Daiso Haul May 2018

Hello Interwebz!  Surprisingly, I found all of my lost photos and videos on my SD card after I put it back into the camera and used the camera a few times.  What?!  I count myself lucky and am so grateful to have found my lost hard work.  I’d like to thank Dumb Luck for making this post possible.

Once again, I found myself at Daiso and bought everything I could carry in one armload.  I only dropped something once and was able to pick it up with my pinky finger.  Everything in this post was less than $27 including tax.  Daiso does not allow refunds or exchanges, but their stuff is so cheap and pretty decent quality that it’s not really worth the time or effort to return things anyway.  I have yet to be displeased with anything I got there.  Also, I have been looking for most of this stuff for months after seeing and not getting them and then seeing raving reviews for them online.

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The gel pens and colored pencils in the background were things I already had, but everything else was from this trip.  I also got a few things that are not pictured because they didn’t have anything to do with any of my beauty, skincare, or art projects and were put to use before I even started taking pictures for this post.

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Beneath these pens was my lingerie bag.  I recently bought some brassieres on Bare Necessities and want to take care of them since they were a bit pricey (by my standards).  If you don’t know what Bare Necessities is or would like a review post about the site, let me know.  Moving on, the bag has worked well so far and was only $1.50, much cheaper than every other lingerie I’ve had.  You can also see my new brush pens, kneadable eraser (had to knead it before I snapped pics), and an ink pen.  The Daiso by me carries three varieties of these Zebra brush pens and I already had one.  I have been looking for the other two, but never found them until this trip.  The kneadable eraser is scented like fake pineapple, but I saw it in a review video on YouTube and it worked well, so I have been on the lookout for it.  The ink pen was also on my list after seeing a review of it on YouTube.  It was the most expensive thing I bought, at a whopping $5, but it’s supposed to work pretty well.  I’ll be testing them out and posting about them in a later post.

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Here, we have paint brushes, a facial exfoliator, and an acrylic face massager.  One of the dudes I follow on YouTube said that most of the brushes that he used in his videos were from the [Japanese] dollar store, so I wanted to try these.  The face massager and exfoliator are things I see used alot in Asian skincare videos and I have been wanting to try them without spending too much money because I never know how my skin will react.  The physical exfoliator is rubber and is pretty gentle on my face.  I use it mostly in the shower either to wash off an oil cleanser or after washing off a clay mask.  The massager is acrylic rather than jade, which is what I see all over the internet.  It does the job, though.  I’m still working on the method, but I could tell my face looked less bloated all over after using it for a few days in a row.  So, maybe there is something to this massaging method.

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I think that I may have been most excited about the new organization accessories that I bought.  I’m not really a pink girl, but I wanted these items to match.  They actually helped me carry things around the store, so the items proved their use even before I bought them.  Originally, I wanted to buy mini drawers to store my masks.  Then, I remembered my lessons from the Clutter Bug – I need visual organization.  If something is not in my face and easy to access, I will not use it.  So, I decided on organizing my skincare in a way that I could see and access items easily.

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Review – L’oreal True Match Naturale Mineral Foundation Powder & L’oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream

Hello, interwebz!  First of all, I’m very disappointed as I type this because I lost a boat load of photos for the blog and had 20 minutes of video for my first vlog post.  I did manage to rescue some of the photos, but all of the videos are gone, including one of my son’s spring band concert.  The last two photos on this post were taken last minute on my iPad in crappy lighting because my other photos were lost.  I’m trying to focus on the bright side of things and decided to work with what I have so that I could still put up a post I’ve been working on for awhile.  So, slap on a smile and here we go!

The Short of It:

L’oreal True Match Natural Mineral Foundation Powder worked great with my eczema even while in the humid Texas heat.  L’oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream tore my skin apart.

