My Latest Obsession: Nail Art

“I want ALL the nail stuffs!”

At least that has been my train-of-thought lately.

Back in December, I ordered a bunch of nail supplies from Amazon, and they’ve been trickling in all month long, some arriving all the way from Hong Kong! They are all still similarly priced if you see anything that you would also like to buy. For about $30–including shipping which was mostly free–I got ALL of the following (click on the picture for the link to Amazon):

brushes15 piece nail paint drawing brush and 5 two-way dotting tools: $3.87

rhinestonewheels10 pack manicure wheels (rhinestones, studs, etc.): $9.56

tipguidesPack of 10 tip guides (chevron, teardrop, french): $1.50

studwheelSingle pack (600 pieces) of gold and silver studs: $2.00

nailtapes30 rolls of metallic striping tape: $2.19

nailtoolsSHANY Cosmetics 6 piece manicure tool set (heavy duty!): $9.95

paintpaletteDish paint palette and 3 nail brushes: $2.41 (I could have gone without this item and used any other kind of dish to mix polishes, but I wanted something I could reuse).

I just ordered (despite my shopping ban…more on that later) a 13″ caboodle organizer from Amazon as well, and I can’t wait to organize all my new supplies (not to mention, get that drawer space back from my dresser where I currently house my nail polishes and supplies). The size is 13x8x9 and runs about $34.99, but is the #1 seller in cosmetic train cases on Amazon.com:

51QAd310WQLDespite train cases being around for, well, a long time, my 8-year old self is squealing at the idea of a grown-up Caboodle-brand box, haha. I had a plastic purple and pink one where I stored crayons, yarn, and other art supplies when I was a kid. I thought I was queen of the town lugging that thing around. You know what I’m talking about…

I want to start doing my nails on a regular basis. I have to now that I have all these supplies, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s going to require improving a lot on my technique, but I’m confident that if I put my mind to do, I can learn a lot and hopefully have some fun designs to show you all!

If you know anything about my blog, know I’m also a self-proclaimed dork. It keeps me young at heart ๐Ÿ™‚ These themed nails are all designs I would totally do (though mine would not come out as nicely, haha):

sailormoonnailsSailor Moon nails: because Sailor Moon, DUH. My favorite anime of all time!

pikachunailsPokemon nails: especially Pikachu. Give me all the Pikachu things.

sleepingbeautynailsSleeping Beauty: my fave Disney movie.

mlpnailsMy Little Pony nails (the new version): because they’re bright, cheery, full of color, and epitomize anime-eyes.

I’ve also always been really into Japanese nail art. I kind of love how gaudy some of the designs are–it’s like a whole new part of your body to accessorize! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out some of these superbly-amazeballs designs:

Would I do my nails these ways? Not necessarily all of them, but some of them, heck yes! You can probably tell which ones pretty easily. A. My nails aren’t long enough to do half of these designs (though I’m pretty sure many of these are on acrylics!). B. I would rip my hair out trying to wash it, style it, think about it. C. I would accidentally knock the charms off in just a few hours. D. I’m not that talented, haha.

Which brings me to another topic: have you ever heard of fimo canes? I hadn’t!

fimocanesThey are these longish tubes in one particular design that are made for you to cut teeny-tiny slivers off to adorn your nails, phone cases, etc. Typically, a boxcuter or razor is used on these….

fimocanes2…to make nail designs like this:

fimocanesnailsI’m sure it would take a lot of practice and precision to get them thin enough to stay on your nails with a glue or top coat.

What do you think of these nail trends? I can’t wait to try some out! Do you have any tips on how best to adhere charms to your nails? I’ve heard of using nail glue, but I wonder if a dot of acryllic over your polish would work best?

