Sunday, July 21, 2013

Outfit: Casual Birthday Party

Afternoon Party

Afternoon Party by artaslife featuring reed krakoff

This is what I wore yesterday to my friend's birthday party.  It was a casual get-together at her home. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

New In: Sunglasses

All of my favorite fashion bloggers have had round sunglasses for ages now, but I'm just getting around to buying some for the first time.  

I got these at Joyce Leslie.  They were 2 pairs for $10!  When it comes to sunglasses, I never buy high end because I have been known to lose them, scratch them, sit on them, or find other creative ways to destroy them. 

I really love the size, shape, and style of both pairs! They go with everything.  I thought round styles weren't going to suit my round face, but they actually fit my face really well. 

So, what is your favorite sunglass trend this year?  Are you a high end girl? Or do you go for the cheap ones?  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reveiw: Holika Holika Petit BB Moisture

Today I have a long-overdue review of my current BB cream... 

Holika Holika's Petit BB-Moisture

Here is the product description from

Product Description

Holika Holika Moisture Petit BB Cream 30ML with Hyaluronic Acid SPF 30 PA++

Moisture petit BB helps make skin smooth and glossy. Hyaluronic Acid condition dry skin and make skin youthful while effectively protecting against UV-rays.

Moisturizing Effect - Clean and Clean Skin tone Elastic Enhancement - Anti-Aging and Wrinkle Improvement Smooth Skin Texture Hyaluronic Acid moisturizes the skin and enhances elastic fibers with collagen while supplying nutrients to the skin cells.

What I have to say about it:
I bought the Petit Moisture BB from the Holika Holika store in South Korea.  It was on the inexpensive side.  I believe I paid about $7-$8 US for this product.

I am already about halfway through the bottle.  The Petit BB line comes in 5 different varieties.  I have "normal" skin but chose the "moisture" formula because some of the names seemed like they might be shimmery or for oily skin, and a couple I wasn't sure what they were for.
As I have said on my other Holika Holika reviews, I thought that because this company is geared towards younger women that the products would be more about marketing and packaging than quality, but with the Holika Holika products that I have tried, that has not been the case at all.  All of the items I have tried have been surprisingly good quality, and this BB is no different.  
The Petit Moisture BB is somewhat thin and watery coming out of the tube and offers a lighter coverage than some others I have tried.  It spreads really smoothly and evenly.  It comes in one color, which is a light beige with a golden undertone.  It blends quite well with my skin.  It is not overly pale like some BBs that I have seen, but I don't think this would work well for deeper medium to darker skin tones.  Here is a swatch so you can get an idea of the texture and color of the product.

I started using the Petit BB back in the late winter/early spring when the weather was colder.  Previous to that I was using a Nature Republic BB.  The Holika Holika Petit BB gave a lighter coverage and dewier finish than my former BB cream.  While the finish was not matte, I did not find that it made my skin oily or my face shiny.  I used it through winter and spring weather, and I thought it was great.  However, since the summer began and the heat and humidity have kicked in, it is proving to be too moisturizing for my skin.  I don't think this is a fault of the product, but rather due to the fact that my skin is oilier in the summer.  Since I started using BB cream 2 years ago, I usually switch to a powder compact over the hottest part of the summer.  So far though, because this product has fairly light coverage, I have continued to use it.  Now, I just finish it off with a touch of powder compact makeup from Clinique to get rid of the shine. I really like the results.
The scent of this BB is pleasant.  It is fresh with a slight floral undertone.  One thing to note is that, while it isn't a strong scent, I feel like I can smell it on my skin longer than the fragrance of other BB's.  So I guess that could be a pro or con depending on whether or not you like the scented nature of BB cream.         
Overall, I like this product.  It is not my favorite BB of all time, but a good product none-the-less and worth a try if you are considering it.  I think it would work well for people with normal-dry skin, especially if your skin is more on the dry side.  It will probably work best for those with lighter to light-medium complexions.  I would not recommend it for anyone with oily skin, a darker skin tone, or who wants a totally matte finish.
Although Holika Holika produces some very nice skin care products, I do get the impression that this line is designed with youthful skin in mind.  The brand seems as if it is geared towards polishing already good skin rather than correcting unwanted skin issues.  If you need intense moisture or want to hide imperfections, I don't think you will get that result with this BB.  But if you just want to make the skin you have appear prettier and smoother, this is a good one to try!
So, have you tried any of the Holika Holika Petit BBs? What is your go to BB cream of the moment?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pack Like a Pro

