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 fake...no?

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 BestBuy.com 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.***


Preview for an upcoming post

1:35:00 AM mandy 4 Comments

I don't normally devote a whole post just as a preview for another post.
BUT! I am way too excited to share about what happened yet I didn't get a chance to edit through all the photos I want to share.
(I'm warning everyone before hand...it'll be very image heavy hehe)
So...here's a sneak peak at what's to come :]


Cute things make the day better

1:30:00 AM mandy 8 Comments

These weather conditions have been all over the place lately. Last week the east coast had Hurricane Sandy to deal with and before even fully recovering from that, there another storm...snow this time. But still, cheers for the first snowfall we are having! (It's been too long. I won't be this cheerful about snow in a few days hah!) Ahh, the sudden changes in weather and temperature just make me feel uncomfortable. I wish the change this year was more gradual. Just before Sandy came I was still wearing my Toms look-a-likes around. Now even thick socks and sneakers aren't warm enough for my toes, maybe I need to wear UGG boots already... Cold weather + rain/snow/mush = not a very happy Mandy.

Since I don't feel like being outside much in this kind of weather, I couldn't do any eye-oogling/window shopping after I took my two (very hard stressful) midterms today. I was completely pooped from pulling an all-nighter trying to cram info for 2 classes into my brain and in addition, I sat in an exam rooms for 3+ hours all together...back to back... My mind was in all sorts of knots by the time I came home. After a quick nap, I remembered I forgot to share some cute yet functional items I bought from eBay recently. At least I can look at photos of things that'll make me happier :]

Before I get to the highlight of my eBay frenzy, here was the dud of the loot.

Faux Leather DSLR Digital Camera Bag Satchel Shoulder Bag M from vivi_leather on eBay

I'm not sure if this bag is still available for sale but I wouldn't recommend getting this bag anyway. At first, I came across photos of this bag from a Korea based shop and thought "I must get that! It looks too cute and would be great for non-pro/hobby photographers like me." But sadly the item wasn't listed there anymore (I don't know why it came up when I searched through). So I did some more browsing and found some China-based sellers and one HK seller (vivi_leather) with the same exact photos as the Korean seller's. I couldn't believe it! And of course...it was too good to be true. I picked the Hong Kong shop to hopefully avoid chances of getting an imitation product. I just didn't think that there were imitations of such little things like this too. Don't get me wrong, the seller is very nice and shipping was ridiculously quick considering it's coming from HK. I can't speak for all their other bags, but I just wasn't all too crazy with this particular one I that got.

This is a photo from the seller's listing. Just in this image alone shows discrepancies. The left photo is the same I saw in the Korean store (I'll dub this "original" for easier reference). The bottom right photo looks like it is VERY similar to the left. But the bag I got looks more like the top right photo. Call me picky but I really care about these things. Especially because this wasn't particularly a cheap bag price-wise (~$35). I did thoroughly inspect and compare all the photos both sellers posted before I decided to hit the Order button. But I must have missed the little details...
  • The overall structure of the bag I received is similar to the "official" photos. I was a little surprised by the size of the bag, but that is my fault for not pulling out a ruler to double-check. Definitely only big enough for a DSLR + standard basic beginner lens and maybe an extra battery or other small things. There's barely enough extra room for even a wallet. If I plan to go out and about I can't really go with just this bag. At least the camera is snug in there!...I guess?
  • The bag is closed by 2 magnetic clasps. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Magnetic closures seem to be pretty popular for satchels with a flap. The problem was one of the clasps wasn't very strong at all. Just a slight tap and it would detach itself. Imagine what would happen if I was outside and it just came undone so easily?!
  • There was this separator included...that was made of literally just a piece of cloth with velcro attached on the edges. However, I'm not sure if it can even be called a separator. When it came, it was stuck to one side to look like a money/memory card slot (which doesn't work because there is no actual pocket created). Definitely not sturdy to be used as either the former or the latter...So I just took it out completely. Nice thought! (Not really...) To the fair, the "official" photos had a separator that looked more padded and seemed like it could actually be used as a true separator. Perhaps the people who made this were trying to copy all the details down to the last T.
  • If they were...then they missed one feature. The two latches are missing the metal tips. It would have been a nice touch. Plus, it would keep the edges from fraying.
I hate it when impulse buys don't live up to my expectations. I'm still going to make good use of it. It would be too expensive to send back to HK so that wasn't really an option. I just hope that it'll last longer than I think it will. For now, at least I have a smaller camera bag dedicated just for my beloved DSLR.


