Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I've recently taken up studying for the TOEIC, or the Test of English for International Communication. A few weeks ago, I was asked to help translate a contract from English to Japanese for a famous Japanese artist. I thought it would be a fairly easy task, but boy, was I wrong. It took hours to fully translate 6 full pages of material. Even though I am a native English and Japanese speaker, this job made me realize how much I lack in my translation skills. So, I visited the bookstore near my work and picked up a TOEIC study book which includes business terms in both English and Japanese. 

So far, I've been studying for a week, and I love it. First, I'll go through a few pages of terms, and if I can't read the kanji, I'll underline those words and look them up in my electronic dictionary later. Once I do that, I make my flashcards (very tedious, I know, but it's useful). I'll pull out my flashcards during my commute to and from work, or if I have some time to kill.

 I wasn't originally planning to study for the test, but after buying this book and learning/reviewing terms for a week, I feel like I have a pretty good chance of passing the test. 

Are you currently studying for an exam, or something you are passionate about? Do you have any studying tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments :)


Samantha Mariko

Sunday, April 20, 2014

happy easter

Today, I attended church in Japan for the first time. I've been to church all of my childhood in California, but sort of stopped sometime during high school. If you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram, you might know that I very recently became a Christian, and I really wanted to attend church for Easter. One of my close friends in Tokyo invited me to go to St. Ignatius in Yotsuya with her family, which was very generous and kind of her. I truly enjoyed the beautiful service and music. Afterwards, we had brunch at the Tokyo American Club. The pancakes were delicious! What a treat.


I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. God bless.


Samantha Mariko

Monday, April 14, 2014


Photos and styling by Jason Mordeno 
Hair and Makeup by Azu

I made a quick blog post last month about this shoot, and finally the photos are here! What a transformation I did for this - a short, blonde wig with a pretty bold lip. At first, I doubted a blonde anything would look good on me, but Jason already knew before I put that thing on my head that it would look amazing in the photos. Thank you Jason and Azu for helping me achieve new looks that I've never tried before :)

Hope you all had a great weekend! I was a bit busy, but I promise to return the comments from my previous posts. Thanks so much <3

Much love,

Samantha Mariko

Friday, April 11, 2014

oil-free makeup & skincare

I'm trying to prepare myself for another hot, humid summer in Japan with a makeup & skincare routine that will keep me fresh all day long. 

For my skincare, I absolutely love Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins. I use it at night to lock in my toner, and my skin feels so soft when I wake up in the morning, and not oily at all! 

I have a very oily T-zone, and when I was looking for skincare products at ULTA one day, a sales associate recommended me the Mario Badescu Silver Powder. I only use it once or twice a week where I get the most oily (around my nose), and it refreshes my skin and leaves it matte. 

For makeup, I swear by Laura Mercier's oil-free products. I've been using the Oil-free foundation primer for a while, and the foundations I've used really stay put all day. I just picked up the Oil-free tinted moisturizer recently, but I already love it. The sales associate recommended I use the Laura Mercier mineral powder to finish off my sheer, not-too-done look. 

What makeup or skincare products do you use for a natural, oil-free look? 
Let me know in the comments!


Samantha Mariko

Thursday, April 10, 2014

meet Tenin from TENINDVR

Today, I'd like to introduce Tenin from TENINDVR.

We discovered each others' blogs a little while ago, and I truly enjoy her versatile fashion sense. She asked me if I would like to do a guest post, and I was more than happy to do so.

Tenin can pull off so many different looks - from casual & rocker to clean & ladylike. In the photos above, I love how she paired a leather jacket and pants, and still made it look accessible.

Sometimes, it can be hard to pull off an all-white look, but Tenin does it so well here with a clean blazer and simple white skinny pants. She added a nice pop of color with her satchel and heels. The sporty look suits her as well - I think I will try a similar look with my New Balances :)

Check out her blog here for more fashion inspiration. 

Thanks for posting about me, Tenin :)

Have a great day!


Samantha Mariko