First Haul from Cosmetic-Love

11:45:00 PM mandy 16 Comments

Does anyone else hate it when they see such good reviews of any product but cannot get it because it's not available locally in their country?

I find myself in this situation quite often. Especially since I have an interest in Asian beauty products. But it is even harder for me since I cannot order for myself online whenever I want. (I'm still at the stage where I need to get permission...*sigh*) When it comes to web shopping, the most I can usually do is stare & admire then close the window. However, there are times when the deals/prices are so tempting that it makes me go out of my way to order. This usually means asking bestie to help me order. I am forever in debt to her for always helping me, sometimes more literally than metaphorically...X:

After browsing through some sites and reading reviews for a certain product that I really wanted to try, I came across I haven't heard too many reviews or seen too many hauls from fellow bloggers from this site but there were a couple here and there. The site seemed reliable and the prices were almost too good to be true!

Most sites that sell Korean products tend to have much higher prices when compared to how much it would actually cost in the home country. Whether it be for their profit, shipping, etc. it doesn't feel good for me as a buyer to see a raised price, especially if it is by a lot...a little is forgivable! If I wasn't as overly excited as I was, I probably would have price compared to the brand's official Korean websites. From a glance, most of the prices seemed comparable so I decided to take the plunge. I think I browsed the site for a couple of hours after I found it and had a massive wishlist. But I limited myself to mostly skincare and within my $20 or less per item budget.

Bestie C placed the order for me on June 14. Cosmetic-Love sent the package on June 15. About 8 business days later (I include Saturdays and exclude Sundays) I received the package on June 25. This was amazingly fast, especially for just normal postal service! One thing to note, cosmetic-love offers free shipping. For $2 extra you can opt for a tracking number (which I did). For $22 there is also the express option as well.

The one little problem I had with the site was with where the shipping options were placed. I am used to choosing a shipping option at the end, in the shopping cart/before placing the order, but at cosmetic-love, you choose the shipping option for each item you place on the cart. Maybe it is just me, but at the time I was a little confused whether choosing Tracking for one item would give me tracking for the entire order or did I have to choose Tracking for all the items I wanted to purchase. After I emailed them I thought the former choice does make sense...silly me...and their response reaffirmed my belated thoughts.

I was surprised when I got the package from bestie. It was a lot lighter and smaller than what I

What surprised me more was how perfectly everything in my order fit the box. There was barely any room left. Either I was lucky or they really know how to package their orders!

My haul in all its glory!
Left side is all the extra samples and right is the actual order.

Etude House Nymph Aura Volumer in No. 3
The real reason I found cosmetic-love! I have been lusting over this product since No.1 and No.2 came out (I think earlier this year or late last year?). But prices on eBay were unbelievable and there is always the doubt with whether the sellers are promoting real or imitation products. I love the wet/dewy/fresh natural look that Korean celebs have, especially Sandara's look for this particular product's promo photos. I cannot wait to try it! Although this item might have to wait a while until the colder weather comes around again because I am very oily in the summertime.

Etude House Black Head Ghassoul Clay Heating Deep Clean Gel
Catalina from cl2425 mentioned she liked this product a while back. I almost forgot about it until I saw it on the site. Then I just couldn't bring myself to not get it. My blackhead problem is ridiculous in the summer months and I really hope this will give me some good results.

Etude House Baking Powder BB Deep Cleansing Foam
The impulse buy of the order. I was originally going to wait out, use samples, and then buy the Naruko Tea Tree Oil Cut Acne Clay Cleanser due to Bestie A's recommendation. But cosmetic-love was having a promo BOGO free. This is probably the hardest deal to from! I've heard some good reviews for this cleanser so hopefully will work similarly for me. I may give the second tube away, but I should try the product first, right? Don't want to share a bad product now...

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
I don't quite remember where I heard about this product but for some reason, I link this to good? I read some reviews before deciding to purchase this and those were positive as well. It seems similar to the Mint Julep mask. I'll definitely share how it goes.

Samplesss!! More to add to my stash that I must try to use up soon!

