Sunday, November 30, 2014

1 year of MIA!! Some life updates


Knock knock -
I'm peeking in my own blog to see if anyone is left here after a full year of no updates.

 
 
If you're still here, Hi! long time no talk!
Not sure how to start an entry anymore - blog-writing now feels so foreign to me.. 

I don't like wasting my time listening to other people talk about themselves, but just wanted to update everyone on what's been going on in my life for the past 12 months. Hopefully, this can get me back on track with a lot of things I've neglected online.. And hopefully, you will forgive me for going on and on about myself :p I promise, I won't have a Catalina-centric post like this anymore.


First half of 2014

Work and CES!
The year started off with CES, which is the biggest show in my industry (*cough cough* CE). I started working where I work in January 2013, right after CES 2013 was over, so this year was my first CES attendance. The show is held in Vegas annually, and I must say.. it was a brutal week in Vegas.  With CES over, I felt like I needed to freshen up a lot of things in my life. I started decluttering my surroundings and reorganized some structural elements in life.
With the new attitude in life, I began to obsess more and more about my work.
March - May was filled with back to back key customer meetings, all-nighters and weekend runs to work.


Second half of 2014

Traveling!!
I traveled so frequently this year, I ended up racking up 54,000 miles by just flying domestically.  At one point I was at the office only 8 days out of the entire month. I really enjoyed the traveling aspect of my job since all of the trips were short and sweet (3-5 days + 1 day padded entirely for up-in-the-air time) domestic traveling. I've been to places I'd never thought of paying to go myself and was able to squeeze in some touristy stuff after work. If you follow me on my twitter, you've probably seen all of my crazy check-ins all over the country.

So far this year, I've been to: San Francisco (2x), Bentonville, Las Vegas (3x), Atlanta (2x), St. Louis, Sacramento, Rogers, Monterey Bay, New York (3x), Stamford, Minneapolis, Dallas (2x), Salt Lake City, Anaheim, Phoenix (2x), Houston, Lake Charles and Raleigh.
** Of them all, my favorite place was Monterey Bay. If you haven't been, I highly recommend the place. I loved every minute of my stay at Monterey Bay.


Also, recently, I've put in my resignation letter at my work place to accept another opportunity at, let's say, Company B. I don't really recall having so much leverage while resigning a position through out my career like this time, it gave me a lot to think about my situation and my career goals. Long story short, with a lot of back and forth in between, I decided to make a U-turn and stay at my current company and had to tell Company B that I had changed my mind. Phew... that wasn't a pretty ending..



Anyway, as you can see, my life is pretty consumed with work. All I do is go to work M-F, sleep off the weekend, and repeat M-F again. Sounds boring, but I feel like I am racing towards my career peak and can't really think of slowing down. Physically it's draining, but hopefully, all the effort will pay off!
 Accidental selfie.. but a good look at my everyday expression. haha
Most of the time, I walk around with a dead/blank face like this.. ( ._.)..


I haven't abandoned my love for makeup and beauty - I still hoard like I've never hoarded before, and try to take going to work as an opportunity to dress up/make up within the 'office look' boundaries. I work in a male-dominated environment, so I feel somewhat free to put as much makeup as I want to since the 'boys' don't really seem to know how much is too much. If male/female were more balanced, I wouldn't have been able to rock my thick foundation and theatrical eye makeup at work. :p

  Camera totally softened the look, but I do the youtube-style full makeup at work :p


Most recent haul from Sephora.. 
Can't wait to try these out and share my thoughts with you guys :)
(also on instagram)


Vlogging: I stopped vlogging because someone who works very close to me figured out my vlog channel. I put my life out in public for the public to view, but wasn't really expecting one of the public to come back at my professional life and try to use my vlogs against me. I don't think there were any malicious intentions, but I started feeling very uncomfortable about my vlogs being referred to in open conversations (and this was during big meetings too :'(.. wahh..) and decided to abort. I still have clips throughout the year, but it will most likely end up as a yearly wrap up video..

I can keep going on and on, but don't want to bore you guys!

Hopefully, I will start posting regularly and more often than before. :)

Thanks for sticking by-

Catalina


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Acuvue 2 Define Vivid Style - Way Too Natural Color Lens


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I don't know if I should define these lenses as circle lenses as they have absolutely no enlarging effects on my eyes.

I feel like I'm growing out of color/circle lenses.  I still like them, but I feel extremely self-concious and weirded out if I wear them to work. I can pass with wearing them in videos, but when I'm talking to people I work with and see everyday, buggy looking eyes becomes an awkward thing that makes people raise their eyebrows.  I've worn brown colored lenses to work a handful of times, and everytime someone had to innocently (?) point out how weird my eyes looked.

I still like to add a bit of jazz to my eyes, so I was in the search of "THE most natural looking lens out there".  I was able to narrow my choices down to two. One was Acuvue define products or freshlook illuminate products.

I decided to try out the Acuvue Define Vivid styles first.  I already wear regular Acuvue contacts, so I had some confidence in ordering Vivid style lenses.

Here's some illustrative pieces I grabbed from the web. Acuvue Define Lenses are Asia exclusive and designed for Asian eyes (I believe).

