Fatigue Eyeballs & Pretty Bath Bombs

I got my hands on a couple of products from a company called "Grace & Stella Co". Their motto: to give women an at-home spa experience with quality products at a great price.

Their products are available through their website or Amazon. Since I have Amazon Prime, I took advantage of my "Two Day, Free Ship". 

I grabbed Cucumber Facial Masks, a Gel Bead Eye Mask, and a box (yup, a box!) of Bath Bombs

 
 

Cucumber Facial Masks

These babies came in a pack of 6, individually wrapped- enough to last you about 1.5 months, if used weekly. They contain no parabens, no alcohols, no phthalates, and no sulfates. Yayy! 

You're suppose to cleanse and tone your face before applying the mask. They recommended putting the mask in the fridge for a couple of hours before use, and then apply the mask for 20-30 minutes.

My roommate and I both tried it. Her skin is drier but prone to acne. Mine is extra dry with spots of eczema and rosacea. 

Material: These masks were a little different from my typical Korean face masks. The Korean masks are usually made from cotton, while these are made from microfiber. The microfiber made these masks super soft, yet almost too delicate in comparison to the Korean masks, which are stiffer. I felt like it didn't hold it's shape properly since microfiber is so soft- which is why I think there was a plastic film over folded mask. The plastic film on top makes is easier to apply directly to your face. Just peel it off after you stick on the mask. I messed up and peeled it off first- hence it wrinkled on the edges. Oops.

Size: The size of the masks were perfect. They fit our faces with a little material left over to fold under our chins. The only problem was that the eye holes were extremely small. My eyeball barely fit into the eye holes- and I'm Asian. It was almost uncomfortable because my eyeball was touching the edge of the eye hole. I've never experienced this problem from any other masks company. I would definitely would like them to make the eye holes a bit wider and rounder to fit a variety of eye shapes. 

Serum: The moisturizing serum in the mask is suppose to clarify and renew your skin. Leaving the masks in the fridge for a couple of hours made it feel really refreshing. After 30 minutes, we took it off. We were both very surprised at how soft and supple out faces were! My cheeks were very hydrated. My roommates face was noticeably brighter. The leftover serum was not sticky or tacky at all. I went to bed right after I took off the mask. In the morning, my face still felt supple- even with the AC running. I would reccommed this mask for anyone who is on the dry side. 

Price: $7.95 for 6 masks. That's about 1.33 a mask- which is GREAT deal. 

Verdict: 4/5. This mask is overall an awesome mask. It does exactly what it's suppose to do. The serum is very refreshing and hydrating. I just wish the eyeholes were larger. I think I would like to try the other kinds of face masks they offer. 

Gel Bead Eye Mask

This little gem can be used HOT or COLD. I read that it helps with sinus pain, headaches, and eye strain. I HAVE ALL OF THESE! HAHA I get headaches and eyestrain from too much screen time. I have major allergies that causes more headaches and sinus pain. ugh, right? I was hoping this thing will solve all my issues. LOL I don't like sleeping with anything on my eyes, so I didn't use it as a sleeping mask. I used it as a "treatment" mask.  

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Material: One side is fuzzy and soft, and the other side has a plastic (might be silicone- the package didn't state specifically) over the individual gel beads. The directions do state that you can use this mask hot or chilled, and that it is reusable, non-toxic, and BPA free. I was a little confused on which side was suppose to touch your skin.  I assumed that it would be the gel bead side since the fuzzy will get dirty too quickly from all your skin's oils. 

Cold Test: Freeze for 15 minutes. Anything cold over your eyes will help depuff them in the morning and wake up your skin. This masks feels amazzzzzzing in the morning! I tried it a couple days in a row and I absolutely loved it. 

I usually don't wake up to puffy eyes, but one morning this week, my allergies went nuts. I woke up with puffy, itchy eyes, and my nose was running constantly. I froze the mask for 15 minutes and placed it on my eyes for 10 minutes. The sinus pressure between my brows started to lift and my eyes were a lot less puffy after. 

This thing is great after a long night out, a good cry fest, or just for crazy allergies like mine. 

Hot Test: Microwave for 10-15 seconds (15 seconds MAX). Warning: this mask does get HOT and your eyes are very DELICATE! I was an idiot and thought it didn't felt hot enough after 15 seconds. So I stuck it in for 5 more seconds. Boy, was I wrong! It became too hot. 

TIP: After microwaving for 15 seconds, take out the mask and push the beads around. They will actually get warmer from the movement. Remember your eye area is very delicate! What is warm to the back of your hand might be too hot for your eyes- so be careful!