I haven't been this excited and had this high of hopes for any product(s) in a very long time.

Has anyone used any of these products before? Did they work well for you?


February-June 2012 Collective Haul & Packages

11:17:00 PM mandy 13 Comments

It's been a while since I've shared what beauty items I purchased. Mostly because of school taking over the last few months of my life, but I also didn't feel I made many interesting purchases to share. Over the past 5 months, I bought maybe 2 or 3 beauty items per month at most. I didn't even need to put myself on a ban because of how busy I got. I was close to putting myself on one though! Especially after my huge Sasa haul in January! I was afraid of how much I bought then after looking back at it...Compared to the last haul post I shared, this is much more tamed.

Ecotools Bamboo Bronzer Brush & Ecotools Bamboo Powder Brush

I finally signed up for Rite Aid's Reward program. I'm not the biggest saver/coupon user but I can only save when I have the card. Rite Aid had a rare (at least I think it is rare) BOGO free. I didn't want to let go of the opportunity. Ecotools makes very nice synthetic brushes. I've wanted to try their Bronzer Brush for a while but never quite wanted to take the plunge to buy yet another kabuki brush. On the other hand, I chose the powder brush on a whim because I wanted to get the most out of the BOGO free (these two were similarly priced). I don't regret purchasing either. Contrary, I ended using the powder brush more. Its size and shape are very similar to the ELF Complexion brush. But I love using the Ecotools Powder brush more because it feels sturdier.

With the rewards card, I'll have to slowly learn the art of saving/couponing from the masters! If anyone has share!

L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadow 888 Iced Latte & 890 Bronzed Taupe

After seeing all the hype that these eyeshadows brought about, I got sucked in and was itching to get one to call my own. They aren't an expensive item, but I didn't feel completely comfortable spending $9-10 on an eyeshadow when I'm not a big shadow wearer. When I saw the Walgreens in my area sell these for closer to $8 and with shadows in stock, I couldn't walk away from them...! It took me a long time to choose between all of the choices. All of the shades available were SUCH nice colors. But in the end, natural won over because I didn't know when I'd be able to wear such smokey colors. Perhaps in the future, if L'Oreal doesn't discontinue them I'll collect the rest! I've tried these out over the past few months and I prefer to apply them with a brush. I found that my fingers didn't pack the same shimmer/glittery effect.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat & Sally Hansen nail growth Miracle Serum

I've tried the version of the Insta-Dri where you need to use a dropper. I was quite fond of how quickly it made my nail polish dried. So I wanted to give the top coat with the regular brush applicator a try. I must say, this could be my new favorite top coat! It dries very quickly and is very easy to spread. I haven't had it long enough to see if it becomes a sticky/thick mess like Seche Vite does but I'll report back on it!

I got the nail growth serum on a whim. I didn't read up on it like I usually do before making a beauty purchase. But Sally Hansen was BOGO 50% off so I decided to take the plunge. I haven't been using it religiously enough to say how well it strengthens nails in the long run. One thing that I find annoying with the product is how I have to rub the serum into my nails. It takes quite a long time to fully rub all the serum in. If I had the choice I'd probably go for the brush on versions instead just because I like fuss-free products.

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter & Sephora Birthday Gift (Fresh Super Kisses Mixed Lip Duo)
Philosophy Hope in a Jar Oil-Free samples x3

I went to Sephora specifically to get the birthday gift. But I felt bad leaving empty-handed and asking for something I bought something small. I've heard lilladylife say good things about Pacifica's body butter so I got a tube of it to try. There weren't many travel bottles of the lotion at the Sephora I went to so I ended up choosing the Blood Orange scent. For me, it smells a bit strange, but I guess I'm just not used to the Blood Orange smell?

The lip duo was the item I looked forward to using the most. I've only tried the tinted version for now because of how many lip balms I have open right now. I noticed that they used chemical sunscreen in these lip balms. Usually, I try to stay away from chemical sunscreens but it is also a plus since I heard that even lips need to be protected from the sun in some way!

