Alterna’s Ten Duo

November 29th, 2011 Posted in beauty products, Spa Retreat, Toiletries | No Comments »

I ordered the shampoo and conditioner duo via sample sale recently since I’ve been trying to get my hands on them for the longest time.  Nice packaging but sad to say, this is not going to be much of a positive review:

Alterna’s 10 Science of Ten Shampoo: Good consistency.  So-so scent compared to other shampoos I’ve tried, whether they be luxury or not.  Made my hair soft during the lather but made my hair feel slightly stripped and plasticy during the rinse.  I accidentally got some shampoo in my right eye and I felt a terrible burning.  I’m pretty sure I hollered aloud.  Totally not for me!  I’m actually in shock there aren’t more negative reviews out there.  I have seen a few similar complaints to my own.

Alterna’s 10 Science of Ten Conditioner: Okay conditioner.  Didn’t like the smell; very alcohol =(!  Not sure if it’s the shampoo or the conditioner (though I suspect the conditioner) but my roots feel tingly like I just used a minty scalp treatment.  Overall, hair loss after combing so far has been similar to that of using Alterna’s White Truffle duo (a few strands which one should not fret over; it seems like part of a natural hair cycle).  I did use Kenra’s hair gloss post-rinse so I’m not sure if my soft hair after drying is due to this?  I should have held off on using the hair gloss to know for certain; sorry about this.

Expensive (even at sample sale prices) and with undesirable characteristics even worse than the most under-whelming of drug store brands.  I can’t even pass this duo to anyone else because of the eye irritation and the way the conditioner smells so I’m stuck with it =(.  I’m beyond disappointed.  Wanted to give Alterna another great review but can’t do this on a clear conscience.  I’m sticking to either my Alterna White Truffle products (hope they haven’t discontinued this wonderful collection) or my Orofluido hair products when I’ve earned a treat.

Alterna Ten Ingredients as per Alterna:

  1. Enzymetherapy
  2. Caviar Age-Control Complex
  3. French Champagne Quality Grape Seed Oil
  4. VOSS Artesian Water
  5. Photozyme Complex with Color Hold
  6. Bulgarian Evening Primrose
  7. African Cacao Extract
  8. Italian White Truffle
  9. Moroccan Quail Bark
  10. Hyaluronic Acid
  11. Amica Flower

*Photocredit: D Magazine


My First Bonsai Project

November 25th, 2011 Posted in Home & Garden, Special Projects | No Comments »

My first bonsai was a Christmas gift juniper from my husband’s relatives.  I would love to switch out my current blue ceramic pot (pictured below) with a 5.5 in-6 in The Intelligent Plant Light/Timely Lighting Care pot.  Following a re-decoration similar to my friend’s potted plant (also pictured below).  I prefer a traditional ceramic bonsai pot but don’t have too much choice as I’m depending on my The Intelligent Plant Light machine.  I really don’t have a green thumb =( so I hope that my bonsai has a better chance because of it…..

It’s been about a year since the plant was given to me and unfortunately it’s currently not doing that well.  This is probably due to under-watering or disease.  I’ve also read from various sources that junipers don’t fare well indoors since they are meant to be an outdoor plant.  Do not buy a juniper unless you will eventually transfer it outside; you’ll only be heart-broken.   I may re-try my hand at bonsai-caring with a fairly tolerant braided bamboo a.k.a. good luck tree (which is what my friend has).

The materials you will need to re-create something similar to my friend’s braided bamboo bonsai environment or to make your own beginner’s kit includes:

bonsai humidity/drip tray pebbles: It is a good idea to add water to your bonsai humidity/drip tray and  to raise your bonsai pot out of the water by lining your tray with river pebbles.

decorative crushed shale landscape rocks: A decorative dressing which doubles as a soil mix.

decorative landscape pebbles, small grade size: Clear-coated, tumbled smooth, and non-toxic.

professional bonsai soil, granular form: Considered sterile and environmentally inert. It is a natural non-toxic, highly absorptive ceramic granule with a generally neutral PH.  Approximately 25% water, 25% air, and 50% solid particulate matter.  It is dimensionally stable and will not degrade like other amending products. There is no need for it to be re-applied year after year.

Akadama brown soil: Can be mixed with other bonsai soils or used by itself.  It is a flash-fired, soft, volcanic clay.

Kyoto moss spores: These moss seed spores produce a beautiful, bright green velvety moss of the variety commonly found in the famous Kyoto gardens of Japan.

Colorado rock granules (tree soil additive): Is a naturally occurring volcanic cinder that has a porous structure which makes the material lightweight and highly moisture retentive. Incorporate into your bonsai soil mix to increase drainage (aeration). It will absorb up to 40% of its weight in water.

