January 2014 empties

I forgot to mention that I’m currently in London. So if it seems like my posts are going up at weird times, it’s because I haven’t figured out if I’m scheduling them based on Hawaii’s time zone, or London’s.

In any case, I need to post my “start of the year clean out” of my makeup stash!

jan2014 empties eyeshadow singles

Urban Decay singles from various Book of Shadows palettes: Perversion, Ecstasy, Misdemeanor, Midnight Cowboy, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Snatch.

I bought these because I couldn’t resist the loads of exclusive colors that came in these palettes. Never mind that I didn’t even know how to wear some of the colors on my skin tone. “But it’s such a good deal!,” I’d justify to myself. But is it really a good deal when you won’t use half the colors and you’ll end up throwing them away in a few years’ time? The answer, in my humble, former-makeup-hoarder opinion, is an emphatic NO.

Urban Decay singles from the Ammo palette: Last Call, Polyester Bride, Chopper.

I have another Last Call in one of the BoS palettes. I might have pulled it in my second go-round of getting rid of eyeshadows to downsize my Z palettes. It’s a pretty color, but it’s hard to work with on my skin tone. It has a tendency to make me look like I’ve been crying.

I hate Polyester Bride and I’ve used it maybe twice. The texture is extremely dry and gritty and the glitter fallout is crazy.

Chopper pulls really orange on me, and there’s a lot of fallout with this shade, as well.

Kat V D singles from various True Romance (??) palettes: Skiba, Solitude, Sinner, Cholita, Rad Purple.

From the above pictures, it would seem that I don’t like purples. This isn’t true. I like purples on me quite a lot. These particular ones, though rather unflattering on me, so I never used them.

Urban Decay matte singles: Chronic, Electric, Narcotic.

I bought these off Hautelook ages ago. I look at them now and have no clue why.

Wet n Wild Color Icon single in Kitten, Color Icon 8 pan palette in Comfort Zone, left side Definer shade.

I think I liked Kitten better in theory. It doesn’t really show up on me at all. As for the other one, when I depotted the Comfort Zone palette, a lot of them cracked and threatened to fall apart because the pans weren’t metal. This one succumbed to gravity and most of the powder fell out. It’s not a huge loss, as I have plenty of similar colors.

jan2014 empties eyeshadow palettes

Kat Von D Metal Orchestra palette: I saved two colors from this palette, because I like them. Razor Gray I gave to my mom because I have a duplicate, and Glock I put into a Z palette.

Sephora Mauve Yet! palette: I got this as a gift one year for either my birthday or Christmas. I didn’t use it a whole lot.

Kat Von D Rock n Roll palette: This was a Sephora 500 point perk. It seemed exciting when I first got it, but the eyeshadow quality was rather lacking.

jan2014 empties full size

LA Splash Splashproof eyeshadow sealer/base: This is really old and I rarely used it. It did a decent job of minimizing glitter fallout because it’s sticky.

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin: This creased on me quite a lot. It was also really frosty.

The Body Shop Big & Curvy waterproof mascara: I hated this. The formula was wet, and when it dried, my lashes felt crunchy.

Maybelline Fit Me powder foundation in 235: I’ve mentioned several times that I don’t care for this powder one way or another. It’s a bit too dark for me now, too. It’s also too pink. I recently bought a BECCA powder from Hautelook, and once that came in, this one had to go.

OPI Ridge Filler: I found this at Target on clearance and I decided to try it. It didn’t really do anything for me, and it was starting to get goopy.

jan2014 empties minis

Origins Vita-Zing SPF 15 tinted moisturizer: This was just okay. I stopped using this once I got The Body Shop’s Vitamin E BB cream.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners in 4L and 23L: They’re both dried out. 23L and UD’s Midnight Cowboy are nearly identical, so that wasn’t a huge loss. I’m sure I have a dupe for 4L too, and if not, I don’t wear this color too often anyway.

jan2014 non makeup empties

Things I actually used up!

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter: I like the texture and scent a lot. However, since starting work there, I’ve been wanting to try other scents, so I probably won’t go back to this one for awhile.

Bath and Body Works 3 Wick Candle in Villa Bergamot: Loved this scent and the label design. Will upcycle.

January count:
Full size: 39
Mini size: 3
Sample size: none

Not bad! As I mentioned, I did a second round of purging through my powder eyeshadows, so they’ll show up in February’s empties. I also need to go through my cream shadows and liners. I also lost a blush to depotting. Looks like Project 61 pan is off to a good start!

