The IceBlock [7]: "Nino's Asylum" = Done!

 I wanted to write a quick IceBlock post because I'm so glad - I finally finished my short story, "Nino's Asylum"! :)

It's definitely not the first short story I've ever written, but it's the first in the genre that I like - which, briefly put, is horror. I like psychological thrillers but I don't know if what I wrote would fit under that. May not be scary either, ha! I think it is, though.


Lancome's "La Vie Est Belle" & Festive Soiree Classic Gift

*Gasp* A third post since my almost-1-month absence! I'm trying to make the most of my two-in-a-row days off, granted my last post was just a happy holidays and this one is just a picture-heavy post on a gift I got from my abuelita for Christmas. Still, I'm super excited about this gift because (a) it's my second fragrance ever (since I usually couldn't care less about fragrances) and (b) the small gift that my abuelita qualified for, purchased, and also gave to me had a nice selection of Lancome cosmetics!


Happy Holidays!

Hi again. :) I  just want to wish you all a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. I ended up getting today and tomorrow off, so it turns out I will be able to spend Christmas with my family...but I know not everyone is so fortunate. Regardless, happy holidays to all of you, no matter what you are or aren't celebrating! And thank you always for your time.


Lips: CoverGirl Queen Collection Jumbo Gloss Balm in "Juicy Jam"

Hi all! A ton of new drugstore products have been coming out this season, and I managed to find quite a few this week - granted I'm on a lip product kick, so most of the products I looked for and purchased (and will be reviewing) were for the lips. The first that I'll be reviewing is the latest addition to the jumbo lip pencil trend, CoverGirl's Queen Collection Jumbo Gloss Balm in "Juicy Jam."

I think the whole jumbo lip pencil craze was started by Clinique's Chubby Stick (which will be in an upcoming review). I know that on the high end side of the spectrum, Tarte has its own version, which I don't own. On the low end, Revlon came out with their Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains - this past spring/summer, I believe. And now CoverGirl has joined the bandwagon with their Jumbo Gloss Balms.

The main claims of this product, according to the packaging itself, are sheer color and soft shine. 


The IceBlock [6]: Why I've Been Gone

Hi all! Many apologies for having disappeared - this post is being written to address that specifically.

When I returned from my trip to California (of which I owe you a plethora of pictures >_<), I started job hunting just like I told my family I would. I applied to all retail positions because I had no experience and felt like I couldn't really try for anything beyond that - and got two interviews within a week. The first one resulted with being put on a 'waiting' list, and the second resulted in employment [[yay!]].


Nails: Confetti's "Moonstruck"

This is the second of three colors that I own from the Confetti brand, with my one other nail post being on another color from this brand ("Dressed to the 9's"). Of the three colors I own, "Moonstruck" is the only cream finish. It is also my least favorite.


Sakamoto Maaya: Single Collection + Mitsubachi

I imagine Sakamoto fans are all smiles today, the release date of Sakamoto Maaya's third single collection, Mitsubachi. It may seem odd to purchase a single collection if you already own the actual singles that the compiled tracks were taken from. Or it may not, because why would someone who adores Sakamoto not want to have a copy of yet another of the singer's milestones? And then there's the other reason: that this particular collection includes a previously-spoken-about track, "April Fool," and a brand new track composed by (yes!) Kanno Yoko, "Nekoze." I happen to have purchased this single collection for both of those reasons.


Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House [[Spoilers]]

Hi everyone! I've been back in New York City since Monday night, and 'enjoying' the WONDERFUL weather we've been having (yep, I may have missed that terrible hurricane but I made it just in time for yesterday's snowstorm). Anyway, I'll write more about that in my next IceBlock post, but for now I want to finally give you guys a book review!


Target's Last Beauty Bag

Hi everyone. This post wasn't really planned because I had no idea when, or if, I was going to receive the Target Beauty Bag I signed up for some weeks ago. But today with the rest of the regular mail, I found the little box from Target and was excited to share with you what came in this beauty bag.

Apparently Target has had this beauty bag program for a while, where one simply has to sign up to receive a makeup bag filled with samples, no payment necessary (not even for shipping). With this bag, however, they also announced that it would be the last, which is disappointing since I just discovered it. But I'm glad I got to try it out once.


