Friday, February 5, 2016

Wabbit Hunting on Japan Yahoo Auctions

I didn't want to include this information on the last post on the original SUQQU quads because it was already wordy enough.  :)  Maybe you're the type to just enjoy photos of pretty makeup, versus one to actually go through the laborious (and expensive) activity of tracking old discontinued things down.

I have feelings about used makeup.  I conduct blog sales and also buy every once in a while from them so obviously I'm fine with used makeup.  I wouldn't buy used mascara or anything, but things easily disinfected pose no serious icks for me.  I often buy from the blog sales of people I know (from blogging or from makeup board communities).

But there's used makeup and then there's USED makeup.  These old SUQQU quads are many years old, so though you find things every once in a while that's brand new and in original packaging, most of the times they come lightly used or even obliterated and gross beyond repair.  Like so:
LIKE EWWWWW...  This is my First Sakuragi.  I have a second better one.
Funny thing is that you can end up with gross items even after peering at photos carefully and carefully reading the seller's product description.

"That's not ENGLISH (or other native language) at all!  How do I buy this stuff?"
That out of the way, I've bought majority of my old items on Yahoo Auctions Japan.  There isn't an eBay. Yahoo Auctions Japan is the giant equivalent auction site.  Just like eBay, people list things to sell and buyers bid and things get sold at the highest price or get sold if there is a Buy it Now option.

Yahoo Auctions Japan isn't a site I can use on my own.  I don't read or know Japanese and the site is not navigable for a foreigner.  Much of the payment is done bank transfer and I can barely figure out how to transfer money to a person in the US from a US bank.  I've heard that most sellers will not do business with an international buyer, but I couldn't confirm since I can't even communicate with sellers.

"Buyer Proxy Services"
In digging around, by which I mean cranking up the good ol' search engine, I found there are services that you can use to bid for you and then forward the goods on to you.  I've only used this one service Jauce.  Please note, I am not affiliated and can't vouch for them in any way.  I can only share what I experienced.  Joining the site is free, giving your mailing information.  (Zenmarket is another option, but I haven't tried it.  It seems like their selling point is that they are less expensive to use than Jauce.)

Jauce can be navigated in English, French and Russian.  And the item descriptions can be translated into all the Google Translate languages.

Jauce works very similarly to the way eBay works in terms of user experience, except that in order to bid on an item, you transfer money into an account.  With the funds in reserve, you can search, watch and then bid on products.

Based on your email preference settings, you get notifications of successful bids and outbids, as well as notification when goods are delivered to Jauce's facilities.

Once goods are delivered to Jauce, you have the options to having shipped to you in the original packaging the seller shipped, or unpacked and then repackaged together.  I've always used the second method because I would buy several items and the consolidate into one more efficient packed box.

Jauce does a very good job individually bubble wrapping each item with this option and then securely packaged into a cardboard box.

You can pick among several shipping options  (I think I always use EMS, as I do for most other things I order from Japan).

"Crap!  HOW much money for this service?!"
The fees.  They are real.  And they are plenty.

  1. Funding fee (transfer money into your Jauce account) = 3.9% + 40JPY (variable fee)
  2. Item Transaction fee  = 800 JPY + 8% (if you win another auction with 24 hours of first one, then the fee for next transaction is 400 JPY + 8%) (variable fee)
  3. Banking fee per transaction = 300 JPY
  4. Domestic Mail (from Seller to Jauce) = depends on what the seller charges (variable fee)
  5. International Delivery Fee = depends on service you select and how big/heavy your box(es) are (variable fee)
So theoretically, if I win (I winnnn at liiiiiife!) an item for 5,000 JPY here's what a potential amount of fees could look like.  First lets say I transferred 10,000 JPY from PayPal to Jauce so I can bid on stuff.  I've already then paid 390 + 40 JPY = 430 to transfer funds (1).

