Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas FOTD - Sugar Plum Fairy

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and wishing you all a Happy New Year :)
I did this look for xmas dinner at our house. Not too different from my usual smoky eye, just added a berry-hued blush and lipstick and metallic brownbone highlight, which made me think of "Sugar Plum Fairy"

(please ignore messy background and awkward hand poses lol idk what to do with myself sometimes) 



Face

  • Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer 
  • Neutrogena Shine Control Primer
  • Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Concealer in Almond
  • Revlon Color Stay Whipped Creme Foundation in Nude
  • ELF Studio Blush in Berry Merry
  • ELF Studio Blush in Gotta Glow

Eyes

  • Brows: Maybelline Brow Pencil in Blonde, NYX Eyebrow Marker in Medium
  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Yogurt -- Highlight
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Shakedown -- Lid
  • Bronze from Stila Eye For Color Palette -- Crease
  • Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow in Trashed -- Outer-V
  • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cottage Cheese -- Inner corners/below lower lash line
  • Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Black
  • NYX Lashes - Review

Lips

  • NYX Lipliner in Nude
  • Maybelline Baby Lips in Grape Vine
  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Violet Frenzy

 I am currently on the hunt for the perfect purple lipstick. I saw Revlon's Violet Frenzy at Long's and decided to pick it up since it looked bright and purple! However, as seen in the pictures, it's much more magenta/fuchsia than purple. I think I'll try Va Va Violet next :) If anyone has recommendations for good drugstore purple lipsticks, please share!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Review: Whipped Cream Silicone from Sophie & Toffee




Price: SGD 12.25 (approx $9.77 USD) 

Availability: buy here

How to use: Cut open the tip of the pack and squeeze all of the silicone into a prepared pastry bag with piping tip attached. It helps to push all the silicone to the tip of the pack BEFORE cutting it open. Then as you squeeze it into the pastry bag, tightly roll the pack from the top down to get as much as you can out of it.

I was so excited to receive this new silicone from S&T to try out! This special silicone is imported from Japan.

⭐ Single-use 60ml, no need for storing
⭐ Enough to make 1 iPhone 4/4s case
⭐ Smell isn’t too strong
⭐ Not sticky or stringy
⭐ Not hard to squeeze out
⭐ Holds the shape well
⭐ Glossy shiny finish
⭐ Dries flexible in 4 hours
⭐ Lightweight, doesn’t make your phone super heavy
⭐ Comes w/ 2 free piping bags

Sophie & Toffee also offers a variety of piping tips! To make this case, I used the 6-point star tip in the top left-hand corner of the 2nd picture. You can get this set of 8 piping tips from S&T here for approximately $2.77usd.

Thoughts: 

I personally am not a fan of GE Silicone II (although a lot of people use it), I do not like how stringy, sticky, messy, and smelly it is. Using GE as a base to compare this to, this Japanese silicone is nowhere near as sticky, it was easy to clean up just by wiping it off my fingers with paper towel. It was not hard to pipe because it wasn’t “stringy” like how GE is. It holds the shape definition of the shells nicely. It dries within 4 hours and has a squishy texture, and is shiny. It is also lightweight which is a plus because most silicone combined with cabs tends to add a noticeable amount of weight to your phone. It has a very strong bond to the cabochons, and is secure and durable, even when I tried gently pulling on the cabs, they didn’t budge.

Initially when I was piping the case, I didn’t notice a strong smell like how GE has. However I should note afterwards, I did notice it has a strong “rubbery” smell up close when it had cured (it is not a “vinegary” smell like some silicones have). So I suggest letting it sit in front of a fan or open window for a few days and the smell will dissipate :)

Overall I would definitely recommend this silicone specifically to hobbyists looking to make cases for themselves! It is convenient because 1 packet is just enough to make one case, so you don’t have to worry about having too much left over, or having to store it and it drying out. It is easy to use for beginners and experts alike.

Have you tried this silicone? What are your thoughts on it?
 I will be doing a giveaway with the case I made with this silicone, so stay tuned for details :)

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Abuse is not a contest!

