Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello hello. I know it's been a while since I've posted on here, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family, or whoever you are close to. I also want to thank you all for taking the time out to read my blog, and comment on my posts. It makes my day to know that my reviews and experiences may be helping someone, even if it's with something small.

November is coming to a close and so is NaNoWriMo. You can view my progress here, if you're interested. I feel pretty confident that this time around, my novel will be complete in under 75,000 words (obviously I'll only be at 50,000-ish by the end of this competition but I've been structuring it to reach an end by 75,000 or less). In any case, this month has been tiring, and I know things won't ease up much once this competition is over because then the holiday season will be full-blown and my job is going to be insane.

With that being said, I do have reviews waiting to be written. I know I post mostly beauty reviews, so I won't go into detail about those, but I do have two music posts coming up as well, each regarding two of the artists I speak about the most on here (Sakamoto Maaya and Late Night Alumni). I still don't know what's going to happen with my idea for the separate health blog. If it doesn't come around, I'll probably just post updates here and there under my IceBlock section. We'll see.

Anyway, be safe during Black Friday. I won't be doing any shopping and in fact have to work tomorrow (tonight?) night. Either way, at least the weekend is right around the corner. :D

We will be in touch soon! ('<>')>



Eyes: Lancome's Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara in "Excessive Black"

Hi everyone! I'm actually pretty exhausted of writing...haha. If you read one of my previous IceBlock posts, then you know I had planned on participating in NaNoWriMo 2013. Honestly, I didn't think I'd really pull through with it considering I have this blog and my full time job. But I'm happily surprised to report that I'm right on track, and 11 chapters into my book!

But that means I've been writing a lot everyday, too, lol. x_x

Anywho, today I decided to review a product I received in a Lancome holiday bonus giftset last year - you can view my post here to see what else came in the assortment of beauty minis. I think my opinions on this product are pretty fleshed out by now - even though the product I'm reviewing is a deluxe sample, I got about 4 months of use out of it and finished using it this past August. Clearly this review is overdue. :D

The product is Lancome's Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara in the color "Excessive Black" - a mascara I've heard quite a few good reviews on. I was excited to try it as it was my first high-end mascara, and one that I got as a gift.

Let's get right to it, then.


Lips: MAC's Lipstick in "Flat Out Fabulous" (Retro Matte)

Hi! If you read my previous MAC lipstick review here, you'd be wondering why I even own the lipstick featured in this post. Retro matte, a new formula/finish by MAC, is described as the driest formula they have to offer, as well as the most matte. And I'm usually here reviewing glossy, creamy, and (more often than not) moisturizing lip products.

I honestly had no interest when the Retro Matte collection - an addition to MAC's permanent line of lipsticks - was released. But after seeing swatches of one of the collection's colors, "Flat Out Fabulous," I fell in love and decided to take the risk of knowingly buying a lipstick in a notably dry formula.


The IceBlock [18]: Something Strange

I'm not an advocate for publishing two non-review posts in a row,  but something strange has been on my mind after a recent event. I think the only way to stop thinking about it so much is to write it down. I hope.

I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo 2013. I may have mentioned that in an earlier post. I am also attempting to become more social. It may or may not be obvious through my posts on here, but I am an introverted, antisocial person, by choice and not by choice. I'm also shy, which hasn't helped at all. I have always felt like my company was a burden, and rarely try to make conversation with people. I feel better when they try to talk to me - and keep talking to me. Then I don't feel like I'm being a bother.

Do any of you ever feel like that?


The IceBlock [17]: A Series of Changes

Hi everyone! I've done a terrible job posting, but some of it I have no control over, not that that's an excuse or anything. I'm here sharing this post with you now to provide updates on some pretty big (at least for me) changes that have happened the past week.

Most of them are health-related, which is peaches and cream since there seems to always be something annoying going on with my health, lol! Never serious things - just annoying, seemingly-unnecessary ones.

The rest of the updates are related to other projects I'll be working on in the near future. One is pending and the other is certain, but either way I thought I'd give you a heads up!


Lips: Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter in "Invite Only" and "Provocative" from The Evening Opulence Collection (LE)

*This post is picture heavy and has a slightly text-heavy rant under the "Hype (and Claims)" section.*

I have a rash on my face, and didn't sleep well last night, but when I saw the sun shining and the temperature widget reading 80 degrees F, I had to, had to, HAD TO get pictures for this review. I am SO eager to share this post with you - it just had to be done.

For reasons.

This is unfortunately my first post on the ever-so-popular Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters. The colors are "Provocative" and "Invite Only," limited edition stars from the fall/winter 2013 The Evening Opulence collection by Gucci Westman. And holy crap do I have an opinion on them.

I'm going to try and make this review as organized as possible, but I can't promise anything.


Sarah Addison Allen: The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Hi everyone. I'm really excited about this post, because the book I'll be talking about is one by an author that I've never read before, but whose writing I've fallen in love with. It's the kind of excitement I usually experience when I discover new music artists that I want to follow. With books, the feeling is much rarer.

The book is The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and the author is Sarah Addison Allen. I actually came across this book while browsing the Barnes and Noble sometime last year. What caught my eye was the book's title, since I adore the moon, and its cover, which you see above and will see again below in just a bit. But I ended up not getting it for reasons I can't even remember - and didn't get it until I stumbled across it in person during my trip to San Diego.

