Living Overseas: Shipping (Tricky) Stuff to your APO/FPO/DPO Address

It’s hard to believe, but I’m rounding the corner to my five year anniversary living overseas here in Japan. I will state with full disclosure that my stay overseas has been somewhat of an “expat lite” experience, as I live in an area with a huge American military population, complete with access to the American grocery stores and exchanges on the bases and, very conveniently, an “American” address. Having an APO address has been especially nice for me being a. tall with giant feet (Japanese stores rarely carry clothing I can fit, and never carry shoes that do) and b. having an ugly Sephora habit.

But, not every company, or every thing, will ship to an APO address. Even Amazon and Sephora, which are in general amazing with their (free) shipping policies and speed, have items that won’t ship to overseas military/diplomatic addresses. Sometimes they make sense (item is too large to ship USPS, flammable, etc) and sometimes you will have an item denied for reasons you cannot fathom. But, c’est la vie. Or, in my adopted home, shikata ga nai.

There are a few items that I have seen a zillion times come up, either in forums and Facebook groups, or just among friends, that people have a hard time sourcing if you need something shipped stateside. Outside of using a forwarder (and paying additional fees), here are a few tricky items that I’ve found ways to get shipped when living overseas. Continue reading “Living Overseas: Shipping (Tricky) Stuff to your APO/FPO/DPO Address”

My Spring 2018 Style, Thanks to Stitch Fix #5

It’s been a minute since my last fix … my last Stitch Fix, that is. I don’t do too many subscription boxes (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing book has made an indelible hold in my brain, which is not visible in the slightest when you visit my home). I have settled into a twice-yearly Stitch Fix (there are, barely, two seasons in Okinawa), and I recently caved and signed my barely two-year-old lab up for Bark Box not too long ago (duuuuuuude I know it’s so bougie, but seriously, he eats EVERYTHINGGGGGG). Stitch Fix though, I enjoy because I don’t like to commit to things, I don’t like to shop (and can’t really shop locally because I’m too big for Japanese clothing) and with the service, I pay a bit more than my usual MO of shopping clearance off clearance sales, but I don’t have to shop OR commit. So after hemming and hawing over if I should schedule my spring Fix or not, I decided to go for it. If you want to see what my Spring 2018 Stitch Fix box contained, keep reading …

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection SPF 50+ with WetForce technology: Swim, play and enjoy the outdoors knowing your sunscreen loves water as much as you do. Ships FREE, with FREE returns and 3 FREE samples with every Nordstrom beauty order.

Continue reading “My Spring 2018 Style, Thanks to Stitch Fix #5”

Japanese Shampoo & Conditioner: Better Together

Like with my skincare, I’ve never been brand loyal for my whole routine with my hair. My hair has been, um, difficult most of my life and so while I don’t really do anything or style my hair, I am pretty serious about conditioning it to keep it from being totally busted. I’ve found different products from different lines that really make a difference and tend to stick with them. However, I have found as I have sampled and branched out into Japanese haircare lines, that Japanese shampoo and conditioner are something that are indeed better together.

Japanese shampoo and conditioner
It’s so cute I could die

One thing I love about Japanese shampoo and conditioner, at least with what’s available at the drugstore, is that you can buy duo sample packets of many of the brands. This gives you the opportunity to sample a bunch of options, for around $1 USD a pop, without having to buy a whole bottle or set that you may or may not love.

dr. brandt skin-changing science – shop now 

This is exactly what I did finding my first hot find … I went to a drugstore (if I remember correctly it was a Drugstore Mori) and looked through the offerings, trying to narrow down my choices to the ones I hoped would do what I was looking for–deep hydration and conditioning (I don’t color my hair but do straight perm it, so I don’t shop for color care or smoothing products). I bought maybe four different duos to bring home, and I’m glad I did. They were all ok, but one of them was a slam dunk home run for me. Continue reading “Japanese Shampoo & Conditioner: Better Together”

Sea Breeze Body Shampoo Cool & Deodorant: a Mini Review

Sorry for the massive gap in posts, the struggle to get wordpress to upload photos or any other graphics has been real, let me tell you. WHYYYYYYY wordpress, why? Anyway, on to the Sea Breeze …

Anyway, I’ve had this ginormous vat of body wash for a while, and now that I’m about halfway through the bottle, I feel very comfortable offering my thoughts on Sea Breeze body shampoo.

