Thursday, April 23, 2015

What's in my makeup bag! Cosmetics, I'm currently using, April 2015

Hi everyone! I always really enjoy when people post on their blogs or when I watch on YouTube when folks share, what sort of makeup/cosmetics they are using. I haven't done this type a post in forever. So, I thought it would be sort of nice, to just do a post like this. : ) I'm not only going to share what I use, but I'm going to give it, in the order I put my makeup on. Also important to note, I don't wear makeup everyday. If I have an observation day, or am going to Costco or the local grocery store, I will use some makeup. But if I'm going to just be home or cleaning house or prepping for dinner, I won't wear anything but sunscreen.  First thing, I do after I wash my face in the morning, is I prep my skin with a facial moisturizer and then after waiting a couple minutes I put my sunscreen on my face and wait a couple extra minutes. I use the time, by throwing in a load of laundry, or brushing my teeth, combing my hair, cleaning up breakfast mess. You know what I mean. There's lots to do, so, the 2 minutes passes in a snap. : ) So, after my skin is prepped, I put the tiniest dot of my makeup base on. I use Benefit's The Porefessional. I use about a pea amount size or less for my entire face. I just use a tiny dot on my nose and an even smaller dot/amount on each cheek area. I don't really have gigantic pores. But, I want whatever is there, to be invisible. After I put this on, I wait a couple minutes and as I want to wait a few minutes for the Porefessional to set, I do my brows while I wait. 


My second step I do, while I am waiting a few minutes for the Porefessional to set. Is I do my eye brows. If anything needs tweezing, I tweeze. If anything needs trimming, I'll trim. Otherwise, I'll quickly brush through my brows and do a quick coat of the Nature Republic eyebrow mascara, in brunette. I love this eyebrow mascara so much, I reordered it. What makes this eyebrow mascara my favorite is the brush. The brush is so small. Before this, I used Anastasia brow mascara. And while the Anastasia Beverly Hills one is good. I find this one better. The brush is way better and the brunette color from Nature Republic is my favorite and it's only like $5 bucks. So super affordable. My Origins, eyebrow brush I got about a billion years ago and have honestly had this brush for about 15 years. But the quality is so good and I just wash it weekly. My Tweezerman tweezers, are dull and if I lived in the US, I'd send them off to be resharpened. But I might just end up buying a new pair this summer. The eyebrow scissors, I have honestly had since college and I love them, they're just a no brand type scissors. But my favorite eyebrow scissors. I have since bought scissors at Sephora, but I prefer these pictured here. : ) 
Concealer. For my undereyes, I use a liquid. It just looks nicer and is less dry looking for your undereye area. I also only use it in the middle of my undereye to the center of my nose. I don't use eye concealer on the outside part of my under eye. Also, I feel, stick concealers tend to look very drying when used on women over age 35 on their undereye area in my opinion. I do have a stick concealer though that I keep on hand, if I happen to have a pimple or blemish need covering (I don't use it for my undereyes at all). However, I haven't needed the stick one, in like 3 months, so while I have it, it's not used too often (The Sonia Kashuk stick concealer, is very good and very creamy and super good, just not for my undereyes). : ) The Maybelline Age Rewind liquid concealer is cheap as chips and it's much loved by many many big and famous beauty bloggers, for good reason. Like Essie Button and EmilyNoel. Because it's truly THAT good. That liquid concealer is Amazeballs! Hands down best concealer ever ever! Covers up all undereye sins and for super cheap. : ) The stick is Sonia Kashuk (can be found at any Target) : ) 
Next step, is I, line my upper eyelid lash line, with Dolly Wink liquid liner in dark brown. I am seriously considering switching to black though. And I line my lower lash, water line with Nars black eyeliner. 
I use powder foundations and have for 20 years. I like them because they're quick. And my time to spend in the mornings, is usually limited. I have used Studio Fix by Mac the longest. I love it because it is medium to full coverage. Meaning it covers up all the things you want to cover up. If you have ever bought a powder foundation and have been disappointed because the coverage is such crap, that it's like you used a setting powder versus using a powder FOUNDATION. That won't happen with the Studio Fix. It covers. I use it very light handed, I rub my puff in the foundation powder twice at the start and won't dab mine in the powder foundation at all after that, for my entire face, 2 swipes is all. 2 swipes of the foundation is more than enough for my entire face. I am color NC20 and I also have NC15 in winter when I am paler. Tarte powder foundation on the right and Shu Uemura powder foundation on the left. I have been seriously thinking about trying a Korean cushion foundation lately though, so I might try one of those next. I'm considering Hera Or Sulwhasoo brand in the cushion foundation though. But I'm still debating about it though. : ) I'm leaning more towards the Sulwhasoo Everfair though. : )


Okay by now, my eyebrows and liners are done and my face is all even and my foundation is on. If I am just going to go for a walk or go to my local grocery store in my town I will stop there makeup wise and go no further. However, let's just imagine it's observation day for sake of argument. : ) Next steps are color. I do my blush. The blush I use if by The Balm and the color I use is in Frat Boy. 
While I own only 2 palettes, this Urban Decay Naked palette in my most favorite. It definitely lives up to the hype. : ) 
This has all colors a girl could ever want or need. All very natural colors.
These colors in particular are my most favorites.: ) 
Just a very healthy peachy pinky color. It is very pigmented and so I just use a little.
Lips. Lipsticks and lip butters are my weakness. This Benefit and Lesportsac cosmetic pouch, is always found in my bag. : ) It contains just some lip products and some blotting papers.



