sometime.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Boo Clarks Japan

Add Clarks to the list of shoe stores that only carry up to size 25 cm for women in Japan.  The last time I checked, Castaner also only carried up to size 25.  Considering the fact that these companies manufacture larger sizes, I really don't understand why they don't bother importing them to Japan.  They could even do it on demand when there's a request from customers.