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July, 2009:

Alima Pure review

{ As a disclaimer, this post is going to be moderately photo-heavy, so please wait for the images to load! }

For a few years now I’d been using Jane Iredale’s mineral foundation, which was a response to Bare Minerals not having a shade light enough for my skin despite my interest in loose powder foundations (and at the time they were the most well-known company for this). At some point along the way, the neutral shade I’d chosen started to make me look sort of orange-y, which is not very flattering. I don’t know if my skin changed colors, or if they changed formulas, but the end result was the same – I had to find a new brand to use.

I was skimming livejournal’s paleskin community to find suggestions for companies that produced really pale foundations, and discovered Alima ( http://www.alimapure.com/ ) made a wide variety of shades, all the way down to something that barely had any color at all. The shade choices are actually so abundant it took me a long time to decide on a shade! Luckily Alima is very good about providing samples, and I spent a couple weeks using different shades before I finally settled on the one I would buy a full size of.

Last week I placed the order for the full size, along with a bunch of samples.

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The order was shipped in a Priority mail box, wrapped in this cardboard netting.

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Alima is very meticulous in making sure everything is packaged neatly – this is the overall tissue paper wrapped parcel, closed with a green sticker featuring Alima’s bird mascot.

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Unwrapping the tissue paper reveals even more meticulous packaging. Visible here are the box for the foundation, a free (!) lip balm, and a brown paper bag containing my samples. Not visible was the small package of free samples.

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Yet more organization! The white pouch contains little ziploc baggies of free samples.

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Three baggies of samples: some shimmer eyeliner, shimmer eyeshadow and shimmer power (for face). Holly Berry shade of lip balm.

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Packaging of the foundation

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Foundation container, complete with cute bird mascot on the cover. Very classy.

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All 9 of my shimmer eyeshadow samples ($1 each)

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Face-related samples: some shimmer powder, finishing powder, primer powder.

The satin matte foundation is very light, like most loose mineral foundations, and won’t provide heavy coverage, but definitely helps create a smooth, airbrushed look. I have yet to try out the eyeshadows, but they look like they are fairly heavily pigmented. I love the shimmer powders (favorite shade so far is Whisper) for a little sparkly highlighting. The lip balm has a slight tint to it, almost no scent, and feels very creamy. I just put some on and within a minute or two I could already feel the difference on my dry lips. I might buy a different shade when I make another order (it’s inevitable!) since deep red isn’t a color I use much, but I am very appreciative of the free item! I don’t know if it was because I spent over a certain amount, or because I’ve been ordering kind of frequently lately…. XD

If you’re looking for a wide variety of shades in loose mineral foundation, Alima is definitely the place to go. Samples are $1 each, and max out at 2 per color per order, but the amount is pretty generous – I went at least a week on the foundation sample, if not more. You can pile as many samples as you like into your cart each order (I bought 16 samples in this order, so I can’t imagine there’s much of a limit!) so I should probably warn you that the sampling is a little addicting to do – it’s so tempting to just add one more, one more XD Also, there seems to be a slight discount the more samples you buy, doing some quick math it looks like for every four you order it’s $0.25 off (so one sample out of four would be $0.75 instead of $1).

Shipping is always fast, this last time I ordered July 10th, it shipped 13th, and arrived today. Everything was packaged marvelously as you can see above, and arrived with absolutely no problems.

I highly recommend Alima Pure!

Pushing Through

The number of times I’ve restarted kanji study is rather ridiculous. Ostensibly, this was because the previous methods weren’t just right – something was off so nothing was sticking. In class, I’d always just memorize what I needed to for the tests and then forget it shortly afterwards. You could say I’m a good procrastinator about that kind of thing; I can cram the knowledge in and do well on the test, but in reality what have I learned?

