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Fall of the Tarte Airbuki: Why the Queen has been Overthrown

I raved about the Tarte Airbuki a while ago. I called it my favorite foundation brush. And it was for the longest time! As often is the case, only time will tell how well a brush is made and how durable it is.

The problem is… it just hasn’t held up well.

Here is what the brush head originally looked like:

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Quite a far cry isn’t it?

I noticed that this unevenness/deterioration started happening in August or September of 2016. Granted I wash my foundation brushes very, very often, but that is some weak shit glue in the handle if it wasn’t able to hold down the bristles well enough to survive even three years  terror.  Luckily just two months earlier, I had discovered the Tarte Airbrush Foundation Brush and I loooove the hell out of that one even more. Why? it’s bigger and faster to cover my whole face, but doesn’t sacrifice much coverage intensity.  That has been my (almost daily) foundation brush since.

RIP Little Dude: November 2014 – May 2017

It’s time to retire you, my dear Airbuki. You served me so very well. I just wish your lifespan could have been longer.

I can’t bear to throw Airbuki away so I’m going to tuck it away in a brush case to admire once in a while, and remind me of all the wonderful rushed mornings we had getting my face ready.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in On the Fence

 

“A Beautiful Song” I’ve Been Binging – From Nier Automata

The whole OST of Nier: Automata is pretty good overall, but this is “the Opera Singer Boss” that started the hype train because they played a game preview of this boss fight at E3. I’m so ready to play the PC version  when it finally drops tomorrow because I’ve been green with envy watching my S.O. play it on console. I’ve tried, with disastrous results… my thumbs aren’t dexterous enough.

The name of the song actually is “A Beautiful Song.” Composed by Keiichi Okabe and sung by Emi Evans,  with J’Nique Nicole on the second verse, and Nami Nakagawa on the operatic and choral portions.  I’ve been playing this on InfiniteLooper while doing work stuffs.

This track accompanies the fight with the third boss from Nier Automata, a goliath sentient machine named Simone Beauvoir who is obsessed with becoming more beautiful for, surprise!,  the attention & affection of a guy. Well, more like a male machine (no that’s not a euphemism for something else).

It makes me itch to pick up a cello and play the melody over the instrumental track (below). Maybe I’ll get to it one day. Funny enough, there’s a picture out there somewhere of Emi Evans, the primary vocalist from the original NieR, playing a cello. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in Current Events, Music

 

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Pão de Queijo / Brazilian Cheese Puffs / Crack Balls – Recipe and Methods

Preface
This recipe is good as a dinner roll or carb loading snack for those who have gluten sensitivity as it doesn’t use flour: it uses Tapioca starch. It also seems to sit fine with people who are lactose intolerant.  All of the people with a non-severe lactose intolrance or sensitivity I know have walked away fine after consuming more than just two or three of these puffs despite the inclusion of cheese and milk in the recipe. It doesn’t make too huge of a difference compared to 2%, but I use whole milk which has more fat and a fraction lower amount of lactose. Unfortunately, tapioca starch has a high glycemic index, so those who are diabetic should not consume too many.  Better yet, don’t let them have any at all. These cheese puffs  are like pringles, you can’t have just one…

Feel free to skip this intro section if you just want the “what” (ingredients) and “how to” (methods). I will be updating this periodically as I repeat and fall upon tweaks that bring me closer to my goal.

I normally wouldn’t post this because the product I create is not perfect every run yet (the inside is not as hollow as i would like sometimes). However, a couple friends (who have not had the real thing) had been requesting that I bring it for the holiday parties, as well as give a recipe so I obliged. I think that the product that I create now is already pretty sweet, enough to share, so prepare to dig in.

I first had Brazilian Cheese Puffs at Agora Churrascaria, a Brazilian steak house, and became so enamored with them, I had a chat with the general manager about the literal, little balls of joy. I went home still obsessed so i hopped online that night and began looking for recipes. I found a couple that call for more or less the same, ingredients-wise, but the proportions I’ve had the most success with came from following TheKitchn, with a few modifications.

I followed the recipe and methods to the T the first couple of times I tried it. However I ended up with a semi different version of my own because it always came out wrong/weird if I followed it exactly (see “Notes” section). I will also be explaining steps as I go along. The primary directions will be in the main bullets. Explanations and clarifications will be in lesser bullets.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Exotics

 

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Definitive Overview of The Entire Chikuhodo Takumi Series – Brief Review and Pictures of Each Brush

I lied. I do not own the eyebrow brush (T-9, Badger Hair, 3,000 yen) and lip brush (T-10, Kolinsky Hair, 2,300 yen) and thus will not be reviewing them, but who cares about those? 😛 Other than those,  I will be reviewing all of the goat-hair brushes in the Takumi Series by Tesshyu Takemori of Chikuhodo fame. The T-1 Powder brush (12,000 yen) (Large), T-2  Powder Brush (8,000 yen) (Small), T-3 Foundation Brush (6,000 yen), T-4 Blush Brush (5,000 yen), T-5 Highlight Brush (5,000 yen)T-6 Eye Brush (3,500 yen) (Large), T-7 Eye Brush (2,500 yen) (Medium), T-8 Eye Brush (2,200 yen) (Small).