OMG the warm mask felt HEAVENLY! I used it at night before bed...MAN! It feels like you're at a spa. The warmth of the beads really relaxes your eye muscles. I LOOOOOOOVE IT! It's perfect after a long day on the computer. 

 
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Price: $8.99 for 1 mask

Verdict: 4.5/5 I loved this mask for hot and cold treatments. It really does soothe my eyeballs and helps from all the fatigue from looking at the screen. I was just confused on which side was the one touching your eyes. 

Box of Bath Bombs

I love bath bombs. I have to say, this box was quite heavy and smelled wonderful. It's literally a BOX of bath bombs- plus a bonus shower gel! The scents included: Red Rose, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Chamomile, Jasmine, and Vanilla. They are made with Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Argan Oil, Olive Oil, and other organic ingredients! They are paraben and cruelty free! 

 

 
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Each bath bomb was individually wrapped in plastic- so it was no wonder that I couldn't smell each scent. 

For my bath trial, I used two different ones: Jasmine and Red Rose.

I let the bombs sit on the surface of the water until I got bored playing with it. The pink and blue swirls looked like unicorn poop. LOL 

Scent:  I'm not a huge fan of floral notes, but this bomb was not too "overly rosey". The Jasmine smelled amazing- not too strong either. I really enjoyed the both the scents together. It smelled like a spa. Rose and Jasmine. I think I might combo Vanilla and Lavender next time. Or Lemon and Grapefruit. :) 

After: I didn't even need to rinse! These bombs left my skin feeling refreshed, super soft, and moisturized. There was a hint of the smell left on my skin- not too strong. The best part was that the bombs did not leave a residue in my white tub! Hooray! I love Lush bombs, but they always leave a residue in the tub and on my skin. So this was an wonderful alternative. 

Note: Rose petals were added into the tub (they were from my garden!) and the bath bombs pictured are half the size they originally cuz we were playing with them for too long.

Price: $17.95. 8 bombs= $2.24 per bomb. Considering Lush's bombs are about $7.95- I'd say these from Grace and Stella are a great deal. They aren't a large as a Lush bomb, but they do the job right! And they smell wonderful.

Verdict: 5/5  It's worth the price! I like that they are individually wrapped- which means they are travel friendly! They smell so good, too!! I can't wait to try another round! 

Overall, I'm super happy with my purchase! I can't wait to order more products from Grace & Stella Co.. They have so many different masks and spa items I want to try! 

Until next time my beauties.... 

Korean Sheet Masks

I LOVE Korean Sheet Masks! LOOOOOVE them! 

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They are one of my many obsessions in life. I think my collection box has filled up entirely thanks to friends and family who bring them home for me. 

Why are they so great?

  1. They come in a variety of formulas: hydrating, purifying, brightening, pore care, soothing, etc. 
  2. They are conveniently packaged. No goopy mess. No rinsing required. 
  3. They are travel-friendly. You can take it in your carry-on or even in your purse! 
  4. They are sanitary. For all my germaphobes, these are one-time use! You never have to share or stick your fingers into another person's jar. 

Masking On a Flight

I love using these when I travel on long-haul flights. After being trapped on a plane for more than 10+ hours, my skin start to dry out more than usual. When there's about 1.5 hours left until touchdown, I'll clean my face with a quick cleansing cloth or micellar water. Then I'll open a mask and place it on my face for about 10-20 minutes. Since the air onboard is very drying, my mask usually dries up in less than 10 minutes. There's always extra "treatment" or "juice" leftover in the packet. So I just take my fingers and apply more "mask juice" to my face sheet. After 20 minutes, I discard the mask into the original packet, apply some more face moisturizer, lip balm, and maybe some makeup if I feel up to it. 

It makes a HUGE difference for me. My skin looks super fresh and awake. And my body overall, feels less tired and groggy. 

 Tip: You'll get more "treatment" out of your mask if you exfoliate or Clairsonic prior. I use the "delicate" brush head for my face for about 30 seconds with my Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. 

 Tip: You'll get more "treatment" out of your mask if you exfoliate or Clairsonic prior. I use the "delicate" brush head for my face for about 30 seconds with my Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. 

