Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ripe Shop Lip Balms Review

I haven't had a chance yet to talk about my lip balm obsession which slowly but surely started up during winter. My lips were parched deserts and I was bored with the choices offered at the shops in town. So I did what any beauty blogger does and set out to browse through Etsy! I have found some fantabulous sellers, and the one I want to talk about today is ripe, owned by Adriana over in sunny California.

One thing that drew me in as a customer was the visual aesthetic of her shop. All the photos of her products are simple, but gorgeous. The font design she uses on her products is also gorgeous and fits in perfectly with her shop design. Now that's just that, but what are her products like, you may ask? To be honest, they simply do not disappoint and it's so exciting deciding what flavour of lip balm to purchase (jeez, that makes me sound boring, I swear it's actually fun picking out which ones to buy!).

All three lip balms which I purchased from ripe have been smooth, soft (but not that melting-all-in-your-bag/back-pocket soft) and nourishing. All her lip balms contain: avocado, coconut, jojoba and sweet almond oils, beeswax, cocoa & shea butters, which makes me really happy knowing what I'm putting on my lips, and eventually ingesting because I'm prone to licking my lips especially when they're dry, is natural and not something I'm afraid of getting into my body.

Because I was bought mine in winter time, I was all in the holiday spirit and purchased Gingerbread Egg Nog. At first I found the top to be a bit crumbly, if that's even possible, but after a few uses, the top of the balm smoothed down and I didn't experience this issue again. The smell itself is interesting, and I feel like the "egg nog" is the more prominent flavour, and I don't really get much of the gingerbread, but that's fine with me as I still really enjoyed using it. Unfortunately the writing on the labels wore off really quickly, something I was gutted about with these products as everything else is so great, so I am borrowing the images directly from Adriana's store so you can see how cute they are.

Image courtesy of ripeshop
Because I'm a green tea fiend, and love anything matcha flavoured, not to mention I'm currently living in Japan, the Matcha Green Tea was destined to end up in my clammy, excited, little hands. If you're not a fan of in-yo'-face scents, this would be great for you. This is a lightly flavoured lip balm, and the green tea fragrance is very gentle when you're putting this on your lips. Makes me crave green tea ice cream whenever I put it on! I also had the crumbly beginning with this lip balm as well, but like I mentioned, this issue quickly disappeared.

Image courtesy of ripeshop
And my favourite of all three lip balms is the Chocolate Rosa and this is by far the most divine thing to ever glide on to my lips. The scent is just abso-fricken'-lutely amazing! The chocolate and rose combination is genius, and the scent is just uhhhhhhhhh, so good! I can't even tell you using words how good this actually is, you just have to trust me that whatever else you're purchasing from this store, this also has to be in your shopping cart. I didn't have the crumbly at the beginning issue with this lip balm, it was just perfection from the get-go.

Image courtesy of ripeshop
Getting it ready and shipping took around 2 and a half weeks to get from the USA to Japan, and this was during the holidays, so I was super happy as I was so excited to try them out. Prices range from $4.25 - $5.00 per lip balm, and while this may seem a tad steep for a lip balm, I can guarantee these are worth it; nothing better than handmade things, I say!
These lip balms are all I've been reaching for during the cold winter days, and even now slowly moving into spring, they've been a godsend. Go check out this fantastic shop and tell me what your favourite lip balms from there are. I've got my eyes on the Taro Milk and Chocolate Raspberry, drool. Adriana also has her own site, so you can also have a gander there.

So, what is your favourite lip balm? Have you ever bought lip balms from Etsy before? Do tell!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Inspired Scents Etsy Store Perfume Review

So, it's been a while, huh. If you've noticed my absence I apologise; I have been tackling the beast that is the Japanese immigration and all of processes that come with trying to get a working visa in Japan. My beau decided that he wanted to camp out here in my little tin roof flat, so I spent my summer sweating my ass off on a bicycle seat and various governmental offices, yay!  Other than that, I have just been plain lazy, left my blog feeling a tad unloved. But that’s all changing, I promise.