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Takumi Series in incandescent lighting

I’ll be doing this overview a little differently. In the first section I will be giving just pure straight facts about the brushes with only minimal “feelings” and input on anything that is subjective. In the second part, the brushes will be out of order  because they will be ranked from my most to least favoured. That is where you’ll get my opinions on them. So if it all sounds uninformative and bland as a wet tissue at first, keep pushing on.

All of the pictures are in slideshow format! so be sure to “scroll” through them to get the full picture (heh) of what each brush is like. Incase you are wondering what my lovely sparkly black background is /s… it’s aquarium filter foam.

Once there was an Ask Reddit Thread topic-ed, “If you could add a 0 to any number in your life, what would it be?” there was one answer that struck me as pure and utter genius: “the number of hours before I need to sleep.” In a perfect world I would be able to use all that extra awake time to take care of things that need to be done (like all the drafts for this blog). In said world, I would also have individual review + comparison posts for each brush completed and hotlinked (the comprehensive, singular focus ones that I normally do) but alas all I have are skeletons of each post. If there is one you want to see in particular, let me know! Having a request or two is usually enough to push me to move them from the back burner to the forefront.Otherwise, the next one up will be a comparison between the Surrat Artisque Face Brush and Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush. If there are any of you who think that this should not occur, speak now or forever hold you peace.

For brush veterans who know what you are getting into, feel free to skip the following section to get straight to the mini reviews.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence

 

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How to Pick: Taro + How to Make It Last Longer

When picking Pre-cut Segments with visible cut cross sections:

Look for the ones with as few of the purple “veins” as possible. The center should be mostly white (powdery) with few veins speckled/sprinkled in. If it starts getting more speckled toward the outer 1-3 to 1-4, that is fine. There is enough “powder” to compensate for the taste.

More white space is good because the white is “powder” (rough translation) aka the starch, and lends itself to the signature aroma and flavor of taro. It will also be “fluffy” and light in texture for lack of better words like fresh powder snow. When cooked, taro should practically melt and crumble. Dense packed, purple veiny taro  = vegetal nasty tasting taro. 

When picking out Whole Taro:

Pick the one that is the lightest for its size (least dense). Less density = more powder and fewer veins. See above for explanation of why this is desirable. 

How to Know if you Picked a Good One:

Slice it. If where is white residue clinging to the blade, congratz! You’ve picked a tasty one. That means that powder is in excess, enough to transfer onto other surfaces by contact. 

Making It Keep Longer:

When you get it home, skin it, as in slice the outer brown skin off. This will prevent the taro from “aging” futher and changing in texture.  

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO NOT GET THE TARO WET. NO WATER SHALL TOUCH IT. If water gets on it, it will start the decomposition process almost immediately (next day) and go bad very quickly.

To store it, wrap it in brown paper and stick it in a low humidity, cool enviorment. For me, that’s the fridge.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Basics, Exotics

 

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Yojiya Brushes Now Sold At CDJapan – Potential Haul + Price Comparisons & Calculations

This post is going to be a fairly quick one as I am writing it between classes instead of doing my writing assignments. ~wheeeeee~ that is the sound of irresponsibility. I already took the time to do calculations on the prices of Yojiya brushes vs similar if not identical models made and sold by Hakuhodo. I’m sharing my calculations and “research” here because I’m a nice person ;D

For the brushes that I am comparing, the specs that they give (hair length and hair type are identical). I think its fairly obvious who the OEM for Yojiya is, hm? Also, these are only the ones i am interested in. I’m obviously not comparing all of them

Let’s start with the ones I am nearly bouncing out of my chair with excitement for: The Traditional Lip Brushes. It’s well established by now that if anyone mentions “kolinsky” I’m all ears, tugging at the leash, and salivating uncontrollably.

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Hakuhodo Left, Yojiya Right – Both heads are 15 mm long

This Medium Traditional/Pro Lip brush is a good deal though (even before throwing in CDJapan’s free shipping and no tax for international orders)

= 5.1% savings

plus it’s convenient as shit.Hell yeah I’m getting this. The handle length and color might actually be different though

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Hakuhodo Left, Yojiya Right – Both heads are 18 mm long

The Large Traditional/Pro Lip Brush for some reason does not have the same rate applied. In fact, it is more expensive than the Hakuhodo equivalent.

