Hakuhodo Order : Pictures and a Review So Long, It Is Practically an Essay

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I recently made a Hakuhodo order. I had saved about 90% of my tax return but had wanted to treat myself with the rest. A little sumpin' sumpin', if you will. I had agonized over which brushes that I wanted to buy first, and I kid you not, it took me about four weeks to decide what to get. I won't lie to you, this review is long but hey, I like being thorough.

The brushes come packaged very beautifully and well protected with plastic sheaths and tissue inside a lavender gift box. Accompanying the box are cards explaining how to care for you brushes. I appreciated the quality and care that went into packaging these brushes, after all if it was a present to myself- shouldn't it feel like one?

All the following pictures are taken of the brushes after they were washed and dried the first time, they looked slightly flattened straight out of the box from the plastic wrapping. The brushes are really well made, sturdy wooden handles with nickle plated brass ferrules. The one and only downfall I have noticed is that the silver holographic logo has started to wear off after about a month's time (and only one washing actually).

J214 Eye Shadow Brush Round, white goat hair, $35. Trust me, this brush is not just an expensive, awkwardly large eye brush. The white haired, domed brush is very dense and wonderfully soft. The size makes it perfect for contouring my nose, the inner part of my eye closest to the inner brow and under my lip. It's also fantastic (clean, of course) for applying concealer under the eye, on those dark circles. Another great use is for applying a base color all over the eye. It is incredibly versatile and I think worth every penny. There is a cheaper version, the 214 ($27) with black hair but I opted for the white hair because I find it really helpful to have a white haired brush when contouring; white bristles really keep me from going overboard when you can see how much product is on the hairs. I don't have any other brush with which I can compare it. I am honestly considering ordering another.

210 Blush Brush Round, black goat hair, $36. I love blush brushes, but this one takes the cake. The domed shape offers great control and the size is perfect for applying blush exactly where you want it to go. The hairs are resilient, not super soft but not rough by any means. It is so good at what it does, I want to buy another (or even a third!) to use for bronzer.

J5521 Highlighter Brush Tapered, white goat hair, $36. Though it is a highlighter brush, I also use it for contouring my cheeks. I like this brush quite a bit. Though it's still not quite as dense as I would have liked, it is SO much better than my Sigma F35 which is scratchy and wimpy in comparison. Very soft bristles, a few hairs have shed here and there (about 5 total, mostly during washing).

J163H Eyebrow Brush Angled, horse, $18. This is the only brush out of the ones that I ordered that I didn't care for. I was hoping to find a replacement brow brush. I currently use the Smashbox #12 Angle Brow Brush which I have had for a few years now and while it is still in great condition, the hairs are now a bit more pliable and not as compact as when it was newer. Anyways, the description says that it can "draw thin lines" and also described the hairs as "resilient", the latter which I would have to disagree with. As far as a brow brush goes, the hairs are really rather soft and for the lack of a better word, wiggly. This brush is great for filling in large areas of the brow, but is too soft for my liking, it does not offer the user much precision because the hairs are not firm at all. I think I should have gotten the stiffer looking B163Bk, which is made from water badger.

B533BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Pointed, black goat hair, $18. I adore this brush so, so much. Within a few uses it has quickly become one of my favorite eye brushes. It is a round pencil brush that tapers to a finer point than most other pencil brushes. It's another multi use brush. It is great for putting colors in the crease, for placing and blending colors in the outer V of the eye and the tip is fine enough to use it as a smudge brush along the lash line. I can't gush about the tip enough. It allows me a fantastic degree of precision.

G5515BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Point, white goat hair, $15.This brush is nice as well. Great for detailed work and for use along the lash line but I can't say that it has become a staple. I think that it's because the B533BkSL is so versatile and useful to me, that this brush has taken a backseat.

I think that overall, these brushes are really incredible. The quality is definitely there. I won't insist that these brushes are an absolute must, I know that isn't practical for every budget. I would like to point out that Hakuhodo brushes aren't necessarily as expensive as their reputation might suggest. Yes, there are brushes that are in the $50-90+ range. However, there are also cheaper lines of brushes in the $18-40 range where the prices are on point or lower than MAC, Smashbox, etc but the quality definitely exceeds that of those more easily accessible brands. I was thrilled with my order, I find myself reaching for most of the brushes that I ordered on a daily basis and will definitely be buying more Hakuhodo brushes in the future.