Two Urban Decay lipsticks, colors are Fiend and Naked. Too Faced Spice Spice Baby. Mac Syrup and Bite brand in Pepper. 

I keep 5 high end brands and 5 low end ones, in my small makeup pouch pictured above. But all are super good. Revlon gloss, Loreal, Revlon Butter lipstick, Dr Pepper Lipsmacker and Rimmel.

Yes, I do favor, the YLBB colors. (Your lips but better colors) to me they just look natural and not so harsh.) Very easy on the eyes. Wearable everyday shades. : )

If, I were forced to pick my top favorite 5. These would be the 5. : ) Colors down below.







The last thing, I do is curl my lashes. Put one coat of mascara on and I'm good to go. Shu Uemura eyelash curler, which I love. And the mascara, is a Korean brand. For mascaras, I really don't care which mascara so much. I like my mascaras cheap though, because I toss mine every 4 months. 
Blotting papers. I'm nearly out of the Face Shop ones, that I bought at Aeon here in Japan. So, I put a pack of Clean & Clear in my little makeup pouch now, just in case. : )

I'm sure every one of us has, their own "Ride or Die" products! These are mine. Meaning I'll purchase this product forever and ever unless it's discontinued. : ) My ride or die product is the liquid concealer. I have 1 empty to the left. One half used in the middle and 1 brand new and unopened waiting to take it's place. That concealer is *that* good, it really really is. And my other ride or die product is the Loreal Glossy Balm in lovely mocha. It's such a pretty color. It's very YLBB. : ) I have this one waiting in line as a replacement already. : ) Those are my only 2 ride or die products, that I can think of. I have purchased about 15 Mac Studio Fix powder foundations though, in all my years. Could even be more. And while I'll keep one here...I am always searching too. For something better. Studio Fix is also, that good...so whatever I find has... big shoes to fill (meaning being compared to my beloved Studio Fix) : ) But I'll keep an eye out, just in case. : )

Yep, told ya, I was a ride or die, Anastasia Beverly Hills eyebrow mascara girl. For years. But sometimes things change. If you don't know this brand. Anastasia, is like the most famous eyebrow waxing genius person ever. There is also an Anastasia Beverly Hills waxing place in Tokyo too. The Kardashians, famous models. All sorts of people go to Anastasia for an eyebrow wax. She has made brow products and sells them at Sephora. And her products are indeed amazing. And deserve the hype. However, her products are also pricey. And however her eyebrow mascara brush is humongous. Since Sephora left Japan ions ago. Whenever I am near a Sephora, I bought these. And I will use these, because I dislike wasting money, so yep, I have been using this. However I find the Nature Republic brow mascara better, the color is perfect (way prettier than the other brand) and the brush is so tiny, it actually is perfect length and width for a human eyebrow. The Anastasia brush size would best fit, Burt and Ernie from Sesame Street. It's seriously just absurdly too big for an eyebrow. But again..I will use them up. I have 2 and a half tubes of this left. But I do now prefer the Nature Republic one.

Brunette. Yep, I am a brunette. And the color is very pretty. However, I just prefer the Nature Republic one, sorry, because the color is just prettier and price is like heaps cheaper. And the brush is way better. 

The product, I keep for days like, graduation ceremony or entrance ceremony is this. It's a Korean BB Cream. By Lioele. This product is like an Instagram filter in a tube! This gives the most flawless face. I'm telling ya, I know I just said it, but it's so true that I have to say it again...it's truly...an Instagram filter in a tube! 

American BB creams are nothing more than just tinted moisturizers, calling themselves BB creams. But they were invented in Korea. And your skin actually looks nicer after using it. It's got SPF, they all seem to be anti wrinkle. @_@ Which is a good thing, I guess. And they all seem to be whitening. 
It actually takes me 20 minutes from start to finish, to put my full makeup on, if I have an observation day or whatnot. And in the end I look as natural as this beautiful lady. I don't want any makeup screaming at people. I just want people to know I'm wearing makeup obviously, but...that I look natural. I'm not a green eye shadow girl or bright color eye shadow girl. Nor am I, a bright red or black color lipstick girl either (nothing wrong with those looks, just not for me though). Just very understated makeup. That's all. : ) Phew. So anyways that's what's in my makeup bag! : ) 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Noah's first observation day, as a brand new 4th grader...

Saturday, April, 18th was observation day at the local elementary school. Noboru sadly couldn't attend, though he really wanted to (he had work). However Branden and I went for Noah. And we got to see Noah's new teacher, pictured here. : ) His hair is a pure dark charcoal gray color, but he has lighter gray around his ear area. He has a full head of hair. He seems around Noboru's age, but could definitely be 5 years older-ish too. So either Noboru's age or perhaps a few years older.  He's not 80 years old or anything like that though. : ) He is married and has 2 kids, 1 of his kids, is a 4th grader at a different school. He seems nice. He says he loves sports and if he didn't want to teach elementary school education (meaning in the classroom) he would have probably been a gym teacher. Because he loves sports that much. Hahaha. But he's a regular teacher though. 

