Sunday, February 27, 2011

Befine Night Cream

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I never used to apply night creams/serums before. I thought it was more important just to properly wash your face at night and apply sunscreen/moisturizers in the morning. Boy, was I wrong! When you sleep, your body doesn't stop working...heck it sometimes it goes into overtime [hence, why it is called beauty sleep!]. It restores your body's natural balance and repair damage cells, for example.

This potent night cream is packed with Rice Bran, Millet and Cocoa.   The caffeine in cocoa increases circulation and makes skin radiant. Iris Florentina extracts smooths fine lines. Rice bran improves skin's elasticity and support collagen growth. While the rice bran oil contains Vitamin E that nourishes your skin.

After using the night cream, I woke up to softer and smoother skin. My skin appeared more radiant  and fresh. People are constantly asking me, what is my secret to great skin. I simply say, "beauty rest", which is technically true, but no one needs to know I have one more secret ingredient.


Moroccanoil Oil Treatment

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This oil treatment has a cult following all of its own. And it is no wonder! This fast absorbing oil leaves your hair silky smooth.It also help protect against the frizzes and detangles your hair.[Talk about multitasking!] Apply this oil treatment to freshly washed hair or few drops when necessary to revive your hair. You might think twice about applying oil to newly washed hair, but don't worry, it will not make your hair more oily. It will only make your hair feel and look more healthy. After trying this treatment, you will want to dedicate a bit of space to it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bookswim: Rent books Netflix Style

One day sitting in the train with my normal 2 hour commute to work still ahead of me, I wondered if there was such a thing as book rentals program, like how there was Netflix for DVDs. After a quick Google search, I came across this site,

It seemed like a promising idea. And immediately signed up for an devout reader account. Under the devout reader account plan I am allowed to have out 11 books for roughly $60 a month [ a bit steep! - Click here for pricing for other plans ] I have to return 6 books in each package to get my next shipment. Free shipping is included both ways, along with no late fees or due dates like Netflix

The program itself is promising, but it had some big flaws that which I am debating  whether or not to cancel my subscription before the renewal date.  A bit more on the website, there is a database in which available to search for books. I personally, didn't like the layout on searching for books. It was messy and very hard to navigate. Even though, the company boasted thousands of books available,  it didn't seem like a big selection was available when I first skimmed through for my book selections. They might have more books available, but it could have been that terrible navigation which made it very difficult to find more books. 

Bookswim has this reccommendation feature very close to Netflix's "Movie you will love", but Bookswim's version is nowhere as good or accurate as Netflix's version. Their reccomendation feature kept reccommending books I already had in my pool [think of it as a queue], or books that I had no interest in. I mostly added new book releases since they didn't have that wide of a selection in classics. Instead of getting more new book releases, I kept getting recommendations for children's book, which I had none of in my queue nor did I read any of their summaries. 

Another negative, is that when I added the books to my pool I already put the books in the order in which I wanted to read them. When they shipped my first shipment, it sent my books in a complete fumbled order! I put the entire Sookie Stackhouse in numeric order and instead got book 1, 4, 6 and 10. I got an email couple of days later asking to pick the books I wanted for my next shipment for them to put aside, so when they got my return package they can mail those out [a nice feature, which guarantees the availability of the books in top of your pool]. And boy did they do the same crap again, this time I got every book in the collection except book 3. Keep in mind, under the plan I have, I must return at least 6 books to get my next shipment.  I reordered my pool and hopefully this time it stays that way!

If you wondering, they do ship out books in mediocre speed. I guess if you pay the expedited shipping option you would get your books more faster [which is total rip!] I took them a whole week for them to process my return shipment [and when I checked the tracking number for my shipment, it said no one was there to accept my can no one bookswim accept my package??] and send out my new package. They do by the way, provide free shipping both ways and provide the shipping bag to send back the books. But the first mailer they sent me was to big for the books I sent back since it was mostly paperbacks I had ordered, but the second mailer [apparently the mailer does come in different sizes] is too small for all the hardcover books I ordered. I wonder how do they choose which size mailer to send to you with your shipment.

I believe do Bookswim, is a good program but it has many flaws that needs to be addressed. I think the book rental might be good for people who don't live near any bookstores or libraries. I might continue my subscription, but I believe the rental fee is a bit to high. Here in NYC, there is this awesome bookstore called Strand, where you can get second hand books as cheap as fifty cents and brand new books very deeply discounted. If you are wondering, most of the books are were very used and some seem to be recycle from libraries [with library seals still attached -- I wonder if it was stolen?]. If you really do like the book, you do have the option of buying the book as well at a discounted price.
My first shipment

PS: If you are interested in joining, get your first month under any plan for only $9.95. Enter code 'allplans995'


Clean and Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser

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A no-frills [and cheap!] cleanser that should be a staple in everyone's beauty regime. It lather fairly well and does not leave the skin feeling dry. This oil-free cleanser contains triclosan, which is known for bacteria killing properties. I usually rotate this cleanser every other day with my traditional anti-aging ingredients enrich cleanser, since it is gentle on the skin without any harsh additives.

