Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Contagion, the movie

I haven't been to the theatres to watch a movie since April or May, which was when I saw Water for Elephants.  Today, I was bored and my friend asked me if I was interested to go see Contagion with her at the theatres tonight.  Tickets tonight at certain theatres are $5.25.  I was a little hesitant to go, since most of the time my friend chooses a movie, it's a drama one.  =\  I prefer to watch action, adventure, comedy and chick flick movies.  Not a fan of horror movies, I find some of them too scary or rather most of them.  And I don't like drama movies because I find the plot usually moves too slow.  You'd know I'm bored of a movie if I start checking my watch to see how long it's been.

Anyways, Contagion is a thriller movie so I thought it wouldn't be so bad.  40 or 50 mins into the movie, I started checking my watch.  =\  There were a few slow parts in the movie.  I kind of expected Matt Damon to play a heroic role where he would save a bunch of people, sadly he doesn't.  Although I do have a habit of washing my hands every time I come home, but this movie has definitely gotten me paranoid about being hygienic.  So tomorrow, I'll be picking up some hand sanitizers at the drug store to keep in my purse.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System

I bought my Clarisonic Classic back in January of 2010.  And yes, I still have the box that it came in with, just so I can take pictures and do a review on it.  =\  I know there are tons of reviews on Clarisonic systems, but I have one, so I might as well add one extra review to the thousands that are out there.  I initially wanted the Clarisonic Plus, which included an exfoliating body function, but apparently, using a normal brush if just like using the exfoliating body brush - the only difference is the surface area it covers.  Back then, in-store Sephora in Canada only carried the Clarisonic Classic, so Clarisonic was pretty new to Canada.

- It's a cordless cleansing system that has a built-in rechargeable battery
- You can immerse this in water
- With the use of a facial cleanser, it removes up to 6x more makeup than manually doing so
- Removing more dirt and makeup, and gently exfoliating your skin can help your skin absorb your moisturizer better, thus healthier for the skin
- Clarisonic Classic includes a cradle charger
- Two speed settings - normal and low
- 1 button for ON/OFF
- Uses a T-TIMER to keep track how long to spend cleansing each area of the face
- System comes a new sensitive brush head and three 1 oz trial sizes of cleansers - refreshing gel, gentle hydro and nourishing care
- Has a 2-year warranty

To change speed settings, just hold the button for 3 seconds until you hear 3 beeps.  If the 3 beeps are ascending, it means it's been changed to normal speed.  The 3 beeps are descending means it's been changed to low speed.
It has a timer that is set to clean 20 seconds each for the forehead and nose/chin, and 10 seconds on each cheek.  Their recommended way is to start on forehead, and after you hear a beeping signal along with a pause, you move on to the next area of your face.  So basically, with this factory default setting, you'd be cleaning your face in 1 minute.  However, you can change the settings so that you'd be cleaning your face in 2 minutes instead.  So instead of 20 seconds each on the forehead and nose/chin, you'd spend 40 seconds on each area; and 20 seconds on each cheek.  You can also choose to not use the T-TIMER feature and not be restricted to a time-frame to cleanse each area of your face.  To change this setting, press and hold the power button for 10 seconds until you hear the beeping signal corresponding to the setting you want.  If you hear one long beep and 2 short beeps, then you've changed it to the 2 min setting with the use of the T-TIMER feature.  And with just one long beep, it's the 2 min setting with no T-TIMER.  And the one long and one short beep is the 1 min setting with the T-TIMER.

I prefer the low, just a personal preference.  And because 2 minutes feels too long, I set mine at 1 minute.  Don't press to hard with the system on to your skin because then it won't cleanse your face that well.  On some days, I use my Clarisonic in the morning and at night.  On other days, I use it only at night.  However, I do find that using my Clarisonic too often does result in a more oily face.

The Clarisonic Classic Handle doesn't feel flimsy, so you don't get that feeling where you drop it and it'll shatter.  Though I do feel it's on the heavier side - probably because of the built-in battery.
Personally, I like the cradle charger.  I know the Mia uses some sort of magnetic charger, which is more convenient for traveling uses.  But individuals like myself that don't go out on trips too often, I find the cradle charger saves a lot of counter space in the bathroom.  It takes up less surface area that way.  Plus, even if I do take my Clarisonic Classic with me on vacation trips, I find that one full charge can last me at least 2 weeks - considering I use it day and night.
As for the box packaging it came with, there's not much for me to say about it.  I don't love the packaging, nor do I hate it.  I feel indifferent to it. 