Tips on how to make the most out of your luggage space and travel in style

(Google Images)

Whether you are an inexperienced traveler or jet-setter, who hasn't made some mistakes while packing?  I'm currently getting ready for a trip to Guatemala, so I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my personal packing strategies that I use for every trip.  And packing, when done efficiently, does involve a great deal of strategy!  You have to prioritize and negotiate in order to get all of your necessities (and wants) into a limited space. 
Some important questions to ask yourself when considering what you will bring:
  • What is the purpose of your trip? What types of activities do you have planned?  Make sure you have the proper clothing and other necessities for all your activities, and that the proportion of the items you bring match the frequency of the events.  If you plan to spend the week at the beach, one swimsuit for the week probably won't cut it, but if you are on business trip, you might be wise to pack one bathing suit in case you have time for a dip in the hotel pool.  If you have a range of activities planned, make sure your clothing reflects that.  If you will be hiking, swimming, and going out dancing, you will have to make space for all the paraphernalia associated with each plan...that means footwear, clothing, and extras like beach towels or bug repellent. 
  • Where are you going?  When are you going?  Researching the weather of the place you are going is crucial.  I have made some unwise assumptions about weather in the past.  I failed to take the time to check out actual temperatures and yearly weather patterns, and I suffered the consequences.  When I moved to Northern Florida for college, I assumed that since it was Florida, that it would be hot all year long.  I filled my bag to the brim with skimpy tanks and summer dresses.  Little did I know Northern Florida can get really chilly!  When The first "cold snap" of the fall came I was out in the cold...literally.  So, do your homework and google the weather information!  Don't forget to look into any season-specific weather concerns.  Is it rainy season? Does it snow often?  Is it a tropical environment?  Will you travel to different regions that have different weather during the same trip?
  • How long will you be there?  The length of your stay will help determine how much you should bring.  It is much easier to pack for a short stay where leaving something behind probably isn't too big of a deal. Packing for an extended period of time raises the stakes.  Every item you bring limits your space.  This is where the strategy comes in.  See my tips below for how to maximize space.
  • What are your  accommodations like?  This is a good determiner of whether it's ok to pack heavy or if you should pack lighter.  If your travel plans are direct, and your room is spacious you can probably afford to over-pack, but if you will be traveling from place to place, have connecting flights, or will be using taxis/public transportation, it is probably better to pack lighter and not have to drag all your belongings around with you.  Packing is a balancing act between having all the things that make you feel comfortable and your level of ease of transporting those things.  It isn't always an easy to know which is more important.  Would you rather suffer it out dragging around tons of bags but have all your most awesome stuff, or would you rather sacrifice some of your style or comfort for a few days and make your travel easier?  That's important to consider.        
  • What footwear is appropriate for your trip?  How much will you be walking?  Where will you be walking?  Will there be special events or activities? Will it be hot, rainy, cold?  Will you exercising? Attending some formal event?   This is a really important consideration!  I once packed a really cute pair of wedge sandals when visiting Guatemala.  As I stepped out of my hotel onto the cobblestone streets of Antigua, I nearly broke my ankles!  That was the only time those shoes saw the light of day during my trip.     
  • Are there any cultural or safety concerns related to how you dress?  In any country, tourists make a great target for thieves, but some places are more dangerous than others.  If you dress in expensive or designer clothing, you might want to tone it down if your style could make you a target for robbery.  Also, take local culture into consideration.  Some types of clothing that are perfectly appropriate in one place are odd (or even offensive) in another.  This is especially true for women.  The repercussions for dressing too "sexy" can be anything from just getting cat calls or odd looks to putting yourself in real danger.  Especially for Western women, its easy to make those types of fashion mistakes.  For instance, in South Korea it is not common to see women in spaghetti straps or strapless clothing.  (Short shorts and skirts are fine, however)  In the US sleeveless or low-cut tops are perfectly acceptable.  As an American in Korea, you won't get into any trouble by wearing those things, but you may get a few creepy old men staring at you.  In some places, little fashion errors like that can be a more serious problem.  I personally like to try my best to conform to the standards of whatever place I visit.  I would rather fit in with the locals than stand out as a tourist. 
  • What electronics will you need?  If you bring a laptop etc, will you have internet access?  Are those items likely to be stolen?  If you are traveling in a developed country or metropolitan area, the situation for electronics will be quite different than if you are going to a place that is developing or remote.   