GEL mask- it feels silicone (no, it doesn't hurt)

GEL mask- it feels silicone (no, it doesn't hurt)

PAPER mask

PAPER mask

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Difference Kinds

Most sheet masks come in "PAPER" form. It's usually cotton or rayon soaked in the "mask juice". They'll start drying out after about 20 minutes. Did I mention, they come in animal prints? hehe 

Animal

Sheet masks also come in a "GEL" form. These masks are usually more expensive and are made out of a silicone-like material. They don't dry out, but they do slip around when you apply it. If you were to sit straight up for about 5 minutes, the mask will fall right to the ground. I would totally use these if you can lay down or lean back in a chair. 

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Lip masks are a thing too! I'm not a big fan of them since I just like using lip balm. They don't do too much for me. But they are super fun to use. 

Some of my favorite brands are Nature Republic, InnisFree, Tony Moly, MediHeal and Leaders Insolution.

 

 

 

Now that you know the power of these babies, go forth and buy them all! 

Attempting the Korean 10-Step Beauty Regimen

After 6 weeks (un-retouched): my skins definitely looks more even than before, still a bit pink, but this is the best it's looked in a long time! 

After 6 weeks (un-retouched): my skins definitely looks more even than before, still a bit pink, but this is the best it's looked in a long time! 

I rarely get a blemish- perhaps only towards "that time of the month", one or two will appear in between my brows or under my chin. But two things my skin struggles with are extreme dryness  and the-recent-adult-eczema just on my cheeks. My eczema hasn't gone "hulk" on me (thank goodness), but it gets pretty close. If I don't keep it at bay. My cheeks will burn and chap, then micro pimple like dots will appear all over, as if a massive breakout is suppose to happen. 

Recently, after our trip from France and after my birthday, I decided to see if the "10 Step Korean Skin Care" really worked. I craved better skin that was more evenly toned and less red. 

The 10 steps included: 

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  1. Oil- based Cleanser - removes makeup/impurities 
  2. Water-based Cleanser - removes any leftover oils/dirt/yuckies 
  3. Exfoliate - removes excess dry skin cells and promote cell turn over
  4. Toner - removes excess oils, sunscreen; closes pores; evens out the skin
  5. Essence - adds a "moisture barrier" so serums and treatments can absorb better 
  6. Serum - added as treatment for "skin problems"- hydrating serum, brightening serum, etc
  7. Mask - sheet masks or cream masks; there are various types depending on your skin's needs
  8. Eye Cream - treatment for dark circles or for brightening the under eye
  9. Face Cream - all over moisturizer 
  10. SPF - sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun

For the record, I did not do all 10 steps every single night, but broke up the steps necessary for my day time and night time regimens. I have a huge background in beauty and skin care so I logically combined all the steps necessary for each regimen. (Luckily, I had most of these products already, just putting them together took some thinking.)

Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+

Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

  Witch Hazel

 

