April’s DIY box and March’s reviews :)

First out with the old, my march DIY makeup box contained:

march diy boxMarch Reviews:

Adidas aluminum free deo:

First of all I did actually find it for sale at a Rexall (Canadian drugstore) for about $4 or so.  Deodorants without aluminum are hard to come by.  I was happy to try this for the month and it lead to interesting results.  First, I did need to reapply it at least twice a day whereas I never need to reapply my regular antiperspirant deodorant.  That isn’t that big a deal, but I found it wasn’t quite up to the task of lasting through my workout/training.  What I found really interesting is that I think I smelled better even while sweating after a month of not using my regular deodorant.  I’m really interested to try another non aluminum deodorant and see if that pattern continues.  However for everyone’s sake I will probably use regular deodorant when doing shows 🙂

Fat Hair “0″ Calorie Amplifying Mousse:

I started the month using this a lot.  I think it probably does add some volume in the way hairspray can add volume.  It was great to use especially if I was going to wear my hair down.  However I often shower at night and/or wear my hair up for training and in those cases it didn’t seem to make a difference.

CeraVe moisturizing lotion:

This is a great catch-all lotion.  It’s a little light for the dry winter we’ve been having, but in general it’s a great body lotion.

Urban Decay Vitamin Infused Prep Spray – I think that’s a fancy title for primer

I didn’t really like this one, it seemed to burn my face when I would spritz it on.  I guess that could all those vitamins… but more likely it’s alcohol.  I definitely will be tossing the sample and not purchasing.

Natural House Body Brush – How do you use this, why do I have one… Who knows!

So apparently you use this brush to brush off the dry skin before you shower. The list of potential benefits is a little mind boggling though.  I didn’t notice any actual scientific studies to back up these claims, but it was nice feeling.  I will probably keep this one up for a little longer at least.

LUSH mint julips lip scrub:

I do really like this lip scrub, however I don’t think it’s that great for my lips.  Since it’s just flavoured sugar I tend to lick my lips a lot after putting it on, which is one of the main reasons that lips dry up.  Even if I wanted to keep using it, I wouldn’t buy it again because as I stated before it’s literally sugar with flavouring.  Here’s a link to making your own lip scrub if you ever want to try it.  Hmmm after reading that link, apparently you aren’t supposed to lip it off at all, I guess I’ll have to try that lip scrub myself!

Burt’s Bees almond milk hand creme

This creme is greasy, hard to get at, but works quite well.  I found it best to put it on right before bed.

Sephora lemon creamy body wash

This was just an average body wash, nothing that spectacular.  The scent wasn’t overpowering, but also was barely there.  I will not buy it again.

Ultra repair cream by First Aid Beauty:

This cream surprised me the most.  It’s a light cream that really sunk into my hands and feet and helped a bunch of cracks in my poor, dry hands.  It was non-greasy though too.  I liked the Burt’s Bee’s cream, but you basically have to only use it at night it’s so greasy.  This cream I could use and then open jars!  I tried a lot of lotions this month and I learned that there is no magic lotion to completely heal your hands overnight once you’ve let them get so dry, same this for lips.  I never really had patience to keep using lotion or lip balm daily, I always treated it as a one time fix when my hands were dry.  I started putting on lotion each night before bed and it made a huge difference!


…and now, in with the NEW!

April’s DIY Make up box

april box


The Health Deodorant – I bought this around the same time I got the adidas deo… when I get excited about an idea sometimes I enjoy the buying part more than the trying part.

New beginnings scrub – I got this as part of a package awhile ago… never quite got around to using it.

Sephora blotting papers – Another freebie that I never have used.

Kiehl’s ultimate strength hand salve – It’s been such a long, dry winter I was looking for anything to fix my hands.  I ended up only getting a sample because the lotion was $18!  Now that I’ve used up the Ultra repair cream by First Aid Beauty I am interested to see if it works as well.

