Neat little discovery!

10:30:00 AM mandy 4 Comments

No this isn't a photo of some kind of monster figurine that has only one eye and a tongue sticking out. Silly!!...Although it does look like it could be from this angle.

This little thing is actually a toothpaste squeezer! I recently bought this Squeezeit during my visit to The Container Store with Bestie C. The intentions were just to squeeze every last bit of toothpaste out of the tube with the contraption. I didn't have too high expectations for this since, to be honest, sometimes products like these can look very gimmicky, yet we're still all curious if they really work or not right?

When it flatten my tube of toothpaste like a car tire ran over it...I got a little Squeezeit everything happy and I used it for all the opened toothpaste tubes in my house. Then I thought why not try it on other tubed products? Disappointingly, my cleanser and exfoliator tubes were just a little too wide to fit into the Squeezeit. *hint make a bigger one please! hint* I guess I'll just have to keep cutting those open for now...

For a few seconds after my tube hunting, I almost forgot I had this little tube of eye cream to try the Squeezeit on. I'm so glad I did because now I can get everything (well...almost everything) out without having to cut open the tube. I don't mind doing a mini operation on my beauty containers but it always bugged me when I have to leave the product all exposed to [bathroom] air afterwards.

So to sum it up, the Squeezeit does work! I'm sorry for thinking this was gimmicky and doubted its abilities! I bought this in a set of 2 for $2.99. It seems pricey at first glance but when I think about it again, it'll help me use a lot of product that I might just throw away if I didn't have one of these. Plus I probably won't need to own more than 2 anyways. It's a little difficult to take the Squeezeit off the tubes but it isn't impossible. After you use it on one tube, just take it off and do another!

How do you get the most out of your products?
Does anyone else get a little peeved by germs after cutting their tubes open (or is that just the germaphobe in me talking)?


Love Package from Shop N' Chomp

10:02:00 PM mandy 5 Comments

This is a post that I must get published before I dive into the pile of assignments I have due this weekend. *sigh college life!* But the most important reason is definitely because this package was supposed to have its spotlight on the blog since August! If I don't post it now, I'm afraid I'll completely forget about it soon.

Remember a couple of months ago I posted my Kate Spade lemmings? The only reason why I was so curious to "window-shop" Kate Spade's collection was because of this particular giveaway item! The cosmetic bag's pattern was so cute I wanted to see what else Kate Spade had that might also catch my eye. After seeing the prices though I thought I'd have to wait a good 5 years (at least) before I'd get my first Kate Spade product. Who knew I would actually win Shop N' Chomp's giveaway!

When I took the bubble wrapped pouch out of the box, I thought it felt oddly puffy and big. But I had no idea that she included goodies! It was such a pleasant surprise!

I haven't used either of these products yet but I've been eyeing The Body Shop Body Butters for a while now. It'll come in handy when I have parched skin in the fall and winter. Both smell great. Almost wish I can taste the fruitiness! Hah...

Thank you Shop N' Chomp again for the giveaway!!  :]
**Speaking of giveaways...Look out for one from me within [hopefully] the next month or so!**


Naruko Haul & Skin Update

12:08:00 AM mandy 14 Comments

I have a confession to make...

I completely neglected to take care of my skin over the summer!

After I finished my last round of skincare products (in maybe June or July), it was the perfect opportunity for me to use up the sachet samples I accumulated the last few years. All was going well until my skin started to break out all over.

I thought maybe going the simple route [just washing my face with water and not put anything on] my face would help. Alas, it did not. Ultimately I gave up trying altogether. But school was starting and I really did not want to go anywhere with my face looking the way it did.

I had been meaning to go to Naruko earlier to buy a new set of products to use. I wanted to try the Tea Tree line for a long time now because of one of my besties raves of it. But since it's started to get cooler here, I had a difficult time choosing between products for oil controlling & acne fighting or moisturizing. In the end, I decided to go for the former choice because I chose to go shopping right after my facial appointment. At the time I felt like treating acne and the red spots were top priority! Whether this was a bad decision in the long-run...we'll have to wait and see soon.

My haul in all its glory! I did make a big dent in my wallet with this one. But I think it was worth it. It seems like it's doing good stuff for my skin. Plus the Naruko store in Brooklyn had (might still have?) a special GWP promotion at the time. I think it was something along the lines of...spend $30 and get a free mask(s), spend $60 and get a free $25 product, spend $100 get a $10 off coupon. Since the necessities that I chose were close to the $100 mark anyway I decided to add an extra toner [Rose Astringent Lotion] to my total to get the $10 off. What the heck, right! I'll need it in the future anyway.