5,000 JPY (price of winning bid)
+ 800 + 400 = 1200 JPY (2) Item transaction fee
+ 300 JPY (3) Banking fee
+ 200  JPY (4) this seller charged this for domestic mail
+ 2220 JPY (5) international delivery fee for a 900g EMS shipping option
= 8920 JPY TOTAL

That's a LOT of fees.

"Well, THAT was a (bad) surprise..."
Just like eBay, just like real life, there are unsavory sellers out there.  I haven't disputed anything because I don't want the hassle of disputing with someone abroad.  And I'm not sure Jauce will do anything on your behalf.  Just like my Sakuragi looked like a mouse had been nibbling on the pans, there's totally a reasonable chance you'd get some crap coming to you.
  1. Very carefully read the product description and condition.  Photos are very important, but those can be posed to make the usage look better than they are.  In the detailed description, if the seller states "about 10% left," they are serious.
  2. READ carefully!  I saw that the product description header won't translate automatically into English.  After cutting and pasting text directly into Google Translate, I saw what looked like the SUQQU S brush (!!!) was actually an overpriced SUQQU S Eye Brow brush.
  3. Jauce will not mark "Gift" or "Free sample" or "No Value" on the customs forms.  Be fully aware of your country's import regulations and duty rates.
  4. These fees add the hell up.  Also remember that certain sellers are actually shops and you will need to pay an incremental tax on your product.
  5. Jauce has a time limit (60 days) to transfer unused funds back to your PayPal account.  Don't forget about your money hanging out there!
Hope this was helpful.  I wrote this post in the context of tracking down old SUQQU quads, but of course you can track down new SUQQU quads, or other makeup or other brushes... or...  Why are you tapping me on the shoulder?  You say you can buy other things than makeup at online auctions?  Get out of town!

Good luck and happy wabbit hunting!  If you've used other methods for tracking old and discontinued products do share with me and every one in the comments!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

SUQQU Old Generation Quads

I know my posts tend to be either too wordy or too full of pictures.  Or even worse, full of both too many words and too many photos!  I am a terrible editor!  

I will tell you a little something.  When my blog was offline, I found that my general interest in makeup didn't wane all that much, but rather took on a more obsessive quality altogether.  Sometime during this period, I can say I went out on a hunt and I hunted not for wabbits, but rather I hunted for the really old SUQQU quads.

Look how I did (and already tidily depotted into a most elegant free-form palette):
The "OG" Original Good SUQQU Palettes
From Left to Right: 01 Souryoku, 02 Gokushi, 03 Saisei, 10 Sakuragi, EX06 Maiyuki
I was first calling these first generation eye shadows, but in reality the brand also offered singles as well.  Anyway, this generation was replaced by what is now the UK-exclusive color range 01-06 (I have posts of all of those on the blog).

On the whole, this old generation of quads are very pigmented.  It does make my eye twitch to see them not aligned so symmetrically in the Z-Palette because of the small pan.  *twitch*  Most of these are almost so pigmented that I need to really be careful and light handed about application.

I took it upon myself to swatch all of these, in case you have an insane desire to spend all your free time and all your fun money tracking them down, too.

  • 01 Souryoku is a very green palette.  Applied, I prefer this much to the current UK quad 02 Kokedama.  Souryoku has its cool silvery sage shade (2nd from left, on the swatches below), but both the deep and medium greens have a warm brown tone that makes it very wearable.  SUQQU was once fabled for being amazing with greens, and I can see why when I use this palette.  This is gorgeous.

  • 02 Gokushi is that looks the most appealing to me in the pan, but in reality a little bit more challenging to wear.  The warm brown and dark cool purple are both similar in depth and slightly boggles my pea brain on a placement that makes good use of both shades.  The light gray is a very balanced grey that doesn't turn blue when applied on me.  That's pretty rare for gray shadows.  The "little" pan isn't really a base shade, but more of a pigmented highlighting shade which is full of white shimmer.

