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Beauty & Vanity

Laser-cut Acrylic Jewelry (CBT’s Closet review)

I stumbled upon CBT’s Closet’s etsy page a long time ago, back when they were taking custom word necklace orders. I filed the link away for later use.

When I came back to it, custom orders had closed down!
But a whole bunch of new creative designs had surfaced.

Well, it’s only sensible to check out the true colors of the acrylic before spending more on a custom design, isn’t it?

And so I ordered two necklaces – the “kawaii bow” in bubblegum pink and the crown in mirror pink.

I ordered on February 20th, it shipped on the 24th and arrived March 3rd.

かわいいbow:
かわいいリボン

かわいいリボン3
(even the holes for hanging the chain are hearts! how cute! ♥)

かわいいリボン4

crown:
crown

crown 2

crown 3
I don’t like mirror pink as much as I thought I would – it has too much blue in it, although it’s very shiny. The crown design and the necklace itself are very nice, however. Incredibly shiny.

and! In my package, I found one more item!

pixel heart ring
a pixel heart ring!
I don’t know what size the ring is, although I’d guess 7/8 based on the fact it fits on my right ring finger pretty perfectly. It’s pretty adorable ♥
I was really surprised! I know smaller crafting stores often throw in free items for larger orders, but a ring for purchasing two necklaces seems like a better ratio than most give. (If it’s to encourage people to order more, then it’s working! I want a pixel heart in a pink shade ♥)

CBT’s Closet has a great selection of designs and colors to choose from, I highly recommend them!

shopping spree vs retail therapy: does it really matter?

Today (the 20th) was a shopping day. There’s no denying it.

See, I went to the mall for dinner (mmm Uno’s :9). But there was a 25 minute wait, so I thought I’d go poke around Claire’s for a bit.

It was empty when I arrived, so I leisurely looked around and eventually settled on a crown keychain (for my car keys!)
crown keycharm 2

and a pink x black polkadot cosmetics case because my Liz Lisa one is too small to hold all of my stuff….
polkadot cosmetics case

polkadot vs LL side-by-side
(compared with my rose Liz Lisa cosmetics case)

and all of a sudden the store was full of parents trying to get their two year olds’ ears pierced! (@_@)
so it took me an extra 5-10 minutes just to check out. which led me to grab two sparkly rose hair clips by the register.
roseclips

Thus accomplished, I headed back to Uno’s, slightly worried that they’d already called for me and I was gone (u_u; )
Dinner was buffalo chicken quesedillas (:9!) and some pounded-flat-and-breaded chicken thing with a heavily dressed salad on top (next time I’d get dressing on the side, I <3 balsamic vinaigrette but not when my greens are drowning in it, thanks) After dinner the mall was still open for another hour, so naturally I didn't want to waste this valuable time~ First was WetSeal. I don't normally buy much in person there, but I did find some awesome accessories - namely a sparklysparkly key necklace, large key necklace

pretty large jewel hinge bracelet,
pink gem hinge bracelet

and three pairs of stud earrings including one set of pink sakura-like earrings!! so pretty~~ the website image doesn’t do them any justice at all!
pink sakura earrings!
(shinyshiny~ <3) Still not out of time, I browsed MAC to check out some eyeshadow shades (Pink Venus is <3!), and then walked by bebe and saw... a black quilted heart purse. I couldn't pass by. I had to see it. It was huge! and the last one, apparently. She offered to call another store to see if they had the white but it was white x gold and the black was x silver. I thought about it. looked in the mirror. checked out the construction (pretty solid!) and thought about it. and said.... yes! <3 bebe's... interesting shopping bag
bebe’s shopping bag. keys for size comparison. there is no pornography inside the bag, sorry. (although thinking about it, if you buy sketchy stuff, you tend to hide it in plain bags, anyway…)

inside the bag~

polka dots with hearts!
the polka dot tissue paper was too cute! there were HEARTS! <3 <3 <3 the contents (wrapped in tissue paper)

size comparison w/ keys
it’s a pretty large bag! <3 heart bag on side
this was how it was displayed in the window – it holds its shape very well <3 heart bag handle 1

heart bag inside
inside – there’s two pockets (one for stuff, one for phone) and a zipper pocket.