XO Ali

Favorite 2014 K-pop Songs: #8-1

8. 4MINUTE – Whatcha Doin’ Today

whatchadointodayThis upbeat jam always puts me in the mood to dance, which can be a problem depending on where I am at at the moment (the car is usually a frequent location…). I love 4MINUTE! They always have great singles that are fun to dance to, and this is no exception ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Hyuna – Red

hyunaredHyuna is also a member of 4minute, the group who’s “Whatcha Doin’ Today” came in 8th place. Hyuna is probably one of the more globally-recognizable faces of k-pop after she guest starred in Psy’s Gangnam Style back in 2012 (2:11 on) and eventually in her own version, “Oppa is Just My Style.” However, these are not the songs she is known for in Korea. She’s arguably one of the best female solo artists in the market, being able to rap, dance, and sing very well. Her singles always do very well, and Red is no exception. This is by far my favorite single of hers to date, because she’s got to that point in her career where she is allowed to express more freedom in her songs.

6. KARA – Mamma Mia

mammamiaI’m a little surprised about how much I fell in love with this song, seeing as how KARA was a group that I only recently started to gauge interest in. It might be do in part to them losing two of their five original members in early 2014 due to career changes, and how they held a reality competition to find a new member to fill in their group. This is practically unheard of in South Korea. If new members are picked, it is a very private process, and once the decision is final, not much information is given until the new member’s debut. There were seven girls vying for public sway to get into the already internationally-successful group, but ultimately, Young Ji stole most everyone’s hearts:

youngjiThe six-part series culminated in Young Ji “winning” a spot on KARA. I watched about four of the episodes, which is why I felt so invested in her debut for this song. In a short amount of time, she had to learn all of KARA’s previous dances, redistribute previous members lines, and was literally thrown into the spotlight. The song itself is very good, reminding me a little of an 80’s/90’s workout song, and I really enjoy the accompanying dance. Party, party, party, mamma mia!

5. 2NE1 – Come Back Home

comebackhomeOne of the most popular girl groups in the world, 2NE1 (pronounced “twenty-one” or “to anyone”) killed it this year with their album, Crush. You may have unintentionally heard a clip of their song I am the Best in a recent Microsoft television ad. Long before the ad, IATB has been one of the 10 most watched K-pop videos in history. In addition, CL is working with producers in the U.S. to launch her U.S. debut. CL has already released a song with G Dragon, Diplo, and Skrillex, but no matter how much I like her, the song is really awful. Wait till her debut comes out. She’s got an incredible voice and is one of the best Asian rappers out there. Between all of the members, they speak a variety of languages, which has really helped to fuel their growth and to make tour stops more personal.

Anyways. Come Back Home is probably my favorite music video of the year, with a futuristic dystopia-type setting. If you don’t watch any other videos, watch this one. It’s really good and the lines are all pretty spread out so you can hear each member’s voice.

4. T-ara – Sugar Free

sugarfreeT-ara does it again with their club-pumping hit, Sugar Free. Despite sounding like a song about diet soda, it’s actually about a relationship that has turned sour, with the guy lacking sweetness. I know I’ve said this about a lot of groups already, but every. single. single. they put out is so good. They’ve got that EDM vibe that is very popular in the U.S. and Europe…the kind of music that it doesn’t matter if you understand what they’re saying or not, but you have to get up and dance when you hear it. The music video is really hard on the eyes, however, with its incessant strobe lights. It’s a shame, because they really should have highlighted the dancing more. This is one where I’ll say you can skip the video, or watch a live performance, because you may just get a headache from watching the flashing lights.

3. AOA – Like a Cat

likeacatIt really pains me to number these top 4 in any specific order, because they are so, so close in my book. I really should just give them a four-way tie for first place, but I gave the final rankings based on listen counts, how many dance moves I can mimic without really intentionally learning (haha), and how powerful the feels are. AOA is probably the group that grew on me the most this year, as I never really cared for their songs until I heard their first single of 2014 called “Miniskirt.” I realized how talented these girls all are! When “Like a Cat” came out, I was blown away with how catchy it was! The dance moves aren’t overly provocative either, which is a nice change from some of their company’s usual choreography. I can’t stop listening to it and you shouldn’t either!

