Sunday, March 20, 2011

Still praying for Japan

The devastating earthquake that occurred last Friday, March 11, and the tsunamis that followed have affected millions.  What has gotten to me the most though, is how the foreign media has blown this nuclear crisis out of proportion.  The U.S., France and Great Britain are strongly advising their citizens to leave the country.  Even those who live and work in Tokyo are fleeing to countries that their governments deem 'safer' for the time being.  I don't want this to be a negative rant...but it irks me to see that the attention on the nuclear crisis has taken focus away from the woeful plight of those in the Tohoku region.  It worries me when the foreign media can't differentiate the Tohoku and Kanto regions.  It aggravates me to see people begging their friends in Tokyo to come back to wherever they're originally from.  If you didn't know this, understand this now: TOKYO IS SAFE.

Please let me take this opportunity to share a little story.

My grandmother lives in a small town in Miyagi prefecture named Shiogama.  As you all know, Miyagi prefecture was hit the hardest by the earthquake and tsunami.  When the earthquake hit, my dear obaachan was outside, on her way to the local clinic.  The ground began to shake violently, yet she thought she was just feeling dizzy.  Then she heard people on the street shouting at her "Run, run home, run now!".  So she ran.  Ran past swerving cars, ran down her gravel walkway, ran to her beautiful house.  My 84 year-old obaachan ran two blocks in the 9.0 magnitude eartquake, unscathed.  Then came the rushing ocean water.  It swept away much of her town, her neighborhood.  The supermarket she likes to frequent is under water.  The hospital where I was born is destroyed.

My grandmother lost many things over the last 60 years.  She lived through WWII, but saw many of her loved ones leave this earth.  She lost her husband, my grandfather to lung cancer.  She lost many of her belongings in this earthquake.  But she did not lose her spirit, nor her strong faith that the Japanese have the wisdom and power to rebuild the country.  She finds joy in little things everyday, even at a time like this, even when she has no running water, electricity or gas.  She was happy that a young Japanese Self-Defense Force officer helped her carry home her daily ration of three bottles of water.  Her 74-year old friend who owns an electric appliance store in her neigborhood lost his store.  All the brand-new TV's he was planning to sell were washed away in the tsunami.  Yet they hold on to hope, and faith that he will re-open his store, and sell the same TV's someday.

I would do ANYTHING to go back to Shiogama now.  But the roads to her town are under water or demolished.  So until I can reach her, I can only call my obaachan and cheer her up.  Not that she needs it...before I hung up last time I called, she said happily, "Aya-chan, tsuyoku ikiru no yo!"  It means, simply, "Live strong!"

That's what we can do.  Be strong, continue praying for the people in Tohoku.  If you have a little bit of money to spare, please donate to any of the following charities (all links from National Geographic News Watch :

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
According to the IFRC: "Your gift will support the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Funds will be utilised for the on-going provision of immediate relief and for eventual recovery support to the affected population."

Save the Children: Emergency Relief for Japan Quake
Toll free: 800-728-3843
Text JAPAN or 20222 to donate.
The American Red Cross: Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief
Text REDCROSS or 90999 to make $10 donation by text message.

Salvation Army
Toll free: 800-SAL-ARMY
Text QUAKE or 80888 to donate $10

International Medical Corps
Text MED or 80888 to donate $10
Doctors Without Borders
World Vision
Toll Free: 888-56-CHILD Text 4JAPAN to 20222 to donate $10

Monday, March 14, 2011

I've missed you...

This is my feeble attempt at making up for lost time. I believe I must breathe new life into my blog, as my tastes, interests and lifestyle have changed tenfold since it's creation.

I still love makeup, and sadly have yet to outgrow my habits of buying new foundation and skincare like it's going out of style. I think if you grow up having bad skin (as I did and still do for the most part), you will always be on an endless search for the 'it' product that will disguise every picked pimple, sun spot and scar, but ensure a finish that will remind you that there's flesh beneath the layers.

I can't believe I'm concocting these ridiculous sentences that no one will probably read...but this was my sanctuary for a while, and I've decided to return to it and see what inspiration it will reap.