heart bag zipper pull
zipper pull, might add something to this~

rationally speaking the black won’t get dirty as fast, goes with everything, etc. etc.
I’m still naturally drawn to white bags but realistically I don’t have many nice black ones to use! at least not a large one. I went from having all black stuff to almost none now XD; so I guess it’s a good decision.
and it’s cute!

so after that I went home.

but my shopping wasn’t over yet.
I went to check some things out on wetseal.com, and found some cute belts that are very similar to the white one I bought from Liz Lisa over the summer… and a light pink cardigan… and some light pink rose clips.. and a couple camisoles… and this really cute ivory ruffled jacket.
On the up side, ebates will give me 3% cash back on the purchase, and my credit card gives me 1% on all purchases. Plus I found a code for free shipping :D (I love the internet, srsly <3) but! not done yet! I've been stalking this lasercut acrylic jewelry shop on etsy for a while and even though I can't get my custom necklace yet, I bought a couple of the preset designs to try out the quality - the crown (in mirror pink) and kawaii ribbon (in bubblegum pink). I was tempted to get the diamond earrings too, but I thought that was enough for a first purchase. So finally, I'm done. Well, as long as I don't buy almost anything else this month I'm fine... XD

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.

Alima Pure order 01
The order was shipped in a Priority mail box, wrapped in this cardboard netting.

Alima Pure order 03
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.

Alima Pure order 05
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.

Alima Pure order 06
Yet more organization! The white pouch contains little ziploc baggies of free samples.

Alima Pure order 07
Three baggies of samples: some shimmer eyeliner, shimmer eyeshadow and shimmer power (for face). Holly Berry shade of lip balm.

Alima Pure order 08
Alima Pure order 09
Packaging of the foundation

Alima Pure order 10
Alima Pure order 11
Alima Pure order 12
Alima Pure order 13
Foundation container, complete with cute bird mascot on the cover. Very classy.

Alima Pure order 14
All 9 of my shimmer eyeshadow samples ($1 each)

Alima Pure order 15
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!

Luckybags Force Change

I’ll admit that reason #1 why I buy (and love) luckybags (福袋) is the bargain. Sure, sometimes the items inside end up only being worth (to me) what I paid for them (and sometimes not even that!) but it’s the lure of the bargain! 40,000yen worth of stuff for 15,000yen? Yes please! In a cute bag? What am I waiting for?!
But that’s not the only reason.
Why else?
Because fukubukuro are a random assortment of items, I get the chance to try out things I wouldn’t normally wear. Sure, this is always the case, but luckybags force this opportunity upon me – I’m faced with the clothing, and the chance to say “hey, let’s see how this looks” without having the option of thinking “am I really going to buy this?” (because I already did XD), only “am I going to sell this?” It’s much more work to get rid of something I already own, so I seriously think about each item before I put it up for sale. This time, I don’t think there will be much I’ll sell, just the coat, probably.
Oh, coats.
I can never fit into Japanese coats for girls because they always assume girls have tiny shoulders, which, I guess, most of them do. But when you’re ~173cm tall, you don’t have narrow shoulders, usually. And I certainly don’t. No matter how skinny I am in the middle, it’s always the shoulders that get me.
Anyway, I will probably take a picture of my current outfit and upload it later. If you know my normal fashion, you might be surprised! (no pink to be found XD)

Glitter, fake eyelashes

I got my package full of fake eyelashes, tubes of glue and a small eyelash curler while I was away but didn’t bother to open it until today.
That tiny eyelash curler is a godsend! I could never get my eyelashes to curl properly with the ones that go over your whole eye, but doing just the sections? It’s perfect! My eyelashes actually curl, noticeably! It really makes them look so much wider and brighter.
I got about four pairs of false eyelashes to play around with, in various styles. One of them has a silvery glitter strip, which has reminded me how much I love glitter liner. So of course I’ve been browsing online for glitter liners, and Urban Decay has come out with a light pink one! I’m excited :D
I’m planning on trying to add highlights to my hair soon, blondish ones. Maybe that will help.