The IceBlock [5]: "Nino's Asylum" and California

Hi everyone! I was trying to make a habit out of alternating between reviews and "life" posts, but I wanted to save this session of The IceBlock for today because today, my trip to California is officially a week away. :)

First though, I'm excited to say that I'm finally writing again! I'm working on my short story that I dreamt up after leaving the hospital in July, which I have temporarily called "Nino's Asylum." It's coming out differently than planned, and I can't even say how close or far I am from the end (which scares me a bit...), but isn't that how it usually works out with writing? I figure those kinds of things shouldn't matter anyway, as long as the story is getting put down on paper - literally. I think I'd be further along if I was using Scrivener, or ANY word processor for that matter, but instead I've stuck to writing this one out by hand. I wanted it to indeed be a short story, since I have a habit of writing way more complex (and therefore lengthier) plots, and was hoping that writing by hand would limit me since it's much more tiring and a mess to edit. Ha. =P


Eyes: Maybelline Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara in "Blackest Black"

Hi everyone. This is the second of the two mascara reviews I spoke about before, and it's another Maybelline mascara: the Illegal Length Fiber Extensions Mascara. I purchased the regular formula in the color "Blackest Black."

To be honest, I wasn't anticipating purchasing this mascara. There was a BOGO1/2 at my local Duane Reade and it turned out the LE colorful Great Lash mascaras were not included in the deal so, in my panic to find a replacement product quick, I plucked this off its nearby "new product" display. I care more about volume than length, as I might have stated in my previous review. But that doesn't mean I can't review this based on its claims as a lengthening mascara.

Its main claim is that it has a "fiber-fix" brush that, in combination with its formula, adds up to 4mm in length with fiber extensions. Hence the name Illegal Length.

I do know there was a previous Illegal Length mascara that got pretty decent ratings, but I want to clarify that this is a new release that has an emphasis on the 4mm claim. Now, onto my experience with this mascara.


Eyes: Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara in "Very Black"

Hi all :) I mentioned *alonglongtimeago* that I was planning on doing reviews on two Maybelline mascaras I have, and here is the first: Maybelline's Full 'N Soft Mascara

To start, this was my first mascara ever as of a few months ago when I actually started wearing mascara. I did some research and decided on this one because I was paranoid about mascara making my eyelashes so stiff that they would fall out during removal. I also didn't find the idea of 'spikes' for eyelashes very appealing, so when I read the claims on the Maybelline website, I was sold: "full, healthy-looking lashes" with a formula that (a) helps "soften and nourish lashes" with Vitamin E and (b) "prevents loss of lashes with Quick Dissolve System" (as quoted from here).

I purchased the regular formula (as in not waterproof).


The IceBlock [4]: Brooklyn Botanical Garden & Diploma

I know it's already the middle of the week, but better late than never. I disappeared this past weekend because it was my mom's birthday (happy birthday again, mom! ^-^) and she took Thursday and Friday off, so I was out and about with her those two days. And then that Saturday we had a BBQ to celebrate her birthday that went on for the whole day, and Sunday also ended up being pretty busy! But now a calm has returned and I need to catch up with all my posts that have pictures sitting around and collecting dust. =P

One of the most exciting events was on Friday, when my mom and I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I had wanted to go there all summer and actually planned to go the end of June, but my pilonidal surgery was moved up and I lost the weekend that I thought would be my last for going out. :( Well, I'm recovering amazingly now and Friday had beautiful weather (I honestly feel like it was the last day of summer) so we decided to go.


Lips: Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede in "Socialite"

Hi all :) While on the hunt for Wet n Wild LE eye shadow palettes this past Friday, I came across a lipstick display from Revlon that I had heard about on Nouveau Cheap: ColorStay Ultimate Suede. The display was already halfway empty so I decided to pick up what I felt would be the most flattering color on me of those left, "Socialite." I love my three other Revlon lip products so I was excited to try a new one.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede lipsticks are advertised (as far as the display goes, since the website does not yet mention them as of today) to have 16-hour wear and to be both moisturizing and food-proof. This lipstick is basically the step up in the ColorStay series which has, up until now, been in a liquid formula. I never cared for long-wearing, liquid lipsticks, so the ColorStay line never appealed to me. I always viewed such products as being extremely dry. However, what really won me over in this product's claims was the moisturizing aspect. Revlon has yet to disappoint me in past claims about moisture; both my lip butters and my Kissable balm stains are some of my favorite pigmented, moisturizing lip products. Perhaps I shouldn't have expected so much though, because that is where this product lost me.