Nail polish overload

You can never have too many bottles of nail polish… Or can you?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly can.

Awhile back, I bought one of those table top acrylic nail polish racks that holds about 50 bottles of polish. I promised myself that my collection should always fit in that one rack, and if it ever overflowed, it was time to edit.

I think it’s about that time.

For a few months, I would buy a new bottle of nail polish, find space for it on the rack, then forget about it. It got to the point where I had quite a number of colors that I had never used.

So, I decided to use them all at once and kill… nine birds with one stone. Damn, I’m efficient.

unused nail polish bottles

Look at these poor, unloved little guys.

L to R: Wet n Wild Sparked, China Glaze Razzle Dazzle Me, Sephora by OPI Indi-go With the Flow
Julie G Fairytale, Essie Tour de Finance, Essie Luxeffects Pure Pearlflection
LA Colors (These have no names, so I made them up): Watermelon, Gold, Teal*

*I know, I’m super creative. I’m expecting a job offer as a nail polish namer any day now.

unused nail polish base colors

Solid colors first! Then glitter on top. Because glitter makes everything better.

Lots of pictures in this post, so click for more!  Continue reading

Mani Sunday: Glitter is always an option

I got a few mini nail polishes for Christmas this past year, and when I tried one on, the color was just okay… It didn’t really feel like me, if you know what I mean. It was nice, it looked fine on me, but it wasn’t a color I’d reach for. Overall, it was uninspiring.

But when I put a layer of glitter polish… well, I like to think that glitter is always an option.

glitter option bottles

That’s Ciaté’s Candy Cane on the left and an unnamed L.A. Colors on the right.

glitter option

I think I just like glitter on my nails because it’s something shiny to distract me with. Yes, sometimes I have the mind of a five year old.

December 2013 empties

I’m not sure what the hell has gotten into me lately. It’s as if all the progress I’ve made toward being a productive, functional adult has gone down the drain and I’ve backslid into being a lazy, unmotivated teenager who stays up late doing nothing. Not a good way to start off the year.

What’s weird is that I continue to take pictures for the blog. But my organization and workflow system has gotten all messed up, especially after replacing my hard drive, so now I have a huge mental block when it comes to tackling that clusterfuck, and I just let the pictures pile up, unedited, on the memory card. They haven’t even made it to my computer yet.

But I can’t just sit here and complain about it and avoid it for the rest of my blogging life (I mean, I could, but then I should just give up right now). So, without further blither blather about my inability to do just do what I say I’m going to do, December’s empties before January is done!

dec2013 empties

False lashes (strip) – I bought these for Halloween a few years ago, and never used it because I was unsure of my ability to even apply false lashes. I finally used them for New Year’s Eve, and it actually came out rather well, and I got lots of compliments on them! I know I can reuse them, but honestly, if it took me years to finally wear them once, I probably won’t be wearing them again any time soon.

Picture evidence of me wearing these fabulous falsies:


I took this with the front facing camera on my iPhone after a long shift on NYE, so it’s pretty crappy quality. I found the rose at the bar (presumably a customer left it behind). Rhinestones are Urban Decay’s Rocks, which I bought off Hautelook years ago. This is probably the second time I’ve used them.

Note to self: stop buying things you will probably never use.

Falsies (individuals): I wore a few of the green ones for some reason or another. I don’t know, the whole thing is tacky. Whatever.

e.l.f. shine eraser blotting papers – These were pretty good for the price ($1). It did take more than one sheet to get my whole face, though. I’d repurchase them, but my local Target has been sold out the last few times I went to look for them.

The Body Shop olive body scrub – I like the fresh, green smell of this. The exfoliants are actual grains, so I had to rinse them off the floor of the tub (unlike sugar scrubs which eventually melt away). I’m currently using a Shea scrub again, and once that’s done I want to try the Honeymania one! The texture of the Honeymania one is more what I’m looking for: finer salt granules in a creamy base.

Yes To Cucumbers facial towelettes – Well, you guys already know that I love these wipes, so it’s no surprise that I’ve finished another pack. I’m not going to count them anymore as empties.

The Body Shop Super Volume mascara – It’s an okay mascara. I wouldn’t pay $18 for it, but then again, I hate spending more than $10 on something I’m going to replace in 3-6 months.

Smashbox O Gloss (mini) – I was using this as my overnight lip balm for months in an effort to use it up. There was still a tiny bit left when I threw it in the empties pile, but I’m done with it. Don’t care anymore.

