Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Best Drugstore Nail Polish Top Coat!

First of all, I COMPLETELY apologize for the disgusting, clickbait-y title, but I have discovered a drugstore beauty product that I have tested and approved numerous times, and I believe that its greatness needs to be shared with the public.

Finding cheap drugstore products that actually work well is like finding treasure, and there aren't too many products out there that I completely believe in like this one.

My mom purchased this Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Nail Hardener for a bargain price of $7.40 at Target. Previously, I had purchased two separate bottles of OPI Base Coat and OPI Top Coat for $8 each, and neither of them worked well. 

I don't paint my nails often. I do LOVE a fresh, clean manicure, but my hands take a beating on the daily that I can't surrender the time required to paint my nails once a week or doing touch-ups if they inevitably chip and crack. 

The first time I used it, I had freshly painted nails before a weekend of styling for a fashion show. Styling is a hands-on job. 16+ hour days of sewing, taping, zipping, shoving, carrying hangers and racks of clothes to and fro, gluing, lifting, etc. At first, I realized I was dumb to do my nails before a weekend of hands-on work in addition to taking hours to do a customized design; they would just end of wrecked by the end of it. Regardless, I went to work without any consideration of preserving my hands and nails. By the end of the whirlwind weekend, my hands were cracked, dry, and sore, but my nails were PERFECTLY INTACT.

On a more regular basis, I am a full time student, a regular gym-goer, and I work in an office. My job includes a lot of filing and document handling–it doesn't sound rough, but it requires me to constantly shove my hands between packed file cabinets to file or retrieve folders–and my nail polish easily lasts more than a week. I essentially abuse my hands regularly, but my nails prevail.


(I use it as a base coat AND a top coat)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Suit Up

I desperately want a suit. Three-piece if possible. I noticed that if you're not spending an exorbitant amount of money (Hugo Boss, Dior, etc), it's extremely difficult to find a suit that is slim, sleek, and simple. Max found a very affordable Bar III suit at Macy's that is on trend with its more slim cut, but it's impossible to find that for women. 

I've been obsessively looking online for more budget-friendly options, Zara, H&M, Forever 21, The Limited, Express, Macy's....I can't trust anyone. I thought my best bet would be Zara but I was swimming in everything. I understand how tailoring works but you need a decent foundation and it's not worth it to spend money if your foundation isn't high quality. 

(Yes, I love Marion Cotillard)

Once I manage to find time, I think I would like to try on Ted Baker. They do have a 3-piece option and I worked with their clothing for a fashion show modeled by high school kids. One of the girl models wore a vest and trousers and it looked fantastic. The construction was also quite detailed and sturdy.

Ted Baker Jacket $395, Vest $225, Trouser $225

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thankful, 2014

I feel like I grew up so much this year. 

In January, I started school again, and this time around it was a REAL school. Luckily my classes weren't overwhelming and I was quite determined to get good grades. I got my own gym membership and focused on going regularly. Going to school again was a huge deal for me; I had generally hated school all my life and this time I really wanted to be there.

Around spring time, Max and I broke up. It was rough and probably one of the most devastatingly emotional experiences of my life. I won't get into detail, but those couple of months were absolutely terrible, and I have always considered myself very detached about everything in my life and with the usual emotional capacity of a robot. I think I broke out in tears at least every half hour for about a month. Luckily, it didn't affect my grades or my health permanently..I think I got a D on one math quiz (got a high A overall in the class so no problem), and I didn't eat for 3 days, but overall, I came out so much stronger, both physically and mentally.

At the end of the spring semester, my dad took me on a trip to Utah and Alaska. I would definitely put both trips on my "best life experience ever" list. We managed to go to both places at the PERFECT times. We hiked Arches National Park right before the summer heat. Temperatures averaged around mid to high 90s, which meant you could enjoy the glorious sunshine and the natural monuments without wanting to kill yourself. In Alaska, we also arrived right before the heat. It was optimal, toasty spring weather and most places we went were empty; shop owners were only just opening their doors for tourist season, and we were the first tourists to arrive. I can't even describe Alaska. It was just the most stunning, magical place I have ever been...I...I...UGH! You just have to go!

In the summer, I pushed myself a bit harder with concurring classes at my college in addition to an expedited CNA program at a private school. I still kept up at the gym as well. Summer flew by swiftly with very little drunken parties and distractions and I got my CNA! I must say, doing the state practical exam was one of the scariest experiences of my life, but I am so happy to have my CNA. I feel like the education was the right kind of stepping-stone that I needed to do to test the waters of the nursing field. 