=6.7% markup

At this low of a percentage, I kinda don’t care anymore. convenience is king, plus i can think of it as only 3.7% markup because on CDJapan purchases, 3% of the purchase price is given back as points

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I’m also eyeing the Kokutan Eye Shadow brush with Canadian squirrel because I’m already too deep down the rabbit hole to stop. I’m doing comparisons in USD becuase this brush and the following can be found on Hakuhodo USA

CDJ is 12.78% more than H. JP

CDJ is 14% less than H. USA

H. USA is 34.2% more than H. JP’s price with today’s exchange rates, before shipping and personal shopper’s fee (which will vary but is usually above 10%).

Yikes… maybe I won’t get this one. I’m not digging that double digit mark up… between Cdjapan and Hakuhodo Japan, but compared to Hakuhodo USA (before shipping), the price is pretty nice. Plus, the 3% back of Cdjapan will technically drop the CDJ price down to 9% more than Hakuhodo JP’s price.

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I am also eyeing a most likely exact Yojiya dupe for a brush I already have (the Hakuhodo Kokutan Large Eye Shadow Brush). If they are the same, great! That will mean I’ll have a backup for a brush that I love and near abuse with frequency of use. I’m also curious to see if the quality of hair Yojiya Brushes use is as good as, better, or worse compared to Hakuhodo. Think of it as setting a baseline.

CDJ is 14% more than H. JP

CDJ is 14.9% less than H. USA

H. USA is 34% more than H. JP with today’s exchange rates before shipping and personal shopper’s fee (which will vary).

Ouch. I can’t even reasonably justify this one. Maybe when the exchange rate improves.

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Let me tell you what is a good deal though, the Yachiyo’s and equivalent of the Hakuhodo’s  Itabake’s which Yojiya calls “Kokyuban-Hake.” I’m not all that interested in the itabakes, but for the lazy readers who are interested, here are all the sizes of the Yojiya -Hake’s . Just compare the prices side-by-side in seperate windows with the Itabake’s from the Hakuhodo JP site. Don’t even bother checking Hakuhodo USA. They will be higher priced. The Yojiya ones are very well priced. Shockingly so at nearly 50% less! Maybe this is because contouring (what most people use the itabake’s for as a stand in for the infamous NARS contour brush) is not a trendy thing in Japan so they don’t price gouge off public interest.

Enough about that though. The one I’m interested in is the Yachiyo-hake Medium (2,112 yen) which I’m pretty sure is the same as the Hakuhodo Blunt Medium Yachiyo (3,348 yen) rather than the Pointed/Tapered Medium Yachiyo (3,564 yen), based on the shape of the heads in the pictures.

Yojiya Yachiyo-Hake (Left), Hakuhodo Blunt Yachiyo (Center), Hakuhodo Tapered Yachiyo (Right)

But hallelujah! CDJapan’s price is 40.74% less than Hakuhodo JP’s!!! The only different I can see is the different color of the handle string loop. Again I’m not going to bother wasting my time comparing to Hakuhodo USA prices.

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There is one unique item that I am ready interested in as of right now. It’s this wooden Brush Case (Fude-oki) which swivels!I’ll take two of the Yojiya’s.! FML nvm. They updated the pictures because i think too many people were going over to the website and being excited only to receive the actual thing and be disappointing. This is the old picture that got me excited and was taken off the website:

AAAAAANNNND, here are the updated pics that better represent the product…. it’s just one, segmented box.

Maybe they’re stack-able? (referencing the one that got me so hyped). Welp, now i have a potential wood-working project to waste my time on!

Nevertheless, I think is a pretty reasonable price at 1,908 yen or approximately $17. Yes, it is simple, but the materials + time:labor costs if I were to make this myself would far outstrip the cost of this. Plus, consider that a plain lift-top box like this velvet-lined box by Koyomo here is selling for 3,000 yen.

 

Why am i not buying them right away even though I’m so excited? Why is this a potential haul instead of a haul I’m waiting on to arrive? Well, I’ve been a very bad girl this month. I’ve already bought invested too much in gear for my upcoming ski weekend @ Tahoe. Financial responsibility above all else, children. (Which is funny because I’m probably a fetus compared to most of the people reading)

Thanks to haneulhouseki for posting the news over at /r/Fude!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in On the Fence

 

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The Effect of Rain in Southern California

Con: People drive like intoxicated, blindfolded monkeys.

Pro: Shopping becomes a peaceful affair. People refuse to go anywhere, preferring to hole up at home instead.

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I mean look at the Costco check-out area! It’s practically a ghost town.  Normally on a Friday afternoon, I would be able to waltz from one side of the checkout floor to the other by walking across a solid continents of carts and never touch the ground.

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It also looks like a different neighborhood out there. I swear these hills usually have fewer signs of life than Mars.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Current Events, Short Humor

 

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