Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Product: Jill Stuart Mix Blush vs. Sivanna Colors Blush

Today I went to the mall and somehow I managed to go to this little boutique and something caught my eye. I saw on a stand this very familiar blush-on!

The brand of the blush is SIVANNA COLORS. It is a very dainty blush with etched shells design. It looks very nice, shiny and all too reminiscent of a certain expensive packaging, except for the rather plain brand text. Can you guess what the packaging looks like????


It looks like a Jill Stuart Mix Blush Compact packaging!

Though without the beautiful brush chained to it. This blush is one of the high-end and holy grail blushes of the many beauty gurus that I look up to, so I couldn't help but want it myself. 

The only thing that prevents me from buying Jill Stuart cosmetics is because of is $$$$$$ price! This one is so pricey for a single item. It is about $48-$52 depending on where you buy it. Though a lot of girls just buy it for the princessy packaging which is so delightful, but some love its very girly though sheer application.

The Sivanna Colors one looks like its mousy counterpart, but you can tell that this is a knock-off of the Jill Stuart brand. Even the mix blush with the different shades of pink, peach and corals are reminiscent of one of the type of the JS Mix blush.

I bought it because I thought it was really funny, though I wouldn't ever think of using this for fear of what this blush powder may contain!!!

Sivanna Colors Blush

Image credit from PinkHeartedPrincess.
Though the JS Mix Blush compact is in my wishlist, I'm not that desperate to use a knock off of this! I want the real one.

I can't imagine using the SIVANNA COLORS one. We don't know what's in that and where it is made from. I wish the brand company didn't have to steal the design of the JS one. They should have innovated their own, maybe it can even catapult in the industry. Imitation is never good in business, it keeps you eating dust.

There doesn't seem to be news of Fake Jill Stuart, but I'm not surprised why there's Knock offs of this from other less know brands. JS is a very popular name, and the products is well loved by many.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Unbearable Unbeing - A Review of Breathe Deeply by Yamaaki Doton

The feeling of losing sleep, choosing to read despite it all, engrossed and brain all disheveled with so much thoughts about different things that all circle around one topic. This book by Yamaaki Doton, though in Manga (Japanese comics) form, is not your average light novel. This is a very dark book. As dark as its own book cover.

I'd like to offer the warning that this post contains a lot of spoilers as well as personal ideas about the central message of the book and what it forced me to think about. The main topic is death, the treatment of death, trauma, coping and loss.

Note:  If you do read the images that I uploaded for you, make sure that you remember it is read from RIGHT TO LEFT, like traditional Japanese books.

Breathe Deeply by Yamaaki Doton

A battle ensues over life and death, belief and science, ethics and progress. Two boys, Sei and Oishi, fall madly in love with Yuko. Her loss wreaks havoc in their young lives, bitter memories cease to fade, and their tender hearts cling to the dream of a world where debilitating ilness disappears in the face of science. But what would happen if they discovered that they all believed was a lie? Is there still a chance that their suffering may end? Will mercy and love prevail?
The manga starts with some foreshadowing, in a university classroom a presentation was being made about the new discovery of a polymer-based artificial heart. The students seem incensed, agitated at this showcase of something far beyond their grasp.

Their professor is the scientist who worked hard on this huge scientific research. He believes that in the very beginning of time, the universe was a primordial sea of raw elements that expanded, conjoined and mixed inorder to form the universe and all the living and non-living things as we know it today. For him and his scientific perspective, if we came from one source, there is no imagined difference between the "core ingredient" of humans versus that of ordinary plastic. And that is his almost scandalous basis for his polymer-based "plastic heart", which has the capacity to expand and contract all on its own.

This professor is Sei Inaba, a celebrated chemical engineer, known far and wide for his study in  artificial heart production from the "BZ Reaction" of polymer gels. His piercing icy stare and his  colder belief system stemmed from both trauma and heartache from losing his beloved, Yuko, at an early age due to terminal heart illness.

In another department, the research office that Sei overshadowed with his fame, works Oishi Tsuyoshi, Sei's childhood friend. Oishi and Sei's common denominator is Yuko, who is as precious to Oishi like no one else was. His heart was set on Yuko, to help her get better everyday and to see the kindness in her smile with that unbounding optimism. Oishi loved that about her, but when faced with her mortality her cheerful eyes darkened into pools of despair; and Oishi couldn't handle seeing it happen.