And I'm so glad I did. I'm normally a mystery/horror reader, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. But the book's synopsis captivated me - more on that later - by presenting a world both realistic and fantastical, and the story was one I enjoyed thoroughly. I finished the book yesterday and was eager to review it as soon as possible so that I could begin reading a second novel by Allen that I just purchased on Friday!


Sakamoto Maaya, Part 2 of 2: Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final (DVD) Commentary

From the Mitsubachi Diary.

To view Part 1, where I go over the packaging and first press bonus details, click here.

Hi all. Ten billion years (3 months) ago I wrote about Sakamoto Maaya's latest concert DVD release, Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final. A link to that post is above.

Today I am here to finally share my thoughts on the performances with you.

As much time has passed, I contemplated whether or not there was a purpose to following through with this post. I wrote notes on the performances as I watched the DVD. It seemed appropriate to share what I thought about each performance. But then a month passed, then two and three, and I was stuck wondering what the point was. Who cares what I thought about the performances? The songs are songs we know already, there's nothing new, so why?

Well a friend convinced me to do it anyway (shout out to you dear Maxi) so here it is. But this will be briefer than originally planned because, again, why?


EOTD: September 7, 2013 - Beginner

Hi all. I thought I'd do a quick 'Eye of the Day' kind of post using fairly new products (new in general as well as to my collection). I would call it a 'Face of the Day' if I actually finished my entire face and...well...I guess missing blush shouldn't determine that, but for now I'm going to call this an EOTD regardless.

For upcoming EOTD/FOTD posts, I'll aim to include pictures of the actual products used. But, for this one, there will only be pictures of the look itself and a description of what product is used and how/where.


The IceBlock [16]: A Gift

Hi everyone :) I got home later than usual today, and was really stumped about what review to write, so I thought I'd do an IceBlock post instead. To be honest, since this post is going to be all about what's photographed up there, I don't really think labeling it as an IceBlock post is very appropriate, but...well, if I happen to make more of these things, then I might do a 'crafts' section or something, but for now it seems excessive to give it its own tab on my blog.

Anyway, my boyfriend's birthday is coming up, and I really wanted to do something special for him. I think it's funny that I always gravitate towards more artsy activities, whether I'm good at them or not. When my brother and I were younger, he was the one into art, and I was the science nerd. He's still ridiculously talented when it comes to art, but it seems that my multitude of interests have shifted to the arts over the past few years - interests I'm both good and bad at. I find writing to be my strength, with music performance coming second, but when it comes to drawing, painting, sculpting...pretty much creating something out of nothing, I fail.

So I choose to do those very things when I want to do something special for someone.


Lips: MAC's Lipstick in "Pink Pearl Pop" (Cremesheen)

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

Hi everyone. :) Today's post is on a lipstick that I've owned for almost a year now: MAC's lipstick in "Pink Pearl Pop." It feels appropriate to start my reviews of MAC lipsticks with "Pink Pearl Pop" since it is the lipstick that acted as a first impression of the brand for me. And its first impression was successful: I've since purchased a few other colors/finishes from the MAC line of lipsticks.

MAC is popular for its lipsticks. In fact, in the lipstick description box on their official site, MAC writes that their lipsticks are "what made MAC famous." When I first got into makeup years ago and glosses were my thing, I did venture into the MAC brand with some lipglasses and lustreglasses. But I never tried any of their lipsticks until my first visit to California last year, when I finally decided to see why their lipsticks were so popular. It was kind of inevitable, really, considering my soft spot for lipsticks ever since I started with makeup again.

While "Pink Pearl Pop" was never a standout favorite color for me, it introduced me not only to a new line of lipsticks, but to a finish that has since remained my favorite: cremesheen.


Nails: Mariah Carey Liquid Sand Collection (LE) by OPI in "Get Your Number"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brands featured in this post. 

Hi all. This is one of my posts that was due a loooong time ago - the pictures, in fact, are from when I still worked at Duane Reade, back in April. OPI is a brand that I consider high-end for nail polishes, though I've since realized that the price is actually average when compared to other brands such as Deborah Lippmann. I never even looked at their products until one of my favorite YouTubers, FrmHeadToToe, published a blog post about one of the polishes from their limited edition Mariah Carey Liquid Sand Collection (I don't know what the 'official' name of the collection is - sorry!), which I'll link for you here.

The color Jen reviewed was "Get Your Number" which - tada! - is the color I'm going to talk about today. The gorgeous blue and interesting sparkly-but-matte formula in her pictures had me curious and, I may as well put it out there now: OPI's liquid sand is now my favorite formula/finish of nail polish. I only own two colors because of the price, and there are other nail polishes with similar effects that I have yet to try, so my feelings may change, but for now that's the bottom line.

Anyway, onto the review!


Jeweliq: My First Purchase

Hi all. I remember when I made my first blog banner about a year ago. There was jewelry in some of the pictures, but only for the purpose of decoration. Truth is, I don't own much jewelry. I bought some rings and bangles at Forever 21 last year, have a couple of owl necklaces because they're another one of my favorite types of birds, and, of course, have some jewelry boxes with sophisticated hand-me-downs and cheap, pretend-play jewelry from when I was a little girl. Lately, though, I've been wanting a statement necklace because I like how they enhance certain outfits.

So when I saw MakeupByAlli's video here and heard her talk about Jeweliq while talking about her own statement necklace in the video, I decided to check the company out.


