January 1, 2017

Happy New Year, everybody!

I'm so glad 2017 is here. The second half of 2015 til the third quarter of 2016 was terrible for me. I want to just flush those months down the toilet. Hopefully, everything will be better in the coming months.

Instead of making resolutions, I'd rather have goals. I never stick to resolutions but goals are another thing. It may just be a matter of semantics but whatever works, right? I don't want to overwhelm myself either. So I'm sticking to simple goals that I know I can do and will have an impact. 

1. Only buy new products when I'm running low or when I've actually run out. 2016 was a more economical year for me when it came to personal products (makeup, skincare, etc). Since I was developing new products for the handmade products I sell, everything I earned, I spent on new ingredients. And I went over what I made. Ooops! Towards the end of last year, I was sort of finding my way around that so I think this is something I can do. 

2. Wear dresses. I love wearing dresses - they feel so comfortable. But I've been stuck in a rut and most of the time would wear jeans and a t-shirt. I've been lazy about my appearance and I want to put a little effort into it this year.

3. Come up with a routine. Working freelance and from home takes a lot of discipline. I would put off work because in my mind I tell myself that I can work any time I want. And when its time to get something ready, I cram and end up tired or sick. There's a reason why things need to be scheduled. I already took the first step and bought a planner. It helped me in the past when I would write down my to-do list and check it off one by one. I didn't get anything fancy - I'm happy with my plain old Moleskine which has a lot of writing space, since I take down notes all the time.

4. Lose weight. This isn't even about looking good. I feel like crap. Physically. Been experiencing a lot of health complications because I'm at my heaviest ever. All my doctors have said that I need to lost the weight. In line with that, my sub-goal is to 4a. Eat healthier by consuming more vegetables, 4b. Reduce or eliminate rice, noodles and bread (aka unhappy asian!) and 4c Hit the gym. Use up the membership I'm paying for.

5. Listen to my gut when it comes to people. Those who know me well know that I am shy, even if it doesn't seem like it. It's difficult for me to engage from small talk, so I'd rather avoid interaction altogether if I don't make a connection. I also get this gut feeling that some people are just "off." So why this goal? Because people have been telling me to be more sociable, make new friends. I tried. I really did. But I should have listened to my gut. On a personal level, I stuck with "friends" who would only get in touch when they needed something or wanted to brag about something. Then become total assholes in the end. On a professional level, it was being part of a "community" and then realizing that some people do not share the same business ethics and shit hits the fan. I hate dishonest people. I hate it even more when they do that to me. Bottomline, listen to my gut. 

I have a few more that I want to do but I want to start with these first. The point is not to overwhelm myself. When I'm doing good with some of these, then maybe I can set new goals for myself.

How about you... what are your goals for this year?

November 30, 2016

Butterfly Pea Tea

One of the ladies I met through a soaper's group sold a few pots of Butterfly Pea plants last Summer.  I purchased two from her, out of curiosity. It was a buck each anyway. No flowers yet at that time and it took a few months before my first bloom (above) appeared. Isn't it gorgeous?

With little luck I have when it comes to plants, I'm happy that this is low maintenance. All it needs is sun and water everyday. I'd say this comes second to my Aloe Vera in terms of surviving my black thumb.

The flowers looked familiar and I wasn't sure why. After reading up on it, it dawned on me - I had this in a salad at some point. Fancy! I also found out that these are taken as a tisane (floral tea). So I tried it and here's the result:

Freaking cool, right? 

I dropped one freshly picked flower in a cup and poured hot water over it. Right before my eyes, I saw the water turn blue slowly. It was a pretty awesome sight to behold. According to what I read online, the color will change to violet if you add some lemon juice. I have yet to try that.

What does it taste like? With just one flower in this cup, a very faint nutty taste. It gets stronger as you add more. But my plant doesn't bloom fast enough to get six flowers in there... maybe because the weather is colder?

A lot of online articles claim that drinking this tea has health benefits but this post explains why and cites research behind it. Yay! I'm going to need to spend time nerding out on this newly discovered information.

November 28, 2016

REVIEW: IOPE Enzyme Powder

IOPE is a high-end brand in Korea famous for their cushion foundation. Its the brand's best-seller. I haven't read about their skincare products but I was curious because it seemed good.

As I'm on a self-imposed beauty no-buy, I've been going through my stash of products a lot slower than I used to. Excited as I was 18 months ago to try out the IOPE products I purchased, I had to restrain myself. It's only recently that I was able to get the IOPE set out since I ran out of other products. The Enzyme Powder is the first one up for review.

If you're familiar with Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant, this is a similar product. Similar but not identical. Similar in that it contains rice powder (enzyme) and in the way it is applied to the skin.

This product dispenses as a powder. The opening in the bottle was quite wide and I was afraid of taking too much but somehow, that never happens. All is good!

The instructions say it should be a quarter-sized amount but I use less, like nickel-sized to be exact. Then I add three drops of water to make it into a watery paste.

It doesn't look like much but when you start to wash your face with this, it lathers. And you only need a little to get your entire face clean.

Is it a cleanser or exfoliant?

The answer is both. I use this after removing my makeup with cleansing oil. This is so effective in removing the dirt in my skin - it feels really clean but not squeaky dry. You know what I mean? Its a tad gentler than Dermalogica's version and it makes my skin a bit smoother too.

The only thing I am not a fan of is the fragrance. It has an aquatic and pine-y scent. It's not a deal breaker though, because its not cloying.

The verdict: this is my favorite exfoliant to date. I love how my skin feels after & it works well with the other products in the IOPE skincare range. 

I purchased this at Amore, a beauty store inside the building of this huge Korean grocery in TX. They have other Amorepacific brands in there like Sulwhasoo & Laniege. Good stuff.

A question for you ladies (and gents) who are on beauty no-buys... How do you cope? My heart breaks when I see something beautiful that I can't buy. But I've been good at keeping myself away from temptation! And fellow beauty bloggers, any suggestions on how to keep my blog alive inspite of this no-buy? I'm terribly shy about showing my face.

September 29, 2016

REVIEW: The Saem Healing Tea Garden Green Tea Cleansing Water

Thanks to the popularity of Bioderma, we're seeing a lot of cleansing waters pop up from different brands. Now, I do love my Bioderma Sensibio but I feel that it costs more than what its worth. I've tried Biore, which is more affordable, I like it but it left a bit of a film on my skin. In search of a happy medium, I've come across the cleansing water of korean brand The Saem.