(Google Images)

Packing Tips:
  • Roll clothes, don't fold them.  This is pretty common travel advice, but it works.  It saves space and makes clothes less wrinkly.
  • Consider fabric care when packing.  Will you stay in a hotel/bring a travel iron? If you aren't going to have access to an iron, make sure the clothes you bring aren't made of high maintenance fabrics.  Even if you are backpacking that doesn't mean you have to look like a backpacker!
  • To conserve space, I usually choose a color family I'll wear during the trip, and/or pack neutral shoes, bags, belts and jackets.  For a medium-length stay I usually bring a set of brown and black shoes, bags and jackets.  I don't care how cute my outfit is, if it looks best with a standout bag or shoes, I leave it home.  I try to think like those fashion articles that show you how to combine a few selected pieces to create a variety of outfits.  I want the most versatility for the least amount of space.  I bring items that easily dress up or down, and that can be worn alone or layered to adapt to different weather.  Of course, if I am taking a short and direct trip, then I can include distinctive items like red heels or a mint-colored bag. 
  • Pack smart.  Trade out bulky pieces for lighter smaller ones.  I love wearing dresses when I travel.  They take up considerably less space than jeans, and you look pretty, too. 
  • If possible, I try to wear the bulkiest clothing on the plane.  If I'm packing one pair of boots, I'll wear those and pack my lighter shoes.  Same for the jacket or sweater I chose to wear for the flight. 
  • Carry a backpack or tote.  Although it keeps getting more and more restrictive in the US, most carriers still allow one carry-on and one personal bag (that can fit under the seat).  I usually slide my purse into a tote/backpack and use that as my "personal bag."  It is also great to have a larger bag like that in case you make a short overnight trip or day trip while at your destination.   
  • Use every nook and cranny of space!  When I pack for a longer trip, I usually carry the largest bag allowed, and pack it just under the weight limit. (Which if you are flying within or out of the US is usually 50lbs)  I even put small clothing items like socks or panties into shoes and empty handbags!
  • Bring a towel..or don't bring a towel.  If you are staying at a hotel, towels are almost always provided.  But keep in mind that towels are not always a given at places like hostels or other backpacker-type hotels.  If in doubt, pack one.  But if you are staying in a hotel that provides clean towels daily, why not save that space for something more useful?
  • Don't forget an umbrella! I like to throw a cheap mini umbrella in my suitcase.  It doesn't take up much space and it's no big deal if I lose it/leave it behind.
  • Make sure to check out the voltage of the country where you will be staying.  Pack a converter if necessary, and if you can, bring extras.  I never realized how many electronic items I use daily until I was only able to use one plug at a time.
  • Travel hair irons and dryers can save space, but I find that smaller tools are much less effective.  Is it worth the space you save? It depends on your hair type and style.  I sometimes use travel hair appliances, other times I just pack my regular items.
  • When shopping for (or considering packing) regular-sized hair appliances check the voltage specifications.  Many of the better brands are universal.      
  • Research the phone situation.  Can you use your phone where you are going?  Is it expensive? How will you call home?  Do you need to?  Will you need to make local calls?  There are lots of options for staying in touch, and it varies from place to place.  I really hate being without a phone. For stays of 3 weeks or more, I sometimes buy cheap prepaid cell phones locally.  It depends on where you are traveling and your own phone service, so if you check it out before you go, you might make your life a lot easier, and possibly save money.      
  • Don't forget to bring along any medicine you might need.  I usually bring at least a few cold meds in case I get sick.  It is the worst to get sick in a foreign country and not be able to find the type of medicine you like to use.
  • Scale down your make-up routine.  I usually bring only the basics.  I stick with a natural look without too many steps.  I also stopped bringing my absolute favorite eye shadows etc. when I travel, after one of my favorite MAC pallets was destroyed from being dropped in transit.  Now, my Naked Palette waits for me at home!
  • Make sure you store liquids in plastic.  I usually use the plastic pouch that came with my suitcase and wrap it with 2 layers of plastic bags.  Discovering that your shampoo leaked all over everything during your flight...not a fun way to start your trip!   
  • For short stays, I like to use samples instead of full-sized products.  If you can't live without your favorite shampoo or lotion, you can always put them into a travel sized bottle to save space.
  • For longer stays, I like to bring travel-sized personal products that will get me through the first couple of days, but then buy a full-sized product locally.  Shampoo, body wash, toothpaste etc. take up valuable weight and space in my luggage.  Plus, it is always fun to try out new products.  
  • But...If you are traveling internationally, don't assume you will find the same "necessities" in all places.  For example, there are parts of the world where tampons are not widely used.  If you are able to find them, they will likely be expensive.  Deodorant is another product that is less common in certain areas.  If in doubt, check it out, or if you can't live without it, just bring your own to be sure.
  • Use checked and carry-on luggage strategically.  If my checked bag is too full, I put heavy items in a carry on to avoid being charged overweight fees.  If I have extra space in the checked luggage, I like to put all the heavy stuff in there to avoid having to carry it while transferring planes.  I usually volunteer if they offer to check carry-ons for free due to lack of space.  But be careful, last time I did that, my luggage arrived 2 days late! Not cool. 
  • Never, ever, put anything in your checked luggage that you are not willing to lose.  Seems common sense, but I've heard so many stories.  My coworker had a bunch of silver jewelry that he bought in the Philippines stolen from his checked bag.  They also recently busted a theft ring of employees in the Philadelphia International Airport.  Please keep your valuables with you! Or better yet, leave them home if you can.
  • Don't stress!  Packing might be a bit of a pain, but it means you are going somewhere! You don't want to cause yourself inconvenience by forgetting something important.  Still, no matter how well you pack, you will probably leave something behind.  But don't sweat it too much, that just leaves extra room for souvenirs! 
So, do you have any special trips planned?  What is your top travel advice?                    