Tocca Cleopatra eau de Parfum (mini) – I used this as a mini reed diffuser. I didn’t really care for the scent on me.

December’s count:
Full: 6
Mini: 2
Sample: 0

2013 count:
Full: 82
Mini: 36 (3 minis = 1 full, so 12)
Sample: 20 (5 samples = 1 full, so 4)

Grand total: 98

From my makeup pickups post – part 2, I stated that I had to get rid of 99 products to cancel out my purchases and be in the green. This would mean that I fell short by just one product, which would be pretty awesome!… except since then, I broke my ban and bought a few more things.

Since that post in September, I’ve picked up 4 new nail polishes (Essie’s Parka Perfect and Pure Pearlflection, Julie G’s Fairytale, and China Glaze’s Razzle Dazzle Me), a blush (theBalm’s InStain in Toile), and Jouer’s Blushing Beauty palette (which I’m going to count as 7 because there are 7 different pieces.

Total pickups in 2013:
33 + 12 = 45

45 x 3 = 135 to get rid of

135 – 98 = 37 carry over for 2014

Pickups for 2014: 2 nail polishes (Sephora by OPI’s Indi-go With the Flow and Essie’s Tour de Finance), and the OCC lip tars all star mini x 4 set, which I’m going to count as 4 even though they’re minis, because they’re insanely pigmented and they’ll probably last me as long as a full sized lipstick. I also bought a Pacifica sampler set I’m going to count as 2 because one is full size (another lip balm!) and the others are mini sizes.

8 x 3 = 24

37 + 24 = 61

So, I’m starting 2014 on a Project 61 Pan. Haha.

However, I did decide to throw away a lot of old makeup in January, so we’ll see if I finally did get out of the red in a few days’ time when I do my count. I need to go through my stash more thoroughly next month, but I can’t do that today because it’s Chinese New Year and you’re not supposed to clean or throw things out because it’s bad luck. :P

Stay tuned, peeps. And Gung Hee Fat Choy. And bear with me while I get my shit together.

October and November 2013 empties

Before the year is over, here are October and November empties of 2013!

oct2013 empties

Yes to Cucumbers facial towelettes – I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is an old standby. It’ll show up again in my December empties, but after that I’ll stop counting it.

Random blotting papers – My mom gave this to me to use up, ha. I like the decorative Japanese paper (I’m almost positive there’s a name for it, but I don’t know it. Oops.)

Perricone MD Photo Plasma (sample size) – I don’t remember anything about this. I think it was an SPF thing?

Sephora Brand nano eyeliner in Silver Green (mini) – This was part of a Sephora birthday gift one year. It’s actually a really pretty color. However, it doesn’t fit in any sharpener I own. I even bought a specific Sephora brand one, hoping that it would fit, but it didn’t. I thought it was a standard size, but it’s a really tight fit and I can’t even turn it to sharpen it. I also have to use considerable amount of force to get it out. As a result, I stopped using it once the tip got blunt. Shame.

Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Zero (mini) – Yay, another one of these done. Maybe one day I’ll be down to only one black eyeliner. /sarcasm

Sonia Kashuk eyebrow gel – Wow, this tube looks nasty. I liked it, but in all honesty, I’m probably not the best person to ask for an opinion on eyebrow gels because my eyebrows are generally pretty tame so I don’t notice a huge difference when I use gel or not. I bought a cheap e.l.f. one to replace this, but it’s double ended which means I went through it twice as quickly. Not sure if I’ll repurchase this SK one, or just use the clear eyelash gel on my eyebrows. :P

Burt’s Bees lip balm in Pomegranate – I like Burt’s Bees lip balms in general. This one had a very slight tint to it. My coworker bought one after seeing mine, but she said the smell of it bothered her (and that it wasn’t tinted red like mine was). Not sure if the formula changed or not. I won’t be repurchasing simply because, despite my best efforts, I seem to be up to my eyeballs in lip balms. Again.

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear mascara – I hated this. The formula was really wet and it flaked like crazy. Permanent raccoon eyes whenever I wore this.