This current fall semester was off to a rocky start. One of my professors cancelled his very important/required class and I couldn't add or waitlist to another in time. Of course, this snowballed and affected all my future plans in terms of when I could apply to transfer. It took a while for me to stop freaking out and accept what I couldn't change, and now I am taking my time to work on getting good grades at a slower pace which then enables me to work a job, maintain my physical fitness, and volunteer. It's not just about grades, I need to be a well-rounded and healthy person. I also joined the honor society at my school, and while they are sometimes a little too nerdy and enthusiastic for me (this is meant to be in an endearing fashion) it is infectious being around them. They are the most genuine, caring, hardworking people I know, and I am so grateful to be a part of their group. Through the honor society, my volunteer hours and involvement in the community just skyrocketed. Right now I'm working with first graders in an after-school literacy program and I love it! However, I am really tired and cannot wait for the end of this semester after a hellish two weeks!

I am so thrilled with my life. I can't wait to see what next year brings. 

I went to the ball in November with Max and I made this dress. We're back together, btw. I worked on it on weekends when I had time, but of course I didn't finish until 2am the night before my flight to LA. For the last couple balls I had been reusing the same corset and hand-sewing tulle (my favorite fabric, so cheap and easy to manipulate) into different designs. This year I ran out of time so I went for a simple top and poufy bottom. I got lots of compliments on my dress and none on my belt!!!! The belt is a 1930's heirloom that belonged to my 101-yr-old great grandma. It is silver, heavy, and in excellent condition. They're extremely hard to locate and my mom has had to turn down many offers from the Thai ladies at the temple :P

Saturday, October 4, 2014

All About That Normcore

Finally, lazy people like myself have a trend that is accessible! I know that as a fashion design graduate and freelance stylist, it's expected of me to dress smart and on trend. However, working 12+ hours in expensive, elaborate pieces is not ideal. I also go to community college, and I am literally there to just get my good grades, leave for the gym, and go home to do homework.  Schools are germy and I'm not about to wear my nice things and have to wash them all the time and risk ruining the integrity of my fabrics.

Normcore is for me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mango Want List

I was never really sure of the quality of Mango's clothing. 

Then one day, I hopped on a plane from LA to SF to meet with my parents in the airport, and flew with them to New Orleans. It was December. I totally forgot that meant winter. Luckily, the United terminal in SFO had a Mango clothing store, so I purchased a heavy, black wool coat for $180. It was my savior, protecting me from the icy NOLA wind chill. It's been over 4 years and it hasn't pilled, faded, snagged, attracted lint, or lost any buttons! I have been 100% satisfied with my airport coat purchase and a firm believer in Mango!

Leather Biker Jacket [$175]

Crepe Check Trousers [$80]

Wool-Blend Cape [$130]

Hat with Plume [$60]

Mickey Mouse Sweater [$45]

Faux Shearling-Lined Jacket [$120]

V-Neckline Dress [$60]

Zara Want List

High Neck Sweater [$80]

 Double Breasted Trench Coat [$169]
(dat collar zip detail tho)

Ripped Boyfriend Jeans [$60]

Coated Trousers [$70]

Superstretch Biker Trousers [$60]

Knit Square Sweater [$80]

Striped Full Skirt [$80]

 Draped Coat [$249]

 Wool Cropped Trousers [$80]

 Wool Duffel Coat with Fur Hood [$279]

 Striped Blazer with Zips [$129]

 Pleat-Front Trousers [$80]

 Wool Blazer with Elbow Patches [$129]

Tie Waist Shorts [$50]

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"The things you do for yourself die with you, but the things you do for others lives on forever."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products

I consider myself a beauty minimalist. I compare my makeup kit to my mother's and my sister's, and I think they're just hoarders. My mom doesn't know when to throw out things (and there are some year-old things in her kit), and my sister has a gazillion eyeshadows and lipsticks and such. I have 1-2 items per area (like foundation, eyeliner, mascara, blush), and they fit into one of these categories: 

Day vs. Night or Cheap vs. Expensive

Anyways, during the week, I like to use cheap makeup. I'm at school 4 days a week and I don't really socialize, so there's no reason for me to waste my amazing Chanel liquid foundation and such, especially if I'm not even sure I'm going to see anyone. I wear my cheap-y makeup as a kind of insurance. I want to have fresh looking skin and in a sense, to not look like I actually rolled out of bed (when I actually did). I spend no more than 10 minutes a day for my weekday makeup.