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mini-Wishlist Summer '13

Summer Dreamin'

Summer Dreamin' by artaslife featuring a flower headband

My budget is tight, and my closet is full of cute clothes I haven't even worn yet. Looks like I won't be doing much spending this summer...  

So, I made this wishlist while just daydreaming about some of the things that are catching my eye at the moment:
1. Floral crowns
2. Little backpacks (I love how the Chanel one also fits the silver trend that's been popping up lately.)
3. Flatform sandals

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Friday, July 12, 2013

What's in my Shower?

(photo from tumblr)

I like these posts so much that I decided to do one of my own.  There is something very interesting about seeing other people's stuff.  So, here's a little peek at the products I currently use on a daily basis: 

 Missha Creamy Latte Green Tea Facial Cleansing Foam, and Nivea Touch of Cashmere Body Wash (I got a good deal on this body wash with coupons..look for a post on couponing in the future!) 

All my scrubby stuff: Exfoliating cloth, bath poof, and facial brush (It isn't a Clairsonic, but it gets the job done.) 

Skintimate Shave Gel and Schick Quattro Razor 

Lubriderm Lotion, and Mitchum Clinical Performance Deodorant (I got this deodorant on sale and I don't like it much. Won't buy it again.)

Redken Color Extend Shampoo and Conditioner 

So, what is your current favorite bath product or product line? If you have also done a post like this, feel free post the link.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Outfit: Fireworks by the Water Front

Romantic afternoon

Romantic afternoon by artaslife featuring saddle bags

I wore this outfit to watch fireworks over the waterfront.  Afterwards we stopped for a couple of drinks at a sidewalk cafe.

My favorite part of this outfit is my grandmother's gold baby locket.  My grandma turned 99 years old in May, so this locket is from 1914!  What I love most about the locket is that you can see dents from where she used to bite it when she was teething, which makes it even more precious in my eyes!  


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: Olay Fresh Effects Shine Shine Go Away Cleanser

I snagged my sample of Olay Fresh Effects Shine Shine Go away cleanser from an online sample giveaway.  First, I must say, one of the most awesome things about this sample was its generous size.  

This is a picture of my actual Fresh Effects sample from a previous sample haul post.  See how big it is compared to others?

Many skincare samples are single-use, and while that does give you some idea of how a product performs, it is much easier to decide if you like a product after a few uses.  So, kudos to Olay for the ample sample!

What Olay says about Shine Shine Go Away:

Add this cleanser to your morning regimen for a fresh and deep clean:
• Removes 2x more dirt, oil and makeup vs. basic cleansing
• Kaolin clay lifts away impurities and helps minimize shine
• Deep cleansing action for a fresher feel 

What I say:

Well, when I requested this sample, I noticed the Olay facial cleanser part, but failed to notice the "Shine Shine Go Away" part.  My skin is normal, but slightly sensitive.  When I use products that are too moisturizing or too drying my skin gets mad at me.  I was disappointed when I recieved the sample and realized it was a product geared towards oily skin.  Even though I was slightly concerned that it would be too drying, I was still eager to give this product a try.  Olay has a good name in skin care.  I have heard that their anti-aging products often rank up there with high-end skin care lines, and that their clinical research is well-regarded among dermatologists.  Since it was the start of summer, which is a hot and humid time here in Philadelphia, I figured it was the perfect time for a cleanser called "Shine Shine Go Away".

