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[Toner] – Naruko Calendula Soothing & Calming Toner

Hi peeps, so as per tradition, I am starting off this post with an apology for the long pause. I was in the midst of panicking over an exam in Dec, then Christmas and New Years happened, and after that was some personal stuff that I can’t really talk about, so that’s about my excuses for my disappearance. Again I am so sorry 😣.

On to today’s review though! So, this toner was just something I picked up in Taiwan while walking through a drugstore (like always, I impulse buy!). I actually quite like the Naruko brand (esp their sheet masks), but what really caught my eye was the calendula part. My all time favourite tone has always been the Kiehl’s calendula toner, it just does wonderful things for my skin, but the price tag was a bit too heavy for my wallet so I haven’t repurchased in a long while and have been forever searching for a replacement.

Long story short, this wasn’t it. It was kind of a disappointment. It didn’t do much for me. Although reading the ingredients it does have some good stuff in there, just maybe not enough?

Firstly the texture, it was liquid (obvy) but it has a slight slip to it, kind of feels like dish soap but a much much diluted version. It felt a bit sticky on my face, and I was not a fan.

The ingredient list did not list fragrance but I felt the smell was quite heavy, not that it was a terrible smell, but the scent was heavy.

It did however made my skin looked dewy when I had it on.

And lastly, I was most disappointed with the pH level (looks like a 7). This was after I started looking at pH levels of skin care (specifically cleanser and toner) and realizing how important pH level is in skin care.

Naruko is a Taiwanese brand, and so this was made in Taiwan.

Price wise it was on the cheap side. I cannot recall how much I purchased it for but I believe it was under $10.

In conclusion I will not be purchasing this. I have however found a toner I recall like, but that’s for next time, until then…😃

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Posted by on February 4, 2018 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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[BB Cream] – Bioré Aqua Rich Watery BB 3D Effect

[BB Cream] – Bioré Aqua Rich Watery BB 3D Effect

ok, are you really surprised I have another BB cream review? This one is actually from a while back. So far back in fact, I am almost finished the tube.

Bioré is a brand that is fairly well known in North America as well, but it seems the Asian products are much more interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything Bioré in Canada, which is pretty odd.

Anyways, I first came across this because I was actually looking for the Bioré sunscreen, this was put together with the sunscreen, and I just had to try it out.

The consistency of the product is pretty thin but creamy at the same time. There’s not much coverage, but it evens out skin tone. I personally really like the fact that it’s on the yellow side for its undertone. I think this has to do with it being a Taiwanese product. Most girls in Taiwan have a yellow undertone, whereas Korean girls generally is more on the pink end. The yellow helps neutralize the purplely colours I have on my skin (dark circles/spots, and veins). It brightens the skin ever so slight, and there is absolutely no colour difference.

Colour swatches:

Closer to the wrist, I have it blended out, you can see the ever so slight brightness to the skin.

To conclude…

Properties: it’s been a long while since I purchased this product, I’ve thrown away the packaging and don’t actually know what it claims. But base on the name itself, it’s most likely claiming to be moisturizing and sun protection. I honestly cannot confirm the moisturization property of this product, it makes no difference on my face.

Sun protection: it is labeled SPF 50 PA +++. As always though, I still put another layer of sunscreen under this, just because I wouldn’t have put enough of this to get the full sun protection.

Consistency: very light and watery, easy to blend out

Colour: there’s only one colour with a yellow undertone. It has basically no coverag and simply neutralizes the dark spots, so I suspect this would sit well on darker skin tone girls as well.

Coverage: minimal

Price: I bought this in Taiwan a number of years ago and I honestly don’t remember how much it was, but I can for sure say it’s under $10 for 33g of product. Pretty damn economical.