I don't quite remember how much it was.  It's definitely over $200 CAD, even after using the Sephora 10% discount.

Thought / Results:
Overall, I like my Clarisonic.  I do feel my skin is softer after cleansing my face and before I apply any skincare products on - at least softer than washing my face using my hands.  It requires using a light hand when rotating it around your face, if you press too hard, it won't do as good of a job on cleansing.  However, I do find that my Clarisonic worked the best in the first few weeks or first month I got it.  After a while, it seems like it doesn't cleanse my face as well anymore.  Even after changing the brush, I feel it doesn't work quite as well as when I first bought it.
It's suppose to reduce the size of my pores, unfortunately, my pores seem to be the same size as before I used the Clarisonic.  My pores aren't huge, but I've seen people who such small pores that they're not noticeable, and I was hoping the Clarisonic could achieve that effect for me.
But I do feel that my moisturizers and other skincare products have taken a better effect on my skin.  It is even more noticeable during the winter, where my skin would used to have dry patches - i.e. cheeks, nose, area between nose and mouth - these areas no longer appear dry during the cold winter months.
After a few months of using the Clarisonic, I found out to clean the brush head and take it apart, the best way is to put the clear plastic cap on and twist the brush head out.  So for those of you who already have a Clarisonic, note to yourself the proper way of removing your Clarisonic brush head.  Don't break your valued $200 Clarisonic!

Product: Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System
Rating: 4.5 / 5

- Better absorption of skincare products
- Skin feels softer
- Cleaner face - not as many breakouts
- Great gentle exfoliator

- My pores haven't shrunken after using the Clarisonic Classic
- I'd think the bristles can be harsh on some individual's sensitive skin
- You can really unnoticeable press too hard on the system onto your face when cleansing, so it's hard to keep a "light-hand" to know it's doing its job properly

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: Hitachi NC-550 Face Crie Ion Cleansing Machine

About a month ago, I bought this Face Ion Cleansing device online.  It's a Japanese invention that's supposedly using charged ions to attract the debris / dirt on your face and in your pores.  I read reviews on a few beauty blogs and they all showed how this device works really well, so I decided to give it a shot.  Now I've been using this for a month - almost everyday, so I think it's about time to do a review.

I place a cotton pad in the slot, close the device and pour some toner on the cotton pad.  There is a white "Power" button that turns it on and has 4 intensity settings controlled by the gray button - from level 1 to 4, where 4 is the highest intensity.  I use level 4 as I find level 1 doesn't clean as well.  It has two metal plates that my hand has to make contact with when using the device, they're located on the sides.  Then in slow, circular motion, I move it around my entire face.  I tend to concentrate it around my nose.  After 3 minutes, the device auto-shuts off.  During the whole process of face cleansing, the device makes no sound to indicate it's doing its job.  The device makes beeping noises to let you know 3 mins is up.

It uses 2 AAA batteries.  It doesn't have the "hi-tech" packaging look.  It's very light-weighted.  Mine came in a box but I've seen ones that are sold in plastic cover.  Mine is pink but Hitachi also makes them in white and brown.  The online shop I bought it from,, only sells it in pink.  Sadly the packaging of the box and the instruction manual are all in Japanese.  Some English in there would have helped a lot.

$70.20 USD (After 10% PayPal member discount; usually $78 USD

Thoughts / Results:
With or without using my Clarisonic Classic and a facial cleanser, before using this Hitachi Ion Cleansing Machine, I find a noticeable amount of debris/dirt on my cotton pad.  There's less dirt on the cotton pad after using my Clarisonic but visibly some debris on there.  I still haven't grasp the idea why Hitachi had to make 4 different intensity levels, since I find level 4 seems to be the best at deep cleansing, but I'll figure that out someday.
Clarisonic Classic + facial cleanser + Hitachi Face Crie Ion Cleansing Machine
Facial cleanser + Hitachi Face Crie Ion Cleansing Machine
One thing I don't like about this machine is the use of AAA batteries.  Supposedly, the batteries are to last 10 months, assuming I use the machine 3 mins per day.  I wish it wasn't using batteries but rather be a rechargeable portable machine.  It'd be easier that way, in case I didn't have AAA batteries lying around in the house.  If it were to use a rechargeable built-in battery, it could probably take less than 3 mins to achieve either the same or better results.
This machine is not abrasive on the face at all.  Although I think some improvements are needed, this is a genius invention.  It just further preps my skin for moisturizing and better absorption of my moisturizing products.  Though the price may be a turn-off but it still costs less than a Clarisonic.
I haven't seem many online shops that sell this product.  In case you want to know, I've checked eBay, Mihoko Shop and Rakuten carry this machine.

