Category Archives: Reviews

SUMMER RECAP: Cosplayholic

Just like last year, I took a break from blogging for a few months – I mean, summer IS the prime season for social events and outdoor activities. But apart from that, it gave me the opportunity to dabble in a side job, reprioritize my life, set aside some much-needed time for myself, and improve some aspects of my lifestyle that I wasn’t satisfied with. But since I can’t recap my entire summer in a single post, I’ve decided to do a series of entries to get all my followers caught up. Enjoy! :)

Cosplayholic is an eBay shop (with an impressive positive feedback score) that I had been eyeing for months. Since I know many of my readers are comparison shoppers like myself, I wanted to share an honest and detailed narrative of my purchasing experience with this seller.

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My boyfriend and I decided to order the custom-tailored Tidus and Songstress Yuna outfits, since we had two events coming up – my annual trip to New Jersey for AnimeNext and a Final Fantasy themed rave in Brooklyn called Vinyl Fantasy IV. We sent Cosplayholic our measurements and paid the outrageous shipping costs, thinking it would be worth it. Unfortunately, my bank thought the order was fraudulent and activated a chargeback – which would take several weeks to process, even after I cancelled it.

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Since the convention was approaching soon, I made an agreement with the seller to pay the $220+ total again via PayPal while the chargeback was processing, and in the event that the money would get taken out of my bank account a second time, they would return it to me. Yes, I know that the terms of agreement on eBay specifically state that they are not held responsible for arrangements done independently of their site. So I took the risk, thinking the seller was trustworthy.

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When the costumes arrived in the mail several weeks later, we were pleased to find that both fit perfectly and looked just like the photos in the listing. (They even included a note in the package that asked us to leave them positive feedback, since they’re feeding their families in China with the money they make from their cosplay shop, and any store below a certain score is banned from making any more transactions.) It was a personal decision for me to wear a different skirt, since I thought the one included was too long. Nonetheless, we received many compliments at both events – so I’m not taking a jab at the quality of their products at all.

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Now fast forward a little over a month later, where the cancelled chargeback was finished processing and I am charged a second time for my order. Despite our agreement, Cosplayholic denies receiving the second payment. After many phone calls and messages between me, my bank, and PayPal – the consensus was that the seller did receive the money. After threatening to file a dispute with them through my bank, and giving them both PayPal transaction numbers as proof of my payments, they CONVENIENTLY only responded back to me once a week – promising they would return my money but never actually doing it until months later. Ultimately, it took them from April until September to return $220+ to me even though I was messaging them every week. I do not recommend them, the customer service is a nightmare.
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Blonde Envy

aka “How to go from dark brown to light blonde at home for under $50.”

I do admit that from time to time, I feel a pang of inadequacy because of my natural dark hair, skin, and eyes. Especially since two of my closest girlfriends are gorgeous blondes, I often find myself feeling so mediocre next to them. I suppose society’s standard of beauty is to blame, but I genuinely enjoy bleaching my hair every once in a while for a change of pace. :)

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There are varying opinions of Asian women with blonde hair. The general consensus always  seems to be,”It’s just not natural.” I disagree. Sometimes, it’s pulled off well. And other times, it’s just a disaster. It all has to do with skin tone, and finding the perfect shade for you. This time, I wanted to reach a cooler almost-platinum blonde instead of golden/strawberry blonde.

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The new Fèria Absolute Platinum in Extreme Platinum sounded promising when I first laid eyes on it. Unfortunately, it only lifted my hair a few shades lighter from dark brown to a medium orange-brown. It was at this point that I was getting frustrated with my reluctant strands, and went for a brand I’ve been wanting to try out forever.

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Palty is known for being very effective on dark, thick, Asian hair. It doesn’t hurt that the packaging is downright adorable, as well. I’ve read tons of online reviews, and was thankful to find a huge selection hidden in a beauty store at my local “Chinatown”, Flushing. I thought the most appropriate shade would be Super Flash Sparkling Blonde.