Sakamoto Maaya: Hajimari No Umi (LE) + First Press Bonus Details (07/31/13)

**I am a CDJapan affiliate and this post contains affiliate links.**

Hi all! Hooray for Sakamoto Maaya's newest single, Hajimari No Umi, which I would've reviewed sooner except its release date was 07/31/13, and I didn't get my copy of it in the mail until 08/01/13. Super quick delivery as usual, but I was leaving for California the day after! I literally snapped some pictures of the sealed album in crappy lighting the same day so I could open it, and then transferred the songs to my computer. As for the DVD, I watched it at the last minute - probably 2 A.M. or so.

As per the title and some details above, I bought the limited edition version of this single, which differs from the regular edition in the fact that it comes with a second CD: a DVD with the PV for the single's main track, "Hajimari No Umi," and footage from her Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final (CDJapan refers to it as a "digest" on their website). And, as usual, because I preordered the single when it initially became available for preorder on the CDJapan website, I received the first press bonus.

This post will include pictures of the single itself and the first press bonus, as well as my thoughts on both the songs in the single and the content of the DVD. So, if you're interested, you know what to do. =P


Stephen King: Joyland

Hi again. Time for a book review, yay! And a King one at that.

When I heard that Stephen King was releasing a book - Joyland - that had to do with murder, ghosts, and theme parks, I was thrilled. I love murder mysteries (hence my loyalty to the deceased Agatha Christie), I love horror built around ghosts (which feels like the most believable kind of horror, to me anyway), and I think that theme parks/amusement parks/carnivals - however you want to call them - are the perfect setting for anything horror. They have so much life flowing through them that there are as many happy memories in them as there are chilling histories. In carnivals, ghosts are inevitable.

So when 06/04/13 came around, and my preordered copy came in the mail as a gift from my boyfriend, I couldn't wait to start reading it. Of course, I was working on another book that is way longer and more complex to read at the time (and I have yet to finish), so I didn't get the chance to read Joyland until my flight to California. I finished it in about 3 sittings, though, and the reason is simple: King knows how to write.


The IceBlock [15]: Nikki's Back

Hello hello. I mentioned it here and there, but never officially announced that I would be leaving for California between the 2nd of August and the 12th of August. I had Internet access this time around, but let's be serious: it was not reliable enough to post anything (and probably wouldn't be able to support any picture-uploading on top of that). So I've been gone, happy and gone, and now I'm sad and back, but it always works out that way unfortunately. I am happy to be with my family again, and I'm excited to be back on here, but I miss my boyfriend and I miss being in the city that I hope to live in someday. Aaaand, above all, I detest being back in New York City. But that's a story for a different day.

Mainly I've been gone because of my trip, and I thought that this time around I would at least, at LEAST, post a picture or two from each of the major places I went to. That's what this post is about, besides announcing that I'm back. So it won't be super picture-heavy (at least not as picture-heavy as it could be), but I hope you enjoy the ones that I do include. With that being said, let's move forward.


My Favorites From: Sakamoto Maaya's Singles

Hi all! I hope you're enjoying your weekend thus far - I had a packed day today, actually, as my mom and I went to the Aquarium (and saw African penguins *heart*) as well as the beach by Coney Island. I also finally got my ride on a carousel, which I've been wanting to do again for years but felt slightly embarrassed about considering the fact that I'm 22 and all. But, you know what? It was FUN so eff caring about what other people think even more!

Anyways, onto the point of this post: first off, I've been wanting to write a post like this since my dear online friend - who I met through this blog ^_^ (hello Maxi :D )- showed me some videos he made as a fellow Sakamoto Maaya fan. He does a lot of lovely images and videos inspired by Sakamoto, and for the purpose of this post I will be referencing the following video here. It's essentially a collection of snippets from her singles released between the years 1995 and 2012.

I not only own a ton of songs by Sakamoto, but I also have other artists I listen to on a daily basis, so I find myself inevitably slipping away from some of her songs as a result. Hearing the clips in this video inspired me to make this post because it reminded me of gems in her career that I've lost count of, and I thought it would be nice to share them with you. :) So, in a nutshell, this post will be a list of Sakamoto's singles (at least those from the linked video) and my favorite track from each one!


Lips Coral Comparison, Part 2 of 4: Etude House's Etoinette Crystal Shine Lips in POR202

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brands featured in this post. 

***Click here to see Lips Coral Comparison, Part 1 of 4!***

Hi guys! Hope you're as excited about this week ending as I am. I really just want to sink into the bathtub in blistering hot water to make my leg muscles stop aching, but I can't, as I'm paranoid for my pilonidal incision when it comes to sitting in still water. Boo.

Anyway, continuing my four-post Coral Comparison review is Etude House's Etoinette Crystal Shine Lips in POR202. After finally settling on a Korean BB Cream that I loved the results of some weeks ago, I placed an order on Pretty & Cute, to which I added a skin toner and this particular lipstick for the sake of reaching free shipping. I've heard a lot about Etude House via YouTube videos, and I thought the packaging was adorable for the price (other lipsticks on the site with even cuter packaging were more expensive), so I figured I'd buy it, especially since I don't care to purchase makeup frequently online.

And I'm going to say it now: I'm really happy with my purchase!


Lips Coral Comparison, Part 1 of 4: Inglot's Lipstick (Cream) in 106

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post. 