The Long of It:

***None of the pics of my face have been touched up in anyway so that you can see the true dorkiness and skin conditions.***

I decided to try some new beauty and skincare products one at a time so that if anything bothered my skin, I would have an easy time figuring out who was the culprit.  So far, Kopari face oil worked well on cleaning my face without breaking me out or bothering my eczema.  I was ready to move on to a foundation since that is what goes under all other makeup.  I had heard good things about L’oreal True Match Naturale Mineral Foundation Powder and was eager to try it.  I tried color Nude Beige (W3) since I have yellow undertones and the color matched pretty well.  The kabuki brush that comes with the powder worked well for a couple of weeks, but hairs started falling out of the brush after that.  I tried a few brushes that my friend, Christina, gave to me and finally found a good one in the Real Techniques brush.  I cannot believe that this brush is so cheap and readily available at Target!

After using the face powder for a couple of weeks with no issues, I was pretty happy.  In fact, just as I had heard and read in many reviews, it actually improved my complexion, helping blemishes and eczema sores heal faster!  What are you oh magical power of mine?!  At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about L’oreal face products and decided to try the BB cream.  (Here’s a good YouTube video about the purpose of  BB and CC creams.)  I went with L’oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream in Light 812.  I applied the BB cream the way I’d seen so many people do  in video tutorials and was okay with the results.  I mean, I still had blemishes and eczema, but they were blurred out a bit.  It also seemed to even out my skin tone and soften my skin texture.  So far, so good.

After two weeks of using BB cream in the Texas heat, I came to understand that this stuff wasn’t going to be my makeup BFF the way my mineral powder was.  I broke out like crazy.  I saw some new blemishes here and there, but though they were just a result of my oil cleansing pulling things to the surface.  One day, I wore BB cream and spent alot of time outside instead of in the office like usual.  You could see a line of deep and red blemishes every place where my fingers applied the BB cream – my forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, and neck.  From the initial touch zones, the blemishes spread out.  It was a literal map of how I applied the BB cream to my face and neck.

I spent the next two nights washing my face with coconut soap, treating with tea tree oil, and calming with thick layers of aloe gel.  The coconut soap is my body wash (Alaffia Everyday Coconut and Coffee Berry Body Wash) and is pretty gentle on skin, but maybe not on my face.  I was just desperate and wasn’t thinking.  I used Aura Cacia tea tree oil from Target (on sale!)  Normally, this stuff is too rough on my face, but these were giant cysts and were painful.  I wanted them gone.  The tea tree oil worked, but dried all the skin around the blemishes.  After a night or two of that, I switched to cleansing with Kopari and doing a Sephora clay mask.  After washing the clay mask off,  I finished each night with a layer of aloe gel to kill the bacteria, calm my skin, and moisturize my skin.  It worked well.

After a few days of that, I switched to washing my face with pure coconut oil.  Coconut oil is the same PH as skin, fights bacteria, and moisturizes.  I always have a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin coconut oil.  You need something that has barely been processed so that all of the good stuff is still on the oil to help your skin.  First, I scooped out some oil into my hands.  It was solid, but melted as I rubbed it on my skin.  I rubbed it in circles all over my skin and neck, concentrating on the most problematic areas of blemishes and eczema.  Normally, I would place a warm rag on my face and lay down for 10 – 15 minutes, but this time, I didn’t want to lay in the bed with the wet rag on my face.  I repeated this as I made my way around my face and concentrated on the parts with the worst blemishes and eczema.  The goal of this was not to get all of the coconut oil off, but to take some of it off, while easing things out of my pores.  I think you may want to do something to close your pores afterwards, but this time, I wanted my pores open so the coconut oil would soak into my skin overnight.  I went to bed and woke up with a much calmer face.  You could still see plenty of blemishes and eczema, but the redness everywhere else was gone.  I rinsed my face with water and put a thick layer of aloe gel over, adding a bit extra to the problem areas.

I’ve been doing this routine for a few days now and my skin looks much better.  Where all of the blemishes and eczema were are now just spots that are healing.  Your skin heals from the outside in, so it takes time.  Aloe gel and coconut oil also helps brighten skin so that the sore spots fade quicker.

While going through all of this, some other health problems came up and my skin hurt all over my body.  After doing the treatments with coconut oil and the wash rag, my face felt better, even if the rest of my skin and body hurt.  That reminded me why I spent so much time taking care of myself in years past.  I have looked into the Korean skincare routines and decided to give it a whirl.  So, stay tuned for my reviews on that!  Also, I haven’t given up on BB Creams yet.  I may try another kind in another month

Unboxing- Kira Kira Crate April/May 2018

This week, I got my May Kira Kira Crate. They are shipped from Japan to the U.S., so they take a month to get here. I still hadn’t opened my box from April! So, I decided to combine the unboxings.