A few of my latest must-haves, some beauty-related, some not:

  • KOPIKO 3 in ONE instant coffee. Whoever thought of packaging coffee, sugar and creamer is Godsent. I have a very limited choice when it comes to getting my daily caffeine fix as I live in Malaysia. Apparently Malaysians are not coffee-drinkers. Well, not the ones in Cyberjaya.
  • Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm. It took me 2 years to finish the Rose-scented one.
  • Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. Because foundation is overrated. Seriously though, this actually covers the Rosacea on my cheeks but manages to look natural, never cakey. I suggest you all check it out next time you're at a Laura Mercier counter.
  • Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Blackberry. Black is sexy, but deep plum is more wearable and office-appropriate. It's also flattering for golden-brown eyes like mine. This eyeliner does NOT BUDGE. AT ALL. Since I have a corporate job where I'm required to wear collared button-downs and pressed bottoms, my makeup must match my alter ego, "I am educated and know how to count IP addresses". Sometimes I wish I worked in fashion just so I could wear a smokey eye everyday.
  • Benefit Silky Finish Lipsick in Skinny Dip. Described as a 'nude pink (cream)' on their website, I'd say its more mauve than pink. I love it because it makes my lips look like I've devoured a grape popsicle...
  • Zara Basics Organic Cotton Tee's. I am a sucker for black and white striped cotton tees. Thank God Zara cranked out a few in different colors. I have yet to figure out how to dress them up though. Maybe a gold-sequined bib necklace?

I hope this post was remotely enjoyable. I shall be back with some self-depreciating photos of my outings in this strange/beautiful/crowded/ethnically-confusing oasis that I now bid as home.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reader Questions

A lovely reader named Sindy sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago. Her inquisitive questions were fun, so I thought I'd answer then in a post.

Ms. Sindy U., this is for YOU dahlin'! Check out her blog, SINDYLICIOUS'S ADDICTION

Q. Are the L.A. colors palettes worth buying? I guess you know it already but Makeup mix shop have 20% off until Jan20 :)

A. Yes and No. They're under $5 USD/palette so you get what you pay for. The color payoff is fairly good, but they are VERY shimmery. They're not intended for long wear either. If you're stepping out for cocktails, it'll last...but if you plan on staying out after happy hour, dancing afterwards or engaging in other sweaty activity that I don't need to spell out for you, I would recommend you wear a good base underneath. Or use different eyeshadows altogether.

I have the green palette and the multi-colored one (rainbow colors). I left them at my ex's place and I don't miss them. If you're a frugal beauty mogul, I'd still save money and skip on these palettes. Spend your money NYX. Which brings us to the next question...

Q. What do you think about the quality of NYX's e/s?

A. LOVE AT FIRST SWIPE. Most of them are not chalky, vibrant color payoff and are definitely intended for long wear. I have over 20 colors and I love them all. The matte ones are on the powdery/chalky side, but nothing you couldn't work with. My favorite color is 'Sahara', frosted yellow-toned neutral; it's great as a highlight. It's a believable dupe of MAC's 'Ricepaper' (I own both). I also love 'Eggplant'. It rings true to it's name, it's a shimmery deep eggplant color.

Q. I'm a huge fan of EDM!! Do you still use them?

A. NOPE. I've realized that EDM foundation does not suit my combination/sensitive skin. I've tried most of their formulas, and even the matte formula applied over a quality base can make my skin look like an oil slick. I speak from experience but everyone who's interested should try their products on their own. I do like their marketing strategy (all those inexpensive sample-sized products!), the wide range of colors, their cruelty-free brushes and their revamped website.

Q. Any mascara to recommend for stubborn short asian lashes? I am currently loving the Majolica Majorca mascara. It perfectly holds and volumizes my lashes.

A. Last May my friend in Texas turned me on to Maybelline's The Colossal Volum' Express mascara. She has short, stubby eyelashes, but with this wonderproduct on, she bats her lashes like a seasoned pro. My lashes are neither short or stubby, but I use this mascara like a crackwhore uses her drug of choice. I fiend for it, I feel naked without it! The magic lies within the formula. It's neither too watery or too waxy. The fat brush helps volumize and never clumps, no matter how many times you swipe the product on. People who usually don't come up to me at work have complimented my spider leg-esque lashes.