Hi everyone. I've had pictures of nail polishes for blog posts on my computer for weeks, collecting virtual dust, yet I waited for the daylight of this morning to take pictures of this product instead - Inglot's Lipstick (Cream) in 106 - because I suddenly felt compelled to share my thoughts on it with you. Also, if you were wondering about this post's title, it's not a new series on my blog. It's just that I've recently acquired two lipsticks that fall into the same color family as this one, and will eventually like to do a comparison of the three. It will be four posts long - one for each of the lipsticks (beginning with this one) and then a conclusive post that shows the three lipsticks side by side. Anyway -

If you've seen my IMATS Haul post, then you've already gotten a taste for my feelings towards this lipstick. As I mentioned there, I've heard countless good things about Inglot, and when I was able to purchase their products at a discount via IMATS, I of course purchased from their lipstick collection - one for myself, and one for my mom. I don't remember the color number of my mom's, nor do I want to bother her for it to swatch on my hand. But I will mention her thoughts in this post as well when I get to my own, because our feelings on this product were mutual. Let's just say our Inglot lipsticks get barely any use.

If you want to find out why, then do continue reading.


The Bird

It's hard for me to write this, because this post is about a sound and it's a sound that I can only clearly hear from the bathroom, where we have a window facing the yard of the house and, in turn, facing the backs and trees of many others.

This sound is that of a bird, and it's a sound I discovered this summer. We had one of our summer storms one evening and when it finally cleared up and I was getting ready to wash my face, I heard this sound. This bird. It was so strange after the busy noise of thunder and heavy rain. What should have been post-storm quiet was instead a bird reciting sounds.

I thought it was a pet that escaped its house, and I felt awful. I had to force myself away from the window. But I've heard it countless nights since, rain or not. I only hear it at night - I don't know if that's coincidence or if this particular bird is nocturnal.

But it's so relaxing to hear this bit of life that takes me away from where I am. As much as I detest New York City I will admit that where I live is comfortable. Like most cities, NYC has varying degrees of noise pollution depending on where you happen to be situated within it, and I'm glad that we are in a rather quiet area (though not so nervously quiet as can be some suburban areas to those, such as myself, that are much too accustomed to urban life). At night there is the distant sound of cars, planes whispering to and from JFK, wind, the occasional firecracker, and human voice. That small group of sounds makes up quiet for me. This new, small sound from a mysterious bird, mixed with the familiar, reminds me of that quiet. It emphasizes it.

It makes me want to sit outside all night long, now that it's warm enough to be comfortable without sun, and listen. To imagine this small bird and its intentions. I wonder what it sings about, what it recites, and why.

It adds more to the quiet than any absence of sound ever could.


The IceBlock [14]: New Job

Follow my blog with Bloglovin :D

Hi all. This feels like a blast from the past, putting up this post, because I remember when I started my job at Duane Reade I went MIA on here for quite some time. Well I notice it's been, what, a week since I last posted? Or just over that much time, and I don't want to repeat what happened back then!

I started my new job on Tuesday, and  my schedule was all over the place my first week (which just ended yesterday). My pay is still minimum for training - I don't know what it will go up to, or when - but I was really happy to discover that I at least get some tip money. Nothing like the waiters or waitresses there, but it's still some money on the side that I'm putting away for my break from New Hell City this August. Anywho, I've been exhausted.


The IceBlock [13]: Updates for School, Affiliation, & Future Reviews

Hi all! I hope you're enjoying the weekend. A lot of stuff has happened since my last post, so I thought I'd write up another IceBlock post to cover it all. I'll touch briefly on a few miscellaneous things first.

~ It's been nearly three weeks since my lumpectomy and I feel great. A week before the past Thursday, I had my stitches removed and finished my course of antibiotics. I'm still wearing a more-supportive sports bra (that really does make its appearance in every summer outfit) and the wound is still covered with gauze and waterproof tape (and, I may as well add now, I still haven't looked at the surgical site!), but I feel so much better than before. I can even lay on my opposite side without much pain!

~I start working again this coming Tuesday at my new job, though I have to say I don't know how I feel about it yet. I was ridiculously excited when I was getting trained and finding out more about it, because I was thrilled to have found a job that I thought would pay a lot better than my previous job. But, this past week I was told that I'd be starting at minimum wage - and my heart sunk. I felt disappointed in myself because this was the second job I managed to get and, with my college degree, I was still being offered minimum. They have clarified that minimum wage is only temporary pay during training, but I don't have high hopes about the pay afterwards either. So I'm not sure what to think.

Anyway...onto the main topics of this post.


Lips: Eve Pearl's Dual Performance Lip Color in "Pink Stiletto"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brands featured in this post. 

Hi everyone. If you read my IMATS haul post, then the product in the above picture may be familiar to you. It's Eve Pearl's Dual Performance Lip Color in "Pink Stiletto," and it's the best of the deals I came across at IMATS NYC.

More than that, it's one of the biggest surprise purchases I've had, as this once-unknown-to-me lipstick is now my absolute favorite of all the lip products I own.

I will say now that my preference in lip product texture can vary on a day to day basis, but I still feel confident when I say that this lipstick tops all the rest for me overall. So, if you want to find out why I adore this lipstick so dearly, then keep on reading to find out!


Sakamoto Maaya, Part 1 of 2: Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final (DVD) + First Press Bonus

To read Part 2, my thoughts regarding the performances of this DVD, click here.

