Collective Beauty Haul

6:26:00 PM mandy 8 Comments

I haven't done a collective haul post in a long time! Over the past few months I've bought more clothes than anything else. But that has yet to find it's way onto my blog (maybe in the future). The only beauty products I purchased were a result of necessity and the coupons I received. I think I can definitely give myself a pat on the back for the lack of makeup and skincare hoarding I've done in the latter half of 2012.
Skin79 Smart Clear Deep Cleansing Oil
I've tried this for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I don't like this cleansing oil very much. Then again this is one of the few items that I didn't search for any reviews before purchasing so there is no one to blame but myself.

One layer
Two layers

Thank goodness CVS included these as a part of their Winter Clearance sale! I think each were only ~$1.50. Otherwise, I probably would have never even considered buying Milani polishes. The colors always looked pretty and sparkly on the display, but drugstore polishes can be pricey. (I say this meaning any polish over $5, when not on sale, for a drugstore brand is 'pricey'.) I've been using the silver and gold polish shades a lot in particular for the holidays.

Clinique All About Eyes Rich, Beauty Insider 500 Point Perk, Becca Beach Tint - Lychee
The first Sephora hauling I've done since maybe the Spring? If it wasn't for their $15 off coupon for Beauty Insiders, I wouldn't have bought as much as I did.
Beeca Beach Tint - Lychee
Lychee looks bright out of the tube but when I apply 1 layer it turns out to be very natural. Of course, it is definitely possible to get the bright pink shade as well with a second layer.
Clinique All About Eyes Rich
After using the Naruko eye cream for what seems like forever, I was so excited to try something else. I really needed something more moisturizing and this has been delivering just that!

The contents of my 500-point perk from Sephora. I have been saving up these points for years! I haven't used any of these products so I cannot say much about them yet. I'm definitely looking forward to using the Shimmer Bloc.

After seeing what KarYi picked up with her $10 Origins coupon, I'm regretting my purchase. Their line of makeup products completely slipped my mind and all I could remember was how many people raved of their exfoliator, Modern Friction. I actually have a few unopened exfoliators lying around so I didn't want to buy a full-size of it. Hopefully I'll end up liking this and I won't regret buying it as much. All I can do now is look forward to my next Origins coupon so I can pick up the Pinch Your Cheeks blushes the next time around.

Since my Josie Maran sunscreen ran out I haven't been wearing sun protection at all. I definitely don't recommend this! When I got my $5 Extrabucks from CVS and a 25% coupon in my email, I knew exactly what I wanted to try. It wasn't hard to choose from all the sunscreens La Roche-Posay offered because I prefer to use physical sunscreens (with Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide). Now the decision of the tinted version over the untinted version was just because the untinted sunscreens at the CVS I go to were all pretty old but not yet expired. Just to play it safe I bought the tinted sunscreen since one bottle of sunscreen tends to last me a while. So far, I really like this protect!

I've wanted to try something from the Sana Hadanomy line for the longest time. For one reason or another, I never ended up purchasing anything. After not having a mist to use for the past few months, I finally got this! It's only been a week but I do like it. The only thing is the mist isn't as fine as I'd prefer. But I guess nothing is ever perfect.

What new products have you bought recently? Any recommendations you'd like share?


My Unofficial Christmas Present

12:30:00 AM mandy 15 Comments

Perhaps this is an Asian or Chinese thing, especially for non-religious families, but mine was never big on the whole buying presents specifically for the holidays, wrapping them up, and gifting it to others deal. In fact, we don't gift for birthdays, mothers' day, fathers' day or any other celebratory day that involves presents. However, this doesn't mean I wasn't bought things either. They were just never officially called a present. (I hope that made some sense...) My family always just buys things for each other randomly and casually implies that it's a present. Usually, it is because there is a sale.

It's really amusing when I shop with mom. I like to think I am (for the most part) a wise spender. Usually, I like to think things through, look at the prices, see if there are sales, try and retry clothes a billion times before I finally make a decision. Sometimes I do make impulsive decisions here and there. But I think I know where I get that trait from. Mom would say one thing and then do another. For instance, I mentioned once or twice a few months ago that I'd like to buy a watch. She told me I didn't need one and that they're too expensive. Fast forward, day after Christmas, she not only doesn't pull me away from looking at what I can't afford but encourages me to try them even if I don't buy it. She said, "who're just trying it on!" In the end, she even bought me the watch that I was eyeing. Hence the title. She never said "this will be your Christmas present," but I feel that because of how special and expensive it is, it might as well be considered one. During the whole time by the Watches department, I felt like a mom the whole time trying to dissuade her from buying things we didn't really need (she was also contemplating a watch for herself). Would anyone believe me if I say this is how most of our shopping trips go, especially for costlier items like jackets, electronics, and such? But that's what makes shopping with mom interesting. I actually learned a lot about my mom's tastes and shopping habits these last few years than I ever have.