Anyway! Enough with my rant...Onward with the cute things!

lovely items actually from Korea this time from lonedaisy77 on eBay

I'm pretty sure this is an original product. Would imitators go as far as to copy a holographic sticker? A very detailed sticker at that too!

Shinzi Katoh Lock Up Earphone Winder in Mint

I love this earphone winder. I wonder now why I never got one before. (Ahh, that's right because I couldn't order for eBay myself.) It helps to store my headphones in my jacket pocket or bag much easier. Things are less tangled and messy. The cables wouldn't accidentally drag other things out of my pocket. It just makes life a little easier!

Ribbon Earphone Winder in Lavender

Another earphone winder. I got suckered in by the bow...heh. I found that this winder doesn't keep the headphone cables as contained as I liked so I repurposed it to organize my iPhone/iPad charger instead.

Shinzi Katoh Zip Around Clutch Long Wallet in Purple

This was the biggest surprise. I had no idea the wallet would come all nicely packaged like this. Makes it feels so luxurious. Is this how bigger companies also package their wallets? It is very nicely made and has lots of card slots and pockets for receipts, cash, and a zipped section for coins. LOVE! I haven't used this yet. I don't want to cause any unnecessary damage to it yet because I tend to carry a lot of heavy things in my bag for school.

There are quite a few Korean sellers who have Shinzi Katoh and similar styled items. I chose to buy from this particular seller because Bestie C bought from here before and recommended it. There are times where I'd rather pay a little extra and be assured that things will go smoothly. I've checked the prices on a Korean website that sold these same items and the prices are relatively similar. I guess Shinzi Katoh is a pretty popular accessories (wallets, cell phone cases, passport holders, etc.) brand? I've come to really like his items! I have my eye on a Diary/Wallet style iPhone case but...it is much pricier than what I'm comfortable with paying for a phone case. I shall wait and see if the prices will drop since the iPhone 5 is out! Hehe.


October OOTDs

9:45:00 AM mandy 8 Comments

As promised! Here are a few of the outfits I wore in October. I feel quite proud of my efforts if I do say so myself. Since school started, I have yet to go to class in a hoodie and jeans. But...I have to admit hoodies and loose clothes just feel soo comfortable (especially when I want to hide my unsightly chubs)! Even so, I am going to try really hard to dress myself up rather than down.

American Eagle Pleated Sleeveless Top | Uniqlo Easy Knit Leggings - Wine | Steve Madden Olympiaa

F21 Sweater | F21 Chambray Top | Uniqlo Easy Knit Leggings - Wine

Gilly Hicks Cardigan | H&M Peter Pan Collared Bird Blouse | AE Jeggings - Worn Black

GAP Parka Jacket | F21 Sweater | F21 Peter Pan Collared Striped Shirt | AE Jeggings - Soft Rinse Indigo

What do you think? How were my efforts?
I hope I won't be discouraged to dress up when it gets colder...Any fashion tips for the winter?


October Happenings

9:30:00 AM mandy 13 Comments

Even though fall began at the end of September, it didn't really start to feel like the season until a couple of weeks ago. There were still a few strangely hot and sunny days in early October and leaves (at least of the ones I saw) didn't change colors until mid-October. But I'm not one to complain because I love the in-between seasons. Rather than loving one particular season, I'm more of a Spring-Summer and Summer-Fall kind of girl.

Before the midterm rush started, I was able to go shopping. In the end, I tried more items than I actually bought. The SAs must really hate people like me...I'm so sorry!!~
Here are some things that I tried, loved, and didn't buy for one reason or another.

Isn't this quirky ring set adorable?! If I wore rings more often, I'd probably get it just for the heck of it.

