Back to School Grown-Up Style

I recently decided to take advantage of a sale that one of my favorite online websites for shopping ModCloth had and purchased the following without knowing at the time I would be able to put together this “Back to School” look:

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But between the navy blue blazer and the plaid skirt it screams preppy. I wore my previously purchased pair of preppy brown shoes with button embellishments.

I am also a fan of lounging around in my robes and night gowns when I’m at home. And this one I got is good enough to work as a  bathrobe post-showers which I think is a perfect purchase for college dorm-bound kids:

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(The rose embellishment definitely worked for both looks!)

For those high school kids getting ready for the homecoming dance or formal dances to come this school year, I recently purchased a dress on amazon for a economical price of $63.09 and got it shortened to have it be floor length for my 5ft. 5in. height + 3 inch heels to wear to a banquet dinner:

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Click here if you want to purchase the one I wore

(Above photo courtesy of fellowShorinji Kempo kenshi and blogger Finnworld)

I liked what I got for the price but I admittedly did feel like the padding on the breast that it came with was a bit much (though the person who shortened the dress for me forgot to take the breast pads out so I left them in when I wore the dress to the event). I did pair the dress with matching earrings and lacy black gloves.

I suppose this was a celebratory event since I found out a few days later that I did pass my 5th degree black belt exam which coincided with the timing of my birthday that same week. So the dress was this year’s version of my “birthday suit” tradition I have!

It has also been a year now since I published my book amongst other milestones & anniversaries of other related/non-related accomplishments in my life so far. So here’s a reminder to celebrate by simply being proud because it’s perfectly alright to be proud of one’s accomplishments no matter how small or big.

-M

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Skin Fabulous in February

I just had my very first experience with getting a full body scrub at a Korean spa at the Pearl Health Spa & Sauna in San Francisco. And am I now addicted! For anyone who doesn’t have sensitive skin issues, I would highly recommend getting this done. My skin feels so much smoother now from the exfoliation~

It’s a leisurely session sandwiched by a luxurious/unlimited usage of their steamed and dry saunas, showers with the best water pressure, hot and cold tubs, and their clay and salt rooms – plan on spending a few hours enjoying yourself to get the full benefit.

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(For the purpose of privacy, I did blur the other person’s face out)

In one of my previous blog postings, I wrote about the new look my go-to sunblock lotion underwent. And I was very pleasantly surprised to have received a box of their products since then.

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While I am still going to continue purchasing their Eco-Sensitive SPF35 (not sent in the box/photographed above), I have found that the Face & Body SPF30 is sufficient for the winter season we are currently in (photographed second from left).

And while I am primarily an indoor athlete (which works to prevent sun damage in the first place) I am bound to have some active fun in the sun from time to time and appreciate the addition of the Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen (photographed second from the right) and the Aloe Vera Skin Fix gel (photographed at the very left) as I already have plans on taking advantage of a swimming pool at the mansion my girlfriends and I will be staying at during a weekend in Palm Springs and all.

And while I no longer regularly do my workouts outdoors, I’ve had plenty of days out in the sun playing tennis in my teens so I think I’ll benefit from their UV Damage Recovery serums and Nightly Recovery Complex face/neck cream (photographed in the center) which I’ve started applying after cleaning my face with their cleanser (photographed in the right).

I love the eco-friendliness of the BurnOut line but am also a fan of the fact that their products don’t contain perfumes/scents (the only thing that had a tint of a refreshing citrus scent was the Vitamin C serum, which I love the scent of anyways).

January seems to be the month where a lot of people try to lose weight as part of their New Year’s resolution. Being at a healthy weight is just part of feeling and looking good. As someone who is not a heavy makeup wearer on a day-to-day basis, I am an advocate for taking great care of what would be underneath it all so that I don’t feel the need to cover it up in the first place. Therefore, I would like to encourage February to be the month of fabulous skin!

Wishing you all a skin fabulous February,

-M

Revision: BurnOut Sunblock’s New Look

This was the posting I posted a few days ago:

I’ve been purchasing BurnOut sunscreen from Whole Foods for about seven years now since an aesthetician recommended it at a spa I had gotten a back facial from. Recently, I went to Whole Foods to resupply myself with the sunscreen and couldn’t help notice some changes. I went home with it and was able to confirm that I wasn’t imagining it:

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At first glance, you may notice the size difference. It went down from a 3oz container to a 2.4 oz. Why? The airplane allows for liquid containers of up to 3oz so why wouldn’t you keep it at 3oz?

The second thing I noticed was the change in the SPF. It went down from SPF35 to a SPF30. Again, why? Why wouldn’t we want more sun protection.

And the price tag for it remained the same at the store.


UPDATE January 28th:

I got in contact with Whole Foods via Twitter and BurnOut Sunblocks via e-mail. And it turns out that my favorite sunblock was in disguise under a new look. The “new” sunblock I purchased is actually a new product released by BurnOut specifically for the face and body. It was obviously a bit confusing because the packaging looks very similar to that of the eco-sensitive sunblock’s former packaging.

So here is the new look for the eco-sensitive sunblock by BurnOut (still the same SPF35 and 3oz):

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It was initially described to me by BurnOut that the container is a greenish color but it did appear both yellow and orange on their website and in person at the store where I photographed this.

I am once again a happy camper. Here’s to sun protection~

-M

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

This is a question I decided to ask a few of my female friends to see what would come of it. It ended up bringing up more questions than answers. The differences between sexy, pretty and beautiful? Feeling beautiful on the inside or on the outside?