the conclusion to the history of my fashion

Well I kind of got side-tracked and never finished that entry.
Essentially, what I wanted to say was, even though I was into Lolita before Himegyaru, I didn’t come from Lolita into Hime. I found about it unrelated to Lolita, through magazines of gyaru fashion, and later LJ communities about the same. I can see why people would like both, and I understand that there are some (many?) Western gyaru who have had a bad taste left in their mouths from girls who hopped over from Lolita fashion (how this happened so suddenly I have no idea – the bases for the fashions are completely separate) which is probably why I want to stick a huge sign on my forehead that says “I didn’t come from Lolita!” XD even though I can’t deny my interest in the fashion at one point in time (it’s waned, considerably). I don’t think I’d sell my Lolita clothes since, well, I mean I wore them. A lot. And they’ve been washed, several times. The only piece I’ve got that’s only been worn a couple times is my beloved VM dress which I ain’t givin up to nobody. ( > >)
The VW rocking horse shoes should proooooobably go but I can’t bear to do it! Sure they’re worth a JD dress but they’re cool! and interesting! and are crazy fun to walk in XD So I can’t do it. Just like I can’t sell any more of my dolls, even though I don’t spend much time with them anymore.
Anyway, if I can find a nice balance of high-but-not-too-high hair, then Hime can be my final fashion. It’s cute, it’s elegant, it’s not necessarily so garish that people stop and stare although it can be if you like XD It has roses, ribbons and pearls! All things I love as motifs. I can’t be five forever, so I may as well be cute in a “grown up” way XD I’ll have to find a couple really good pair of heels too… I have a lot of cheap 4″ pumps that I just cannot wear all day XD It’s okay to cough up ~$100 for a pair of shoes if they’re well constructed and you can wear them all the time, right? That has to be the aim – good quality, well-fitted pieces, even if it reduces the variety, it should make me feel better about my fashion – it sucks having things that don’t fit quite right, and that’s never a confidence booster on a bad day (-_-;)
But! I can fit into a good chunk of LL/Tralala clothing so I’ll continue to patronize that~ ♪ 姫ギャル has finally trumped Lolita for me, once and for all. I need to reorganize my closet… XD

falling into a style

This post is going to be, essentially, my fashion history and why I think 姫ギャル will probably end up becoming my final fashion incarnation.

Stage one: I am born.
At this point, clearly I am not dressing myself nor am I making fashion choices. Without going back through a photo album I can’t really tell you what I wore up until Kindergarten although I will say there was a fair amount of purple and pink and turquoise (these are colors I remember specifically) and corduroy overalls. Yeah, dressing your baby daughter up in frilly things is cute, but if she’s just going to make them disgusting a few hours later, what’s the point? My mother was practical and dressed me for action

Stage two: I am taught.
Elementary school was a whole lot of playing with boys. Not sports, because I didn’t really like them, but Tag and Capture the Flag were my favorite games. It’s not as though I didn’t play with Barbies, because I did, I just pretty much played on my own. (Well, or with my brother when he insisted, but the results were mainly the dolls getting thrown across the room.) I remember having a lot of fun styling their hair, and changing outfits every few minutes. I did fashion some poorly thought out clothing for them, held together with safety pins and the like. As far as I know I was pretty much exclusively in jeans and either a T-shirt or turtleneck – things that, if they got dirty would easily be washed. I’m sure I owned some girly clothes for church because I’m pretty sure I was, uh, “encouraged” to dress up for Sundays but those clothes never entered my everyday life, really.