Kira Kira Crates are subscription boxes from Japan filled with Asian skin, hygiene, and beauty products. Some of these products are available in stores in the U.S., but others are exclusive to Asia. My husband gave me a three-month subscription for Valentine’s Day, so May is my last box. My birthday is coming up, though, so I may request a renewal!

Apparently, the May box itself is different from April. I wonder if that’s because of the change of seasons. Both are pretty and will be put to good use.

April 2018 Box – April’s theme is Head To Toe. The box includes items to use to pamper yourself from head to toe!

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Mellsavon Hand Wash – This natural foaming hand wash is made in Japan with natural oils like kudzu and thyme. The scent is supposed to be mellow, so I’m hoping it will be okay on my hands. If not, my husband will gladly use it.

Point Make Up Remover – Designed in Japan and made in China, the box says it is a makeup remover pencil from Art Collection Tokyo. The writing on the package is in Japanese, but the writing on the pen is in English. I believe I saw one of the beauty vloggers on YouTube buy this in a video recently. The pen allows you to spot fix makeup mishaps like smeared mascara or eyeliner smudges. Looks like it’ll be pretty handy.

IE Spa Gold Foil Pack – When I showed this to my husband, he said, “Oh dang! You, too, can become a Hydra officer with this mask!” The mask is Japanese, but was made in Korea. The mask is infused with gold extract (is that a thing???), which is supposed to be good for keeping the collagen and elasticity that naturally occur in skin.

Onset Bath Salt – This was made in Japan and is supposed to contain ingredients you would find naturally in a Japanese hot spring that help with muscle soreness. There are 12 varieties, but I got the pink kind. Based on the picture, it might be a Sakura scent.

Rilakkuma Handcream – This hand cream was made in China. The only bit of English is on the front and says, “I’m always feeling relaxed.” Well, little Chinese bear hand cream, I can definitely use some relaxation! Rilakkuma is pineapple-scented and the other Korilakkuma (the one I didn’t get) has a rose scent. Rilakkuma is the perfect size for my purse, so she will be coming with me while I run errands or go to work!

Foot Therapy Sheet (Woody Lavender) – These are a prettier version of the foot pads that you’ve probably seen on t.v. You put them on the soles of your feet and they supposedly remove toxins through your feet. I have seen reports that say they do not really remove toxins, but can help your feet smell better. These are designed specifically to use overnight to improve your feet’s texture and the lavender scent should help me sleep!

May 2018 Box – Now, this is what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Cozy Night In is this month’s themes. Relax and destress before drifting off to sleep. Can do!

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Hot Eye Mask – This mask was made in China and should make you look like a polar bear when you wear it. (Instagram, here I come!) This mask smells like lavender and should help my tired eyes look awake 👀

Black & Shiny Eyeliner – This is from Mio Piccolo Tokyo and looks like it was packaged by the same company as April’s makeup remover pencil. I’ve never been able to put on eyeliner so the eraser pencil should come in handy when I bust out this eyeliner pencil. The color is Metallic Black, so I wonder how much shimmer is really in it and how much the eraser will fix.

Honey Lemon Bath Tablets – These are made in Japan and I really thought they were candy. There are tiny tablets that look like candy and some orange sandy stuff that looks like colored sugar. The flyer says this mixture will fight acne and aging while others tightening my pores and refreshing my skin. That makes me think I may need to use this on my face instead of body. I’m looking forward to figuring out how well it works on the pores on my body, ha!

Mosaics Oil Milk – The Japanese oil milk has me the most excited! There are cute animals all over the box. The flyer says it contains cactus oil to hydrate my skin. I am all for opening up this adorable bottle and getting hydrated!

Paper Soap – I haven’t used paper soap since I was a kid. This is what Asians used before hand sanitizer became hip and cool. I got the mint paper soap and am excited to bust out my paper and start lathering up in public instead of slumming it with pink soap.