Today I decided to write about a small business I stumbled across on Etsy this summer. Now, if you don’t already know about Etsy, I feel like I should warn you. Access this site only if you’re ready to be sucked into all the handmade awesomeness and be ready to part with your beloved savings account.

I discovered Shelley's Etsy store when I was searching online for a dupe of Elizabeth Arden’s Bronze Goddess perfume. I was desperate for a new summer perfume and Japan’s shops had nothing to offer in terms of summer fragrances. In Japan, their range is focused on citruses and fresh scents, and I was desperate for some coconut action in my perfume, and the Bronze Goddess perfume seemed right up my alley.

Bronze Goddess (TYPE) is a sensuous, sun-drenched blend of Bergamot and Mandarin, cooled with Tahitian Gardenia Petals and Coconut, warmed with Amber, Sandalwood, and Vetiver. All heat, all desire, all woman.
I lucked out because I found a couple of sellers who were selling their own versions of famous designer scents, and BG happened to be one of the ones they made. I was curious about how similar it would smell compared to the real thing, and I also ordered Miss Dior Cherie because that’s a perfume I had owned before and knew what it smelt like. My perfumes were sent lightning quick and I received my package in just less than 2 weeks. 
I was very pleasantly surprised to discover in my package that Shelley had also included a full sized solid perfume in her Coconut Mandarin scent as well! I was absolutely tickled pink.

Store description: This fragrance has notes of mandarin, strawberry leaf, violet, jasmine, caramel popcorn, wild strawberry sorbet, musk, and patchouli.
I was absolutely delighted to find that the Miss Dior Cherie smelt exactly like I remembered my bottle of it smelling! Sweet and slightly floral, it is gorgeous and I wear it almost every day now. My Bronze Goddess I wore almost every day since I received it, and I actually ended up being able to purchase an actual bottle of it through a friend who had gone back to the US for a visit, so I was able to compare the two and found that the likeness was pretty much 100%. Both the oil perfumes are very potent and last at least 4 hours on my skin during the summer, and around 5-6 hours during the winter.

I am so pleased with my perfumes, Shelley is super lovely and the shipping rate was decent! I am so envious of all those people in the US, there are so many awesome Etsy shops that I would be purchasing from if I lived in the States! Here is the link to Shelley's store, if you wish to take a gander.

Tell me, lovely readers, what is your favourite Etsy store? Hope y’all had a safe and fun Halloween/Samhain!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

NARS Orgasm Nail Polish Review + Swatch

My favourite blusher is the cult favourite NARS Orgasm, so it only made sense that when I thought I'd lost it, I'd immediately re-purchase another.
So, the last time I bought the Orgasm/Laguna duo, I also got the Orgasm nail polish which I was exciiiiiiiited about because, sex on my face AND nails, it couldn't get any better, right? Hmm, that sounded kind of...dirty...

It looks very chic, and it has the NARS signature rubbery top (we all know what a pain that is when you've got a NARS product in your handbag, eh ladies. All the dirt, assemble!). The brush itself is quite standard and the formula itself is runny. The frustrating thing is that it's very light in colour, so it takes at LEAST 3 layers to become opaque. Even then, it's not completely opaque, as you can see in my next photo.

The one thing I was super impressed with was the longevity of the nail polish. I am a lazy potato-bug and I usually can't be bothered with a top coat (tell me I'm not the only one). Sans a top coat, this nail polish stayed chip free for almost 3 days! How amazing is that? Any other nail polish would chip within the first 12 hours, but this one, ho boy, really stayed strong.

I was a bit sceptical about the colour of the nail polish, i.e. it not matching the blusher, but when I swatched the blusher on my hand, it was pretty much a 100% match! In the pan, the blusher looks a lot more pink, but swatched on the hand, you could see the beautiful coral/golden colour.

I think I'm currently too pale to wear this shade, but it would look absolutely lovely on someone with tanned skin. Nevertheless, it won't put me off wearing it, it truly is a gorgeous colour that I doubt is easy to find.

Tell me, friends, what NARS nail polish do you covet? Are they any good, or are their blushes really only worth the moola?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jump to June Favourites

Ciao bellas!