2. f(x) – Red Light

redlightNever has one eye of makeup looked so good. You all probably already know my affinity for this group from my post back in October, but here they are again, for good measure ๐Ÿ™‚ I almost forgot about this song since it came out over the summer. I listened to it for so long, I took a break from it to hear all the other singles that have been out. After another listen though, it’s definitely at the top. The second girl from the left, Sulli, ended up taking a hiatus from the public within a month of their “Red Light” promotions, which caused the company to end the entire group’s promotions, despite successfully performing as a quartet multiple times. This made me so angry, because they are my second-favorite group in all of k-pop and were finally getting the recognition they deserve. I hope their next comeback is just as successful, if not more. F(x) fighting!

Side note: Krystal of F(x) (right) is the younger sister of [former] Girl’s Generation member Jessica (left)

1whisper1. TaeTiSeo (TTS) – Whisper

TTS made their first comeback in 2014 after a 2.5 year hiatus. They are a sub-unit of Girls’ Generation, and comprise 3 of the best singers of the group. Whisper is a pretty song where the focus is not on the dance, nor is there an accompanying music video. It plays on the strengths of each of the member’s voices and is not even their single they released (which is Holler, in case you are interested. It’s really good too!). Instead, it’s a soulful song that even Billboard Music describes as a “sensual, synthy R&B jam.” They even had their own 7 episode series called “The TaeTiSeo” that aired with OnStyle Korea! Both Girls’ Generation and their sub-unit are my favorite group in all of k-pop. Win!

Others worth mentioning:

SISTAR – Touch My Body – The perfect summer-ending song.

Bestie – Thank U Very Much – A fun song to dance with your “besties” to.

Dalshabet – BBB (Big Baby Baby) – An 80’s electro-pop sound with understated tones and a strong choral beat.

AOA – Miniskirt – While I don’t care for the music video, the song is great!

CL – MTBD – The K-pop female rap song I have been waiting for…

EXID – Up and Down – Finally, some recognition for the amazing group! The only song to ever go through promotions twice in the k-pop industry.

Rainbow Blaxx – Cha Cha – The first song of Rainbow’s sub-unit, Rainbow Blaxx.

Girl’s Day – Darling – Another fun summer song.

Ladies Code – Kiss Kiss – the last song that Ladies Code put out, less than a month before a horribly tragic car accident took the lives of best friends and members, Eun B and RiSe (2nd and 3rd from the left below), in September. May they rest in peace. They were taken too soon ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

ladiescodeWhat were your favorite songs of 2014 (k-pop or not)?!

XO Ali

Shen Yun

“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture. Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.

A Shen Yun performance features the worldโ€™s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdropsโ€”together creating one spectacular performance.”

I was fortunate enough to attend a performance of Shen Yun downtown last night with my best friend, Cassie! Despite wanting to go last year, this was our first time seeing this composition of Chinese classical dance. I only wish we would have been able to take some photos of the performance!

shenyun1The show was split up into 11 dances in the first half, and 10 dances in the second half, all of which were introduced by the two MC’s of the night–once in English and once in Chinese. Every detail was meticulously prepared for. The costumes were the most stunning I have ever seen in a production, with bright colors, hair adornments, and long, silky sleeves. I counted more than 8 female group outfit changes in the first half alone!

shenyun2The orchestra is made up of a combination of Western (percussion, woodwinds, brass, and string instruments) and Eastern (erhu and pipa) sounds. The production itself originates from New York, where many, if not all, of the dancers attended Fei Tian Academy of Arts. Although the show would be strictly forbidden in China (especially due to its portrayal of Falun Gong), it is well-renowned in countries all over the world.

shenyun4An interactive video backdrop allowed the stories to transcend past the stage. There were three steps leading up to the background where dancers would frequently “jump” onto the screen and be seen floating away, or drawing up a historical/legendary story.

shenyun3Some of my favorite parts included:

  • When they lifted the curtain at the beginning of the first and second half, the floor was covered in that thick, vapory-smoke. The dancers seemingly grew out of the floor and their dresses spun the smoke up and away! It really was quite magical.
  • The Chopstick Dance
  • Learning about the different legends and historical stories of Ancient Chinese Civilizations
  • The soloist’s erhu stage

Overall, I would highly encourage you to see this show if it comes your way. The tickets are a bit steep (it was $57 for some of the highest-up seats), but I promise you, it is worth it. In addition, the show changes every year, so you can see it every year with new content!