The IceBlock [3]: Driving, Smoothies, & THANK YOU!!!

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who has read even a little of any post I've made here on this blog. My last review on the Maybelline Baby Lips has contributed more than a third of all the views this blog has ever gotten, and that means so much to me. I may not have any followers or any comment responses, but the views alone let me know that people out there are even passing by this blog, and that maybe my reviews are helping someone decide on what to consider buying. So yes - thank you! :)

Besides that, I just want to give a quick update. I've been busy studying for my learner's permit. Yep - I've finally decided that I feel healthy enough in my surgical site to pursue my driver's license, which is 5-years past due. I will be submitting the paperwork tomorrow and possibly taking the written test so I hope it all goes well!


Lips: Maybelline Baby Lips (Permanent & Limited Edition)

Hi everyone! Tinted, moisturizing lip products have become my absolute favorite lip products to use, and drugstore brands including CoverGirl, Maybelline, Revlon, and L'Oreal all have their own versions. I have to say, though, that my favorite has to be Baby Lips by Maybelline. I've been using them nonstop since I stumbled upon them back in July, and was excited to get a hold of one of the new limited edition dual packs. So today I am happy to be reviewing those from the permanent line that I picked up as well as the one limited edition pack that I managed to find this past weekend in Walgreens.


The IceBlock [2]: Weight Loss ((Rant))

Hi everyone. I have two different reviews planned (one that's finally a book) so stay tuned for that. But today I've just been feeling down again.

Last year when I studied abroad in the Netherlands I went from being 130 lbs to 145 lbs within the months of May and June, because that's when my jeans stopped fitting me. I am 5'3'' if that gives any perspective, and I went from being very slim (though not at all 'fit') to being on the chunky side. This was the first time in my life that I gained weight and I'm still not sure why the sudden change occurred. My metabolism used to work at an incredible pace - so quickly to the extent that I could eat junk food every day and not gain a pound. But now, with a much more controlled (though not perfect) diet, I find myself gaining weight in a heartbeat.


Late Night Alumni: Haunted

Haunted is the album last published by Late Night Alumni over a year and a half ago, February 2011. This is my first album from Late Night Alumni and I decided to purchase it after hearing the 11th track, "Spin," on a YouTube video back in June, hence why I'm so late reviewing the album in relation to its release date. I actually purchased the album after  hearing only "Spin" because I loved the song so much. At first, after listening to some of the other tracks on YouTube while waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail, I wasn't too thrilled about the other tracks. But now, nearly four months later, I am in love with this album and look forward to future releases by the band. 


The IceBlock [1]: Digestion & California!

Hi everyone ~ I decided to come up with a new section, The IceBlock, where I pretty much talk about what's going on in my life, much like a diary of sorts. I thought I'd number them for the hell of it too, just to see how many I can rack up. :o

I didn't post yesterday because I was quite busy with food shopping and cooking with my mom, all while dealing with digestion problems! I plan on talking about this in more detail later but, in a nutshell, I've been dealing with hormonal imbalance since I struck puberty. One of the first ways I tried to combat it was homeopathy, because I was terrified of all the side effects that come with birth control (which I ended up on anyway as of Decemberish 2010).

In the end, homeopathy seemed to do nothing for my hormonal balance, BUT it did manage to make my stomach very sensitive to all kinds of things thanks to the many diets it entailed. Now I'm almost always visiting the bathroom after eating small amounts of packaged chocolate snacks, chips, 'outdoor' food, and candy. Yes, most of it is junk food so that can't be a terrible thing, but like every other person in this world I have cravings and I cannot satisfy them without getting sick afterwards! -_-


Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in "Certainly Red" [First Impression]

Hello everyone :) I did indeed end up going to Target yesterday though, to my surprise, I was unable to find neither NYC's "Retro Red" nor Wet 'N Wild's "Cherry Frost" lipsticks (as mentioned in my last post here). I ended up scouring through every lipstick display available and was torn between Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color in 93, "Classic Red," and Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 740, "Certainly Red." Both appeared to be the red I wanted but I ended up picking the latter due to the cheaper price tag (~$6 vs. $10). I was actually considering buying either Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in "Cherry Tart" or "Candy Apple" because I love the lip butter formula, but unfortunately both were sold out :(


Red Lips for Fall: Which to Choose?!