I'm sorry that I've been MIA but I've had a lot on my plate since my beau's arrival and I just haven't had the time to update the ol' blog even though the purchasing hasn't stopped. I'm actually proud of myself because I haven't bought anything online for a few months now! But only because I haven't had money in the account with which I make my online purchases. Still. Proud of myself! Savings galore, woop woop!

I just noticed that I was a naughty blogger and completely featured two products from last month as this month's favourites as well...oh well...that just goes to show how much I love them!

 In order from left to right, le-tsu go!

1. SKIN AQUA さらさらUVシャワー SPF50+ PA+++ - Summer is well and truly here in Japan, and I decided I needed to invest in a decent sunscreen. Luckily for me, Japan has a plethora of them and they are all quite high in the SPF and PA department. The beauty of this sunscreen is that you just spray it and ta-da! Done! It's such a fine mist that when I first applied I was worried I hadn't applied it properly. It's not sticky, it doesn't leave me greasy, like I said, it's like you hadn't applied it at all.

2. Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water - A great little face spray that I've actually used up now. So refreshing when I wake up feeling super hot in the morning and need something to cool me down in the already 28 degree heat at 7.30am.

3. It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product - This is my little hair saviour. Like a lot of other people have noted, you might not notice a difference the first time you use it, but after a while, if you happen to not use it once, you'll notice the difference immediately. This has really helped to keep my hair smoother and softer. I'm keen on trying the version with keratin in it.

4. MUA Lipstick in Shade No. 16 - It's a bright coral lipstick that leans towards orange more and it fits right in with the current summer trend of coral lipsticks. I bought it during a 50% off and free worldwide shipping on the MUA website. Unfortunately, when I lent it to a friend, it looked way more amazing on her than it did on me; she has the most beautiful blue eyes, and the contrast between the lipstick and her eyes was amazing! So, blue-eyed beauties, I can highly recommend this colour to you.

5. Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Repulpant Shiny Lip Plumper SPF10 in Shade 1 - I bought this in a sale when it came with a YSL lipstick, and I paid around NZ$45 for both, which I thought was a bit of a bargain. I recently re-discovered this lip gloss when I was looking for something to wear on my lips, and I really liked how it gave my lips that shine without the stickiness and the minty feel and smell is quite refreshing on a summer's day.

6. Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 21 - A staple in my handbag when I've rushed out and feeling like I need to put something on my face to cover up the redness and give me the SPF I need.

7. Essie Borrowed and Blue Nail Polish - Probably the most worn colour of the year for me! Such a beautiful light sky blue colour, it will look gorgeous on someone with a tan! Still working on mine, y'all.

8. Vecua Wonder Honey Citrus Sorbet Body Spray - Every time I spritz this on myself I crave lemonade! It smells exactly like it and it makes me so thirsty. I find this the perfect scent for a pick-me up and when I want to cool down a bit. My summer must have if you're living in Japan and want a nice body spray!

9. Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses with Blue Tint - I got these a few years ago as I needed a decent pair of sunglasses, and as I have a naturally weird face, I don't seem to suit any style other than the aviator. I don't mind because I think they look damn cool on anyone who wears them! I'm lusting after the new seasons ones though, ahh.

Non-beauty faves:

1. Air-cons: anywhere and everywhere because goddamn it's humid.

2. The beaaaaaaaach! Can't wait to be swimming every day!

And most important fave:


I am addicted to this show. There is just aksljfsdkjfsd so many feels, you just have to watch it. If you're wanting a bit of supernatural action, dorkiness, brotherly love, angels and demons, ghosts, ridiculous scenes, and a bit of eye candy, you should give this show a go.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Magical May Favourites

I am so glad to see the end of May! The only reason being that my beau is due to arrive in a few days time and I have absolutely been suffering as I've been waiting for time to go past (over 5 months since I've seen him, yo). I actually have been using and lurving a lot of things in May, my birthday kind of included, and although not all of them are going to be featured this month, as I don't want to overwhelm you guys with the product awesomeness, they will probably pop up in my next month's favourites!