Hi everyone. :) Here is my pretty timely post on Sakamoto Maaya's most recent concert DVD, Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final (release date: 06/13/13) - a recording of the last tour date of her holiday tour back in December 2012. Before I get into anything, I want to say that this post is going to follow the same format as my Singer-Songwriter review: that is, it is going to be split into two parts. The first, which you're reading right now, is going to focus on the first press bonus details and have a lot of pictures. The second, which I will link here when it's up, is going to focus on my opinions/reactions to the performances/other features of the DVD.

Anyway, I am still basking in the natural high that I get every time a Sakamoto package finally arrives in the mail (lol). The time between preordering and actually receiving feels like forever sometimes! But this past Sunday, I finally got the much-anticipated email saying my package was shipped out (again, I love how early CDJapan sometimes sends out preordered products in relation to their actual release dates - this one was shipped out on 06/10 when the release date wasn't until 06/13). And then, when I was ready to go walking yesterday, I saw this...


Lips: E.L.F. Studio Matte Lip Color in "Tea Rose"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

Hello again. I remember when I was in San Diego and my boyfriend dropped me off at the mall before going to work. I was going to do a ton of window shopping to kill time but I ended up coming across this store with makeup. I'm so frustrated that I can't remember the name of it!

This store was AMAZING to come by, though, because it had a huge variety of both e.l.f. and NYX products (including NYX's Black Label lipsticks, which aren't at Ulta). I already knew I loved NYX products, because I ordered some before, but I had been wanting to try e.l.f. - their lip products especially. I had recently seen one of my YT subscriptions say positive things about the Matte Lip Color from their Studio line, so I decided to check it out in the color "Tea Rose."


My Makeup Storage

Hello everyone. Hope you're having a nice (or at least tolerable) start to the week. This will probably - or hopefully, I should say - be my last week off, as I should be somewhat normal by the end of it in terms of my recovery. I've had pain on and off, perhaps because I've returned to being semi-active, but otherwise I think my healing is on track. Yay.

Anyway, this past week I've been wanting to change my makeup storage, because I had two small organizers that were totally full and the rest of my makeup/palettes were scattered throughout my room. I'm the type of person that likes to have everything of a certain category together in one place - in this case, my makeup - so I really wanted an effective, but affordable, way to bring all my makeup to a single part of my room. In this post, I'll be showing my previous storage, as well as my new storage, and mention the total cost of each. Hey, they may not be the most stunning or rigid kinds of storage ever, but as you'll see they serve their purpose and didn't hurt my light wallet in the process.


The IceBlock [12]: New Look, Post-op, & More

Hi everyone. :) I'm super excited about this, and it's pretty damn obvious, so let's get it out of the way first: my blog now has a new banner/background! They're both a nod to the spring/summer weather that's been evading NYC every chance it gets. But, regardless, I'm thrilled about two things: (1) my banner has an Adelie penguin holding a parasol >:D and (2) I feel like the new blog background/color scheme make it easier on the eyes when it comes to reading my enormous posts.

I don't know why, but I always have this tendency to gravitate towards dark blues/purples when designing anything (as if I do much designing), and I always find them way too dark after a while. I've been meaning to brighten things up on this blog, but put it off because I dreaded having to make a banner again. Though it was easy, so I don't know what the problem was. O_o Anyway, I hope you all like it. :) Or can tolerate it. ;)


3 Beauty Trends I Don't Get

Oh, another controversial topic, maybe? This isn't meant to be offensive - it's just my opinion. Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer.

I'm not sure why I'm posting this. I guess for future reference's sake, in case my thoughts change, because that's always possible. Realistic.

Hi everyone! This post is going to be pretty short. I'm just going to talk about three beauty trends I don't really understand the...appeal of. This is totally personal, so feel free to agree or agree to disagree. :)


Sakamoto Maaya, Part 2 of 2: Singer-Songwriter (03/27/13)

Haha...Part 1 of 2 for this topic, found here, was posted a month after the album release date...and now my thoughts on the songs are being released more than a month after that...oh dear.

Anyway, this is the second post dedicated to Sakamoto Maaya's latest album, Singer-Songwriter, known best as the first album written and composed by her. I did purchase the LE/First Press edition of this album, so if you're interested in more pictures of the special casing/extras, again, all of that information is in Part 1. Otherwise, this post, scarce in pictures, will discuss each of the tracks on this album, as well as my thoughts on Sakamoto's progression (IN MY OPINION) regarding her musical compositions.


Kellogg's Family Rewards and Nicole By O.P.I. Nail Polishes

Hi all. This wasn't planned at all, but receiving a certain package in the mail definitely helped with the fact that I'm on a no-makeup period for the next week and a half or so. Which, I may add, really, really sucks, especially since Mother Nature is finally being kind towards the hell that is NYC (today was perfect) and bright pink would look that much prettier in the sunlight.

But my skin continues to be a bitch, and tests haven't helped thus far, so I have taken measures into my own hands. No makeup and fingers crossed for my dermatitis rash to resurface regardless...

So the picture above probably makes it clear that I'm going to be talking about nail polishes, but aren't you curious where I got them?! Maybe, maybe not - but if your answer is the former (or if you just want a closer look at them!), then keep reading. :)


Lips: Revlon's Colorburst Lipglosses in "Atomic Pink" [LE] and "Pink Ice"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

Hi everyone. I was having trouble deciding what to review today (or write about in general, actually) and for some reason I kept gravitating towards products I don't grab for much. In the end, I decided on a product that I was excited to buy but pretty disappointed with after trying it out some weeks/months ago. That product is Revlon's Colorburst Lipgloss.