There is Noah in the lime green, long sleeve Tee-shirt. It was a very nice observation day. I enjoyed watching Noah's class Saturday very much. Before the bell rang (class started), the teacher told his students, to use the time wisely, so to read. That's why you see kids in this picture, Noah included reading. : ) After the bell rang though and class had started, the kids did a math game. And after that, their teacher spoke about a gymnast in Japan, who was very good and then he was injured, paralyzed from the neck down. So a quadriplegic. However he learned to paint these beautiful pictures using a paint brush and painting with his mouth. So the teacher asked all his students, to imagine if they had to write with only their mouths. So he asked the class to take out their handkerchiefs and wrap their pencils around it and to write their own names, with their mouth. And he asked us parents (and brother) to go to our child's desk and watch them practice writing with their mouths. So there was Noah writing...Noah, in Japanese with his mouth. And his classmates were meanwhile writing their own names as well. The kids were saying..."this is so hard!!!" "Too difficult"...Noah's best friend went over to Noah's and said to his mother "look mom, Noah's looks so good" Clearly he's such a good friend and biased because he is his best friend, because Noah's looked pretty crazy. : ) But, I made sure to tell his bestie, his looked very good too! : ) Many kids were laughing and parents were too. The writing was pretty hard to figure out, what they were each writing. However they did imagine how hard it was for that gymnast. I did get a chance to chit chat with my friend/fellow mother at the back of the class a bit too. And of course chit chat with Branden as well. : ) It was a pretty nice day.

Since this was the first observation day of the school year (school years here start in April) so that means there are massive amounts of meetings after this specific observation day. First a school wide meeting in the gymnasium. Then we separate by "where you live" for a separate meeting. And then we separate once more, for a class meeting. The first of the school year meeting... is way way longer than any other meeting any time of the year. This particular meeting, lasts forever. This is the day when most kids walk home, because the moms are stuck the the meetings. However keep in mind all the rain we've been having lately. Crazy amounts of rain. Last year I could not avoid this super long meeting because I had to stand at the front..during the 2nd meeting, the "where we live" meeting and say...hello I am fukukaicho this year and any complaints, gripes, worries, fears, or whatnot give them to us. Us reps last year had to do that. And there were actually worries and complaints already last year, for us. The meetings went on *so long* last year, (thank goodness last year Noboru drove the boys home) it was around 5pm-ish. By the time I got home and changed it was near 5:30pm. That was just ridiculous, last year. Considering we were at the school since 12:50pm, yes that is an incredibly long time to be at the school considering Noah's observation day was only a mere hour. The rest was meeting, break into another meeting, into another meeting infinity. And now this year...I am not a rep or PTA or anything. My only responsibilities are to my family and myself (where as last year the responsibilities felt were HUGE and massive) So on Saturday, I went home directly after Noah's observation day. I know this...if there is something *really* super important, you'll get it in a note. Also, somehow in Japan folks feel they can't miss a meeting. But the meetings aren't necessarily mandatory. At least not in my neck of the woods, for our town. So, after observation day, if I can slip away, meaning, make my way down the stairs, manage to slip on my shoes and slip outside relatively undetected. Then I'm Scott free. And I can get on with my Saturday. So that's what I did. Bran and I made our way, down the hill undetected. : ) And as we sat in the car waiting for Noah to walk down the hill to my car. I saw, quite a few handfuls of moms and dads escaping the meetings too! About 30 in total. I saw at least 6 moms from Noah's class alone, slip away, to their cars. I thought..."good for you, I won't tell, if you won't." "I didn't see you, and you didn't see me either." : ) As the years go by, I see people are getting absolutely tired of these lengthy, late afternoon type consuming meetings. And for what it's worth, the meeting last year. Not a single thing of importance was heard that you couldn't have gotten in a short letter. @_@ Just boggles the mind, what a huge waste of our time, if you ask me. And they do send out letters weekly at out school, for anything you need to know. So, yep, this year I am happy I could skip the huge start of the new year meeting. I'll go to the class meeting during the rest of the year, because it's only 20-25 minutes. And is specifically about Noah's class. But the main first start of the year meeting is like overkill, time wise. So anyway...Noah came to the car, only/barely 5 short minutes after we got to the car and after that, we 3 went to the farmer's market to pick up some farm fresh vegetables. And we went home and started on supper. I washed off my makeup once I was home, put on a pair of sweatpants and a comfy long sleeve Tee. And put my hair in the tiniest pony tail you ever did see. : ) And started in on dinner. Attend observation day and support Noah and let him know we will be there for him no matter what!!! Yes, yes yes, I do that for both my kids. Sit in a boring meeting for 2 and a half hours and let my son walk home in the pouring rain. No thanks. I prefer go and get some farm fresh veggies with my kiddos and go home and get dinner started and enjoy what's left of my Saturday. : )  Anyway there you have it...that was Noah's first observation day, as a 4th grader. It was lovely. And the farmer's market after that, was really nice as well. It was nice to go home after that, so we could all relax. And just enjoy Saturday evening. : )

Friday, April 17, 2015

Planting some flowers in my hanging baskets for the front porch. Branden’s observation day and a few other “bits and pieces” and “odds and ends” for good measure...