I bought a couple of nice things for my birthday, and one of these things is (don't judge) a fancy tea. It's rhubarb and strawberry flavoured and it is just such so gorgeous I make sure I brew myself a cuppa almost every day. Let me tell you how it tastes; it's strawberry heaven with a hint of bitterness kicking in from the rhubarb and after it glides down your throat this creamy strawberry taste is left in your mouth. Pretty delicious sounding, eh? It is. Oh, it really is. The tea is made by the Japanese company Lupicia, and whilst it is available in quite a few places around Japan, it is also available in the States, Tawian, and in Melbourne, Aus. The store is always fun to pop into to grab a small free sample of whatever tea they're promoting at the time and stick your schnoz into all the sample pots and have a sniff of the wonderful aromas. I didn't realise just how much I would fall in love with this tea, but it won me over when I was having birthday cake with my friend at a cafe.

Boil me, now! It screams.
My next favourites are, again, non-beauty related. I have been missing my Kiwi-a-gogo land, along with my lovely friends, and I happened to get an awesome package of them with these two very Kiwiana products which I am so happy to have in my life right now. I figuratively weep whenever I make my toast and swipe my Marmite across it, or douse whatever I'm eating with my Kaitaia Fire hot sauce. SO GOOD TO EAT IT. If you've not heard of Marmite, it's the same dealio as Vegemite. If you've not heard of either, they're both a yeast extract spread (the only kind of yeast you want near in you) which is a by-product of beer brewing. It's very good for you as it contains a lot of iron, niacin (vitamin B3), folic acid and thiamin, all essential to helping protect your nervous system, and kidney and liver function. The taste is very unique and salty. You want to have a light hand when spreading this on your toast. It tastes amazing accompanied with cheddar cheese, and this is my favourite way of eating it (though I've been having it sans the cheese as good cheese is hard to come by in Japan unless you pay in gold for it).

Maaaaate, dig in!
And now, finally onto the beauty stuff. From L-R, let's get on it!

1. MAC Margin Frost Blush - I was obsessed with reading Tali's blog (The Gloss Goss) from back in the days, and although she unfortunately stopped blogging completely and deleted her blog (why Tali, why? At least let us have your old posts to read and re-read!), and I was watching Zara's video of her favourite blushes (from the blog Mouldy Fruit)(she is so gorgeous!), and she mentioned that this is one of the blushes that Tali wears, so being the nerdo that I am, I bought one for myself. I was just hoping that it would transform me into a lush beauty, and whilst it did not do that, it did turn my cheeks lovely. You have to have a light hand with it as it is very pigmented. Review coming up soon!

2. Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water - This bottle I was gifted by the most wonderful friend of mine in prep of my trip to Serbia last year. Although I think these bottles of water are ridiculously overpriced, they are a wonder on a long-haul flight. I've also often been reaching for it now that the weather has warmed up and it's just such a lovely, refreshing thing to mist over your face in the morning when you're trying to get your game face on for the day. It's sadly almost run out and I'm debating with myself whether I should splurge on the big bottle. #firstworldproblems

3. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Perfume - I absolutely adore green tea in all its many forms: as the tea that you would just drink, the frappucino and latte from Starbucks, green tea in its ice cream form, green tea milk, green tea cookies, green tea cake, and obviously, green tea perfume. This is such a perfect spring/summer perfume as it's so fresh and light, it puts me in such a happy place when I spritz it on. It's also on the cheaper side of perfumes which makes me happy, and as you can see, I will need to repurchase it very soon!

4. Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 21 - I've actually been in love with this BB cream for a while, but I kept forgetting to put it into a favourites list, goodness knows why. Again, it was a birthday present from one of my friends (gosh, my friends do certainly know what I like, don't they!). It's just pure magic, I just haphazardly slap it on my face over my moisturiser, and although at first it looks far too pale to be the right colour for my face, (this is where the magic kicks in) it changes colour over the course of 5-10 minutes and becomes like a second skin. It covers up the discolouration on my face and leaves it looking beautifully glow-y. I also love it because it stays put, and it's got SPF42 plus PA+++ which means it has you covered on both the UVA and UVB rays. Score!
Isn't my blush a beaut?
So, my lovely-lovely lovelies, tell me what was your favourite of May? How do you feel about my favourites (please tell me they're all wonderful)?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Smelly Pits: Crystal Deodorant Roll-On Unscented Review

So, being a white person in Japan can get a bit tough sometimes. The things you struggle with the most are always things you wouldn't really think would matter, but actually make a huge difference. So, what is really getting me down, you might be wondering not at all.