I was completely surprised by her decision because of the price tag. My original brand choice for a watch was Michael Kors since everyone seemed to be getting it. Whenever I went to the store, I just never got the I LOVE IT feeling for any particular style. Plus, from what I've seen Michael Kors watches never goes on sale. Even though I had many chances to order from Bloomies with a discount, I of course always talked myself out of it. While mom was by the Citizen counter, I saw this Bulova watch that I just couldn't walk away from. I think a big reason for mom's easy decision was because the watch was actually on sale. It was originally $375, Macy's had a 20% off sale that day for the brand, and then we ended up having an extra 10% since my mom used her Macy's card. The watch came out to be $270 (before tax).

It's difficult to see from the photos (sorry!) but the two-toned colors are actually silver & rose-gold, not silver & gold. I tried both this and the all rose-gold version but ultimately decided on this one. The main reason was because rose-gold is difficult to match bracelets with. The second reason being rose-gold is a trendy color that I'm afraid would go out of style. Since this is a pretty big 'present' and investment, I definitely want to be able to wear this for a long long long time.

Before trying this watch, I also tried on a few Fossil watches. I ended up liking this more because of the smaller clasp and more links. I think gives a bit more flexibility.

I didn't even notice this small detail until I took photos. It's a great touch! Although, I hope it doesn't fall out easily. That would be a nightmare.

The watch was definitely way too big for me. I thought they only took off 3 links total but it seems like it was actually 4. Now it fits around my wrist just right with a little bit of wiggle room.

Now I'll be able to tell the time without having to bust out my phone all the time. Onward with the task of adjusting to reading a watch quickly! Safe to say, this will be the only watch I will need for a good many years to come. Are there any tips on how to care for a watch? How long do the batteries usually last? On a nosier note, how are your shopping experiences with your parents (or friends)?


Happy Holidays!!

10:00:00 AM mandy 5 Comments

Happy Holidays everyone! Wish you have a wonderful Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza! Hope you're all having a great time with your family, friends, and loved ones :]

Here's a quick mani I did for the holidays!

Red Base: Sally Hansen ~ Red Zin
Gold & Silver 'Trees': Milani 3D Holographic Nail Lacquer ~ 510-3D & 509-HD
Silver Shimmers 'Snow': China Glaze Fairy Dust

It is supposed to look like gold & silver Christmas trees and snow. In retrospect, I probably should have thought more about the base color since this is actually my second attempt at this look. I just wanted to use holiday colors. But now as my brother said it looks like "Christmas trees with a blood sky"... *sigh*.


Holiday VoxBox

10:53:00 PM mandy 4 Comments

I'm really excited to start a new series of posts involving VoxBoxes and Influenster. I just want to say that this isn't a program where I am getting paid to show or mention their name and products they send me. Essentially it is a social media targeted marketing/review community to talk about brands and products. Kind of like makeupalley, in the sense that people can review things. But also not like it since members get rewarded based on how active they are in the Influenster community. Honestly, I was surprised how quickly I qualified for something. At first I was hesitant on whether to join the site since I don't post regularly nor do I like to really obligate myself to having to review products (as my old followers probably already know all too well...hehe so sorry!). But I thought it'd be a nice way to keep myself on track of posts. Nothing to lose here right? I was saying, I'm just very excited because this is the first time I've signed up for anything like this. The VoxBox came right in time for the holidays. I haven't tried anything but I can't wait to. These definitely aren't things that I would normally buy, so more the reason to be excited right?

Is anyone else an Influenster? What are your experiences like? If not, have you heard about them before?


Ornaments at my fingertips

9:00:00 PM mandy 20 Comments

Hi everyone! I just wanted to update with this quick post before I have my temporary hiatus to focus on my finals. YAY, finals...! Good luck to anyone else who's also facing finals week! :]

I did my nails last Friday in anticipation for a party my mom's work was throwing for the employees' children. Of course, I'm not a kid anymore but I had to take my little brother. So I tried to be more festive than I usually am for the occasion. I hadn't exactly planned what particular design I wanted to do, yet I knew I didn't want to do a solid color. After I bought the Milani 3D Holographic polishes earlier that day, I came up with these results after a bit of experimenting.