Admittedly I sort of anticipated it but wanted to ask it in that fashion anyways to allow room for creativity.

I recently watched an old episode of the ABC show Ugly Betty that ended a few years ago. It was Episode 11 from Season 1 called “Swag.” The closet clean out at the fashion magazine Betty works for had the “It” bag she was given by her seamstress friend Christina who is in charge of the closet there. It had reminded Betty of the bag her late mother used to have when Betty was a little girl that she was permitted to carry around crayons in. She said her mother gave it to her because she knew how it would make her feel – she felt beautiful carrying it around.

To other people working at the fashion magazine, the purse had a superficial value of status but to Betty, there was a sentimental value associated with the purse. You could argue the same about anything else that might seem superficial but may mean much more than that to someone whether it’s your favorite shade of go-to-lipstick that brings you out of your rut after you’ve been dumped by the love of your life or the pair of heels that give you a sense of confidence like being on the runway before you have to head in for the interview that make your palms sweat.

A lot of ladies I asked named activities such as dancing or exercising. It certainly helps to keep oneself in physical shape to exercise but I completely agree about how it also makes me feel to exert myself physically and get the endorphins going. I feel the same way about going in and getting my monthly facials – it helps to keep my pores clean and all but simply letting myself enjoy the sensation of relaxing and enjoy being pampered, knowing that I am making time for myself is a reminder that I am a worthy woman.

I don’t wear makeup on a day-to-day basis to cover up my facials-worthy skin. And likewise, I relish wearing luxurious panties made in the allover stretch fashion of Cosabella or Hanky Panky underwear underneath whatever other clothing I am wearing that day. As Steve Jobs believed in making everything look good including the parts you cannot see, I believe that being/feeling beautiful comes in intricate layers from underneath the skin –> skin –> over the skin but underneath the clothes –> clothes –> accessories, etc. etc.

So anything superficial in relation to the skin might seem “superficial” in that it might seem less important but I believe that whatever lies underneath the layer is a reflection of the other layers and vise versa.

I would say that if do not want to feel judged for your looks that I highly recommend not to ever pursuing modeling as a career. However, as a model or not — the reality for myself and everyone else out there is that people will make judgements about you no matter what you look like.

I recently watched an interview of actress Bryce Dallas Howard with Marie Forleo and she said that her grandmother had told her that the statistics for an average working actor landing an acting gig is 1 out of every 64 auditions.Whether it’s that modeling gig that you didn’t get or being dumped by that guy you’ve been in love with forever, rejection hurts and it might even make you feel less beautiful or desirable in that moment. But the truth is you were just as beautiful before you got that rejection and getting that rejection didn’t magically make your nose bigger or your breasts smaller.

Like any other emotions we experience, there are days when we might feel extra beautiful or less beautiful than other days. And even though we tell ourselves not to compare ourselves to others, we all do it inevitably at times. Rather than trying to punish ourselves more than the misery we already feel in that moment by telling ourselves we’re not allowed to feel that way, I say accept how you feel in that moment. But do something to feel just even a little more beautiful. Take a shower and wash off the sweat and tears. Go and enjoy a manicure/pedicure.

And you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell you that you’re beautiful. Why not be the person who tells someone else that they’re beautiful? And just because someone else compliments you on how you look, you don’t have to feel obligated to return the compliment right then. Do that dance to rejoice if you want to. Or blush and add a beautiful color to those cheeks of yours. Smile, express your gratitude for the compliment and take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is you.

-M

My First [Successful] Attempt at Using a Hair Wand Curler

For my birthday this year, my dear sister decided to gift me a hair curler, which is actually a hair wand.IMG_0710

Click here to buy the MQB hair wand curler

For those of you wondering what the difference is between a regular hair curler and a hair wand, a hair wand does not come with the clip feature that regular hair curlers come with. Therefore, the heat-resistant glove that comes in the box with the product is essential!

My very first [unsuccessful] attempt at using this advanced product as a novice hair curler owner resulted in burning my wrist, curls that weren’t really curls and a lack of holding whatever curls I may have created.

After watching a few youtube videos sent over by my sister, the key seemed to be having some sort of products to put in pre-curling to protect it from the heat of the iron + a hair spray to maintain the curls thereafter.IMG_0739

So I went inside an Ulta Beauty store and asked for product recommendations and it came down to this handy dandy spray that acts as both a heat-protectant spray and a hair spray (therefore, I did not have to buy two separate products).

Click here to buy Redken’s Thermal Setting Mist.

I spray the thermal setting mist to a combed section of the hair I want to curl.

IMG_0712Note: If you have a good amount of hair on your head, it’s a good idea to pin your hair up in sections.
I left the bottom layers alone and just pinned the higher sections. I curled the lowest sections first and
progressively moved towards the top sections)

Since the wand does not come with a clip, you start curling by placing the wand to wrap the hair closer to your roots first and keep curling your hair around it until you’ve reached the ends (which you hold down with the hand wearing the heat-resistant glove).

The aftermath:

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In my list of “Ten Things I Could Improve On” in my book I published for my birthday, spending more time and effort styling my hair was listed as #4 on that list. So I can proudly say that I’ve been giving that one a try indeed.

While I still don’t put makeup on or curl my hair on a regular basis, I think it doesn’t hurt to put in a little bit of effort here and there, putting in special touches for special occasions.

As I also quoted Warren Buffet in my book, the best investment you can make is in yourself!

-M