Organic Mask – From Japan and made in Korea, I have high hopes for this mask. It contains royal jelly, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and collagen, all of which are great for moisturizing your skin and restoring elasticity. I’m not sure if the hyaluronic acid will bother my eczema. Collagen is the fourth ingredient and aloe gel is the sixth, so, I’m not anticipating any problems.

Have you tried Kira Kira Crate or any of the items listed above? Do you like Asian beauty products? If so, tell me where you buy them so I can hunt for them too. Thanks for reading!

Unboxing – Love With Food April Box

Hey there, friends! You may have recently heard that I was so far behind on material for my blogs that I’m posting more often to catch up a bit. Nowhere is this more applicable than my subscription boxes. Normally, I rip into them and start using everything immediately. Since I started saving the boxes for these posts, I am now two months behind! That is a lot of wasted willpower that I could have used on saving the world or doing laundry or something. So, let’s get to April’s Love With Food box!

April’s box was the Transform Tasting Box and was meant to help you transform into healthier and better eating. The box came with a flyer to explain this, along with a few coupons for the food featured in the box and some other websites.

TRUWOMEN Plant Fueled Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Protein Bar – The glazed donut bar was in the March box and was pretty good. It was slightly sweet, but didn’t taste like a glazed donut. I’ll save this one for when my blood sugar suddenly drops (during PMS or extremely hot days). Protein bars tend to make my stomach hurt, leave a bad taste in my mouth, and cause me bathroom problems. Didn’t have any of those issues with the glazed donut bar, so I’m assuming I won’t have any problems with this one either.

Avenue Sweets Apple Caramels – I’ve had these before too and love them! They taste like caramel apples, but are slightly easier to eat.

JanaBanana Banana Bar with Peanut Butter – I’m always hesitant about these healthy banana bars. They usually taste like blackened bananas and are sickly sweet. Since these are made of more than bananas, maybe they won’t be so bad.
Torie & Howard Fruitie Chewies – I’ve had these before and they are good. They taste like a more fruity Starburst and are nice little candy when you want a bit of something sweet.

Watusee Foods Popped Caramel Sea Salt Chickpeatos – I tried these the day that I opened the box and had no idea what to expect. They are the crunchy and airy consistency of puffed cheese balls and have a general savory and salty flavor followed with a hint of caramel and salt flavor. They don’t genuinely taste like caramel, but make you feel like you just finished eating something caramel. A 100 calorie serving has 3 g protein, 3 g fiber, and 4 g fat. I stress ate them for the crunch, but I wouldn’t grab these as a genuine snack. I wouldn’t turn them away if offered, but I won’t be actively seeking them out to buy.

Mrs. Thinster’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins – I had the vanilla cookie thins before and they were amazing! So, I’m kinda waiting to eat these when I need a sugary snack at work to either celebrate something exciting or to keep me from yelling profanities at someone. These cookies are thin and buttery and melt in your mouth. The only complaint that I have is the oil they leave on your fingers because it reminds you that there are no more cookies.

Westminster Cracker Co Oyster Crackers – These were the only savory snacks in the box. I tend to eat oyster crackers in soup or salad and haven’t tried these yet. They seem pretty basic with only a few ingredients, which is always a good thing.

The best part of these boxes actually isn’t inside of them. For every purchase, a portion of proceeds go towards helping fight childhood hunger around the world. The company regularly donates to Feeding America and The Global Food Banking Network. If you’d like to try Love With Food to get some tasty treats while helping these lovely organizations, use my referral link to get 50% of your first box!

Etsy Haul – Planner Stickers

In case you’re not aware, Etsy is one of the Go To places for online planner sticker shopping. You will find so much one-of-a-kind art from artists all over the world. I tend to try to order from people in the U.S. only because I can’t afford the international shipping prices. I also like finding sticker stores in Texas. If you find a sticker artist that you like, try searching on social media to see if you can follow that artist for freebies and discounts. Their communities are like mini-fandoms and it’s fun to geek out with your fellow planners.

I ordered stickers from three stores for April, thinking I would do a post on them once all the stickers arrived. The last package arrived and I realized this was the last week in April. So, my planning failed me. Had I actually written this down in my planner, I might’ve noticed this beforehand. *sigh* At any rate, here are my stickers!