Silver base layer: Milani 3D Holographic Nail Lacquer ~ 509-HD
Red stripes: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Polish ~ Red Zin
Gold dots: Milani 3D Holographic Nail Lacquer ~ 510-3D
Sans top coat for the photos. Afterwards I ended up putting 2 coats of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

What do you think? I'm usually not a big holiday person but a girl can change (even if it is just a little bit for now)! ^__^ It is so hard to try and keep the edges clean when I am putting on the top coat layer. I still need to practice that step a lot to keep the tape design looking nice.


Handmade Bracelets

9:05:00 PM mandy 9 Comments

I am the type of person who gets intrigued by things very easily. Sometimes it'll amount to something. Other times it just becomes another one of those "I wish I knew how to do that" moments and then it gets thrown into the back burner. Even when I do pick something up, there's not a guarantee that I will stay interested in it for a long time. As terrible as that sounds, I'm sure I'm not the only one who experienced this from time to time...right?

Recently, I have had such an itch to make my own bracelets. But with school and all, I rarely had the time to sit and even enjoy dramas and TV like I used to...let alone make bracelets. However, I was able to find a little time every now and again in these last couple of months to make a few bracelets to give away to you guys! There's still plenty of time to enter if you haven't already. Click HERE!! *I think my hands are bigger than average, so I used them as a guide. I hope these will fit whoever the winner is!!*

Here are some of the trendier and more unique designs that I put together.

At first, this cross bracelet wasn't going to be made with a leather cord or a pre-made closure. But I found that regular cotton cord knotting technique I had in mind would make the bracelet too flimsy. Hence another trip to the bead store was needed. But I actually like the final result a lot more than I originally imagined. This is the first time I'm experimenting with magnetic clasps. I haven't bought any bracelets which used such a contraption. I think that the idea is quite genius. Sometimes it's just very difficult to try and handle putting on bracelets by yourself, no? (At least I have that problem every now and again.) I cannot say how well the magnet will be in the long run though...

I used the same macrame knotting technique for the next two bracelets. It's great how many [sort of] different designs you can get with just one technique.

I actually ruined this fish bracelet. It originally had two beads to make it easier to loosen and tighten the bracelet. But...I bought beads that were cubes and copper in color. I ended up not liking the finished results at all. So I chose to remove them altogether. Now the bracelet fits very snug at its maximum length and it isn't the easiest to adjust the bracelet closure. I'm so sorry!

My most proud design. To be honest, I'm not very much into skulls anything. But it has been trending a lot in the fashion world so I thought you guys wouldn't mind as much as I did. After I put everything together, my mind completely changed. I LOVE this one the most. Usually, I end up making my bracelets just a little too small or a little too big. But surprisingly, this one is the perfect size and the closure is the perfect length. I am considering making one for myself. (Let's hope when that happens, it'll be just as good as this one was!)

Since I only buy enough material to make one bracelet each time I visit the bead store, things really started to add up. Maybe I'll invest in a whole roll of cord so it is more cost efficient? If that happens, are there any colors you guys would suggest I get? (Of course, this is assuming my interest in DIY bracelet making lasts for a long while.)


[CLOSED] Thank You Giveaway

12:37:00 AM mandy 102 Comments

Lavenderlilac Dream's THANK YOU Giveaway!

I don't post regularly and I'm not the best writer. But here's my blog with officially 100 followers and over 44,000 hits. (Of course this can't compare to others, but to each their own right?) It's already been 4 years and a few months since I made my first blog post here. Time really flies. I just want to thank everyone who follows. Silent or not. I appreciate all the love you give to my blog!

Here's some things I've accumulated to giveaway for a couple of months now. Some are favorites. The others are what I heard are pretty good products. Who knows, maybe before I send the package out there will be a few extra goodies included too!