  • A blue on blue palette isn't my usual thing, especially when paler blues are in the mix.  Leave it to SUQQU to make it completely wearable.  The deep blue is very useful for creating more depth and shading on the lash line or crease (when used lightly).  And surprisingly, that very bright blue doesn't clash with my yellow skin.  It's easy to create a very sophisticated gradation with the three blues and then add a bright accent with the little pan, which brings a very icy look.  That's probably the one shade that can be misused to turn the look completely 80's (and not in a cool way).

Here they are lined up.

  • 04 Shunboku turned out to be a surprising favorite.  Extremely smooth, giving a rich application with no heaviness.  That manilla envelop yellow pan turns out to be an incredible skin toned base shade on my lids!  The first and third shades appear green toned in the pan, but are in actuality a rich silver and a very dark grey.  The second shade has a lot of stark contrast on my skin.  This quad doesn't look nearly as good in the pan than when applied.

Ugh.  This one really broke my heart.  The texture on this one was so dry and hard that is was extremely difficult getting any color to transfer on my skin on the dark shade.  Sakuragi!
  • 10 Sakuragi has an inspired concept of the colors of a cherry tree.  The texture on this quad was very difficult to work with.  The dark brown shade (3rd swatch here) was so unpigmented, dry and applied very patchy.  The lighter shades really had no contrast or variation in depth that this quad wasn't nearly has functional as I would have liked.

  • EX-06 Maiyuki has little silver snowflakes on the case.  But since I am a serial depotter, I've put all those cases deep deep away.  This one is very pretty and has a rich metallic quality to it. The top two shades are a warm taupe and a cool pink.  The dark brown is satin with sparse red shimmer.   The pale little pan is a lovely cool satiny beige.
And a little group photo of those three quads in swatches.

I hope you enjoyed this giant dump of photos. :)  I am actually in the midst of cataloguing all my SUQQU palettes.  Oddly enough, I find my own blog to be a good personal resource.  I use it to jog my brain of names of products/color names, remember why I purged things, and also importantly to not buy duplicates of what I own.

I hunt these down using a service that buys from Yahoo Auctions in Japan.   If you are interested in more information, do let me know in the comments.  Any questions are all welcome, too.   More information on how to track these down in this post here.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rouge Bunny Rouge Skin Soul Drops Foundation Essence

>> This post features a product provided without charge for my consideration<<

I am very picky about foundations as I'm sure most of us are.  My top criteria for foundation include a very good color match and a formula that glides over pores without pooling and doesn't exacerbate the look of imperfections (like flakes).  And while I prefer a more dewy finish without shimmer in foundation, I'm okay with slight matte finish.  I prefer light to medium coverage almost all the time, but for certain occasions or a look, fuller coverage that isn't mask like is also great.  How does this new foundation released from Rouge Bunny Rouge perform against this list?
This is an extremely highly pigmented product in a small glass bottle with a dropper for dispensing.  It is supposed to give a demi matte finish when applied.  It has a whopping 36% of pigment in a very silica-rich base.  There are several ingredients that are designed to adhere well to the skin, absorb sebum, and give excellent long wear on the skin.  There are three shades in the range, 062 Miriam, 063 Lalla and 064 Yeshe.  You can see Sara's recent review on her blog for swatches of all three shades.  Each shade is designed to match 4 skin tones.  I can't attest to that personally, but 063 Lalla, the shade I received, while not perfect, was a reasonable match on my skin.

Drops like these are not completely new on the market.  Cover FX released their version a while ago as well.  The convenience and perk of these items is that it can be used with various other mixers to customize coverage and emollience.  The dropper from Rouge Bunny Rouge is mess free, and despite playing around with this for several weeks, the bottle neck and cap remains clean.  The opening of the bottle wipes down the sides of the dropper each time the dispenser is removed, so it stays neat.  Some good things I experienced:

  • Mess-free and elegant bottle; easy to dispense just the desired amount
  • Demi Matte in finish, and tenaciously long lasting from my experience
  • Fully customizable in coverage by varying amount used as well as mixing medium
  • Soft and velvety feel on the skin

When I first started playing with this, the first thing I did was place two drops in my palm and used my fingers to apply all over the face.  Applied straight, the coverage was beyond full!  It obliterated any natural glow on my skin and any redness I had.  I'd rather have a little more imperfections for the sake of looking a little less android like!