The first to arrive was from XOXO Prints. I follow this shop on Facebook. The artists and the other followers are friendly and fun. I always love the planner pages shared in the group and was excited to finally get my first order from this shop. The artwork is so beautiful and unique! My stickers arrived in a plain white mailer with a shop sticker on the back.

The pack of stickers inside was sealed well and had shop info in case I had any problems with the product. Even the shop stickers are super cute!

It was hard to choose just a few stickers. I settled on some astrology, springtime flowers, and the springtime penguin & coffee stickers. I also got a free set of Thank You stickers because I’m in the Facebook group. These are high quality stickers printed with vivid colors on thick sticker paper.

The second package was from WilaWalo Co. This is probably one of my favorite planner groups on Facebook! The folks in this group have humor similar to mine and are so funny and creative. I loved the packaging! Shiny and exciting! The inner packaging was a cute green paper bag with white polka dots (!!!) with store stickers. Their butts thanked me!

I’m a Gertie Gal, so I got some freebies with my order. This store also has a sticker card program so you can get discounts after a certain amount of orders. The stickers are so colorful and different. I forgot that this one was for April holidays, but I did remember in time to use these stickers to mark New Kids on the Block Day and National Penguin Day. Thank goodness!

My last package was from Nicole’s Plans. I don’t follow her on Facebook , but she posts in one of my planner groups. I ordered these stickers at the same time as the others and they came two weeks after my WilaWalo stickers, but the processing and shipping times were clearly stated on Etsy. Again, I should have written all of this down in my mo fo planner so that I could have planned better for this post. Blerg. The packaging on this was the most plain, but it was exciting to see my name in beautiful lettering on the envelope.

Finally, someone other than my mom recognizes what a rock star I am! The stickers inside were in a plastic bag that included a cute thank you note. I need to water the plants twice a week and I keep forgetting, so I really need these stickers. I thought it was clever to have a water colored watering can and the sticker size was perfect for my needs.

The best thing about buying stickers from these small stores is how grateful the sellers are for your business. I appreciate their work and they appreciate that. After working in corporate America for so long, it’s refreshing to deal with small businesses where the people are so amicable even though we may never meet in person.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. What did you think of these stickers? Are you going to check out any of these stores on Etsy?

Product testing – Kopari Coconut Cleansing Oil

***Disclaimer: None of the photos in this post were touched up in any way. I am naturally that funny looking.***

My skin is jacked up from a combo of eczema, changes in medication, and being too exhausted to take care of myself.

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I’m trying to get back into the habit of taking care of myself, though. I have a few oils that I’ve tried for different things over the years that I like. The Aura Cacia lavender oil works well to relax me and helps prevent migraines overnight. Neutrogena body oil is good for conditioning my skin after a shower. The almond oil and coconut oil are what I use on my face, body and hair anytime they’re feeling particularly dry.

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I’m usually wary of trying new products, but my friend, Christina, is a beauty product expert. She gave me some Kopari coconut cleansing oil and I decided since this is for free and she knows her stuff, I’ll give it a try.

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The bottle says that there are no parabens or silicone and that the oil is sourced from the Philippines. So, I like to think that one of my cousins processed the extra special coconut oil.

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The directions say to start with three pumps of oil in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together before applying to your face. Then, rub the oil in for 30 seconds and the wash face with warm water. I cannot use warm water and I also do not just wash my face for 30 seconds. So I washed my face the normal way, moving my fingertips in small circles over each part of my face for 10 seconds at a time before rinsing with cold water.

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I used the hand towel that I got in my first Kira Kira create to blot away the water. Always dab, never rub!

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The oil smelled sooooo good and reminded me of the pearl eye cream my mom used when I was growing up. The oil felt light on my face, but left my skin feeling a bit dry.

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My face wasn’t nearly as irritated as it is with most cleansers, though.  I finished off with my moisturizer of choice, aloe gel, which calmed my skin down immediately.

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I still had to use my eczema ointment around my mouth and extra lip balm on my lips, but my face wasn’t burning. So, this facial oil may have potential!