Click here to be taken to Shen Yun’s website for additional information.

XO Ali

All pictures are the property of Shen Yun. I have shared them for informational and inspirational purposes, as the audience is unable to take any forms of photography.

Drugstore Beauty Giveaway ($75 value!)

Hello lovelies! I’ve been promising a giveaway for over a month now, and here it is! (or at least one of them ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). This giveaway includes mostly full-size products that you can pickup at your local drugstore: Covergirl, Maybelline, … Continue reading

January Birchbox: Tone it Up

In the last couple months, I have discovered that being on Birchbox’s email list also means you have a certain say about your upcoming Birchbox! How, you may ask? There’s one of two ways!

  1. Sample choice – Birchbox picks several different samples for you to choose from, and you can select one of these samples to guarantee it in your upcoming box.
  2. Special boxes – Birchbox will arrange a one-time themed box with specific samples that you can pick to replace your randomly-curated box.

In January, they actually offered two different special boxes: the Relax & Recharge box, or the Tone it Up box. While I typically enjoy the surprise of not knowing what I’m getting each month, I found the listed samples in the Tone it Up box were exactly right for me!

January Birchbox: Tone it Up – Gym Bag Essentials

IMG_1204 IMG_1205 IMG_1206Whish Body Butter in Lavender

This sample almost single-handedly sold me on the entire box. I received Whish’s body butter in pomegranate in one of my very first Birchboxes after subscribing last year, and it is one of my favorite samples to date. I purchased the full-size of pomegranate not long after. It smells amazing, without being overly sweet. It’s also not greasy, which is one of my most disliked qualities in a lotion/body-butter. The lilac has been just as promising, with its silky-smooth formula and universally-flattering scent.

IMG_1207Coola Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion

This was another winning product. I first got this sample in one of my CEW insider boxes, and I swear by it. I used it after two separate severe burns–one after my half-marathon and one in Cancun. I immediately noticed a cooling feeling, and an immediate relief from the pain, even better than aloe vera. The formula has a slight bit of tackiness to it, and the smell is similar to citronella in my opinion, but if you can overlook these qualities (or if you like citronella like me haha), it is definitely worth the hype. The price tag is a bit hefty at $32, so I guess it just depends on how quickly you need relief from sun-exposure!

IMG_1208Aqua Reveal Satin Bright Soft Water Peel

Unfortunately, I have not tried this product yet. But I am always curious to try new face treatments!

IMG_1210Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Make this number 1,345,864 of dry shampoo samples I have to go through. I haven’t found one I don’t like yet, and am currently finishing up my Amika sample! This particular dry shampoo took Allure’s best of beauty award, so it’ll probably hit the fast lane and be the next one I try ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_1213Coastal Scents Revealed Palette Sampler

As the proud owner of the Revealed I and Revealed II palettes, this is a sample I don’t need. Helloooo giveaway ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are interested in signing up for Birchbox, please click HERE. If you are already signed up, what was your favorite sample from January?!

XO Ali

Favorite 2014 K-pop Songs: #15-9

Where is January going?! …Not that I’m complaining since it’s the busiest month of the year for me, but the 18th? Whew! I have mentioned before, maybe not to a great extent, that I am a huge fan of K-pop … Continue reading

H&M Sales Wishlist

Ahhh H&M is having so many great items up for sale right now! It’s too bad I’m on a 3 month no-shopping ban, otherwise I would be sure to pick a few of these up ๐Ÿ™‚

hmwishlistLong-sleeved sports top in neon pink $24.95 $12 – I could always use some more long-sleeve tech tops to run in cool weather! A bright pink color would also be a good visual during the night.