I am a sweaty, hairy, smelly beast, and I rely on a good roll-on deodorant to help me through my sweaty, smelly days. However, the majority of Japanese women don't tend to get very sweaty or smelly (here's a neat fact, Japanese are more likely to possess a gene which means they have dry earwax; this gene is also linked to underarm smells, so if you have dry earwax, you don't get smelly!), so their deodorants all fall under the body spray category. I think I have only come across a couple brands which have roll-ons and they don't seem like the type that would be any help to my sweaty pits.

With my pits gobbling down my Rexona roll-on faster than I can eat a taiyaki, I decided to grab myself a more natural and environmentally friendly roll-on from this site after reading a million good reviews for it on there.

Look at it trying to convince you that it's awesome! Flex those biceps, man!
 I decided to go for the unscented version, and I have absolutely no clue why as I prefer my pits to smell like anything other than their stinky selves. I was drawn in by the fact that it was aluminum and paraben free. Aluminum is the reason why you get those yellow stains on the armpits of your favourite white tops, and the reason all your other tops get that stiffness. The sweat mixes with it, chemistry happens, and boom!, you're left with those horrid stains.

I had really high hopes for this deodorant, and I was feeling pretty good about it. But...it just didn't do it for me. At all. It's safe to say that I'm almost better off not wearing this at all, because it really makes no difference to whether I get smelly or not. I get sweaty easily, like, I look at a picture of someone taking a walk and I get sweaty; it's that type of sweaty. It's because I have a very efficient cooling system, mmkay? So I wasn't expecting it to help with that issue, because that's not what it was for, BUT I was expecting it to stop the smellies, and it failed miserably.

I had such high hopes for you!
So, sweaty and smelly beasts, beware! This is not the deodorant for you! My quest for a natural deodorant continues and I cling on to my new bottle of Rexona with the desperation of a stranded islander down to his last bottle of water.

If you still feel compelled to give this deodorant a go, because I am a pretty lost cause, you can get it for cheap here and even cheaper with my voucher code FSK978.

Any recommendations on a good roll-on? Do you get the yellow pits of doom on your white tops too?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fitness Friday: Starting Jamie Eason's Livefit 12-Week Trainer

Linked from here
I realise my FF posts have not been happening for a while now, but I've just been struggling with my own fitness journey to be able to share anything worthwhile. If I had posted anything, it would've been just super negative stuff about how lazy I'd gotten and how much I was just hating everything under the sun because everything was just so hard for me *the smallest violin in the world plays*

So, a few weeks ago, after much debating, I finally decided to a join a gym, even if it is a 45 minute bike ride for me in just one direction. I have to say, I am pretty darn excited to be back in a gym. I'd been gymless for a year! This is a huge deal for me as I have been teaching group fitness classes for a year, and the gym is my home away from home.

In addition to joining a gym, I have also decided to start the Jamie Eason Livefit 12-Week Trainer.  I have been reading and following a lot of blogs that are written by girls who eat clean and workout predominantly using just weights, and it's really inspired me to do something I couldn't do before/was too intimidated by. I am hoping to stick to the training and the meal plans provided as much as possible, because I am keen to see what I can achieve when I put my mind to it. Honestly, I am not super happy with my body, and I am painfully aware of the pressure media and society puts on women especially, to conform to some kind of "beauty standard", but I'm slowly trying to change my way of thinking. At the same time, I am doing something that I am actually passionate about. I love working out and eating healthy, and I want to look and feel strong.

Yesterday was my Day One of Week One for me! Wish me luck! I have taken a "before" picture, which I am far too terrified to put up now, but if I have stuck to my goals, I will have an "after" picture taken as well so you girls can see the results. I will try and put up pictures of what I've eaten throughout the week if that interests you, so let me know!

What does being healthy mean to you? Are you happy with your appearance, and if not, why?