All of these products can be purchased on Amazon, Target, Walmart, or any other drugstore.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, about $7

I get this in Light/Medium. I apply my makeup in the car, and sometimes I accidentally leave the house before I get to adequately moisturize my face. This product moisturizes very well AND it has SPF 30 without the grease or sunblock smell. It blends very easily into my skin, and can be applied easily with my fingers. It applies very smoothly and dries matte. I don't even use any compact foundation to set it. (Yea, I'm that lazy). The coverage doesn't completely conceal my blemishes, but it does blur them enough in addition to giving my face a fresh glow.

Wet n Wild Bronzer in Princess, about $7

The color is very saturated, but it can be gently applied and you can build layers if you're looking for more glow. I'm really gentle with this stuff. I use enough to brighten up my face and warm up my cheeks. I'll go heavier for an evening look. It also lasts ALL day. I think this color can work on all skin types.

Rimmer Gel Eyeliner in Black, about $6

I have NEVER owned a liquid eyeliner, nor have I had much practice with them. I don't think they're very forgiving and a hassle if you make a mistake. I prefer gel as I find the color more intense and it's so much easier to apply and fix. This lasted me a full 16 hour styling workday that consisted of me running around like a maniac without fading or budging. If you set it with a black eyeshadow on top, you're good all day. Occasionally, you may have to do some maintenance when the eyeliner stamps on to your eyelid fold, but I think that's expected with any eyeliner. If you have an eyeliner that absolutely does not budge, let me know of it!!!

E.L.F. Eyebrow Kit in Light, about $3

This thing is so darn cheap and it works! I have nonexistent eyebrows and I can't pull off the heavy, dark eyebrow look because I don't have enough hair to blend. I prefer a more natural look, and this product does a great job filling in. The dark gel combined with the lighter powder gives a nice blended, fuzzy look.

Maybelline Clear Mascara, about $5

I use this to bring more definition to my eyebrows and I'll also use it on my eyelashes. I haven't found a cheap black mascara that doesn't flake, but I also don't like wearing heavy mascara on a daily basis. I try to preserve my eyelashes by not giving them too much action or wear and tear.

Hope this helps. If you have any favorite drugstore beauty products, please let me know! I love my cheap stuff!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vapur Anti-Bottle

Yes, this is a blog post about a water bottle. Or Anti-Bottle, as the company calls it.

When I moved out of my parents' house, my bedroom became the guest bedroom/storage. I found this brand new Vapur water bag thing on my dresser and decided to use it. THANK YOU to whoever left it there because upon first use, I immediately fell in love.

Here are all the reasons why.

1.) It's a durable plastic bag, and when full, it takes up far less space that a bulky water bottle.
2.) When full, the bag just fits in my hand much better. Ergonomic I guess.
3.) Secure and click-y flip top with a rubber plug so I know the cap is sealed with no chance of leakage. It's also so much easier to drink out of this when driving since I can hold the bag with one hand and flip open the top using my thumb.
4.) It has a slanted mouth piece and in addition to the flexible nature of the bag, the water flows out. None of that air pocket bubble stuff that happens when you drink from a bottle. It's not a big deal, but I do think it makes for a more satisfying, refreshing drink.
5.) Comes with an attached CARABINER because duh, carabiners are one of the most useful inventions on the planet. Hang it on anything!!!
6.) Made in USA, California to be exact, and Vapur is an ethical company.
7.) BPA free and dishwasher safe!
8.) You can put it in the freezer and it can hold hot liquids! (I recommend you wrap a towel around the outside it if you put hot liquid in)
9.) As you drink throughout the day, you can squeeze out all the excess air so it takes up even less space! If you finish all the water, you can roll it up and tuck it through the carabiner!

I seriously love this thing. No, Vapur has not sponsored or contacted me any way. I've never felt so enthusiastic or excited about any particular product EVER so I just had to write about this thing!

I even convinced Max to get one and he already loves it.

I will provide an update in a couple months or when/if the quality of the water bag changes. It is a plastic bag, so I am curious to see how it will hold up over time.

Get yours from VapurREIAmazon Prime