Stage three: I am a girl… I think.
Middle school was… well kind of weird. When you spend your entire life acting like a boy it’s hard to get boys to realize that you are not a boy once you want them to. At the beginning of 6th grade, I befriended a girl who essentially introduced me to the concept of makeup. I didn’t exactly ask for help, although in retrospect I probably should’ve, because that’s not really how I operated. But the group of girls I’d somehow become friends with attempted a makeover session with makeup and essentially it was just weird. I forgot to mention that in elementary school there was an incident similar to this, but took place at school, where all the girls in my 4th grade class decided to give me a makeover – a la Jessica Rabbit. (They even brought hairspray to school!) The result was, I couldn’t really see very well and wasn’t exactly encouraged to do this again. Anyway, I went to my mother and said “I need makeup!” so we hit up the drugstore. Not the best quality, but when your mother doesn’t use make up often herself… Cover Girl foundation in a compact, pale frosty pink lipstick and.. some kind of eyeshadow, I can’t remember the color. Probably blue or green. The foundation covered my skin all right, even though I wasn’t in particular need of it, but it had a distinct orange tint when combined with my skin which I didn’t notice until way later than I should have. I sort of gave up on foundation for a while, since it failed to produce light enough shades to blend with my face, although I did occasionally use stick concealer.. poorly.
7th grade was the year of the field trips, and at least one of those required us to dress up. I wore a skirt to school, during school hours, for the first time since those elementary grade in-school productions. (And the 5th grade play, which actually, I think is the skirt I ended up wearing on that field trip…) It was… weird. 7th grade was also the year of dances. So I’m pretty sure I dressed up for those, at least, I remember dressing up for the semi-formal we had, although maybe that was 8th grade… anyway, at this point, I was hitting the mall pretty regularly with my group of friends, looking for clothes, accessories and the like. I was also visiting the local CVS and Walgreen’s for Jane brand makeup which was cheap and fun – the eyeshadows were very pigmented… actually too pigmented for the way I used them. I couldn’t really find a good balance – I loved the colors but it looked so weird on me. Also tried eyeliner, which didn’t really work out either. As I entered my gothy phase, I worked on the makeup, and even purchased blue lipstick which slid off my lips every couple of hours. It was nothing good of course, but I was being creative and dressing up… in my own way.
Stage four: I’m definitely a girl… although I’m not sure how to express it.
High school was change at a rapid rapid pace. The gothy stage remained through part of 9th grade, although it was temporarily transformed back into “let’s be androgynous with baggy clothes” since my boyfriend didn’t want me wearing “revealing” clothing… well, not to school anyway. The safety pins were ever present along with black, black, a little blue and some jeans. It wasn’t so much that I intentionally bought so much black clothing… I just didn’t know how to match things together and since I already had black…. black matches, right? I was not a fashionable goth, by any means. In fact, I’m sure the real goths were making fun of me, although I never really considered myself that completely, it’s the only word I can use to describe my fashion at the time… other than “lazy.”
The spring/summer of 10th grade was the beginning of “I am a girl and I shall wear skirts because it is hot out!” mostly because I was horrified of my thighs and no longer wanted to wear shorts. Purple re-entered my wardrobe because, for some reason, I was in denial about liking pink. Not a lot of color variety, mostly purple purple purple in varying shades. I tried out purple makeup, for a match. Eh. At this point I was attempting to look more like a normal girl, but I couldn’t quite slide into it. 11th and 12th grade marked the beginning of my serious study of the Japanese language (and the end of my study of the French language…) and my introduction to… Lolita.