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It was a bit pricey at $13 per box, and I needed two.. but my hair successfully lifted more significantly. I have to admit that I felt a mild burning sensation on my scalp during the process. But I suppose that’s the price you have to pay for beauty. It came out a lovely golden blonde with brassy undertones. As you can see in the photo below, my ends are already getting fried. :X

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Unfortunately, I’m very hard to please and wanted to get rid of the orange tones completely. So I counteracted it with a cool blonde shade, Garnier Nutrisse: #82 Champagne Blonde (Champagne Fizz). I was going to get the lighter, White Chocolate shade, but couldn’t find it anywhere. :/ I was happy with how it came out, though. I got a lot of compliments at work. :P

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But after a month, my roots were already growing out and the brassiness was coming back. So I picked up two boxes of Garnier Nutrisse: #100 Extra Light Natural Blonde (Chamomile) to touch it up a bit. And to be honest, I’m in love with the results. It’s the perfect medium between warm and cool, and matches my skin tone pretty well.

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As you can see in this photo, I’m almost as blonde as my beautiful friend Kristiana. <3 I’m in dire need of a trim, though. My strands feel like straw, which I’ve been trying to nurse back to health with lots of deep conditioner and by only flat-ironing my hair on the weekends and special occasions. Next month, I might just get my roots and highlights done professionally. Because the bottom line is that as much as I love doing my own hair, I could have just saved myself all the trouble and went to a salon. The extra money would have been well worth it, given the hassle I went through. x_x

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Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil

As a BzzAgent, I’m able to test out new products released by brands that I already love! In this case, I was sent a free bottle of the new Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil. I’m already a long-time fan of their hair dye line and have also recently started using their straightening heat protectant spray, so being picked for this campaign was a pleasant surprise. :) Marketed as an everyday multi-purpose product for hair, body, and face, this weightless formula absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave an oily residue. It combines three different oils: olive, avocado, and shea.

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Olive oil moisturizes, protects, and replenishes your dry hair, improving its strength and elasticity. You face and body benefit from antioxidants that help protect against skin damage. Avocado oil is loaded with Vitamin E, and protects against dryness while locking in color and moisture to keep your hair looking radiant and silky soft. The oil’s natural hydrating abilities promote soft and supple skin, too. Shea oil is known for heaving unique healing properties. It rejuvenates damaged hair and leaves it with a healthy shine. It’s also a great moisturizer that helps improve elasticity in skin. –Garnier Fructis

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Since I’ve been embracing my natural hair lately, and choose to air-dry instead of blow-dry, I could always use some extra moisture. After using this product every morning for a week.. I noticed that it was shinier, my waves were more defined, my dry ends didn’t feel as brittle, and my locks were overall softer.

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TIPS:

1) Do not apply directly into your hair. Especially your bangs. The product is very heavy and soaks in really quickly, so it won’t get distributed evenly and you’ll just end up looking greasy. If you have medium/long hair like me, two spritzes into your palm will be enough. Rub your hands together, and run them through your damp hair at least three inches from your scalp in a downward massaging motion. Once your hair has dried and you still think it could use some extra moisture or softness, do not use more than one spritz to touch up. A little goes a long way!

2) If you have oily and/or acne-prone skin, do not apply onto your face. Not for extended periods of time, at least. I didn’t even risk it, since I know that I break out really easily. If you have dry skin on other parts of your body, though, I highly recommend this. It’s a lot more lightweight than other similar oil-based products, and gives a healthy glow. Since I love showing off my legs in the warmer seasons, I can imagine myself using a little bit of this to accentuate them in shorts/skirts/dresses. :P
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Reds Never Stay ;_;

Since my post on the Garnier Nutrisse: R3 Light Intense Auburn had become really popular over the past two years, I figured that I’d become a redhead again. Easier said than done. My first attempt with Garnier Nutrisse: #56 Medium Reddish Brown (Sangria) last month resulted in a very dark burgundy brown that only looked red in strong sunlight, and faded almost immediately within 2 or 3 washes. I’m not even going to provide photos; not worth it.

