20 June 2017

30 Going on 17

Every once in a while, I do this thing where I imagine what high school would be like if I attended as the adult version of me. And I don't mean the 30 year old version of me, physically. I just mean the 17 year old me with my 30 year old brain. I also like to imagine what it would be like to come back to high school as a famous celebrity, but that's another story for another day.

It's funny to be writing this now because just last night I dreamt that my friend and I were sent back in time to our senior year. In my dream, neither one of us could remember what our schedule was (although we both still knew to go to the band room for first period). The last thing I remember was walking into a classroom that was being taught by Babs Tarr and telling her that one day she would work on Batgirl.

I've had a conversation about this topic plenty of times with a handful of my friendfriends and we discuss what we would do differently. For example, we probably wouldn't sign up for a bunch of AP classes because we've learned that most of them count for naught when you get to uni. As for me specifically, I'd probably practice with my french horn a lot more since I've often wished I was a better musician.

When I think of how I'd be like in high school now, I feel as though I'd excel academically and I'd be far more at ease when it came to the social aspect. I would probably choose to eat lunch by myself, instead of awkwardly trying to sit with people with whom I had no real connection, thus avoiding the crippling feeling of rejection and inadequacy. Don't get me wrong, I was never bullied or anything, except for when I had horrible acne and a boy called me a Klingon or when another repeatedly whispered "Clearasil" into my ear right before the Mira Mesa area concert in 8th grade (yeah I still remember that and no, I don't forgive you), so I don't have a real reason to dislike anyone. In fact, I'm sure most people in my school were genuinely nice.

There are some things that I would leave as they were. I would probably still be a dxck to Mr. Weeks because he was a terrible English teacher. I know that's harsh but if you were in that class, you'd understand. What kind of monster makes their class take 150 word vocabulary tests? I'd obviously still be in band, but I'd probably also try for drama or chorus. I'd also probably take AP Music Theory so that I could be an even bigger snob when it comes to music. I know I said I would skip out on AP classes, but I'd stick with AP Calculus simply because it made Business Calculus in college a breeze. And I would still take Tagalog for my foreign language class because it was easy and it's still useful to me. I would still choose to go home and take naps instead of walking to the movie theater to hang out after school. By the way, do kids still do that? Hang out in front of the movie theater and not actually go inside to watch a movie?

Something that I'd definitely improve on is my choice of footwear. My chunky skater shoes, which served no real purpose because I was not a skater, would be replaced with a pair of comfortable Nike Cortez (or some knock-off version of it because I was kind of poor). Actually, I'd just take my current wardrobe with me.

As far as romance goes, I'd leave it completely alone. Of course, I had crushes and I managed to have one boyfriend. But looking back, I would spare him the agony of dating 16 year old me. I wasn't completely terrible, but I also wasn't the best girlfriend. Basically, no dating, which includes volunteering to hand out birthday cards during ASB period so I could accidentally-on-purpose run into my crush.

But really, I'd just enjoy the simplicity of my life. I didn't realize until my 20s just how it was easy was to be that young and to never have to worry about what I was going to eat because I knew my mother had that covered. One of the biggest struggles as an adult is survival and food being the first thing you worry about. So honestly, if I went back and could only change one thing, I think I'd know exactly what I would do:

Sign up for reduced lunch*.

*I did actually sign up, during my 2nd semester of senior year. I didn't think I qualified all those other years and I was so annoyed with myself for only doing it then, because I only got to enjoy free lunches during my very last semester of school. Yay for low-income households.

17 March 2017

Things I've Started to Believe In

The title is kind of misleading in that I didn't just suddenly start "believing" in these things (and people). It was over the course of several years that my fondness and respect grew for them. I just thought I'd mention it now because I probably should at some point.

Asian Women
After my trip to the Philippines last spring, I came back home with a strong desire to connect with my culture, particularly with Asian women in pop culture and beauty. I sought out more Pinay and Asian beauty gurus and influencers (eww I hate that word) on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. In finding these women, I felt pride not only in myself, but in them. Instead of finding their place in a world full of Kardashians, Jenners and Hadids, they created it. They're thriving and spreading a message of self-love. They helped me to recognize that our culture can and should be appreciated without needing the consent of white people. The whole Vogue/Karlie Kloss debacle has only shown that Asian culture isn't a trend and that we should be the ones telling our story.

It's only in the last few years that I recognized that representation is important in pop culture. Yes, I'm 30 years old but I still have "role models." In seeking that representation, I found some amazing women, young and old, famous and not-so famous. Here are just some of them:

Lea Salonga - Singer, actor, Disney legend, my queen, my inspiration since day one (quite literally since I can remember)
Eva Chen - Instagram Director of Fashion Partnerships, former Editor-in-Chief of Lucky magazine
Liu Wen - Supermodel
Pony - Korean makeup artist
CL - Singer, trendsetter, badass
Sable Yong - Writer and my everything beauty goals
Rachelle Ann Go - Actor, singer
Marjorie Liu - Comic book writer, novelist

I love all women because we are all amazing. I mean, we can grow humans in our bellies which is pretty fucking incredible. But there is just something about the gentleness, the quiet conviction and strength of an Asian woman that I so admire. My list isn't meant to isolate any particular culture or group. These are just the women I've been exposed to. I'd love to hear about the women that inspire you, so please do share!

Hooded / Mono Lids
In the past year, I've taken up issue with people being apologetic about their hooded eyelids. Tutorials from "Western" or American Asians always include some sort of explanation about why they have to do their eye shadow a certain way because they "lack" a certain feature. Listen, you lack nothing. Stop treating hooded/mono lids as some sort of genetic disorder. You're not inferior to anyone because you don't have a bloody socket. Besides, why should this be the standard in beauty? Makeup is an art form and you already have the perfect canvas: your beautiful face, as it is. Own it. And if you ever go to a "make-up artist" and they tell you they can't do your eyeshadow because of your eyelids, then they're not a real make-up artist.

