Archive

22 September 2016

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Reposting (and rephrasing), because I accidentally deleted the last one while editing a typo. That's what happens when you place your mouse which controls the Macbook beside the trackpad that controls the Mac, and your mother who is visiting Japan for a week really, really, really wants to watch her telenovelas and you have been awake since five in the morning (having four real adults in the house means being all showered and breakfast-ed by the time my first alarm of twenty goes off).

So anyway, the point is: (1) I lost weight, and (2) I lost the minimalist battle (but not the war). The latter sort of because of the former but not entirely so.

2015 was when I hit my peak weight, and I felt and looked like a fucking mascot. When I would meet friends I haven't seen in a while, they'd always tell me I look "different". When you gain a few pounds people don't usually hesitate to tell you so (it's practically the traditional Pinoy greeting, isn't it?), but when it's a lot, then it becomes awkward. Hence, "different".

I was fine with it at first; full-fat food, after all, is glorious. But when I started getting depressed whenever I look in the mirror and felt myself cringing when looking at my photos, I knew it was time to make some changes.

For a week (and only a week - it's tedious work), I counted calories to figure out how much I am overeating (answer: a lot). From there it was all a matter of making better choices. Actually no, scratch that. I just stopped making really bad choices. Like giant cup ramen (500 kcal - that's two quarter pounders!). Or an entire bag of Lay's (1200 kcal, or my entire daily allowance). So essentially what I'm saying is I just started eating like a normal human person. Also, no more extra rice. It's sad but there is more rice to be had tomorrow, and there is no need to attempt to inhale all I could possibly can in one meal.

Admittedly the progress was slow, but it was at least steady. I am still nowhere near the level of skinny-ness I would like to achieve, but at least I can look at myself in the mirror with less and less horror each day. And when I board the train, I am no longer afraid that people might give up their seats for me because they think I'm pregnant.

Spot the difference


To be honest I feel like the weight loss is noticeable to no one but me (and Abe too, but that's because he has too :p), but at least the weighing scale and my pants agree. I went down two sizes, and that was when the shopping fast was broken, so to speak. I used to have a section at the back of my closet reserved for clothes I will wear "when I finally lose ten pounds", but I threw them all out when I started going "minimalist". And now I have to go and buy the exact same (-sized) clothes. The irony of it all is not lost on me.

Once I started shopping I found myself unable to resume the fast. "But I also need new tops, because it's summer." "But my favorite dresses are now too loose and must be replaced." "But I want new lipstick."

And so here we are. Sometimes I ask myself if maybe, maybe this isn't for me. Maybe I should just start accepting the fact that I am a hoarder and just, you know, buy more storage. But last week I pulled out my makeup drawer, feeling totally guilty because of the aforementioned new lipstick. But as I started pulling items out in an attempt to edit, I realized I have, despite the setbacks, managed to significantly whittle down my collection, and at no point did I ever feel like I did not have enough. So I guess I've been making progress after all. ^^

08 September 2016

Favorite Things: Goody Spin Pins

So these have been around for ages, but nobody ever told me they actually worked.


In fact I think I tried everything else in the hair section before I snapped them up out of desperation. They just didn't look particularly effective. I mean, they're just screw things that also kinda look like a double helix.



Goody claims that a spin pin is equivalent to ten bobby pins. I don't really know how true that is, but I can confirm that not only were a pair of them able to hoist all of my hair up, they kept it there the entire day, and that to me is nothing short of miraculous. I have very fine hair, and not a lot of it, so clamps and clips will inevitably just slide down for lack of anything to grab on to. But these wonderful little pins, they stay. 

Usage is pretty straightforward, too. Just twist your hair into a bun and screw the pins in, one on either side. To remove, spin them in the opposite direction (remember: "righty tighty, lefty loosey" :p). It takes two minutes, tops.
In fact, this picture took longer to take than it did to create the bun.



I've recommended it to friends with hair types way different from mine, and it worked for them as well. I think it's worth giving them a spin *wink*. Seriously though, it's kinda awesome.