Made in Taiwan

Overall: I really like this product 4/5. I mean I would like more coverage but it does the job when I don’t feel like a thick layer on my face but still want a put together look. I especially loved this product when I was in the hot summer like weather in Taiwan (mid 30s to low 40s). It stays on the skin pretty well and doesn’t feel heavy, and that’s what’s important.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2017 in All Things Prettified!, Make-up-holic

 

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[Epic Travel] Kenting, Taiwan

 

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Hi peeps! Sorry for being MIA for a few months. It’s been a bit insane at work, and I started a class for work, on top of all that I just moved to our new home too! It’s just been a crazy few months… I think I need a vacation!! Since I can’t really go on any vacations at the moment, I’ll have to settle for reminiscing my past vacations…the destination this time is Kenting.

Kenting is a national park in the county of Pingtung, at the edge of Southern Taiwan. It is known for it’s beautiful beaches, and crazy hot weather! (though Taiwan as a whole is pretty hot anyways).

Due to our big boo boo in planning the begin of this trip (see Hualien, Taiwan) we had to back track from Chayi back to Kaohsiung then take a bus down to Kenting, as our hotels and hostels were all booked. With some connections, I was able to book a resort hotel for Kenting (way to be backpackers!) for cheap. It was the cheapest place we booked for our entire trip, the two nights only cost us $2500NT (around $83CND). Yes for the TWO of us and for TWO nights! And look at the size of that bed!!

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I wasn’t the one that made the actual reservations, so I guess they thought there was going to be 4 of us, but it was just the two of us, so we got, what I can only assume, a king size bed each. The trip to go from Chayi all the way down to Kenting took pretty much the entire day. Plus we woke up at 3am for the Alisan sun rise, we were pooped when we got there. We filled out stomach with mediocre food, showered and went straight to rolling in the king size bed.

Mediocre food from the resort’s restaurant.
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The hotel itself was a bit far off from all the tourist attractions, including the Eluanbi lighthouse and Baishawan beach (literally translated as White Sand Beach). I remember going to both and they were a beaut! But since we were travelling via rail and bus, it wasn’t exactly easy for us to get to these places. We decided when in Rome (resort) do what Romans (resort guests) do! VEG!

The resort itself was quite beautiful, it had a few water pool areas…
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But I think the best part was it’s back yard.
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That’s right! A beach of their own. Except no sand was involved in this one, just full of rocks. I climbed my way up to where the water was and pretty much ruined my flip-flops, but totally worth it!
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Just hanging around on a hammock no big deal
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The water was clear, the smell of the ocean was salty and fresh, I had a hell of a time just sitting in the sun doing absolutely nothing!

My travel buddy however, couldn’t just do nothing, so she went venturing outside the resort and found this little gem. It’s a little organic farm just across from the resort.
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They had a little coffee shop. She came back and got me off the king size bed, saying there’s a great view of the beach from the cafe. I followed her suit. The little coffee shop had the friendliest people. Their drinks were quite pricey, but they explained the money was basically used to sustain the operation of the farm. I ordered a lemon green tea, and was told there were no lemons left by the girl taking my order. The other guy quickly popped his head in and said “I’ll go get some!” before I could say “that’s ok” he shot off towards their lemon tree, and came back with a lemon in hand. 20130312_174758

 

The cafe closed at 6pm, but they let us sat around and waited for the sun set. So in a single day, we saw the sun rise in the mountains, and then saw it set by the beaches. It turned out to be a great day.
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Our next stop…Nantou!

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2014 in Epic Travel, Out of the house

 

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[Epic Travel] – Chayi, Taiwan

20130310_092941Hellos~I think this one post per week thing is getting too much for me to handle, with work now, I prefer to lay around and do nothing on my weekends LOL. I’ll be cutting down to 1 post per 2 weeks and see how that goes.

After my home town Kaohsiung, we headed northwards to my other home town Chayi. This is where my dad is from, and where I spend a lot of my childhood time at, because my grandma still lives here. Chayi is consider a small city, and fairly rural area, in Taiwan anyways. It’s not odd to see fields of rice paddies and farms. 20130310_102922Here is the view from the train.