Silicone Scrublet & Daiso Detergent for puff and sponge

Bestie and I really wanted to try the silicone scrublet after bubzbeauty shared how she cleaned her skin. We bought this particular version from an eBay seller. I haven't tried it yet but bestie said that our version of the scrublet didn't felt like it did any more cleansing than using her hands. I assume it's because this silicone doesn't feel as firm/strong as bubz's version looked. Also, the little teeth/protrusions that are used to scrub the skin doesn't look like they'll do much due to its height and flimsiness. Perhaps there are some things that are worth the amount you pay?

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Hidden Treasure (New version), OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous, MUJI Cleansing Oil

I like the purple pearlescent shade of the Hidden Treasure polish. I've only used it once as an accent color while wearing a pastel purple shade. It gave a very nice subtle pop. I can't wait to try it with other shades other than purple. Although I do have a complaint with the naming. If I'm correct, Sally Hansen also released another high-coveted polish called Hidden Treasure a couple of years ago. Bestie told me the numbering isn't the same, but sharing the same name could get a little confusing!

I've already posted the swatches to Lucerene-taintly Look Marvelous. It is one of my most favorite shades to wear. It makes my nails look SO much slimmer and isn't as plain as a regular black polish. LOVE!!

After I saw MUJI's Facebook page updated that MUJI USA carried their skincare line, I got very excited. A few years ago, bloggers in Asia were raving about it's cleansing oil and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. After using it for a couple of months, I can say that like it very much. My skin hasn't gotten used to the product yet and doesn't get all dry and tight after washing my least it hasn't yet. One thing I noticed that was different than other cleansing oils I've tried is MUJI's cleansing oil says a bit longer to rinse off. It isn't too much of a problem for me though but it is something to note.

Sephora Collection Pro Concealer Airbrush #57

This was the first Sephora coupon that I ever received in the mail. I was a little shocked but happy to see the coupon. I was waiting for this 15% off for a whole year and already knew what I wanted to get. I must say I felt very proud of myself that I was able to control my spending at Sephora. Usually, I'd go crazy and buy a lot because 15% isn't really much of a discount when you buy something small. At least that is what I think...Anyways, I really love this concealer brush. It makes applying undereye concealer a breeze! In fact, I really like to use the two Sephora Platinum brushes I have. Note to self: Buy more from this brush line in the future!

My Scheming Masks!!

Recently my aunt replenished her masks stock and that could only mean more masks for me to try. I haven't even gone through all of the ones she gave me last time and here I am with about 10-12 new ones. I don't usually see any other effect from masks other than hydrating/moisturizing and making my skin feel more supple. The main reason I use masks if just as a pick-me-up and to relax. Has anyone used My Scheming Masks before? How are they?

Target 2012 Sample Beauty Bag

Of all the samples, I am looking forward to using the Nivea lotion, Neutrogena cleanser, and L'Oreal primer most. Has anyone else used these products before?

That wasn't too bad, now was it? I hope it didn't disappoint too many readers! (I noticed that my some of my haul posts have the highest number of hits.) I am going to devote myself to getting out all the reviews and swatches that everyone who reads hauls posts probably wants to really see! Please bear with me :]


A Little Bit of Wild & Nature in the City

11:40:00 PM mandy 9 Comments

It's been years since I've been to a zoo. I think the last time I went to one was either in elementary school for a class trip or when my brother was very little. Either was close to ten years ago! We finally had the opportunity to go this past Memorial Day (a very hot day at that). My brother was given free tickets from his teacher to visit a museum/zoo/aquarium and those sorts. So why miss the opportunity? Rather than going to the aquarium which is quite close to where we live or deal with the horrendous Manhattan traffic and parking, we took a trip up to the Bronx to the zoo.

A zoo seems like a childish choice to spend a family outing at but I thought it was quite fun. Although most of the animals weren't doing anything particularly exciting that day, it was nice to see them in real life rather than just through photos and videos. I must say, it was a little sad to see them laze around and not doing much in their enclosed fields. Yet I was also a little...ahem...very...excited to see them. Am I contradicting or what?