To be honest, I was never really excited about the Colorburst Lipglosses in general. I was simply excited for one color specifically that came out with a collection this past winter - something like Nude Tips and Neon Lips, I forget. Anyway, the color I wanted to try was not surprisingly "Atomic Pink," the 'neon pink' of the collection. I also ended up purchasing, at a later time, a color from the permanent line: "Pink Ice." I needed a pink gloss to add some life back into a too-nude lipstick, and thought "Pink Ice" would do the trick.

In the end, though I'm not entirely disappointed in the line of glosses as a whole, I was let down by "Atomic Pink" and remain indifferent to "Pink Ice."


Lips: Yet Another Maybelline Color Whisper in "Sienna Sands" (Summer 2013 [LE?])

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post. 

This post sucks for those of you that hate the Maybelline Color Whispers and are sick of everyone talking about them, haha. I do like the Color Whispers for days when I want to wear a lighter-feeling lip product, though I don't make it my goal to own every color, LE or not, from the line. In fact, I almost passed on all four potentially limited edition colors released in the Summer 2013 collection: "Nude Shimmer," though a pretty light pink in the tube, was sure to turn up clear on the lips (think "Twinkle" from the Maybelline LE Baby Lips), "Ravishing Pink," my initial choice, looked far too similar to the already-permanent "Lust for Blush" (and after a previous experience with LE Maybelline lip products, I passed), "I Crave Coral" just didn't interest me at all, and "Sienna Sands" was interesting but I wasn't sure if it was worth buying.

In the end, I did decide I wanted to own "Sienna Sands," the color this post is dedicated to. If you're interested in my thoughts on the Color Whispers in general, view my initial Color Whisper post here and, for more swatches of other colors, view this post.

TL;DR: On Dermatitis [UPDATED 06/04/13]

If you've read any of my previous posts - specifically the beauty reviews - you've heard me complain about my skin. My complaints started showing up on my blog beginning with 'severe chapped lips' - this IceBlock post here is in fact completely dedicated to the solution I found for them, after nearly two months of being unable to wear lip products (they looked disgusting on my lips). In reality, my problem started before though, although it wasn't annoying enough for me to think much of it. It began with a dry patch on my left cheek - one that I kept picking and scratching at whenever it itched or got drier than usual. I thought it was just dry skin, and perhaps it really was, but once 2013 came around, that patch turned into a whole rash on my face that would soon be diagnosed as dermatitis.


IMATS Haul + [Some] First Impressions

IMATS NYC 2013 was roughly a month ago - you can read about my experience as a first-timer here. This post is dedicated to the products I purchased at IMATS, with basic pictures of the products (no swatches) and some first impressions/comments on these products. I say 'some' because I haven't tried them all yet thanks to my skin being a full-fledged bitch.

Onto the haul! :D


Nails: Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear Nail Color in "Gunmetal"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

Hi everyone. I picked up (and wore) this nail polish, Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear in "Gunmetal," a while ago. I was actually looking for another Sally Hansen polish (that I found, purchased, and will be reviewing soon) at the time and got this one because CVS had the whole "spend X$, get X$ ExtraBucks rewards." I picked "Gunmetal" because I thought it would act as a good color-base for the polish I was shopping for, which is more of a decorative polish, and it definitely was, which you can see here once the post on that polish is up. Anyway, the other polish aside, I really like "Gunmetal"!


The IceBlock [11]: Under the Knife Again?

I've been crying on and off about this. I've spoken to my mom about it of course but I don't like to worry or stress her, and everyone else...forget them. I don't think it's weird to write about it here and writing about it will...maybe help me to feel better. Anyway, this is for all the girls out there, so guys you've been warned.


Sakamoto Maaya, Part 1 of 2: Singer-Songwriter (LE) + First Press Bonus Details (03/27/13)

So my last post was a break from the ordinary - serious, untidy, picture-less - and I thought I'd lighten the mood with something fun and way more carefree: Sakamoto Maaya's newest album, Singer-Songwriter!

I've decided that, because I have so many pictures pertaining to the limited edition and first press bonuses, I would do my review on her newest album in two parts: one on the bonuses only (which is this one and is picture-heavy), and one discussing the actual songs on the album (which will be linked here when it's up and is text-heavy). But I'll give some background on the album in both posts regardless, so there may be some repetition in that aspect.

TL;DR [1]: On Motherhood

I'm finally starting this series that I talked about in a previous IceBlock post. I'm not sure how 'long' these posts will necessarily be, but the topic matter will be indicated by the title. As such today's topic is motherhood. And I apologize in advance because I'm sure this post will be controversial, but it's my own personal thoughts and therefore inevitably bound to be disagreeable to plenty.


Lips: CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm in "Hibiscus"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post. 

I took pictures of this product for review weeks after buying it, and the pictures are dated October 15, 2012. Could I be reviewing this any later? Haha.

I do remember purchasing the CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm - it was at my local CVS and I spent about 20 minutes looking through all of the colors before settling on "Hibiscus." I remember it taking so long because none of the colors looked that appealing, and the ones that did weren't very interesting. In fact, "Hibiscus" seemed like the only one that would work for me (under the circumstances of my love for pink lip products).