Product: Hitachi NC-550 Face Crie Ion Cleansing Machine
Rating: 4.5 / 5

- Deep cleans my face using a non-abrasive method
- Light-weighted

- Takes 3 mins, not a good feature as that's time-consuming (trust me, 3 mins will seem a long time)
- Uses AAA batteries
- Price is a turn-off

Macbook Pro users should know these things! Geez!

I just scared myself and almost passed out.  And here is why.  Well with every laptop, you have a battery counter that tells you how much battery life you have left until you have to recharge it again.  Everyone knows how pricey Apple laptops are, and in case you didn't know, Apple laptop batteries are suppose to be able to charge for a maximum 1000 cycles - well for majority of them, some models vary.  Anyways, I kind of knew this fact from the beginning, but I use my MBP everyday and as time pass, I kinda forgot about it.

Just 30 mins ago, I clicked on my battery icon and a new icon popped up saying "Service battery".  So the usual me started panicking because I bought my MBP in Nov 2009 but didn't open it up to use it until Jan 2010.  It's been less than 2 years since I bought mine.  After panicking for a bit then in denial, then back to panicking again, I clicked on the "Service battery" icon and it brought up a window saying I should bring it in for service at an Apple store.  I started getting scared because I am so dependent on my laptop, I literally NEED it - sad to say but it's true.  Anyways, I clicked on another link in that window that brought me to the Apple website, and from there I tried to look for a solution - in case someone else has experienced something like me.  And seriously, I learn something new EVERYDAY! Turns out, I should be "calibrating" my battery once in a while and not every time I use my laptop.  Apple laptops are suppose to last you at least 3 years - assuming you reach 1000 cycles by then.  And guess where I'm at (and my 2 years isn't even up!!!), I'm at 882 counts! WHHHHY?!?! Why didn't I not read up these things before blindly using my Macbook Pro??? *sigh* I hate making regrets =(

Anyways, I read a bunch of solutions but none of them have similar conditions as mine, so I thought maybe if I restart my computer (which I haven't done for at least 2-3 weeks as I usually put my laptop to sleep mode) things would return to normal.  GUESS WHAT?!?!?! The "Service battery" icon is gone! I solved my problem! ... or maybe I'm back in denial state again.  But I don't have to bring it in for service anymore.  =)

Lesson learned: only calibrate battery once every few months and turn off my laptop, not put it to sleep mode!  *phew* -- for you Apple users out there, or rather all laptop users out there, don't make the same mistake as I did! Apple users or not, as long as you use a laptop that runs on a battery, preserve it by calibrating it once in a while!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Review: NARS Wild at Heart Palette

This was a NARS palette that I bought from the Shiseido/Nars warehouse sale last year.  I've been using it on and off lately.  I've finally decided to pick this up and do a review on it.  I took it on my trip to Vegas and I realized it's a great palette.  Here's my opinion/review on it:

The colours:
Eyeshadows - (top; left to right) Abyssinia, Alhambra
                       (bottom; left to right) Ashes to Ashes; Pandora

Blush - Orgasm
The Multiple - South Beach
Lip products - (top; left to right) Baby Doll lip lacquer, Red Lizard lipstick
                       (bottom; left to right) Manhunt lipstick, Fire Down Below lipstick

Great that it has all the products that are necessary for the face (excluding foundation and concealer).  Very sleek and thin packaging.  It's sturdy.  Not easy to break.  The shadows and products haven't fallen out on me.  It's got a wide mirror.  Even though there aren't any applicators in the palette, I don't think it's necessary to have them in there as I wouldn't be using them.