Then I started experimenting with various other things.  I tried a runny milk-type lotion, a thick rich cream, a lighter gel cream and also facial oils.  The Rouge Bunny Rouge Foundation Essence is thin, but not completely watery, so didn't mix as well with very runny liquids and also didn't mix as well with very thick creams.  My favorite mixer was a facial oil which is heavy with dimethicone.  I think the silicone to silicone affinity in the oil and the RBR made the products easy to mix in my palm and glide nicely on my skin.
A drop of the Rouge Bunny Rouge Skin Soul Drops Foundation Essence.
I also think this isn't something you'd want to wear straight on your face like I tried the first time unless you're looking for an ultra full coverage product.  The high-pigment coverage means that any disparity between your skin tone and the product would show.  For me, this is actually too dark for my skin by a few ticks, but the very yellowness of the 063 Lalla shade is a match in undertone.  By mixing just a tiny amount into another product made the shade wearable for me (due to the diluting).

In terms of color, 063 is a warm to neutral yellow.  It goes on light, but darkens considerably once dried (but less so when mixed into other products).  These days, SUQQU Frame Fix Cream N in 002 and MAC F&B in C1 are good matches.  MAC F&B which also darkens after application requires a blob of white mixed in to counteract the darkening.

Let me demonstrate how the Foundation Essence works on me.  Here is my bare face (post AM skincare routine and a slick of lip balm, and sun protection).  Only real quibbles I have about my skin is a tendency to redness and dehydration.  I am very dehydrated and dry these days.  My normally oily T-zone is on the retreat during wintertime, and I have a lot of flakes on my chin and forehead.
I'm using the Burberry Nude Radiance Primer as the mixer today.  I prefer how the RBR mixes and looks on my skin best with the facial oil, but because I wear sun protection, applying an oil would break it down and undermine the sun protection.  It's kind of a bummer.

Anyway you can see how tiny a bit of the Foundation Essence I've used in proportion to the primer.  I used my finger tip to mix and then used my fingers to apply to my face.  With this method, I can achieve a light to light medium coverage.

Despite the shimmer in the Burberry primer, the effect is still a soft matte.  I can still see much of the redness under my nose, but nothing a bit of concealer won't easily fix.

And again, it is still even easier to achieve even more coverage!

For a variation, I then applied another whole drop on top of my face using a flat and very dense goat hair foundation brush.  It was a tough application process.  Because the product is so pigmented, the brush left obvious streaks even as I was trying to blend it all in.  I ended up using the palms of my hands to gently press away any streaks after using the brush.
I think you can see that even with just two total drops (1 mixed into the primer + 1 applied over), most of the redness is completely gone.  It is noticeably dark on my face once it dries however.
This is not a product for those with really dry skins and for folks with flakes.  If you care to click on the below photo and take a look, you can see the foundation clinging to the flakes.  I generally think that very high pigment anything (foundation, lipsticks, eye shadows!) will want to cling to texturally challenged areas as these drops definitely do.
I think in the warmer weather when I struggle with oiliness (and my skin is a bit tanner), this would be a better product for that time.  I do really like the idea of flexible coverage and texture.

Here's a shot of the ingredients for you:
This new product is available in the Rouge Bunny Rouge web shop now outside of the US and coming soon to the US!  Don't forget to use my special discount code RBR-Wondegondigo20 for a special 20% discount in the shop for all regions!

What do you think about these customizable foundation products?  Have you tried one before and what is your favorite way to apply them?

Disclosure: this post features product that was sent free of charge by the brand/PR for consideration.  However, all my opinions are my own! Yes indeed! Please check out my full disclosure policy statement here. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Jonas Pantry Diary

What to make for all the meals when snowed in with no prospects of a run to the supermarket?  For no one's enjoyment but my own, a post to celebrate my very own dull resourcefulness in meal prep.