Hi guys, I'm finally keeping up with posting daily [[for now, gah]]. This post is pretty much inspired by, as the title says, red lips for fall. But first, *ahem* *THIS IS NOT A POST THAT DISCUSSES AND RECOMMENDS DIFFERENT RED LIPSTICKS; THIS IS A POST ABOUT ME DEBATING WHICH RED LIPSTICK TO PICK UP FOR MYSELF* ... :D

In the past I was totally obsessed with lip gloss - and not just lip gloss, but clear lip gloss. Now, almost a decade later as I'm getting back into my hobby of makeup, I'm interested in moisturizing lipsticks/balms. And among the usual "my lips but better" pinks and browns that I pick for myself, I've been curious to finally pick up the infamous red.

What really set my curiosity off was a picture in a thin beauty-only magazine from Macy's that came in the mail last week. One of the trends they were advertising was called "Retro Glam," which focused on bold, red lips. As such, they included a page-size advertisement for just one department brand lipstick, Chanel, in six shades of red.

Chanel's Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour, if you're curious. $34.

The first from each row on the left caught my interest, but the $34 price tag scared me off. Until I have a steady job and live on my own, I don't think I could ever justify spending $34 on a single lipstick. o_o;


Body: Prince Matchabelli's Cotton Candy Fragrance Body Spray

Hi everyone :) This is going to be a quick review on a product I've been using since some time in August. I remember when I first came across it while shopping in a local CVS with my mom. She was browsing the perfumes and body sprays while I was scanning the makeup for good deals and called me over to show me a few scents. One of them was the Cotton Candy Fragrance Body Spray by Prince Matchabelli. 

The Cotton Candy body spray standing atop my self-decorated makeup organizer (I will post about it soon!)  and in front of my ceramic penguin tissue box holder :)

I didn't think much of this body spray's scent at first, though I could not deny that it was pretty accurate, and so we both left CVS without the little pink spray can.


Sakamoto Maaya: More Than Words (LE) + First Press Bonus

I intended to review this newest single from Sakamoto Maaya back when it was just released and arrived at my house from CDJapan (07/25/12), but never got to it. So here, finally, is my full-of-praise review. What a surprise right?

Because I love all things Maaya and have very few songs that I don't care for from her. I thought the secondary track on this single was one of those songs but, like many others that did not stand out to me right away, it grew on me with time.


Nails: Confetti's "Dressed to the 9's"

First off, sorry for the absence! :( Between healing and planning a trip to California and seeing my ex's parents, I've been a sack of emotions for a while. I've also found myself feeling bad when I want to write a blog, because I tell myself I ought to be working on my short story or one of my novels. I'll see how things go from here. I might start a 'my life' section just to keep myself writing, as I've been tight on money and won't be able to purchase much to review aside from the ton that I have sitting around already. (It is enough to last a while, though.)

In any case, I just removed the last month's nail polish from my toenails - the only nails I do paint - and repainted them with a more fall-appropriate color, Confetti's "Dressed to the 9's." I've just started trying nail polish after my huge, 8-year beauty break. And it sucks, because with the fall and winter being next in line seasonally, I'll be back to my closed shoes! I'll still be stuck at home for a while, so my toenails can be admired within the house, but what's the fun in that?


Sakamoto Maaya: Live2011 In the Silence DVD + First Press Bonus (05/30/12)

Perhaps the biggest highlight of this past week was Wednesday the 25th, when my much anticipated package from CDJapan arrived: the DVD of Sakamoto Maaya's live 2011 concert "In the Silence" and her most recent single, More than Words. My life momentarily felt complete as it always does when I receive a Sakamoto-related package (lol!). This review is dedicated solely to the DVD, which I've watched in its entirety twice since then.

Sakamoto Maaya has been my favorite singer since I was about 10 years old. Her albums, singles, and DVDs are the only luxury items I really don't mind spending what others most likely consider 'too much' money on. Her music has been an important part of my life thus far, and I've attached a great deal of memories to nearly every song I have of hers. That may very well be the reason why this DVD is my absolute favorite of the three I own with live concerts she's held ("We Are Kazeyomi" and "Gift" being the other two).