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Our final destination was not the city of Chayi, but actually the famous Alisan Mountain within the city of Chayi. Obviously, a train would not be able to take us up the mountain. Our original plan was to take a bus, while waiting for the bus, a lady started to hound us about taking a taxi instead. This wasn’t like regular taxi, it’s more of a shuttle van (pictured above). A couple of ladies would walk around the train station and what not, and gather up people who are willing to hop on this ghetto shuttle van, and they fit as many people as they can, each paying a certain amount of money depending on the final destination, and they’ll drive people up the mountain and dropping them off. So we paid about $155NT each, which was about the same price as a bus ride would have cost us. But instead of a bus stop, we get to be dropped off at our hostel.
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Our hostel was about half way up the mountain, and it was cheap, very very cheap. It’s probably a better hostel for people that drives. It was about 1 km away from the closest convenient store.
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View from the hostel. The owner was kind enough to drop us off at the convenient store 1km away, as we were dead hungry after our journey. He told us we can either walk down or call him and have him pick us up. While on the way up, he pointed out some scenic spots that tourist buses would stop at and let passengers take pictures.
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We quickly found food at a restaurant. Chayi is actually famous for their shredded chicken/turkey on rice (火/雞肉飯), but we didn’t find any around this tiny little area, so we opted for fried pork chop on rice.

After getting food in our bellies, and buying stuff for the night from the convenient store, we decided to walk down to our hostel instead of calling the owner, because we wanted to see the scenic spots he pointed out. And just so you don’t think we were being wussy about walking the 1km, thinking there are side walks and all that. Nope.
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Yup! A narrow shoulder lane that we barely fit in, with cars and buses zooming by us. It was a pretty interesting experience. But the view made it worth while.
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Just Miles and Miles of tea fields. Breathing in the clean, crisp mountain air that is almost non-existent in Taiwan. It was just breath taking.

Oh! I forgot to mention Alisan is also famous for it’s tea. Our hostel is actually also a tea shop, and the owner has his own tea field. He told us if we wanted to buy tea the town we were in, Shizhuo (石棹), was the place to buy authentic Alisan tea. Otherwise they’d be selling you Vietnam tea at the price of Alisan tea, which costs about 3 times less.

Our adventure continues the next day, at 3 am in the morning. We asked the hostel owner what was the best way for us to go up to Alisan National Park. He asked us if we wanted to see the famous sun rise, we didn’t mind either way. He suggested another shuttle service that would pick us up at the hostel drove us up to see the sun rise, then down to Alisan National Park. Give us a tour of the park, then a tour of the town of Fenqihu. And at last drop us off at the train station. All for the low price of $1800 NT! What a deal! They even included a ticket for a lunch box at Fenchihu. So we decided to do it this way. We called the number the hostel owner gave us. and quickly arranged the trip. When the getto shuttle bus came to pick us up, there were already a few young people in the shuttle. I suppose that’s their way of making sure they make enough money. 20130311_043744 - Copy (2)

We first got dropped off at a shenmu (神木) or sacred tree. This one was about 2000 years old I believe…
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Then it was the big show! we were lucky enough to have a clear day and able to see the sun come out of the mountain. This is actually the 2nd time I’ve seen the sun rise from Alisan. First time I was very very little, so I don’t remember much. when we got up there, there were already a bunch of people and a bunch of abandoned cars and buses on the side of the road. A guy dressed in aboriginal clothing was standing on top of a step ladder announcing to people where to look, and what to expect.
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And here comes the sun!IMG_3006 - Copy IMG_3017 - Copy

I know for us Canadians, or even North Americans, this isn’t a rare sight, but for the people of Taiwan, where cities are mostly engulfed in pollution, and the people too busy to pay attention to nature, this is a rarity.
IMG_3021 - CopyOur next stop was this “Couple Tree”  When I asked the driver which one was the male, he said, “the one with the extra wood!” I laughed.
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On to our tour of Alisan National Park! Originally the tour guide was going to get us to take a shuttle bus, but we all thought we were going to be taking the famous Alisan train. So after everyone voted for the train, we headed to the train station instead. The tour guide told us to buy a ticket for the sacred tree, as the ticket is much prettier than if we had bought one for the actual stop we were going to. Look at that steam engine!