The core dilemma of the novel is introduced early on, which mainly causes the divide between the two boys. Literature says that there are "Two Faces of Death", and it is in Yuko that we see it. When Yuko is with Oishi, she is open, vulnerable and not afraid to be afraid. It is a rather desperate thing to read. A dying person crying because of their death sentence. Yuko tells Oishi how she wishes to live and how scared she is of that unbearable state of her inevitable unbeing.

When it is Sei that she talks to, she is open, accepting, and wants to 'disappear like snow' as gently as possible. Yuko never forgets that this is the very boy who, at a very tender age knew she had a terminal illness due to a weakened heart, got a kitchen knife and stabbed his own chest, willing to give his to hers. This memory was the cause for Yuko to be scared of what might happen if Sei were to know how desperately she wanted to live.

Oishi mauling Sei.


I felt that Yuko, despite her 2D-ness and sketchy, gently-shaded face, gave me a peephole on human frailty in the face of nothingness and the End. Death has two faces, and when presented with the situation, the person feels urged to put on mask, the way Yuko did, with both Sei and Oishi.

But by this action, it is deception in some form. In the long run there is a possibility of forgetting which is real and which is the face we put on? Is it the brave, unwavering or the terrified, desperate expression?

It's not an easy thing telling the dying to be brave, and more importantly it takes a lot for the dying to tell you that they are being brave. Death is unsayable, uncertain, unmentionable: the unbearable unbeingness.

What I love so dearly about this novel is that it is not your run of the mill Manga. It has a deep melancholy that you just can't touch because it is shaded in such an ethereal manner. Sei and Oishi's loss and emptiness is so easily felt, as well as their burning desire to retrieve what they felt was taken away from them so easily.

But the story has offered me some difficult questions to ponder:

"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends", yes?

Would I give up my own heart to give it to someone I love? There is an immediate selfishness to my answer. Not because I want to live, but more defiant in which I would ask "How can you ask that of me?" I would give up my own heart to the one I love, to see such person live longer and happier. But "How could you ask for me to die inorder for you to live?" The request is a kind of selfishness, too

Another thought to ponder:

Oh, it is so hard to put down my thoughts on this single phrase.

I did not regret spending a sleepless night with this manga. The story, the thoughts, the difficulties of the characters has been forever ingrained in my heart. I'd recommend this book to anyone I SEE. Or at least those who are interested in these kind of edgy, dark drama novels of love and loss.

I am entirely IN LOVE with this manga. I can't bear to part with it. I usually have it at the side of my computer table so I could browse and re-read some parts that I remember all of a sudden. If I were to rate this, I would definitely just give it two twin moons in a small planet. How awesome are moons, right? Well, DOUBLE it. This book is the same way.

It was worth this lengthy post, because this book has so much to tell in it. I hope you try to find a copy of this novel in your local bookstore or online or steal it from some other people (not that I condone stealing! Though if you do, don't steal my copy! Haha!)

Thank you so much for reading. It's so tl;dr so just go for the novel instead, it's more worthwhile than this post. I swear. KEEP SAFE!~ Until next time!

The copy of this book I received was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I do not work for any publishing house, and I was not compensated/paid with money for my reviews on my blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DIY Skincare: Homemade Glutinous Rice Powder Mask vs Sheet Masks

A lot of girls are very much into keeping their skin healthy by using face masks. Whether it's a leave-on mask, a rinse-off kind or opting for the no-fuss sheet mask. It's also a great way to feel like you're being responsible about your skin, but it's not so rigorous since you get to do it 2-3 times a week. Great for the lazy bones!

I always feel relaxed when I have it on because it means I get a lot of reading done! But I got to thinking that despite the nutrients within a mask, we can read in the ingredients (for some brands that carry English translation) there is a lot of extra stuff like chemicals and artificial ingredients that are inside a sheet mask.