How is everyone's week been going? Mine has been going fantastic here! Quiet, peaceful not a whole lot going on. And I like that. : )  A couple weeks back, we ordered flowers online and they asked when we'd like them delivered. We picked this week, only because it has so cold and so we wanted to wait a week later. Last week was freezing and a cold snap could possibly kill the flowers, so we figured better in their care and in a nice warm greenhouse. And so that's why we waited for delivery until this week. This week has been warmer than last week. However it has been raining pretty much every day for a good week or two. Sure we get 1 sunny day out of the week. but, it's been pretty rainy lately. : ) Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day this week that wasn't raining like crazy. So the perfect morning and time to plant these into my hanging baskets that go on the front porch. So a peaceful morning yesterday, an hour spent transplanting these into the hanging baskets. And now these are hanging in the baskets on the front porch. They're still baby flowers still, so you can't see the pretty red flowers from the street just yet, but in a months time, they'll be gorgeous. : ) We order the same flowers every year, from the same grandpa and grandma online (flower farm) that has an online shop. : ) So yesterday morning, had me with a nice cup of coffee, outside on the back patio with a bag of soil and nutrients and a spade and it was a nice morning out there. I had Branden's observation day yesterday afternoon. Registration for observation was to start at 12:50pm. And after the observation day part. This was a "go to the last class only" type of observation day. And after that was a huge PTA meeting and after that was the class meeting. Noboru and I went to Branden's observation day together because he happened to be off from work yesterday. So that was nice, that he could come. : ) I had brought my camera and I usually always take a couple pics of the classroom to share with you all. What a Japanese JHS looks like, I know many of you are overseas and are curious. And I did bring my old camera with me and packed it into my bag. And would you believe! I completely and totally forgot to take 1 single picture yesterday! I am so sad I didn't take a picture. Because while Noah has many observation days, 1 each season (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) Branden has only like 1 or 2 a year tops. And so, I lost my 1 great big chance. : ( Bummer! I could make excuses, but I honestly don't have any. At our local JHS. Only 7th graders... classrooms are on the first floor, only 8th graders classes are on the 2nd floor and only 9th graders classes are on the 3rd and final floor. So, it was my first time going up the stairs. They were bright green. Pool table green, stairs. @_@ And just such a different school environment. And then when I got to the 2nd floor, some boy was strangling some other boy against the wall. And I was all shocked. Like..."ahh look Noboru, that kids strangling that other kid?" Again so, of course my mind was on that poor kid. Not thinking about my camera at all. And of course the class kids are all mixed up. And all the while as I walk down the hall, kids are greeting me with..."hello, hello!!!" Should I use Japanese, or English? Since they prefer use their English on me, I use it too. So, I warmly greet the kids back.."hello, how are you?"..."hi, hello" Kids whispering..."Branden's mom" LOL. So, lots of things going on, just getting down the hall and making myself to the classroom. When I entered, the class...the kids who used to go to "the other" elementary school. The kids who have not gotten used to me, by seeing me for 6 solid years in a row, you know, like the kids at our elementary school have. So, these new kids are just gobsmacked and turning around. 3 kids in Branden's row, turned and stared. The girls were giggling and said "hello." The boy (a really teeny tiny short kiddo) just stared with eyes as big as plates like this. @-@ Branden meanwhile is sitting last row most left and sitting next to the prez's son (last years fuku kaicho son) he knows me super well obviously. : ) And all other kids know me, so it's no big deal (thank the lord) but the other kids from the other school are just gobsmacked beyond belief.  Oh yeah, and I wasn't going to share "the rumor." but I'll share. The rumor floating around about me all last year. Branden's 7th grade year (last year) apparently the kids from "the other school"...the kids and their parents for whatever reason think. Branden's mom is British. @-@ Sorry, but I'm American. So all last year apparently all the kids and their parents were all in a hush secret squirrel, sort of way..."psst psst you know that hafu boy Branden....well Branden's mom she's from the UK." And I guess all the parents and kids from our elementary were like..."no she's not!!! She's American." @_@ Yep all last year, the 7th graders and parents, were really deeply debating about it, how weird. LOL.  So anyways... the kids who had not seen me for the last year, who also went to "the other" elementary school are the surprised ones, the kids however, who went to the other elementary but have seen me during the past year (were in Bran's class last year) are for the most part over it and fine. So the new to us/me kids, were like staring for the entire 5 minute break between class yesterday. @_@ I can do 1 of 2 things. Take it really negatively. And give off unfriendly vibes (which is just, not me at all). Or, I can take it the best way I can muster....and just be very nice, smiley (not overly creepy serial killer.. type smiley, ykwim) But yeah nice...look friendly. So with the 3 shocked kids in Branden's row, I just smiled and greeted them. In Japanese and English. The boy in the row next to Bran, he also went to "the other" elementary school but he has seen me for this whole past year already so he wasn't so shocked, which was very nice. But yep, a few misc kids will be working hard to get over their shock this year. LOL. @_@  I chatted with Branden a bit in English. And then I chit chatted with the prez's son in Japanese about the charms on his pencil case. The 3 surprised kids listened to me and the prez's son speaking in Japanese. @_@  The kids all broke up in groups of 6 and worked on a fun lesson. They were all trying to solve some riddle with a map. And all groups of kids were working hard at it. And of those 6 kids total in Bran's group, 3 of the kids were from 'the other" school. 1 had got used to me since last year though. but the 2 girls, were a bit weary of me at first, but they were smiling and we were laughing by the time the class was over. So, they're getting over it. I hope. : ) After the class ended, I had to leave to pick up Noah. Noboru meanwhile stayed for the school PTA meeting and the class meeting. It is sometimes hard when folks are not used to you/me yet, especially with living in a town with less than 5,000 people total and me being the only western woman in my entire town. : ( I don't have all the answers. But I just try to do the best I can. I try to look friendly and be nice. I do regret not taking pics. But, just so much going on, I completely forgot. I have Noah's observation day tomorrow (Saturday) and all those kids are used to me already. Which is nice that I can go to observation day tomorrow and just be a mom. Not a mom from another planet/outer space. Simply just be a mom. : ) 
The kids have been needing packed lunches a bit lately. The lunch ladies make lunch for our elementary school and the local JHS. Not sure about the other elementary school, distance wise it's pretty far, so am not sure. However when the JHS has something (like 2 bukatsu are away performing at 2 different schools so they just cancel all lunch for the JHS, which does affect Noah's school lunch too, for whatever reason, perhaps in bigger cities huge factories or staff make the lunches but in our town just a handful of mom's who part time work... make the lunches) And it seems Noah's school lunch is also affecting Bran's school too so it seems to be running vice versa a lot lately. So, once, last week I made them this quick lunch, for Branden and Noah. Beef hot dogs fried in a pan, I love fried hot dogs. And some mac and cheese and some fresh pineapple. Yes it's not a pretty obento/lunch. But it was a delicious and yummy lunch nonetheless. : ) The boys loved it. : )