As you can see, the products in this line aren't really geared towards enlarging your eyes like circle lenses; they are more for adding definition to your eyes. 


I ordered one box for each eye. I got Acuvue 2 (which means 2 weeks wear, Acuvue daily is for daily disposable lenses) Define in Vivid Style. There are six separate lenses per box, which will last you for 3 months. I thought the store was in the states, but my lenses came from Korea (hence the Korean instructions on the back).



The lens is the size of a regular contact lens. There's a brown ring with seaweed-like spikes going inward. The brown color is very similar to a typical dark brown eye color.

So here's my eyes with the contacts on... the lenses do pretty much nothing to my eyes. No enlarging - the diameter is pretty much the same as my iris, so it's almost TOO natural for me.


Here's a on and off comparison.
There's an ounce of difference, but the effect is so subtle.


Comfort : The lenses seemed thin, but I wouldn't recommend it to people with dry or sensitive eyes.  My eyes started tugging and drying out by mid-day.  I felt discomfort throughout the day and kept thinking of eye drops. By 5:00pm, I was developing a headache and was in dire need to take out the lenses.


Natural-look : On my eyes, they look overly natural. Also, when I move my eyes around rapidly, the lens tend to shift and take some time to come back to place. Drifting on one eye is more severe than the other. I felt the lens falling off-center a couple of times throughout the day. 



Color : Man, they nailed it with the color. If you have regular Asian dark-brown eyes, these will blend straight in with your eye color. If you look at the picture above, I've upped the contrast and the color difference between my eye color and the lens is still hard to tell.


Urmm.. here's a full face shot of me with the contacts on LOL
Yeah, I know I packed on a lot of pounds, hence the tiny picture size :p heh.. (gonna work out ._. hmph!)


If you want that K-Pop Idol-esque lens look (like Jessica below) - here's your solution for you.


Not to contradict myself - going back up to the third paragraph of this post, I did say I was in search of THE most natural looking lens out there (excluding regular contacts), so I do have to say I have accomplished my mission.  I'm just not sure if that mission was what I really wanted..

Next stop will probably be the Freshlook Illuminate lenses (also Asia exclusive).


Anyway, what do you guys think? Was it worth 70-some odd dollars for 3 months of these lenses?


Let me know your thoughts ;)

Catalina



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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sephora VIB sale unboxing + San Francisco


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I finally opened my box! yay!!
I've been traveling and busy with work, and had my VIB sales box sitting for the longest time.

When I got my VIB offer in the mail, I was thinking of hoarding my skincare products, but they were all blocked out from the sale (MAP violation policies, perhaps), and only a handful of brands were actually available. I didn't see much that were eye-grabbing, but managed to add a couple of things into my basket.

Most of the stuff are skincare products.


I wasn't really thinking of any particular brand when I was putting items into my cart, but Origin has dominated this time.



Let's start with the Plantscription SPF25 Oil-Free Anti-aging Cream



Seems like it's made with all the goodies one could ask for. No Parabens, animal ingredients (very nice!), synthethic ingredients, etc., while offering SPF, Anti-aging NAD oil-free all in one cream! Sounds like a miracle cream! :D



I based my purchase mostly on reviews at Sephora's website and overall it seemed like a well loved product.  I have yet to used it, but I was very surprised at the thickness of the cream when I opened the lid (see above picture). More in-dept review will follow once I finish my Nars moisturizer and start using this one.


Next is also a skin care product : FAB First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream


I've tried First Aid Beauty's shaving cream that was in one of my glossy boxes (you can read a brief review here), but it never led me to investigate other products from the brand. I recognized the brand while browsing and saw this product pop up. After reading glowing reviews of the product, I decided to give it a try. It was really cheap for the amount offered too ($28.00 for 6.0 oz).

Most of the reviews testified that this cream helped with their flaky, dry patches. One person even said that it helped even out her combination, weird skin type.  I'm usually very easily persuaded by reviews, so I went ahead and decided to give it a try. This too has an extremely thick, whipped texture.


I've tried it on my dry areas on my cheeks a couple times, and so far, I'm not seeing the miraculous results others are seeing. I do like the fact that this isn't greasy and absorbs quickly, but I don't think it's a reparative cream (at least for me). I'm a huge skeptic and tend to be on the criticizing side when it comes to reviewing products, so we will have to see. Maybe I'll be blown away as I keep using this cream! :D


Next is the Sephora Exclusive Origins Value Set.



I bought it mostly because there's a full sized eye cream in it.
I haven't used any of the products except the eye cream - and I must say I really like it! It's smooth and soft, rather light-feeling when scooped out of the jar. However, the cream settles in really quickly and has a secure, thick build around the eye area that locks in the moisture. I love how my under eye area is soft and moist when I wake up, compared to dry and puffy when I don't put eye cream on at night.

So far, my first impressions on Origin products is positive.

Also, I always try to use my Beauty Insider points whenever I make a purchase, so this time I opted to get Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial Deluxe, along with my three free samples. 