28 August 2016

Just Japan Things: Kanebo Evita Beauty Whip

So let's just pretend that I didn't go off the radar for nearly two months. Things just happened and by things I mean Pokemon Go (I know, I know, for shame). I also got all four wisdom teeth removed (not all at one time - it took two sessions), and made a quick trip home to the Philippines where I was welcomed with heavy rains which I somehow brought back to Japan with me in the form of a typhoon which left me with a nasty case of the sniffles.

Anyway.

So Anj alerted me to this thing one afternoon and I kid you not, it was on my bathroom counter that very night.


It's a facial wash that is dispensed in the form of foam roses. Yes, roses. Because, you know, Japan.



To be honest as far as facial cleansing innovations go I'm still waiting for one that foams whilst maintaining the correct pH, but have I mentioned you get ~perfectly-shaped~ roses? Like with individual petals and shit?



And that you can scoop it up and smoosh all that loveliness into your face?



The texture is very similar to shaving cream - it's dense and soft and feels a bit like spreading icing onto your face, which I may or may not have done irl. It's just very, very luxurious. Like at one point I started thinking to myself that this must be what it feels to have made it (until of course, I rinsed it off and went back to the reality of not actually having made it).

Performance is quite meh - the foam doesn't lather (again, really like shaving cream), it leaves my face squeaky (read:drying), and yet it is powerless against airbrush foundation and waterproof mascara (I use cleansing oil for that anyway, but I just tried for the heck of it). The rose scent is also a tad overwhelming. But let's be honest, is anyone actually buying it for its facial cleansing prowess? Didn't think so.

Yes, it's a gimmick.

A video posted by ella yap (@ellayap) on


And yes, you need it in your life.
It retails for around 1200JPY in  your friendly neighborhood Japanese drugstore - I got mine in Matsumoto Kiyoshi.

Final word of warning: If you press the levers a little too eagerly it goes from floral to phallic very quickly. XD

08 July 2016

Favorite Things: Ateleia Brass Pen

As far as note-taking is concerned I am decidedly old-school. It has been postulated that people retain information much more effectively when writing it down as opposed to typing, and I find that to be particularly true for me. The pen is mightier than the keyboard (yes, even a mechanical one).

I discovered the Pilot Hi-Tec-C during my senior year in high school, and it has been my weapon of choice ever since. I was loyal to the 0.3mm tip, and then promptly moved on to the 0.25 the moment I found out it exists. However with the plethora of form factors available here in Japan I still find myself wishing for something a bit more substantial, and that is why upon discovering the Ateleia brass pen I ordered one with very little hesitation.


Minimalist, slim, and weighty. I couldn't ask for more, really.


And look, a handwritten note! I can never hate a business that sends handwritten notes. I just can't.

The pen is machined out of C360 solid brass bar stock. I have no idea what that means, but if my fifth grade teacher threw this pen towards the noisy people at the back of the class, he would most definitely have been canned. It's probably not something you would want to twirl, either.

It's a very straightforward, no-frills kind of pen, and it feels incredibly well-made. It is definitely on the heavy side, which works very well for me as I like to write with a lot of torque. It's just a lovely, lovely pen to write with, and I've used mine every single day since it arrived, and I write so much more often too (case in point: I used five times more pages last month).

Crazy teenage gushing aside, there are a few caveats. First, it requires a wrench or a similar implement to change the refill cartridges. Thankfully they've included one in the package. But it's not something you'd want to be doing on the fly. Second, the cap does not post. It will roll off the table and startle everyone within a hundred meter radius when it hits the floor. Last but not least, the brass stays pristine for exactly five minutes, after which it promptly begins to tarnish. It also imparts a metallic scent to your fingers upon contact. I have to point out that I am bothered by none of these (if anything the last one is a positive because it gets rid of the post-cooking garlic stench that even the strongest dishwashing solution is unable to remove from my fingertips) but I can understand how they can be an issue for some people.

At any rate, I am so very smitten with this pen that I immediately pounced on the copper version the moment it became available. The color is gorgeous, and I cannot wait to take it out for a spin (I did run into a bit of a problem because the 0.25 refill cartridge is a hair thicker than the normal ones for some reason, so they had to send me a replacement tip with a bigger hole). I think, I think I have all the pens I would ever need.