Smith’s rosebud salve – In one of my many. many fits of severely chapped lips I bought this on a whim.  I’m interested to see if it’s better than the sugar brand because I would rather not spend $30 on chapstick.

Smashbox candid lip gloss – I can already tell I don’t like this one, yet I am having trouble throwing it away 😦

Buxom lash mascara – another freebie, but I need a new mascara for shows this year.

Smashbox eye shawdow trio – I bought this to replace my old show make up, but again haven’t used it yet… I feel like there is a pattern starting.

Watt’s up! – an eye shadow highlighter .

Stay don’t stray – eye shadow primer.

Again I picked a lot of things this month, but the 4 of them are specifically for shows (mascara, eye shadow, primer and highlighter)  I really, really wanted to buy new makeup, but instead I went “shopping” in my old make up and I’m glad I did.  I pretty much had everything I needed already anyway.  So yay I guess, but also shame on me for hoarding so much stuff I can’t even remember what I have.


Shame on you make up hoarding polar bear!


























March’s DIY box

march diy box

Well I might have gotten a little carried away this month!  February without a box made me want to choose everything at once!  SO here goes, the contents of March’s DIY box:

Adidas aluminum free deo – This one is so old I don’t think they even sell it anymore 😦  But better late than never…right?

Fat Hair “0” Calorie Amplifying Mousse

CeraVe moisturizing lotion

Urban Decay Vitamin Infused Prep Spray – I think that’s a fancy title for primer

Natural House Body Brush – How do you use this, why do I have one… Who knows!

LUSH mint julips lip scrub

Burt’s Bees almond milk hand creme

Sephora lemon creamy body wash

Ultra repair cream by First Aid Beauty

I also realized I had way more than my fair share of perfume samples, so I picked two at random:

Clean, Warm cotton

DKNY, pure

I may have picked too much lotion, but it’s been a really cold winter and my skin hates me right now.  At the very least I will find out what that huge brush is for!

This post brought to you by Twinings Lemon and Ginger Tea 🙂


we interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast …

…to talk about make up, rationalizations and box subscriptions!


I really like make-up in every way except wearing it.  I love looking at the packaging, I love shopping for it, but then it usually gets put away for “later”.

I have a strange habit with any kind of body product.  If I really like it, I want to save it because I don’t want to use it up.  If I don’t really like it, I want to save it because I might like it later.  So I end up using mainly products I kinda like, but mainly want to use up.  I have a really hard time throwing away products, even when I don’t like them.  I have less of a problem with buying new products that might work better 🙂  SO I guess I have a hoarder/accumulation problem.  Especially for small and cute or well packaged things, it’s a major kryptonite for me (Japan required constant vigilance to not buy everything ).

SO where is this going… Over the past year you might have noticed the popular “box” subscriptions all over the place.


I certainly did, and I wanted one.  It represents everything exciting about make-up to me.  First it’s a present, who doesn’t like receiving presents?  Second, it’s a surprise… it could be anything, it could be that one product that fixes all your problems.  Third, they all seem so well packaged and adorable.  But just before I click “subscribe” I come to my senses and realize I have a large box full of unused products and these new products will probably find a home among them.  But no presents is just a sad and unsatisfying conclusion to my quandary.

Product shopping and research have a lot in common with each other for me.  It’s putting off the hard work of actually doing anything and just living in the new exciting feeling/ daydreaming aspect of aquiring a new skill.  No book by itself will help me learn Japanese or French, just like there is no superior eyeshadow that will help the fact that I need to learn to apply make up better.  But that knowledge alone isn’t going to stop me from clicking “subscribe” so I had an idea.  I’m going to make my own box subscription, from things that I currently own and don’t use.

This may not seem exciting to everyone, but I think it will make for a fun experiment and my first yearly challenge!  Yes, I will try to make a new box every month, the hope being I either use up the product or throw it away, but it will not go back into my storage bin!