I came across this article the other day. I would be lying if I said it made me a little upset. It made me OUTRAGED.

You may have heard of the "Puppy Doe" case, about a pitbull mix puppy that was found last summer, so severely beaten and emaciated that she could not be saved and had to be put to sleep. The abuser has since been convicted and charged, and there was a huge outpouring of support over this case.



The aforementioned article has expressed the absolute WORST opinions you ever could about this heart-wrenching issue of animal abuse. I struggle to even comprehend how the author has justified her reasoning...

A quote from the article:
"I understand the public disgust about the torture of creatures that are helpless and defenseless.  What I don’t get is why abuse and torture of human innocents rarely generates the same grass roots anger and outrage. And I don’t understand why an abused dog will always unite communities in sympathy."
ARE YOU SERIOUS, LADY??? REALLY???

Abuse is not a contest! Be it animal or human, she should blame the MEDIA for what gets covered, NOT the innocents who were victims of abuse! How can you even insinuate that just because the Puppy Doe case garnered a lot of support, that that means abused animals ALWAYS get more attention than abused humans? "What I don’t get is why abuse and torture of human innocents rarely generates the same grass roots anger and outrage." -- Have you watched or read the news, EVER???

Animals have no voice to speak up for themselves. People do. EVERY case of abuse deserves justice and attention. We are their only hope when atrocities like this happen, that are SO terrible, they must be made known. If this person wasn't caught, they could have moved on to harming humans!

I was honestly so sickened by her commentary on the case and was happy to see many commentors agreeing. She deserves every bit of backlash she gets for this poorly thought-out article.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Why Etsy are the Nazis of the Handmade World

What do you associate the word "Etsy" with?
Surely not "Egotistical," "Erroneous," "Evil"...?

I have been a shopper on Etsy since 2005, and a seller since the begging of 2012. When I joined, Etsy WAS a haven for all things handmade; a welcome place for small business owners, crafters, and artisans. NOW, it is a resellers paradise run by evil dictators (I bet). Don't get me wrong, I still sell a few things on Etsy, and I still buy from there... but I honestly hate myself a little (a lot) for it. My distaste for Etsy didn't develop overnight. They have been wronging myself and countless other sellers for years, while taking no accountability for their actions. 

These are the main reasons why I have lost all faith in Etsy as a selling platform for handmade goods: 

Reason #1:

Too many fees for the lack of features and support they offer; especially seller protection.

You still have to pay 20 cents to list an item, Etsy takes 3.5% of your sale, and don't forget credit card processing fees and Paypal fees. Also, if you buy shipping labels through Etsy, they don't charge you at point of purchase, they add it to your bill. So at the end of the beginning of the month, a hefty chunk is seized from your bank account due to all of these fees piling up until then. In a normal month, I'd make upwards of $100, and was getting billed for nearly $50 worth of fees. This is mainly due to the shipping labels, but this is a huge annoyance to me. I'd much rather have the money taken out when I buy the label, not in one huge, inconvenient bill.

So, I wonder what Etsy really does with all this fee money they collect from us? Because they sure as hell don't put it into developing better support and features for sellers. People have been clamoring for useful new features for the longest time, yet whenever Etsy implements something new, it's unnecessary AND unwanted (i.e. the new star rating-based feedback system).

Etsy also severely lacks seller protection. In a dispute, they'll pretty much always side with the customer, even if the customer is, in fact, wrong. Customers can leave any kind of feedback they feel like. If they give you 1 star feedback, the seller only has one chance to respond to it (a.k.a. grovel for the buyers' forgiveness even if the customer is being unreasonable). And if the buyer still doesn't feel like revising their feedback rating; you're stuck with that one star and a permanently tarnished reputation. Etsy will basically just tell you to suck it up and move on (as if!).

Reason #2:

They pick and choose who they police. They are NEVER consistent with enforcing their rules.