*^Share the above photo please^*

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter! If it doesn't work let me know so I could change the form to something else.
Mandatory Rules:
1. Must be a public follower
2. If you're under 18, please get your parent's permission so that I could send the package to you
3. Give an email for me to contact you if you win
4. Leave a comment! (anything you'd like)
5. Share through blog post
6. Share through sidebar
7. Follow my instagram
8. Follow via email
9. Follow me on twitter (although I'm not a big tweeter yet...)
10. Tweet about my giveaway

This is an international giveaway. It'll start December 1, 2012 and end December 31, 2012 11:59PM USA Eastern Time. I'll pick a winner within a week of the giveaway ending. The winner will have to email me within 3 days of the announcement.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Daily Look

10:30:00 AM mandy 12 Comments

When it comes to putting on makeup, I'm really not all that creative. Paired together with my night owl habits, I like to keep the steps simple and the process quick. I say it takes me about 15 minutes every day to 'put on my face'. Sometimes even quicker if I don't put any eye makeup on.

These are the items that I'm currently using. A few do rotate from week to week. But on the whole I am trying to take lilladylife's advice to pan out products by using the same products for at least a couple of weeks. Listed in the order that I apply the products:

1. Foundation ~ Becca Luminous Skin Colour Tinted Moisturizer - Toast
Right now my complexion is a lot darker than it was last year so I am relying on some foundation samples I got from Sephora for the time being. I also recently got the Sonia Kashuk 'beauty blender' sponge and I love makes almost all the foundation I've tried it with look light and natural on me.
2. Concealer ~ Bobbi Brown Corrector - Porcelain Peach
3. Blush ~MAC Cream Colour Base - Virgin Isle
4. Highlighter ~ Benefit High Beam
I've probably mentioned this a million times before but I really do love the natural/dewy look. To achieve this effect I either use the Etude House Nymph Aura Volumer or the more classic highlighter. Whether I use one or the either depends really on the type of foundation/base I use. If it's a more matte BB Cream or foundation⇢Etude House Nymph Aura Volume. If it's a pretty light and dewy already like some foundations or tinted moisturizer⇢highlighter.
5. Powder ~ mark Powder Buff Natural Skin Foundation - Buff
When I powder depends on what type of blush I wear. Usually I like to powder as the last face step to set a cream blush rather than having to set the blush with another powder blush.
6. Eyeshadow ~ L'Oreal Infallible - Iced Latte (all over lid) & Bronzed Taupe (outer half of lid)
7. Eyeliner ~ Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eyeliner - Shimmery Brown liner from the Nude Eyes set
This is my favorite eyeliner. It's also the only one I've tried so far that doesn't transfer onto my lower eye area within the first hour (or sometimes even less) after applying. However, this was the only one of the three in the set that I really like. For some reason the black smudges like all the other brands' eyeliners that I've tried and the champagne color is just too light to use any where other than the inner corners of the eyes.
8. Lips ~ Lioele Blooming Pop Pinky Tint

What are your daily makeup routines like?


Recent (Justifiable) Splurges

5:30:00 PM mandy 16 Comments

Before anyone moves forward with reading the rest of this post, I am fully aware of how much I spent on just these two items alone. But as the title says...I can justify them! Let me share...

I received an e-mail from Racked NY's report on the Rebecca Minkoff Sample Sale on Monday and thought nothing of it. I always wanted a cute designer bag that I could call my own, but I never actually looked into it any further because of their prices. You know, those "ah I wish I had that, but can't afford it" moments!

Out of curiosity I asked Bestie C (who is a huge coupon user and recently bought a Mini MAC on sale from Bloomies) how much she was able to get her bag for and also told her I wanted to go Friday (the second to last sale day) to just "see" for myself. But after she made a pitstop at the sale Tuesday and told me her report, I had a sudden urge to go ASAP. Which is exactly what I did.

I literally spent 2 hours (more or less) there Wednesday, pacing around the MAC area/samples area/one particular mirror trying to make up my mind. (Luckily I didn't have to wait on a line to get inside.) Right when I walked in, I was overwhelmed by all the colorful and different textured MAC's/MAC Daddy's/Mini MAC's. Yet nothing really caught my eye. There were a few purples that looked nice but nothing that I was really attached to. Nothing 'calling my name'. For now, my logic toward expensive bags is I'd prefer a safe colored (black, brown, tan, navy, etc.) bag that I can continue to use for a long time as opposed to a louder color and/or bolder design bag that can fall in/out of trends.