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Final Word:

After washing my face with this oil every night for the past 3 weeks, I have decided that I do like it. I still expected it to irritate my skin after using it for awhile, but it never did. It pulled a lot of junk to the surface of my skin, where it is ugly, but easy to treat with aloe gel.

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Because it’s an oil, Kopari does a good job of removing makeup gently as well. When combined with my new foundation (more on that in a future post!), this stuff has been clearing up and calming down my skin. I haven’t had any new eczema show up on my face, even though it has appeared on other parts of my body where I am not using this cleanser. Overall, I like the product and would definitely buy it again. However, I’m on a very tight budget, so I would have to wait until it was on a huge sale. Until then, I cam use the almond or regular coconut oil as a face wash.

What do you think of face oils? Have you ever tried any of the fancy face oils, or do you prefer the cheaper food oils instead? Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this!

Unboxing – Kira Kira Crate

For Valentines Day, my husband bought a subscription to Kira Kira Crate for me. Kira Kira boxes have Asian hygiene and beauty products. I normally avoid these things because I’m allergic to everything, but my Asian mom always allowed me to use uncool Asian hygiene and beauty products when I was growing up because she said it would be okay on my sensitive skin. This was not what the girls at school or in Teen magazine used, so I resented my mom for this. Now, all the fashion magazines are always writing about the latest trends in Asian beauty products. That can only mean that I’m finally cool again right?!

Here is the adorable box that I will probably keep for storing craft and art supplies.

It always surprises me when companies put so much thought and artistry into shipping boxes. My husband buys a lot of computer and car parts online and they come in the ugliest boxes. He never knows what’s in them until he opens them up, which I think is terrible marketing. Kira Kira knows where it’s at; they even love you!

The pamphlet is adorable! It has info on everything in the box and reminds you to tag yourself in photos online using the products for a chance to win a free box. (Sweet!) I love the article on the lip palette. I’m definitely going to use this art in my journals. Bonus surprise!

Items in this month’s box:

  • Oil in Moisture Hand Jelly – This is cassis and berry blossom scented and the writing is in Korean. So, guess I’ll be learning Korean. The moisturizer is very light, absorbs quickly, and has a slightly floral/slightly fruity scent. Love this!
  • Mini bath ball – Cutest bath bomb ever! The bath bomb had a plastic outer shell that looks like the stuff that comes on detergent pods. I’m guessing this means that the wrapper will dissolve in water. (Edit:  It did not dissolve in water.) There are also adorable little strawberries on it, which makes me think this smells like strawberries. Other than the image that tells me eating these will make little boys cry, I don’t understand any of the writing on this product. I might let my daughter use this because she loves bath bombs, but has eczema like me. So, normal bath bombs irritate her skin. (Edit: I did let her use it, but the bath bomb was so tiny that it barely did anything, which was good because of her eczema.)
  • Art Collection Tokyo lip gloss palette – I’m guessing that’s the name, anyway. This is actually made in China, haha! The four shades of red appear to just tint your lips various hues of pink. The colors all go well with Asian skin tones, so that’s cool.
  • Sakura Soap & Towel – Score! The soap is shaped and scented like a Sakura flower and the little hand towel is adorable! This would be a great gift for someone. I’m keeping it for myself, though!
  • Pure Smile Hello Kitty Essence Mask – Oh my god! First off, Hello Kitty. Secondly, this one is infused with sake. I’m expecting miracles from this.  (Edit:  I used this in bed one night after my husband fell asleep and I was wide awake.  It worked well and moisturized my skin without irritation.  It would have also worked well if a burglar had broken into our bedroom at the time.  Do not look at anyone while wearing this mask without working that person first.  It’s scary!)
  • Kocostar Slice Mask Sheet Cucumber – I have never seen anything like this before! They’re preserved cucumbers infused with moisturizer to place on “problem spots”. Sounds good to me. Now, where can I find a full body-sized cucumber?  (Edit:  Still haven’t used these, but I did see them at Target for $5 or $6.)

I’m so excited to try these products! I thought about doing a review after I tried them, but my motivation will probably be replaced by life distractions by then. I don’t want to work tonight. I just want to pamper myself with these products!