Yesterday for example, the kids from both our schools also needed lunches. Again is it because the JHS having observation day, somehow affected the elementary school? Again, I'm not sure. So, this time I made karaage obento, with rice, broccoli, 2 fries and some sliced apple and 1 Nutterbutter each. We haven't had karaage in forever, so it was nice to have it for dinner the night before. And the boys karaage, I just fried up fresh yesterday morning. : ) And since tomorrow is Saturday and Noah has school, Noah will need a packed lunch from home...to take to school tomorrow too. : ) 

Anything else to add? Well, my nephew turns 1 year old this month! And I asked my SIL, what she would like for his birthday present. I just prefer ask, because I don't really want to be the person who buys the gift that disappointed someone. I just prefer be really frank about it. Hey, anything you'd like for little K for his birthday. And she's a very conservative person and she thought about it for a day. This is Noboru's brothers wife. And she's quite possibly the sweetest person ever lived. So anyways she sent a picture/link of the exact set of Lego, she'd love for him to have. And I said, done and done. And so, I went onto Amazon Japan a week ago and they have been sitting at my house all this week. His birthday isn't until the end of the month. : ) This way, I know she's going to love the gift. And that's really all, I want, is for them to be happy. : )  What else. I have been using the Kiehl's vitamin C serum and loving it. And I'm really loving my skin a lot lately. It is so clear and I'm going to feel like a nerd for saying this, but my skin glows. It looks so healthy. So, like I said before, the lady who says she uses vitamin c, uses 20% vitamin c. And I started with 10.5% and my skin loves it and I think I'd like to try a 20% too. So, I went online to research a good brand. The Cellex-C is $200 US. Absolutely too expensive. I would not even think about buying 1 product that cost that much. Insane. However, on 3 blogs that I frequently read (beauty blogs from super cool Asian American ladies), they all seem to use this Korean brand one. One lady showed a close up of her skin and OMG. Like perfection, flawless skin with no pores or anything. The price was my #1 reason for ordering. And the reviews was the other major reason for ordering. On Wishtrend this bottle is $29 US. But on Korea Depart, which I order from them about twice a year, anyway and love their website and service. Their prices were just way better. You get the prices as close to...as if you were in Korea and buying them yourself. So no inflated price tag. And they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale as pictured. So, I went for it. If you are into skincare at all, you'll appreciate this info and if you're not into skincare, no worries truly..skip this pic and the one below and info under both pics) Especially if you're into preventative anti aging at all. Watch a YouTube video...search for/key words are...Korean dupes. And it will pop up. And this will be on that video as well as a product for the SK2 and a few other products. That video was a gold mine for me ( I'd like to keep my skin looking exactly as is... for as long as I can). I ordered 2 products because of that video and a lot of heavy research afterwards checking reviews of the products I was interested in...Korean Dupes, the video was so helpful for me personally. 

For $22.96 US. I got 2 bottles of the serum, which I will now keep in my fridge, whenever they arrive (the beauty bloggers I read say it lasts longer for the vitamin c). And 1 tub of the vitamin C cream all 3 for $23 US. Versus at Wishtrend it's 1 bottle only for $29 US. Again, I'm not suggesting people what to buy at all. However this is my blog and it chronicles my life and what I'm personally up to. Perhaps someone researching vitamin c, will stumble across this and be happy to now know of a cheaper brand...but so good it's practically a cult status product, the one in this picture. And, so this week, I researched a lot in my free time and I made an order from Korea Depart. I purchased this set, I felt the value was just too good to pass up. Especially considering that Cellex C is $200 US. No thanks, I prefer get 3 products for $23 US, that are just as good if not better. I also ordered the dupe for the SK2, that is actually better since it contains niacinamide (that's the number one ingredient hot and flashy and everyone says to use if you are on a preventative ant aging journey) and the real Sk2 toner/essence doesn't contain niacinamide at all. While the Missha dupe for the Sk2, it's a bazillion times cheaper and stuff, with better ingredients like niacinamide. I also purchased some Nature Republic eyebrow mascara and some Innisfree olive oil cleansing wipes (I double cleanse my face, on days I wear makeup and these will be perfect for when we travel). Not a gigantic order, but an order I am now checking my mailbox daily for. : ) And for what it's worth, the Olay products, I purchased in Guam, that I love, all contain Niacinamide too (again before I buy something, I research the crap out of it) I was partially interested in trying out the CeraVe PM moisturizer only because hot and flashy uses it and says niacinamide is in there. But, a few people at drugstore.com said the CeraVe PM lotion made their face itch (granted I know you can't please them all, but while I was in Guam, I only wanted 1 moisturizer and so I felt safer buying the Olay one, since they didn't have any negative itchy comments). Which is why I am using the Olay instead. I may try the CeraVe PM lotion someday, because it does have good reviews everywhere else online, but I'm so happy with the Olay though. But I'm now only looking for products that contain useful and helpful ingredients. I'm looking for vitamin c, other things I look for niacinamide. I am using Vitamin A already (retin- A) which boosts collagen etc. Hot and flashy says retin-a is the gold standard product in preventative anti aging. So, I'm glad I have tons of tubes of that (from Bangkok still) Though Noboru has checked online and says retin-a can be bought online in Japan, (from overseas) for like 1800 yen a tube ($18US). Without a prescription. The year 2015 for me, means taking better care of myself and also taking excellent care of my skin. It's the only skin we'll ever have, so I need to protect and be kind to mine. : )  Anyway enough skincare talk....