P.S. You can get the Ateleia brass pens at a discount right now on Massdrop.

26 June 2016

The Daily Face v2.0

Skincare


Over the last couple of years my key takeaway as far as my skin is concerned is that it is generally happier with less. For about a year or so I struggled with massive breakouts, and I tried so many products only to find that if I pared my routine down to include only the essentials it would all go away. Imagine how much I would have saved (both financially and emotionally) had I known this at the very beginning. Admittedly it's a challenge to stick to a bare-bones routine, what with the constant bombardment of anti-aging adverts but I figure it's easier to live with wrinkles rather than pock marks from acne.



Not in picture: my facial soap. At the moment I'm using this carrot soap that my aunts gave me (I was breaking out so bad that they took it upon themselves to try and fix it), but generally I'm happy with any normal foaming cleanser.

I'm happy to be reunited with Fancl's cleansing oil, and I hear they've reopened in Singapore as well which is awesome. Proactiv and SK-II, well, these need no introduction, no?

I wish I took a picture of my lashes before I started using the DHC lash serum, because while I feel it's working, I have no way to confirm if it is indeed effective or if it's all in my head :/

Last but not least: Curel Intensive Moisture Cream - the only Japanese moisturizer that ever worked for me. It's a very no-frills moisturizer which has seen me through winter and Singapore weather. Definitely a keeper.

Makeup


I try to keep my daily makeup routine short and sweet, all for the glory of ten more minutes of shut-eye. Also I find that the less products I pile on my face in the morning, the less haggard I look in the afternoon (I should probably do a midday touchup but ain't nobody got time for that).



The Temptu Air is the Chris Brown to my Rihanna - I hate how much I love it. I keep trying to go back to my other foundations, but not only is airbrush better aesthetically, it's also a lot more hygienic and less irritating to the skin (and I also have no brushes to wash every weekend). So let this serve as a warning, because THERE IS NO GOING BACK. I use the Lancome Hydra Glow primer as base, and do a quick dusting of the Nars light reflecting loose powder on top (I hated the pressed version btw, but this one I love).

The fact that I kept my Benefit Rockateur blush despite the horrid, bulky packaging is a testament to how good it is. I actually tried to look for dupes that aren't housed in a giant box with faux snakeskin print, but there is none to be found. It's like Chris Brown, Jr. Lately I've also been loving Nars Douceur, just because it's a very easy blush to wear and it goes with anything. It has, of course, been discontinued, because we can't have nice things. Seriously, Nars, first Napoli and then Descanso and now this. Why do you do this to me?

These days I've been keeping my brows fairly natural. I just got so fed up with the whole brows-on-fleek movement and seeing crazy chiseled brows everywhere that I started craving for normal, human brows. Well, that, and I've been really behind on the brow upkeep. Heh. Anyway I've just been filling them out with powder using this giant Hakuhodo eyebrow brush. I asked the lady at the counter for recommendations and she gave me this brush along with the promise that my brows are going to be ready with one swoosh. It's not going to give the most sculpted result, but that's kind the point, yes? I then set everything using this drugstore discovery called Brow Lash Ex which keeps everything intact for the entire day. I have no idea what's in it, but it's a miracle product, is what it is.

For lashes I usually go back and forth between the Shu and Shiseido lash curlers (today it's the former). I have switched mascara loyalties, however, and am now a big fan of the Heroine Make Volume and Curl. Like any Japanese mascara worth its salt, it's will absolutely not budge and holds a curl like nobody's business.

I'm not a very big lipstick wearer, although they are the most numerous of all the items in my makeup drawer (and I should probably do something about that). I just drink so much coffee throughout the day and I hate leaving a mark on the coffee cup (there is a song about this which will probably be on repeat in my head for the entire week). Recently though I have been liking Clarins lip oil, although to be honest I treat it more like a skincare product than makeup - I apply it first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. It imparts absolutely no color at all, and it's too shiny for my liking, but it has kept my lips really moisturized, much more so than a regular lip balm.

Not in picture: Nars creamy radiant concealer. I'm on my fifth or sixth tube, and I swear to God if Nars discontinues this I will raise hell.