Planning – All Washi Tape Challenge

Hi, everyone! Today, I’m going to try the All Washi Tape Challenge in my planner. There are a lot of plannervideosgoingaround where people set up the next week’s pages with only washi. I’ve seen some people use stickers or add in doodles, even though I think that kind of defeats the purpose of the challenge. So, other than writing down actual plans in my planner, I’m going to only use washi this week.

Washi tape started in Japan as a kind of tape made with rice paper. One side is sticky, but it’s reusable. The other six may be decorated, have a solid color, or even be clear. Since it is made of rice paper, you can also write on washi. These qualities make washi tape perfect for journaling, arts, and crafts. I bought some cheap washi online once that turned out to just be cheap tape with random decorations. It doesn’t even work well as tape, so be forewarned and read reviews before you buy washi online.

For this challenge, I don’t need many tools. I have my MAMBI Happy Planner, washi, my favorite purple Pilot G-2 pen to write in my planner, scissors to cut shapes in the washi, and my Bat Ruler for cutting strips of washi.

First, I’m going to pick a theme. This way, I can pull out just the washi that I need and push the others to the side. I want to use up some of that crappy tape I mentioned earlier, so I pulled out the green horse tapes. Then, I pulled out greens and blues from the rest of the washi. Matching the theme like this just makes the planner look a bit more pulled together than using random patterns and colors. I’ve made that mistake before, and even though it’s not a huge deal, it is a daily reminder to pick themes in future planning endeavors.

Now that I have my washi picked out, I’m going to start blocking off boxes, just to add decoration. A lot of planners like to decorate entire boxes just for looks. Because I rely so heavily on the info in my planner to get me through my daily life, I try to add decorations as an accent instead. I decided to start with the horse tape since this is a good way to use a lot of tape. Some weeks have great quotes at the bottom of the page, it this week just has a flower. I didn’t want to cover up the pretty flower, so I just cut strips of tape to place around the flower. This tape can be repositioned like washi, but also comes off easily, so I’m going to layer this stuff. I took my pages out to make taping around the sides easier. (One of the many benefits of using the Big Happy Planner is being able to easily remove and insert pages!) I’m extending two of the middle lines out into the Notes section to divide that section up too.

The next thing I need to do is separate out specific events. I always mark the days that we have the kids overnight and any birthday parties, lunches , or events we have on the calendar. To indicate when we have the kids, I’m using a line of washi (purchased on clearance at Michaels) with a couple of points at the end. I thought the green and brown pattern had a kind of modern Western look that would blend well with the horses, while also pointing out the Kids Days. I cut out a smaller piece of washi (this came with the washi I used on the Kids Days line), folded it in half with the patterned sides touching, and cut a point. When I open up the tape, there is one point at each end. After snipping the washi in half, I have two points that fit perfectly on the end of the washi line to make a little bracket for Kids Days.

Using a similar method, I’m placing a banner on the weekend. The skinny washi (1/4 in, got a whole set for cheap on Amazon) bends well to form a banner string. Taking a piece of patterned washi and repeatedly cutting the ends into triangles gives me flags for my banner. I’ve seen this method on a fewvlogs and thought it looked complicated, but three minutes after placing the banner string, my flags were on the page. Easy Peasy!

I tend to use the Notes area for habit tracking with stickers. Since this is a washi only week, I’m making my own checkboxes with washi. I could also write out everything, but I think the washi will look a little snazzier. I know that I want four trackers this week. I want at least one blank line between my trackers to make things look cleaner. Luckily, the horseshoe tape is spaced just far enough apart to allow me to use the top two areas of Notes for my trackers. Laying down the thin washi one light at a time, I use my BatRuler to cut apart the washi. My favorite purple pen is perfect for writing in the trackers’ names and the days of the week. Each time I do one of the things on the tracker, I’ll black out the day with a pen or sticker!

Typically, I don’t use any other borders and would add decorative stickers at this point. Since I’m sticking to washi, I think I’ll just add some line embellishments to make the most of this washi opportunity. Et voila! C’est si bon! The journal is now ready for me to write down appointments and whatnot. Normally, I’d already have a ton of things written down before I even started decorating. It worked out well that this particular week is the one I’m using for this challenge.

