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.

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!

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

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

- 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!


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!

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.

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!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I want to look like Jung Da Yeon when I'm 46 with 2 kids, please!!!

Trying Figurerobics after reading this article! Just did this 30min session and I am pooped. I’ve been trying (obviously not very hard) to get into shape but unfortunately, I hate anything that has to do with exercise -_- but this workout is simple, you just follow along and you don’t need any special equipment to do it! Aiming to do a session of Figurerobics once a day and see how it goes.

I don’t consider myself “overweight" but in the past few years I have definitely put on some pounds. I don’t fit a lot of my clothes (mostly shorts and pants) anymore and I would like to change that because… I’m not willing to get rid of my cute shorts and pants lol. I would like to lose at least 5 pounds through exercise and eating healthy, and see where I can go from there. Will update on my progress as I go along!

What do you think of Figurerobics?
Know of some simple & easy workouts to share?

So I have a Mexican Walking Fish and he is pretty cool

I have this (possibly weird?) obsession with cute squishy aquatic creatures like squid, octopi, cuttlefish, and especially jellyfish... And one more interesting animal I've been super fascinated by is the axolotl. If you've never heard of an axolotl (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) before, read on!

It is pretty much a real-life Pokemon XD I only just recently found that they are actually NOT illegal in Hawaii! Our friend that owns a pet store here brought some in for me, so now I have one!

This is "Kiwi" when we first got him:

He is a Green Florescent Pigmented Axolotl and glows under black light.
I'm not sure how old he is but I've had him for 8 weeks now. He is surprisingly uncomplicated to care for, and is very entertaining to watch. I post videos & pics of him swimming n stuff on my Instagram.

Here's some facts about axolotls:

  • It is a species of salamander (not to be confused with the waterdog aka tiger salamander)
  • It remains in a larval stage throughout its adult life
  • Lives permanently in water, up to 15 years
  • It is carnivorous. Eats worms, shrimp/fish-based pellets, etc.
  • They exist in the wild in only one place, the lake complex of Xochimilco near Mexico City
  • Wild types are typically black or mottled brown. Other colors exist such as albino and white varieties, particularly among captive specimens. Wild populations are in decline due to habitat loss and pollution. Wild axolotls are considered a critically endangered species :(
  • Can be quite large, reaching up to a foot in length, although the average size is closer to half that.
  • Rather than forming scar tissue when wounded, tissues at the wound site convert to a stem cell-like state, meaning that they are able to re-grow missing tissue in its entirety, even a whole limb (HOW COOL IS THAT?!)

Kiwi more recently:

He is now about 3.5in long. In the first picture you could see he was missing most of his toes. They have since grown back :) The frilly things coming from his head are gills.

Axolotls have poor eyesight, so he relies on smell to find his food (I feed him sinking shrimp fish food pellets). Axolotls are messy eaters and make a lot of waste, so the tank collects particles. I siphon out the junk and do a water change once a week. Axolotls need to be kept in cool, de-chlorinated water, the optimum range is 60-64 °F. Apparently if they get heat-sick, it's a good idea to put them in the fridge (I've never had to do this so far). All in all, a very cool creature and I am glad to have him! Expect to see more of this little guy on my blog :)

Have you heard of axolotls before? What do you think?
Cute, cool, creepy?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Google Friend Connect Issues?

Is anyone else unable to follow people's blogs through the Google Friend Connect gadget? Every time I try to follow anyone, I get this message: "We're sorry... We were unable to handle your request. Please try again or return a bit later."

Yesterday I was able to follow people fine, but it was giving me this message all day today. Even when I try to add blogs manually from my dashboard, I get an error saying to try again later :(

Update: 7/11/13

I learned Google Reader itself was discontinued but GFC is still connected with blogger/blogger dashboard feed, which is what I use to read people's blogs (I didn't use Google Reader). Seems like the followers gadget is now working for me today, and I can follow people again! Yay!


Energy Efficient Blog Layout Design?

A long time ago I remember going to a blog-layout site that advertised "green" layouts. "Green" meaning eco-friendly. This was a foreign notion to me and I didn't really read too much into it other than noticing all the layouts they had available were black or dark. In re-designing my blog layout, I randomly remembered about this and wanted to learn more about it.

Here's a few things I found out:

  • Reduction in energy usage can be obtained by designing web sites that use darker colors or shades, particularly within sites’ backgrounds.
  • According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, “White and bright colors (especially in backgrounds) can use up to 20% more power than black or dark colors.”
  • Your screen is composed of pixels, and the color of each pixel is determined by the amount light passing through it: white is 100% light output, and black is zero. The takeaway here is that for certain types of devices (e.g. projectors, older monitors, and LED screens), brighter colors consume more energy than darker colors
  • If you’re viewing these websites on a state-of the-art LCD screen, the difference in color amounts to pretty much nothing. But with old-style CRT monitors (which are still heavily used) and even LED monitors (which are increasingly being adopted) —the impact of color is significant.
  • If you want to save energy while searching the web, try Blackle, a black-bacgrounded version of Google.
  • While there is controversy over whether a black color palette is more energy efficient than light colors on a website, there are still proponents of the darker website design.

I have an iMac which has an LCD screen so I guess the color difference is "pretty much nothing," but I figure if other people viewing my blog might have different kinds of screens, it would be good to revamp my layout to be more energy efficient and thus, more eco-friendly.

So I went from a super bright-based layout...

...To what I have now. I opted for a dark background but of course had to have a pop of pink :P

What do you think of the idea of "green" blog layout design?
Is your layout energy efficient?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Where have I been for the past... forever?

It feels like forever since I've last blogged anything of actual substance (the last review I wrote was in November 2012!). Does anyone still read this blog? I've fell out of touch with the blogging world around the end of 2010 and have only been sporadically posting over the past 3 years. Throughout that time I kept telling myself that I would try and pick it up again, but just couldn't find the time, inspiration, or motivation... but right now I have all three of those things! So I'm trying to start up my blogging hobby once again :)

So what have I been up to over my 3 year semi-hiatus?

I was finishing college at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
I graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art!

I co-bought a house and moved out of my parent's.
Currently living happily with my Mr. Right :)

I have been growing my business, Kawaii x Couture Decoden.
I moved from Etsy to Storenvy and launched our official website in December 2012

I'm working with my Dad at our family business, Tanimoto Dharma Designs.
Many changes at the office & we're coming out with new and exciting products!

I'm doing freelance graphic/web design on the side & working on my own design projects.
I'll also be returning to UH Hilo to work at the Graphics Media Dept. as a designer there too.

I'm an avid Instagrammer and Yelp-er!
I've developed a renewed love for food! Love looking for new places to eat & review.

I'm trying to be more "fashionable" :P
I've started expanding my wardrobe and trying out new styles with my hair.

I'm continuing my body modification process.
Lobes at 5/8" and 18 piercings, looking into tattoos, subdermal implants & scarification next.

And that's majority of what I've been up to lately :)

I started out this blog intending it for it to be makeup/beauty-related, but now I'm at a point in my life where makeup is no longer my biggest passion. I still love it but I rarely play around with new eyeshadow or lipstick like I used to. 

So now I'm planning to use this blog to write about more topics than just makeup -- beauty, art, AND life. Day-to-day events, interesting things I learn, artists that inspire me, new things to try, DIY creativity, etc. Basically all the stuff that makes me tick! So hopefully I'll be able to keep it up :)