PS Click here and here for v1.0.
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22 September 2016

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Reposting (and rephrasing), because I accidentally deleted the last one while editing a typo. That's what happens when you place your mouse which controls the Macbook beside the trackpad that controls the Mac, and your mother who is visiting Japan for a week really, really, really wants to watch her telenovelas and you have been awake since five in the morning (having four real adults in the house means being all showered and breakfast-ed by the time my first alarm of twenty goes off).

So anyway, the point is: (1) I lost weight, and (2) I lost the minimalist battle (but not the war). The latter sort of because of the former but not entirely so.

2015 was when I hit my peak weight, and I felt and looked like a fucking mascot. When I would meet friends I haven't seen in a while, they'd always tell me I look "different". When you gain a few pounds people don't usually hesitate to tell you so (it's practically the traditional Pinoy greeting, isn't it?), but when it's a lot, then it becomes awkward. Hence, "different".

I was fine with it at first; full-fat food, after all, is glorious. But when I started getting depressed whenever I look in the mirror and felt myself cringing when looking at my photos, I knew it was time to make some changes.

For a week (and only a week - it's tedious work), I counted calories to figure out how much I am overeating (answer: a lot). From there it was all a matter of making better choices. Actually no, scratch that. I just stopped making really bad choices. Like giant cup ramen (500 kcal - that's two quarter pounders!). Or an entire bag of Lay's (1200 kcal, or my entire daily allowance). So essentially what I'm saying is I just started eating like a normal human person. Also, no more extra rice. It's sad but there is more rice to be had tomorrow, and there is no need to attempt to inhale all I could possibly can in one meal.

Admittedly the progress was slow, but it was at least steady. I am still nowhere near the level of skinny-ness I would like to achieve, but at least I can look at myself in the mirror with less and less horror each day. And when I board the train, I am no longer afraid that people might give up their seats for me because they think I'm pregnant.

Spot the difference


To be honest I feel like the weight loss is noticeable to no one but me (and Abe too, but that's because he has too :p), but at least the weighing scale and my pants agree. I went down two sizes, and that was when the shopping fast was broken, so to speak. I used to have a section at the back of my closet reserved for clothes I will wear "when I finally lose ten pounds", but I threw them all out when I started going "minimalist". And now I have to go and buy the exact same (-sized) clothes. The irony of it all is not lost on me.

Once I started shopping I found myself unable to resume the fast. "But I also need new tops, because it's summer." "But my favorite dresses are now too loose and must be replaced." "But I want new lipstick."

And so here we are. Sometimes I ask myself if maybe, maybe this isn't for me. Maybe I should just start accepting the fact that I am a hoarder and just, you know, buy more storage. But last week I pulled out my makeup drawer, feeling totally guilty because of the aforementioned new lipstick. But as I started pulling items out in an attempt to edit, I realized I have, despite the setbacks, managed to significantly whittle down my collection, and at no point did I ever feel like I did not have enough. So I guess I've been making progress after all. ^^
No comments
08 September 2016

Favorite Things: Goody Spin Pins

So these have been around for ages, but nobody ever told me they actually worked.


In fact I think I tried everything else in the hair section before I snapped them up out of desperation. They just didn't look particularly effective. I mean, they're just screw things that also kinda look like a double helix.



Goody claims that a spin pin is equivalent to ten bobby pins. I don't really know how true that is, but I can confirm that not only were a pair of them able to hoist all of my hair up, they kept it there the entire day, and that to me is nothing short of miraculous. I have very fine hair, and not a lot of it, so clamps and clips will inevitably just slide down for lack of anything to grab on to. But these wonderful little pins, they stay. 

Usage is pretty straightforward, too. Just twist your hair into a bun and screw the pins in, one on either side. To remove, spin them in the opposite direction (remember: "righty tighty, lefty loosey" :p). It takes two minutes, tops.
In fact, this picture took longer to take than it did to create the bun.



I've recommended it to friends with hair types way different from mine, and it worked for them as well. I think it's worth giving them a spin *wink*. Seriously though, it's kinda awesome.