Image credit from

Somehow it's kind of comforting that we can't read the ingredients list of some brands (Cant read Korean/Thai!) so we only see a bright fruit featured at the cover so makes us think it's from 100% fruit nutrient or concentrate, but I'm sure that somehow there's something inside it but at the same time leaves us in the dark! Good for you if you can read CHINESE:

Image credit from DiaryofAProductJunkie

I am an avid fan of face masks. I've tried quite a few from different big brands like The Face Shop, Etude House, Missha, FaceQ and My Beauty Diary. I use it once or twice a week if I have some masks stocked inside my compartment.
Here I am with my mask anyway, because I needed a boost to hydrate my skin which has been dulling so terribly due to me always being under the sun, staring for 8 hours infront of the PC and not having enough fluids everyday!



But I got to thinking that I should really stop depending on commercial masks. I googled some DIY face mask but I always find the ingredients kind of expensive (hello, strawberries are not in season all the time, lemons are terrible to be wasted and it costs pretty high these days, and we don't have pure/raw honey sitting prettily in our kitchen cupboard, okay?)

GOING FACE MASK D-I-Y (Do It Yourself)!

So what I did was first raid the pantry and saw a good deal of GLUTINOUS RICE POWDER left over from New Years! It wasn't expired yet so I was wondering if I could do something with it! :D

Image credit here.
I tried it out myself! This is a DIY Mask that was so basic and so elementary that it doesn't make sense why I don't make it into a weekly skin treat!



* Rice Flour is really good for blemishes, wrinkles and pigmentation. It is also known for its soothing and softening properties. (source)

* Its emollient and exfoliating properties keep skin cells healthy, while its Ceramide increases collagen production to make skin more supple and free of wrinkles. (source)

* You don't have to buy in to SK-II or other high end skincare brand which are expensive because it has Pitera properties. Rice naturally has Pitera. And according to SK-II's About Page, Pitera is "...derived from a unique yeast's fermentation, Pitera is a blend of vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids that work together to allow the skin's natural surface rejuvenation process to function at its prime, enhancing the renewal of the skin's outer layer.  Continued usage of Pitera leads to clearer looking, smoother skin."

So those are the reasons why I am definitely making my little Glutinous Rice Powder mask a weekly habit! It seems that it helps with my oily face somehow. I chose Glutinous powder because it was readily available, but not only that because it sticks on the face better than an ordinary rice powder. Glutinous is more sticky, so it tends to be like that.

Below is my findings:

Moisture Very Moisturizing; Highly due to the lotion-like serum. Light feeling, watery. Moisturizing but the rice powder is mixed with water so it feels thicker but it provides moisture continuously.
Fragrance Has fruity scent Has earthy, rice scent that is pleasant
Feel of the Mask Very cool on the face, breathable. It has some micro-scrubs but feels so good. Breathable.
Ease of Application Easy to apply, though some masks may be drippy. The masks, even if they are soaked, the fabric remained strong. Hard to apply since you will use all your hands and fingers. Make sure that your hands are EXTRA clean.
Removal of Mask No problem removing; especially when the masks really dry on the face. Easy to remove with washing it off with water. Very little trouble since it dissolves the second water touches it.

The RICE MASK gave me clean, fresh and clear looking skin!

I had blushing cheeks too, maybe from the powder which felt like micro scrubs.

I feel REVITALIZED! Ohyeaaa! XD

I am really more into organic skincare rather than commercial and chemical-dependent products that tend to be on the pricier side. But it's more than just a matter of having money to pay for it, but it boils down the things I want and don't want to put on my skin. I think I am going to be more adventurous in this new process of discovery!

Thank you so much for reading!
Stay healthy and safe~

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Life: Valentines Day

Valentines is almost done but I wanted to greet all of you a very happy Valentines Day. I know people call it a fake holiday, which it is, but that's why it's called a holiday because it's a means for us to celebrate. If you feel the essence of Valentines day from the deepest recess of your heart, don't worry, it gives us a chance to a pause our monotonous life and a day to give thanks to the people who make living this fleeting life much more meaningful.

"We enter the world alone and we leave it alone. And everything that happens in between, we owe it to our self to find a little company. We need help. We need support. Otherwise we’re in it by our self. Strangers, cut off from each other and we forget just how connect we all are. So instead we choose love. We choose life and for a moment we feel just a little bit less alone." 