But really...even on the official CoverGirl website the colors look fairly...dull.

With that aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this product.

It's advertised as having sheer, glossy color with the light feel of a balm, plus the added benefits of SPF15. 


A Day at IMATS New York, Saturday April 6, 2013

Hi guys. :) I posted this past Friday that I would be attending the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) in New York City Saturday, the 6th of April, and now that this weekend is done and I'm enjoying one of my days off, I thought I'd share my experience (and some pictures) with you.



Hey all - I just wanted to quickly post that I'll be going to IMATS here in NY tomorrow, April 6, 2013.  It's like...the only thing that I've looked forward to happening in NYC. *Ha.* I probably seem so boring to those of you that think NYC is an amazing place to be.


Happy Birthday Sakamoto Maaya! ^_^

It's just past midnight here in NYC, and already the 31st of March in Japan, and I want to wish a happy, wonderful birthday to my favorite singer, Sakamoto Maaya.

I wonder if she is overwhelmed today - touring for her brand new album, composed completely by her - another amazing and well-deserved accomplishment (which, yes, I will be writing about soon).

If I could ever talk to her I'd tell her thank you: thank you for being part of so many creations that have managed to encapsulate numerous personal memories - both big and small - in my life. Thank you for bringing me company during both moments of happiness and those of stress and sadness, and thank you for giving me days where I am unable to control my excitement over the arrival of another CD of yours.

I am so glad I discovered you over a decade ago, and your music has been a big part of my life ever since. So thank you, and may this birthday be followed by many, many more.

~nikki ('<>')>


Nails: L.A. Girl's 3D Effects Hologram Nail Polish in "Teal Dimension"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

I've been hearing a lot about holographic polishes lately and wanted to try them out, but most of the ones I read about cost more than I was interested in spending. So when I saw a display from L.A. Girl's featuring holographic polishes for $4.50 each, I was excited to pick one up. Only three colors were left on the display, and the one I picked was "Teal Dimension."


Nails: Sinful Colors "Green Ocean"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

"Green Ocean" was my first polish from Sinful Colors, an affordable polish brand in the drugstores retailing for about $2, and I will say now that I bought it the second I spotted it because of how many people love it. Apparently this color comes every year in a small St. Patrick's day display, so while it isn't necessarily limited edition, it isn't readily available year-round like permanent shades.

Nails: Maybelline Color Show's "Lustrous Lime" (Color Goes Electric LE 2013)

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post.

I've been getting into nail polish lately, and trying to add different finishes to my small collection, since I initially was drawn towards shimmery colors. While I've been successful with that, I was automatically won over at first sight by Maybelline Color Show's "Lustrous Lime."


Lips: NYX Butter Gloss in "Maple Blondie"

The product being reviewed in this post was purchased by me with my own money. The opinions stated further are my own opinions. I am not affiliated with the brand featured in this post. 

*Phew.* So I read about changes in disclaimer policy recently and I thought I'd start putting disclaimers on my post, whether they are or aren't necessary since...well...I don't see myself receiving free products for review anytime soon (or anytime period, haha).

Anyway, when I first heard about the NYX Butter Gloss, a new lip gloss from NYX, I thought wow, that sounds delicious, haha. And when I stumbled upon it in Ulta, I couldn't resist. I purchased the shade "Maple Blondie."

These glosses are described as having "creamy sheer to medium coverage...without that sticky sensation" (as taken from the NYX website). How do they stand up to these claims, and how does this product perform overall? Keep reading to find out!


NYX Haul

Yep, this is an awkward time to be posting. I should be going to sleep in about 30 minutes for work tomorrow but I received my NYX package in the mail today and just opened it tonight. I thought I'd share what I got since I've been doing a terrible job keeping up with my blog. Simply put, I've been feeling down/stressed out with work, and today I had a huge allergic reaction on my face that required Benadryl. And you know what that means...*yawn.*


A Quick Comparison: Maybelline Vivids "Fuchsia Flash" Vs. "Electric Fuchsia" (LE)

Hi everyone. :) Here's another quick, swatch-only kind of post - focusing on Maybelline LE spring Color Goes Electric products again, too. I feel odd posting this since I haven't written an actual review on the Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids yet, but in the end the purpose of this post is to provide a quick visual for those who are unsure whether or not a particular LE Vivid from the spring collection is worth purchasing. In this case, that LE Vivid is "Electric Fuchsia."


The IceBlock [10]: FINALLY!

Yes, finally, finally, finally, finally! I am typing this post with my new, improved, baby-buttified lips! Okay that sounds strange, but whatever, I finally found a solution to my severely chapped lips!!!

Simply put, it's a little routine that involves petrolatum, steam, sugar, Shea butter, and more petrolatum - with a total of two beauty/skincare products that I'll be posting reviews on soon enough (the ones that fill the categories of 'petrolatum' and 'Shea butter'). I'll write a post on the routine, too, this weekend, so keep an eye out for that if you're interested.


Stephen King: Rose Madder

This review is long past due, as I finished reading this book months ago. I picked up a copy of Stephen King's Rose Madder for my trip home from San Diego. I find that, from experience, reading a good book during emotionally painful flights helps trick the mind from thinking about the pain.


Maybelline Spring 2013 Color Goes Electric

Hey everyone :) I walked to my local Walgreens today (yay for 3 mile walk!) for the sole purpose of finding the new Maybelline 2013 collection, Color Goes Electric, and it was a success! I only had my phone on me, like an idiot, and couldn't take a picture of the display, but I'll give a brief description of what products it featured before I go into a quick look at the two products I picked up.