I'm under the impression that if you're a reseller that makes a large amount of sales each month (more money for Etsy), Etsy will tend to ignore most wrongdoings on your part. However, if you are a very small business that's just trying to make a living scraping by on Etsy; they will slap you with a threatening email any time their admins feel like crushing the hopes and dreams of the little people.

I used to sell blank phone cases on Etsy. According to Etsy:
Everything on Etsy must be Handmade, Vintage, or a Craft Supply.
Craft Supplies are materials and tools intended for use in the creation of a new handmade item.
By this definition, a blank phone case IS a craft supply. I made it clear that my intended use for these supplies was for people to create a new handmade item; as their policy states. Etsy threatened to shut my store down 3 TIMES for selling blank phone cases. When I brought up the fact that there were still countless sellers who were selling the exact same blank cases, all they could say was "just because others do that, does not excuse you from following the rules." -- Ummm, WHAT? So that excuses everyone else from following the rules just because you don't feel like policing them at the moment?? A quick Etsy search for "blank phone case" under the Craft Supplies section reveals there are still 5 pages worth of people selling blank phone cases. Yeah Etsy, you went out of your way to threaten me 3 times, yet you choose to blatantly ignore all this other "rule-breaking" going on???

Also according to Etsy:
Handmade items are designed and created by the shops that sell them. Because transparency matters on Etsy, we ask sellers to list shop members and share information about manufacturers involved in creating their items. Reselling an item you were not involved in creating is not allowed in our handmade category.
Etsy does not care about reports from concerned Etsy users. There was one seller in particular I was especially riled up by because of their ridiculously obvious reselling. They were selling asian fashion jewelry resold from Ebay. They were even using the Ebay picture on their listing. I made it a point to report this listing/seller to Etsy 5 TIMES. I even sent them the link to the Ebay listing, showing that they were obviously reselling the jewelry. Etsy did NOTHING about it. The seller's store is still open; the resold jewelry listings are still up.

This is upsetting to me because this is BLATANTLY against Etsy's rules. The jewelry is NOT handmade, it is NOT vintage, it is NOT a supply. It is CLEARLY resold. And Etsy did not take even the tiniest bit of action against it. Remember; these are the people who were going to shut me down for selling a supply, for chrissake. Yet they don't feel the need to shut down someone who is without a doubt breaking their rules...??

There are ENDLESS amounts of resellers absolutely thriving on Etsy. I would guesstimate that at this point in time, Etsy is currently made up of 90% resellers and 10% actual handmade artisans. And Etsy, who touts its "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade" slogan; LETS THIS HAPPEN. Resellers make way more sales, so Etsy makes way more money by allowing them to do their thing.

They are also ridiculous when it comes to dealing with copyright issues. I know people who they've threatened to shut down (or did shut down) for selling things with Hello Kitty and the like. Yet a quick Etsy search of "Hello Kitty" reveals TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY PAGES WORTH of Hello Kitty items.  If they were truly enforcing their rules that they so readily defend, then there should be ZERO pages of results for "Hello Kitty," right??

Reason #3: The last straw

They offer only mediocre support (at best) for copyright infringement and intellectual property theft issues for independent artists.

If you're an independent designer, I would not put much faith in Etsy to have your back if you ever run into any copyright issues while on their site. I have had this constant problem with one of my original designs, a typography logo graphic which I created and am selling in my own shop here. Making a few sales a month off of my designs is what pays some of my bills. So when I see people completely ripping off my work for their own profit, naturally, it makes me RAGE. But I try to be polite and contained, and respectfully message the hosting site of the offender, and civily ask them to remove the stolen content.

I have encountered this problem on Redbubble.com, Skreened.com, and Etsy.com. Both Redbubble and Skreened's legal team responded to my email within 3 HOURS. Etsy didn't respond to me for 3 DAYS. Both Skreened and Redbubble kindly removed the stolen content within 48 HOURS of filing my email copyright infringement claim. All Etsy has done to "help" me so far is to tell me that I need to try and work it out with the offending seller myself, and if I want them to even consider taking down the stolen content, I need to write and mail them a letter. What. The. Hell. Why should I have to jump through hoops just to get MY stolen work taken down from there site? Why did Redbubble and Skreened accomodate my totally reasonable, justified request... with no fuss at all? WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE, ETSY?! Oh right, because your admins need something to do during the day...