I also want to say I don’t think there is anything wrong in getting box subscriptions, I just have such a back log of unused products I feel I personally need to address that first… before I subscribe 😉

December’s DIY Box


So skimmed right off the top of my unused bin was:

Merry early Christmas to me!

April Showers

teaIt’s a rainy day here in Tokyo, perfect for drinking tea and writing!  With the end of April brings the end of  my extended hair project, boo hoo!  I know this newfound skill will be put to use in my daily life and I will probably revisit this theme again sometime.  I think that equals SUCCESS!

While I wasn’t able to do much of anything with my hair right when I injured my arm, it has slowly been getting better and even caused me to discover some new ways of putting my hair up without lifting my arms up.

For example… 🙂

When putting up a sock bun it is even easier to do if you lean forward and wrap the hair around the doughnut.  That way you can easily secure the hair into the doughnut.


This photo may not show the hair clearly secured, but I blame that on having one functional arm while trying to take a picture and hold onto my hair.  I do promise you that it was easier and I will continue to do it this way even after my shoulder heals 🙂

Second short cut was laying down while french braiding.


Laying down helped me french braid with an injuried shoulder and it also kept my french braid higher on my head so I could get it into a bun.  Doing part of a french braid into a bun can also added a little pouf to the top of your hair without having to tease it.frenchbun

TA-DA (insert  jazz hands here!)

So April ends on a rainy high note, what will May bring?


Oh là là, so that’s the twist


The time for this project has gone way past a month and it still feels like I have just scratched the surface of what I was hoping to learn.  Lets see what I managed to accomplish on my vague list back in March:

* Learn 3 hairstyles you can do in 5 minutes or less that are not a ponytail.

Check! Sock bun, french braid and french twists (more about that in a minute…)

* Learn one hairstyle that takes longer, but is worth it.


* Learn what is so exciting about those circular brushes

Still a mystery

* Experiment with make up that is not for the stage!

A little bit, but without much success

* Learn how to take care of your nails

Also a little bit

Overall… not so great.   However, I am happy with what I did manage to learn.

I think that the first mistake was to think I could fit such huge and vague categories into a month.  So the poor planning doomed it from the start.  I also got bogged down with information overload, watching tons of tutorials and looking at pictures, without putting in the actual practice time.  It probably would have been better to stop perusing every hairstyle ever created after the first few days and just followed through with practicing a few of them.  These projects all seem to be teaching me similar overall lessons, yet I’m not sure they are sinking in.

But back to how I did accomplish something 🙂

I am now a french braiding machine!



I even tried a bit of side braiding… that probably still needs some work 🙂

side braid duo


On to the twist!  The last hairstyle I was working on was a french twist which seems to be a pretty broad category of anything that sweeps up all your hair and twists it back on itself… for example…

a727ee43f230f3b760c923ab2d990984 58b6688d21a2a88d16beda4ed5e14a38 4593789ccc0f9d9905025d2f59af2b54I think they look lovely and they actually weren’t as difficult as I thought they would be.  Before I was actually able to take any pictures of my own french twists I got injured in training and tore part of my rotator cuff and trapezius slightly 😦  For the moment I can’t lift my arm very well, so any hair styles are out of the question for the rest of the month 😦  In fact for a little bit Dan will be doing all of my hairstyling… it’s going to be interesting…



Who knew stickers could be so Chic!


When I visited the nail polish area of the drugstore to get some polish, I couldn’t help but leave with these stickers from Essie too.

essie instructions

They were super easy to put on, and you didn’t have to wait for anything to dry!  Basically you clean up your nails the same way you would before you put on polish.  Then you put the stickers on, making sure there are no air bubbles between your nails and the stickers.  Then you bend the remainder of the sticker over the end of your nail and file it off.  My nails aren’t very long so I actually cut the stickers so there wouldn’t be as much to fold over.  Now I’m not sure if it was necessary or not, but it did leave me with lots of extra stickers so I could do my toes too!

essie toes and nails essie nails

Overall it was really easy and left me with fun nails that stayed pretty for just over a week.  Kinda expensive to make it a habit at $10.95 a pack, but still fun!