Since, we were at the school for a good chunk of the day yesterday afternoon and the morning I was outside planting flowers in my hanging baskets. Anyway I mentioned to Noboru since we'd be away yesterday for most of the day, an easy dinner would be best. So we 4 had the huge party size Lasagna from Stouffers for supper last night. As soon as I brought both boys home from school yesterday, I threw the lasagna in the oven. Cooked for an hour and 40 minutes. I also made garlic bread. Just out of some bakery bread I had here at home, with the Lawry's garlic spread. Not a very pretty picture, sorry about that. But it was a very good dinner last night. It is such a huge size lasagna that it filled all of us up, very nicely.

Today is Friday, and for dinner tonight, we are having homemade pizza from scratch, in fact the pizza dough is rising in the kitchen, as we speak. Noboru and I switched cars/vehicles today. Because Noah needed to bring his bicycle to school today. It was bike safety day for the 4th graders. All 4th graders who own a bike were asked to bring theirs to school. I really don't want to throw Noah's bike in Olive at all. However the mini minivan has a huge trunk area, and so last night Noboru loaded up Noah's bike in the minivan. And this morning, I dropped both boys at the plaza, driving the mini minivan and Noah walked his bicycle up the hill to school. Unless you live super far away, kids are not authorized to bike to school and insurance wise the school wouldn't allow it. Meanwhile they asked all kids to bring their bikes to school today. Sorta a catch 22 really, isn't it, You can't ride it to school, but please bring it to school. So insurance wise Noah can't ride it to school. And same with the other 4th graders unless they live bordering the other elementary school. Very far away. I think our elementary school only has 4 kids who are actually authorized to bike to school because of the great distance they live from the school. So Noah has to walk his bike up to the school. Walking your bike is allowed, but riding your bike is not allowed. @_@ Again, I don't make the rules... I only follow the rules. So, I watched as Noah walked his yellow bike up the hill with his caramel brown randoseru on his back. @_@  I will be there this afternoon picking up Bran, Noah and 1 yellow bike. : )  And tomorrow, we have observation day for Noah in the afternoon. and I need to pack another lunch tomorrow. Noboru can't attend Noah's observation day tomorrow unfortunately but Branden and I will both be there for support of Noah and to enjoy observing his class. : ) Usually in Japan, if you go to school on a Saturday, you are off school that Monday. However Noah has school this Monday, to make up for it, though, they are giving him off the following Monday instead. @_@  Hahaha. Yes it's marked on the calendar, because I don't want to make a mistake and send him to school on a day he doesn't need to be there and vice versa, keep him home this Monday when he actually has school. : )  I have it all sorted out, already thankfully and just in case, I wrote it on the calendar. Have a lovely weekend everyone. : )

Monday, April 13, 2015

My hair salon appointment last Thursday. Good eats. The movie, Unbroken. The 20/20 Barbara Walters special with Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau, so interesting. And a few other things for good measure...

Hi you guys. : ) Do you remember how I said that, I wanted to go and get my hair dyed/colored before I have observation day, right. And I have observation day this week, April 16th and on the 18th. Oh yeah and you know how, I have that card for 5 hair colorings, right. So, anyways, I decided since last Thursday and Friday was pretty free for me. I would make an appointment on one of those days. So, last Wednesday, I called and made an appointment and my appointment was for the next day. So, long story short, last Thursday,April 9th at 11am, was my appointment. I left my house around 10:20am. Drove myself Thursday morning to the small city nearest us, where my hair salon is located. I arrived around 10:40am-ish. Walked around the mall a bit, to kill a bit of time and around 10:50am, I went to the salon, gave them my members card and hair color card. I brought these magazines with me. I forgot to picture them in the Guam post, but I did bring these 3 back from Guam. I read the front magazine on the left about Bruce's Journey, how he told his kids. I personally feel, if this will make him happy, more power to him, having watched Keeping up with the Kardashians, he honestly seems like a genuinely nice guy. So yeah, if this next step in his life, makes him happy. Go for it. : ) Anyway, my stylist and I went through all the hair colors and I picked a nice chocolaty brown color, that picks up a lot of copper, when the sun hits it. It's a very pretty color and I am pretty happy with it. It was nice to just relax in the salon chair for an hour and have her color my hair, after that they washed my hair, gave me a deep conditioning treatment. Oh, although I did not get a haircut this time, however...since she does do everything for my hair...meaning she colors it, straightens it, and now colors it, hahaha. She whipped out her scissors and just made my A-line lob cut, a bit cleaner and sharp. And I didn't even pay for a cut. But she sees me for absolutely everything... hair related and I thought that was quite cool of her. Where was, I. Oh yes, she deep conditioned my hair, she massaged my neck and shoulders and temples. I mean..I felt fantastic spending an hour to an hour and a half there. She then blow dried my hair, and styled it. I felt really great leaving the salon, with such a nice new hair color and the blow-out and flat iron, styling she did too. And the price? Nothing! She did sign her initials and wrote the date on the 1st hair color square on my card though. It was a very nice afternoon spent at the salon, got to catch up with some Hollywood gossip magazines. chit chat with my stylist too. And then I left. And didn't pay a thing and tips here in Japan, aren't allowed. So yep, a pretty nice day at the salon. : ) After that, I zipped to the cheap meat store, which is in the same mall and bought a weeks worth of meat and then to the bakery (same mall) for some fresh bread. And I went home. I did buy a roasted sweet potato and that was my lunch last Thursday afternoon, along with a 500ml of jasmine tea also bought at the store. I was a tad thirsty. Went home and made dinner. : ) So, I am so ready for my observation days now. My hair looks fantastic now and the credit goes all to my hair stylist. : ) 
Last Friday, I finished cleaning the house. And about an hour before I went to pick up the boys from school. I boiled 1 package of frozen ravioli. Al dente. And then I layered, sauce, ravioli, mozzarella cheese and then sauce and I layered it 3 times, from 1 bag. On top, was sauce and then mozzarella cheese. I did not whack it in the oven though. I did wrap it in tin foil though. After wrapping that nights dinner in tin foil, I left and went to my nearest grocery store in my town, bought 2 pre mixed bag salads (needed the other one for the next day/night), also picked up a carton of milk, some fresh fruit, and a baguette of bread. A really long baguette of bread, at that. Picked up the boys from the plaza, with grocery items in my trunk. They hopped in my car and home we went. While they were changing, I preheated the oven, then I whacked the layered ravioli in the oven. I only used half of the baguette for Friday nights supper. And we used 1 of the bags of salad. So last Friday night, we had this, baked ravioli, a nice salad with a nice vinaigrette and a half loaf of baguette bread, that I turned into garlic bread with that Lawry's spread. It was a quick but delicious (last) Friday night dinner. After supper, Noah showered while I cleaned up the kitchen and we got ready for family movie night. 