Q. I've fallen in love with MAC lovelorn lipstick since I saw it on your blog. I will try to go to check it at the store!! It's such a nice wearable pink that is not NUDE! Have you found other lipsticks similar to this color?

A. Lovelorn is a fun bubble-gum blue-based pink! Sadly, I haven't worn it much. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, Wet 'n Wild's 'Tokyo A-Pink-Pink' really delivers! It's creamy and pigmented, not to mention DIRT CHEAP. I'd wear it with neutral shadow and dark, winged liner!

Q. Are there any other MAC lipsticks that you can recommend or your favs...

A. I have many favorites but here are my top 6 faves. All the descriptions are from the M.A.C website
  • Honeylove (Matte, light beige toned with rose) --> A wonderful matte nude that will never wash out pale skin. Stays put, and looks great under clear or colored gloss as well.
  • Blankety (Amplified Creme, soft pink beige) --> Very similar to Honeylove, but a creamier version.
  • Creme D'nude (Cremesheen, pale muted peach beige) --> A very wearable peach-nude. If you want to erase the natural pigmentation of your lips but don't want to wear a matte nude, try this one out.
  • Freckletone (Lustre, neutral peach) --> A tad more on the beige side than any of the above. Great to wear under gloss or to mix with pink-toned lipsticks for that perfect pink-beige.
  • Nude Rose (Lustre) --> From the DSquared2 collection. The color rings true to it's name. It's not too bright, I'd describe it as a dusty muted rose.
  • MAC Red (Satin, vivid bright bluish-red) --> The only red that doesn't make me look forty-five.

Q. I am loving Stila's e/s right now and I don't own any MAC e/s. If I were to get, let's say 2 quads (one neutral and one with colors), which colors do you think I should pick?

A. Wow this question makes my brain hurt...just because there are SO many colors I recommend. But here are two quads I would create for those who don't own any yet (again, all finish and color descriptions are from their website):

Neutral Quad: You want a tint, a tone, a mid-tone and a shade.
  • Vanilla (Velvet, peachy ivory with reflects) --> I use this as a highlight. Not too shimmery or white either.
  • Soba (Satin, gold brown with gold shimmer) --> Great alone on the lids or under darker shadows. Works well in the crease if you're using a bright hue on your lids.
  • Cork (Satin, muted golden brown) --> Slightly darker than Soba, and not as shimmery.
  • Carbon (Matte, intense black) --> A must to smoke out any look. Also works great as a liner, just use a stiff brush to apply.
  • Print (Satin, muted grey with shimmer) --> For those of you who don't like or are afraid of using dark shades such as black, try Print. It works well with beige and brown shades as well.

Bright Quad: Pick your favorite colors! There are NO rules here! Actually there are no rules when applying makeup, but when experimenting with bright hues, I say go all out! Here are my tried-and-true faves from M.A.C:
  • Beautiful Iris (Veluxe Pearl, lavender with sheen) --> For a purple smokey look, I wear Beautiful Iris on my lids and smoke it out with Carbon or Print in my outer-corner/crease.
  • Gorgeous Gold (Veluxe Pearl, muted yellow-gold) --> Goes well with browns.
  • Freshwater (Veluxe Pearl, bright summer blue) --> A beautiful aqua, very cute with darker blues or pastels!
  • Humid (Frost, intense green with shimmer) --> Brings out hazel and dark brown eyes.
Thanks for reading. Have a safe weekend y'all. Chuck deuuuuces, I'm out.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm alive, thanks for asking.

Well hello there. Do you remember me? The ex-avid beauty blogger with a potty mouth and a tendency to drop off the face of the earth without providing any witty insight as to why. Hey, it's none of your business anyway. But you love me, right? RIGHT?

I almost got rid of this thing. But I worked so hard on it, and back when I started blogging, it was one of the few outlets I had. I can't bring myself to hit 'DELETE BLOG' just yet. So until I find better hobbies than ogling at beauty/fashion blogs, drinking heavily and working overtime like an unhappy, undersexed middle-aged man, I will share with whatever readers I have my sporadic mind spray.