Bonsai Pro Brand fertilizer: It does not cause undesirable salt buildup in your growing medium. It is a professional formulation containing all essential macro and micro nutrient minerals for healthy bonsai.  With bonsai pro you feed your bonsai with each watering.

bonsai training wire

drip tray

traditional beginner bonsai shears: You probably would not need the more advanced tools until your tree matures.

*Other great advice from bonsai expert, Nancy Cyburban of Life’s Little Amusements regarding my personal bonsai project:

  • If you use your own garden rocks, it’s very important to boil the rocks in order to kill any bacteria or parasites that could be transferred from your garden soil; also true of any beach sand or gravel you purchase.
  • If you use moss from your garden (1″-2” square):  Place in a blender with some yogurt or milk and make a broth then paint it on the area you want the moss to grow on and water.   Alternately if you find a large enough patch of moss, it is easy to transplant moss as it just peels up and you just press it down where you want it.  Be sure to keep it moist by misting even if the plant does not need water until the moss acclimates.
  • To make your own fertilizer, use any balanced plant fertilizer meant for evergreens but do buy the kind you mix with water.  MIX HALF STRENGTH only.  When you find a good book you can obtain further directions.

Nancy Cyburban suggested these two great bonsai beginner books:

  • Bonsai Workshop- Styling and Training by Herb L. Gustafson.  This book is for the beginner to intermediate bonsai enthusiast; it outlines the essentials of the care, creation, and display of bonsai trees. This book is said to be “the only one you need.”
  • Bonsai Basics by Christian Pessey and Remy Samson which is a
    popular beginner book.  It contains easy-to-follow training techniques for pruning and wiring and expert advice on repotting, watering, and feeding with over 200 color photographs and numerous line drawings.

I personally own The Living Art of Bonsai by Amy Liang, which was the second part of my Christmas gift.  I highly recommend it to any bonsai enthusiast.  I’m paying it forward and hope this blog post is of some help.

*Reference: Thanks to Ms. Nancy Cyburban of Life’s Little Amusements for her kindness, patience, and invaluable wealth of information.

*Photocredit: NYCupcake via iPhone



Alternative Apparel & Allison Sudol Collab

November 25th, 2011 Posted in Fashion, Special Projects | No Comments »

Allison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy recently tweeted about her collab with Alternative Apparel (which produced three lovely designs; bear, tugboat, and tree).  On closer examination, I think this project was back in August 2011 and in very limited supply.  I ordered the tee with the cute tugboat design (the only one left I was told) and am looking forward to receiving it.  All tees are cotton and screen-printed.  Alternative’s flagship store is located in Venice Beach, California.  None of the collab tees are featured on their website.  You’ll have to call-in to order.

*Photocredit: Alternative Apparel

Orofluido Review

November 25th, 2011 Posted in beauty products, Toiletries | No Comments »

First I’d like to say, I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving =)…

I managed to snag a great deal on Orofluido at one of the recent sample sales.  You never know whether or not you will like a product by purchasing online without seeing it first.  I just decided to take a risk this time with their beauty elixir and it worked out well save that I wish I had purchased the shampoo and conditioner too.  I did a bit of searching and found some great deals on eBay.  I’ve tried the shampoo, hair mask, and elixir so far.  I really do like them a lot!  I noticed a big difference right away as soon as I started shampooing.  My hair became silky soft instantly!  This was not the typical product leaving your hair stripped and feeling plasticky during shampooing like many others.  Orofluido shampoo acted more like the best conditioner out there- which is absolutely amazing!  Also, I love the scent- a very sweet floral.  The hair mask did a great job, as did the elixir.  I usually use a wide-tooth comb after my shower to remove tangles.  There was barely any hair loss versus the usual for me (several strands).  The downside to Orofluido is that it’s normally very expensive (like Kerastase) and the bottles are only 6.7 fl.oz.  compared to the usual 8 fl.oz.  I would suggest waiting for a good deal if you would like to splurge a little.


Panasonic Lumix G3 Camera

November 2nd, 2011 Posted in accessories, Cool Gadgets, curiosities, Special Projects | No Comments »

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3
16 MP
Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera
3-Inch Free-Angle Touch-Screen LCD
14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 Lens


I was so ecstatic when I received my Panasonic Lumix G3 back in the end of July!  Sorry this post is so late but I’ve been spending time bonding with it =).  So far I’ve been very impressed with its performance!  I really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect camera for my simple needs!  The picture quality is excellent (even in low light/indoor situations), it’s very easy to use (just takes common sense), no navigating through a complex menu, lightweight, attractive design, love the easy zoom-in during video mode and flip feature of the monitor.