Sea Breeze

I have seen this product for a while, and have gone through several bottles of the Sea Breeze body splash deodorants (including my bottles being used by friends as a sort of joke on other girls, as the cooling factor in them is quite, errr, refreshing). But I’m lazy, and bar soap is my usual go-to for home cleansing. I know bar soaps can be drying for some, but I don’t usually have an issue with them.

But … what I do have an issue with, is being stinky. I typically work out a good bit, and I live in a very hot and humid environment that I am totally not acclimated to, even now (I moved from Alaska to Okinawa, y’all). To add insult to injury, my skin doesn’t tolerate anti-perspirants AT ALL. They send me  into a giant itch fest, manically clawing at my armpits in public. AKA, way more embarrassing than sweating.

So, I found after moving here almost five years ago, that my old deodorants didn’t cut the mustard (like, at all). Also, less-than-daily showering didn’t cut it, either. I found a deodorant that works for me better than anything on the planet (Soft Stone btw) but still, I was generating more stink quicker than I (anyone) preferred.

Enter the Sea Breeze deodorant body shampoo. To cut to the chase, yes, this is a win and yes, you should buy it. Why? First, it’s a giant vat of product (with a pump!) for a low price. Second, despite advertising being cooling and deodorizing, it doesn’t dry my skin out at all. What it does do, and do well, is cleanse my skin thoroughly (without stripping it) and keep me stink-free longer than not using it.

Scent: in line with most Japanese products, there is a very slight minty scent  while using it, but it does  not cling or linger on your skin after using it. Feel: not heavily moisturizing, but not stripping at all. Has a short-term, low-key minty tingle for your skin. After effect: lives up to its deodorant claim and staves off BO longer than any other body wash or soap I’ve used, to include American products marketed for men (manly men!).

Because Japan, you can buy little refill pouches too, making it even more economical if you decide to repurchase.

 

Will I repurchase? YES. Who would I recommend it for? Anybody but the most sensitive-skinned, and particularly for active people, this should work well for the whole family.

Mini Review: Loreal Elseve Extraordinary Oil Cleansing Cream

Now that I’ve finished at least 80% of this giant bottle, I feel confident letting you know my thoughts and experience using this product. First: what it is. Loreal Elseve Cleansing Cream is meant to be a co-wash product, aka a conditioner you use in between full wash-and-condition sessions. I say that deliberately; I personally think everyone’s scalp can do with a good cleansing now and again (vs. never, ever cleansing like you have probably seen all over social media and the inter webs), though I don’t personally wash my hair daily. Second: despite being a product from a French company marketed in Japan, this product is made in China; this may or may not bother you. Third: I purchased mine at Don Quixote and I don’t remember the price, somewhere around $12 USD perhaps for a 440 ml bottle … it’s a giant bottle, with a pump top.

So starting there, it’s good that the bottle is large because I found myself using a good bit of product with each use. To be fair, I have long, super thick hair that naturally is coarse and dryish, and is straight permed (aka chemically damaged). I never use a small amount of product. Just know that you will need more of the Loreal Elseve cleansing cream than you would use with other products.

That being said, I disagree with the product’s slightly underwhelming (but not bad) 4.9/6 star rating on cosme (a Japanese cosmetic rating/review site) … I really enjoyed this product, and will purchase again. Here’s why:

Continue reading “Mini Review: Loreal Elseve Extraordinary Oil Cleansing Cream”