Since I've bought my DSLR, I haven't really gotten a good chance to take it out and photograph much with school and all. This trip to the Bronx Zoo gave me the perfect chance. Although...I admit I'm still not used to all the functions available but I tried to use the manual options available as much as I could. I should have done my camera homework beforehand! Maybe for the next opportunity. I think I'm going to make a summer goal to learn my own camera!

Here are some of the shots that I got that I thought was worth sharing. They have been cropped and edited a little...hope no one minds! These photos are also ordered in the way that I visited the zoo. Enjoy :D

After the short walk outside, we headed into a building to view their birds. It's surprising how some of the birds weren't even closed off by a window. Won't these birdies fly out toward the visitors?

This animal was just by itself near the fence. Wonder what was wrong (if there was anything wrong with him/her)...

One of the other visitors said these two were young deers (I think they are deers...correct me if I'm wrong!) were just playing. The two were at this head butting, antler clashing game for quite a few minutes!

This was how the vulture was positioned when we got to this part of the zoo. We all thought it wasn't real because of how still the bird was. But of course I don't think the zoo would let a dead animal stay there for visitors to see, or that this was a fake, or would a dead bird stay upright like that. Its wing span is amazing! Probably even longer than my height...

Once it vulture closed it's wings, it looked so much smaller. Shows how intimidating they can get!

The bird of the US...the bald eagle. These guys sure are sensitive. They just sat still whenever people passed by. Once we all turned around they started to tear apart their food! I have photos of it but I do not want to see it again...My brother, on the other hand, loved watching them eat and was so into it I think he watched them finish their whole meal. I couldn't even stand a second of it...

I spotted this peacock on the grass just sitting around. The odd part was there were no enclosures around where this peacock could have came from. This was a sitting area/pathway to enclosures. The peacock was just roaming freely. I guess it is normal?

Sadly, this birdie didn't open up it's tail. It would have looked beautiful...!

My brother and I were excited to spot the giraffes. Mostly because we watch Running Man and one of the members of the Running Man team is often called 기린 (kirin) or giraffe in Korean due to his height compared to everyone else's.

The gorillas were one of the more interest animals at the zoo that day. Before they walked away from the visitors, they were all playing around right by the window. Some would even stay very close then suddenly gave a quick bang on the window! I'm not sure if it was a few of the gorillas that did it or just one playful one but it was very exciting! Or...maybe it was their way of telling us to go away?

Another peacock came by when we reached the camel riding area. This one also didn't open up it's tail...But the colors of its tail was breathtaking! Ah what a shame. If only we were lucky and there was a peahen nearby. Then I would have been able to witness it in such close proximity!

After what felt like a long walk to another area of the zoo we finally spotted a peacock with its tail open! This is actually the cropped version. So what we saw with our eyes was much smaller. I wish I brought my longer lens so I could have captured it better...

Even when it put it's tail down the skirt effect it makes looks so pretty!

Don't you agree that the polar bear was cute? It was much skinnier than I imagined but I guess that's how they are when they're kept on zoo diets? This polar bear was very playful...all by itself. Gah, more contradicting feelings from me heh. There was this one point where the polar bear stepped out of the water onto the concrete area and jumped back in. Unfortunately I couldn't capture that because JUST when that happened...I ran out of memory space!

One of the zoo workers opened up those doors and the whole bunch of little guys knew right away to run back inside!

After going through most of the zoo I was a little disappointed at how little I actually saw. I was expecting a few more animals but maybe I just missed that path. Their signs were just a little confusing...I think to see everything and walk the entire zoo you'd need at least the whole day (keep in mind they close pretty early @5pm). Also, there were a few enclosed parts of the zoo where visitors have to purchase separate tickets in order to see. That's like paying to go to an amusement park and having to pay to go on each ride! I'm not sure what was in those areas but if I did pay to go into them it must be something really special...! However, overall, I still felt it was a great day spent animal watching with my family.