I own a Canon PowerShot and needed an upgrade; the Lumix had been recommended to me.  It was worth every hard-earned penny!  So very pleased with it!

If you would like to know more about the Lumix G3, check out Panasonic’s website, Google keyword Lumix G3, or read the numerous reviews.




Hallmark Limited Edition Ornaments

November 2nd, 2011 Posted in curiosities, Decor, Holiday, Home & Garden, Special Projects | No Comments »

I’ve been trying to wrap up my stocking-stuffer shopping for this year at Hallmark and Pier 1.  I have many people to shop for.  I found this sweet little 2011 limited edition cupcake ornament at my local Hallmark and discovered that they began their holiday cupcake series last year.  I was off to search on eBay for the missed 2010 cupcake!  I’m planning to have a small cupcake holiday tree for the first time this Christmas and will share pictures of it =).   This post will continue until the series is completed so come back every Christmas to check out my updates.  I may decide to include pics of my other non-Hallmark cupcake ornaments in a separate blog post; haven’t decided yet…  We’ll see.  Please place a request if you are interested in the second blog post idea. P.S. So far the 2010 and 2011 ornament versions do not have string included to allow for the ornament to be hung.  Any thin gold but sturdy string would compliment nicely!


First in Series: 2010 Oh, So Sweet! Christmas Cupcakes

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

Christmastime is oh, so sweet and full of yummy things to eat- The season wouldn’t be complete without at least one homemade treat!

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist *Photocredit: NYCupcake


Second in Series: 2011 Simply Irresistible! Christmas Cupcakes

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

Instead of milk and cookies, this would top ol’ Santa’s list! Frosted, fresh-baked goodness- who could possibly resist?

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist *Photcredit: NYCupcake


Third in Series: 2012 Berry-licious! Christmas Cupcakes

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

Once upon a cupcake neatly sat a berry, oh, so sweetly, Trimmed in frosting… mmm… so yummy- what a treat for someone’s tummy!

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist 2012 hallmark cupcake ornament *Photocredit: Hallmark


*Special edition ornament; issued in limited quantities and first available at the 2012 Keepsake Ornament Debut Event. Season’s Treatings! Christmas Cupcakes

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

A cupcake with a snowman face- a holiday delight. Too yummy to resist and yet too cute to take a bite!

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist 2012 hallmark snowman cupcake ornament

*Photocredit: eBay


Fourth in Series: 2013 It’s Snowing Sweetness! Christmas Cupcakes

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

Like a sweet little cloud made of stardust and sprinkles, this silver-blue cupcake deliciously twinkles!

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist

hallmark cupcake holiday ornament 2013 *Photocredit: Amazon


Fifth in Series: 2014 Mystery ornament cupcake: Sweet (green) & Even Sweeter (gold).  Something sweet awaits.  Guess what’s inside…

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

Cupcakes are always in good taste, and now’s your chance at the season’s latest treat- the Golden Cupcake.  Does your box hold the exclusive treat?  Only you will know.  Take it home, open it up, and discover the sweetness of Christmas.

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist

hallmark mystery ornament cupcake

*Photocredit: Hallmark


I was hooked on this one too for 2014!  Adorable!

With a face made of candy and frosting so thick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick!

USA Price: $9.95

Canada Price: $12.99

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist

hallmark Sweet St Nick cupcake ornament*Photocredit:


Sixth in Series: 2015 Tasty Tannenbaum

USA Price: $12.95

Canada Price: $14.99

O Christmas treat, O Christmas treat,

how lovely is your icing-

With ornaments so yummy-sweet,

you’re really quite enticing!

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist

hallmark ornament 2015 cupcake*Photocredit:

Seventh in Series: 2016 Peppermint Swirl Christmas Cupcakes

USA Price: $12.95

Canada Price: $14.99

When time becomes meaningless and she becomes absorbed in her art, Ruth Donikowski knows she’s onto something big.  “It just happens- I get lost,” she says.  She especially enjoys mixing materials like glass and metal to make elegant ornaments that have a classic yet modern feel.  The result: a meaningful hanging memory.

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist

*Photocredit: Hallmark

2016 Cupcakes for Christmas!

USA Price: $17.95

Canada Price: $23.99

When time becomes meaningless and she becomes absorbed in her art, Ruth Donikowski knows she’s onto something big.  “It just happens- I get lost,” she says.  She especially enjoys mixing materials like glass and metal to make elegant ornaments that have a classic yet modern feel.  The result: a meaningful hanging memory.

By: Ruth Donikowski, Hallmark Keepsake Artist

*Photocredit: HookedonHallmark