Up until this incident, I was still kinda-sorta OK with Etsy. I could let my prior misgivings slide since those things didn't totally affect me. But this? This is total BULLSHIT. If TWO other online stores had the decency to remove my STOLEN content from their site with no muss no fuss, Etsy has no excuse not to do the same. I shouldn't have to "work it out with the seller on my own" because THEY are the ones essentially hosting a THIEF on their site. I am reporting a THEFT and they choose to stand idly by while said thief is selling who-knows-how-much of MY work. They choose to do nothing because the livelihood of a small artist means nothing to them, as long as they make their cut of the counterfeiter's sale.

I'm still waiting to work this issue out, while my stolen work remains listed and available to purchase. It's been over a week since I made my original complaint. We'll see what spiel Etsy gives me next...

In conclusion of this rant


I spent a good 3 years gushing to friends and family about how awesome Etsy was for buyers, as well as trying to persuade every crafter I knew to join Etsy to sell. Now that I have seen and experienced the full spectrum of Etsy's discriminatory treatment towards sellers, I can absolutely say that I would NOT recommend Etsy to anyone looking to sell handmade things online (shameless plug for Storenvy, which for the most part, I love).

If you REALLY still want to sell on Etsy, you should expect:
  • Crushingly unfair competition from resellers
  • Threatening emails from Etsy admin who feel like shutting you down for whatever reason
  • Little to no assistance for personal copyright infringement claims
  • General feelings of disappointment, anger, and annoyance


Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Hot Buns -- Does it work?

You've probably heard of Hot Buns from late-nite infomercials... or at least that's where I first heard of them. Anywho I was happy to find that they were available at my local Walmart! My coworker bought it for me so we could see if it really works as good as it did on TV.

Price: $9.88 from Walmart

Product Description: The As Seen On TV Hot Buns is a wonderful hair accessory that will let you roll, snap and wrap your hair into a bun without having to rely on pins. The Dark Hair Hot Buns let you make beautiful buns in less than a minute. You can even sleep in the As Seen On TV Hair Buns and create beautiful, bouncy curls and waves overnight. This lightweight, comfortable hair accessory is a fast and easy way to create buns and curly hair.

As Seen On TV Hot Buns, Dark Hair:
  • Beautiful buns in less than a minute
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Perfect for casual or elegant wear
  • Sleep in it to create beautiful, bouncy curls and waves
  • Fast and easy to use for all ages
I got Dark, which looks like this: 

You get 2 sizes, small and large.

Directions:
It's very easy to use. You just tie your hair in a ponytail where you want the bun to be situated. Then you take your ponytail (I hold it in front of my face), and center the end of your ponytail in the middle of the Hot Buns roller. Then simply roll your hair (not loosely but not too tight either) along the roller, continuously rolling it towards your head until you have wound your entire ponytail on it. Then just wrap it so it forms the bun, snap the ends together, and even out the distribution of hair around the bun so it completely covers the roller. Then secure the bun with the attached hair tie.
Step 1: Take the Hot Bun Stalk and roll it with your hair upwards.
Step 2: Then snap it and wrap it, just like that.
Step 3: Secure it using an elastic band. You can even make half buns or side chignons using this hair accessory.
- See more at: http://hotbuns-reviews.com/hot-buns-hair/hot-buns-product-review/#sthash.NZeKRDFo.dpuf
Step 1: Take the Hot Bun Stalk and roll it with your hair upwards.
Step 2: Then snap it and wrap it, just like that.
Step 3: Secure it using an elastic band. You can even make half buns or side chignons using this hair accessory.
- See more at: http://hotbuns-reviews.com/hot-buns-hair/hot-buns-product-review/#sthash.NZeKRDFo.dpuf
Step 1: Take the Hot Bun Stalk and roll it with your hair upwards.
Step 2: Then snap it and wrap it, just like that.
Step 3: Secure it using an elastic band. You can even make half buns or side chignons using this hair accessory.
- See more at: http://hotbuns-reviews.com/hot-buns-hair/hot-buns-product-review/#sthash.NZeKRDFo.dpuf