Branden has been dying to see this movie. And Noah too, but Branden the most. Both the boys have seen Pearl Harbor and Come See the Paradise. They enjoy seeing historic movies like this. War is a horrible horrible thing. But there are so many good movies out there, that can tell the stories, very human stories. Both sides did some pretty horrific things. I like that the boys have seen Come See The paradise, to see how wrong America was, to intern the Japanese. And I like that they got the chance to see this movie. Spoiler ahead. Why did that Japanese guard (The Bird) single out the main character in Unbroken. Out of all the guys in the camp in Japan, just him. Yet he singled him out and made his life a living hell. Again, interesting stories that go both ways. And for Branden and Noah, especially, being half American and half Japanese, it is good they hear both sides. This was an excellent movie. Though not a movie for all families perhaps, but it was a perfect choice for my family. My entire family really enjoyed it and I am so glad, I own this. We munched some popcorn and had some Easter candy/chocolate while watching this movie. After the movie, we made sure everyone went and brushed their teeth and the boys went to their bedrooms to dreamland. Usually Noah zonks out mid movie, but we saw the movie so much earlier than we usually start the movie. Also the movie was very interesting to both the boys, so they both stayed totally awake.

Saturday, we spent just a quiet day here at home. Saturday evening though, we had a simple dinner. Remember those Knorr pasta packets? Well, first I sliced up 2 skinless boneless chicken breast with a little olive oil. Once the chicken was browned, I made the pasta as directed on the package. With the chicken in the pan. It was a fettuccini Alfredo type of pasta. Really good. And at the end I added a handful of frozen broccoli for some veggie power! Hahaha. We also had the other half of that baguette. We sliced it and buttered it. And we had the remaining bag of salad. We had salads, with thousand island dressing, sliced buttered french bread/Italian type baguette of bread, ykwim, I hope and the fettuccini Alfredo with chicken and broccoli dish. : ) Again it was a very simple dinner but very good! Salad, and bread with butter and a main dish. Dinner clean up was pretty easy. Everyone took quick showers. And I was ready, to watch my TV program! Because at 9pm Saturday Japan time, a 20/20 Barbara Walters interview was supposed to be on and since it was already broadcast in the US mainland already, I heard already about it on the news and I wanted to watch the whole interview in it's entirety. 