Maybe half an hour or so after I went inside, I held onto a magenta/purple MAC and dug around the samples table. (This was really one huge mess; at least the other tables were regularly reorganized.) I finally found a brown MAC! I was thrilled. I LOVED the studded look. But then I noticed the strap was a completely different color than the bag, it was missing a dust bag, and the strap's hardware was a shiny silver versus the bag's hardware which was more of a darker matte silver. EEKK! After some inquiring, I was told it's still being sold as is for $175 since it didn't have a pink sample tag on it. I didn't know what to do...If I was to spend $175 for a bag (even if it is heavily discounted), I should really love it. Plus, if I did get it and others do notice the discrepancies they would probably think I'm carry around a

So I spent the next one and a half hours deciding. Pretending to look at things at the tables. Then walked back to the mirror to try to make a decision. I overheard one of the staff say he was going downstairs to check if there were more MACs, so I stuck around for a while longer. Every now and again, I saw a new color on the tables. I spotted and liked a mint colored M.A.C. that they put out (I only saw 1 of this) but again not the color I really wanted.

Rebecca Minkoff M.A.C. Clutch in brown with gold hardware

Then toward my second hour inside, I saw this! I don't think I could have been any happier...It was just sitting there, still with it's straps and hardware wrapped up. I immediately speed-walked (sped-walked?) to it and grabbed it. Being indecisive actually paid off for once...! That's a first and probably the last hah. I was still pretty conflicted though. But after bombarding Bestie C with texts and e-mails, her input steered me toward this one. I cannot thank her enough because secretly I thought this was the better choice...even if I did really like the studded detailing of the other.

This is the only flaw I found on it. I'm not even sure what it is. Perhaps a glue residue of some sort? Nothing too heartbreaking, of course.
Justification for the bag?
  • Retail Price: $295
  • Sample Sale Price: $175

I ordered this lens from Best Buy the Wednesday (11/7) before the Big Bang concert with intentions of using it during the concert. I love that Best Buy has a pick-up option, which saves on shipping fees and time. But I was very disappointed by their service. I picked a store very close to where I live thinking I could pick the lens up the next day because that is what they had estimated on their website. However, I never received the "You can pick up your order now" e-mail the next day; only to later find out by myself through Google and Facebook that the location I chose was "closed indefinitely" due to Hurricane Sandy. I completely understand why they were closed and I guess I should have known better. But could have at least said something on their website or stopped me from picking the store to begin with. Don't you think so?

Friday night (after the concert), I saw their 'Order Canceled' e-mail citing a system error. Since I was afraid that I would miss the sale and that I might lose the Rewards dollars my mom let me use toward this lens, I reordered it right away. (I was still at Penn Station!) Luckily, the price was the same, I still had the Rewards money, and I was able to get free expedited shipping (thanks to my parents and their big purchases at Best Buy). *Funny thing, the following Saturday night I checked the Facebook of the store and they said they were opening Sunday! I think the term 'trolled' seems appropriate here...*

Fast forward Wednesday evening (same day I went to the Minkoff sale), I had a huge panic/mental breakdown when I thought my package was lost or shipped to the wrong address. That would have been a huge disaster! Especially since UPS didn't require a signature for such a small package. Thankfully, I happened to run into the UPS delivery man for my neighborhood and he assured me it was where he (literally) dropped it off.

Canon EF40mm f2.8 STM Pancake Lens

It looked quite a bit of researching before I decided to buy this. The price just made the decision that much easier. The only thing I was afraid of was that this newly released lens wouldn't fit my 'old' DSLR (T1i). Luckily, it fits just fine. Unlike my basic beginner lenses, that came with the package I bought my camera with, I had to give this lens a good turn for it to click into place. It looks so delicate, I was almost afraid to do it. Have a fixed focal length is very new to me and the (relatively) quiet autofocusing blew my mind! I can't wait to play with this as soon as I have the chance to. It also makes it so much more compact and light. I think it would definitely be a great family vacation lens, especially since I don't use a point and shoot camera anymore.
Justification for the lens?
  • Retail Price: $199.99
  • Sale Price: $149.99
  • After Additional Rewards Money: $119.99
Numbers speak for themselves, yeah?
Plus, I'm definitely going to get good usage out of both of these. I'll make sure of it! In the end it'll all be worth it. Needless to say, this is the last of my designer and big camera purchases for now. Must stop myself now before I really develop a problem and find myself in too much debt...heh :)

**I'm curious, do you guys mind reading these lengthy/wordy posts? and Does anyone find all these details unnecessary?**
***I'm still working on the Big Bang concert post! Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it.***