Top row, L to R: Rose Astringent Lotion, Tea Tree Oil Out Night Gelly, Narcissus Total Defense Repair & Relaxing Eye Mask*, Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid*

Bottom row, L to R: Raw Job's Tears Supercritical CO2 Brightening Cream, Narcissus Total Defense Night Brightening Serum*, Tea Tree Oil Out Balancing Serum, Tea Tree Oil Out Toner


I also bought the Tea Tree Acne Clay Cleanser with a coupon I got from them. [I forgot to take a photo of it, so sorry!]

Ah! Heads up to those who are in NYC/Brooklyn and want to purchase from the store rather than order online. I found that the prices in-store were all +$1 whatever is listed on ...I'm not exactly sure why it is this way (maybe to make up for shipping) but just to let you know! The boutique does add tax. I've never ordered through their website so I'm not quite sure how it goes with tax there. Also, if anyone is the type who likes to look around by themselves...I warn you to be patient there. Like almost all other Chinese beauty stores I've been to in NYC, the SA(s) really like to follow you around and make sure you are being helped. If somehow you can get away from them pestering you, in the end, you'll eventually have to ask them for help to get your products anyway.

Of all the products that I bought, I only started to use the basic ones.

Toner & Serum

Moisturizer & Gelly (Sleeping Mask/Pack)

Even though I've used tea tree infused products in the past, I still cannot really get used to its scent. Other than that I have really come to like my new skincare goodies. I seem to have a lot fewer breakouts and clogged comedones compared to how it was a week ago. I wish that Naruko had an actual moisturizer (gel/lotion/cream consistency moisturizer) for the Tea Tree line rather than its milky lotion (which I consider a toner, but the SAs all tell me otherwise).

Both photos are unedited.
Sorry if they scare anyone...

One week earlier & Current skin condition

Please excuse my dark circles! Anyways...back to the main point here!

As you can see the red spots have almost all completely disappeared within the week. I noticed there are fewer breakouts on my forehead and chin (but not chin is always the problematic area). My face hasn't felt this soft and smooth since April! I hope this is here to stay and not just a temporary stage *knock on wood & cross my fingers!*

However, I'm having a difficult time trying to decide whether this is because of the new skincare products or if the facial really did help my skin. Perhaps both contributed equally? What do you think?


First Facial Experience & Photo Editing Magic

9:34:00 AM mandy 15 Comments

So the story goes...

During a dinner party/get-together, my mom's friend (or my childhood friend's mom...for this post I'll refer to her as Auntie F) and practically everyone else noticed how badly I was breaking out.

Drink more water, one said.
Clean your face a lot, another told me.
And so the comments and friendly nagging advice continued.

Auntie F for one reason or another suggested why not I go do a facial?
As I usually tell her, "heh I don't have the money for that!"
Normally she'll say "It's not THAT expensive" or "Tell your mom to treat you!"
Strangely that night she actually offered to treat me to one herself...which definitely caught me out of the blue.
Of course being the type who finds it hard to turn down people...I awkwardly accepted.

After a few days, Auntie F called and told me the time and place for my appointment.
After class Friday, I went to my very first facial at a place in Chinatown.
They have quite a few stores here in NYC, so they must be doing something right.
I thought perhaps they'll help me with whatever problems that were causing the eruptions on my face.

They asked me to change into a tube shirt/dress and told me to lie down.
Simple enough directions. But I was still pretty nervous.
One: Auntie F told warned me beforehand that the first facial will hurt. Her son (yes her son) could testify to that.
Two: I cannot handle pain AT ALL.

The beautician put a gel on my face and massaged it around before she wiped it all off.
If I'm right...she was probably cleansing/taking whatever was on my face prior.
Then she applied some sort of sheet mask and I assume I lied there for at least half to one hour.
During that time I also felt steam being blown onto my face, which I think was to open my pores up.
This segment of the facial was the most relaxing. I took the advantage to take a short nap.
In the middle of this part, she came in and gave my shoulders a massage.
It was strangely comfortable and painful at the same time.

When the lady came back again she started to press a tool on my forehead.
At first, it felt like someone was just scratching it.
But then it became very painful...almost like piercing pressure.
I like to think I endured it pretty well.
Until...she started to go toward my more sensitive areas like the eyebrows...then toward one cheek and the other...then my nose, chin, and upper lip area.
If I was the only one there I would have screamed. Of course...that wasn't the option.
I held it in. I unknowingly teared up. I was twisting the towel they gave me. And I even dug my nails into my palms to divert pain.
But boy was Auntie F not kidding when she said it'd be painful.