Wei East Golden Root Renewal™ Revitalizing Mud

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I love how radiant this mud leaves my face! My skin feels smoother, softer and my skin tone. improved. It feels like I just went to the spa, without having to leave my home!  Use the included brush for smooth an even application.  I wished it was more easier to remove this mask. Even with a warmed cloth  it is still quite difficult to remove and boy was it messy! It is recommended to be applied once a week. The mask dries in roughly 10-15 minutes  and should be washed off. The formula is formulated with radiant golden root and other natural extracts.    It could be used as deep pore cleansing treatment.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cake Beauty Strawberry Shortcake

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I cannot think of a more appropriate cherish childhood icon that Strawberry Shortcake to be apart of Cake Beauty's limited edition line [and most delish way of celebrating 30 years]. The name alone, Strawberry Shortcake, makes you think of abandoning that horrible diet, and indulging in that sweet tasty oh-so-soft pieces of cake...[Oops, I got a bit side-tracked!]..or reminisce about fond childhood memories.. [of cake most probably]

The limited edition line include hand cream, shower gel, body butter and very coveted lip butter all fabulously adorned with Strawberry Shortcake herself. The collection is smells like warm vanilla cake with a generous helping of cream and strawberries. What a guilt-free way to indulge!

P.S. Any order over $75 gets free shipping automatically!

Photo Credit: - Hand Creme

Photo Credit: - Bath and Shower Suds
Photo Credit: - Lip Butter
Photo Credit: - Body Butter

2/19/2011 Updated:  Apparently, this limited edition is only available to Canadian customers. Bummer.

Pomega5 Daily Revitalizing Concentrate


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When I first came across this concentrate, I thought it was a supplement at the very worst a suppository. Thank god, it wasn't! Instead it is a little capsule in which you twist off the smaller end and apply the oil either directly to the skin/fingertips and spreading it out thoroughly. It is directed to apply twice daily on a clean face, preferably in morning and night. You can follow up with your traditional moisturizer if necessary.

Even though putting oil on your skin might seem to be asking for breakouts, it actually has a host of benefits.  Oils are known for having antiseptic properties, help alleviate redness and dryness along with minimizing pore size. Each capsule is packed with 60% pomegranate seed oil, omega 5, Calendula oil, Rosehip oil, jojoba oil and Grapefruit oil that hydrate, smooth, and brighten your skin.

I like the way the oil is packaged, but I hate how difficult it was for me to open without something sharp. Most of the times, I wasted a capsule trying to twist it open. It was fairly easy to apply and it absorbed relatively quickly into the skin. I do not have oily skin, but I only use this concentrate nightly, given that I see some of the oil still glowing on my skin in the morning. The oil is very moisturizing and has nice light smell, and not the cod liver smell that the concentrate resembles. I would reccommend starting with a small of concentrate and work your way up if necessary.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rosie Jane Lip Dew – Elderberry

I love the sweet packaging this lip dew came in. It came in a little pink box wrapped up in a white satin bow.  It was like opening up a little present. The lip dew is moisturizing and has a very delicious vanilla cupcake smell and taste. The formula is not sticky and leaves subtle light pink nude gilt on the lips. It can either be worn alone or on top of your favorite lip color. The dew is packed with softening shea butter and  conditioning beeswax. Even after you lick the delicious gloss off your lips [trust me, the temptation is hard to beat]; your lips are still soft. The only downside is that the no matter how tightly I close the cap there are always some gloss around the edges of the applicator. I am not sure if I just bought a defective tube or that is how it is made. Either way, that little defect won’t stop me from buying this again.
The set the lip dew came in

A nice pink bronze color

A better view of the color

Sweetriot Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nibs - Flavor 70

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One hundred percent lightly roasted dark cacao enveloped in 70% dark chocolate with a hint of espresso. Each little 'peaces' has roughly 1 or 2 calories, while the whole container itself  is only 140 calories. Each little container is chocked full of antioxidants, as much as blueberries!  The nibs are gmo-free, dairy-free, kosher, gluten-free and sourced responsibly. Each tin is also specially designed by artist and are limited edition. Inside each tin, are fun facts where the cacao was sourced, even though it reminded me of a fortune cookie [lucky numbers included].