One last tidbit, Hakuhodo USA's service was really prompt. Less than an hour after I made my order, I already received two emails. One confirmed my order and a second email alerted me that my order was already dispatched, crazy right? If USPS hadn't bounced my order around (definitely not Hakuhodo's fault) three sorting facilities (it ended up taking six business days), I think I would have received my order within two days. Shipping is also flat rate, $9 for US orders.

Other blogs that have really helpful reviews of Hakuhodo brushes include: The Non-Blonde, Delicate Hummingbird and Project Swatch.

Have you tried any Hakuhodo brushes? What brand is currently your favorite?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Polished by KPT Blue is Beautiful

Monday, April 29, 2013

 Blue is Beautiful. That's more than just the name of this Polished by KPT lacquer, it's a statement.
Just look at this polish! A thermal polish that changes from pale cornflower-grey to dark navy with beautiful shifting glitter. The glitter is blue-purple. The first picture I took when the bottle was room temperature and my nails were slightly cool from the fan in the room, two coats over white.

These next two pictures are of Blue is Beautiful by itself, two coats. The second picture was taken after my hot shower, you can see while the bottle I'm holding is very cool from sitting by the window, the color on my nails is almost translucent, except for the tips. As you can see, BIB is much more vibrant and well, blue when worn over white. I think it looks really lovely and smokey by itself though.

The formula was good, opaque in just two coats for me. I love how dramatic the color change is and also the twinkling glitter. Blue is Beautiful is $12, sold here. I have some bad news though, this polish is limited edition. If you want to get your mitts on this exceptional blue, I'd definitely follow Polished by KPT on Instagram (@polishedbyKPT) for the latest updates on restocks. For international folks, Polished by KPT will start to be stocked by Shoppe Eclecticco.

Products featured were sent to me for review. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Mundane Mondays, Vol. VII: SactoMoFo 6

My life revolves around food. I love cooking, smelling, photographing, looking at and most importantly, consuming it. This weekend was SactoMoFo 6 (doesn't that sound dirty, like the sixth volume of an adult video series?), a gathering of Sacramento and Northern California food truck vendors. There were over two dozen food trucks there, along with other vendors and live music.

There were SO many people there, I wasn't expecting it. Hundreds, possibly a few thousand, coming and going. The trucks had your more traditional street food; hot dogs, burgers, ice cream... but they also had more interesting food like Indian fusion, Korean etc. Since I had Indian food the night before, I had my eye on one food truck in particular, The Chairman Truck.

The Chairman Truck (which is actually two trucks, one stays in SF and the other travels... I believe!) is Leading The Great Culinary Leap Forward (hah, courtesy of The Chairman Truck website). This sounds crazy, but the line for The Chairman Truck was a few hundred people long when I joined. I waited for an hour and a half to try the food. I may be a glutton, but I'm a glutton with perseverance, ok?

Also Morgan was nice enough to bring me a mango shaved ice (that sadly, did not taste like mangos). Nomming on that definitely helped pass the time.

I ended up getting the tender pork belly with turmeric pickled daikon & green shiso on a baked bun which was fantastic. A little fatty (but you know, it's pork belly. Can't be helped) but the pickled daikon made it especially delicious. I also had Coca Cola braised pork with savoy cabbage and preserved yellow mustard seeds on a steamed bun, which was just ok. I don't think it was worthy of waiting in hour and a half in line though, I'd maybe wait 30 min tops.

Morgan went to Krush Burger, which we had heard was also good. To be honest, after stealing bites of his food, I didn't think the little sliders were worthy of his hour long wait (each one was $3.25, specialty burgers were $1 or $2 more) but the Philly burger (Certified Angus Beef, Grilled Crimini Mushrooms, Grilled Onions, Aged Provolone Cheese + Roasted Red Pepper Aioli) was pretty good. Krush Burger does have a fantastic ratings on Yelp though.

I don't know if I'd ever go to SactoMoFo again. The lines were just too long. The picture above if of 1/3 of the line for The Chairman. I think I would much rather take individual trips trying to track down food trucks that sounded appealing than stand around with the crowds and the exceptionally loud (and annoying to my ears) music.

Ever been to a food truck? I swear, the ones these days are getting better, they're not all shady guys selling hot dogs out of a van!

Fast Orange, Yellow & Brown EOTD

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hi folks! It's already late but I wanted to share a quick EOTD with you before I went to bed. I pulled out my Sephora + Pantone Universe Shades of Nature Palette and wanted to use some of the more uncommon eye shadow shades- particularly yellow and orange.

Out of the 30 pictures I took, only one turned out decent, so that's all I've got.