Tarte ReCreate primer – This was part of a Sephora 500 point gift. I like that it’s silicone free, but it didn’t feel like it did anything, except add extra moisture. I probably wouldn’t purchase a full sized one.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – I got this as a sample when I dropped off a bunch of empties for recycling to the Origins counter in Macy’s. I really, really liked this mask. Whenever I started to break out, I’d use this and the pimple would come to a head overnight and dry out within a few days. Unfortunately, Origins is no longer cruelty-free, so I won’t be purchasing it. :(

ecoTools pointed concealer brush – This was part of their Day-to-Night set that I never got around to reviewing. (Link is to a review by cruelty-free beauty blog I follow, buyingcrueltyfree.com) I really liked this brush for my under eye concealer, but the glue came loose and the bristles fell apart. I need to start paying attention when I wash my brushes: I know you’re not supposed to get the ferrule part wet, but some of the brush bristles are so short and the water flow is … wide? so how the hell are you supposed to avoid the ferrule getting wet?? Halp. There was another brush that suffered the same fate… in November’s empties.

nov2013 empties

Bath and Body Works 3-Wick Candle in London Calling – I bought this because I had to. I mean, come on. London calling, hello? (Ha, I made a funny.) Plus, it smelled like tea and lemon. I loved everything about this candle. The design on the top is so pretty. I want to turn it into a coaster, so I’ve kept it for an upcycling project!

ecoTools domed bronzer brush – Heart! Break! I named this as one of my six favorite beauty tools, and now my fallen soldier has been laid to rest. Again, I think I’m washing my brushes wrong. I’ve repurchased this, but the older version with the lighter bristles, and I’m going to be very careful where that damn water gets. I’ll do a separate post on my cooling love affair with ecoTools, because I’ve had more problems with these brushes than any of my other ones, which makes me sad.

Not pictured: Rainforest Shine or Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner packets – I got them as samples when I started working there in May, and I saved it until Albert and I were at our rental house. I don’t like the Rainforest shampoo and conditioners very much. However, I recently tried the banana shampoo and conditioner, and I LOVE IT.

October’s count:
Full: 6
Mini: 4
Sample: 1

November’s count:
Full: 2
Mini: none
Sample: 2

Full: 76
Mini: 34
Sample: 20

Huh. Not bad for a whole year (minus December). Of course, I kinda threw my buying ban out the window during this holiday season (I didn’t go crazy, but I wasn’t very disciplined either). But more on that in January, with December’s empties. I’ll have to do a recalculation for my downsizing goal in 2014. Oh, and remember all those things I said I was going to give to friends on Facebook? Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet. wtf, Jen. Get on it.

One more day of 2013 to go! Make it a good one, peeps. See you in 2014! :)

Mani Sunday: Cranberry Joy

cranberry joy


I did this mani back in the middle of November, just as The Body Shop’s holiday body butters were released. Mine matched the Cranberry Joy one. :)

cranberry joy 2


This is one of my favorite manis to date. It’s so pretty and festive! Even my mom said she liked it, and she is consummately indifferent to most of my manicures.

Ring finger red: Sephora by OPI’s Sample Sale
Middle finger red: China Glaze’s Ruby Pumps
Index finger: Essie’s Beyond Cozy (also sponged on the tip of the ring finger)

Lips and shades

lips and shades 1

lips and shades 2

Sunglasses – American Apparel
Lipstick – Topshop in Hazard

I’ve been really bad lately. I haven’t been posting (I still need to do October and November empties, wtf), Carina asked to do a feature on me and I haven’t done that yet either (I’m really sorry! I will get it done by the end of the week, I promise!), and I’ve been spending money like I’m rich (which I’m really, really not).

But at least I look fabulous, right?

Swatches: Essie Maximillian Strasse Her vs. Parka Perfect

Ha, I haven’t posted for 5 or 6 days. Is it possible to be disqualified from NaBloPoMo? If so, I’m almost certain I have been. Oops.

Anyway, I recently bought Essie’s Parka Perfect. On impulse. Even after thinking that it looked really close to Maximillian Strasse Her. I looked up swatches and decided that they were different enough to warrant having both of them… even though to a normal person, they probably aren’t.

essie maximillian strasse her vs parka perfect


Sorry about the dull lighting. I was in a rush to take pictures of the swatches before it all chipped off my nails (which they did later that day).

As you can see, Parka Perfect is bluer and has a very subtle shimmer to it. Maximillian Strasse Her is a green grey-ish creme.

essie maximillian strasse her vs parka perfect swatches


The difference is more noticeable in this picture than it is in real life; it’s very subtle.

But. I love them both, and I don’t regret it, and you can’t make me. D:

On long distance relationships

Albert left for London on Friday night, and arrived there early Sunday morning (for him) and late Saturday night (for me). The sheer distance and time it takes to get there surprises a lot of people. It involves at least two flights, one that’s usually eleven hours long, and another that’s at least six (depending on the direction you’re traveling in, and layovers, etc.).