The nibs have a strong dark chocolate/espresso taste. They also left a bitter taste in my mouth after consuming. The nibs were not that great tasting, but I found myself addicted to the crunchy texture. As an added bonus, it did help that it has only 6 grams of sugar along with being packed antioxidants, so really it was  like having healthy  treat [even if it is not, I like to tell myself that it is]. If you are fan of dark chocolate or coffee, then you should try it!

1 Year Magazine Subscription for $5.99

I already extended my subscriptions =] It's a great deal given that one of my subscriptions ran me close to $15. So what are you waiting for start shopping! [P.S. This makes a cheap gift for anyone on your list for Valentines Day]


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Phyto Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm

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I have tried tons of hair straighteners, anti-frizz serums, detanglers and countless mask applications. Nothing work as great as this did for me! It left my hair so soft, silky, less fizzy and shiny, that I just can't stop playing with my hair! This balm is applied to wet hair and make sure to comb out your hair to ensure that the product is  on evenly otherwise, it leaves little white patches of product in your hair. You can also continue with style as normal. This all natural balm is packed with plant mucilage, ferula, horseradish, sage and chamomile that moisturizes, smooths, straighten, and softens your hair.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stop Motion Animation

Finally managed to get my first post up! My posts will probably be a bit different from Andreas. Probably longer, and dealing with movies, videogames, tv series, or other things media. My goal is to put a spotlight on things, give you an introductions to them, and hopefully leave you with a sense of whether it's interesting enough that you want to go out of your way to sample it.

Today: Stop Motion Animation.

Stop motion animation is really a way of recording stuff, rather than a genre on it's own. These days, it's commonly recorded using digital still cameras with many animators taking pictures of dolls in parallel, but it can really be done in a lot of ways.

Here's a fun example of stop motion animation:

At 2:30 in the video, in particular, the video is very stop-motion'y, but there's also elements of slow-motion and time-lapsing, which are different photography techniques used for making video without recording video.

Generally, the sound for stop motion is added in post-production, and the general feel of stop motion films is sligtly alien while also feeling very real, since you can tell it's all pictures taken in reality, but it's mixed in a fashion that's quite unreal. The visual quality of what you're looking at really depends on the quality of the dolls and backgrounds themselves, or occasionally, on how much control the animators have over the scene, as is the case in the ok-go video.

Some of my favorite stop motion animation:

Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, a stop-motion "doll" film from 1975, produced in Norway, where it has sold more tickets than the total population. It's an absolute classic. It actually features a few parts were the dolls are live-animated, and some absolutely staggeringly impressive rube-goldberg contraptions. Particularly notable is perhaps the fact that the characters were designed in several different sizes, allowing for great detail both as the main character is sitting at his desk working, and as he's parttaking in a car race.

The Nightmare Before Christmas, a stop motion musical film from 1993, with story by Tim Burton. One of Andreas favorite movies as well, this is 100% stop motion. Blending stop motion with the musical genre was a risky idea that really paid off. I can highly encourage anyone to give this a look.

Corpse Bride, a spiritual followup to the nightmare before christmas, released in 2005, is one of the first feature films to be filmed entirely on still camera. Previous stop-motion usually used silver-film from typical movie-cameras, rigged to only capture one frame at a time, and the change shows. The visual fidelity is incredible, to the point where it's easy to doubt just how what you're watching came about.

Wallace and Gromit, a series of british claymation animation. Claymation is a specific kind of stop motion animation, in which clay covers parts of or the entirety of the dolls used. it's able to give a look of incredible polish, and allows transitions to be incredibly smooth, making the animation itself look beautiful, even if each frame doesn't have nearly as much beauty on it's own. The Wallace and Gromit name covers 3 shorts and a feature length film, and the focus is very much on rube goldberg machines and comedy.

Mary and Max, an australian claymation production, dealing with serious issues like alcoholism and mental illness. While it has tragic elements, it's probably more reasonable to call it a drama-comedy. Strangely, the claymation helps the movie from becomming too dark, and ultimately I was left feeling content and happy after watching it.

Robot Chicken, which is really a sketch-show that makes fun of anything and everything, but particularly so 80es childrens television and pop culture. It's been running for 5 seasons, but since stop motion is a time-consuming format to produce in, each new season appears a year or more apart. Seth Green handles production and maybe as much as a 4th of the voice acting himself, and the project uses around 10-15 concurrent animation booths. The show airs on adult swim, but you'll probably need to see an episode yourself to find out if it's for you, since it relies very heavily on geeky references.

And that's about it ! I hope I've helped give a light overview of what stop-motion is, and i hope you'll want to give one of the titles I mentioned a look!