Lined parka in dark blue$79.95 $50 – I actually ordered this parka back in a December order where I got 30% off, but sadly, it was too big ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I ordered too much and knew I needed to send back a couple of items, and with its ill-fit, it didn’t make the cut. I would consider buying it in a size down if its still on sale at the end of the season.

Leather boots inย gray$99 $30 – Ankle-length boots are my go-to in the winter! I’ve been scouting for a pair of gray ones, but at $99, I wasn’t sure that a pair from H&M would be worth the price tag. Now that they are all the way down to $30, I would have tried these in a heartbeat.

Fine-knit sweater in black$29.95 $20 – I bought this sweater in gray a while back, and it’s so big and comfy, I would love to have it in black too.

Jersey pajamas in white and purple$24.95 $15 – My boyfriend got me some PJs from H&M for Christmas, and I could always use more ๐Ÿ™‚

Butterfly sleeve dress in light beige$34.95 $20 – Do I really need to explain why I love this gorgeous, feminine dress? It’s flowy and perfect for spring and summer. It’s also a great length for work.

Pleated skirt in blue/white striped$29.95 $17 – I have enough navy and white in my wardrobe, that a striped skirt would compliment many things I already own.

Patterned dress in dark purple$34.95 $15 – Paired with some brown ankle booties (like the ones pictured beneath the dress) and some cream-colored tights, this dress is very reminiscent of something I would wear in college. My wardrobe was full of flowy dresses and floral prints.

Jersey top in black/patterned$17.95 $12 – I have this top in the pink/leopard print, and it’s a great loose top, perfect with shorts for summer.

Facial mask in manuka honey – $2.95 $1 – Because hey, it’s only a $1.

V-neck sweatshirt in pink (or any color really) $17.95 $9.95 – This is one of those weekly or monthly specials that they run on a single item at a really great price. I really like the soft pink and the gray, but I would really be okay with any (or all, ha) of them.

Fine-knit sweater inย dark blue patterned$24.95 $12 – while I like this item, this is probably the least desired item on the list. The heart pattern is really cute, but I’m not sure how it would fit. Being a tall girl, sometimes these boxy sweatshirts shrink upwards and don’t fit well anymore after the first wash.

Leather boots in brown$99 $50 – Again, ankle boots will be my downfall. I’ve got them in burgundy, camel, navy, and black, and I’ve got regular-sized boots in brown, but no ankle booties. These are super chic. At $50, I’d be a little hesitant to order them online, but if they were in store I would definitely consider buying them.

Boyfriend low jeans$39.95 $20 – I’ve got a lot of jeans. I have one pair that are comfy and boxy in the legs, fit in the waste, but I’m not sure I would call them boyfriend jeans. I love the boyfriend jean style that’s so popular right now, but it takes some serious work to find a pair that fit how they’re supposed to. There’s a 90% chance these wouldn’t fit right, but at $20 (and the ability to return them), I would consider trying them out. I’ve got pairs of pants from H&M that have lasted years and years. They are definitely quality.

Boucle coat in light pink $59.95 $25 – I mostly picked this coat because it is so unlike anything else I already have. I also have been loving any and everything pink lately ๐Ÿ™‚ The boucle texture adds to its feminine and ageless look.

XO Ali

Glossybox Roundup

Well, this will be my first and last post about Glossybox. Not because they are bad (oh VERY much so the opposite), but because I’m going on a spending freeze for the first quarter of 2015. I have canceled all … Continue reading

Makeup Monday: Winter Butterfly (Vice 3 Palette)

Hello lovelies ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the first Monday after the New Year, which for many of us, means it’s the first full-week back to work since mid-December. Never fear though, Makeup Monday is here to get us kicked off with an … Continue reading

New Years Resolutions Pt.2: 2015

It’s about to get real. (aka…long post warning) It’s that time of year: everyone’s making resolutions, and I absolutely love it. I don’t understand why some people get so annoyed over New Years resolutions. I think it’s absolutely great when … Continue reading