The cleanser comes out of the tube in a thick and silvery cream, very much like my Missha Strawberry Latte Cleanser.  Ever since spending time in Korea, I have fallen in love with Korean skincare products.  Korean facial cleansers produce the thickest and most luxurious foam.  I'm hooked and I've brought back a good supply, so, I am very prejudiced when it comes to facial cleansers from the US.  To my surprise, the Olay cleanser not only looked like my Missha cleanser coming out of the tube, but it also made a comparable thick sudsy lather. The Olay still fell slightly short compared to Korean lather, but it came pretty darn close! Impressive.  The scent was fresh and pleasant.  My skin felt clean and it did not produce the tightness or dryness I worried about.  The sample lasted over a week, so I was able to see how my skin reacted over time.  I was completely satisfied with this face wash.  In the end, I found that the Olay Fresh Effects was probably even gentler on my skin than my beloved Missha Strawberry Latte face wash!  (It didn't smell nearly as good or foam up quite as luciously, though.) 

My verdict is that this is a good little face wash for anyone with normal-oily skin.  Don't be afraid to give it a try.

So what is your current favorite facial cleanser?  What is the most important feature in a cleanser for you?  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel Pics-Lake Titicaca, Peru

I just noticed it has been a really long time since I posted any of my travel pics.  Here are some old pics of Lake Titcaca that I took during my study abroad in Peru.  We took a boat tour of two islands on the lake. Titicaca was such a beautiful and other-worldly place, like nothing else I have seen.  If you plan to visit Peru, Lake Titicaca is not to be missed!

Approaching one of the floating islands of Uros...

These islands are made entirely out of reeds that grow 
in the lake: the houses, boats, even the island itself are made from them. 


Indigenous people dressed in traditional clothing sang us a song.

    We got to ride in a reed boat to the next island. 

Snow-capped mountains in the distance towards the Bolivian border. 

A traditional dance for us on another island.  

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of Peru.  I will be posting more travel photos and articles soon, because I will be visiting in Guatemala in 2 weeks!  

So, what place have you visited that you think has an other-worldly feel?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review:'s Head Chain

Today I would like to share my experience ordering from 

I recently received this awesome lion's head chain from for review purposes.  I previously wrote a post about the site which you can check out HERE.  

In case you have never heard of Clothingloves, it is an online store that ships world-wide.  They sell a huge variety of discount clothing and jewelry items.  You can find anything from wholesale dresses to women's leggings, or even men's jackets.  Clothingloves has tons of really adorable and inexpensive clothes!  The style of women's clothing they sell is youthful, trendy, and fashion-forward.  And, if you like Asian-inspired fashion like I do, check out their sweet and pretty "Korean" style clothes and jewelry.  Here are just a few examples of items I like from Clothingloves.

So, on to my review...
My experience so far with clothingloves has been excellent.  They had good shipping and a great product.  I will definitely order from them in the future.  I recommend that you check them out!  

I placed my order and received my necklace in about 3 weeks.  This is quick considering that the company is based in China and I live in the US.  The amount of shipping time was about what I expected, or a little faster, based on my experience with Chinese sellers on Ebay.  (If it is your first time ordering internationally, it is good to keep in mind that the shipping will likely take longer than you are used to within your country.  This is also why the shipping charge might seem high compared to other domestic websites.)

My necklace was shipped in this bubble mailer to protect it.

It came neatly packed on a hanging card and in plastic wrapping.

The necklace was exactly as pictured on the clothingloves site!  My pictures don't even do this chain justice.

What was most impressive about this necklace is the weight.  The links and lion are solid and heavy.  It feels sturdy and high-quality.

This necklace has been showing up on all of the fashion blogs.  When I first ordered it, I had yet to see it in a local store.  Since I got my necklace, though, I have seen some similar chains popping up in discount junior's stores.  The price of those necklaces was similar to the price of mine, but the chains had thin cheap-looking links and the gold color was really orange.  The overall quality of the pieces could not begin compare to this one from clothingloves!

Here are some pictures of one of my favorite Lookbook contributors, Lua P., wearing a similar lion chain. I absolutley LOVE her style.  She is PERFECT! (Photos from

And here are a few of my own styling options for my necklace:

lion 3

lion 2

lion 2 by artaslife featuring a round cap

lion 1

lion 1 by artaslife featuring retro-style dresses

So, have you ever ordered from Clothingloves?  What is your statement jewelry piece of the moment?