This is what a finished bun with the large roller looks like:

Step 1: Take the Hot Bun Stalk and roll it with your hair upwards.
Step 2: Then snap it and wrap it, just like that.
Step 3: Secure it using an elastic band. You can even make half buns or side chignons using this hair accessory.
- See more at: http://hotbuns-reviews.com/hot-buns-hair/hot-buns-product-review/#sthash.NZeKRDFo.dpuf


Then to test if it would really give those gorgeous curls, I left it in for 7 hours. This is my hair after I took down the bun:



So clearly it does work for buns and waves! Yet I was expecting tighter and more volumnious curls. It does have some pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive and easily available
  • You get 2 sizes 
  • Comes in different colors (black, dark, blonde)
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn't damage hair
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Makes perfect buns and nice waves

Cons:

  • May not work on every hair type
  • Curled hair still requires styling to look good
  • Doesn't give tight curls with volume
  • Hard to sleep in (for me)

My take: 

Overall I think this product works great for buns. As you can see, it makes the perfect donut-shaped bun and holds the shape well. Having it in is not uncomfortable for me at all and I pretty much forget I have it in!

However if you want to get waves, you have to leave it in several hours. I slept in it overnight once and I have to say, it's not comfortable! I did a pretty high bun and I still couldn't get comfortable on my pillow. And on my hair at least, it really doesn't create big bouncy curls. It makes GREAT waves, don't get me wrong, it's just not as tight and voluminous as I anticipated and still requires styling (hair spray, teasing, finger-combing) to get it looking nice. It doesn't just fall out into beautiful curls like on the commercial.

Would I repurchase/recommend?

I don't see myself repurchasing this since it's going to last well, forever lol... I would recommend this to people with long, manageable hair, and who want to have an easy way to make a perfect bun every time. I would also recommend this to people looking for an easy way to get nice wavy hair. I can't guarantee it will work on every hair type though. My coworker has the same kind of hair as me (straight, long) and she said this didn't work for her at all. So I guess it really depends on the person, you have to try it to find out.

  The Rundown: 


Packaging: N/A

Product: 5/5
Works pretty much as-advertised! Easy to use, doesn't pull or tug hair, makes a great bun, and some nice waves!

Price: 5/5
Wallet-friendly and available at Walmart!

Overall:

 
[ Click here to read about my Review & Rating System ]



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shop Review: Sophie & Toffee

I've written about Sophie & Toffee on my blog a couple of times, and they still remain my #1 recommended decoden supply source since I started doing deco in 2009!

I would highly recommend Sophie & Toffee to those new to deco, because you'll find practically everything you need to start here! They have a huge variety of cabochons --  characters, sweets, flowers, hearts, bows, food, and more -- as well as rhinestones and pearls, miniatures, charms, chains, deco toppings, fabric ribbons, beads, polymer clay canes, resin supplies, clay, clay molds, hobby kits, jewelry findings, and crafting tools.

Their site is neatly organized into categories to find exactly what you're looking for. It's easy to navigate and user-friendly. You can sign up and create an account for free, and you can have a wishlist to keep track of all the items you want to buy. I love that now they offer wholesale price options if you want to buy in bulk. You can buy 1 piece at a time, or get better pricing for buying 5, 10, 20 etc.

I have NEVER had a negative experience with Sophie & Toffee. They ship promptly and you can track your order. It usually takes around 2 weeks to get to me (they are based in Singapore). Their customer service is also impeccable! They are very quick to respond to emails and help you resolve any issues with your orders -- I received a broken piece once, and it was replaced free of charge in my next order.