Lips: More Maybelline Color Whispers in "Lust for Blush" and "Pin Up Peach"

Hi all. :) I recently decided to pick up two more colors from the Maybelline Color Whisper line of lipsticks and I wanted to share pictures/swatches of them with you. The colors are "Lust for Blush" and "Pin Up Peach."

This post will only focus on the colors. To read a full review, including details on weight, price, packaging, scent, texture, and wear-time, check out my previous post on "Mad for Magenta."


Late Night Alumni: The Beat Becomes a Sound

On January 29, 2013, Late Night Alumni released their newest album, The Beat Becomes A Sound, on iTunes. It's the album featuring the track from their latest single, "Shine," which is why I ultimately held off from purchasing the single. I was anticipating my purchase of the album instead. [[ Look for the red text if you want to skip my small rant/problem with this album and get straight to the review itself. ]]


Lips: Maybelline Baby Lips LE in "Yummy Plummy" and "Melon Mania"

One of my earliest reviews on this blog was my post on the Maybelline Baby Lips, where I wrote about and shared pictures of colors from the permanent line (excluding "Quenched") and two of three limited edition shades at the time (the third excluded being "Pink Wink"). Well, I finally came across the two newest limited edition shades - "Yummy Plummy" and "Melon Mania" - at my local Rite Aid. I picked both up for two reasons: (1) they were BOGO50%, and (2) I instantly fell in love with the radiant pink that peeked through the clear cap of "Melon Mania."

This review will focus on the colors and scents of these two products, as well as provide comparisons between these LE colors and permanent/other LE colors from my previous review that they remind me of. For details on the product overall (consistency, wear, etc.), please refer to the previous review here.

The IceBlock [9]: Some Updates

While I wait for my camera battery to recharge so I can take pictures for this weekend's reviews, I thought I'd write this update post. They're updates I don't like to think about, but I feel like I owe it to any readers to be on top of things I say in earlier posts, as well as anything that may affect how often I post for some time.


Eyes: Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin FakeOut Mascara in "Ultra Black"

Hi all! If you can remember way back, I mentioned finding a mascara whose results I was finally satisfied with. Well, this post is a review for that product: the new Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin FakeOut Mascara. Since that's such a mouthful, I'll be referring to it as the FakeOut mascara for short.

I've been using this mascara for well over a month now, and I have to say that of the three (full-size) mascaras I own, this is my favorite by far. I can't say that I'll never try out any other mascaras - because I would like to try more so I can get a better idea of what I like - but I will say that, for now, I am quite pleased with this one.


The IceBlock [8]: Driving, Weight Loss, & Future Posts

Hi everyone. :) *Me from the future* Since this ended up being a long post, I'm going to try sectioning it off, to see if that helps at all...


Lips: L'Oreal Paris's Colour Caresse Shine Stain in "Pink Rebellion"

Second post for the day, phew! Haha. As I mentioned in my latest few reviews, there have been a ton of new products coming out in the drugstore for 2013. Of the two I was most excited for, one was the Maybelline Color Whisper (reviewed here), and the other was the star of today's post, L'Oreal Paris's Colour Caresse Shine Stain. 

People have been anticipating the release of this product the most of all the new products, I think, since it's said to be a dupe for the way-more-expensive Rouge Pur Couture Vernis A Levres Glossy Stain by Yves Saint Laurent. Well, I never tried that product, so I can't comment on any similarities or lack thereof between the two.

I was at first torn about purchasing this product because it's main feature is that it stains and I haven't had much luck with any kind of stain. But the more I passed the display at the Duane Reade I work at, the more interested I became - specifically in the color worn by the display model. It wasn't long before I caved in and bought that exact color, "Pink Rebellion."

On Packaging Eyeshadow & Cherry Culture Open Box!

Hi everyone. :) This post is (mainly) an open box of a small order I placed with Cherry Culture.

I normally don't post about purchases, but I guess what convinced me to do it this time was the way my order was packaged.

After placing an order with Sephora for an eyeshadow single and receiving instead an obliterated, powdery mess, I formed an opinion about ordering eyeshadow online: don't do it. But I've had two separate experiences (this being one of them) and decided it's not shipping eyeshadow that's a's Sephora.

(Sorry to those of you who like Sephora! This is just my opinion which may very well be ignorant since it's based on a single past experience.)

So, Sephora, considered the next part of this post a dedication to you. And for anyone who happens to read the rest of this post, hope you enjoy my open box! :)


Lips: Maybelline's Color Whisper by Color Sensational in "Mad for Magenta"

*** Curious to see more shades? Check out my post on Color Whispers "Lust for Blush" and "Pin Up Peach" here! ***

Here is yet another new lip product I was excited for, especially since its design seems to imply a direct response to the ever-so-popular Revlon Lip Butters (I still have to review these, haha): Maybelline's Color Whispers by Color Sensational. I will be referring to them simply as Color Whispers for the rest of this review, since the full title is a mouthful.

I did buy one of these Color Whispers because of their resemblance to the Lip Butters. I was curious how they would compare, though I'll do a separate post directly comparing these balm-lipstick-gloss-master products once I'm done reviewing them all individually. For the Color Whispers, I will be reviewing the color "Mad for Magenta."