Although Maybelline is one of the top drugstore brands in the world, I still feel like they don't get enough love or mention. In the past 5 years, they've consistently put out quality products. And while they do receive hype, it's not nearly as much as they deserve. So many of their products are comparable to high end ones and dare I say better than some. I mean, I could live off their entire Fit Me line alone. Their Studio line is just as impressive and if I had to pick a brand that has got everything down top to bottom it'd be Maybelline. They still make my favorite brow pencil, the Define-A-Brow pencil. And as stupid as that bulbous wand is, the formula for their EyeStudio Sculpting Brow Mascara is legit.

I could write a whole essay about how much I love their Dream Cushion foundation because it is that good. The ColorTattoo 24HR Cream Gel shadows blew the competition out of the water when it came out and it is still my favorite cream shadow formula. They've also consistently put out good mascaras. Sure there are some flops, but generally speaking, they have decent ones. The Colossal Big Shot mascara shot (all the puns intended) all the way to the top of my HG list when I first used it. And their Color Sensation Matte lipsticks are just that, sensational. And they just came out with a ton of new products that I cannot wait to try. Do yourself a favor and pick-up a thing or two from Maybelline. You're welcome.

Color Correcting
Like most of you, Michelle Phan was one of the first YT'ers that I started watching back in the day. I remember she would always use that Lise Watier color wheel and back then I was much more impressionable and naive so I bought myself one at my first IMATS. I didn't really know how to use it back then and I thought color correcting was pointless. I bought it simply because Michelle Phan was using it. Back then it felt like a waste of money, but now I kind of wish I still had it.

Color correcting kind of seemed like an unnecessary step because you were going to cover everything up with foundation anyway. It wasn't until I attended the Sephora Color Correcting Class that I realized I had been doing myself a disservice by skipping color correcting. That's not to say that everyone needs to color correct, but I myself have hyper-pigmentation as well redness because of acne scarring and such. The class opened my eyes and introduced me to the magic of yellow color correctors. While I do use green on really angry red spots, yellow neutralizes and brightens up almost everything. I remember applying the Urban Decay Naked Skin yellow corrector on the red areas of my face and the feeling I had when I applied foundation afterwards. I literally said out loud to one of the MUAs, "Oh my god, I barely have to put any foundation on!!" Popping my color correcting cherry was a moment I'll never forget. And I hope if/when you finally get around to it, it'll be just as good for you as it was for me.

16 November 2016

Christmas Wishlist - 2016

Christmas Wishlist - 2016

My Christmas Wishlist grows shorter by the year and I think this year's list is the shortest. Yes, that darn Chanel bronzer is still on my list and will remain there until I get it. The only reason why I haven't gotten around to purchasing it is because I'm trying to finish up my NARS Laguna bronzer (which is total sh*t & overhyped, but that's another story for another time). BUT I am breaking my own rule. I can no longer stand to be apart from my most coveted makeup product. It's coming back home to mama this holiday!

The PTR Irish Moor Mud is a complete "wishful wishlist" item because it's ridiculously expensive for a 5 oz jar. So if any of you can find a similar mask that is way cheaper, please please (please?) let me know! I'm not a brand snob I swear!

I've always wanted to buy the Estee Lauder DayWear Sheer Tint Release because I actually hate putting foundation on. Really, it's just the worst. I've tried it on before and I freaking love it. It's perfect for weekends when I don't want to put makeup on, but still look like I showered put together.

I can't really think of any other reason to buy those Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks other than I like the packaging and I think they're great collector's items (who's not a sucker for gold packaging though??). I did wear Stoned Rose once, though, and it's probably one of the more perfect nude pinks that I've ever worn. I just want Very Victoria because it was inspired by Victoria Beckham and yes, I will forever be obsessed with Posh Spice so get off me.

And that's it for me this holiday season! I hope you all get what you want and enjoy your holidays with family, friends, food, pets, books, Netflix and whatever else makes you happy. All the love and kisses!

15 October 2016

Innisfree It's Real Squeeze Mask - Rice

Price: $1.20
Claims: Moisturizing, brightening. Moisture level increases by 125% after use.
Key Ingredients: Grapefruit Extract, Rice Extract, Aloe, Sodium Hyaluronate, Green Tea
Best for: All skin types

What I liked: It was definitely moisturizing and soothing to my skin. The essence wasn't too thick and the fragrance was not too strong. I liked that it contains green tea because I think that's an ingredient my skin really likes. It's nothing special, but I definitely would not kick out of bed (or my mask drawer).

What I didn't like: Innisfree claim that it's brightening, but I didn't see anything in the ingredients list that was particularly for brightening the skin.

14 October 2016

The Face Shop Real Nature Mask - Avocado

Price: $1.99
Claims: Improve skin's suppleness and elasticity
Key Ingredients: Avocado Extract, Alcohol Denat, Sodium Hyaluronate
Best for: Dry or Very Dry Skin

This review will be short because this mask was utter sh*t.

What I liked: The essence was very rich and creamy and the light fragrance was not bothersome.

What I didn't like: Even though Face Shop claims that this mask hydrates your skin, I actually had a different experience. My skin was really tight and dry after using the mask. It was really strange since I've never had that reaction, not even to masks that are targeted for acneic/oily skin. I thought it was odd that alcohol was listed as the 5th ingredient on the list since this mask is supposed to be for "hydration." I'm not a huge opponent to alcohol (the "bad" kind). I think as long as it's incorporated in small amounts, it's okay. However, I don't think it belongs in this particular mask. I definitely would not purchase again and will stick to It's Skin Avocado Sheet Mask.