They also have lots of specials and sales! Visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to keep up to date with their discounts and more.

I recently received some products from them for review:


Tiny black bows and blue stars. Candy sprinkles and pink sweets.


Yummy Korilakkuma desserts! Hello Kitty ice cream, Donuts & cakes. My favorite roses.


I love their cabochons because they are very well made and high quality, and they also have many unique pieces that you can't find elsewhere! They just came out with these new Korilakkuma sweets pieces and I just HAD to get them. I have not seen them available anywhere else yet so get them from Sophie & Toffee while you can!

Here is a case that I made with some of their Korilakkuma sweets pieces:



Here is a case that I made with their sprinkles:




I'm proud to say I use Sophie & Toffee products on just about all of my decoden cases in my shop, Kawaii x Couture! I would highly recommend Sophie & Toffee to anyone interested in deco :)

Want 10% OFF from Sophie & Toffee?

CLICK HERE to get a coupon for 10% off your next order with Sophie & Toffee!
Expires August 31, 2013.


FTC Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were provided to me for review by S&T.
This is my 100% honest opinion and experience with their business and products.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Skinny on Naked Juice



Have you heard of Naked Juice? Do you drink it?


I've been drinking a bottle of Naked Juice here and there (Green Machine and Berry Blast) since it's so expensive here (anywhere from $4-8 for a bottle), but only just yesterday found out about the huge controversy surrounding it... I brought home a bottle of Green Machine to my parents' house, and asked them if they wanted to try. Of course, I was met with "Ew, it looks weird." So I happily went on to drink the rest of the bottle myself. Fast forward to a few hours later, I get a text from my Dad saying "I think you better not drink that anymore..." and he proceeds to show me a post from his friend on Facebook, outing Naked Juice for false advertising.

I was horrified to read the claims against Naked Juice. I didn't know these lawsuits went back to 2011. I was skeptical at first but did my own digging on Google and here is what I found out:

  • Naked Juice uses false advertising to fraudulently promise that its beverage products are "100% juice," "all natural," and "non-GMO"
  • Naked Juice intentionally uses misleading language to give consumers "the false impression that the beverages vitamin content is due to the nutritious fruits and juices, rather than the added synthetic compounds such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde)" and "Fibersol-2 (a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland and developed by a Japanese chemical company), fructooligosaccharides (a synthetic fiber and sweetener) and inulin (an artificial and invisible fiber added to foods to ... increase fiber content without the typical fiber mouth-feel)."
  • The suit alleges that 11 synthetically derived substances - including niacinamide, d-alpha tocopherol acetate, cyanocobalamin, and pyridoxine hydrochloride - are contained in Naked Juice drinks which it says belie the label's claims that the beverage contains only the "freshest, purest stuff in the world."
  • "Even if the synthetic ingredients are safe--or even beneficial--they are still not what consumers consented to ingesting, and they are still not what (Naked Juice) warranted they were providing," the lawsuit says.
Sources:
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/health/food-and-nutrition/naked-juice-not-naked-advertised#
http://monrovia.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/monrovia-s-naked-juice-sued-again-for-false-advertising
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/07/26/pepsi-co-naked-juice-not-natural/2589717/

The latest news says "PepsiCo Inc. will no longer label its Naked juices as being "all natural," after a lawsuit complained that the drinks contain ingredients that don't fit that bill... The case highlights the confusion around the use of the word "natural" in in the industry. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't currently have a definition for what constitutes a natural product... Notably, the FDA says it's difficult to define a food product that is natural, since it has likely been processed and is no longer a "product of the earth."

Needless to say, I won't be drinking any more Naked Juice. This is terribly disturbing to me because I've been trying to eat healthier. Things labeled "all natural" instantly catch my eye. It's disgusting to know how marketing and advertising can be used in such deceptive ways... how are we as consumers who are trying to be healthier; know what is REALLY "good for you" and what is just false advertising???


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kawaii x Couture Instagram Giveaway!