I got my favorite Fluffy Mamon (Fluffy Small Cake) for valentines

EDIT:  When I think about it, it's the presence of loved ones that make the day worth celebrating. I wouldn't trade them with all the Fluffy Mamon in the world.

Hope the best for you and for your loved ones! Stay healthy :D

Thanks for reading~

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life: February Brings About A Desire For Change

The start of the new year has given me so much and taken away quite a lot. This is in reference to my self and things around me affected by the changes that has made me scramble, rethink and rearrange my life accordingly!

A life update for those who care:

* I have completed building my own room! Yes! After living for so long sharing room and board with some family members in one bedroom, their messes vs. my sense for organization, some of my sisters using my products and constant running out of products I like, etcetera!

* I am returning back to my video and photography roots.

* Getting promoted at work ;)

* Pursuing my graphic art/drawing with digital drawings (I only used to do traditional, sketches and colored pencils and all that stuff)

* Loving myself despite my imperfections but learning how to highlight what I have!

<3 <3 <3

But that doesn't mean I will stop trying to better myself and find things to discover as I go along. I am very much into skincare still, and I'm not done practicing makeup yet hahahah! I'm not very good at it even until now. I can't practice as much because I don't get a lot of avenues/events where I am asked to be extra girly.

Below is today's makeup I did, when I went out to treat my family out to ice cream.

It's still not very good, huh?
I can't do nor wear dramatic eye makeup at all. I was doing the best I can D:

On a happier note: Here's us on my PROJECT 365 :) Taken today it's DAY 43, my family and Mike (le Boyfrénd) and also my close friend, Dan not in picture because he's the one who took this nifty picture of us:

A lot of new things are in store! From here on out I am not just going to limit myself on beauty products, but more on organic skin care and DIY, graphic design and life, love, books and rocking it out as a career girl and all the good things in between.

This chapter in my life makes me feel like nothing is missing. I am at a very happy place right now!
I hope you stay tuned!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cats are A Young Boy's Bestfriend: "It's It's Like This, Cat" by Emily Neville Review

As promised, here is a review of my previous January Book Read post!

Light-hearted and one of the easiest to read books I've had for a long time, "It's It's Like This, Cat" by Emily Neville is a YA novel, so it's has a chipper flow of story, unlike most of the downer, heavy novels I've been reading lately. I couldn't have read it at an appropriate time where I wanted something nice and fresh: It's like opening a small window and getting a gentle breeze of cool air with a heavy rain-and-wet-grass smell. Very fresh indeed!


The story is about Dave Mitchell, a young boy in Brooklyn, New York, and living in the busy city with his parents, who are mildly dysfunctional like all other parents are. He loves listening to music, going around the neighborhood with his friends and his sense of curiosity often leads him to a good amount of discoveries.

At home, he is mostly annoyed by his father from time to time, so he drops by to the house of  an eccentric but cat-loving middle-aged woman who he befriends despite all her strangeness. That's where he meets Cat, a self-assured tomcat with a penchant for bolting off and getting in cat turf fights all the time.

Cat is a central driving force in the story and Dave's life. The tomcat is the reason why Dave met a lot of new friends along the way, get him into odd adventures from basements, different streets and even to the freeway. And through all these experiences, however harrowing some of them may be, he begins to understand the people around him.

The overall story is just delightful. It makes you feel like you're part of their adventures and funny experiences. There is a lot to be said about interaction between family members and friends, and how to treasure each of them. This book is especially great if you're a cat lover yourself! You can find how carefree, active and insightful Dave is, and reveals in a happier, more wholesome way that a cat is fine, too.

The book is peppered with illustration from an award-winning artist, Emil Weiss. Every sketchy piece reflects perfectly the feel and what's happening in the story.

I researched about this book and was not surprised when it won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature way back in 1964. I am especially thankful that Tookie, a friend of mine from the Reader's Circle, recommended it to me!

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for the next review, "Breathe Deeply" by Yamaaki Doton. That book/manga was intense. Kind of took me a long time to get over it. But that's for another post.

See you then :)