Tough as nails

tough as nails

Whoever made up that expression clearly didn’t have my nails.  They tend to break and bend and tear and generally cause me pain.  It has always amazed me the amount of pain nails and hangnails can cause considering the size of the injury.  In general it feels like this:

lion roar

Because my nails are always in a state of distress I don’t really take care of them, let alone ever paint them… which when I thought about it, probably ends up doing more harm than good.  So after a trip (or two) to the drugstore to get supplies and a google search, here are the About.com instructions on how to give yourself a manicure.

Here’s How:

  1. Start by removing your old nail polish. You can choose an acetone-free polish remover if you have a light shade or an acetone remover for darker shades (acetones can be drying to the nails). To get rid of polish stuck in the corners of nails, use an orangewood stick with the end covered in cotton and dipped in nail polish remover.

I didn’t have any nail polish on, but I did have to look up what an “orangewood” stick was.  Turns out they look like tiny bamboo torture devices:

orangewood-ends2.)  Clip your nails straight across to the length you prefer, then file nails in one direction so the corners are slightly rounded. Finish off by filing with the fine-grade side. To ensure your nails are the same length after filing, line each nail up with its counterpart.  The most flattering nail shape is not long or short or square, it’s “squoval” — not quite square and not quite oval. Get the look yourself by filing nails into a shape that mirrors the curve of your nail base.

This is already more that I have ever done… which is perhaps the root of my issues with my nails breaking and splitting.  Also I like the word “squoval”.

3.)  Apply cuticle remover to cuticles. You can skip this step if you don’t have cuticle remover or don’t want to bother with it. I don’t blame you.

Cuticle removers look like this:

cuticle remover

I really wanted to skip this step, but there was one in the kit so I tried it…

4.)  It’s important to soak nails before pushing back your cuticles. Prepare a nail soak by placing a few drops of jojoba or almond oil (in a pinch, any oils will do) in a bowl of warm water. Soak your hands for 5 minutes. Pat dry.

Glad I kept reading before cutting… oh wait there is even more below.  Why isn’t this all listed in one step?

5.)  Now onto the cuticle prep. Twist a piece of water-moistened cotton onto the end of an orangewood stick and gently push back your cuticles. Unless you’re a pro at it, I don’t recommend cutting the cuticles because you risk nicking your skin (been there, done that and it’s not fun). Use the orangewood stick to clean under each nail.

I did not cut myself, but I didn’t really see the point cutting the cuticles… I probably won’t bother again.  

6.)  Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and clean nails. This preps your nails for the polish. You want to have as clean a surface as possible before applying polish.

Acetone really drys out my nails, the skin around my nails and even my finger tips. I haven’t even painted my nails yet and I am remembering my I don’t do this often!

7.)  Starting with the pinky finger, apply a thin base coat to all 10 fingers. A base coat protects your nails from the polish.

What… you need a base coat and a polish?  What are we painting a room here, come on…ugh brb gotta go back to the drugstore…

8.)  Now onto the fun part: the polish! When painting nails, the thinner the coat, the better. Try wiping one side of the brush on the bottle, then use the other side to paint nails. For best results, apply polish in 3 strokes: Down the center, down one side and then down the other.

Done and done… although I am clearly not as ambidextrous as I hoped.

9.)  Wait 2 minutes, then apply a second coat of polish. Prevent chips by brushing the polish over the edge and wrapping the polish under the nail.

Interesting… it sure makes my fingertips colorful 🙂

10.)  Clean up any errant polish with an orangewood stick wrapped in cotton and moistened with polish remover.

Thanks orangewood stick, it’s nice to see you have a kinder side.

11.)  Finish with a clear top coat. Let nails dry at least 20 minutes.

You’re lucky my newly bought base coat is also a top coat.


Voila!  Clean, cared for nails all in under 30 mins, and most of that was literally watching paint dry 🙂