Thoughts / Results:
I really love this palette.  Why? Because it contains all the necessary neutral colours I need.  I don't need a variation of browns and neutrals to create a smoky or daytime eye look.  The lip colours are great as well because I can mix them to create the lip colour I like.  I love the Baby Doll lip lacquer.  I find the name really suits the colour.  The Fire Down Below lipstick did seem too dark of a red for me, but like I said, mixing it with other colours will fix that problem.  As for eyeshadows, the colour Pandora is a very intense black colour, with no sparkles or glitter in it - another thing I love.  I think it's comparable to MAC's Carbon shadow (if not better).  The one thing I'm kind of 'effy' about is the the two eyeshadows Abyssinia and Alhambra appear very similar once applied.  Orgasm is a blush colour that's very neutral and works for many people.  Meanwhile, I use South Beach the multiple as a bronzer for contouring my face and cheekbones.  I do wish they didn't use a multiple, and instead, replace it with a pressed powder bronzer.  But either way, it's a good palette.

$25 CAD (@Shiseido / Nars warehouse sale; MRSP $75 USD

Product: NARS Wild at Heart Palette
Rating: 4.5 / 5

- Great neutral and smoky eyeshadows
- Very neutral/typical cheeks colours
- Nice lip colours that are mixable to create lip colours that works for me
- Nice wide mirror

- Better if the bronzer wasn't a multiple
- Two eyeshadows - Abyssinia and Alhambra are too similar shadows; I wish Abyssinia was a colour with no sheen in it, just matte
- Price may be a turn-off for most people, but if you can find it at the warehouse sale or somewhere online, it's def worth it

Orgasm, South Beach, Baby Doll, Red Lizard, Manhunt, Fire Down Below
Using flash: Abyssinia, Alhambra, Ashes to Ashes, Pandora
Under daylight: Abyssinia, Alhambra, Ashes to Ashes, Pandora

Review: Origins Rejuvenating Cleansing Milk

This cleansing milk was a sample tube that I bought from one of the MAC warehouse sales I went to last year.  I didn't get a chance to try it out until recently.  I took it on my trip to Las Vegas because I wanted to pack light in case I end up buying too much over in Vegas. And now, here's my opinion of this cleansing milk.

The scent:
I really dislike the scent.  It's not a nice floral scent.  It's more of an outdoor plant smell and I can really smell the olive oil in it.

I take more than a quarter-size amount to rub it all over my face and remove my makeup.  Sometimes, to remove my non-waterproof makeup, I use even more.  The recommended way of applying it is to massage it over damp skin, then rinse off with warm water or tissue off.  I've tried massaging over damp and dry skin and tried rinsing off with warm water and tissued it off.

The consistency:
Much like lotion consistency, so it's not thick nor is it runny.

I like how it's in a tube bottle.  I find tubes are easier to control how much you want to squeeze out.  Yet it's not messy, easy to clean.  This tube contains 50mL of the product, a great sample size amount.

What it claims:
"Emollient-rich Organic Olive Oil and Plant Glycerin instantly melt away makeup, dirt an skin-damaging debris while Origins signature blend of Rose of Jericho, Trehalose and Sea Horicots form a skin-pampering buffer.  Skin looks and feels clean, radiant, renewed and replenished, ready for your Make A Different regimen."

Thoughts / Results:
Like said before, I've tried to apply it with and without damp skin, then rinsing it off with water or tissue it off.  I find any of these combination doesn't completely remove my makeup as it's supposedly suppose to do.  It's even more annoying for removing eye makeup.  I don't feel that my skin looks and feel more clean, radiant, etc.  It doesn't feel like I cleaned my face.  Even after massaging the milk for a long time, it was difficult removing makeup.  And if I still see makeup on my face after using it, I doubt it cleansed my face well.  I much prefer my Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil over this.

$3 CAD (@MAC warehouse sale; I'm unsure of the MSRP as I think they discontinued this product since I can't find it on their site)

Product: Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating cleansing milk
Rating: 1 / 5

- Requires massaging and rinsing off product at least 2 - 3 times before it starts to remove makeup on my face

- Too time-consuming to remove makeup
- Scent is not pleasant
- Doesn't serve its purpose that well