I used:

Brows: NARS Bali shadow, MUFE Full Cover Concealer (to sculpt), NYX Brow Shaper
Eyes: LORAC Behind The Scenes Eye Primer, NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk, Sephora + Pantone Universe Shades of Nature Palette (yellow, darkest orange, sparkly brown, darkest brown and the shell color in the upper left corner), false lashes, Rimmel Scandaleyes liner in Brown, Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy

I realized that I never reviewed the Shades of Nature Palette because by the time I bought it and used it enough where I felt like I could report back, it was discontinued and no longer available at Sephora. I will however say that the original price of $55 is rather ridiculous to pay for this palette. While the colors are bright and very fun, not all the shadows are of the same quality or pigmentation. I picked it up on clearance + F&F sale for $13.60, which I was very happy about.

Anyways, have a great night!

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Nail Pattern Boldness Inner Beauty is For Amateurs

Friday, April 26, 2013
Let me tell you what happens when you get mail from Allison of Nail Pattern Boldness. You run back to your houses, clutching the package to your chest. You cut across the grass instead of sticking to the sidewalk in your extreme haste. You leap leap over the neighbor's cat (ok, not really... I stopped to pet the little guy) and barrel through your door. You skid to a halt in front of the drawer which houses your scissors. You squeal a bit when you see the magical contents.

And then you apply Inner Beauty is For Amateurs. It's a superbly pigmented primary red jelly with pale blue opalescent glitter and (what I think is) fine gold holo sparkle. You apply two coats, possibly three depending on your preference. You then admire your nails for hours upon hours.

Seriously, how gorgeous is this polish? The red is so bold, so squishy looking. I don't wear red nails often but this is so alluring. I bet if the Sirens wore nail polish while trying to lure sailors to their deaths, it'd be Inner Beauty is For Amateurs. The glitter is also much more evident in person. It looks like a soft twinkle in my photos, but it just glows like crazy. The formula applies like the polish is gel, you may want to add a few drops of thinner like I did to make it flow a bit more easily. 

Inner Beauty is For Amateurs is $9 and can be purchased through the NPB Etsy shop (here) or Llarowe. Be sure to follow Nail Pattern Boldness on Facebook and Instagram (@nailpatternboldness). 

What is your favorite red polish?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Milani Grandissimo Lashes Mascara Review

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I picked up the new Milani Grandissimo last month because I saw how awesome it looked on Christina from Let Them Have Polish. I have to admit that I don't really like doing mascara reviews because I find my experience with mascara to always be completely different from that of others. It all just really depends on what lashes you have. My lashes are really straight, quite short and scary sparse so usually I don't put much faith in mascara and opt to reach for false lashes instead.

But how does Milani Grandissimo fair?

Left side, with two coats of Grandissimo. Right side is without mascara. 

The soft brush is really quite large, which I like because I find it to coat each lash quite well. The volumizing effect was pretty decent. The formula was ok, no clumping. Usually mascara doesn't really smudge or flake on me (I think I just don't have enough lashes for enough mascara to end up anywhere on my lower lashes. *sigh*) so I can't comment on that. It was pretty easy to remove though, it came right off with oil cleanser and warm water, so I was pleased with that.

The price is rather agreeable as well, $5.49. Definitely on the more affordable end of mascaras, even at the drugstore.

Overall, I think if you already have lots of lashes, this will make them look even more amazing. I however, will stick to my false lashes instead because this mascara can't compensate for my lack of lashes.

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Comparison of Two Hyaluronic Acid Toners: HadaLabo and JUJU Aquamoist

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have you ever used a hyaluronic acid toner? I have been using JUJU Aquamoist H.A. Toner Lotion for about nine months now and recently ordered the famed HadaLabo Gokujyun Lotion to compare. After a month, I have a clear preference.

To be clear, even though one is called a toner and the other a lotion they perform the same purpose. Actually, I think neither toner or lotion (to Americans, anyhow) accurately describes what these liquids are. They are watery fluids, slippery to the feel. Unlike other toners out there, they do not aim to further cleanse the skin or tighten pores, but rather aid in retaining moisture and are "team players" by enhancing the benefits of other creams and moisturizers.
JUJU on the left, HadaLabo on the right. Pretty much identical in appearance.

I actually prefer the cheaper JUJU Aquamoist to the famous and much lauded HadaLabo. The HadaLabo leaves my skin quite sticky, due to the glycerin. It's supposed to be patted into the skin with a light slapping motion but long after it is applied, it feels like I have a wet adhesive on my skin that never really dries completely. When moisturizers and foundations are applied on top, it makes them feel sticky too. The JUJU doesn't retain moisture quite as as well (but only by a small margin) but doesn't have the sticky feeling. I apply that one the same way, by patting a small amount into my damp skin with my finger tips but it can also be applied with a cotton pad (though I feel like that wastes more product).