I'm not much of a skirt person because I'm not very confident with my body shape but I couldn't resist trying the trending hi-lo skirt anyway. There are just certain things that look better on taller/skinnier people...*sigh*

I've been really into blouses lately. But a lot of the ones at F21 and other more affordable stores make theirs from a really rough polyester that I'm not very fond of. Whenever I see a nice blouse I end up feeling it to test its softness/smoothness. (Does anyone else do this?) This particular polka-dot button down felt sooo luxurious, yet it was also just polyester! (How can there be such a difference in the same material type?) The only reason why I didn't buy this was because I thought it made me look too old? But now I'm king of regretting not purchasing this...A girl can never have too many button-downs!

Another gem I found at Macy's, a Calvin Klein satchel. My favorite type of handbag is one with both a cross-body strap and shorter handles! Usually, Macy's handbag section is such a mess (especially at the particular one I went to) but somehow I was drawn to this bag. It looks similar to the kate spade bag that I posted about a little while ago doesn't it? However, since the price range of this one is pretty close to the kate spade bag...I decided I might as well just wait and save up for the latter.

Uniqlo DIP G.V.G.V. Long Sleeve Shirt + Uniqlo Knit Leggings in Wine | AE Knit Lace Sweater in Grey

I really loved the Uniqlo top! I just wasn't too sure about the gold/yellow/beige color. Now that I look back at the photo of me wearing it, I think I could have worked it...after a few pep talks hehe! The leggings, on the other hand, I ended up loving and bought immediately.

I haven't bought anything from AE in-store or at full price recently. They always have mark-downs and sales so Besties and I just wait it out before we order anything online. This way 1) we save because of the sale 2) if it does go OOS by the time we want it, we save even more! Now I go to the store mainly to just try on pieces to see if I like the way it looks on me and to see if things fit. (Does anyone else do this?) I tried on this sweater and really liked it. I thought it was just a muted lilac but turns out it's actually a gray. Mmm, guess the lighting really affected my color judgment that day. What do you guys think of this lace sweater?

AE Open Back Shirt in Black

Another blouse! This one has an open back which I don't mind too much. Again...something about this kind of polka-dot (well polka-feather to be more exact ha) pattern makes me feel like it ages me. But a sweater/cardigan over top could probably balance the aging effect out right?

Tests came one after another. In fact...I still have 2 left that I was supposed to take this week but was pushed back due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy hitting the city. Thankfully now I have more time to prepare for those two, and, of course, they're the most difficult ones...*sigh*

The other enjoyment of October was getting to try a lot of new foods because Madison Square Eats was by the school I go to. It was definitely relaxing to have delicious food in the middle of a stressful day! NOTE: I didn't eat these all on one day! That would be scary... Most of these I shared with Bestie C

1 Beef & 1 Chicken Hot Dogs with WangDing topping (Chinese BBQ pork belly, cucumber, scallions) &
Korean BBQ Bulgogi Burger with Asian slaw @ Asiadog

These hot dogs were amazing! The extra meat filled me right up and the sauce...so good! AHH. This was definitely my favorite of all the savory foods that I tried. The Bulgogi Burger was alright. I think it had a little too much slaw for my liking. Perhaps next time I go to their actual store I should try it with kimchi instead.

Shaved Ice with Strawberries, Mochi, and Dulce de Leche @ Wooly's Ice

Soo good! Who knew ice could taste so good...I especially loved it with mochi and dulce de leche more than with fruit but you have to have something "healthy" in a sweet dessert to balance out...hehe.

Peanut Butter, Lemon, Hazelnut, Red Velvet, Lemon and Basil, and Earl Grey Macarons @ Macaron Parlour

These were pretty good! Compared to Laduree, these shells were a little stiffer (though I did have these when they were a chilled in the fridge for a bit because they were melting by the time I got home) but overall less sweet. & I appreciate the fact that the fillings of these were mostly chocolate based.

Teriyaki Balls with Sausage & Corn and Edamame Beans in Butter and Seasalt @ Mimi & Coco

Don't be fooled by how small this looks. It is filling! I like how they reinvented (if that is the correct term) takoyaki balls but I don't think anything can replace the originals for me. The lady manning the stall the day Bestie C and I ate there was so nice. She discounted our totals because she thought we were waiting for her to make our orders for too long, in reality, it was just because we were just there too early.