No comments
28 August 2016

Just Japan Things: Kanebo Evita Beauty Whip

So let's just pretend that I didn't go off the radar for nearly two months. Things just happened and by things I mean Pokemon Go (I know, I know, for shame). I also got all four wisdom teeth removed (not all at one time - it took two sessions), and made a quick trip home to the Philippines where I was welcomed with heavy rains which I somehow brought back to Japan with me in the form of a typhoon which left me with a nasty case of the sniffles.

Anyway.

So Anj alerted me to this thing one afternoon and I kid you not, it was on my bathroom counter that very night.


It's a facial wash that is dispensed in the form of foam roses. Yes, roses. Because, you know, Japan.



To be honest as far as facial cleansing innovations go I'm still waiting for one that foams whilst maintaining the correct pH, but have I mentioned you get ~perfectly-shaped~ roses? Like with individual petals and shit?



And that you can scoop it up and smoosh all that loveliness into your face?



The texture is very similar to shaving cream - it's dense and soft and feels a bit like spreading icing onto your face, which I may or may not have done irl. It's just very, very luxurious. Like at one point I started thinking to myself that this must be what it feels to have made it (until of course, I rinsed it off and went back to the reality of not actually having made it).

Performance is quite meh - the foam doesn't lather (again, really like shaving cream), it leaves my face squeaky (read:drying), and yet it is powerless against airbrush foundation and waterproof mascara (I use cleansing oil for that anyway, but I just tried for the heck of it). The rose scent is also a tad overwhelming. But let's be honest, is anyone actually buying it for its facial cleansing prowess? Didn't think so.

Yes, it's a gimmick.

A video posted by ella yap (@ellayap) on


And yes, you need it in your life.
It retails for around 1200JPY in  your friendly neighborhood Japanese drugstore - I got mine in Matsumoto Kiyoshi.

Final word of warning: If you press the levers a little too eagerly it goes from floral to phallic very quickly. XD
No comments
08 July 2016

Favorite Things: Ateleia Brass Pen

As far as note-taking is concerned I am decidedly old-school. It has been postulated that people retain information much more effectively when writing it down as opposed to typing, and I find that to be particularly true for me. The pen is mightier than the keyboard (yes, even a mechanical one).

I discovered the Pilot Hi-Tec-C during my senior year in high school, and it has been my weapon of choice ever since. I was loyal to the 0.3mm tip, and then promptly moved on to the 0.25 the moment I found out it exists. However with the plethora of form factors available here in Japan I still find myself wishing for something a bit more substantial, and that is why upon discovering the Ateleia brass pen I ordered one with very little hesitation.


Minimalist, slim, and weighty. I couldn't ask for more, really.


And look, a handwritten note! I can never hate a business that sends handwritten notes. I just can't.

The pen is machined out of C360 solid brass bar stock. I have no idea what that means, but if my fifth grade teacher threw this pen towards the noisy people at the back of the class, he would most definitely have been canned. It's probably not something you would want to twirl, either.

It's a very straightforward, no-frills kind of pen, and it feels incredibly well-made. It is definitely on the heavy side, which works very well for me as I like to write with a lot of torque. It's just a lovely, lovely pen to write with, and I've used mine every single day since it arrived, and I write so much more often too (case in point: I used five times more pages last month).

Crazy teenage gushing aside, there are a few caveats. First, it requires a wrench or a similar implement to change the refill cartridges. Thankfully they've included one in the package. But it's not something you'd want to be doing on the fly. Second, the cap does not post. It will roll off the table and startle everyone within a hundred meter radius when it hits the floor. Last but not least, the brass stays pristine for exactly five minutes, after which it promptly begins to tarnish. It also imparts a metallic scent to your fingers upon contact. I have to point out that I am bothered by none of these (if anything the last one is a positive because it gets rid of the post-cooking garlic stench that even the strongest dishwashing solution is unable to remove from my fingertips) but I can understand how they can be an issue for some people.

At any rate, I am so very smitten with this pen that I immediately pounced on the copper version the moment it became available. The color is gorgeous, and I cannot wait to take it out for a spin (I did run into a bit of a problem because the 0.25 refill cartridge is a hair thicker than the normal ones for some reason, so they had to send me a replacement tip with a bigger hole). I think, I think I have all the pens I would ever need.