  • Breakfast: omelet for four people with four eggs with a soggy and suspect looking zucchini, chopped up broccoli where the flowers were going a little yellow and onion.  In retrospect, this was a little skimpy, but it was stuffed with vegetables.  Also crunchy white bread toasted with gobs of butter and homemade peach jelly.  (I didn't make the jelly, but way up north in Upstate New York, on the road to my sister in law's family's campground is a lady that sells jams and jellies (road sign reads "Jelly Jam" which is what I kids are forever calling them)  Lots of coffee
  • Snack:  Hot chocolate.  And because we were entertaining two other little kids post-snow storm sledding, we had to make lots of it in two separate batches.  Of course, my kids are lactose intolerant and the other kids couldn't have things processed in factories with eggs.  
  • Baked Goody of the Day:  Finally banana bread!  I've been waiting over a week for my neon yellow bananas to become nice and mottled.  I've never made this before (probably because I like bananas and always finish them before they become gross brown and mushy, which is what you need for bread!).  I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.   Love this site, but oddly only tried dessert and sweet recipes from here.
  • Lunch: what to feed vegetarian, lactose intolerant, egg-intolerant children?  I say egg-intolerant because I misunderstood the mom when I heard that the kid doesn't eat eggs.  Not allergies, she just hates it.  I made a box of thin spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce from canned san marzano tomatoes.  I make this a lot.  Apparently I make it so much I finished all the thin spaghetti stash in the pantry.
  • Dinner:  Triangle-shaped Gimbap (samgak gimbap in Korean or onigiri in Japanese).  I was inspired by watching Maangchi's recipe.  I had the plastic wrapped seaweed sheets so making it was fast and easy.  We filled ours with seasoned tuna (from a can) and Spam chopped up finely and sautéed until browned.
  • Breakfast: husband dude made breakfast while I slept in late.  The thrill of hurtling down a hill in the snow the day prior must have made me very tired.  Breakfast sandwiches of sautéed Spam slices and egg on crusty white bread.  I feel like Hormel should sponsor me to do a post or something.  More coffee.
  • Lunch:  Kids had tomato soup (some organic kind in a carton from Target) along with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Lots of cut up honeydew melon and cut up mangoes.  Adults had oden soup.  Oden is the Japanese term, Koreans call it eomook, which is a fish cake.  We had it frozen in the freezer so this comes in handy for a cold day.  There was lots of shoveling snow after breakfast, so hot soup hit the spot.
  • Snack:  I had some instant cup noodle (Jin ramen) because I needed my carbohydrate and msg fix.  Kids had some greek yogurt.  Everyone ate more banana bread.
  • Dinner:  Homemade pizza!  I used a recipe from the Gourmet Today cookbook edited by Ruth Reichl, which is ready in about 2 hours and requires kneading.  Praise be Pan for the KitchenAid!  I used the last can of tomatoes from the pantry to make a marinara sauce with lots of fresh basil, gobs of olive oil, many crushed garlic and a sprinkling of hot pepper flakes.  We had fresh mozzarella cheese which we used for one pizza and regular pre-shredded kind of the second pizza.  The taste in quality is very obvious because I got to taste one right after the other!  1/2 the pizza was pepperoni and the other half was made margherita.  I just realized, next time I will make my own little anchovy corner because no one like anchovies but me!

I realize that the freezer, refrigerator and pantry are all mostly full.  Apart from replenishing necessities like dried pasta and canned tomatoes, I seem to have a habit of buying more than I need!  I was cleaning out the pantry the other day and found 3 half open bags of brown sugar because I keep on buying them over and over without realizing I still have some!  And then throwing out expired things (and I mean expired beyond the point of no return) makes me sad.

I think I'm going to need to do some more pantry weekends to keep on clearing through more things.  I think there are parallels in this experience to another part of my life.  I can almost grasp it, but I'm not sure what it is exactly.

What you cook this weekend, blizzard-bound people?
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