I hope you liked this post. Let me know in the comments what you think! Be sure to visit the links in this post for some great info and fun vlogs from people who are way more experienced at this than me 😁

Watercolors – Swatching Koi Water Colors

Until recently, I had only used Crayola watercolors. I mean, you know, they work, but not if you want to try to learn to do something other than paint a picture of a house and a tree for your mom. I have some watercolors that I got from an old job after they switched to digital mapping instead of handrawn maps. I tested a couple of colors and didn’t want to waste my fancy paints on another picture of my cat with hearts and stars in the background. When I saw Lhey and others online using watercolors in their journals, I thought, “This could be the way I use my fancy paints!” I didn’t want to start with them, though. So, I used a coupon at Michaels to buy a palette of Sakura Koi Water Colors (Pocket Field Sketch Box).

After over a month of journaling with watercolors, I’ve made some progress.

I like the crinkly paper in my journals, but I have problems recreating the effects I see on tutorials online. I have a hard time following directions, and all of the beginning watercolor tutorials say to swatch your colors and to use watercolor paper. I have some Canson Watercolor Paper (cold press, 4×6, 140 lb) left from a collage project that a group of my friends and I did as a birthday gift 10 years ago. It happens to be the perfect size to swatch the watercolor set. I gave it a try.

The results are so much better than I expected! The colors went on easier and were much easier to manipulate on this paper than random notebook paper. This must be why everyone working with watercolors has the same tips.

I also found a great series of watercolor how-tos from The Witty Gritty Paper Co. I did the first transparency exercise and was surprised at how well it looks. There should have been more of a difference between 1 & 2 and 3 & 4, but I still don’t think it came out looking too bad. I really have a problem with staying in the lines, both in art and in life. So, I clearly need to work on that (in art only!)

Well, that was my adventure in swatching my Koi watercolors. As you can see, I am still very much a watercolor Noob, but I hope to improve so that I can look back on this post in a couple of years and say, “Ah, the innocence of no experience and cheap materials. I remember those days of yore with much fondness.” (I may or may not have been watching a bunch of period pieces about Frankenstein and alienists lately.). Thanks for reading and starting this voyage with me!

Random Saturday’s – Journaling

Over the past couple of months, I’ve really gotten into journaling and planners. I found creative forms of bullet journaling on Pinterest a couple years back, but ended up really only tracking tv shows that I was watching.  That made me sad because I like to think that my life is made of more than work and tv (it’s not). I got into lettering last year, but didn’t make much time to really practice it right away. Sometime around last summer, I figured out how to practice lettering on my iPad so that I wouldn’t have to use paper. I tried to work on journaling as a way to practice lettering on paper, but it just took on much time. I want to do so many things, but have no time or energy!

That’s my big problem – everything takes time and energy…and money.

I’m sure most people feel this way, though. I started watching YouTube videos by Mommy Lhey on accident. She had a family, but also managed to do journaling, planning, watercolor painting, logging, and so much more. Plus, she seemed to be at least part Filipino. I never see people like me on tv or movies. So, imagine my surprise at finding this woman who worked on projects of interest to me and drew pictures of people who looked like me (and people of other ethnicities too)!

This opened a whole new world of creativity and organization to me. Blending so many interests of mine led me to join Facebook groups, find Etsy stores, talk to strangers at craft stores, and reignite a general feeling of ME-ness that has been missing for so long. Even before I got married, I was in a creative rut and couldn’t find anything that really excited me. After getting married and having the added pressure of craziness as a corporate peon, I though creativity was a thing of the past. It made me sad, which made me feel useless, which made me sad, which made me feel useless, and so on and so forth.

This week’s journal layout makes me happy! This week’s journal layout makes me happy!

In the past month, I’ve worked on lettering on my iPad and on paper, did some wine & painting events with good friends, started creative planning in a beautiful journal, and have already completed my first artistic journaling notebook. I also enrolled in a Skillcrush career blueprint that will hopefully help me make some money as a side hustle on art and web design/programming/anything while my day job helps keep this roof over my family’s head. I’m feeling better about myself and my life, and I hope my family has felt the effects too. It’s so nice to have a creative outlet again that helps relieve stress and connect me to other people in the world who have the same interests.