No doubt, we were pretty disappointed when we found out we weren’t taking the steam engine train. It only runs in certain months, when it’s high season. All well…

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Look at the crazy amount of tourists! And if you were wondering, yes they are pretty much all Mainland China people.
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Here’s a picture I took while we were on the train.
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Walking amongst these trees are what we call “Forest bath” (森林浴) to be bathed in nature. Then I got really annoyed, because tourists were smoking, they were chichatting non-stop, and I couldn’t enjoy nature as much as I would have liked.
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This is one of the oldest sacred trees in the park. I believe it’s 1800 or 1700 years old.
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Here taking a picture from the distance, because I didn’t feel like being squished by tourists is the “Cherry Blossom King” of the park. My friend and I chuckled, because we have bigger cherry blossoms than that on our residential streets back in Canada. But again, you have to think in the mindset of Taiwanese people. Trees are rare, cherry blossoms, that don’t do well in the subtropical temperatures of Taiwan , pretty much only exists on top of mountains.
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Here a tile mural of the famous scenes of Alisan. The steam train, the cherry blossom, the sun rise, the sacred trees…All of it was great, minus the loud disrespectful tourists. 20130311_112130After the tour of the park, we were dropped off at Fenchihu to explore on our own. It’s a tiny tiny area where little eateries and shops selling trinkets are set up through out the streets. It also contains one of the old train stations, that has since stopped running. Suppose they are renovating the train stations so that eventually trains can be connected to the Alisan trains, and people can just ride the train upwards to Alisan, instead of taking the ghetto shuttle bus. That was actually my original plan, until I found out they shut down the trains because of the renos.

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Here’s the lunch box that was included in our touring price.
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A display of the old trains.
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At at the end of the day, we were dropped off by the high speed train station in Chayi. Our next stop: Kenting.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Epic Travel, Out of the house

 

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[Shills] – Black Gel Mask

image My somewhat recent order form Sasa.com included this gel mask. I’ve been wanting to try out these black gel masks for a while. There was another Japanese brand (Hanaka) that was all the rave, but it was a bit too expensive for my blood. So I opted for this Taiwanese brand, Shills, instead. The content is 100g for about $12 on Sasa.com.

The whole idea of this black gel mask is that it removes impurities from the skin. I don’t know how much of that claim holds truth, I mean it’s a gel mask. I think I’d rather trust my pore cleaning to exfoliating cleansers and peel masks. I did hope maybe it just helps draw out the impurities, at which point a good cleanser or peel mask can pull it out, or fully remove it. So I tested it out for a week. I’d put on this mask everyday for a week, then did a peel. I did feel that the peel mask picked up more gunk than usual, which is great.

The texture is gel like (obviously). It does look black in the container.

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But once out of the jar, it’s more clear like with a tint of black.

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This is about as much as I put on my face.
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Once dried it makes the skin look a bit dirty-like. But washes off pretty easily.
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The other thing that these black mask gels claims to do is brightening, and I can actually see this after I wash off the mask. Here’s my hand’s before and after picture. Hopefully, you can kind of tell, in the before section, the skin is a bit more uneven, where as after is brighter and more even. These pictures are taken out doors with natural light. The difference is a lot more obvious in person, the before side was pretty red and the after was even toned.

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I normally use this after shower, and after I splash my face with cold water (to shrink pores), It stays on my face for about 15 to 20 mins, it doesn’t take too long to dry out, then I’d wash it off. The gel mask is gentle  enough to use on a daily basis, and I like the idea that it draws out impurities, and there’s no pain involved when removing. If not for cleaning effect, at the very least it does brighten and even out my skin tone. It also reduces redness when I extract pimples, which is a great plus. I’d give this a 4.5/5, and I would definitely repurchase this. I may even try the Hanaka brand.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in All Things Prettified!, Skin Food

 

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