Alabama BBQ Chicken Slider, Burnt Ends Beef Chili Slider, BBQ Brisket Slider @ Mexicue

Don't these just look delicious? I'm not sure if these are considered Mexican food...maybe it's fusion? Anyways, these tasted as yummy as it looks. At first, I was a little worried the meats would be too dry and the sliders too small but these proved me wrong. Even the jalapenos caught me by surprised! I didn't think I'd be able to handle them but it was milder than I thought (well they were pickled peppers...).

Pulled Pork Empanada & Coconut Curry Chicken Empanada @ La Sonrisa

Who doesn't love some fried goodness? Definitely shouldn't eat these too often. I liked the curry empanada more (then again I have a little curry bias hehe). I wouldn't recommend eating these only and calling it a meal though because I ended up feeling hungry a couple of hours later...

Carne Asada Taco & Side of rice and beans @ Calexico

Of the two I liked the tacos more. The rice and beans by themselves were a little bland to me. However! I had their Pollo Verde Burrito (which has the beans and rice inside the tortilla wrap) and that was amazing...Then again, I've never had a burrito before so I have no other benchmark to reference to.

Pork Belly Buns @ Hong Kong Street Car &

"de Bom" (Liege Waffle with Speculoos Ice Cream and Belgian Chocolate Fudge @ Wafles and DingesI know how unhealthy pork belly is...but I love it so much. Hong Kong Street Car cooks them really well and everything just melts in my mouth, literally! The only thing that stops me from buying the pork belly buns again is for 1 bun...it's $4. So small! So expensive!

Since we didn't feel full at all from the little bun, Bestie C and I went to Wafles and Dinges to get our dessert fill. I've never had one all by myself but we were hungry so we each got one to enjoy. The waffle that particular day wasn't the best that I've had from them (usually it has a pretty crunchy exterior and soft and chewy inside, the one that day was all soft and chewy). The best part was definitely their gingerbread ice cream. Cannot get enough of that!

Cinnamax (Snickerdoodle cookies with Cinnamon Ice Cream) @ Melt Bakery
Bestie had The Lovelet (Red Velvet Meltcakes with Cream Cheese Ice Cream)

I haven't had ice cream sandwiches in a long time and those were just the ones from an ice cream truck/deli. This was my first time eating a cookie ice cream sandwich. It was cold and hard. Since my front teeth are quite sensitive to the cold I had to take a small bite of the cookie and then scrape the ice cream with my teeth. It was worth it! Although...these were humongous. Halfway through I felt like I had enough X: (Could just be the Asian in me talking hah) Next time I'm going to try the Lovelet!!

Truffle Cheddar Pretzel @ Sigmund's

I've never tasted truffle anything before but I heard (from food shows) that truffle oil is supposed to be very heavy and overpowering. I didn't particularly taste that. But it was a good soft pretzel! The strange part was I ended up liking their honey mustard sauce a lot more than the actual pretzel itself...hah.

With all the days I ate out, I rarely got the chance to cook this month. The only times were when I decided to stay home and study on the weekends. Although these were supposed to be quick meals they somehow ended up taking a long time to prepare.

Oatmeal made with milk, a little bit of Agave Nectar, cinnamon, and bananas

I've grown accustomed to eating oatmeal made with milk rather than water. I know it just adds more calories but it's the way I like it...at least I eat oatmeal right? Adding the bananas was a spontaneous decision. There was a banana lying around (which usually does not happen) so I just sliced it and put them in. It tasted really good! Does anyone else eat oatmeal with fruits?

Curry ramen that I made for my brother and I

Usually, I just throw the packets of things a package of ramen comes with straight into the pot of boiling water and consume but for some reason that day I started pulling out this and that from the fridge and it came out to be like that^ in the end.

A sneak peak at one of the outfits I wore in October. I decided not to include my OOTDs here because the post was getting too long. Hope no one minds! Or do you prefer many short posts as opposed to a long monthly summary?