Stage five: I am five again!
On some level, I’m sure Lolita is me revisiting the girly childhood I didn’t actually have in public. My first attempts at the fashion were very gothy, because that was my only connecting point. I got the general gist of it, but it uh… had a long way to go. I bought from ebay (the scandal!) and attempted to fashion some pretty outfits out of black… and more black. And a little white, from time to time. Fanplusfriend was my friend all right. I admired the outfits in the Bibles, as well as the crazy, colorful creations of Jrock singer Kana. I can’t lie, I liked how she matched her hair color to her outfits. I did research, I lurked in communities, I knew what had to be done but the follow through was not something I was too good at. Then, Meta allowed overseas orders, with Paypal! I had brand items! Well, accessories at the beginning, but still! My wardrobe was kind of a mess at this point, and I’m not sure exactly what I was going for at the time… since I’m pretty sure I didn’t know then, either. Gothic Lolita turned into Classical Lolita and somehow Punk Lolita became my near-final destination. Putumayo was the cause, mostly. I finally made it to the Western Lolita’s paradise: Harajuku. I stepped foot in Putumayo’s store and was just floored. I loved everything. And somehow, through Putumayo, my main colors changed to pink and white. (Which are not Putumayo’s main colors, incidentally, they just use that combination from time to time.) I think what drew me into Putumayo is the clothing’s ability to look normal enough for everyday wear, for the most part. Sweet Lolita was too crazy, Gothic Lolita was too much black and Classical Lolita didn’t fit me… So I bought a lot of Putumayo. I filled up a point card, later, when I was in Japan for four months. That should give you an idea of just how much clothing I have from that store. Anyway, it was Lolita Lolita Lolita up through the beginning of my study abroad time in Chibaken….

Stage six: おしゃれになりたい! | I want to become fashionable!
Living in Japan will really change your perception of yourself and of your fashion. Luckily by this point I’d concocted a daily make regimen that covered up the occasional flaw and made me look sort of pretty, and my ability to do nice hair had increased considerably. No unwashed face/ratty hair combination for me! But my fashion was still floundering. It was undeniable at this point: I wanted to be cute. jam*pixy was a godsend. If you don’t know about them, envision a Japanese Rave, or D.E.B. – cheap, trendy clothing in a small, packed store. It was on the main street I walked every day to and from the train station I used to get to school. It wasn’t open in the morning, obviously, so I only hit it up on my way back, but I basically popped in every day. The shopgirls were well aware of this, since being a gaijin in a sort of suburban area in Japan makes you stand out just a little, and eventually thanked me for my continuous patronage XD If only I’d spent more time in stores like that and less time in brand stores like Putumayo… but had it not been for Lolita fashion, I would’ve never discovered Liz Lisa.
In the US, I was sort of reading fashion magazines (mostly Glamour and Lucky were the only ones that didn’t make me cringe) but they didn’t completely appeal to me. I’m not sure what spurred my interest in PINKY and Non-no – maybe it was the covers, maybe it was the names. I feel like I didn’t start picking up copies until I seriously considered getting my hair cut in April. But once I did… I kept coming back. PINKY became an absolute favorite. I loved the models, the outfits, the accessories – the whole package they were promoting, mostly the cute (rather than cool) style. And I was influenced by it, even though my entire wardrobe didn’t transform immediately. Before this, as I said, spending time on Takeshita Doori in Harajuku introduced me to the brand Liz Lisa. Knowing nothing about what style they might be representing, I was drawn in immediately. And I kept coming back. Since the clothes were moderately expensive I couldn’t afford hundreds of pieces (although as I’ve said above, if I’d kicked the Lolita habit I would’ve had a lot more to blow on it), but I did buy some tops, and a skirt, and pretty much every 福袋 they put out. Japan is a country full of underlying pressure to fit in. And I felt that pressure. Lolita was not fitting in (despite the positive attention I got from it, it really wasn’t the norm, and you can’t really argue otherwise).
It was at this point, that I subconsciously was drifting towards gyaru fashion. I only visited Shibuya briefly, and never even entered the 109 building (it was a fashion unrelated trip) but I was being drawn into it – these were cute, fashionable clothes that I could wear every day. I loved the hairstyles in the magazines and got my hair cut based on one of the suggestions. The heels part was a little difficult to incorporate at the time since I didn’t bring many with me and Japan doesn’t exactly cater to size 9 and above but I did buy some cute white sandals with a small heel.

(unfinished, I’m starving! I’ll write more after I eat XD)

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