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Thankfully, my second attempt the other week with L’Oreal Féria: R57 Intense Medium Auburn (Cherry Crush) was a bit more successful. Although not as vibrant as I would like, it came out more of a deep mahogany. Again, the color didn’t stay for very long. Now it’s faded to a very warm dark brown with red undertones, getting lighter towards the ends. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

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My new endeavor is to find out how I can manage the dip-dye hair trend at home. Sure, there are plenty of excellent DIY tutorials on YouTube and several of my favorite blogs. But if done wrong, I can seriously look like a ratchet mess. Which is why I’m considering getting it professionally done at a salon come mid-Spring. Here are some photos of Jamie Chung rocking her beautiful ombre locks. I’m still deciding whether I want my gradient to go from black to brown, or brown to blonde. What do you guys think?

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And while we’re on the topic of red, I was invited to a wedding this May and was perusing around the interwebz for a fancy dress. Although a little too formal for the occasion in question, I came across this high-low gown that is definitely drool-worthy! I’m a sucker for bold, contrasting underlay fabric that tastefully peeks through. I can actually imagine myself wearing this while working some Latin ballroom magic of the dance floor. *sigh* It’s a shame that it costs upwards of $300. x_x So my search continues for something less extravagant, but equally as stunning. Until next time! ^.^

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Miss KL Haul

I can’t resist a good sale. Especially when already discounted items are 33% off. I’ve always been a fan of the urban chic style on Karma Loop and ever since they released their ladies-only website Miss KL, I have been lusting for their amazing collection of clothing and accessories. Since everything is usually too pricey for me, I jumped at my chance to order while the promotion was still available. ;)

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The Bangle Set, $22.00 $8.54 // The More Action Necklace, $20.00 $8.54

I’ve finally accepted that gold and bronze jewelry compliment my skin tone better than silver. (About time, huh?) And since I already have slim wrists, I figured that these thin bangles would make them look even daintier. Shortly after opening my package, though, I found they were a little loose around my wrists. It’s not too inconvenient, but I can always wear them as armbands like those exotic depictions of Greek Goddesses and Egyptian Queens in older films. ;D

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The bullet necklace was exactly what I had been expecting, but I was surprised that the chain can be adjusted into a headband as well! :o Definitely need to try that out sometime. :P And I was able to score this Betsey Johnson ring for 75% off because there was only one left in stock. I was hoping that “one size fits all” would be accurate in this case, since the band is stretchy. But it’s a tad too loose on my middle finger – not enough to fall off completely, though.

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Betsey Johnson Ring, $45.00 $11.85 // Feather & Lace Headband $8.00 $5.28

I do admit that this headband was purchased purely on a whim because I thought it looked fancy. >.<; Excuse my derp face, but I was a little uncomfortable with how stiff the lace on the headband is. I suppose it helps keep the shape, but since it hangs down onto my face a bit, I find it a little itchy. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent accessory to spice up an otherwise plain outfit. It reminds me of femme fatale inspired fashion, you know? I actually plan to wear it to a rave this upcoming weekend, if I can put together a killer outfit to match! :D

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Next up.. some of you already know from my previous posts that I’m a sucker for sexy lingerie – especially when it can double purpose as a cute top underneath a cardigan or blazer. I tend to only purchase pieces with underwire, since my figure isn’t very cooperative with flimsier styles like babydolls. Appropriately, while I was adding this bustier to my shopping bag, these tights showed up in the “Recommended For You” sidebar and it was love at first sight. :3

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Vintage Mix Bustier, $34.00 $13.17 // Black Chain Tights, $14.00 $9.24

I ordered the bustier in Medium, and it fits like a glove. My favorite part about it? It has amazing push-up abilities. I swear my cleavage looked a whole cup size larger! >.<; There are several rows of tiny hook-and-eye clasps running up the back like a corset to adjust the sizing, and the fabric is actually more vivid and less sheer than suggested in the photo. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, and the garters are removable. :D

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No photoshop, I swear. I think I’m actually getting more toned? :o

As for the tights, they’re a bit inconvenient to pull on because you need to be careful not to accidentally poke holes through the sheer part of them. The opaque part of the tights are actually really thick and feel like leggings. I think it’s cute that it looks looks like you’ve layered thigh-highs over the stockings. Additionally, the chain-garter illusion and ribbons are a nice touch. :P