Anyone remember this picture? Anyone remember their names? I do! That's Mary Kay Letourneau!!! If you are American, I am sure you know exactly who they are! Now days, sadly, there are so many news stories about a teacher caught having inappropriate relations with students. But back then, there were no stories. Until their story! And when this story first broke... it captivated the entire country. Everyone in America knew who Mary Kay Letourneau was and who Vili Fualaau her student was (a Samoan 6th grader whose family came from Hawaii) This was the first case. Gosh...I remember it like it was yesterday. What I remember was... she was 34 years old. She was married and had 4 kids. Then this news broke. Some teacher had an affair with her student. A 6th grader. @_@ A 6th grader, the mind just couldn't comprehend such a news story. She and her husband divorced. The thing that really surprised the public was she kept telling anyone who would listen..."we are in love"...his mom sued the school. I believe hearing that the school was found not guilty. And then I recall Mary Kay going to court and getting like 10 years but suspended as long as she stayed away from Vili. However, cops found them having sex in her vehicle. Holy crap! And she was right back again... in front of the same judge. And the original sentence was imposed so she went and did 7 years in prison. Their case was famous. She was infamous. Everyone knew that picture of them. I do recall she had his baby, then she gave birth to a 2nd child. Both daughters/girls. But up until now, I have long forgotten them, most of the media has too. They for the most part stay out of the limelight. So, when I heard all this week, they were going to do a Barbara Walters interview. I was like...OMG...I remember those two people! Yes, whatever happened to them??? I wonder, hmm. And so, I wrote it down on a post it and reminded myself to watch it on Saturday night. And so, I did. 
This is them now! Mary Kay is 53 years old. Vili Fualaau is 31. And they have been married for 10 long years. Their daughters are gorgeous and 17 and 16 years old right now. One is a cheerleader in high school. Their daughters are actually really beautiful and seem very well rounded. I am so glad I got the chance to watch this though. Mary Kay looks fantastic for being 53 years old. She looks so youthful, pretty and in shape. I have however never heard from Vili, what does his voice sound like. I have never before heard his voice. So, yeah it was very nice to hear from him and hear what he had to say. Hear his thoughts. They still live in Washington State, same area where it happened all those years ago. Her 2 daughters with Vili go to school in the same school district where she once taught at. On a serious note Vili spoke of a lot of depression he went through years ago. It was also mentioned he never got to finish high school. Since he was a teen dad and Mary was in prison. Today, he works at a DIY type a store during the day and DJs at night. I think the thing...that most struck me, was how normal of a couple they were. To be honest, all those years ago. I thought this lady was nuts...cuckoo crazy, a child predator. A 34 year old going after a 6th grade child. It's just how I felt. But you know...after watching their interview. I can't believe I'm even saying this...because of all people... I thought I would never change my opinion on her...but, yeah...I sorta did. After hearing them talk, it seems he pursued her pretty hard back in the day, it wasn't her pursuing him at first. And hearing them from right now...from 2015...they really seem to love one another. They have lasted longer than a lot of marriages and couples do now days. Perhaps the way they got together was...weird. Okay super freaking weird. @_@ But you know...maybe they were meant to be. Who knows. I don't know. 

Barbara Walters asked Vili, happily married for 10 years? He answered without missing a beat.."happy yes, but every marriage has ups and downs." I listened and I thought...he's absolutely right. I'm not going to over talk this interview here to death. But yep...they seemed really in love. But really grounded too. Really down to earth. They did talk about the hard times. The dark times. His depression when she was in jail and he said he had absolutely no one. He said he can't even believe he's alive, because his depression sunk so low. And he said...he needed Mary. Hearing that...sorta really changed my opinion. Because he had nobody to talk to. Nobody to depend on or parent with. It made me pause....it did. It made me think. Hmm. Maybe she's not as big a whackadoodle, as I once thought. Maybe they were just in love. again, can't believe I think that now. Weird, because I thought totally the opposite, before watching the interview. Who knows.... I don't know... I mean..if a man can brush his teeth in the middle of a parking lot without a place to spit or rinse his mouth. Go figure. Granted would I want her near my 2 boys? Hell no! : ) But...you know, Mary Kay and Vili seem happy. 

Their wedding pics from way back then. Anyway...glad I caught the interview. Now, I know...what became of the infamous, Mary Kay and her former student Vili Fualaau. I tell ya, absolutely nothing surprises me anymore! Hahaha. 

It's been raining almost every single day for the past week. Even today/right now it's still raining, in our tiny rural town, and has been all day long. However on Sunday (yesterday), it was not raining. So, I took advantage of the 1 non rainy day and hung some laundry to dry outside. While I do like hanging my laundry outside on nice sunny days. On days that it is rainy, I simply make use of my dryer. I have a separate dryer and use mine every evening, on a load of clothes or towels or whatnot. And on rainy days, I'll also pop a load in the mornings as well. But since Sunday was a nice sunny day, I hung the laundry outside. : ) Also, since I am in "spring cleaning" mode too, I took the curtain that usually hangs in the sink and laundry room upstairs. And I washed the curtain. And then hung it outside to line dry. Meanwhile, I took the pole, pictured here, and scrubbed it with a sponge and some soap and water, then dried it with a paper towel.  

One curtain hanging far right, nice and freshly clean. A couple dress shirts Bran uses at his JHS. And Bran's JHS gym uniform, shorts and gym pants and gym zip up long sleeve sweatshirt type a thing. You can see, in the background... it is indeed starting to look Spring like. And water is in lots of the rice fields now. Probably because of the heavy rains.

Towels freshly clean. And the stripey thing, to the right is the floor mat we wipe out footsies on, after we shower. : )  Good thing, I washed the curtain yesterday, because not only did it rain all day today, but rain is expected for our town tomorrow too.  Anything up for me this week? I'm happy to say, I'm free. : ) Besides some house cleaning here and there and dinner and whatnot. Grocery run and stuff. Totally and completely free. : ) Oh yeah, I do have Bran's observation day first and Noah's this coming Saturday. But other than that. Just enjoying all these Spring showers, that we've been getting lately. Have a lovely week everyone. : )

Oh guess what, Branden's two 8th grade classes mixed students all up, this year. Our town is so tiny that there are only two 8th grade classes and that's out of two different shogakkos (elementary schools combined) And so Branden's main teacher is now the Japanese lady who is the English teacher, she is his main teacher for the whole year now. I really like Branden's teacher a whole lot. And also good thing, is my good friend, the last year kaicho...her son, is in Bran's class this year. So, I will be enjoying observation day this coming Thursday with my dear friend, the former Kodomo Kai kaicho (the former kids club prez) So us 2 moms will be able to hang out during observation days, now. : )  Oh and Noah has a new teacher too. A male teacher! Noah's first time having a guy/man teacher! We asked Noah if he was young or old and Noah replied, "he's about daddy's age." That's all we know so far, we have not seen him yet. But we'll see him on Saturday. :)  Alrighty, have a fantastic week you guys! : )