Today, I leave you with Mr. Hornet, or the Asian Giant Hornet, or Vespa mandarinia Japonica...colloquially known as the yak-killer. He followed me home on a very windy day and decided to take his fury out on my middle finger. Fucker got me GOOD! Doc told me if I ever get stung again I might die.

Random Brain Fart: The Japanese Failure of Medicine
Doctors are so full of sh*t sometimes, especially Japanese ones. They feed you nonsense or don't explain your malady, and prescribe you the wrong drugs. I can't tell you how many times I've passed out from overdosing on my doctor's account. They'll prescribe a dangerous cocktail of anti-inflammatory pills with lung-opening asthma patches. Yeah, one time I had the shakes like a heroin addict for weeks, and all I had was bronchitis! Since many of the doctors at smaller 'inner organ' or '内科' clinics lack the skill or are unequipped to diagnose a patient, they'll draw blood, send the sample to a lab or a University hospital, and ask you to come back for the result in seven to ten days. Of couse you have to pay for the blood exam...but you also have to pay them to get your results! I could go on and on about how Japanese health care sucks, but I'll do that some other time.

Enough mind-barf. Here's the sucker who got me on the day of the typhoon. Roughly ten minutes after my sister took these pictures, excruciating pain spread through not only my finger but my entire hand and my arm. Since a typhoon was raging through Tokyo, all public transportation had I had to RUN my ass to the closest hospital, which is luckily only ten minutes away. But STILL. By the time I got to the hospital my hand was ice-cold. But anyway I lived to tell the tale and have pictures to share. ENJOY.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hello, stranger!

It's blazing hot outside today.
I woke up at 4 p.m.  My mom was stir-frying sliced eggplant, and warned me, "It's a sauna outside.  No breeze."  F**K!!!
The past few days have been a huge blur.  I wake up, go to work either in the morning or at night.  If there isn't enough caffeine pumping through my icy veins I don't mesh very well with my colleagues.
So I drink a Red Bull and two soy lattes during each shift.  I am such a caffeine addict.  I am an insomniac.  I am a vampire.  I am also such a mean bitch at work.
Recently (damnit, last night), this guy I like and am kind of involved with told me that though it doesn't really bother him, I should probably tone down the attitude or the bitchiness.  He slurred, 'You gotta remember that when you with me or around my friends, you can't act the way you do at work.'
Thanks asshole.  I KNOW. 
I wish he didn't lie to me and tell me my attitude doesn't bother him.
Well, maybe it genuinely doesn't bother him.  I don't know how to feel about that one.  It's a mixture of embarassment and annoyance at the fact that his friend had to point out to him that I kind of act like I'm above everyone else.  Like I care.  But damnit, I kind of do.
It's just my nature to f**k with people.  I like to joke around and talk shit.  Thats why I have a lot of guy friends.
HEY, I don't necessarily think or act like I am better than the rest of the planet.  But I didn't get this far by letting old farts walk all over me like a freakin' doormat.  I guess it's not an everyday thing where Japanese women speak their mind freely.  I don't put people down or tell them they're useless.  I'm not an asshole.  But I will push people to be able to think for themselves.  I don't nag them if they make mistakes.  I point their mistake out and explain WHY it's wrong.  Then I discuss (meaning I let them throw ideas in the pot) ways to avoid the same mistake or improve certain skill(s) that need improvement.
WHEW!  I needed to get that out. 
I got wasted at home last night.  I had a drink or two after work and old colleague.  While we were catching up we spotted another guy from work so we joined them.  There were a bunch of people from my office drinking at the same izakaya.  Cool.  So we talked shit, drank, smoke, forgot about the office for a few hours.
I went home feeling like crap after having the depressing aforementioned conversation with the boy.  I cracked open a few beer cans and scribbled nonsense on my sketchpad.  I usually don't drink at home but the mood served the purpose.  God, I'm glad my mom gives me lots of privacy at the house.
We're moving in 11 days!  To Meguro!  For you non- city slickers, that's two stops from Shibuya.  That puts me 19 minutes away from Tokyo station (my office).  I can't wait.  We're moving from a huge two-story house with 25 years worth of furniture and crap to a three-bedroom apartment.  The apartment itself is old...built in 1970.  But the inside is nice!  Decent!  All wood flooring with an industrial-style kitchen.  My room has these light pastel sea green shelves on three of the four walls.  I'll post pics after I move in.  I'll have space to store my heels, my makeup, my books, photos and god knows what else!  Any ideas? 
I'm looking forward to being able to stay out late downtown and WALK home.  Shoot, I could cab it home too, but I like walking aimlessly when I'm drunk, harhar.
Thank YOU for reading.