Witch Hazel

SK-II Essence

SK-II Essence

Sheet Masks

Sheet Masks

La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum

La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum

Avène Cicalfate

Avène Cicalfate

NIGHT TIME

  1. Oil-based Cleanser- SHU UEMURA OIL CLEANSER- This is my HOLY GRAIL of all makeup removers/face cleansers. I use it every time I wear makeup- heavy or light. It breaks down even the most stubborn of waterproof makeup while leaving my skin moisturized. You're suppose to apply it to a dry face, rub all over to break down everything, then emulsify with water, and rinse. I dry off my face and do it a second round if my makeup is super stubborn. 
  2. Water-based Cleanser- FRESH SOY FACE CLEANSER- Is it possible for a cleanser to be so soft?!? The texture is almost like Cetaphil but softer and silkier. I hate fragrances in my cleansers- especially floral ones, but this one smells like a fresher and lighter mixture roses and cucumbers. I really like it. It's not too over powering. This cleanser takes off excess dirt and oils without drying out. Oh, and it takes off makeup too! This is one is great for sensitive skin.
  3. Exfoliate- TATCHA RICE ENZYME POWDER- I use this once a week. Add a bit of the powder to wet hands to make a paste; scrub for a minute; rinse. It really brightens and smooths out my face. I noticed that my lotions and serums absorb better. I use my Clarisonic once a week with the "delicate" brush head (with the Fresh Soy Cleanser) to exfoliate my face. Just don't use the Tatcha and the Clarisonic on the same night or back to back nights. 
  4. Toner- WITCH HAZEL- good old fashion witch hazel from Target. Witch hazel is a natural astringentnatural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It reduces acne, redness, eczema, oils, etc. Helps even out skin tone. It's literally $2.50 at Target and is the best kind of toner you can buy. I just tilt the bottle into a cotton pad and wipe. I love using with a  as a "quick-face-wipe" if I don't have time to really clean my face. There is a bit of a distinct smell to the witch hazel. It takes some getting use to.  
  5. Essence- SK-II FACIAL ESSENCEI didn't know what the heck essence was until I did a little more research. Essences aren't prominent in "American" skin care, but is widely accepted in most Asian skincare routines. Think of your face as a sponge- a wet sponge can absorb more water easily and faster than a dry sponge. Essence is the initial water used to fill up your skin cells so your serums and boosters can absorb them more. I really like the essence from SKII, but it's very expensive. I'm going to have to find another brand once I run out of my bottle. 
  6. Mask- SHEET MASKS- I was able to get my hands on a TON of Korean Sheet Masks. Thank you friends for buying and gifting them to me! I absolutely love using sheet masks after a long week or after a day in the sun. They come in a variety of "treatments": collagen, brightening, purifying, hydrating. You literally just open the package and stick it on. After 15-20 minutes, just peel off and pat the excess into your face. 
  7. Serum- LA ROCHE-POSAY HYDRAPHASE INTENSE SERUM- I picked up this bad boy at a Pharmacie in Paris. And I wished I got the whole line cuz it's that amazing for dry skin. This brand is a lot cheaper in France than here- almost 1/2 the price over there. This serum is a lifesaver. I used it morning and night while traveling around Copenhagen. It saved my cheeks from dying out in 40 degree weather. It delivers moisture to your face without leaving it too sticky. I've noticed my skin more supple and less red after a couple of weeks. 
  8. Face Cream - EAU THERMALE AVÈNE CICALFATE- This little repair cream is made for sensitive skin. It uses Copper-Zinc Sulfate Complexes and Avène's Thermal Spring Water from France (fancy huh?). But it restores, repairs, recovers the skin. And they say it's made for babies with dermatitis and diaper rashes. So if a baby can use it, my face can too! The cream itself is very rich, so a small amount goes far. I like letting it soak in for about 20 minutes before I lay down to sleep. 

DAYTIME

  1. Water-based Cleanser- FRESH SOY CLEANSER- I do a light wash in the morning. Sometimes, I forgo the cleanser altogether and wash with just water. 
  2. Essence- CAUDALÌE EAU DE RAISIN- This little spray bottle hydrates and soothes sensitive skin. I use it as a light essence in the AM. I just spray a little bit all over. While it's still wet, I apply my AM eye cream and serum. 
  3. Eye Cream- CLINQUE PEP START EYE CREAM- I'm not a fan of eye creams, but I should really find one that I like since I'm gonna be 30 soon. My asian genes can't save me for that long. LOL. I got this eye cream as part of a gift set from Sephora's Skin Wonderland. I like the little ball that helps you roll the product onto your under eyes. I think the motion of rolling something onto your under eyes helps with the depuffing in the AM. The cream itself has hydrated my under eyes, but I think I need to go back to my old eye cream for dark circles. 
  4. Serum- CAUDALÍE VINOPERFECT SERUM- This radiance serum is amazing! I got it as the birthday gift from Sephora.  It corrects dark spots, evens out skin tone, and is non photo-sensitizing (which means you can go into the sun after without suffering). It has smoothed out the texture of my face and the color of it. I'll be buying the full bottle once I go back to Paris at the end of the year. Everything from Caudalíe is way cheaper at the Pharamcie than at home in the States. 
  5. Face Cream- CAUDALÍE VINOPERFECT CRÈME SORBET- This little gem was included in the birthday gift from Sephora with their Radiance Serum. It's non-comedogenic (won't clog pores). It has a whipped consistency- very light and smooth. For something so light, it moisturizes my skin very well. It doesn't feel heavy either. Perfect for every skin type. I'm going to be stocking up on this little one too when we go back. 
  6. SPF- RUDOLPH SUN FACE CREAM SPF 30- This is my HOLY GRAIL of SPF. I picked up this tube at the Copenhagen Airport, and I'm kicking myself for not buying the body SPF cream and repair sun spray. It got the Danish Beauty Award in 2015. I don't just love it because it's an awarded international beauty product. I love it because IT DOESN'T SMELL LIKE A HINT OF SUNSCREEN and doesn't leave my face oily and sticky. I HATE the way sunscreen smells, I can't stand it. This stuff smells like chamomile with fruits. It's loaded with antioxidants and helps soothes and calm skin while moisturizing and protecting it from the sun using natural and organic ingredients. It's over 72% natural and organic ingredients
Caudalìe Eau De Raisin

Caudalìe Eau De Raisin

Clinque Pep-Start Eye Cream

Clinque Pep-Start Eye Cream

Caudalíe Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

Caudalíe Vinoperfect Radiance Serum

Caudalíe Créme Sorbet

Caudalíe Créme Sorbet

Rudolph Sun Face Cream

Rudolph Sun Face Cream

Before (un-retouched): Super red and splotchy around my forehead and cheeks

Before (un-retouched): Super red and splotchy around my forehead and cheeks

After 3 weeks (un-retouched): my cheeks aren't as red, my forehead isn't as pigmented and my chin isn't as dark. 