After the extraction portion...every little touch/movement around me made me flinch.
I couldn't even relax my face for the beautician to tidy up my brow area.
All the pain was over in maybe 15 minutes? Or it could have been even shorter...
She went on to put some kind of alcohol? gel substance all over my face.
It stung SO BADLY...Especially because she opened up so many wounds from the extraction.

Thankfully, there was one last part to the facial.
The clay mask! The second most relaxing part of the entire facial.
I think I had it on for about another good 30 plus or minus some minutes.
Finally, the beautician removed, cleansed, and moisturized my skin.

When I got home and got a mirror to look at...I was a little horrified taken aback.
I had a feeling this wouldn't be some miracle facial treatment.
I just didn't think it was going to be so bad.
In addition to the redness and bumps I had before I went in, I had like a bajillion other NEW red dots all over my face from the extraction.
To make matters worse, I had to go out for a family birthday dinner afterward and even my 7-year old cousin was asking me "Mandy...what's wrong with your face? o.O" (In these exact words and with the same facial expression!)
AWKWARD...!!! How do I explain what happened to my face to an elementary school child?\

Now what's done is done.
All I can do now is hope the redness and dots will go away with time. (Quickly, please! I beg you!)
Or else I don't know what I'm going to do =.=
It probably isn't all their fault but this has officially scared me away from facials for a long time.

Before & After

Left is how I looked the next morning (or yesterday morning to be exact). The redness went down substantially. To accurately depict how bad my skin was...just think where all those dots are across my forehead, nose, upper lip, and chin area was MUCH redder and way MORE apparent. It kind of looked like some sort of aftermath from a skin illness. (Maybe that's why my cousin asked what happened to me? The dots weren't bumps like acne.) On top of that, new pimples are forming now too *sigh*

Right was made possible with a little magic called photoshopping or more specifically the healing brush tool. I did nothing more than just 'erase' most of the spots. (Not even edit the colors, which is what I normally do to my photos.) Once upon a time...about 4 months ago, my skin did look like this. For some reason over the summer, all havoc wreaked on my face. I have yet to figure out why or how to fix it. I can only hope now that it'll be better once the cooler weather sets in here in NYC.

For the time being, does anyone have any suggestions on how to calm acne or what I could do about these red spots leftover from the facial treatment?
Is this side effect normal of these "treatments"?
I'm open for any suggestions now...really! & Kudos to anyone who read through all this!


July & August 2012 Happenings

11:14:00 AM mandy 22 Comments

Hi, everyone! I really hate myself for leaving my blog not updated for a whole month. But nonetheless, it happened anyway *sigh* The last couple of months was jam-packed full of activities. In the short period of time, I went to quite a few places and tried many new things. Compared to the last summer vacation I had...this one was definitely more memorable! (I admit! I just lazed around the house before :X) I was able to even get my first job...although for my own good (mentally and grade wise) I resigned from my first job as well. It was interesting while it lasted though!

Enough of why I wasn't on blogger! & Onto what I actually did :]

Besties and I made it a must to hang out more often this summer vacation. Last year we said the same thing and ended up doing absolutely nothing together! In June we went biking. In July we went ice skating in the indoor rink at Flushing Meadows Park. It was so refreshing to be inside somewhere cool cold freezing on a hot summer day. Mental time I must bring a hoodie, even if it's the summer! Skating inside was definitely different from gliding outside in say Bryant Park/Central Park/Rockefeller Center. A lot of skating students of much higher levels were skating around so it was a bit more embarrassing for us newbies to skate there. But after a couple of circles, it didn't matter anyways hah

After we had our share of fun, we headed toward Flushing for dinner. We planned to go to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant (Picnic Garden). Initially, we went there very excited. Sadly we left annoyed/disappointed. The food wasn't the problem. It was the service more than anything. Our group of 4 would get a couple of plates with a lot of food to grill thinking we'd sit and cook what we got a little at a time. However, the servers/waitresses would walk around and dump everything onto the grill (this was even before they had a dinner time rush!). We were rushed to eat and leave before we even started...I don't know if this is what happens at other similar restaurants but the four of us all agreed we'd be happier going somewhere else the next time we're in Queens.

In August we already ran out of ideas on what to do together. We always have somewhere we'd want to eat at but never anything to do! Since we decided to eat somewhere close to the Brooklyn Bridge (on the Brooklyn side) we decided to take a walk across it. As surprising as this may sound to non-New Yorkers, neither of us 4 have ever walked across before. It was very relaxing...even despite the heat that day. But please bring a lot of water (one bottle isn't enough)! We were all dying of thirst by the time we reached the other end. The walk was actually much faster than we originally anticipated. It took about half an hour to reach the other end. Do keep in mind, we were walking at our slow pace and stopped multiple times to take pictures and stare at the view!