Hi everyone! So I know I promised this giveaway ages ago lol, sorry! But here it is! Open to international entries too!

✨ KxC GIVEAWAY✨
There will be TWO winners! One for prize pack #1 and one for prize pack #2. You will get a pair of KxC exclusive drippy heart earrings, rilakkuma mini notepad, crown ring, and kawaii chocolate mirror

✨ TO ENTER ✨
1. Follow @kawaiixcouture
2. Screenshot & repost this pic
3. Tag @kawaiixcouture AND #kxcgiveaway
4. Say which prize pack you want to win, #1 OR #2. You can only choose one!
5. Optional: For one extra entry, follow my personal account, @ectini

✨ RULES ✨
- Must do everything above to qualify, I will check!
- Only 1 repost per person
- Profile must be public or else I can’t see your entry!
- No giveaway accounts!

✨ DEADLINE TO ENTER ✨
8/1/13

I will tally up all the entries and pick the winners via random number generator. I will then tag the winners in a post and they will need to contact me within 48 hours to claim their prize, or a new winner(s) will be chosen!
 
Thank you everyone for your support! Stay tuned for more giveaways!
www.KawaiixCoutureDecoden.com




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Does spicy food increase your metabolism?

Have you ever heard of this claim? I honestly haven't heard of it until recently. I also recently started craving spicy food for the past couple of months (no, not pregnant :P). So now I have a newfound love for spicy food flavors, especially kimchi! Yum. Nong Shim Kimchi flavor saimin is my weakness right now:



So I was wondering, does this claim have any evidence behind it? If so, I would gladly eat spicy food ALL THE TIME... :P But here is what I found out:
  • Over the years, various studies have examined the claim and suggested that certain spices can in fact increase metabolic rate by raising body temperature, though to what extent and for how long is unclear. 
  • Capsaicin is the primary molecule responsible for the hot, burning sensation you get when you come into contact with spicy chilies. It is a member of a family of compounds called capsaicinoids, which have many beneficial effects including analgesia (pain relief), antioxidant potential and thermogenesis (calorie burning).
  • Studies have shown that on average a meal containing a spicy dish can temporarily increase metabolism by about 8 percent over a person’s normal rate, an amount considered fairly negligible
  • But besides a slight uptick in metabolism, spicy foods may also increase feelings of satiety. The researchers suggested that capsaicin may work as an appetite suppressant.
  • In sum, while humans may get a modest boost in calorie burning immediately after a spicy meal, the effect is unlikely to be meaningful for long-term weight loss.
Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/health/nutrition/28real.html
http://blog.zocdoc.com/can-spicy-foods-boost-your-metabolism-fact-vs-myth/

So overall, spicy foods MAY have some effect on metabolism, but not a significant amount. It MAY help you eat less because it makes you feel fuller faster. Either way, I'll continue eating spicy food just 'cause I love it! Even a fairly negligible boost in metabolism is still something too ;P



I've made it through 1 week of Figurerobics!

For anyone following my fitness/health-improvement journey, I started doing Figurerobics one week ago. What is Figurerobics you ask? It is a workout routine developed by 46 year old Korean mom of 2, Jung Da Yeon. And she looks pretty much half her age. This is a huge motivation for me, as I would like to age gracefully! *cries* Figurerobics is geared towards Asian bodies, for slimming and toning, rather than muscle/curve-building.  This is perfect for me because I'm not looking to build muscle, get abs, etc. I just want to be trim, with a flat stomach and toned arms/legs.