One thing that the HadaLabo is fantastic is restoring moisture to the lips and plumping them. I use a Q-tip to apply it to my lips and immediately apply balm on top. In this case, the glycerin's stickiness isn't really noticeable because of the balm, but my lips immediately plump up and feel really soft.

Ingredients of the Rohto HadaLabo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (taken from MakeupAlley, since I cannot read Japanese) are:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Disodium Succinate, Methlyparaben, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Succinic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate

I can't find a list of the ingredients in JUJU Aquamoist Hyaluronic Acid Toner Lotion, so if anyone has a list- please let me know!

JUJU Aquamoist Lotion is around $12 for 180ml and the HadaLabo is around $22 for 140ml. 
Both of these products actually have a Light version, and I might try the Light HadaLabo in the hopes that is not as sticky. 

I really do like this type of product, when applied to wet skin (wet being pretty key, without a little water it can actually feel drying) it provides light moisture. The most important thing to remember is that these toners make other products work better. Much like a supporting actress, it helps enhance the performance of serums, creams and oils. 

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Polished by KPT Madam Luck and Dream Lover

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hi folks!

So far I have shown you thermal and holo polishes as well as a gorgeous shifting topcoat, from Polished by KPT, today I want to show you two very pretty glitters.

This is Dream Lover. A milky white with dreamy soft glitter of all various shapes and sizes including stars and hearts! There are pastel and smaller holo pieces which twinkle softly through the base. You can wear it by itself, three coats or over a coat of white. The glitter can stick to one side of the bottle, but rolling the bottle in the palms of your hand for a minute easily fixes that. Pictured here is two coats on white, with a little strategic large glitter positioning. 

Madam Luck is a gold lover's dream come true. A clear base with so many different kinds of gold pieces and gold holo glitter. It looks great over pink, blue, black...over everything. The top picture I'm wearing it over Sinful Colors Cotton Candy and on the bottom I wore it sponged by the cuticles on top of the jelly Kelvin Bleu (another Polished by KPT shade).

The formulas on both were quite good. Dream Lover has large glitters but they lay flat and do not snag. Madam Luck is really dense with glitter, making it perfect to wear as a one coat topper over any other polish.

Polished by KPT can be purchased here. April 27th is the next restock, so set an alarm on your phone! International folks, Polished by KPT will soon be stocked at Shoppe Eclecticco, so be on the lookout for that. If you'd like the latest updates, including swatches of new upcoming shades and restock info, be sure to follow on Instagram (@PolishedbyKPT).

Products featured were sent to me for review. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Mundane Mondays, Vol VI: Yosemite National Park

Monday, April 22, 2013

You know in cartoons where someone comes flying around the corner and skids to halt? On Friday Morgan literally ran into the room, overcome with excitement. He was so excited because there was a last minute vacancy at his favorite place to go camping, Yosemite National Park. I'm all for being spur of the moment and adventurous so off we went.

It was a really great time to be in Yosemite, the waterfalls were gushing like crazy from all the snow melt. It was hard to get pictures of them because they sprayed so much water everywhere, there was a mist any time you went near one.

Lots of hiking, we went on the Misty Trail and another one to the Merced Grove. The Misty Trail was really beautiful but the last steps up to the lake were dangerously slippery from, you guessed it, the waterfall.

Merced Grove on the other hand, was rather disappointing. Only a handful of redwoods, though they were spectacularly large.

It's funny, I lived in MN for most of my life and always saw deer. They were a nuisance there, always trampling our backyard at our old house, eating their way through the garden at my parents' farm and always a danger on dark nights if you were driving. There's something enchanting about deer that isn't afraid of people though. Maybe because it isn't running head first into my headlights. Or because its little nubbin antlers were covered in fuzzy velvet.

Big Foot Morgan makes a reappearance.

Of course, no camping trip was complete without a campfire and s'mores. I didn't feel guilty about this sugar laden treat since we just burned off hundreds of calories hiking. I like the marshmallows in my s'mores golden and the chocolate really melted (I uh, left the chocolate in the car under the sun on purpose) but like eating marshmallows by themselves thoroughly burnt.

All in all, a really nice beautiful national park. Highly recommend that you visit in your life time, if you haven't already! This makes six national parks that I've been to, my life's ambition is to visit all of them.