Other than going out with the besties, I was also able to finally go to Dorney Park with my mom and brother. Times like this where I wish I had more courage to go on the 'fun' rides. Perhaps if I was with a group of friends who were also going on the roller coasters. By myself? Never! heh Instead, my brother and I spent most of the day in the water park area and boy did I get tanned. Sad to admit but I nearly drowned twice and even caused a big accident (my glasses had to be searched for...that's all I'm going to say) at one of the water slides. Oh, the troubles of not knowing how to swim and being afraid to stick my head in the water. I shall conquer my water summer! xD

MmmM! The yummy goodness~

My fave steamed rice noodle wrapped around donut(?) - 油條 (youtiao)!! Actually, this particular one was not so wasn't crunchy enough!

The whole summer I was trying hard to curb my eating habits but sometimes when you're out...having a refreshing tea drink isn't too bad right?

Paris Baguette goodies

I think this was the Fruit Green Tea Cup Patbingsoo (팥빙수) & Berry Ade.

I really loved the Patbingsoo! I only wished I was eating it there with friends because even the cup size was too big for me to eat alone. Definitely a sharing food!
The Berry Ade, on the other hand, was just so-so for me. It tasted a lot like Sprite with a hint of berry. Perhaps they were just light-handed on the berry syrup?

Just like in June, I had a big cooking adventure. There were some big failures and great successes!

Curry ddeokboki & Kimchi Fried Rice (김치볶음밥)

I cheated and used a pre-made curry but it tasted pretty good nonetheless!

Fried rice, though, was amazing. (The photo is the first time I made the rice.) I don't know what I did differently the second time around but it did not taste right at all...*sigh* Just when my confidence in cooking was high!

The other fail dish: MacNCheese (left photo) & The more successful second attempt (right photo). Thank goodness it wasn't bad too since I made a big batch of the second one for both my brother and I. If it was terrible I'd either have to eat it all myself or it would go to waste...

The photo does all the talking no? It is easy to tell how bad the first attempt was just by looking!

The only baking I did was for a house party my family had in July. I love cheesecake! So I decided to give it a try and make it myself. After searching a dozen...or I was surprised by how much cream cheese was used but it came out alright. I shall try a different recipe next time though! Anyone have one to share?

My other summer project: gardening. Well, to be mom put everything into pots and I just watered them every day. heh! Is it weird if I thought the lettuce seedlings were cute?

I couldn't believe how fast my lettuce plants grew, only been about a month!

Tomatoes...felt like it took forever to grow! Close to 2 maybe even 3 months? Some of the cherry tomatoes finally ripened. Perfect time for me to try cherry tomatoes (I've never had them before...) The iPhone's camera quality really surprises me when I get photos like these!

As for what I did the rest of my summer...

Watched the Olympics & Went to work

I quite literally woke up and caught the Olympics and went to sleep watching it as well!

Work is a whole 'nother story that is too long and complicated to share here. Let's just say there was a lot of stress and the first couple of days I felt like I was going to go crazy from all the pressure. Retail at a big store is scary...

Gave DIY bracelets a go

Made sure I used all my beauty products more than I did the last summer

And of course went shopping!
The dress I wish I bought from Forever21.

The trench coat that I've been eyeing from Uniqlo and bought a couple of days ago because it finally went on sale!

The outfit I wore (sans the pants...decided to wear something less skin hugging) to my job interview.

The booties I tried and decided was too much for me to handle right now (still need more practice walking in heels first!) &

The wedged sneakers from Steve Madden that I just couldn't pass up on!!

I literally saw these Olympiaa photos on Pinterest the night earlier and thought wow! it looks so close to the (way too expensive for me) Ash wedged sneakers. The next day Bestie C and I went to walk around 34th Street after class and I suggested to go into the store to ONLY try on the shoe to see if it'll fit me. Then I was completely suckered in by how comfortable they were despite being heeled shoes. Yet that wasn't the final kicker that made me purchase these...Steve Madden had a Scratch-off promo going on and I got a $20 off! The shoes are still much more expensive than I normally buy but from $99.95 to $'s probably the best price I can get them for before they go on sale and run out of my size completely (or perhaps I'm just trying to make myself feel better for buying expensive shoes in general ha!).

So that was my July & August for you! How were your summers?

Classes started last Monday. Hopefully, I won't be too caught up by school work that I ignore the blog again! Please don't get mad if that does happen :X