After 3 weeks (un-retouched): my cheeks aren't as red, my forehead isn't as pigmented and my chin isn't as dark. 

THE VERDICT: After over a month of being pretty consistent with both the nighttime and daytime regimens, I have to say that it's worked. My skin feels more supple and looks more youthful. My skin tone has even out and the redness in my cheeks has lessened.

To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to doing this routine everyday because I felt it would take an extra 10-15 minutes every time. (No one has that much time on their hands!). It did take a little more time/effort in the beginning when I was trying to remember all the steps. But after a couple times, it was like clockwork and only took an extra 5 minutes in the morning and at night. 

I would totally recommend anyone to look into this amazing routine. It has help my skin tremendously. It's something I'm going to add into my life routine from now on. I'll probably change some of the products as I find better ones, but I definitely will keep all the steps. 

Happy 29th Birthday, Jimmy

Cheers to you, MR. JIMMY CHO! Thanks for being my travel pillow, my heater on cold nights, my sous chef, my ice cream accomplice, and my roommate for life. Thank you for always smiling, always shimmy-ing, and always laughing.

Paris, France Photo by Katie Ruther

Paris, France

Photo by Katie Ruther

Amorino Ice Cream, Paris, France Photo by Katie Ruther

Amorino Ice Cream, Paris, France

Photo by Katie Ruther

If you haven't met Jimmy yet, he has the kindest and most giving soul. He is one of the most loyal friend anyone can ask for. He is generous with him time and will be there for you when you he need him. He puts his family and friends before anyone else. He brings life to a dull and unhappy room with his contagious laughter.

Palace of Versailles, France Photo by Katie Ruther

Palace of Versailles, France

Photo by Katie Ruther

Palace of Versailles, France Photo by Katie Ruther

Palace of Versailles, France

Photo by Katie Ruther

Jimmy Cho, I'm so thankful to call you my other half. You go through life with such optimism that I get jealous I can't look at the world that way. You always see the glass as half full when I see it as half empty. You see the good in every soul, while I question the intentions of strangers. I guess this is what it means when you find someone who is similar but yet opposite of you. Thank you for filling the gaps and voids that I lack. Thank you for letting me see life from your eyes. 

The Lourve, Paris France Photo by Katie Ruther

The Lourve, Paris France

Photo by Katie Ruther

Paris, France Photo by Katie Ruther

Paris, France

Photo by Katie Ruther

Cheers to another 10 months until you can call me "your cougar" again.

Happy birthday, my handsome and sweet husband! 

 
 
 

Golden Birthday, Golden Year

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This past birthday (one month ago) was a special one. Not only did it mark my final year in my 20s, but it was my golden birthday. Meaning I turned the age 29 on the 29th day of the month. It so happened that the 29th of May was Memorial Day. 3x Golden. I should be noted that my birthday has fallen on Memorial Day only a couple times: my 1st birthday, my 7th birthday, my 12th birthday (Y2K year), my 18th (the year I graduated high school), and my 29th (the year I got married).

My triple home run topped every other birthday because of all the things that blossomed before and after it: from booking beyond the number of weddings I desired for the year, to spontaneously eloping in my dream city with the man of my dreams, to growing and building friendships that spanned miles away from me, and to finally choosing to be selfish to make myself sane and happy.

To mark this Golden Year, I decided to expand the heart of my business: myself. My biggest desire is for clients to get to know me on a deeper and more personal level. What better way for someone to get to know me than for them to see life from my perspective. To be honest, it was difficult to blog in the past. I felt as if I could only write about makeup or beauty. Since the categories I made for myself were so limited, I got bored quickly and ran out of ideas. So this time around, I'll be writing about my life as a makeup artist, a beauty guru, a home maker, a wife, a traveler, a foodie, and so much more

Btw, a big THANK YOU to all who came out and celebrated life with me on my birthday. I love you all so much. Each and every one of you has shaped me into who I am today.