P.S. You can get the Ateleia brass pens at a discount right now on Massdrop.

No comments
26 June 2016

The Daily Face v2.0

Skincare


Over the last couple of years my key takeaway as far as my skin is concerned is that it is generally happier with less. For about a year or so I struggled with massive breakouts, and I tried so many products only to find that if I pared my routine down to include only the essentials it would all go away. Imagine how much I would have saved (both financially and emotionally) had I known this at the very beginning. Admittedly it's a challenge to stick to a bare-bones routine, what with the constant bombardment of anti-aging adverts but I figure it's easier to live with wrinkles rather than pock marks from acne.



Not in picture: my facial soap. At the moment I'm using this carrot soap that my aunts gave me (I was breaking out so bad that they took it upon themselves to try and fix it), but generally I'm happy with any normal foaming cleanser.

I'm happy to be reunited with Fancl's cleansing oil, and I hear they've reopened in Singapore as well which is awesome. Proactiv and SK-II, well, these need no introduction, no?

I wish I took a picture of my lashes before I started using the DHC lash serum, because while I feel it's working, I have no way to confirm if it is indeed effective or if it's all in my head :/

Last but not least: Curel Intensive Moisture Cream - the only Japanese moisturizer that ever worked for me. It's a very no-frills moisturizer which has seen me through winter and Singapore weather. Definitely a keeper.

Makeup


I try to keep my daily makeup routine short and sweet, all for the glory of ten more minutes of shut-eye. Also I find that the less products I pile on my face in the morning, the less haggard I look in the afternoon (I should probably do a midday touchup but ain't nobody got time for that).



The Temptu Air is the Chris Brown to my Rihanna - I hate how much I love it. I keep trying to go back to my other foundations, but not only is airbrush better aesthetically, it's also a lot more hygienic and less irritating to the skin (and I also have no brushes to wash every weekend). So let this serve as a warning, because THERE IS NO GOING BACK. I use the Lancome Hydra Glow primer as base, and do a quick dusting of the Nars light reflecting loose powder on top (I hated the pressed version btw, but this one I love).

The fact that I kept my Benefit Rockateur blush despite the horrid, bulky packaging is a testament to how good it is. I actually tried to look for dupes that aren't housed in a giant box with faux snakeskin print, but there is none to be found. It's like Chris Brown, Jr. Lately I've also been loving Nars Douceur, just because it's a very easy blush to wear and it goes with anything. It has, of course, been discontinued, because we can't have nice things. Seriously, Nars, first Napoli and then Descanso and now this. Why do you do this to me?

These days I've been keeping my brows fairly natural. I just got so fed up with the whole brows-on-fleek movement and seeing crazy chiseled brows everywhere that I started craving for normal, human brows. Well, that, and I've been really behind on the brow upkeep. Heh. Anyway I've just been filling them out with powder using this giant Hakuhodo eyebrow brush. I asked the lady at the counter for recommendations and she gave me this brush along with the promise that my brows are going to be ready with one swoosh. It's not going to give the most sculpted result, but that's kind the point, yes? I then set everything using this drugstore discovery called Brow Lash Ex which keeps everything intact for the entire day. I have no idea what's in it, but it's a miracle product, is what it is.

For lashes I usually go back and forth between the Shu and Shiseido lash curlers (today it's the former). I have switched mascara loyalties, however, and am now a big fan of the Heroine Make Volume and Curl. Like any Japanese mascara worth its salt, it's will absolutely not budge and holds a curl like nobody's business.

I'm not a very big lipstick wearer, although they are the most numerous of all the items in my makeup drawer (and I should probably do something about that). I just drink so much coffee throughout the day and I hate leaving a mark on the coffee cup (there is a song about this which will probably be on repeat in my head for the entire week). Recently though I have been liking Clarins lip oil, although to be honest I treat it more like a skincare product than makeup - I apply it first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. It imparts absolutely no color at all, and it's too shiny for my liking, but it has kept my lips really moisturized, much more so than a regular lip balm.

Not in picture: Nars creamy radiant concealer. I'm on my fifth or sixth tube, and I swear to God if Nars discontinues this I will raise hell.

PS Click here and here for v1.0.
No comments