I have been doing this workout for the past week:



And today I have also added in this workout:



What I like about Figurerobics is that it's simple! You don't need to go to the gym to do it. I do it right in my house. You don't need any special equipment either. I didn't have dumbbells for the 2nd routine so I just used food cans. It's easy to follow along with their movements. AND you will sweat and feel the burn!! I am in the "extremely out of shape" category so I would classify this workout as "brutal" in my book :P Well, it started out that way, at least. At the end of this week I definitely have less of a struggle getting through the entire routine. Today I was able to do the above TWO 30 minute workouts! That is an accomplishment for me lol XD

I've also been trying hard to eat healthier. I cut out rice from my diet (or only minimal portions once in a great while), drink more water, and don't snack throughout the day like I used to. I don't have a scale, so I'm not actually sure if I'm losing weight. But today I found out I could finally fit a pair of pants that I couldn't button a month ago! So I'm looking to keep up this 1-or-2-a-day workout routine and hope I can shed some pounds in the next few months :)



Monday, July 15, 2013

OOTD: Summer Fun

Took an impromptu roadtrip to the other side of the island (Kona) yesterday. Thought I should wear something a little summery since it's exceptionally hot & humid right now! Ironically it actually did end up raining on the way :P

I put the yellow lace-back top in the dyer too long on accident and it ended up shrinking into somewhat of a crop top. Initially I was mortified because I don't wear crop tops (don't feel like it's very flattering on my figure), but I guess it looks okay with this outfit! This was also day 4 of Figurerobics, and my legs are killing me! Hoping to really trim my thighs and arms. The white scalloped lace shorts are a size 5, which I hate to admit :'( I'm aiming to get back into 3's, or hopefully 1's!



Top: American Rag
Shorts: Bongo, from Sears
Shoes: "Forever" brand, from Jeans Warehouse


Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: Platform Ankle Boots from Syndrome

Jeffrey Campbell Lita's seem to be all the rage now but I personally can't justify shelling out hundreds of dollars for shoes (other than Tory Burch, my one shoe-related weakness :P). So I was on the hunt for some cute lookalikes at a good price. I came across the store Syndrome while browsing on Storenvy. They specialize in cute Asian fashion and accessories!

I ordered a pair of Spiked Ankle Boots in black faux leather (available here) and a pair of white Floral Lace Platform Ankle Boots (available here).

Black Faux Leather Spiked Ankle Boots
Size 6




White Floral Lace Platform Ankle Boots
Size 5.5



Product Pictures

(click to enlarge)


Price: 5/5


The black boots were $40 and the white boots were $45. Shipping was $10 so my total was $95. Consider this is 2 PAIRS for still LESS than the price of ONE pair of Jeffrey Campbell Litas, which go from $160-200+ I was also looking at other shops offering similar lookalikes, and Syndrome's were easily the best price.

Quality: 5/5


I absolutely adore these ankle boots because they really do look just like the product pictures! They came in two separate shipments and the boxes were pretty beat up, but the shoes were perfectly fine. They look and feel well-made, there was nothing falling off or coming apart, no loose threads, etc. They don't feel or look cheapy at all. Shipping took about 2 weeks to get here.

I honestly haven't worn them anywhere yet because 1) there's nowhere in Hilo to wear them and 2) they are just beautiful and for now I'll just admire them on my shoe rack lol. So I can't speak for their durability or long-wear comfort at the moment :P I did break them in a bit and walked around my house in them, and they were comfortable for me! I really don't do well with really high heels so I was a bit intimidated by these (Heel: 4.5 in, Platform: 1.8 in) but they were actually not hard to walk around in!

I was hesitant to get the black ones because the smallest size available was 6, and I usually fit a 5 or 5.5. But the 6 actually fit okay and I think it would be good with some shoe inserts. The white ones were 5.5 and fit fine!

Customer Service: 5/5


I had messaged Syndrome before I bought the boots because I was concerned about the size and wanted to know if they fit true to size or ran small. I got a very speedy reply from them and was told that a size 6 should fit okay if you are between 5-5.5 (which it did). I also emailed them again because I had lost the tracking info for one of the shipments and wanted to check the status of the package. Again I got a very speedy reply with the tracking info! Syndrome's customer service is very friendly, professional, and fast.

Overall: 5/5


I would definitely order from Syndrome again. They have a wide selection of adorable asian fashion products like tights, dresses, heels, bags, even wigs. From my experience, their products are of good quality, shipping was quick and their business is very reputable. Two thumbs up!