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hair Care Routine

I have a hair care routine but needs major change up because it's not making my hair look any nicer.  I mean I've used and tried a bunch of products but I just can't get my hair the way I want it to.  I used to have nice, smooth and no-frizz hair when I was a kid.  And back then, I didn't put anything in my hair to make it look that way.  So then I realized, it's my diet.  It's what I changed in my eating habits that changed my hair.  I ate more junk food, drank less milk, ate less nutritious foods and more processed foods and it's gotten my hair in a mess that I'm having a hard time to repair! =\  So now, as I'm still trying new products to repair my damaged hair, I'm also trying to eat healthier.  And that means, no chocolate, no candy, no chips, and no pop.  I'm not much of a frequent pop drinker so that doesn't affect me.  I sometimes crave for chocolate so that one is going to be hard to resist.  I'm not much of a candy person either.  And now, chips. Ugh! I kind of love eating chips.  It's such an irresistible munchie.  I see a bag of chips sitting on the counter, I feel like my stomach is calling for it.  Grrr! That one is hard to resist too, but for my overall health and hair, I'm going to have to stop binging on these foods.
I'm trying to grow my hair right now, but once in a while, I give myself a little trim at the ends to stop the split ends from getting worse.  But once I successfully grow my hair, I'm going to get a hair cut at my salon and maintain it with those hair care products that I consistently buy and try.  Honestly, maintaining nice hair requires so much effort

Hair, skin and nails are indicators of whether you're having a healthy diet.  Google it!

Review: Tsubaki Damage Care Treatment with Tsubaki Amino by Shiseido

After using this Shiseido hair treatment for one month, I decided it's time to do a review on it.  I can conclude it's a great product.  I didn't purchase the other products from the Shiseido line, but I'm sure the results would be better if I did.
The scent:
It has a floral scent that's stronger when smelt straight from the tube than when in my hands or in my hair.  Overall, the scent is not irritating or pungent.  The floral scent doesn't smell like old lady either.  I don't love the scent but it's ok.  Like it won't give me a headache from smelling it too much.

According to the directions on the bottle - or rather the instructions on the website, I shampoo my hair, towel dry it and put on this treatment, leaving it on for 20 mins.  I concentrate most of the product on the ends of my hair.  I've tried leaving my hair straight down and wrapping in a bun, and I don't find a difference in the results.  Then I wash it off and apply conditioner.  Then rinse that off.  Followed up by the Macadamia oil or Morrocanoil. 
*Sept 15 update: So I tried applying 3 min heat to my hair after applying the treatment, then waited another 17 mins before rinsing it off and applying conditioner.

The consistency:
It's thick but not as thick as regular hair conditioner.

Very clean and sleek packaging.  I like how it's in a tube form and not a pump.  The size of the product is 200g, which is not that bad.

What it claims:
"Shiseido Tsubaki Damage Care Treatment with Tsubaki Amino enhances elasticity, repairs hair with shines and smoothness. The floral scent refreshes your senses and feels like in the forest. Shiseido Tsubaki Damage Care Treatment smooths your hair with rich formula."

Thoughts / Results:
I agree with what it claims to do.  This hair treatment does give my hair shine and smoothness.  I can't tell whether the treatment has enhanced the elasticity of my hair because I haven't experienced very brittle hair that breaks off with a tug.  And the floral scent does remind me of the outdoors.  I think it does a great job on putting a coat of product on my hair to tame the frizzes and flyaways.  But after not using this product for more than a week, my hair starts to return to its original state.  Flyaways return and fluff up my hair after I wash and dry it.  So really, I think this treatment will be best for freshly cut hair and to maintain that state of hair with no split ends.  And I'd recommended being consistent on your hair routine.  Like apply this hair treatment at least once a week, if you consistently fry your hair with hair appliances.
The night before my trip to Vegas, I treated my hair with this product and I find it works great throughout my stay over in Vegas.  I washed my hair every night when I was in Vegas and the results of my hair stayed the same - smooth with shine.  The weather over there is hot and drier - even my lips were calling me to apply some lip balm.  So logically, my hair would have been dry and fluffed up if I washed it everyday without the hair treatment.  I conclude that this product has proved its worthiness.
*Sept 15 update: Putting my hair in a bun with the treatment in my hair, I put on a shower cap and used a hair dryer to put heat on my hair.  Results seem to be no different from not applying heat. 

$14 USD

Product: Shiseido TSUBAKI Damage Care Treatment with TSUBAKI Amino
Rating: 5 / 5

- Gives my hair shine and smoothness
- Scent is good, not irritating
- Tames frizzes and flyaways
- Price is reasonable and better than Macadamia Oil Hair Mask or Morrocanoil hair treatments

- Requires weekly application or however often you use hair appliances - well that's a given, you damage it, you've got to repair it
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