What surprises people even more is that we are even in a relationship in the first place. The comment I get the most is, “That’s a very long distance relationship!! How do you guys do it?!”

The simplest answer is this: I want him. When you find someone worth waiting seven months for to be able to spend two weeks with, then you willingly sludge your way through the endless days. I know it’s not ideal. And saying goodbye and knowing you have yet another long stretch ahead before you can spend two more precious weeks together — it never, ever gets easier, no matter how many times you have to do it.

Albert and I have been dating for about two and a half years now, and the time we’ve spent together COMBINED is about 4 months. It’s never been longer than three weeks consecutively.

So, how do we do it?

All relationships require effort and nurturing. When that relationship becomes (or in our case, always has been) long distance, it’s the little things that start to matter the most. Here are six things that Albert and I do to make it work.

1. Trust each other.

This one goes without saying. If we didn’t trust each other, there would be absolutely no point in sustaining this relationship. I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be if I constantly doubted him or his intentions. When he says he won’t be available to chat because he’s going out with his friends to a birthday party or whatever, I know that’s exactly what he’ll be doing, and the thought that he could be lying to me never crosses my mind.

2. Make time for each other.

We are all busy with our lives. School, work, hobbies, friends, family. More often than not, something will fall by the wayside. For me, it’s general cleanliness (I know, it’s gross, but I don’t always find the time nor the energy to shower daily, and sometimes I will go days on end without washing my hair and it gets really gnarly and I feel like shit about myself).

However, I never put my relationship with Albert on the back burner. We try to have a quick FaceTime chat every weeknight if I’m home (week morning for him, while he’s eating breakfast and getting ready for work), and we send each other text messages via WhatsApp every day. This is the biggest and most important way that we sustain our relationship. Just a few minutes out of our day to chat means so much to me. We take pictures of funny or weird things that we see in our daily lives so we can share it with each other and have a laugh. It helps me feel closer to him when I see a picture of something completely mundane, like a nice yogurt he’s picked up from the supermarket or how crowded the Underground station is during rush hour.

3. Keep busy. 

This might seem to counteract my previous point, but the key here is balance. I love Albert to bits, but my life doesn’t revolve around him. I go out with my friends and pursue hobbies that don’t involve him, and he does the same. It gives us something to talk about, and keeps us from constantly moping around because we’re not together. We can’t (and really shouldn’t) share every single moment of our lives, so we should fill it with other things that we enjoy.

4. Schedule dates.

It gets much easier to deal with the distance when I know when I’m going to see him next, especially if we’ve booked the tickets. It gives us something to look forward to, and we can start counting down the days. In the interim, whenever I have a day off, we schedule Skype dates so we can hang out for a few hours.

5. Never walk away angry.

I’ll admit, I’m not the best at this one. Occasionally we have little scuffles, and there have been times where we’ve said good night and things were not quite right between us. I have to remind myself that Albert is not a mind reader, and if something is upsetting me, I need to come out and say it. Sometimes, it’s simply a misunderstanding. It’s hard to know why someone is upset even if you are right there; it’s nearly impossible when that person is thousands of miles away. Effective communication is everything.

6. Show your love.

This is another thing that people take for granted sometimes. I know he loves me, and he knows I love him. We don’t need to tell each other constantly. However, that old adage, that action speaks louder than words? It’s true. Show, don’t just tell.

I listen when he talks about his day. I remember little details about his life and habits simply because the minutiae is precisely what I can’t always experience. I show a genuine interest in his hobbies and learn why he likes them, not because I’m interested in it for myself, but because it’s what makes him uniquely him. These are the things that take the place of a soft touch or a quick kiss when we’re not together.

None of these things I’ve mentioned are exclusive to long distance relationships. In fact, I believe that these are important components of any healthy relationship. All relationships take work, and when your partner is physically absent, you have to work a little harder to maintain it.

Nothing about a long distance relationship is easy. Sometimes I feel like all that’s keeping me going is sheer force of will and determination. But I also know that I’m really lucky: I’ve found someone who I’m willing to wait for, and who’s willing to wait for me, because there is no one else I’d rather be with. He’s the love of my life, and although we have to put up with being halfway around the world from each other for now, I know that it will be completely worth it in the end.

And when we’re finally together, we become those shiny happy people that you see in the stock photography for the picture frames they sell at Walmart:


This is life at the top of the world!

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What did you do to make it work?