I’m smart, and I’ve come to realize over the years that this, combined with traditional public (and even some private) schooling, is not as nice a thing as you might think. I’m also incredibly lazy. I think I became this lazy because I was allowed to be – if I didn’t study, I’d still do well. In fact, I never really studied at all, save for a couple cases (one of which lead to me eventually giving up on the subject all together and I STILL passed), until I got to college. I like to think I’m one step above some of my friends who wouldn’t do homework, wouldn’t go to class and still did well because at least I actually went. Well, for most classes. Despite being able to do decently without any effort, Japanese was actually the first subject I felt like I did well in, and understood. I suppose I understood other subjects, like English, Algebra and Calculus, but I often didn’t feel like I consciously understood them. I was apparently also decent at French, but I never felt like I understood it, either.

So, feeling competent with the language, I initially put a lot of effort into learning it. This energy eventually declined until I was back in my pattern of study-right-before. I never put as much effort into learning kanji as I should have. I just learned what I needed to learn for class. I ignored my brain telling me nothing was going to stick this way. I was getting As, wasn’t that enough?

No, it wasn’t enough. This didn’t really become clear until I arrived in Japan, and my teacher called me out on it. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was really behind in Japanese, that I might actually do poorly grade-wise. In fact, I think I failed a few tests. It was a steep learning curve – the way we were learning and being taught was completely opposite of how I’d been learning back in the US, but it was the way I knew I should have been learning it all along. By the last month, I was starting to get comfortable with this new system, and felt I could really do well. In retrospect, it might have been really beneficial for me to stay another semester, but practically speaking it was difficult to organize.

I returned home, and returned to my old study habits, since that’s all that was required. Graduating with a bachelors in Japanese, I felt like it was almost a joke. I wasn’t anywhere near fluent, although I felt more fluent than I had previously. After graduating, and lacking any real purpose, I took up attempting to fill in the large gaps in my kanji knowledge. I was at a loss as how to achieve this. I tried japanese-kanji.com, which focused on knowing the readings and definitions for each individual kanji. I got to about 400 or 500 and then stopped. That’s about where my natural ability falls out – I didn’t know more than a handful of characters beyond that, and it became difficult. So, I lost interest.

I tried again later, using a similar method and a book I’d owned since I started learning the language. I wrote the characters out, over and over again, saying the readings each time. I think I made it to about 300-400 this time, mostly because the copious amount of writing was really difficult to keep up. I have some peculiarities in the way I write due to teaching myself as a child and no one correcting it, so constant writing is something I have trouble with. Just saying the readings wasn’t going to cut it, and I couldn’t continue writing that way, so again, my energy decreased and it got pushed aside.

In another fit of determination, I tried the flashcard approach. I could bring them everywhere with me, it was perfect! I even managed to finish writing up a whole set of 1945 kanji flashcards (not a small feat!) but studying them was another matter. It’s too hard to learn something like kanji without words to place them in (frequently when people are describing how to write names, for example, they’ll mention the kanji based on the common words they’re found in), so this method was a bust.

I was insistent to not lose to yet another failed approach, and while looking for information about the JLPT, I stumbled across nihongoperapera.com, which I’ve mentioned previously. I bought the recommended Kanji in Context books, since a learning system designed for the intermediate to advanced speaker of Japanese seemed more suited to me than crashing through elementary school style repetition at this age. Shortly after this, however, I discovered Otona no Kanji Renshuu, the DS software that helps you remember kanji by practicing readings and writings, so I left the books aside for the most part. OKR is a great tool for drilling knowledge, but since it’s all in Japanese, if there was vocabulary I didn’t know, I wasn’t learning it (the short phrases given in the tests are not nearly enough to give context for definitions), and as I said above, no meaning = no remembering.

So, I pulled out the KIC books, and started to make flashcards… on my computer. This was a really time consuming process, to the point where I’m not even done with all of the lessons even now, but I think in the long run this is an excellent approach for me. But this alone isn’t going to cut it – self-rating allows for short cuts and laziness, so OKR will be my backup review, along with readthekanji.com, which has the benefit of helping me learn vocab for the JLPT levels as well.

I certainly have additional studying to do to prepare for the test, but kanji is the foundation for everything. If I can’t read the test, I can’t do anything! XD I periodically update my twitter with OKR/RtK scores, so keep an eye out if you’re curious how I’m progressing without waiting for another blog update.

{ started 2009-06-07 06:53:18
published 2009-07-14 10:45:18 }

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