Also, a sephora lip bag was thrown in :) along with a colorful birdie! LOL


To conclude, I feel like I've figured out a new great brand.
I'm super excited about Origins - I know, I'm always late on the good stuff, but I like the feeling of figuring things out by trial and error instead of blindly hoping on a bandwagon. Not that the bandwagon is always bad or anything.. ;)

Anyway,
Happy belated Thanksgivings to you all and I will see you guys in my next post!

Cheers!


PS,
Here are some pictures from my latest business trip to San Francisco..

I was there for two nights and the day I arrived was the day the weather decided to go ape sh*t and start pouring like never before.  I conducted business through the second day and had a couple of spare hours to walk around the city and go to Boudin Bistro to have dinner. It would've been nice to meet up with my college roommate, but she too was traveling and the trip was a short notice anyway, so I had some quality Catalina-time. :p
I haven't been to the bay area for almost ten years, so good and bad memories came back as I walked through the chilly city.







 A lot of sourdough bread pics, but haha, that's what Boudin is famous for ;)






The day I was leaving, I decided to take a long route to SFO and stop by the Golden Gate Bridge to snap some photos. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the pictures came out so beautifully.  Should I have known my flight was going to be delayed 4 times (Delta? cough cough), I would've stayed longer and enjoyed the view more.

Below pictures were taken from Battery Spencer (north side of the GGB), which I think is the BEST spot to enjoy the bridge.  You see the city, Alcatraz AND the bridge all at once. All you have to do is come down from Richmond - take 101 south and as soon as you come out of the tunnel, make a sharp right, and then left (towards Hawk Hill), and bamb! you're at the Battery Spencer.

 First site when you come out of the tunnel down the 101 from Richmond - OMG, I screamed out of excitement when I saw the tip of the bridge. It feels like it's right in front of you in real life. I've never taken this route to see the bridge before, so it was so exciting for some reason. :p


Took my birdies (cut out) for their instagram account. It was so hard getting them, the bridge and everything into a tight square.

The traveling penguin also went! :)



..And, I present the Golden Gate Bridge :)
It was such a beautiful day. So perfect, I loved every moment of my time at the Battery Spencer. 

Hope you guys enjoyed this post - see ya'll in the next one :)

Catalina



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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Impressions : Wet n' Wild Lipstick Haul + Swatches


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I've gotta admit - I haven't been up to date with drugstore brands, and I was blown away when I was able to purchase 14 lipsticks with 30 bucks! You can't even buy two MAC lipsticks with that money o_O (..well, tax and everything kicks up the price from $15/ea)!

All inclusive cost was $30.35! woo-hoo!

I'm always on the hunt for good lipstick and I stumbled upon someone's review on the Wet n' Wild megalast lipsticks. With Walgreens having a 'Buy 1, get 1 half off' deal, I was able to pick out all the shades that tickled my interest without worrying about my wallet shrinking.

Initially, I ordered 16 lipsticks, but 2 were out of stock and I only received 14 in the mail.
5 MegaShield Lipcolor lipsticks and 9 MegaLast lipsticks.



Let's start with the five MegaShield Lip Colors.

First off, the packaging is atrocious... After pealing off layers and layers of packaging and tape, I was able to open up the plastic clear tops.
The colors are absolutely gorgeous, but the quality of the packaging is total garbage.. All of the lipsticks were smeared on the wall of the tube and I was constantly worried I was going to break the steam. Other than the packaging quality, the swatch quality and pigmentation is an absolute delight. 
The formula is extremely creamy and opaque, and it doesn't have the dry feel that some lipsticks have. 

When I was looking at colors online, I thought 'Within These Adobe Walls' was going to be the winner, but in real like I love 'It's a Girl' and 'A Current Affair'
Lovely, lovely! These were a dollar more expensive than the MegaLast lipsticks, but I think it's totally worth the extra dollar splurge!


Next is the MegaLast lipsticks (9 total). 


Again, the packaging......
Oh. My. Goodness.
I have never in my life seen such inconsistent packaging, ever!
The shape of the bottles were all different and the amount of stick showing was all over the place too. Most of the lipsticks managed to smear off the color on the inner part of the clear top. Dollhouse Pink came as a defect and doesn't even go up or down...


Oye, BUT! After going through the shock of the bad quality packaging, I took a deep breathe and started swatching the lipsticks on my wrist. I have to say, I really like the pigmentation and the thick consistency. 
The formula is matte, but not in a dry way.  The colors aren't as harsh as they seem in the tube. If you aren't sure about the application, these could work great with a lipstick brush too!

All colors in 3 layers

Out of them all, my top choices are 'Mauve Outta Here', "Smokin' Hot Pink' and 'Purty Persimmon'. I have pretty pale skin, so bold vivid colors tend to bring life to my face..


I purposely didn't swatch them on my lips because I still want to do individual reviews of all of these colors. Well, not just these lipsticks, but all of my lipsticks are on my 'To-Review' list. ;)


Anyway - my first impression of these lipsticks is..

It was worth the wait!! (for the package to be delivered :p)
The products lived up to my expectation and I am super excited to try these out and share my thoughts!

I will update you guys whenever I get to try out a shade for a whole day (or a couple of days). 


Let me know what shades you guys are interested in! :)


Catalina


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