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The Black Deck, $10.00 $6.60 // Tokidoki Polpettina Vinyl Toy, $12.00 $5.25

And just because I’m a spontaneous online shopper, I bought my boyfriend the coolest pack of cards. We often find ourselves at a friend’s house wanting to play Crazy Eights but can never find a deck, so at least we’ll be prepared next time. XD Lastly, I thought this tokidoki vinyl toy would make a great addition to the others that I’ve received as presents from friends. :)

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Overall, I’m impressed with how fast Miss KL ships. My package arrived in only four business days after placing the order, and all items were true to the photos on the website. I would definitely recommend shopping here if it’s your kind of style, but only when they’re having sales like this one. Until next time! ^.^
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SABRINA by Dr. Martens

It’s no secret that I’m a bargain hunter. I’m really not the type to spend over $20 on a pair of flats/sandals, or more than $40 on a pair of heels/boots. But a few weeks ago, I discovered a sale on a pair of black lace-up cutout wedge booties by Dr. Martens that was too good to pass up. Originally retailing for $120, the SABRINA model was limited in sizing and was a steal for only $60. <3

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Every fashion-forward individual should already be familiar with Doc Martens and their reputation for quality leather footwear. (They’ve been around forever, after all.) Which is why I think these shoes were a great investment. Doc Martens are known to endure all kinds of weather, and thus be able to last many years. But what makes them different?

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For one, the rubber soles are much thicker than the average shoe, so they cushion and absorb the shock of every footstep. They don’t crack like cheaper imitators, either. Second, the soles are cemented instead of glued – making it highly unlikely for them to separate from the upper. Third, their leather is the real deal. Unlike fake leather, it doesn’t scratch as easily or create permanent wrinkles after the first few wears. And although a bit stiff at first, especially in colder weather, the material molds to the unique shape of your foot after some time. :)

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Like my style? Hype it on Lookbook! ~ Grown Man Cry

To be honest, I can easily see these becoming my favorite booties because they’re so comfortable and versatile. I especially love the peep-toe and heel cutout because it gives your outfit a little modern edge. And the wedges aren’t all that tall, making it a breeze to walk or dance. Believe me, I would know! I wore them on a date to Dave & Buster’s this past weekend, and had no trouble playing Dance Dance Revolution after a few drinks. ;D Until next time! ^.^
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Iron Fist Clothing

If you’ve ever stepped into a Hot Topic or other alternative fashion store lately, I’m sure you’ve seen a pair of Iron Fist shoes being displayed for sale. They’re pretty hard to miss, as they often feature punk-inspired print and details. Although a lot of them are too loud for me to wear regularly, many of them have just the right amount of feminine edge for my taste. But what I love most about this brand is how fearless and unique each piece is.

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Iron Fist also carries a lot of clothing and accessories, but to be honest I would never purchase them. Their footwear more than makes up for it, though. I was literally scrolling through dozens of pages on Punk.com trying to make up my mind on which pair to get! >.<; Eventually, I decided on their Santeria peep-toe platform pumps – a wonderful black/green/pink floral print that simultaneously reminds me of Kat Von D tattoos and Dia de los Muertos. The lowest price I could find was being offered on Amazon (yay, free shipping!) by Newbury Comics. Surprisingly, it arrived in only three business days. :D

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And you know what? THEY LOOK SO MUCH BETTER IN REAL LIFE. The photos on the website don’t do them justice – the colors are actually much more vivid, and the print looks sharper. The only detail that I would have preferred was if the straps at the front were made of patent material instead of matte elastic.

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And the fit? Since they don’t come in half sizes, I ordered these in a 5. They’re a bit snug, but comfortable to walk in, given the height of the heels. I’m still in the process of breaking them in, but I can’t wait to flaunt these at parties. ;)

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Like my style? Hype it on Lookbook! ~ What You Want

During a quick photoshoot with my boyfriend outside my local church, I paired these lovely shoes with a casual outfit – we were going to a few bars later that night, so I didn’t want to show up overdressed. :P But I feel like the studs on my purse and collar really complete the whole “bad girl” look. ;D What do you guys think, would you rock a pair of Iron Fist heels?

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