Friday, July 24, 2009


So if any of you have noticed, I've been away for a bit. I WANT to update my blog. I even have vivid dreams where I'm uploading pics on this thing. So at least my subconscious self wants to continue blogging for the time being.

Here's what I've been gettin' myself into lately. Not interested? TOO BAD!

一。Going out on Wednesday nights and Friday's or Saturday nights. Liver is getting used to the constant abuse. Drink of choice: Champagne, Bellini, Red Bull and Vodka aaaaand Mojito (not too sweet please).

二。Brushing shoulders with artists, photographers with larger-than-life egos, and Tokyo's dirty, crazy, creative elitists.

三。Working constant night shifts. I know this is vain, but I'm so f*cking worried that my skin will break out badly like it used to, since my body pumps a lot more adrenaline when I'm trying to stay awake. During work I try to drink 2 liters of green tea to flush out toxins.

四。Diggin' at record stores. Always on the look out for rare Beatnuts and Alkoholics cuts.

五。Throwing out sh!t I don't need. I have ACRES of paperwork and JUNK to go through still. My fam bam and I are trying to move this year. Ladies, I have a LOT of makeup and Japanese magazines I want to sell. Interested? Let me know, I shall post!

Zat eeeez it. Jyaaane!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Early Summer Smokey Eyes

Lately I've been obsessed with dewey skin. You can achieve dewey-looking skin without using a ton of liquid based products...just use a highlighting powder with very fine sparkles. I LOVE MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Soft And Gentle' for this technique. You don't want your face to be too matte in the summer...especially when you're glistening in sweat! You'll end up looking like a grandma wearing baby powder on her face!

I actually saw an old wrinkly lady at Wendy's last summer who had suspicious white powder all over her face. She was swatting imaginary flies while she sipped her hot coffee...all the same time jumping through invisible hoops...I wasn't sure if the powder was yayo or if she was so cracked out and cooky that she decided that it was a good idea to dip her face in a can of baby powder...I mean, all the high points of her face (cheekbones, forehead, nose) were chalky-white...

Sorry, I totally went off on a different tangent there...I've seen and befriended a lot of crazies in my hayday! I think I only remain close friends with people who are a little crack-ish anyway...people who would probably benefit from anger management classes (including myself at times, haha). Anyway, moral of story = TOO matte skin will make you look like
cracked-out Grandma.

So here's my ode to dewey skin, as well as a different take on smokey brown eyes. I used KATE Deep Trap Eyes palette in BR-1. They're browns and taupes with some red surprisingly well with my ghost white complexion.

Most of what I used to create the look (clockwise from top left)
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Perfect Topping'
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Soft And Gentle'
MAC Beauty Powder in 'Smooth Harmony'
KATE Deep Trap Eyes in 'BR-1'
MAC Powder Blush in 'Melba'
DHC Q10 Powdery Foundation

Not shown:
KATE Super Sharp Liner (liquid eyeliner)
Katie B. Faux Lash Mascara
Tarte 24.7 Lip Sheer in 'Summer Fling'

P.S. Food For Thought...
The old wrinkly lady with coke/baby powder all over her mug finished her coffee, and proceeded to pass out at Wendy's...I think she was homeless...or she just had a lot of crap with her and needed a loooong nap. I got out of the movies that evening, and she was slumped against the window seat. So sad how our economic spurt created a generation of children who neglect their elders, and gave birth to a corrupt system where it's getting harder to collect the pension we are entitled to...